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Promise Not To Break

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Lena lay on her side as she trailed her fingers down Cat’s back, admiring the way the thin veil of sweat caused Cat’s skin to glisten in the moonlight, highlighting the intricate pattern of red welts her nails had left across her wife’s body over the course of the evening. Her own body bore similar marks, a collection of scratches and bites whose sting—Lena knew from experience—would stay with her well into the following afternoon. It made her smile, as it always did, a mixture of sated jealousy and pride merged into one.

 

It was impossible not to feel jealousy when you were married to Cat Grant, not to see how other people looked at her at a regular basis. Cat was a vision at all times, magnificent in the way she wore power and exquisite in how she could make the world cater to her whims. Cat was the kind of person that you couldn’t help but want, and Cat was hers, just as much as she was Cat’s. That was where the pride came in, and Lena would feel the marks on her body tomorrow and remember that Cat had chosen her above so many others. She would also remember that Cat bore her own marks, that Cat had allowed Lena to mark her in turn. It was a balance they drew between themselves with unspoken agreement. They were both too similar, and Lena knew that the way she felt about Cat, the mingled jealousy and pride, it was how Cat felt about her as well.

 

Her hand drifted dangerously lower, fingers disappearing under the sheet rumpled around Cat’s waist to glide across Cat’s ass, seeking out a bite mark she had left in one of her more inspired moments. The action earned her a glare from the other woman, and where most would have missed the playful glint in Cat’s eyes, Lena did not. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, she pinched the sensitive skin, yanking her hand back just in time to avoid being hit as one of Cat’s arms shot out to bat at her.

 

“Don’t start something you can’t finish, darling,” the endearment was dripping with false sarcasm, causing Lena to roll her eyes, and she couldn’t resist the urge to lean in and plant a soft kiss on Cat’s lips. It was nothing like the combative, bruising kisses they had shared earlier, but the satisfied hum that escaped from the back of Cat’s throat in response was just as appealing in this instant as the harsh growls had been in the ones before.

 

“Fine,” Lena pulled away, but she wasn’t quite ready to let the game go and she made an exaggerated show of tucking the offending hand out of sight behind her back. “But I would just like to point out for the record that I would be up for another round. I’m only choosing not to in consideration of your advanced age.”

 

“How thoughtful, although I can assure you that you needn’t be worried. My age has given me the wisdom to know how to best to preserve energy and stamina. If you truly think you’re able, then by all means, have at it.” The words were accompanied by a subtle smirk, the one Lena had yet to completely figure out even after five years of marriage. She loved that there were still things to learn, that the two of them were still evolving around each other, but right now it left her wondering if Cat really was up for another round. She doubted it, she herself certainly wasn’t, but she couldn’t very well back down from the challenge, especially since she had opened herself up to it in the first place.

 

Luckily she didn’t have to. Lena was just debating if she could summon the energy to flop on top of Cat—it would be altogether undignified and lack any sexual appeal whatsoever, but if she could get herself in position she could wriggle around a bit and pretend to be doing something until Cat admitted defeat—when Cat’s cell phone went off. Normally Cat would ignore it when they were together like this, as Lena would hers, but this time Lena grasped at the opportunity for a reprieve.

 

“Saved by the bell,” she offered, nodding in the direction of the phone. Instead of reaching for it however, Cat continued to hold her gaze, that smirk still in place and Lena had to fight not to squirm under the attention. She was just beginning to think that she had misjudged the situation when Cat relented, twisting away with an amused huff to grab the device.

 

Lena shifted onto her back, closing her eyes in relief and letting Cat’s voice wash over her. There was an added sharpness to it now, more forceful than it had been before, and it filled her with smug gratification. It wasn’t at all the feeling that tone was supposed to evoke, but she liked being reminded of how powerful her wife was, how powerful she was as well.

 

It might seem shallow to some, if they tried to explain it, how part of what drew them to each other was that power. But it went so much deeper than that. Lena remembered the women who had come before, and while she couldn’t pretend that there weren’t nights where she missed the rush that came with their submission, with them kneeling before her, giving in to her control, that alone had never been enough. Because those women had been too soft, the relationship too unbalanced. It was nothing that could have lasted because Lena would have eventually overwhelmed them. But then there was Cat. Cat who could match her step for step. Cat, who would never bow down before her, just as she never would to Cat, but who could understand her, and who drove her to greater heights.

 

Maybe what she had with Cat wasn’t perfect, maybe there were things they craved that they could never get from each other, but ultimately the things they could provide, the support, the trust, even the competition… ultimately those were worth more. They fell in love because the power they saw in each other was a promise that they were each the one person that the other could never break.

 

The phone call ended and Lena smiled sleepily at Cat’s predictable grumble about how she was going to have to fire her assistant tomorrow. This one had lasted a whole six weeks, which was impressive really, and Lena knew that that would earn the woman a stellar, if secret, recommendation. Cat would be sure to push her into a new, less stressful job before she had time to worry about health insurance or bills, and then spend a few hours bringing fresh, less worthy applicants to tears before settling on a new one.

 

Lena moved to intertwine her fingers lazily with Cat’s, enjoying the sensation of Cat’s thumb brushing over the back of her hand in a small, absent gesture of affection. It couldn’t erase the memory of what it had been like to fall asleep with a more malleable body at her side, one that would curl demurely into her embrace, but Lena wouldn’t trade this for all fleeting pleasures that someone like that could bring.

 

When her brother had been arrested three years ago and the world had turned against the Luthor name, only Cat had stood by her side with unwavering conviction. Even now, with LexCorp rebranded as L-Corp, with all the good she was trying to do, she was still treated with suspicion and scorn. Lena supposed she should take small comfort from the fact that at least Supergirl—the new hero that had shown up half a year ago—hadn’t felt the need to come check up on her, unlike her more established Kryptonian cousin. Cat had interviewed the girl and reported that she didn’t seem to have any animosity towards the Luthor name, but Lena would just be happy if she never had to find that out in person. Most of her long-time employees were finally starting to come around, and she could only imagine what any confrontation with Supergirl, no matter how innocent, would stir up.

 

So yes, the hand in her own was more than enough, because even if it was possible that a world existed where she wasn’t in love with Cat, Cat was still the only person who had never doubted her, and who had never judged her on any merits but her own. The only person that was, until Cat’s new assistant dropped by Lena’s office ten days later to deliver a package and introduced herself with such a genuine, heartfelt smile, that for the first time in three years, Lena meant it when she smiled back in return.

 

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Cat raised her head, the corners of her lips already lifting as she recognized the familiar cadence of her wife’s step making its way across the bullpen. Almost everyone else had gone home for the evening so the sound carried easily, and it was only a second or two before Lena was close enough for her to read the answering grin. The expression faltered slightly when Lena glanced at the empty assistant desk, but then it slipped into an impish pout as she refocused on Cat.

 

“Don’t tell me you fired that young blonde one, Cat, she was cute. Do you know she blushed the most delightful shade of red when I complimented her cardigan the last time you sent her to my office?”

 

Cat shook her head, standing up from her chair and coming around her desk to greet Lena with a soft kiss. They did this sometimes—if one of them had to work extra late—dropping by for dinner unannounced to make sure that even if it was a working meal, they were still in each other’s company for more than the hectic early hours of the morning. “She doesn’t need any encouragement in that area, Lena, but don’t worry, I haven’t fired her, I just sent her to get me a fresh latte. Aside from her continued horrendous taste in clothes, for which I apparently have you to blame, she’s actually decent at her job. And no-” Cat raised a finger, shushing her wife before she could interject, “if you tell her I said that, I don’t care how ‘cute’ you think her reaction will be. I’ll fire her and you’ll be sleeping in the spare room for a month.”

 

Lena laughed, grabbing Cat’s hand and pulling her down so they were sitting on the sofa side-by-side. “I’m stunned, Cat, you’ve managed to keep the same assistant for over three months. Should I be jealous?”

 

The tone was still light, but Cat detected a hint of a true question behind that last statement, which was… unusual. The two of them might feel jealousy when others looked at their respective partner, but they had never had a problem when it came to their own perceived interest in someone else, knowing that the hunger was fleeting. Falling for each other had been a divergent thing for them. It made sense, in its own way, but they couldn’t help the sides of themselves that were still drawn to something else. Something softer and sweeter than either of them could ever be.

 

Cat hadn’t brought up her attraction to Kara, but she hadn’t needed to for Lena to know, and considering Lena’s face when she had seen the empty desk, it was evident that Cat wasn’t the only one affected by Kara’s charm. If Kara was just someone they had met in passing and not Cat’s employee, the two of them might even have enjoyed a night or two of indulging themselves, fantasizing about her together to highly satisfying results. So while there had been other women that had caused both Lena and Cat to ask that question, this was the first time it was serious.

 

This time it was being asked about someone who had lasted three months.

 

Two months ago, one even, it wouldn’t have been an issue. But after three? Cat had been impressed with Kara ever since she had stood there and claimed that she wasn’t special, but she had been impressed before and let down. Two-and-a-half months was the longest any assistant had ever lasted, and by that time they had been so worn out that their firing had been more of a mercy than anything else, but here Kara was after three still showing no signs of cracking. This time the question was serious because it was becoming increasingly obvious that Kara was far stronger than she appeared. Strong enough that she could bend to Cat’s will time and time again and not break.

 

Cat could shrug this off if she wanted to. Lena still had that smile on her face, giving Cat an out to treat this like the typical teasing, but she wouldn't do that to her. Not when she knew that it was likely that without intervention Kara would continue to work under her in the coming months.

 

“Do you want me to transfer her?” A knot formed in her gut as she spoke. She wouldn’t fire Kara unless she did something wrong—Cat wouldn’t do that to a young woman simply because she couldn’t control her own thoughts—but she could compromise her morals enough to justify a transfer if that was what Lena wanted.

 

“Of course not, Cat.” There was relief there, just knowing that Cat was willing, and Cat felt her own apprehension drain away at those words. It was unnerving how much it meant and she didn’t want to think about whether that was because she had sidestepped the ethical dilemma, or because she would get to keep Kara at her side. “Just, promise you’ll tell me if-”

 

A knock on the door interrupted them, and Cat looked up to see Kara standing there with a drink in each hand, beaming at them happily and almost bounding with excess energy. It was a sight that made her heart flutter, how… beautiful Kara was. How bright and eager to please, how completely unafraid of them she appeared to be. And with Lena at her side, knowing that her wife was thinking the same thing, Cat felt want coil tighter in her chest, dangerous and lovely all at the same time.

 

“Your latte, Miss Grant.” Kara handed it over and then extended the second drink to Lena. “Miss Luthor, I ah, I saw you walk in and I remembered your drink from when I used to work at Noonan’s. They made us memorize the usuals of all the important people who came by.” Alarm crossed Kara’s face as she realized what she had just said, and she rushed on in an attempt to fix it, words tripping over themselves in her haste. “Not that everybody isn’t important, they are, or wait, I mean… you two aren't just like everyone, you’re both incredible and amazing… and… well you’re just-” Cat raised an eyebrow and exchanged a look with Lena, her desire settling into a pleasing backdrop as Kara rambled on. This felt comfortable, somehow, despite the weight of the conversation Kara had walked in on. And besides, Lena was right. When Kara blushed it really was the most delightful shade of red.

 

“Kiera,” she took pity on her, while Lena, for her part, seemed content to let Kara keep going, a bemused smile forming on her lips. Kara stuttered to a halt, shifting from foot to foot in anticipation of the next order. Cat was about to tell her to go home for the day, but then another thought struck, a step she could take to mitigate Lena’s worry.

 

Cat and Lena might share their attraction to Kara, but that was all, because Kara was Cat’s assistant and Cat’s alone. But if the three of them spent time together, maybe the dynamic would start to change, making it easier to see Kara as ‘theirs’ instead of just ‘hers.’ It would take the jealousy out of equation and also allow them to redirect their interest in her back onto each other. It would be fun even, a little joke between them, and then together they could move on.

 

“Call in a delivery to that Italian place on 5th, they know our regular, and put in something for yourself as well.”

 

“Y-you want me?” Part of Cat wished the confusion wasn’t so endearing, but another, much larger part, didn’t mind it at all.

 

“I plan to get home before midnight tonight, and checking the layouts will go faster if you’re here. Unless you have somewhere to be?” Cat’s eyes bore into Kara, watching to make sure she caught the inflection that made it clear that it was truly intended as a question. Cat rarely asked, she just commanded, and Kara knew that, which also meant that she knew the offer was genuine and she was free to take it without repercussions. Cat hoped Kara would stay for her own selfish reasons, but just as she wouldn’t fire the girl without cause, she also wouldn’t demand that Kara play a role—however unknowingly—in this thing between her and Lena.

 

And then Kara was shaking her head and grinning at them again, embarrassment all but gone and Cat had to wonder if perhaps she had just made everything worse.