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hold my hand while i breathe

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“Do you think some people wait their whole lives for something?” Kara wonders aloud. She studies the ceiling in Lena’s office, pillowing her head on her arm as she lays on the couch. Her cardigan wrinkles under her back with the stretch, but she doesn’t mind.

There’s a pause in Lena’s typing, but it resumes as she says, “Yes.”

“And then they don’t even know it. It’s like life is just setting them up, and maybe they feel weird sometimes but that’s only part of the plan. Do you know what I mean?” She looks over at Lena only to find her staring back, expression unreadable.

“Yes,” Lena finally says. She arches an eyebrow. “Are you having an existential crisis on my couch, Supergirl?”

Kara scoffs, waving her free hand about vaguely in the air. “This - is not a crisis.”

“A moment, then,” Lena says, and there’s a curl of a smile to her lips.

“I am not having a moment, Lena. Take it back.”

The sun beyond Lena’s office windows is thrown high in the sky, bathing National City in its rays. Kara is tempted to go flying to simply bask in the sunlight, but Lena’s couch is comfortable, and the rhythm of Lena’s typing of email after email is rather monotonous but also oddly comfortable. She doesn’t remember how she ended up here at L-Corp, but one minute she was at Catco and the next Snapper was yelling about L-Corp exclusives and micro-something blah blah and don’t come back until you get one, Danvers.

Kara exhales noisily. “Okay, I take it back. I think I am having a moment. Is this normal?”

“Yes, for humans and aliens alike, I’m sure.” Lena’s brows furrow as she rereads a company directive before she sends it out.

“Do you have them?”

A pause. Lena meets Kara’s expectant gaze. “Yes, sometimes.”

Sighing, Kara lets her wayward arm flop back to her side. “Well I don’t like them.”

Lena chuckles, sends her email and sits back in her chair. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m finished with my work. Did you want to do that interview now?”

Kara waves her off, letting her hand wiggle more than normal because it makes Lena smile when she’s dramatic. “No thank you. I don’t even think I brought my notebook with me. I’m not entirely sure where my head is at today.”

Lena’s heels click-clack their way over to the couch, and without prompting, Kara happily lifts her head for Lena to slide onto the couch beside her, taking Kara’s head into her lap with gentle fingertips. Her fingers comb through Kara’s hair, undoing her simple braid with slow caresses. She lifts Kara’s glasses from her face without any protest, folding them and laying them neatly on the couch beside her.

“Everyone has their off days,” Lena says at last, breaking the soft silence, interrupted only by Kara’s occasional sigh as she leans into Lena’s touch.

“I’m Supergirl. Off days for me mean someone can get hurt,” Kara mutters.

“Even superheros need a day off,” Lena contends lightly. Her fingers press in slow circles against Kara’s scalp. Kara hums in delight. “Maybe it’s time you take one.”

“Can’t. City needs me,” Kara mumbles.

“I think they’ll survive. They were here long before you were, you know.”

Kara hates when Lena makes sense, even more when she makes sense and she’s right. It’s one of her terribly attractive qualities because she’s hardly ever pushy about it. It’s like a gentle nudge - something like she’s doing right now to Kara’s head.

Peeking one eye open, Kara asks, “What?”

“I may or may not need a vacation too,” Lena says very casually, and Kara would be none the wiser to the nerves that sizzle beneath her cool composure had it not been for her super-hearing. Lena’s heartbeat rattles loudly in her chest, hurried and anxious. “We could - I have more property than you can imagine. Pick any place on a map, and we could go. If you wanted.”

A smile spreads slowly across Kara’s face, everything soft and warm from Lena’s gentle touch. “Yeah, okay. That sounds nice.”

~*~

Kara picks Italy.

They take Lena’s jet because she has one and she insists, even though Kara could fly them both there much faster. It’s more dignified than flying on a superhero’s back, Lena tells her, sipping champagne from a glass flute as she scrolls through the news on her phone.

“Will L-Corp miss you while you’re gone?” Kara drums her fingers on the table top.

Lena shuts her phone off, laying it beside Kara’s dancings fingers. “They’ll survive for a week.”

“And if they don’t?”

“I know a superhero that’s pretty good at saving things.” Lena smiles, taking another sip of champagne. “I’ll make a phone call if I have to.”

~*~

Lena wasn’t kidding when she said she had property all over the world. In Italy alone, she has two houses, a vineyard, six cottages, three apartments, and a freaking farm. It seems a little excessive to Kara, who had never owned anything of that nature, so she lets Lena pick the place.

She’s glad she did.

Trento is beautiful beyond words. It’s picturesque with swooping ice-capped mountains in the background, rolling hills of grass and gardens in the foreground beyond the city’s stone architecture and bustling streets. It’s pretty, it’s stunning, and Kara breathes it in when their driver leaves them at a parking garage and returns back to Milan. Lena converses with the attendant, and when she returns, Kara engulfs her in a hug.

“This is beautiful,” Kara tells her with bright eyes. “Thank you.”

A black sedan is parked on the street. Lena gestures to it. “Let me show you where we’re staying.”

The ride is filled with anecdotes from Lena’s time as a young college junior. Her sophomore year was spent in France, and junior year brought Italy and England, and Trento was by far her favorite. Kara settles into the leather seats and plays with Lena’s fingers as she tells her about the first time she had goat milk from a goat she milked herself.

The cottage Lena referred to as her home away from home is really a small house. It’s a beautiful stone building of mismatched rock with dark grey mortar and a big pine door. There’s a cobblestone path leading to the front door, and a mailbox made from a wooden log has a simple L carved into it.

“I hope it’s okay,” Lena begins, a current of doubt leaking into her voice. “There are other places -”

“It’s perfect,” Kara interrupts, and she means it.

Kara carries their luggage inside, and she is not surprised to find the interior no less amazing than the exterior. The white pine floor is adorned with thick cream-colored rugs, and from the ceiling hang wire lights with Edison lightbulbs. Lena leads Kara on a tour through the living room, kitchen, guest-room-turned-study, and finally, the master bedroom with its adjoined bath. There are dark blue blankets and sheets on the bed with white pillows, and Kara can almost picture college-era Lena on that bed, reading a novel instead of emails with thick-rimmed glasses instead of contacts.

“It’s cozy,” Kara says, looking at the various photos on the dresser beside the balcony doors. “How old are you in this one? Who’s the guy?”

Leaning her chin on Kara’s shoulder, Lena sees the photo she’s pointing at. “I was, oh I don’t know, probably about nineteen. That’s Gabriel. I met him in France. We’re outside his father’s restaurant. He taught me how bake the most wonderful bread.”

“Do you still talk?” When Lena sighs, Kara backtracks. “I’m sorry. Not that it’s any of my business -”

“No, it’s fine. He passed away about two years after that picture. He had type 2 diabetes, and he had a lot of complications with it. I send his father flowers every year, and last year he sent me that photograph.”

“I’m sorry, Lena.” Kara’s hand finds her and gives her a squeeze. “Is that why you started that artificial pancreas program? The project you showed me a few months ago?”

“He’s the reason, yes. It’s been in the works for a while, but one of the engineers I recruited from Hong Kong is just absolutely brilliant and R&D can’t get her out of the labs. We should see the first batch made by October, with mass production planned for December or January.”

“That’s a nice way to do justice to his memory.” Kara turns into her, and Lena folds into her arms with a soft hum of agreement. “You really are a wonderful person.”

Lena says nothing, just shakes her head and kisses Kara’s shoulder beneath her chin. They stay like that for some time, holding each other. It’s quiet in the cottage, and when Kara extends her hearing, she realizes it’s set some distance away from any potential neighbors, giving them complete privacy.

“Let’s go for a walk,” Kara suggests.

“I’ll change my shoes.”

They walk for what must be miles, for hours really, and when they return, the sun has already set. In the distance, Kara can smell smoke from fireplaces, hear the very faint trills of laughter, and she holds Lena’s hand tighter in thanks for this experience.

“Dinner?” Lena asks, dropping her shoes in the bin beside the door.

“I’ll cook if you want to shower first,” Kara offers.

“Or we could bathe together,” Lena suggests, laughing when Kara grabs her hand to tug her in the direction of the master suite.

Kara runs the tap and when Lena insists on bubbles, she doesn’t argue. While Lena takes off her jewelry and leaves it on the dresser in the bedroom, Kara strips herself naked. She bundles her clothes into a pile beside the tub, puts her hair up in a bun, and sinks into the hot water with a sigh.

“Lena, hurry up before it gets cold.”

“You’d heat it up for me if I asked,” Lena replies easily as she walks into the bathroom.

Kara’s attention gravitates to her naked form with glee, eyes roving her body shamelessly. When Lena pauses by the bathtub, eyebrow cocked, Kara grins. “Have I told you how wonderful you look naked?”

“Yes. Twice today in fact. Which is weird since this is the first time today you’ve seen me naked.” Lena holds Kara’s arm for balance as she climb gracefully into the bathtub, sinking into the bubbles opposite Kara with a deep exhale.

“I’ve seen you naked before, duh. I just want to make sure you don’t forget that.”

Kara reaches for Lena’s hand, fumbling against a knee, a thigh, before finally finding purchase. Lena laces their fingers together, watching Kara with hooded eyes. The steam from the bath makes the room cool, and Kara sinks further into the bubbles until her head is barely above the water. Kara’s eyes are closed, her face relaxed, and her foot bobs lightly against Lena’s hip in a jaunty rhythm.

“Thank you for coming with me,” Lena says, squeezing Kara’s hand.

“Thanks for inviting me. I think we both needed this.” Kara opens one eyes, then the other. She grins. “You look cute covered in bubbles.”

Lena laughs, gesturing with their joined hands to Kara’s own bubble-covered body. “You too.”

They both laugh, silly and light, until Kara sits up and pulls Lena with her. She cups the back of Lena’s neck, thumb brushing wet hair, and she kisses her, swallows Lena’s soft moan. Kara can’t suppress her shiver when Lena encourages her to slide closer, tilting her head to capture her lips deeper.

“I can’t believe Lena Luthor takes bubble baths,” Kara mutters against Lena’s lips.

Chuckling, Lena tucks a strand of soapy blonde hair behind Kara’s ear. “Well so does Kara Danvers. And Supergirl, for that matter.”

“The press would have a field day if they knew,” Kara says wistfully.

“That Supergirl bathes naked with a Luthor? Imagine the scandal.”

Kara snorts. “How else am I supposed to bathe? Clothed?” She snickers and pecks another slow kiss on Lena’s lips. “Don’t be silly, Lena. Even aliens need soap from time to time.”

Instead of responding, Lena simply kisses Kara again, happy to bask in the unfiltered happiness. How little time they get to truly spend together, and while most of it is dedicated to aliens and corporate fundraisers and annual budgets, Lena wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. They trade kisses lazily until the water begins to cool. When Kara goes to reheat it, Lena waves her off.

“You said something about cooking right? At this rate, we’ll never eat.”

On cue, Kara’s stomach rumbles loudly. “Food sounds good right now. What do you have?”

“The housekeeper stocked the fridge and cabinets yesterday for our visit. You should find all the pots in the cabinet to the left of the sink. Here, I’ll show you -”

“No, don’t. You stay here and relax. I’ll get it.” Kara climbs out of the tub, grabbing the towel hanging on the bar. “Let me make you dinner.”

Lena smiles her thanks, presses her lips to Kara’s cheek, and sighs when a controlled burst of heat vision has the water steaming again. Kara hums to herself as she dries off, grabbing the first piece of clothing in her bag and tossing them on on her way out of the room. Lena’s clothes are discarded on the bedroom floor, and Kara kicks them over to the hamper with her foot, reminding herself to pick them up later.

Kara is an excellent baker but a barely mediocre cook, which Lena is aware of, so Kara sticks to the one recipe she never messes up: Eliza’s homemade lasagna. It was a staple of Kara’s college years, and even now, Kara finds it comforting as she slides the pan into the oven and sets a timer.

“Kara? Can you grab me a towel?” Lena’s voice echoes from the bathroom. “You took mine.”

There’s a linen closet in the hallway with freshly-laundered sheets and towels. Kara grabs a big fluffy grey towel from the stack, humming under her breath as she ambles up the stairs.

Knocking on the bathroom door, Kara peeks her head in. “I’ve never seen you leave your clothes on the floor.”

Lena’s head appears from behind the steam-covered shower door, having emptied the tub for a quick rinse in the tiled shower, a sheepish smile painted on her face. “Habit here, I suppose. I usually grab them after my shower.”

“Lazy college Lena couldn’t even be bothered to throw them in the hamper?” Kara holds the towel open, wiggling it from side to side until Lena rolls her eyes and steps out in a cloud of steam.

“Pretty much. Don’t judge me.”

Kara makes an indignant noise. “I would never.”

“Is the lasagna burning yet?”

“How’d you know I was making - oh you’re very funny, aren’t you? I only just put it in the oven.” Kara encloses her arms around Lena’s body, wrapping the towel loosely around her body as she pulls her into a hug that’s more about closeness than it is about holding. “I won’t burn it.”

Lena closes her eyes, sighs, and leans back against Kara’s chest. “This is nice.”

“So nice,” Kara mumbles against the side of Lena’s neck. Droplets of water cascade down slowly, and Kara can’t resist dragging her tongue up to collect a trail of them. “We should vacation more often. You. Me. Together.”

Shivering, Lena turns in Kara’s arms. “I agree.”

Kara drops the towel.

~*~

Kara is on her knees, chin slick and hands holding Lena’s thighs open when the smoke alarm sounds.

“The lasagna!” Before Lena can blink, Kara is gone.

Lena falls back to the bed with a groan. “Kara.”

When Kara slinks back into the room minutes later, a heavy pout on her face, Lena is covered by a sheet, her hair thrown up in a messy bun. She arches an eyebrow at Kara, desperately trying to keep the knowing smile off her face when she asks, “Did you burn the lasagna?”

“No,” Kara mutters petulantly. “Okay, yes. But there’s enough to try again. So… try again?”

Lena couldn’t stop the affectionate laugh that bubbles out of her mouth even if she wanted to. “How about I take care of you? And after dinner, you can make it up to me. After all, we have nothing but time.”

Kara’s face brightens with a grin, and she crawls onto the bed, kissing her way up Lena’s covered body. “I want to vacation all the time.”

“You’d get bored,” Lena says between kisses, curling a hand around Kara’s neck and pushing the sheet down with the other.

“You can keep me entertained,” Kara offers, kicking the sheet off the bed. She lays her body on top of Lena’s, skin to skin, and sighs when Lena’s hands begin to roam unabashedly. “You’re doing a fantastic job already.”

“I aim to please,” Lena says cheekily, and Kara huffs a laugh against her shoulder. She drags her nails up the length of Kara’s back to her shoulder blades, pressing in sharply. “How do you want it?”

“Oh,” Kara breathes out, and she shifts until she’s straddling Lena. “Touch me. Please.”

“Where?”

Kara closes her eyes, shivering in anticipation. “Everywhere.”

“I’ve only two hands, darling. That’s going to be a little difficult,” Lena quips with a quirky smile, and when Kara can’t stop laughing, her mouth heaving hot little puffs of air against Lena’s chest, Lena slides her hand between Kara’s legs, soft and slow. “Will this work?”

Breath catching in her throat, Kara nods frantically, rolling her hips into Lena’s too-light touch. “That’ll do. Harder.”

“What if I…” Lena’s voice trails off, and she moves her fingers through Kara’s wetness, pressing firmly against her clit and relishing the heady moan her movement elicits. “Is that good?”

“Yes, yes, yes. You know it is,” Kara gasps, and her hips rock down, searching for more. “I don’t remember teasing you like this. I thought you said -”

Lena’s face splits in a toothy grin that is equal parts wicked and filthy. “I’m a Luthor, darling. I lied.”

~*~

Kara burns the lasagna again.

She sits on the counter, wearing nothing but a pair of Supergirl boxers, sulking as Lena makes them stir fry instead.

Lena, naked as the day she was born, cuts vegetables with a steady, experienced hand. “But it was good, wasn’t it?” she asks without prompt, a smirk curling at her lips when Kara sighs exaggeratedly.

“Yeah, it was,” Kara mumbles, “but don’t let it go to your head. Always room to improve.”

Lena nods, quite serious. “I’ve got some room in my schedule after dinner, perhaps. Maybe we should try again.”

Kara laughs, pulls Lena between her legs and cups her face in her hands, kissing her soundly. “I’ve created a monster. Don’t you want to sleep? It’s been like a billion hours since we slept.”

Weighing the suggestion in her head, Lena relents, “Okay, fine. We’ll nap then. All this cooking has made me so tired.”

“Hey! I tried, twice! It’s your fault anyways,” Kara points out with a shake of her head, wrapping her legs around Lena’s waist. Lena’s eyebrows raise at the purported blame, and Kara says, “You distracted me with your womanly wiles.”

“Womanly wiles,” Lena repeats, amused.

“Yes. So I can’t be held accountable for my actions then when I’m distracted by your beautiful face and stuff.”

“And stuff?” Lena chuckles, tapping Kara’s thighs for her to release her. The vegetables won’t chop themselves. “I’ll remember that next time.”

Lena’s well into sauteing when Kara’s setting the table and asks in a strange voice, “There will be other times, right?”

“What?” Lena adds a pinch of salt and turns the heat to low.

“For us. There’s going to be more vacations and just more, I don’t know, us?” Kara winces at her inarticulate choice of words. She’s not sure how to verbalize the type of insecurity she’s feelings, especially when it feels very unsubstantiated.

“Of course there will be,” Lena says in a soft voice, her eyes warm. “If you want them.”

Kara is soothed by the intensity of Lena’s gaze, how complete and whole it is, how it makes her stomach flutter and her chest burst with emotions she isn’t quite ready to give words to. “I do. I’ve never wanted anything more.”

“Me neither,” Lena admits, a little shy and a whole lot of honest. “This is only the first day. We have six more to go before we have to head back to reality. Let’s take advantage of that.”

Kara smiles, says, “Okay, let’s,” and thinks about how maybe it’s too soon to tell Lena I think I’ve waited my whole life for you. “Dibs on the left side of the bed.”