“And, how is Lena?”
Kara blinks, looking up from where she’s tucking her notebook back into her bag. They’ve just spent the last two hours planning CatCo’s next issue and discussing the rollout for the change in direction, and the question comes out of left field. Cat asks it so casually, like she’s asking after the weather, and it takes Kara a moment to process the words. They’ve never done small talk before. “Lena? Lena Luthor?”
Cat shoots Kara a look reminiscent of all the times she’d taken a single sip of her morning coffee and deemed it unsatisfactory. “How many Lena’s do you know, Kiera?” She demands.
Kara huffs out a little laugh, standing slowly. “Well, just the one, but...I wasn’t aware that you knew her, or that we’re friends.”
Rolling her eyes, Cat shuffles a few things around on her desk. “She bought my company a few years back. I make it a habit to know about the people that are in charge of my assets. Besides, her family is...prominent. I reported at quite a few galas where they were in attendance years ago. I met her when she was quite young.”
“Oh.” Kara bobs her head in a nod, still a bit confused by this turn of conversation. “She’s well. Why do you ask?”
“Well, she’s your...” Cat waves a hand, already half-focused on her next task, “whatever you kids are calling it these days. ‘Bae’, is it?”
Kara blinks. Wherever she thought this conversation might be going, it’s already taken a hard turn. “She’s my friend?”
Cat rolls her eyes. “Kiera, please. I’m not blind.” At the look on Kara’s face, she tuts. “Don’t worry, I won’t report on it, though it would make for incredible publicity. This is just friendly curiosity. Off the record.”
“Cat, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Arching an eyebrow, Cat shakes her head. “It’s well known that Lena Luthor is Supergirl’s top priority, and has been for years. It doesn’t matter what kind of danger she’s in, you’ll rescue her, and damn the consequences. Not to mention that you’ve shown up to every event for the Lena Luthor Foundation with stars in your eyes, and there’s photographic evidence all over the web. Naturally, one would assume you’re involved.”
Kara splutters, feeling a little dizzy. “Involved...naturally… Cat, we’re not dating!”
Cat looks her square in the face with a withering look that makes Kara shrink a little. “Well, why not?” she demands.
This has got to be the strangest interaction Kara’s ever had with Cat Grant, and that’s saying something. She splutters a little more, reaching to adjust glasses that aren’t there. “Why…not?”
Cat points a finger at her, her voice firm and brokering no-nonsense. “You, Kara, have an incredible capacity for love. Anyone can see that. You’re the type of person who gives it freely, without question. It’s a wonderful trait that not all of us are blessed with, but for you, it’s natural. However, it also comes with the natural need for reciprocation. Luckily, Lena is the same. We can all see that you two are deeply devoted to each other. So, let me ask again: why are you not dating her?”
Kara opens and closes her mouth a few times, wishing she had J’onn’s ability to phase through things so she could melt into the floor. “Ms. Grant, I’m not gay.”
Cat scoffs. “Surely you are not still naive enough to think that your only options are gay or straight, Kiera. There is a whole spectrum of sexuality out there, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that you are one of the few that lands on the “fully heterosexual” side, and not just because of how you dress half the time.”
“Fully het… how I dress ... “
“Tell me, Kiera, have you ever truly contemplated your own sexuality? Most people haven't. From childhood-or puberty, in your case-we’re fed the idea that ‘normal’ relationships are between one man and one woman and look one certain way, and if we can so much as imagine ourselves fitting into that box, we forget to wonder if there are options outside of it that also work for us. I will tell you, though, that imagining something outside of that box is quite the eye opening experience.”
Kara feels winded, like she just flew around the earth several times at top speed. Her mind is reeling. “I...uh…never thought about it that way,” she gasps out, sitting back down in her chair heavily enough that the metal groans a bit.
Cat doesn’t appear to notice her inner turmoil. “Now, for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that while women are beautiful and incredible and powerful, I wouldn’t want anything more than a passing fling with one. I'm much more interested in a relationship with a man, unfortunately. Perhaps if I had thought about it more when I was younger, things would be different. Perhaps not. Either way, I think it would be worth your time to think about, considering you already have a viable option as far as partners go.”
Mind reeling, Kara stares at Cat for a long time, until the other woman looks up, rolls her eyes at the look on Kara’s face and opens her mouth to say something more, likely berating Kara further.
Kara jumps in before she can. “Lena’s not gay either, Cat.”
“Please,” Cat scoffs. “Her experimental college phase lasted longer than most. The tabloids were not kind. It doesn’t help that she was so young, of course, but I don’t think it was purely teenage rebellion that pushed her to do it.”
Kara feels faint. “Experimental college phase?” she manages.
“I’m not going to gossip about your friend's past love life with you, Kiera. Ask her about it yourself if you’re so inclined to know. I’m sure there are plenty of pictures on the internet. Regardless, your Lena might not be as uninterested as you think. I suppose it’s possible she got it all out of her system, but I rather think that’s not generally how these things work.”
Blinking, Kara can’t get rid of the mental image of Lena kissing a woman, a grainy photo splashed across a tabloid cover. She feels hot and cold all at once. She probably would have sat there for an eternity if they weren’t interrupted.
At the knock on Cat’s door, Kara startles violently, her chair creaking even more. Cat looks undisturbed as her new assistant leans in, a redheaded college graduate named Jane.
“Ms. Grant, I have the investors on line one.”
Cat nods. “Give me two minutes.”
Jane smiles and heads back to her desk. Cat turns to Kara.
“Please have your internal freak out somewhere else, Kiera. I have work to do, and so do you.” She waves a dismissive hand, and Kara stands on shaky legs, barely managing to remember her bag as she heads back to her office.
It’s a long day.
Kara can’t stop thinking about it.
Lena’s telling her something genuinely interesting about a new project they’ve started at the Foundation, and all Kara can think about is how Cat thought they were dating because of some silly tabloid picture of Kara looking at Lena, probably kind of like she’s doing now. She can’t help but notice how pretty Lena is tonight, in a soft sweater with her hair down, how she might have kissed girls before, looking like this. Makeup free and cozy, young and vibrant. Kara wonders if this is how it happened—Lena rambling on about something that excited her and her friend leaning over and pressing their lips together. Or would Lena have initiated? Maybe it only happened when they were out clubbing, drunk and happy after an aced test or on a random Friday night. She wonders how it would feel, what Lena would taste like, underneath the wine.
“Kara?” Lena says, a little loudly, like it’s not the first time she’s said her name. “Are you ok?”
Kara flushes. “Sorry, I’m just a little distracted tonight I guess.”
“Everything ok at CatCo?”
“Oh! Yeah. Everything’s going great. Really great. I just...Cat said something today and I'm still thinking about it.”
“Anything I can help with?” Lena asks, looking genuinely concerned.
The intensity of her gaze makes Kara squirm and she glances down, taking a swig of her wine. It’s spiked with alien liquor and she feels the warmth of the alcohol settle in her belly, giving her a little courage.
“Did you have an ‘experimental college phase’?” she blurts.
Maybe a little too much courage. Kara winces at the invasive question.
Lena gapes at her. “An experimental college phase?” she repeats. “Like, sexually?”
“Sorry, that's… you don’t have to answer that.”
Lena’s frowning a little now, but she doesn’t seem mad, just confused. “Cat Grant was gossiping about my… former romantic exploits?”
“Well, uh,” Kara scratches the back of her head. “Not exactly.”
Letting out a little laugh, Kara fiddles with her wine glass. She should have just kept quiet. “Cat thought...well, she thought we were dating. And I told her I’m not gay and you’re not either and she basically told me that wasn’t a good enough excuse and that you’d...had some experiences in college that would indicate potential interest in women, and I just… I just wondered if...what that meant to you, if it was simply an experiment or, well, something more.”
Lena doesn’t say anything for a moment. Kara finally looks up at her again. There’s an unreadable expression on her face.
“Cat thinks we’re dating?” she says, her voice hoarse, just barely above a whisper.
“Not anymore!” Kara rushes to assure her. “I told her we were friends. Though apparently she still thinks we’d be good together, or for each other, or something.”
“Oh.” Lena says. She looks a little faint. Her heart is beating very fast. Concerned, Kara reaches for her, about to ask if she’s ok, when Lena stands, setting her wine glass on the coffee table heavily. One hand presses against her mouth as she turns and paces to the other side of the room, the other hand planting itself firmly on her hip.
Kara waits. Lena stands by the window for a minute, angled in such a way that it’s clear she’s not really looking out. Finally, she turns back, but doesn’t move toward Kara again.
When she speaks, her voice shakes. “Do you disagree with her?”
Kara frowns. “What?”
“You said Cat thinks we’d be good together. Do you disagree?”
Kara opens her mouth and closes it, shaking her head slightly. “Uh, I don’t know. I’ve never...I’ve never thought about it? You’re my best friend, Lena, but I’ve never thought about...I’ve never considered…”
“So consider it.”
Kara’s eyes snap to Lena’s at her sharp tone. It’s not angry or mean, though, but there is a touch of desperation in both her words and her gaze. Kara stares, the moment charged.
“Would it be so horrible?” Lena whispers, “loving me like that?”
Kara softens, her heart aching. She stands, Lena’s name a whisper on her tongue.
“No. Of course not. But, I’ve never even, I mean I...I’ve never thought about being with another woman, sexually or even romantically. Not even when Alex...not even when I really started to understand it as an option. It’s nothing to do with you. You’re amazing, I just...I’ve never thought of any woman like that before.”
“No one does,” Lena says softly. “Until, one day, they do.”
This makes Kara pause. Because she knows that sexuality is a spectrum, and she also knows that women are beautiful. She knows that finding her place in a typically heterosexual box as a teen wasn’t even something she had to think about, but something that came naturally. Not just because it helped her fit in, but because she truly could see that version of her life laid out before her. And as many other options as she knows are out there, she’s never taken the time to consider them for herself.
And. Well. That’s certainly something, isn’t it?
So she looks at Lena, and she considers it. She looks at Lena and she sees her future, wrapped in happiness and love, filled with hope and acceptance and more joy than she could have ever imagined, and she feels her heart skip a beat in her chest.
She looks at Lena, and she sees home.
(She looks at Lena and wonders why she’s never seen it before.)
She looks at Lena for altogether too long, staring at her best friend with new eyes, new understanding, and doesn’t know how she ever missed it.
Lena must misinterpret her silence though, because she turns slightly, pacing back and forth and wringing her hands. “Because I do, Kara. I do think of women that way. Cat was right: my experimental college phase? Not just a phase. I tried to hide it, I tried to ignore it. I tried to forget it. It made things more difficult, more inconvenient. But I’ve known for years that I’m just as likely to fall in love with a woman as with anyone else.”
She stops pacing, looking up at Kara again, eyes wet, lip trembling. “And when I met you, I knew that I could never consider us getting together like that or I’d never recover: that nothing else would ever hold up next to that potential.”
She looks so sad, so vulnerable and scared, that Kara can’t breathe for a second. Her entire world is tilting on its axis, every little moment falling into place like a puzzle she didn’t even know she was putting together.
“Lena…” she whispers, but Lena’s not done.
“But now you’re asking. You’re asking because someone else can see the potential too. And I can’t keep myself from imagining it anymore. I can’t keep myself from wanting it. From wanting you. So if that’s not something you want, if that’s not something you can consider, even a little bit, then….”
Kara doesn’t wait for whatever self-deprecating statement Lena has planned. As soon as Lena says "wanting you," she’s moving, standing and striding across the room to do something she’s never truly, fully thought about until this moment—but now that the thought has crossed her mind, she wants it more than air, and knows that down deep, she has for a long, long time.
Lena doesn’t stop talking until Kara’s taken her face in her hands, pressing forward in one smooth movement to fit their lips together. Lena cuts off with a gasp, freezing in place just before Kara’s mouth is on hers, but it doesn’t take her long to lean into the kiss, hands grasping at the front of Kara’s shirt.
It’s not a particularly long or intense kiss, though Kara would like nothing more than to sweep Lena off her feet, lay her down on the couch, and make out for hours. They need to talk, still, and Lena needs to breathe, so after a minute she pulls back, keeping hold of Lena’s face.
“I considered it,” she says, unable to keep the smile off her face, “just now. And I want you too.”
Lena’s pupils are blown wide, and she lets out a shaky breath, the air ghosting across Kara’s lips. “Yeah?” she whispers, so hopeful and beautiful and Kara can’t stop herself from kissing her again.
Eventually, Lena pulls away again, breathing heavily, her chest heaving slightly. The motion briefly draws Kara’s gaze. She’s spent time looking, before, but always dismissed it as curiosity, fascination, appreciation of the female figure. Now, she knows it’s more. Now, she wants to touch.
Now is not the time. Not yet.
“Who knew,” Lena says softly, her voice filled with joy and teasing, “that all I had to do was mention a past tryst with a woman, and you’d throw yourself at me as if your entire life’s mission suddenly became to make me forget any other women in the world exist?”
Kara’s grinning so hard her face hurts. “Did it work?”
Lena laughs and it’s the most beautiful sound Kara’s ever heard. Lena smooths her hands over Kara’s shoulders, squeezing her biceps gently. “We should talk about this a little, darling. It’s a big deal, realizing your sexuality is other than what you previously thought.”
“Does it have to be, though?” Kara asks. “No, I’m not being facetious. I remember what it was like for Alex, and Kelly and Nia have told me a little of their stories, but this doesn’t feel like a big, dramatic, life altering change. It feels...settling. As if everything’s been just slightly out of place until now, and finally it’s not. Like feeling the sun recharge me again for the first time after solar flaring.”
“Like coming home,” Lena supplies, and Kara nods.
“When I decided to come out as Supergirl, that felt big and dramatic, altering the course of my life forever. This feels simple, natural. I don’t need a party, or a news segment, or an exposé. I just need you.”
When Lena kisses her again, it feels like a promise. Kara can taste their future on Lena’s lips, and she knows it's going to be better than she ever could have imagined. She can't wait.
(When they walk into game night holding hands and blushing, Alex looks as though she doesn’t know whether to throw up or throw a party, Nia and Kelly quote “knew it,” and Brainy tells them that of all the many things he was excited to stay in this time for, this is one that he’s particularly glad he gets to see actually play out. J’onn doesn’t say much, but hugs them both tightly, the look on his face similar to Alex and Kelly’s wedding day, and Esme wonders why they’re all making such a big deal about it, since “nothing’s changed!”)
(Cat is similarly unfazed. She does request that when they’re ready to tell the world, she gets the exclusive interview though. Kara wouldn't trust anyone else.)