“Oh my sweet—” Winn turns around and there is the second-last person he wants to see when he's trying to repair James's suit and add a few more fun tricks for him to pull out in his next fight. “Hello! Sir. Nice to see you around here in this deserted locker room where I definitely am standing for a legitimate purpose.”
J'onn just looks at him. Yeah, Winn wouldn't buy it either. But he really doesn't want to explain his vigilante extracurriculars to his very scary extraterrestrial boss. “I can see you hiding your phone behind your back, Mr. Schott.”
Yes, the phone that has lots of suspicious tech schematics on it. He is so fired. He is not just fired, he is disappeared. He is going to be put into prison in Siberia. J'onn is going to ask Kara to take him to the Fortress of Solitude just to lock him up there. Which would be pretty cool, actually. “Ha, do I? That is a funny coincidence, because I was … calling my mother.”
J'onn looks really put-upon. Winn sometimes wonders how all the aliens in his life do human expressions so well. Is it some kind of universal constant that looking put-upon involves sighing and looking up at the sky like you're praying for guidance? “You aren't in trouble. I know you've been … spending time with James Olsen recently.” Now he's really carefully not looking at Winn. Is he actually going to get away with this? “I understand that you may not want Kara to know, given … circumstances.”
“Yeah, we are still trying to figure out how to tell Kara.”
“I can respect that. However, I request that the next time you feel the need to speak to your boyfriend, you wait until you are not engaged in matters important to national security. Put your phone away during work hours, Mr. Schott, honeymoon period or not. That's an order.”
He strides away, which is good, because Winn is really busy gaping after him and trying to figure out how anyone could possibly make that assumption.
“I think perhaps my eyes are deceiving me.”
Winn and James, who are arguing over the Guardian's latest life choices (James is not allowed to go out in the field when Winn can't run comms for him, but James cannot seem to get this through his head), both slowly look up to find Cat Grant standing in the door of her old office. “Cat,” says James, recovering first. “We weren't expecting you for your check-in until next week.”
“Clearly not, or you wouldn't have this traitor in my office.” She looks at Winn with a tiny bit of disdain. Of course, a tiny bit of disdain from Cat Grant is a lot of disdain from most other people. “Once people walk out on my company, they are not welcome to come crawling back for jobs. I have already forgotten your name.”
“I am not crawling back for a job,” Winn objects, because he is actually building gadgets now, this is so much better than tech support.
“Then what, exactly, are you doing in my—oh no.” She frowns between them, landing on James. “I honestly thought you had better taste. I know you had better taste. What ever happened to Kara?”
“I, uh—Cat, I think maybe you've got this—”
“I am never wrong. I'm just offended you didn't tell me.” She gives Winn a once-over that makes him feel about six inches tall. Cat Grant is significantly more terrifying than any other woman Winn has met, and he's heard about Kara's aunt. “Finish your assignation, and then we'll discuss what you're doing with my precious company.”
“I'm sorry, you want me to finish—”
“It's not like I kept all my activities outside the workplace. Impossible to, with how committed I was.” And then she swans right back out of the office, clearly knowing that no one is going to have sex in there when they are still recovering from the information that she did it when it was her office.
Not that they were going to have sex anyway.
“We are never talking about this again,” says Winn.
“That seems like a good idea,” says James, staring at him a little.
“Ah, you're in the storage closet!” Mon-El is beaming in them in that very special I'm-about-to-say-something-that-makes-it-really-obvious-that-I'm-an-alien way. “I've heard about this!”
“Please don't,” says Winn, with a sense of dire foreboding. He just wanted to brief James on their latest threat somewhere clandestine and private. Why must the universe punish him?
“You walk out of it together and reveal that you're going to mate!”
Kara should probably have explained the thing with Alex and Maggie better. Winn is definitely going to blame all of this on her. James is getting that eyebrow twitch that only Mon-El can bring out in him. “That's … it's supposed to be a metaphorical closet,” Winn tries. “We're just in this closet for other reasons. That have nothing to do with announcing anything.”
“Ah, you're practicing. Or mating. Don't worry, I haven't seen you.” He has winking like someone's gross uncle at holiday dinner down. Great. He just really needs to work on his idioms.
“We need to tell more people about Guardian,” says James when the door shuts and Mon-El has promised through it that he won't let anyone interrupt their closet practice.
“See, this is what I'm always telling you.”
“Did he—is he going to tell everyone to avoid this hallway because we're making out in here?”
“I really doubt he's going to say 'making out.'”
They both take a minute to consider how very small the closet is and how very odd the situation is, and Winn maybe takes a second to be wistful, because he is surrounded by hot people and he only gets to go into storage closets with them to talk about their bad life choices.
They've just finished discussing, in angry whispers, whether Guardian needs to get involved in the latest Cadmus Machiavelli plan, when the door of the closet they're standing in, yet again (though this one's not at the DEO, anyway), swings open.
“Oh, it's just you two,” says Lena Luthor, smiling pleasantly.
“This is not what it looks like,” Winn blurts, and then realizes that it probably looks less like an important superhero meeting and more like a hookup.
She's not gauche enough to wink, but she clearly wants to. “Whatever the two of you say.” She turns to the security team behind them, who clearly notified her about motion sensors in the wrong hallway. James needs to stop hauling Winn off into secret places when he wants to talk to him. Texting works just as well. “Next time you might want to try a spot a little closer to the party, so you don't get interrupted so unpleasantly.”
“That's … yes, we will take that under advisement.” Winn clears his throat and grabs James's hand. “Come on, uh, honey. Lots to do. People to talk to. Reports to write. Et cetera.”
They actually walk out of the literal closet while Lena Luthor smiles at them and her security team snickers. Holding hands.
This is horrible and Winn should never have made the Guardian suit.
“We're not mad,” Kara says, the same way she says it when she really is mad about something. Someday she's going to have terrifying superpowered babies and she's going to get to add the “Just disappointed” that she clearly wants to on there.
“We just wish you could have trusted us,” says Superman, because this is Winn's life now. Getting scolded by Superman.
James is looking kind of martyred, and Winn wants to hit his head against the wall, because this isn't even about the Guardian thing. Clark is in town because Kara called him to come yell about the Guardian thing, but that got derailed when the two of them found Winn and James shut in James's bedroom trying to marshal their arguments for why they should be able to keep it up with the heroics, and then they jumped to a lot of conclusions.
“We do trust you,” says James. “I didn't want to tell either of you that I was the Guardian until I knew that I'd proved I can handle myself, and both of you admit—”
“That's not what we mean,” Kara interrupts. “I know why you did that. Even if I don't like it.”
“But you could have told us that you're dating.” Superman's brow is all crinkly with distress. Winn made him crinkle his brow. He is the worst person in the world. “We would have been happy for you!”
“But we're not!” Winn blurts, because one of them has to say it to someone eventually and he's kind of at the point where it would sting if James was the one telling them that. Which he's not thinking about. “We're not dating, we have never dated, that is not a thing that's happening. We are sneaking around solely because of James being Guardian. There is nothing else happening.”
Now Kara is all wrinkly-browed too. This is the worst. “But Lena mentioned—”
“And Mon-El said—”
“You really need to tell him that coming out of the closet is way more metaphorical than it sounds—”
“And even J'onn!”
“Yeah, that's really awkward.”
James frowns. “Is that why he tried to give me the shovel talk?”
“He tried to—nope, not the time.”
Now Kara and Superman are both smiling at them in an eerily similar way. It's another one of those inexplicably universal expressions. An aren't-these-two-people-in-a-new-relationship-adorable expression. “Okay, you're not dating,” says Kara, like she's clearly indulging them. “We're just going to go out of earshot so you can talk a little, and then we're going to come back so we can have a serious discussion about the Guardian.”
There's really no salvaging the silence that falls after they literally fly out of James's apartment.
“So, we should never discuss this again,” Winn starts to say, but he makes it about four syllables in before James kisses him. When he pulls away, looking kind of hopeful, Winn takes a second to remind himself to freak out when he's in private and figure out when exactly James started having feelings and then changes what he was going to see. “Scratch that, we should apparently discuss it all the time. However, we need to make completely certain that Kara and Clark never find out that this is why we got together.”
James grins. “I think we can make that work.”
Alex calls twenty minutes into their first date, which is supposed to be a very romantic dinner on the balcony of James's apartment. “I really do not want to pick this up,” Winn complains.
“You should do it. If she's calling, it's a work thing, and we'll want to be prepared.”
Winn sighs and picks it up. “What can I do for you on my only night off in longer than I care to think about?”
“We've got a situation developing downtown and I know the Guardian is out tonight so you two need to get here pronto.”
“And how do you know the Guardian is out tonight? Maybe he's busy.”
Alex makes an impatient noise. “Because Kara says you two are on a date, and that means you're doing something stupid that you don't want her to know about even now that she knows about you. Ten minutes, Winn, I mean it, we're going to need everything in the city.”
“We can't win,” Winn marvels, but they're already packing up, rushing to get James's equipment and Winn's van keys.
“Someday this is going to be really funny.”
“Someday is not today,” says Winn, but James is grinning, and this is their life. Their weird friends and noble habit of risking their lives to save the world every third night. Some confusion about whether they're dating or not is probably not the worst thing that could happen. “Do you think we can make fun of Alex about this?”
“Not if we want to live, but we can tell Maggie and she'll do it for us.”
“Works for me,” says Winn, and sets the thought aside to get to work.