Actions

Work Header

Absolutely Hot

Work Text:

Lena walked up to where Nia sat at a desk in the corner of the Tower’s main room in a blur of silk and expensive perfume, her phone held tightly in her hands. Nia glanced up from her computer and then back down. “Hey, Lena.”

“Hey, can I speak with you for a moment? It’s about a private matter,” Lena said, her voice unsually high and tight, and Nia glanced at her before looking back to her work.

“Uh, can it wait a few mintues?” Nia flipped a page in the open journal in front of her before bobbing her head to the side. “I’m actually here hiding out from Andrea because this article is not writing itself and she wanted it, like, yesterday.” She huffed. “Even though she only assigned it this morning, because, of course.”

“Sure,” Lena said, tapping her phone against her palm. When Lena didn’t leave, Nia looked up again and sighed at Lena’s nervous energy.

“Is it something we can talk about while I wor–“

“So, remember when I told you I thirst followed that woman on Instagram?” Lena asked directly, her voice low.

Nia did a double take and looked back to her computer. “No-thoughts-just-vibes abs lady, yup, embracing your bisexuality.”

Lena patiently signed, her cheeks dusting pink, and continued. “And, remember why I told you that I thought it was the perfect follow–“

“Because she only ever posts pictures of her abs, no face or identifiable personality to fall in love with and be irrational and obsess about, yes.”

“Yes.”

“And…?” Nia asked, looking from her computer screen to her journal as she double checked information for her article.

“I think the woman in the pictures is Kara.”

Nia spun in her chair to face Lena, Lena now commanding her complete attention. “Shut up!” Nia exclaimed, delighted by this turn of events. Lena cringed at Nia’s enthusiasm. “Why, and how, and why do you think that?”

Lena pursed her lips, grinding the edge of her phone into the palm of her hand. “Almost all of the pictures on the account are in a neutral space, like at a park or an alley,” Lena explained, as Nia spun her finger in the universal sign of get to the point. “But today’s…” Lena looked over her shoulder, confirming they were alone and then held out her phone. Nia gasped.

“That’s Kara’s apartment.” Nia covered her mouth and then dropped her hand. “That’s Kara.” She met Lena’s eye, her voice once again thoroughly delighted. “You thirst after Kara!”

Lena snatched her phone back and laid it flat against her stomach; she leaned forward and hissed, “Will you keep your voice down?”

“I knew it!” Nia exclaimed with a loud whisper and Lena’s brow fell, her face bright red. “Crush. City. Baby.”

“No,” Lena said, a tight, bashful smile crossing her face and leaving. She immediately righted herself and tucked her phone into her pants pocket. “No.”

“Mmhmm,” Nia said with a face-splitting grin. “Oh man. This is so awesome.”

“It most certainly is not,” Lena said, her brow twisted with concern. “Nia. In what universe does Kara post pictures like this on Instagram? She won’t even wear a two piece bathing suit to the beach.”

Nia’s glee was immediately tamped down. “Hmm.” She quirked her pursed lips to the side, glancing up to see Lena’s brows raised to her hairline. “Well, maybe… maybe she’s OK with it because it’s anonymous.”

“And the account name?” Lena asked, her voice dripping with doubt. “Abs_O_lutelyHot?”

“Yeah,” Nia said, leaning back in her chair. “That does seem a little braggy for Kara, but, it’s also really dorky, which kind of works?”

Lena exhaled, obviously distressed and Nia frowned. “Well what do you think is going on?”

“I don’t know,” Lena said honestly. “Do you. Do you think she perhaps has a stalker?”

“That somehow manages to get perfect pictures of her abs that she never shows in public and then posts them to a thirst trap account on Instagram?” Nia frowned and held her hand out, waving it at the wrist for Lena to come closer. “Show me the pictures again?” Lena pulled her phone free and navigated to the Instagram feed; she turned the phone to show Nia and Nia’s frown deepened. “Those are all selfies. She took those. Look, she’s holding the phone in all of them.”

Lena glanced at the phone, her face heating up at the pictures on view, before she quickly closed the app and put the phone back into her pocket. She tipped her chin up and inhaled through her nose.

“Why don’t you just ask her?” Nia asked, watching as Lena smiled in disbelief at what she clearly thought was an absurd suggestion.

“Absolutely not.”

“Absolutely not will I confront Abs_O_LutelyHot,” Nia said with a faux grumpy voice and Lena’s lips thinned. “It’s a little funny,” Nia grumbled, picking up her pen.

Lena looked down to her hands. “Things have been a little, off, between Kara and I ever since the Fforde Gang found Lex’s lost vault…”

Nia’s brow furrowed. The Fforde Gang’s attack on the group several weeks before had been unexpected and heinous, the theives attacking Kara with Kryptonite they had found in one of Lex’s abandoned vaults in a bid to keep her from stopping them as they robbed a jewel exhibit at the National City Fine Arts Museum. However, the SuperFriends had foiled the attack before anyone else was hurt, thanks largely to quick thinking from Brainy and Lena, and Lena had healed Kara in record time. Everyone had gone back to their lives with no residual damage after the gang was aprehended, or so Nia had thought. That the attack had happened more than a month ago and this was the first Nia was hearing of any issues between Lena and Kara caused Nia to feel off-kilter. “Kara does not blame you for that,” Nia said and Lena tilted her head to the side. “It was called the ‘lost vault’ for a reason; it was lost, nobody knew where it was.”

“But I should have found it when I ran L-Corp and disposed of the Kryptonite,” Lena said softly, the guilt in her voice obvious. “I found the others.”

“She doesn’t blame you,” Nia said sincerely.

Lena bobbed her head, obviously not taking Nia’s words to heart.

“Maybe she’s taking the pictures for Alex,” Nia said, and Lena’s brow knit. “Tracking injury recovery or something. Kara did have a mega bruise on her midsection from that attack and she does get punched in the stomach a lot. Maybe Alex asked her to take pictures after fights to see if there is any damage they can document or track, and Kara decided to do a little anonymous expirementing with it.” Nia snapped her fingers. “Have you tried zooming in on the pics to check for bruising?” She mimicked expanding pinched fingers and Lena considered it before her lips thinned again.

“You’re just trying to get me to zoom in on Kara’s stomach.”

“Maybe,” Nia said with a teasing grin. Lena rolled her eyes. “Seriously, Lena, maybe this is a good thing.”

“How?” Lena asked.

Nia frowned, ‘oh come on’. When Lena just looked back, perplexed, Nia sighed patiently. “Why did you confide in me about your bisexuality?”

“Because we’re friends,” Lena said, startled by the non-sequiter and slightly uncomfortable with the question.

“We are,” Nia agreed, “and I’m grateful that you think of me as a confidant.” She paused. “But, I think the reason you confided in me, and not say… Kara, Alex or Kelly, is because of Kara.”

Lena frowned, her posture growing tense. “What does that mean?”

Nia sighed again. “It means, you have feelings for Kara and you are worried that on some level, if everyone in the group knew you were bisexual, they might see your care for Kara as something more than just platonic.”

“That’s absurd,” Lena breathed out, crossing her arms tightly against her body.

“Is it though?” Nia asked, her face scrunched up in a teasing nudge. Lena exhaled and looked away. When Lena didn’t speak, Nia dropped the subject. “Do you want me to talk to her about it, about the thirst trap pics? Make sure nothing nefarious is going on?” Lena looked like she wanted to say yes but she held back. “I promise I won’t mention how I found out.”

Lena sighed, tapping her hand against her palm. “Only if you promise to be discreet.”

“Yup,” Nia said with a resolute head nod.

“And leave me out of it,” Lena insisted.

“Yup,” Nia repeated, turning back to her work. Lena lingered for a moment, then turned to leave, Nia’s voice stopping her midstep several steps away. “Are you going to unfollow the account now that you know it’s her?”

“…Yes,” Lena said weakly, her face beet red.

“K,” Nia said, looking back to her work. She waited until Lena was gone before snickering; she flipped a page in her journal and sighed with delight. “Oh, man.”

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Kara was laughing when she opened her door to find Nia, worn down from a late night at CatCo, standing in the hallway. “Hey, Nia, what’s up?”

“Can I come in?” Nia asked and Kara nodded, looking over at the couch where Alex sat.

“Of course,” Kara said. She nodded to Alex. “We’re just finishing dinner before we watch a movie.” Nia walked in and Kara shut the door. “Everything OK?”

“Yeah, just one of those days,” Nia said.

“Andrea?” Kara asked as she walked past Nia and flounced down on the couch again. She held her hand out for Nia to sit on the chair opposite them, but Nia stopped near the couch and held out her hand, politely declining the offer.

“Partially Andrea, because, you know,” Nia said and Kara nodded. “But also—hey—guess what I found out today?”

“What?” Kara said, sharing a look with Alex.

“That you posted naked pictures of yourself on Instagram!” Nia said looking directly at Kara, the grin on Nia’s face wide and bright.

“What?” Alex sputtered, catching the wine that escaped out of her mouth and dribbled down her chin with her cupped hand. She looked at Kara alarmed, and Kara looked at Nia, shocked.

“No,” Kara said immediately, her eyes wide and appalled, before saying, “What?” her features collapsing in confusion.

“This isn’t you?” Nia held up the phone in her hand so the sisters could see the Abs_O_lutelyHot Instagram account feed and Kara’s jaw dropped.

“Oh my god, Kara,” Alex said, swatting Kara’s arm as she finished wiping wine from her hand with a napkin.

Kara was instantly on her feet, looking at the phone with horror, her face flush. “Where did you find this?”

“Instagram,” Nia said, her voice heavy with ‘duh’. She navigated to show the account’s post view, all pictures of Kara’s abs lined up neatly in the grid. “Your profile, Abs_O_lutelyHot?”

“I,” Kara sputtered, looking frantically between Alex and Nia. “I do not have an Instagram account called that posting pictures of myself like that!” she said firmly. She fumbled to hastily pull her phone free from her jeans pocket. “This is my only account.”

She held her phone out with her arm locked at the elbow, whipping it back and forth to show her Instagram feed to Nia and Alex. They sighed, both familiar with the account. “Honestly, who knew so many dogs in National City wore sweaters…” Alex muttered, taking another sip of red wine.

“But this is your apartment,” Nia said, navigating to the most recent picture, showing the phone to both Danvers women again. “That’s you. You have a thirst trap account.”

“I… A what?” Kara asked, not recognizing the term. “No,” Kara sputtered. “That is not my account.”

“But that is you,” Alex said, looking at the pic and then sitting back to rest against the couch. “Those are selfies. You took the pictures.”

Kara blushed profusely and licked at her lips. Nia and Alex waited for her to confirm or deny, and Kara turned to face her sister, the look on her face pure panic. “How is this happening Alex, nobody—nobody—was supposed to ever see those.”

“Uh, maybe you were hacked?” Alex said.

“How?” Kara pleaded.

“Do you store your pictures in the cloud?” Nia asked.

“I don’t think so?” Kara said, shaking her head. “I don’t know.” Alex looked at her unimpressed and Kara’s lips thinned. “What are you giving me that look for; I use the phone you guys set up for me because it’s supposed to be secure.”

“Give me your phone,“ Alex said and Kara did as told. Alex opened settings and started to navigate before saying, “You know what, I’m gonna call Lena–”

“No!” Kara exclaimed, holding both hands out like she was trying to calm an angry cobra. Both Alex and Nia looked to her, surprised. “No,” Kara said with an embarrassed smile, pulling her hands back and trying to affect a casual stance. “That’s ok, we can figure this out right? We’re smart and capable women. We don’t need to bother Lena.”

“Well, that was a reaction,” Nia said, her earrings swinging with her head bob.

“Why wouldn’t you want Lena’s help?” Alex said, her look suspicious. “She clearly is the best person to help, other than Brainy, and I’m guessing you don’t want him to know about this.”

Kara’s mouth opened and closed as she clearly tried to think of a rational excuse before her shoulders slumped, defeated. “It’s embarrassing.”

“Too embarrassing for Lena?” Alex asked, her eyebrows raised. “She knows everything about you.”

“Not… everything,” Kara muttered and Alex flapped her hand, clearly exasperated.

“OK,” Alex said. “Well, for now I’m going to turn all sharing off, disconnecting from the cloud and assume you’ve been hacked. You should probably report the Instagram account. If you bring it to the Tower tomorrow morning I can do a full diagnostic and get you a new phone.”

“OK,” Kara said glumly. She turned and focused her furrowed brow on Nia. “How did you find that account?”

“Research for a story,” Nia lied smoothly.

“About?” Kara asked, her eyebrows raising. She crossed her arms, doubt clouding her features.

“Sinstagram,” Nia replied coolly and Kara frowned before she shook her head, recognizing that by not recognizing the term she was out of her depths. Social media was a fun distraction for Kara, but she didn’t fully understand the culture or rules; if Nia said she was working on a story, who was she to doubt?

“How many followers did the account have?” Alex asked, standing up, and Nia looked to the account.

“12 thousand–“

“12–!” Kara choked on air.

Alex pulled a face, and then pointed to the other room and the bathroom; Kara just waved her away. Nia put her phone in her purse. “Hey, can I talk to you about something?” she asked as soon as Alex left the room and Kara harumphed into the couch, grumpy.

“Sure,” she grumbled.

Nia sat on a nearby chair. “I talked to Lena this afternoon.” That got Kara’s attention. Her eyebrows arched in interest and Nia couldn’t help but smile. “She said things have been weird between you guys since the Fforde Gang attack last month.”

“She did?” Kara asked, sitting up.

“She blames herself for not finding the vault,” Nia said with a shrug and a dark look covered Kara’s features.

“Lex is the only one who deserves any blame,” Kara said and Nia nodded in agreement.

“I know, that’s what I said.” Nia was quiet for a moment. “I think a part of her thinks you blame her for not finding it when she was at L-Corp.”

Kara’s jaw dropped. “Of course I don’t.”

“I know, that’s what I said,” Nia repeated.

Kara slumped back on the couch. She crossed her arms. “We haven’t been hanging out as much since the attack.”

“Any particular reason?” Nia prodded.

Kara played with the edge of a pillow next to her. She opened her mouth to speak and then abruptly stopped when Alex reentered the room, a smile on her lips.

“What did I miss?” she said, sitting back on the couch and picking up her glass of wine.

“Nothing,” Kara said with a quick look to Nia. “She was just telling me about work.”

Nia’s brow knit and she smiled. “Andrea—what’s her deal, am I right?” She looked to Kara, who blushed and flashed her a grateful smile in reply.

“Do you want to stay and hang out?” Alex asked. “I know Brainy and J’onn are off on a joyride in J’onn’s spaceship tonight to test out that repair they did last week. Kara will share her leftovers if you haven’t had dinner.”

Kara’s entire expression twisted, appalled that Alex would offer her food to anyone. Alex did a quick, reproachful double take and Nia just laughed at the sisters conversation-in-facial-expression. “Nah, that’s OK. I’m actually looking forward to watching some reality TV without having to explain to Brainy why everyone is so crappy to each other.” She turned and started for the door; Kara jumped up and followed her.

“Hey,” she said as they got to the door, her voice a low whisper. “Thanks for telling me about Lena.”

“No problem.”

“And, the Instagram account.”

“Totally,” Nia said. “Though you do know when we’re alone next time I’m going to grill you about why you’re taking thirst trap selfies, right?”

“Mmhmm,” Kara said, blushing.

“Night,” Nia said with a wave. “Night, Alex,” she called over her shoulder, and Kara shut the door.

She started to walk back toward the couch, her mind preoccupied with thoughts of Lena when Alex’s words caught her off guard. “Wanna tell me why you’re taking thirst trap selfies?”

Kara couldn’t have turned more red if she tried. “How do you know what a thirst trap selfie is?”

Alex laughed. “Oh my sweet, naive sister. Are you forgetting my months of trying to find ‘The One’ on dating apps? Thirst traps—I’ve seen a lot of them.”

Kara frowned and again harumped on the couch. She turned her head and looked to Alex, miserable.

Alex leaned over and pushed some hair from Kara’s forehead. “Wanna tell me why you didn’t want to call Lena?” She tilted her head, eyes sympathetic.

Kara covered her face with her hands and spoke.

“You’re muffled,” Alex said, pulling Kara’s hands from her face. “Say it again.”

“It’s too embarrassing,” Kara replied, her cheeks impossibly hot.

“OK,” Alex said. “But you know I’m here for you if you want to talk, right?”

“I know,” Kara said.

“And I’ll probably only tease you about whatever reason you were taking thirst trap selfies until like, the end of the decade.”

“OK, haha,” Kara deadpanned.

Alex reached out to pat Kara’s stomach affectionately and Kara swatted her hand away, Alex laughing. “Are we watching the movie or not?” Kara said, full pout and Alex smiled, indulgently.

“Yes.”

Kara rolled her eyes, picked up the remote and they settled comforably on the couch facing the TV.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Kara didn’t come into the Tower the next morning as planned, opting to check in with Alex via radio, much to Alex’s delight. “Heading home to play hooky with Esme,” Alex said, just after 9 with a smile, and Lena waved goodbye with a matching grin.

As soon as Alex left, Lena called Nia and anxiously peppered her with questions about what had happened when Nia told Kara about the account. “Those are all excellent questions and you should talk to Kara about it if you really are so curious,” Nia said, challenge thrown down. Lena mumbled something non-commital and Nia begged off the line for a meeting.

A little after lunch Lena’s work was interrupted by a soft throat clearing from across the room. She expected to see Nia when she looked up, and so she almost fell out of her chair when it was Kara standing there, instead.

“Hey,” Kara said sheepishly, standing just inside the entrance.

“Hey,” Lena replied, her heart beating a little faster at the sight of Kara all wrapped up in a season-inappropriate chunky winter sweater.

Kara took in a deep breath. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” She asked the question halteningly and Lena nodded her head.

“Sure.”

“So.” Kara huffed as she made her way to Lena’s side. She was clearly struggling and the sight made Lena’s heart squeeze uncomfortably. “I need your help with something. With my phone.”

Lena tried to keep her features neutral as the blood drained from her face. “Your phone.”

“Yes,” Kara said, her own face pink. “Alex thinks my phone may have been hacked.”

“Hacked,” Lena repeated, leaning forward with surprise. “How? Didn’t Brainy set it up to be secure?”

“Yes,” Kara said, pulling the phone from her pocket. “And I thought it was secure,” she said, her eyes on the ground. She licked her lips. “But some.” She scratched her temple. “Some personal photos from my phone ended up posted on the Internet,” she said softly, “and, I didn’t put them there.”

“That’s horrible,” Lena said, her worst suspicions confirmed. “Of course I can help, if you’d like.”

“Thanks,” Kara said, her voice embarrased and small. She handed the phone over to Lena and Lena went to work. Kara pulled up a stool and sat, watching as Lena plugged her phone into a computer and started to run a diagnostic test. “It was actually really embarrasing,” Kara said and Lena looked over to her, curious. “Nia found them—the pictures—when she was working on a story. I never would have known I had been hacked if she hadn’t told me.”

Lena pressed her lips together in a straight line, guilt flooding her. She sat up and stopped working. “Kara…” She met Kara’s eye and sighed at the open, trusting look Kara was giving her. “I promised you when we rekindled our friendship that I would always be honest with you moving forward. No more secrets.”

“O…K…” Kara said, her expression perplexed and slightly nervous.

“I’m the one that found the pictures. Not Nia.”

“What?” Kara asked, flushing.

“I, told Nia about them and she offered to tell you.”

Kara was silent for a long moment. “Why didn’t you tell me yourself?”

Lena blushed and looked up. “Because things have been awkward between us since the Fforde Gang attack, and–.”

“Lena–“

“And I know, Nia said you didn’t blame me for what they found in Lex’s vault–“

“I don’t. I would never,” Kara said strenulously.

“But I blamed myself for you getting hurt.” Lena looked to the ground. “Seeing you like that…”

Kara frowned deeply. “You didn’t have anything to do with me getting hurt. The only people responsible are Lex and the Fforde Gang. You saved us. You healed me.”

Lena nodded and met Kara’s eye, her look vulnerable. “Then why have things felt so strained between us since that day?”

Kara sputtered, her face heating up. “Uh, how, how did you find those pictures?” Lena frowned at the abrupt subject change, but Kara plowed on. “They were posted to an Instagram account.” Kara’s face blanched. “Please tell me they were only posted to Instagram.”

Lena opened her mouth and then closed it quickly again. “I saw them on my Instagram account,” she blurted. “Because.” She huffed an embarrassed breath. “Because I followed the account that posted them.”

Lena didn’t know what the absolute absence of sound would feel like, but it would likely have been louder than the space she shared with Kara in that moment.

Kara looked thoughtfully at Lena. “I thought you were anti-social media.”

“I am,” Lena admitted, blushing profusely.

“But you have an Instagram account,” Kara asked, slowly, every word sounding more confused than the last.

Lena swallowed hard. “Nia helped me set one up a little more than a month ago,” Lena explained, her hands balling into fists before releasing. “She said that I was becoming a hermit who only socialized with people I worked with, and that I needed to be exposed to more, different kinds of people.”

“… On Instagram?” Kara asked, and Lena bit her lip, unwilling to share that Nia also said it could be a way to explore her sexuality before she more formally came out to the group. Kara’s brow furrowed. “She knows that you think online culture is toxic and ‘where the self-important and warped hide from real life’, right?”

“I don’t post,” Lena said carefully, her fingers following a grain in the edge of the wood table she sat next to. “I just, follow a few carefully curated accounts.”

“…Thirst trap accounts?” Kara asked, equal parts curious, amused and confused.

“And museums,” Lena quickly said. When Kara didn’t react to her quip, Lena shrugged her shoulders. “I only followed one, thirst trap account.”

“And you followed… that one?” Kara asked, a mixture of confusion and delight.

Lena rolled her eyes and huffed heavily. “It distracted me,” she confessed quietly.

Kara’s voice also grew quiet. “From?”

“A lot of things,” Lena admitted. She hesitantly met Kara’s eye and quickly looked away. Lena could see in her peripheral vision that Kara was looking at her thoughtfully, trying to puzzle the comment out and Lena smiled, ruefully, the truth pushing at her lips. She swallowed it down and looked back to Kara’s phone.

“But why did you follow that account?” Kara asked, and Lena stopped what she was doing, her fingers gripping the phone tightly, her face heating up. Kara squared her shoulders a little, leaning into the table, her body angling toward Lena. “I mean, I’m flattered, but…”

“Research,” Lena blurted out. She tipped her chin up and tried to sell the flimsy excuse.

Kara frowned. Research. Why in the world would Lena need to follow an account like that for research? Kara’s frown deepened as she settled on a possibility. Lena had recently started training with Alex and Kelly, quipping that she needed to get into fighting shape if she wanted to keep up with the rest of the SuperFriends. The thought that Lena might be following that account for fitness reasons, because she felt self-conscious about her body– “Lena,” Kara said, her voice defensive on her friend’s account. “You don’t have to follow those accounts.”

“What?” Lena asked, wishing the ground would swallow her whole that the conversation was continuing.

Kara’s lips set into a determined line. “I’ve seen you fight, you can handle yourself, and you have an incredible body; you don’t need to have a six pack to feel like you’re helping us, or to, look the part of a SuperFriend. I happen to love that you have curves and soft–“

Lena sputtered, mortified, holding her hand up to stop Kara. “Oh. No. No, no - I didn’t follow that account for fitness motivation.” She smiled, embarrassed, her brow quirking in confusion as to how Kara could make that leap.

“But,” Kara said, back to being confused. “Then why…?”

Lena closed her eyes and huffed. “I followed for, thirst, reasons.” She pressed her lips together and opened her eyes, looking up at the ceiling as she spoke. “Because I’m attracted to, that.” She dropped her chin and her gaze as she continued. “Because I’m attracted to women.”

It was like the world stopped spinning for Kara. “Oh.”

It wasn’t the reaction Lena was expecting from Kara, not that she hadn’t obsessively thought every single night for the last uncountable number of days how Kara might react if she ever got up the nerve to share that she was bisexual with her. Lena looked over to Kara, hoping that her best friend might have a supportive word or a question or– Hang on, Lena thought, her mind skittering to a stop. She looked down to Kara’s phone in her hands and then looked back up. She couldn’t help the teasing tone that crept into her voice. “You think I have an incredible body?”

Kara was momentarily struck silent. “…Yes?”

Lena leaned back in her stool, her brow knitting. “Why did you take those pictures?”

“Uh.” Kara blushed, a rush of nervous energy seemingly jolting her into sitting more upright. “So. You remember when that guy punched me in the stomach with the Lexosuit Kryptonite gauntlet last month and I got that big ol’ bruise.”

“Of course, it was awful,” Lena said with a nod. She met Kara’s eye and raised her brows, silently requesting Kara continue.

“Anyway,” Kara said with a bright blush. “You helped me get better.” Lena nodded. “And when you were helping me, you.” Kara stopped and rubbed her hand along the back of her neck sheepishly. “You,” she repeated, her voice quieter as she dropped her hand to her lap. She did a quick look over her shoulder to make sure they were alone before saying, “you said that you thought my abs were perfect and that I was the most attractive person you’d ever seen.”

Lena’s eyes couldn’t go wider, her mouth couldn’t have dropped open into the perfect shape of an ‘o’ more if she stood in front of a mirror and tried. “Oh my god.”

Kara blushed profusely, but carried on, a somewhat proud smile on her lips. “I think you thought I was concussed or knocked out–“

“Yup,” Lena said, eyes staring at the ceiling, her head nodding rapid fire. She sucked her lips into her mouth and then released them with a pop. “Yup, I did.”

“But,” Kara winced. “I heard. Everything.”

Lena dropped her gaze to the floor. She wondered if there was any way for her to discreetly portal out of the Tower without Kara flying to find her instantly wherever she emerged.

“If it helps at all, what you said gave me a big confidence boost,” Kara said.

“I’ll bet,” Lena muttered, mortified.

“People tell me that I’m attractive all of the time,” Kara said, clearly embarrassed by the admission. “But to hear it from you… the person who is, far and away, the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen…” Kara blushed. “So.” Kara pulled herself to her full seated height and took a deep breath, Lena now looking at her through a worried brow. “I took pictures of my abs thinking that I might text them to you, but, I’d chicken out every time and not follow through.”

“There were 22 pictures,” Lena said quickly before she could stop herself.

Kara’s eyebrows shot to her hairline. “Uh.”

“More or less…” Lena tried to play off with a wince. Her brow knit as she thought about what Kara was saying. “That means, you thought to do that 22…ish… times.”

“Yeah,” Kara admitted.

There was a long moment of silence before they both spoke at the same time.

“Kara, listen–“

“I think we should go on a date.”

Lena’s brain skipped like a record. “Really?”

Kara’s face turned worried but hopeful. “We obviously are attracted to each other. And.” She shrugged, words failing her.

“Um.” Lena smiled brightly before she took a calming breath. “But, won’t it be weird? We’ve been friends for so long, and everyone else–“

“If we go and it’s weird than we go back to being friends,” Kara said. “And everyone else, they won’t care. They’re all matched up anyway, they’d probably be really happy for us.”

Lena let the idea sink in, her heart racing. “Yeah,” she said with a brilliant smile. “Yeah, OK.”

“Great.” Kara shuffled to her feet with a matching smile. “So, how about tonight?”

“I think I’m free,” Lena joked, remembering that they had plans to hang out anyway.

“Yay,” Kara said, awkwardly, as she remembered the same. “Um, Super business not getting in the way, I’ll pick you up at 7?”

“Oh,” Lena said surprised. “You’ll… pick me up.”

“Duh, Lena, it’s a date,” Kara said with a brilliant smile.

Lena nodded, pleased beyond all belief. “Well, OK, yes, 7 works for me.”

“Great.”

Lena paused for a long moment. “I want you to know that I followed that account because it reminded me of you.” Kara pressed her lips together in a happy smile. “Uh…” Lena ducked her head, emotions squeezing any other admissions from escaping. She took in a deep breath and then turned to Kara’s phone. “And on that note, if you don’t mind, I’m going to find out who hacked your phone.”

“Thank you,” Kara said relieved, and she settled back down to watch Lena work.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Nia walked into her apartment after work and dropped her bag heavily by the door. She smiled brightly to see Brainy approaching her from the kitchen. “Hey, how was space?” She met him halfway and gave him a kiss. “That didn’t feel at all weird to say.”

“It was sufficient to test the integrity of our repairs,” Brainy said. “There were some minor issues with the reactor’s new composite casing, however we adjusted.” He sighed, annoyed. “After significant time spent convincing J’onn that I—an advanced being from the future—might know more than he did about the problem.”

“Great,” Nia said, patting his arm. “You will not believe what happened while you were gone.”

“Which Real Housewife accosted Natasha this week?”

“No,” Nia said, her face scrunched. “It was Riahannon, but no,” she continued before her face went gleeful again. “Lena discovered that the thirst trap account she follows on Instagram is all pictures of Kara.”

Brainy suppressed a smile and immediately turned, Nia’s brow falling as she thought she heard him whisper, “finally” through clenched teeth with a little fist bump. “That is indeed new information,” he said as calmly as possible as he turned back to face her. He immediately got lost in thought.

“What is happening?” Nia asked suspiciously. “What are you calculating?”

“What do you mean?” Brainy asked defensively.

“‘What do you mean’—that face is calculating face,” Nia pointed out.

Brainy flashed what Nia knew to be his ‘trying to be charming face’. “Nia, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I cannot tell you about the future.”

Nia gave him a ‘what the hell’ look that morphed into an open mouth epiphany. “Lena and Kara are together in the future!”

Brainy looked panicked by Nia’s discovery, then tried to play it off. “Don’t be ridiculous, they’re dead in the future.”

“But before they’re dead they are together!” Nia squealed. The realization tumbled into another realization. “You hacked Kara’s phone.” Her face turned delighted and she laughed. “You hacked her phone!” Her face turned accusatory as the ramifications sunk in. “You hacked her phone!”

He looked offended. “I created a safe environment for Lena to explore her feelings for Kara more fully.”

“By hacking Kara’s phone?” Nia said, bewildered. “Brainy, they’re going to find out it was you, Kara reported the account last night.”

Brainy scoffed. “Please, as if I have anything to fear from the National City Police Department.”

Nia looked at him like he was simple. “You act like Lena isn’t going to look at the phone first.”

Brainy scoffed again, his lips pulling into a confident smirk that faded quickly. “Lena Luthor, of all people, will recognize the brilliance of what I did.”

“Oh will she,” Nia nodded, sarcastic.

Brainy frowned. “Once she has time to analyze the complexity of the simulation I created…” He huffed. “Lena will surely be reassured to learn that she was the only human to actually see the pictures other than Kara; all of the other followers were manufactured by me.”

“She will not,” Nia said plainly.

Brainy’s frowned and he did a double take. “And Kara will surely see that with only Lena as a follower, it was no worse than sending the pictures to her best friend in a text message.”

Nia pressed her hands together in front of her, trying to be patient in her tone. “Only, Kara didn’t send her private pictures that she didn’t want to share with anyone in a text to her best friend, and Lena didn’t knowingly choose to follow a hacked account featuring stolen private pictures of Kara.” Brainy remained silent and Nia sighed. “Obviously you think them being together—right now—is cosmically important, but, whether and when they end up together should be up to them, on their own terms, free from manipulation.”

His chin dipped, acknowledging her point.

“Also, you are insane if you think Lena won’t snap you like a twig to protect Kara.”

That observation scared Brainy. “I have to get Kara Danvers’ phone.”

Nia nodded and they rushed to the door. Brainy opened it and they stopped short; Lena and Kara standing outside, Lena’s eyes narrowed and holding Kara’s phone, Kara with her heavy winter sweater pulled up to her chin, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Querl Dox,” Lena said, her chin tipped high and her voice ice cold. “Just the 12th-Level Intellect that I wanted to see.”

Nia held her hands up in surrender. “I didn’t know until like three minutes ago.”

“Then you can go,” Lena said, her eyes never leaving Brainy, and Nia nodded, grateful. She took a step toward the door before she stopped abruptly.

“This is actually my apartment.”

Lena looked to Nia. “Do you want to stay and watch me murder a man?”

Nia looked to Brainy. She waffled for a moment. “No, I do not,” she admitted.

“Nia,” Brainy said, a tinge of betrayal in his voice.

Nia turned and smiled at him. “Kara’s here, you’ll be fine,” she whispered encouragingly. She glanced over at Kara’s angry look and looked back to Brainy with a sympathetic smile. She kissed his cheek and patted his arm. “Good luck,” she said. She grabbed her bag from the floor, threaded herself between Lena and Kara and exited into the hallway, her shoulders flinching when the door slammed shut behind her.

She took a deep breath, slung her bag over her shoulder and idly wondered if Noonan’s appetizer happy hour was still going as she made her way to the elevator.