Kara’s half-heartedly typing, and whole-heartedly hoping for just one interesting thing to happen that day, when a set of eyes appear just over the top of her desk. They’re familiar somehow – piercingly green and curiously clever. Eyes that she was sure usually looked a lot older than the cherub face they were sitting on. Eyes that had to be a copy of someone in the office.
At least she hoped.
A child in her office was strange. A child that belonged to no one in the building would have been far stranger. A child in her office that seemed to be making it her mission to touch literally every item on Kara’s desk, almost toppling several of them off was not so much strange, as it wasn’t Kara’s favourite thing in the entire world. She swoops in when she picks up a glass paperweight and seems to immediately realise it’s heavier than she thought.
Kara catches it swiftly as it falls from the girl’s hands and places it securely on her desk, dropping to eye level. “Hey, buddy. Where’s your mum? Or dad?” No answer. Just the same silent green eyes on a face that couldn’t have been more than four years old. “Grandma?” She tries.
“My mom’s at work.” Well that wasn’t much help.
“Cool,” Kara says simply. No sense freaking the kid out when she seemed so calm about the whole thing. “You wanna help me with some drawing?” Kara pulls some pens out of her desk – blue, green, red – they’d have to do, as well as some scrap paper from her notebook. The girl accepts them easily, sitting in the chair opposite Kara’s desk and immediately getting to work.
Kara watches her casual nature for a moment before returning her gaze to her screen to send out a mass email about an adorable missing child. Definitely an interesting thing for the day. She just hoped someone came to fix it soon – preferably before lunch.
She’s midway through writing a press release for the latest L-Corp update when an out of breath woman steps into her office looking hugely relieved. Hugely relieved and very clearly like the same woman who had interviewed her just last month. The same woman who Kara had been pretty much completely enamoured with and spent multiple hours trying to stop her hands from shaking just thinking about. The same woman who headed the company Kara was working for, writing releases and articles about how she was literally trying to cure cancer whilst being perfect about several other things around the city like it was no big deal.
Lena expletive (there was a whole child present) Luthor.
“Lori, you can’t just disappear like that!” There’s a distinct lack of chastisement on Lori’s face at the words and Kara can’t help but laugh a little under her breath at the audacity of the kid. She didn’t even seem to want to fake an apology.
“I was colouring with Kara.” The mention of her name finally has Lena looking at her and Kara stifles a blush at the attention. She’s surprised she manages to keep it under wraps to be honest. Not embarrassing herself was half the reason Kara had been avoiding going to Lena’s office to ask for quotes for her pieces and instead had been using her assistant Jess as a buffer (Jess who absolutely seemed to know why she needed said buffer – her eyes always seeing Kara a little too much).
Kara starts explaining herself before a question can even be posed. “She just sort of appeared at my desk and I didn't know who she belonged to. I'm sorry.”
Kara hadn’t read anything about Lena having children. Come to think of it, she hadn’t really read anything about Lena Luthor’s personal life at all. She was somewhat of an enigma to the press outside of her philanthropy and scientific mind. It was a little refreshing if anything – to see such a powerful woman spoken about for her accomplishments and nothing much else.
But also, maybe Kara should’ve followed the links to the Lena Luthor fan sites Winn kept sending her when she first got the interview at L-Corp. There was no way the gaggle of lesbians obsessed with her hadn’t shared this news on their blogs. Maybe she needed to join their ranks.
“No… that's fine.” She smiles genuinely at Kara. It’s the second time she’s had the honour of seeing it - the first being when Lena had offered her the job and Kara awkwardly shook her hand for a beat too long (or maybe it was Lena that shook hers for too long a beat. She wasn’t sure). “Thank you for looking after her.”
“Oh, she was no trouble at all. She even drew me a nice new tattoo.” Kara lifts her hand to where Lori had drawn what Kara thinks is supposed to be a cat but hadn’t had the guts to verbalise in case she was wrong and immediately shattered some artistic dreams.
“New?” Lena asks, cocking a brow and no doubt looking over Kara’s sweater clad arms, wondering what secrets they were covering up. Kara almost rips it over her head to show her before she remembers the undershirt she grabbed that morning has ‘slut’ written on it in pink rhinestones – a gift from last year’s ‘worst thing you can find’ Secret Santa and the only clean thing she could find.
(Well, that shirt, and professionalism in the workplace of course).
Lena saves her from herself when she reels in her curiosity, schooling her features back into something a little more neutral. “I apologise, that slipped out,” she says and then immediately distracts away from the situation. “I interviewed you.”
“You remember?” Kara had thought the remembering was going to be very one sided. It’s why she’d taken such care to memorise the event – the interested look in Lena’s eyes as Kara spoke about her past jobs, the way she sat on her chair with both poise and like she still didn’t believe it was hers to sit in. The sharp ponytail, red lips and three-piece suit that looked like it cost more than three months of Kara’s rent (Kara would coincidentally spend three months rent to see her wear it again).
She hadn’t thought she would be memorable. Not for a second.
“You're very overqualified,” Lena says, looking like there’s something else she wants to say before she bites her lip to keep the thought locked in. “Yes, I remembered.”
“Well as I said then. I think your work is important.” Lena smiles, a little bashful, and Kara is definitely going to say something stupid if she doesn’t cut this short. As much as she would really like to not cut this short. “However, if we want other people to hear about your important work, I might need to get back to it.” She gestures vaguely to her desk; aware she can’t really remember what she was in the middle of now.
“Oh yes. Sorry again.” Lena takes Lori’s hand to make her stand, gathering up her drawings with precious caution in her other hand. “She's a little rambunctious - she got that from my brother.” Lori tries to mimic the word rambunctious under her breath to little success, but Kara is preoccupied with a completely different section of the statement.
“He...” There’s a pause that Kara can see is less emotion and more trying to find an inoffensive way to phrase it for the girl at her side. “Passed a little after she was born.”
“So, no father?” Kara slaps a hand to her forehead. There was the stupid thing she was waiting for. Somehow stupider than she had thought it would be. “That sounded really insensitive. I'm so sorry.”
“You're fine. No there's no father. Or extra mother. Just me. That's why she's here today - her day care had to evacuate for a gas leak next door and I was already late for an important meeting.”
This was Kara’s chance to increase her likelihood of seeing the three-piece suit again. “Well, she's always welcome here, if you ever have another issue.”
Lena’s brow furrows. “Really?”
“Sure. She reminds me a little of my nephew.” Quietly happy to get on with whatever they were focused on in that moment and so cute that Kara sort of wanted to crush their bodies (in a not weird and murderous way but in the way that was to be expected from a toddler half Alex and half Kelly and wholly the greatest people in her life).
“I might take you up on that, Kara Danvers.” Maybe Kara should insist everyone call her by her full name to hear that again. “But, for now, I'll take her off your hands. Have a good day.”
“You too. Bye, Lori.”
The little girl waves with a wide smile. “Bye, Kara!”
(Kara was going to be a sucker for them both.
She had no doubt about it).
“I hate to do this, but could you look after Lori again?” It’s a rushed question that comes immediately following a knock that awaits no response. Kara doesn’t have the same sense of urgency. In fact, her brain seems to slow down entirely as Lena steps into her office – hair sharp like a honed blade, lips a matte ruby red and eyes adorably pleading (and mimicked perfectly by a second pair of eyes that sit around her thigh).
Why was Kara’s heart clenching just because they were holding hands?
“30 minutes tops,” Lena adds in the silence, obviously taking it to be Kara deciding how she can say no to her boss. Kara just nods because what else is she going to do when a pretty woman is looking nervous and desperate. “Thank you so much. I'll tell Jess to sort you a raise.”
Kara doesn’t have time to say she really doesn’t need a raise for common decency before it’s just her and the kid once again. She wordlessly opens her draw and pulls out some pencils and a colouring book she’d bought since last time just in case and offers them to giddy grabby hands.
“You’re welcome.” Kara smiles and pushes out the chair opposite her that Lori had chosen to sit in last time she was in her office. The girl looks at it indifferently and the steps closer to Kara.
“Can I sit with you?” Lori asks and Kara looks at her earnestly nervous smile for a moment before she chuckles lightly and lifts the girl onto her lap, letting her set the book in front of the two of them. She turns to offer Kara first pick of the pencil colours and so much for typing with company.
Kara simply resigns herself to the activity and slips the green pencil from the pack. The colouring ends up a mismatch of precise sensible choices and chaos slipping out of every line – the chaos is mostly Kara who has started to enjoy making the little girl huff and giggle when she did things wrong. It was adorable how seriously she was taking the task of colouring a fluffy duck.
“So… Your mom,” Kara begins, once Lori has told her off for the fifth time for trying to colour the duck’s feet purple. “What does she like?”
“She prefers drawing to colouring, but she lets me colour for her.” Right. This was a child. Was she really already at rock bottom of pumping a child for information? Yes. Yes she was.
“Does she like anything else?”
Lori hums, tilting her head side to side in deliberation. “She's good at reading. She does all the voices. If you ask nicely I'm sure she'd do them for you.”
When Kara had first walked into Lena’s office for interview she’d felt terrified. Not because she didn’t think she could get the job with her eyes closed but because Lena had this aura about her, this absolute ‘take no prisoners’ vibe that obviously served her well as head of the company. It had been intimidating. And then Kara got lost in a retelling of one of her investigative finds and found that Lena was smiling gently, genuinely interested in what she had to say, pushing her to say a little more at every turn and it all melted away.
She imagined that was what she was like at home. When it was just her, and Lori, and a storybook that she was going to read with everything she had because Lena Luthor didn’t seem to half-ass anything. She was a whole ass person (with a great ass).
“She does seem nice like that,” Kara agrees.
“She's the bestest.” Kara focuses back on colouring when she realises the futility of her deep diving, especially considering Lori’s apparent distraction in staring at her wrist, where a tattoo is starting to poke out the end of her shirt. “Can I colour you in?” She asks, puppy dog eyes in full force as she holds up some felt tips. It wouldn’t take too much effort to clean it off.
Kara shrugs. “Sure, kid.”
By the time Lena returns, Kara has both her shirt sleeves rolled to her elbows with a whole litany of colours coating her previously black ink tattoo sleeves and a sleeping child just starting to drool ever so slightly onto her sweater. It looked like a great nap – honestly Kara was kind of jealous.
“You really do have a lot of tattoos,” is the first thing that slips out of Lena’s mouth. Her eyes immediately widen but Kara merely grins at the slip.
“There's more where these came from.” Lena’s eyes briefly wander at the comment before her eyeline is broken by the child still perched on Kara’s lap and they both seem to come to their senses. Kara really needed to pick better moments to be suggestive. She needed to create better moments.
Lena steps closer to pick up Lori from Kara’s lap and Kara’s immediately hit with the scent of her perfume – expensive, and floral, and inherently intoxicating. Kara was going to start creating moments. As soon as humanly possible she would make a moment.
“You're a life saver. I really do owe you one, or several.”
“It's a nice break from work,” Kara says honestly, and then remembers that she’s literally speaking to the woman who owns the building. “Not that I don't enjoy my job.”
“Don't worry, I won't tell the boss you were slacking.” Lena winks.
“I really appreciate it.”
There’s a pause where all that’s heard are the soft puffs of the slumbering girl in Lena’s arms as Lena shifts her weight from foot to foot before finally standing straight and speaking. “I was going to have lunch sent to my office if you'd like to join us.”
“Yes.” It’s not Kara that answers but Lori, who barely seems awake enough to know what she’s agreeing too, but who was Kara to deny her.
“Well, I suppose I can't say no now.”
Lena smiles, shaking her head. “You really can't.”
Kara bends to grab her bag from under her desk and swears she sees Lena and Lori fist bump out the corner of her eye, but they’re the picture of innocence when she looks back up.
(They really were going to be trouble.
But first they’d make great company for lunch).
Kara’s fighting with the photocopier when she finds her next excuse to talk to Lena. Not that she’d really found the last two – they’d sort of found her – but she wasn’t going to argue semantics with the universe when it seemed to be doing her so many solids as of late. She actually liked to think of them as apologies for everything else it had put her through.
The excuse comes in the forms of copies left in the tray. They look innocuous enough at first until Kara starts to recognise the shapes – copies of arms, and legs, and a familiar teddy bear followed by very familiar cherub cheeks squashed against glass. Kara laughs as she picks them up.
She definitely needed to tell Lena about this. She’s not entirely sure how Lori got her body in the photocopier like this, but it was bound to not have been the safest thing, just like sticking your face against the lasers was probably not great either. That was the reason she needed to immediately go see Lena in her office – common courtesy and genuine care, nothing more, nothing less.
Kara stops at the desk positioned outside Lena’s office with a nervousness bubbling at her feet. “Hi, Jess right? I’m Kara Danvers. I usually call to ask for quotes?”
“Are you here for a quote now because Miss Luthor has a very busy day.” It’s an obvious attempt at a turn-away and Kara would usually listen. Mostly because she doesn’t want to be a burden, and partially because Jess had an incredibly powerful stink eye, but if she doesn’t do this now she’s going to chicken out of doing it and she really didn’t want to chicken out of this.
“I’m actually here to talk about Lori.” Kara holds up the photocopies and watches as Jess’ demeanour softens almost immediately at the sight of the little girl’s scrunched up face. Turns out she wasn’t the only sucker in the office for those little green eyes.
“She has a few minutes free now if you’d like to go in.”
“Great, thank you.” Kara steps away before stopping and turning back. “Just out of curiosity – what’s your coffee order?”
“Caramel latte,” Jess offers and then grins knowingly. Miss Luthor takes her coffee black.” Kara chuckles at her own obviousness before offering her another thank you and pushing through the doors into Lena’s office. She finds Lena on the other side with her head in her hands, looking about five seconds away from tearing her hair out.
“You look like you’re having a bad day,” Kara says in greeting and Lena’s head snaps up to her voice, her hands scrambling to straighten her hair into something more professional. Kara sort of liked the messy look – it made her look human (and incredibly pretty).
“Kara, hi.” Kara offers a wave in return, waiting for Lena to offer more to her not quite a question. “Not bad per se, just… a lot. A lot of stuff that I really kind of hate like paperwork and meetings with misogynistic men and not a lot of the stuff that I really love, like being in the lab and actually engaging any part of my brain.” She sighs, sitting back in her chair. “I’m sorry, you don’t need to hear this. You probably actually need something.”
Kara shakes her head, ignoring the out. “Why don’t you just hire someone else to do the boring paperwork stuff? It’s not like the company couldn’t afford it.”
There’s a look on Lena’s face like she’s fielded this question before and there’s a moment in which Kara can see she’s about to hear the same practised answer as always. Then there’s a switch. Lena slouches a little towards the desk and looks up at Kara with unguarded eyes. “This company is my baby. It was pretty much all I had before Lori and it’s still the most important thing in my life besides her. What if someone else messes it up?"
“Surely there's someone you trust?”
Lena sighs. “My best friend is my COO - she could easily step up to the plate - but I don't know if I want to lump this on her, she has her own family to think of.”
“A COO doesn’t do much less Lena, I’m sure she could handle it, or at least take some off your plate so that you can get back to doing what you do best – using that big, beautiful brain of yours.” Kara can’t find it in herself to chastise herself for being overly familiar so early on. She feels like a dam filling with more and more interest, slowly cracking at the seams and waiting to explode. Surely it was safer to let a little bit out at a time before it all came flooding.
Lena, on her part, smiles at the comment. “You're very smart and still very overqualified for your role if we’re talking about big, beautiful brains.”
Kara shares her smile as she drops into the seat opposite Lena at her desk. “I needed something calm,” she admits truthfully. She loved her work as an investigative journalist. She loved the way she felt like she was changing the world one word at a time. She loved the thrill of chasing a story and exposing political corruption. But after a while of walking through war zones and having death threats sent to her email account she just needed to pause. To take a step out of the fire.
“May I ask why? The real reason. Not the one you gave in interview.” Kara can’t remember the last time she didn’t lie about it. The last time she didn’t just say she wanted a different kind of challenge, wanted to flex a different muscle trying something new. But she doesn’t want to lie now – she’s not even entirely sure her mouth would let her.
“My dad got really sick, my adoptive dad, and it brought back a lot of memories of losing my biological parents. I was angry for a long time and making stupid decisions that didn’t really consider my wellbeing. Eventually I realised all I was doing was hurting the people around me at a time when they were already hurting enough. So, I hit pause and decided what I really needed to be was a good daughter and a good sister, and obviously a really good deputy director of public relations.”
“How is he now?”
“Better. The doctors say he should be fine - he'll have to take medication every day for the rest of his life, but that life should be pretty full.”
“I'm glad to hear that,” Lena says genuinely. “I lost my mother when I was very young too. She's what inspired me to start all of this actually.” The words sound rusty, like maybe Lena had gotten really good at building walls around her truth too.
“I'm sure she'd be very proud of you.” Kara means every word. She can’t imagine anyone not being in awe of all that Lena had achieved, all that she continued to strive to achieve, at the very same time that she was teaching another impressionable human being how to dream to achieve too. She was a remarkable woman - inside and out.
“Thank you,” Lena says wetly. Screw professionalism is Kara’s main thought when she stands to round the desk in order to pull Lena in for a hug as the tears build in her eyes. Lena clutches onto her desperately for as long as the day allows her, until Jess’ voice buzzes through the intercom on Lena’s desk informing her she has a meeting scheduled in five minutes.
Lena smiles when Kara pulls back. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I ever actually found out why you finally came to visit me on your own volition.”
Kara laughs at the teasing remark as she remembers exactly why she’d stepped foot into Lena’s office. She picks the photos up from where she’d left them on the chair and offers them up. “I found these in the photocopier. I thought you might want to talk to her about it – if only to satisfy my curiosity and find out how she actually managed to do this by herself.”
“I’ll be sure to ask.” Lena shakes her head with a laugh. “I honestly don’t know how she keeps managing to slip her watchers. She really only seems to sit still for you.”
“Well, she has a very smart mother, she's bound to pick up a few tricks. And the offer is still open for her to come anytime if it makes you feel less stressed.”
“You’re too kind.”
Kara shrugs, turning to the sound of knocking on the door. A sure signal that she’s overstaying her welcome. She wasn’t going to anger the dragon outside the castle. “I'll see you later, Lena.”
“I hope so.”
(It’s all Kara thinks about for the rest of the day.
I hope so).
Softball wasn’t a game.
Well, it was technically a game. But it was also war.
A war in which Kara would be the one standing victorious in the end with the heads of her enemies proudly displayed on spikes… or something like that.
Kara’s opinion on softball was why she initially refused to play for the office league. She’d deleted the email when it first came into her inbox and promptly dismissed the woman from finance who came to ask her personally to join the team because she’d apparently googled Kara and thought she would make a good addition to the team. She wasn’t wrong. Kara would make a good addition – but still she’s said no. And then Lena asked.
It went a little something like this:
LENA: (pleading, looking far too pretty for anyone’s good) We’re still short on the softball team numbers.
KARA: (being deliberately obtuse) Oh, yeah?
LENA: (somehow looking more stunningly beautiful the longer she stands there) I agreed to play to show support, but I don’t really want to do it alone. It would be nice to have a friendly face with me. Especially a friendly face that Lori knew as well – I think that would make her more comfortable with all the strangers around that she hasn’t met.
KARA: (resigned and effectively guilted, as they both knew she would be) Fine - I’ll play. For you and Lori.
So, Kara was on the team and deliberately taking it as not seriously as she can. She thought it would be harder to treat it as nothing but an excuse to run around and build rapport with her co-workers. She thought it would be harder to hold back and not comment on their poor ability to catch her admittedly fantastic throws. She thought she’d feel the need to pep-talk them way more.
But, in the end, she’s more than a little distracted by other things on, and around, the pitch to even care that Jerry from the law department still doesn’t know the rules of the game. In the end, she’s far too charmed by two sets of green eyes to be anything but encouraging mush.
She’s already too far gone the second Lori and Lena arrive at the diamond and Lori runs at her with a wide grin, a personalised team shirt and a cheering call of Kara’s name, followed by a more subdued smile from Lena.
And then she starts to teach Lori how to play, helping her with her swing and throwing her short, gentle bowls that she gets better and better at hitting – which results in Kara being lorded as some kind of softball messiah by stray children whose parents are just glad to have a break.
It’s far more fun warming up with them than the pitiful adult team, so Kara isn’t complaining. She’s especially not complaining as Lena watches her fondly (or, at least, she chooses to believe the fondness is aimed at her and not at all the cute kids around her, one of which literally belonged to her).
“Alright, team,” Kara claps her hands together, gaining immediate unbridled attention from tiny ears. “Practise with one another for a bit whilst I talk to the grownups. I’ll come back to see your form when I’m done.” She gives them the universal I’m watching sign to which they all salute in sync like they’d been practising it behind her back. They really were adorable. But she also really needed two seconds without a timid voice calling her name.
“Running away from them already?” Lena jokes when Kara appears at the refreshment table, gladly taking the drink she offers and downing it quickly.
“It was starting to feel a bit cult-like honestly,” Kara jokes, and then slightly less jokingly admits, “I’m also not as young as I used to be and I’m feeling it in this heat.” She proves her point by lifting the bottom of her shirt up to wipe the sheen of sweat beginning to gather on her face.
Kara hears more so than sees Lena cough her drink back into her cup, sputtering for a little while after the original choke. By the time, Kara pulls her shirt back down, Lena is schooling her face into something unaffected - though a little redness on her cheeks makes her façade a little less convincing. Kara tilts her head curiously.
“You okay there?” She dips her voice a little lower than a usual question of wellness would entail and enjoys the way Lena’s eyes widen just a smidge before she waves off the concern.
“Just inhaled a little strange.”
Kara accepts the answer, shifting her gaze to look over the field where the other team seem to be slowly appearing. “You excited to play?”
“I’m terrible at sports so absolutely not,” Lena admits. “Though I have been assured that you’re apparently a collegiate softball champion by the gaggle of giggling women over there-“ Kara follows the point of Lena’s finger to three women she vaguely remembers seeing around the office who were definitely already staring their way with intrigued glances- “so I’m sure even my lack of coordination can’t lose this for us.”
“I’m not that good,” Kara brushes off with a shrug.
“I don’t believe that for a second.” And, maybe it’s the words, or maybe it’s the slow pull of Lena’s eyes from where her shirt has dropped back over her abs to the taut pull of fabric over her arms where her baseball shirt didn’t seem built for her level of muscle. But Kara decides she’s going to prove Lena right.
She plays the whole thing more than a little cocky. She showboats with her bat when she steps up to the plate, and slides for bases that definitely don’t really need that level of commitment to, and leaps to catch balls she would usually let go in the name of a ‘friendly game’ (and makes sure to reveal her abs as much as is possible without seeming weird under the guise of wiping away the evidence of her skin in the game).
And she accepts the applause from her team when they win by a landslide, even as she brushes it off with comments about how it’s a team game and how they all put in their best effort and deserved the result. It would probably be more convincing if she looked at any of them as she said it, but she spends her entire speech staring at Lena.
Lena who wasn’t wrong when she said she sucked at sports. Lena who could barely catch to save her life and spent most of the time on the plate looking like she was thinking about physics instead of just feeling the rhythm of the game and going on instinct. Lena who looked incredibly hot in a baseball cap and tee with yoga pants that were practically painted onto her skin.
(God, Kara was so hot for her boss, it wasn’t even funny).
“Not that good, huh? I’m fairly sure the opposing bowler was frothing at the mouth, and she couldn’t decide whether it was from rage or sheer attraction.”
“How would you fall on the equation?”
Lena mouth pulls up into a one-sided smile. “Well, I don’t know why I’d be angry that you won the game for our team so you can probably figure that one out for yourself.”
“Noted.” There’s a shared beat of silence. “Would you want to-“
“Lori and I were-“
Kara laughs at the overlapping burst of words. “You first.”
“Lori’s been watching a lot of sports movies in preparation for coming to the game today and decided we absolutely have to get hotdogs,” Lena says, briefly flicking her eyes fondly over to her daughter before turning back to a patiently waiting Kara. “Would you like to come with us? I think Lori would really like it. You’re probably her hero after today.”
“You can be my hero if you’d like,” Lena offers simply, as if there was anything Kara would like more.
“Save that promise until after you’ve seen how many hotdogs I can eat.”
“I’ll prepare myself to be astounded.”
In the end, it’s Kara who ends up astounded. Astounded by the easy way they settled into this friendship. Astounded by the way Lena seems as caught up in it all as she is – somehow charmed by Kara’s mix of goofiness and sparks of bold. Astounded by the way her heart almost stops in place when Lena uses her thumb to wipe sauce from Kara’s lip and sucks it into her mouth without thought: a movement somewhere in between reflexive mom and incredibly sexy.
(Astounded by Lena.
Astounded by the sudden trajectory of her life that she couldn’t believe fate had been kind enough to set her on).
Some meetings were meant to be done by email.
Most meetings that Kara sat in on a daily basis were meetings where her main thought for a good fifty percent of the conversation was, this could have been sent in an email.
Just one email. Like seventy words. A tiny bit of passive aggression and maybe three replies tops in the email chain that included cc-ing someone else into the exchange.
The meeting she’s in right now is one that Kara wishes had been an email. She wasn’t even usually the one who had to be submitted to this torture every week. Being second in department had many benefits – the main being that the head of department meeting wasn’t her business, except the head has rudely decided to be ill, which meant Kara had to go in her place.
It probably wouldn’t have been so bad. She at least got to sit in a seat that was optimally placed to look at Lena without it being obvious she was spending the whole time looking at Lena. There was also a plethora of snacks available on the table that she had been steadily making her way through. But both of those things tasted a little sour in her mouth when paired with the epic level of mansplaining that was happening from some suit Kara had thankfully never had to meet before.
It felt like he’d been talking for three hours.
Kara was sure he had actually been speaking for at least fifteen minutes and everyone at the table just seemed to have collectively decided to zone out until he was finished instead of attempting to interrupt him and get things back on track again.
She tried to politely focus back in a couple of times to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if he actually had something of value to share with the group. He didn’t. And Kara quickly concluded that listening to him was like licking sandpaper.
So, she went back to looking at Lena instead. Only, this time, when she turns her gaze to Lena, she finds her eyes immediately met by the other woman’s. She makes a face at Kara like she’s just sucked on a lemon before she schools it as the mansplainer turns to look at her.
Kara almost thinks it’s a fluke. A momentary lapse of her professionalism that she won’t witness again, until he turns his eyes to another section of the room and Lena takes the opportunity to roll her eyes behind his back, mouthing idiot to Kara. She barely keeps it together when Lena smothers her face back into a picture of politeness. She has to turn a laugh into a cough after the fourth or so time it happens and suddenly the meeting is actually pretty good.
She would still love to not hear him talk anymore though.
Thankfully Lena, like she almost read Kara’s mind, opens her mouth the second the thought passes through her head. “Alright, I think we all get the picture. Just… email it to me so everyone else can get on with their day.” A sigh of relief cuts through the room. “Oh, and please make the email under a hundred words or I won’t be reading it today.”
Kara snorts and then looks into the distance at nothing when eyes flick her way in annoyance.
“Well, unless anyone else has something pressing to share?” Lena asks to a quiet room, nodding succinctly when no voices pipe up. “Great. I think we can all get back to more important things then.” Kara’s pushing her chair back gratefully when Lena speaks again. “Miss Danvers if you could stay behind please.”
She ignores the curious eyes sent her way almost as effectively as she ignores the shiver that runs down her spine at being called ‘Miss Danvers’ by Lena. That was probably something she would have to revisit at a later date.
Lena remains poised until the room is clear, and she lets out a long exhale that has her stooping in her chair like a deflating balloon. “My God, he was tedious.”
“I don’t know how you listen to that regularly. I don’t think my jaw is going to unclench for at least forty-five minutes.”
“Well, if you want to decompress, me and Lori were actually going to get some ice cream on my break?” She says it casually. An offer that could be taken or left alone. Only, it was an offer she’d deliberately asked Kara to stay behind in order to share. So maybe not that casual at all – that thought broadens the already bright smile on Kara’s face.
“Oh, is she here today?”
Lena shakes her head. “No, but she was pouting a lot this morning about not coming into the office so I’m picking her up on her lunch break. It's on the way to the parlour.” She explains and she still looks a little nervous, and cute, and okay so her boss was into her right? She wasn’t imagining all this? Like they were both incredibly into each other and vaguely using this child to flirt without having to flirt, right?
“Ice cream sounds great. I'll grab my bag and meet you out front?” Lena nods but it’s her accompanying smile that has Kara pretty much skipping to her office to collect her stuff.
The walk to pick up Lori is comfortably quiet as Kara spends most of it silently wondering what it would be like if her and Lena were in a place where she could just reach out and hold her hand as they walk, and Lena seems happy to leave her to her contemplative silence, wordlessly leading her to their destination and occasionally asking Kara questions about her day so far.
It’s nice. Just being able to be with someone in the moment – it’s nice. Kara can’t remember the last time she felt that she could be like that with someone, instead of scrambling to fill in the gaps that she couldn’t help but view as awkward silences.
Kara stops walking when they reach the outside of the day care building. Lena cuts her next step abruptly off when she realises Kara isn’t walking in tandem with her anymore, turning to look at her inquisitively. “You coming?”
“I wasn’t sure if I should come in?”
“I think you’d probably look weirder lurking outside than just waiting with me in reception.” That… was a fair point. Not that Kara wasn’t going to concede to whatever reasoning came out of Lena’s mouth when her hand slips into hers and tugs her towards the door. She doesn’t let go even when Kara’s obviously too far gone to not keeping following thoughtlessly.
The lack of need for casual touch may have slipped Lena’s notice but it’s definitely picked up on by the receptionist at the front desk who eyes their hands before widening her smile just an inch at the sight of them. “Lena, right on time as always, and apparently with a girlfriend that you seem to have forgotten to mention to me.”
“We’re not- she’s-“
“I work at L-Corp,” Kara interjects. “Kara. It’s nice to meet you…”
“Nia,” she supplies as Kara reaches out her less favoured left-hand for her to shake. It’s the clear unfamiliarity of the motion that seems to have Lena realising she’s still holding Kara’s right hand hostage (it had definitely developed Stockholm syndrome in that time because her hand feels unreasonably cold for such a warm day when Lena is no longer holding it in hers).
“Lena doesn’t bring all her girlfriends to this happening spot then?” Kara teases, eyeing Lena from the corner of her eye to see the way her cheeks redden at the comment.
“No, you would be the first,” Nia jokes along. “Though I can’t say I’m that surprised, you’re definitely her type. Tall, blonde, muscles that make you look like you could throw her-”
“Okay!” Lena cuts in. “Shouldn’t you be collecting my child or something?” She says a little petulantly and if Kara wasn’t already half in love with her, this would have been the moment she started walking headfirst into it.
Kara wonders how well the two of them actually know each other when Nia winks at Lena and smirks before she supplies, “I’m actually not allowed to leave the desk unmanned so no, but don’t worry I already sent the email so she should be here in like two seconds. Saved by your child as always.”
“You’re a pain in my ass, Nia Nal,” Lena says with a smile that’s met with laughter.
“Mom!” A voice interrupts, and then gasps. “Kara?!” It shocks Kara when she feels a body barrelling into her legs. Not because she didn’t clearly see Lori practically tripping over her feet to get to them but because she expected Lena to get hit with the hug first. Honestly she hadn’t even really expected to get a hug at all. But she wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
“Lori Loo, hello to you too.” She smiles down at the face looking up at her in awe, like she can’t quite believe Kara has come to see her, and maybe Kara was about to melt into a puddle. She needed to do something cool, and quick, before she did something dumb like cry about a small child being excited to see her own personal human colouring book.
She quickly decides that cool thing should be lifting Lori up and onto her shoulders. She feels pretty cool as Lena beams at her and Lori giggles. “Mom, mom, look how tall I am.”
“You’re the tallest person I’ve ever seen. You probably burn up a lot of calories, huh? We better get you that ice cream quickly before you disappear into nothing.”
“I could disappear?” Lori asks, sounding adorably terrified. “Hurry, Kara.” The words are accompanied by a soft pat on the top of Kara’s head, like she was tempting a horse into moving, that has Kara laughing and shaking her head at the little girl’s antics. She starts walking regardless.
“It was nice to meet you, Nia. I’ll come back to hear more about Lena’s type soon.” She winks and gasps with faux affront when Lena pushes her lightly. “Lena, careful. I have precious cargo here.” She jostles around manically as she steps back outside until Lori is half laughing hysterically and half begging her to ‘stop being so silly’.
It already feels like the best lunch break she’s had in forever in that moment. It gets a little better when Lena pays for her ice cream sundae and says nothing about the insane sugar mountain Kara creates with the options given to her. It gets a little better again when Lori asks her to be the one to help clean her hands with an adorably innocent, chocolate covered smile. It gets a lot better when she finishes wiping her face and finds Lena smiling softly at them from across the table.
Because it was a look that said this wasn’t just attraction.
(There was something more to this.
Kara really wanted something more to this).
Kara spends her entire morning staring at the clock.
She does her work without really paying attention to a single word she writes and thinks more about how she’s meeting Lena for lunch than she does anything else. She thinks by now she should have moved past acting like a mooning damsel – they’ve shared enough lunches and post meeting catchups and what Lori called ‘play dates’ for her to have become acclimated to the idea that her and Lena were friends (friendly people?) who spent time together.
Today wasn’t really any different beyond the fact that Kara had made lunch instead of ordering it from somewhere. Today wasn’t really any different beyond the fact that Kara had put way too much effort in the night before, making lasagne because Lena had offhandedly mentioned that it was one of her comfort foods but that she hadn’t had it in a while because Lori wasn’t a fan of it yet.
Today wasn’t really any different until it felt completely different.
Until Kara walks into Lena’s office unannounced after finding Jess’ desk strangely empty and finds Lena sitting at her desk, practically ringing out her shirt, completely in vain as her hair continued to drip more water onto it. Her white shirt. Her wet white shirt.
Her wet white shirt that was going to kill Kara with the way it was clinging to the curve of her stomach and following the dip of her hips and showing a bra that looked like it had to be the last one before laundry day because it was barely holding in Lena’s chest and Kara was going to die. This was officially it for her. The final nail in her gay, gay coffin.
(Kara’s hands forget what gripping is as she drops their lunch at her feet).
Kara’s greeting dies into a whimper that has Lena’s head snapping up. She smiles like she has no idea the turmoil in Kara’s mind. “Kara, you're early, or I'm late? I'm sorry I just came from a meeting, and I stupidly told my driver I'd like to walk not knowing the heavens were going to open.” Heaven was about right. “Jess is bringing me another shirt.”
“Shirt,” Kara repeats and then nothing else. She has nothing else.
“Kara?” Lena sounds amused. And knowing. Very knowing.
“Kara?” Lena repeats and Kara finally realises she hasn’t looked up at her face much since walking into the room. She rectifies that with a shaky breath, finding Lena’s unreadable eyes before turning her entire body away from her as quick as humanly possible.
“I'm so sorry, that was incredibly inappropriate of me. I didn't mean to objectify you. You're just...” Kara trails off, shakes the thoughts from her head. “Nope, no excuses. My sincerest apologies.”
“I didn't say I didn't like it,” Lena says lowly. Kara turns back to see Lena’s stopped attempting to dry her shirt and is instead just watching her, fingers tapping restlessly on her desk.
Kara releases a shuddery breath. She swore she usually had more composure than this. “Gosh, Lena. You can't just say that. I have to go back to work after this.” She’d barely managed to get through the day before she knew Lena Luthor was wearing a black lace bra a couple floors up. She had no idea how she was supposed to deal with it all now.
“What's the problem with that?” Lena says coyly. It’s bait. Kara can see the hook as clear as day and yet she still swims towards it at breakneck speed.
“The problem is that I can see your boobs through your shirt and all I really want to do is put my mouth on them and clearly you're not opposed to that concept so now that's all I'm going to be thinking about as I attempt to write about your other accomplishments.”
Kara’s pretty sure she was going to have to triple proof every piece of work she wrote from now on to make sure she hadn’t accidentally gone into a daze and written about the milky expanse of Lena’s chest and how it rivalled any marble sculpture she’d ever seen.
“Maybe you should just do it then. Get it out of your system,” Lena goads, her finger tapping on the desk picking up speed in a nervous tick.
Kara scoffs, “I can assure you no amount of doing it would get it out of my system.”
She still, starts to step. “Kara-“
The door swiftly opens. “Your shirt, Miss Luthor. And I'm sorry to cut your-“ Jess looks to the thankfully still sealed tupperware at Kara’s feet and then to the obvious tension between the two women standing across the room from each other- “lunch short but that call you've been waiting for all week has finally come in. I have her on hold.”
Lena clears her throat and offers a polite smile. “Give me two minutes, Jess.”
“Of course, Miss Luthor.”
The door is barely closed behind Jess when Lena speaks again. “I can ask Sam to have Lori tonight. She owes me one.”
“I'll text you my address,” Kara says simply and backs out of the office. She steps back in a moment later to pick up the lunch she left on the floor to find Lena actually topless and wide eyed. She’s not proud to say she pretty much kicks one of the pots over to Lena before walking into the door and finally exiting to a delighted peel of laughter.
Kara spends her entire afternoon staring at the clock.
She leaves work on the dot, almost knocking over at least three people on her way out and shouting half sincere apologies to sit in her wake. She does three laps around her apartment, cleans her oven and orders takeout from a place that knows her order off by heart, so she doesn’t have to focus for longer than around ten words, which seems to be her limit right now.
All she can think about it Lena. Lena and her suggestive comments. Lena and the hitch of her breath at Kara’s honesty. Lena and the attraction shared between them. Lena, Lena, Lena.
A knock sounds on the door.
“How was the lasagne?” Kara asks stupidly instead of a greeting when she finds Lena on the other side of the door.
“Good,” Lena replies simply as she steps past Kara and into her apartment.
Then Kara’s kissing her. Kissing her like she’d thought about kissing her all day (and many, many days prior to this day). Kissing her like she never plans to stop doing it as she closes the door with Lena’s body and presses her into the wood.
Her hands card into thick, dark hair, tilting her head back to deepen the kiss with each new parting of their mouths, each new stroke of Kara’s tongue that Lena coaxes into her mouth. Lena still tastes like the lasagne she ate for lunch and the stash of mints she keeps in the back of her driver’s car and Kara can feel the taste imprinting itself onto her brain.
She wants more. She needs more.
She hitches one of Lena’s legs up around her thigh and grinds until a breathy whimper spills from Lena’s lips. It’s the high-pitched squeak that follows her teeth scraping Lena’s neck that makes her pull back for a breather, that makes her pause to take a second and assess the situation.
The situation of her boss, and friend (and probable love of her life) looking at her with dark but questioning eyes. Kara doesn’t want her to have any questions. She wants her to be sure. She wanted to do this the right way – the way she’d been thinking about before her brain was clouded with this fog she couldn’t seem to wade her way through.
“We don't have to do this, you know,” Kara starts, rushing to elaborate when a flash of something she can’t name but knows she doesn’t like passes over Lena’s face. “Like I like you beyond just this and I'll wait if you want to wait, like if you're doing this because you think this is all I want from you, you should know that it isn’t. Oh my god, I didn’t even… is this all you want?”
Lena sighs, dropping her head down to kiss Kara’s shoulder before levelling her with a gaze she doesn’t think she could look away from if she tried. “No, I want more too. I’ve wanted more since the second I saw you colouring with my daughter if we’re being honest. But I do want this. With you. Now. If you want that too, of course.”
Of course, was Kara’s sentiments exactly.
She grins as she picks Lena solidly off the floor.
Lena gasps, wrapping her legs securely around Kara’s waist. “Do I finally get to see all the tattoos?”
Kara smirks. “You get whatever you want.”
(The truth of the statement extends past that evening.
Kara really was a sucker for a pair of green eyes).
“Kara we shouldn’t-“ Lena’s words catch as Kara pulls her earlobe between her teeth. “Oh-“
“Your office is too far,” she whispers. Kara’s was too. Well, Kara’s was about thirty feet away but right now that felt like an Antarctic voyage so she wasn’t going to be partaking if she could help it.
“I’m pretty sure a stapler is poking into my back,” Lena argues but the potency of her statement is completely spoiled by the fact that she’s also unzipping Kara’s slacks at the same time.
“No, I’m just happy to see you.”
Lena’s chuckles fondly, if not slightly resigned. “You’re so stupid.”
“And yet you’re still going to let me fuck you in the stationary cupboard.”
Light pours in. The quiet sounds of the office get a little less obscured. A groan sounds.
They turn their heads to see Sam standing in the doorway with a disgusted look on her face. Probably better that it was Sam rather than anyone else in the building.
“What’re you two doing in the stationary cupboard?” She knows exactly what they were doing in the stationary cupboard.
Lena starts to lie anyway. “I just needed a new pen and Kara was showing me which one worked best for her when she-“
“You know what? I actually don’t need to hear it,” she cuts in, pointing past their heads. “Pass me one of those highlighters.” Kara reaches behind her head and grabs it, passing it over to Sam who accepts it with a polite thank you, slowly closing the door behind them and leaving them back in darkness.
“We should go to your office.”
(Lena owned the building anyway.
Every room was her room).