Cat turned from the bar, two drinks prepared, and handed one to Astra. She could hear Kara and Alex in the den, groaning and hollering as Carter schooled them yet again in Mario Kart. “Did you doubt it?” she asked.
Astra accepted the drink, and leaned back against the arm of a nearby chair. “No, but you have proved this evening that it is truly unconditional.”
Cat crooked an eyebrow, and sipped her drink. “And what specifically have I done this evening to prove my love for Kara? If you think I cooked that meal, you are mistaken.”
“You smile at that name she calls you.”
Cat took another sip, and waved a dismissive hand. “Oh that. She’s always called me that. She said it was a term of endearment.”
“You do not know what it means?”
Cat narrowed her eyes. “She said it was the Kryptonian equivalent of sweetheart.”
Astra, the feared general, shrank under Cat’s scrutinizing gaze. “Perhaps I should have not mentioned it. I believed you knew what she was saying, and I do not want Kara to be with the dogs.”
Cat tilted her head, eyes still narrowed. “The what?”
Astra looked down into her glass. “Alex sent me to the dogs last week. There were no dogs, and I did not enjoy sleeping on the couch. I do not wish this on Kara.”
“Ah,” Cat nodded. “On Earth we call that the dog house.”
“On Krypton, we did not have separate houses for our pets, nor would we send our mates to live in them if we did.”
Cat downed the rest of her drink. “Yes,” she started, turning to refill her tumbler. “You Kryptonians are very civilized. I certainly didn’t watch Kara chug thirty ounces of root beer yesterday to test whether she could burp your alphabet.” Astra’s eyes widened, but Cat waved a dismissive hand, and resumed leaning back against the bar. “An experiment with Carter. Now tell me more about this pet name.”
“Kara will not get in trouble?”
“Why are you so worried? What could it possibly be that it would get her in trouble?”
Astra shifted. “You have often voiced your displeasure at people making feline references.”
“Feline,” Cat repeated. “You’re hesitating, which leads me to believe Kara is not comparing me to some kind of powerful, Kryptonian lioness.”
Astra polished off her drink. “We did not have lions on Krypton, nor cats, but Kara always did very well with her writing classes. She seems to have invented her own word by combining several. She is very clever. She loves you so much. I’m certain she invented it to express her affection for you in her native language.”
Cat kept Astra fidgeting with a stare that could possibly shoot lasers. “Stalling is a terrible tactic, General. Out with it. The words.”
Astra set her glass down before she broke it. “I think now perhaps I should not tell you.”
Cat took a step forward. “Too late. Tell me.”
Astra bowed her head in defeat, and sighed, muttering a string of alien words.
Cat crossed her arms, recognizing some of the syllables. “And what does all that mean?”
Astra cringed, pained to give up her niece, but, for all her powers, frightened of Cat. “Rao forgive me,” she threw up before translating. “Cute, little furball.”
Cat’s expression was unreadable, as she polished off her drink and set her glass down on the bar. “Furball,” she muttered.
“Also cute and little,” Astra attempted in an effort to save her niece, but Cat didn’t hear her as she marched towards the den. Astra followed quickly, and captured Cat before she interrupted the battle for Rainbow Road.
“Put me down!” Cat screeched, as Astra effortlessly hoisted the smaller woman over her shoulder.
Everyone quickly piled out of the den as they heard the commotion. “What the hell is going on?” Alex asked.
Cat was beating futilely against Astra’s back. “Put me down, or I’m going to kill you! I can do it. I will find a way.”
Astra looked at her stunned niece. “I suggest you run, little one. Your human knows the true meaning of your pet name for her. I don’t believe she finds it as affectionate as you intended.”
Kara’s mouth fell open to let slip a rare expletive. “Shit.”
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