Lena Luthor is not outdoorsy.
Through a combination of childhood neglect, pale and easily-burnt skin, and general lack of interest, she just never developed a love of being outside in any capacity. Where other kids her age wanted to play sports or climb trees, she preferred to stay inside and read, or play chess, or help Lex with his science projects. To this day, she maintains that people who enjoy things like hiking and mountaineering must be a special kind of crazy.
It’s this background that makes it all the more distressing how easily she agreed to go camping with Kara Danvers.
Camping. In the woods. She’s so stupidly far gone, so absolutely head over heels, that she said yes to spending an entire four-day period outside of the city just because Kara asked her to. And with barely a second thought. The days of pretending her feelings for her best friend are platonic have ended, and lately Lena has been forced to come to terms with the truth. She’s in love, and there’s absolutely nothing she can do about it.
And Kara doesn’t even know I’m gay. God help me, I’m useless.
It’s not that Lena is hiding it from her. It just so happens that Kara has only ever met one of her exes, and it was Jack, with whom Lena had desperately tried to cling to her nonexistent heterosexuality. In fact, she had almost blurted it out months ago, when Kara finally admitted that she was Supergirl. She had come to Lena’s office, palms sweating, pacing nervously, and her statement was worded in such a way that Lena was almost sure she was coming out.
“Lena…” Kara starts, fidgeting so nervously that Lena is worried she’s going to break her own fingers. “I…have something to tell you.”
“Oh?” Lena says, her chest constricting. Secrets. Lena hates secrets.
“I just need you to know first that I’m still the same person I’ve always been. This is just another part of me, and I’ve been lying for so long that I just need to get everything out in the open. Because I trust you. I trust you with my secret, Lena, and –“
“Kara, it’s okay.” Lena interrupts, her heart pounding.
This is it. She’s gay, she’s telling me she’s gay, I should come clean too –
“I think I know what you’re trying to say.” She says instead, her voice shaking.
“You do? Oh god, that would make this so much easier.” Kara groans, rubbing her face tiredly. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you. I just don’t want you to hate me.“
“Kara, I could never hate you. Not when I – I -“
Before Lena can psyche herself up enough to say it, Kara keeps going, her words spilling out as if she can’t stop them. “All this time, I’ve been trying to juggle Kara Danvers and Supergirl, but lately it’s not working, and I want to be able to be myself with you all the time. Imra told me that I needed to just tell you about us –“
Lena’s heart sinks. Imra? Saturn Girl? She’s dating Saturn Girl?
She’s steeling herself to swallow her despair and congratulate Kara on her relationship when she starts to undo her shirt.
“And I need you to know that it’s not because you’re a Luthor. I know you, and I know that you’re different from your family. I was just so scared –“
And there, beneath Kara’s fingers and slowly revealed with each button undone, is a blue suit. A red and gold crest peeks out, and Kara removes her glasses, and for what’s probably the first time in her life, Lena feels like a complete idiot.
She’s known that Kara is Supergirl for months. Years, even. It didn’t take long to put the pieces together – slightly more time than it took to recognize Clark Kent, to be fair, but she’d been understandably distracted by Kara’s charm. She’s used to the fact that Kara has a secret identity and chooses to try to keep Lena safe in her own way by not telling her about it. She’s so used to it, in fact, that she often forgets that Kara doesn’t realize she knows.
“When you say ‘us’,” Lena manages to say, rubbing the bridge of her nose, “You mean the D.E.O. Imra told you that you should tell me about the D.E.O.”
“Yes!” Kara says, her brow furrowed. “What else would I mean? Wait…you know about the DEO?”
So, she isn’t keeping it a secret. She desperately wants Kara to know, to pick up on the laundry list of pointed hints she drops into conversation, and maybe even respond. But Kara remains seemingly clueless, and Lena has no idea how to bring it up naturally in conversation, let alone be the one to bring it up herself.
How do you casually tell your best friend that you’re a lesbian and also that you’re in love with her and would very much like to have her Kryptonian babies?
As it turns out, the answer is that you don’t. You stay silent, and pine, and occasionally cry in the bathtub, and you stupidly say yes to ridiculous things like camping trips.
Now, when Kara says “Let’s go camping! I’ll get us a place in the woods, and we can make campfires and go swimming – it’ll be so much fun!”, Lena has certain expectations. She assumes that there will be shelter of some kind – a cabin, perhaps, with at least a working door and some electricity. No wifi, maybe, but Lena can be flexible.
She does not expect Kara to pull up to her condo building in a black DEO issue SUV with nothing but a tent and sleeping bags, two folding chairs, a cooler, and a duffel bag. She’s sporting aviators and a tank top, her shoulders bronze and glowing in the sun, and she hops out as soon as Lena emerges, grabbing her huge rolling suitcase and putting it effortlessly into the back of the car.
“I found us the perfect campsite!” She says excitedly as she opens the door for Lena, closing it gently once she’s situated in the passenger seat. “It’s a few hours from here, in a national park. There’s a lake with a great beach, and you can rent kayaks, and there’s all sorts of hiking trails –“
“Kara,” Lena says cautiously, eyeing the bagged tent in the backseat, “Where exactly will we be sleeping?”
“Oh, I got us a tent! It sleeps four, so it’ll be plenty roomy. And there’s an air mattress under the seat.”
An air mattress. One air mattress.
Kara continues to chatter excitedly as she pulls into traffic, starting the trek north, and Lena sighs.
What have I gotten myself into?
‘A few hours north’ ends up being just over 7. The park Kara chose is in Oregon, and the further north they drive, the more the scent of ocean salt and fir trees fills the car. It’s a smell that Lena isn’t used to – hot pavement, car exhaust, and clean science labs are more her forte – and she finds herself taking deep, cleansing breaths of it despite herself. Kara at least had the forethought to make a roadtrip playlist, so the soundtrack of their drive is 90s pop, Kara singing along unabashedly and coaxing Lena to admit that she knows the words.
Lena’s first lesson about camping is that skirts are not the ideal clothing to wear. Kara is dressed in loose shorts and hiking boots, and in comparison Lena feels extremely overdressed in her strappy sandals and sundress. And besides that, there are bugs.
“Why didn’t you tell me to bring pants?” Lena huffs in frustration after swatting what feels like the hundredth mosquito from her bare legs as Kara unloads the car. “It’s been 20 minutes and I’m already itchy.”
“Oh…I didn’t think of that.” Kara sounds abashed, gesturing at her own bug-free bare legs. Her perfect, unbreakable skin is unmarred by the itchy red bumps, and Lena can’t help but be a bit resentful. “Hold on, I think I brought some leggings that you can borrow.”
Kara rummages through her duffel, finally producing a pair of leggings with a bright purple cosmic print on them. Lena quickly puts them on under her skirt, hoping the extra layer will deter at least some of the insects. They clash terribly with her red dress.
Her second lesson comes slightly later, as she sits in one of Kara’s folding chairs with a dollar store coolie-cup of wine in the cup holder, watching Kara push tent pegs into the ground and fuss with folding poles; Kara in the woods is painfully sexy.
Kara insisted on setting the whole site up herself so that Lena can relax, zipping around and piling firewood or hanging the hammock she impulsively purchased at the little store at the park entrance while maintaining a steady stream of excited commentary. She even got them their own picnic table from the empty site down the path, carrying the whole thing over her head without a thought in the world for how the sight of her arms flexing might make Lena’s pulse start to race.
By the time Kara starts chopping wood, stacking it near the fire pit for later, Lena is practically squirming in her seat. Kara doesn’t sweat – she doesn’t even have to put much effort at all into chopping, in fact. She could probably just grasp the wood and rip it into bits with her bare hands, a thought that makes Lena’s condition even worse. The setting sun makes her skin glow bronze, and when she swings the axe, her shoulders ripple. It’s likely more from the effort of holding back her strength than from the effort of the swing.
Lena gulps down the last mouthfuls of her wine, and fishes around for the bottle.
The third lesson Lena learns about camping comes with the dusk. A slight chill hits the air, and with it, an army of mosquitoes.
Camping is fucking uncomfortable.
There’s already dirt on her clean boots, and as yet another mosquito lands on her arm Lena curses, smacking at it. She itches one of her existing bumps, already silently working on a device to permanently eradicate the biting vermin from the earth, ecological consequences be damned.
There’s a whoosh of air behind her, and when she turns around, Kara is nowhere to be found.
“…Kara?” She calls warily, intensely aware of the creeping darkness surrounding their site. For a few seconds all she hears is crickets the low conversational sounds of surrounding sites. Then there’s a blur, and Kara is back, holding up a small cylindrical shape.
“Look! I found a citronella candle!”
The stolen candle helps, if only marginally. It could be that Lena has just become accustomed to being itchy, but the bugs seem to be less prevalent, and she does get to enjoy Kara struggling to light a fire by hand.
“The smoke chases the bug away. If I could just – get it to keep burning…” Kara mutters, waving the lighter around inside the triangle of logs she’s constructed. Some of the kindling catches fire halfheartedly, but peters out quickly.
“Can’t you just use your heat vision?” Lena drawls, and Kara huffs indignantly.
“That would be cheating, Lena! We have to do it the real way!”
2 hours and a very chilly Lena later, Kara finally gives in and lights the kindling with her powers.
Once it’s crackling cheerfully she grabs her own seat and huddles close, pulling their chairs together and closer to the fire and running back to the SUV.
“Where are you going?” Lena calls, frowning, and Kara rustles around in the backseat.
“Just a sec –“
Kara comes back from the shadows carrying a huge red piece of fabric, draped over her forearm.
“Is that your cape?” Lena says, grinning, and Kara laughs, holding it up.
“Yeah. I, uh…didn’t bring any extra blankets, so.”
“Kara, did you do any preparation for this trip?” Lena asks incredulously, and Kara shrugs.
“No? I mean, I’ve been camping before! Eliza and Jerimiah used to take us. It didn’t seem that hard.”
Lena sighs, shaking her head affectionately as Kara drapes the cape over their laps. The fire crackles, drifting woodsmoke wherever the breeze blows, and Kara slings an arm over her shoulder thoughtlessly. Lena sinks into the warmth, laying her head on Kara’s shoulder and pointedly ignoring the sharpness of the chair’s arm digging into her side. Kara’s soft, sweet scent mixes with the smoke and the fresh smell of the air, and Kara takes a deep, happy breath, almost dislodging Lena’s head.
You clueless, wonderful person. I am so in love with you.
“So, now what?” Is what she says out loud, and Kara grins down at her.
Kara pulls a few things out of the cooler – hotdogs and marshmallows and chips, the kind of stuff Lena hasn’t touched in years. When she starts shoving sausages onto sharpened sticks, Lena takes a peek inside the cooler. Whole grain bread, deli meats, what looks like veggies and hummus, trail mix, and various organic condiments are immediately visible, and Lena smiles.
“What, you thought I’d just pack junk?”
Lena snaps the cooler lid shut, and Kara’s grinning face is on the other side, brandishing a hotdog-laden stick.
“Well you apparently didn’t bring any blankets, so you can’t blame me for being worried.”
“Hey! I know your dietary preferences. But tonight is special, so we have to eat camping foods.” Kara says decisively, and that’s that. 20 minutes later Lena is delicately eating what Kara calls a ‘spider’, meaning a hotdog cut into long strips so that it curls outwards like legs when it heats up. Kara insists that everyone should try it at some point, and Lena isn’t one to refuse her.
Lena is busily licking sticky marshmallow and chocolate off her fingers from their recently toasted s’mores when she notices that Kara is staring.
“What?” She says, flushing. “Do I have chocolate all over my face? Is my hair on fire?”
“No, you look great.” Kara smiles, all soft and affectionate, her voice taking on that heartbreakingly earnest quality that it does when they’re alone. “I’m just…really glad you came.”
Thankfully Kara turns her attention to the slowly dying fire soon after, allowing Lena to scream internally in peace.
When the fire has been doused and Kara is tying bungee cords around the coolers, Lena voices the thought she’s been having for the last few minutes.
“Shouldn’t we put those somewhere? Like, in the car? Won’t animals get to them?”
Kara shakes her head, tying off the cords and storing the coolers under the picnic table. “Nah, raccoons won’t get into them as long as they’re tied tightly enough. Should be fine.”
Lena has her doubts, but Kara’s confidence makes her silence them. They hurry into the tent, Kara zipping the door up as soon as she can to prevent any bugs from sneaking in, and gets to work on inflating the air bed. Lena finds herself thankful for Kara’s untiring lung capacity, because in true form, she forgot a pump.
Lena clambers onto the bed gratefully as soon as it’s finished, not bothering to change her clothes. Kara tosses her a sleeping bag, unfolds her own, and flops onto the mattress without thinking.
Either Kara underestimated her own strength or she has only a baseline knowledge of how air mattresses function, because with an indignant squeak, Lena is catapulted two feet into the air as soon as Kara hits the bed. She lands on the ground beside it with a grunt, groaning as the pain of impact spikes up her whole left side.
“Crap! Lena, are you okay? I’m so sorry, oh god –“ Kara sounds almost frantic, scrambling off the bed and helping Lena into a sitting position. Lena, after a few seconds of wheezing to get back her breath, can’t do anything but start to laugh.
And once she’s started, it proves impossible to stop. She laughs until her sides start to hurt, leaning against the side of the mattress and gasping through it. Kara joins her, and soon enough they lie together on the slightly-deflated bed, wiping tears from their eyes and trying to calm down.
“I have no idea why that was so funny,” Lena admits, holding her sore abs. Kara settles into her sleeping bag, shifting until she’s pressed to Lena’s side.
“It was kind of hilarious watching you fly, until you hit the ground. I thought I hurt you.” She nuzzles Lena’s shoulder softly, the ghost of lips over her skin, and the laughter evaporates as Lena’s chest constricts.
Kara drifts off quickly, still pressed close, and for what feels like the hundredth time, Lena curses her own weakness in saying yes to this trip.
At home, Lena is used to waking up to one of two things – the blaring of her alarm, or on her rare days off, the drip of a coffeemaker and the rays of the sun on her face.
Today, she wakes to a cacophony of birdsong, freezing cold and buried somewhere in the middle of her sleeping bag with something soft and squishy underneath her that definitely doesn’t feel like an air mattress.
When she shifts, the soft thing underneath her does too, and she hears Kara’s voice from somewhere outside of her blanket burrito.
“Morning! How did you sleep?”
She sounds far too chipper, and Lena groans, slowly wiggling her way out of the bag until her head pokes out. When she cracks her eyes open she’s met with Kara’s face only inches away, wide awake and grinning.
She’s also met with what feels like a wall of frosty air, and almost immediately she retreats.
“Nope. Nope. Definitely not.” She says decisively, trying to get her face covered again. Kara hugs her closer, laughing, and Lena allows it only because Kara practically radiates warmth.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-yeah. Just…c-cold.” Lena chatters, burrowing deeper. Kara frowns, rubbing her arms through the material.
“Shoot. I really should have brought more blankets, huh? It’ll warm up when the sun gets through the trees.” Lena’s response is to submerge herself completely in the flannel-lined bag, groaning at the warmth of her own body heat on her cold face.
“Hold on, I’ll go start a fire.” Kara moves out from underneath her, and Lena misses the extra warmth immediately. She hears the zip of the tent door, and she’s considering asking Kara to just come back and cuddle her again when Kara speaks.
“Mmm?” Lena manages, still resolutely curled in a ball somewhere in the middle of her sleeping bag.
“We might need to go into town to get some food.”
“What?” Lena grumbles, peeking her head out of her nest of bedding and immediately regretting it. She detests being cold, and the air on her face is the absolute worst. “Did you not pack enough?”
“I packed enough!” Kara protests, her voice a hushed whisper.
Kara gestures wildly for Lena to quiet down, and Lena gazes at her like she’s grown a second head. “What, Kara?”
Kara’s mouth opens and closes a few times, and somewhere in the campsite outside the tent, something falls over with a crash. Kara winces, and points out the door. “Well…there’s a bear.”
Lena scrambles into the cold air and joins Kara at the mouth of the tent, suddenly wide awake. Sure enough, surrounded by the detritus that used to be their cooler, there’s a fairly large fluffy black bear.
They watch with baited breath as it sits down, grasping a tub of miracle whip with its front paws and gnawing until the lid is torn off. Once its prize is revealed, it buries its snout inside, licking happily and making snuffly noises that would probably be adorable if they weren’t coming from a 300 pound wild animal.
Serves Kara right for packing Miracle Whip.
“It’s a black bear.” Kara adds unhelpfully, and Lena rolls her eyes.
“I’m not blind, Kara.”
“Well, you said you’d never been camping!”
“That doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a black bear when I see one –“
As their voices raise, the bear pauses in its determined licking and looks their way.
Intellectually, Lena knows she’s in no danger – Kara is literally indestructible, and she’s protected Lena from things much more dangerous than a simple black bear. But for some reason, they’re both tense as the bear seems to size them up.
Thankfully, it seems to decide they’re not worth it’s time. It finishes with the tub of Miracle Whip and drops it indifferently to the side, before starting to wander off. It pauses a few times to sniff at scraps, but soon enough its fluffy backside disappears into the woods, and both of them relax.
“Well,” Kara says, clapping her hands together, “Feel like going on a road trip?”
Their campground is fairly remote, but thankfully there’s a small town with a grocery store 20 miles down the highway. They arrive just as the main street is waking up, ‘open’ signs turning over and old retirees taking morning walks. The sky is vibrant blue, and Kara seems much more excited to be in a grocery store than she has any right to be. They bicker over organic vegetables, and more than once Lena catches Kara slipping junk food into their cart in what she thinks is a stealthy manner.
Once they check out, Kara keeps being frustratingly gallant – she insists on carrying everything to the car and loading it into their brand-new cooler, and when she sees Lena looking with interest at a vintage shop next door, she insists that they walk around town and explore all the little shops. She slings an arm over Lena’s shoulders casually, and she even kisses her temple affectionately when Lena buys her a metric ton of candy from an old-fashioned sweet shop.
With all of this overwhelming input, Lena can’t help but lose herself in the irresistible fantasy that rises up naturally. A fantasy where she and Kara are together, and this is their daily life – going to the local small-town grocery store to do a weekly shop, walking down the street arm-in-arm like it’s a natural occurrence, a world where Lena can give in to Kara’s sweet begging to let her buy a kitten from the downtown pet store.
“Kara, where would we keep it? In our tent? And you’re hardly ever home, how could you take care of a cat?”
“Just look at her, though!” Kara holds the tiny mewing kitten up, cradling the orange ball of fluff ever so gently in a palm that can crush steel, and Lena has to turn around before her heart explodes.
She distracts Kara from the ill-advised kitten purchase by suggesting ice cream, and Kara cheers herself up with a teetering cone heaped in 3 different flavours. By noon they’re heading back to the campground with their cooler full of provisions, windows open and music blasting.
“Does it have to be so loud?”
“It’s N’Sync, Lena! It should be louder!”
Kara flicks the volume dial up a few notches, and ‘Tearin’ Up My Heart’ blasts Lena’s fragile human eardrums. Kara sings along in her bright voice, and by the time they get back, Lena is singing too, and the group of teenagers camping a few sites over join in their sing-along as they pass by on the narrow dirt road.
The sunny afternoon, in Kara’s opinion, requires a beach day to unwind. Lena grumbles a bit, but when she settles in the sand with her tablet and Kara casually removes her shorts and tank top, she has to admit that the beach has its benefits. Kara’s skin glows in the sun as she opens her arms and welcomes the rays, and it’s clear to everyone in the vicinity that she’s the most beautiful thing on this beach.
Lena is almost glad that she can blame her obvious blush on the summer heat. She affixes a huge floppy hat and sunglasses, removes her dress, wraps a sarong around her hips, and tries to concentrate on her e-book, willing her eyes not to wander again.
If she had been paying attention, she might have noticed the way Kara’s eyes grew comically wide when she removed her own shirt to reveal the black bikini top underneath.
“How can it be so hot during the day and so cold at night? What kind of nightmare climate is this?” Lena huffs, moving her towel into a shady patch and trying to get comfortable. She rubs her thighs together in frustration, trying to ignore the heavy feeling between her legs after Kara’s little show, and Kara swallows hard, still silent. When Lena finally looks up at her, her gaze is fixed somewhere around Lena’s torso.
Kara jumps, blinking rapidly. She smiles in a way that seems too bright to be real, and Lena frowns. What on earth –
“I’m going swimming!”
With that, Kara is gone, running across the sand towards the cold lake. Lena is concerned at her behaviour for a moment, but she’s distracted soon enough. There’s absolutely nothing bad about getting to see Kara’s defined muscles flex as she runs into the water. She dives in as soon as it’s deep enough, surfacing again with her hair slick and droplets running over her skin.
God, it’s like Baywatch. What is wrong with me?
Kara stays in the water for a bit, splashing around and joining in a frisbee game, and Lena alternates between reading the same two lines of her book and watching from afar, feeling emboldened by the distance. By the time Kara returns, still dripping, Lena is feeling unreasonably warm.
“You look hot!”
“Oh?” Lena lowers her sunglasses, quirking an eyebrow, and it’s Kara’s turn to blush.
“Not like – I mean, you do look amazing, like, really good, wow, but – not that I mean it like – you just look warm!” She finally shouts, loudly enough that the family closest to them gives her a strange look.
Lena smiles, perfectly happy to not be the one feeling like an idiot for once. Kara’s immediate and vehement panic following the initial statement stings a little, but it’s nothing she’s not used to. Kara just isn’t gay. In fact, she appreciates the reminder – it might help to keep her feelings in check.
“I am warm. It’s stupidly humid here.” She replies, and Kara grabs her hand, pulling her to standing.
“So, come into the water with me!”
The move brings them too close together for Lena to be entirely comfortable, and she takes a half-step back. “Thanks, but I’m good. I’m not a big swimmer.”
“What? Worried it’ll ruin your hair?” Kara teases, and Lena huffs. Just because it’s sort of true, doesn’t mean that Kara has to say it.
“Come on, Lena! We’re camping. Swimming in the lake is part of the experience!” Kara pouts, taking both of Lena’s hands in hers, and Lena’s treacherous resolve wavers before ultimately taking a swan dive and exiting her body entirely.
She curses her weakness again as Kara pulls her into the cold water by the hand, and as it moves up her legs she tenses up like a cat ready to bolt. Kara seems to sense it, and tightens her hold. “It gets better in a minute, I promise. You just have to let your body cool down.”
“I want it to be better now.” Lena halts when the water hits her waist, hissing as the coldness hits the sensitive skin of her stomach. A few seconds later she yelps loudly when Kara splashes her, cold droplets hitting her hot skin unexpectedly.
Kara giggles mischievously, already moving away to avoid Lena’s retaliation. She doesn’t move fast enough, though – Lena sweeps her hand through the water with all her strength, sending a huge splash Kara’s way and soaking her front considerably.
Her victory is short lived, unfortunately. After a few seconds of satisfaction, she’s doused completely as Kara uses her strength to cause what feels like a small tsunami in Lena’s direction.
“Oh, you’re going to pay for that, Danvers.” Lena grits through chattering teeth, and Kara smirks.
The words strike a match somewhere inside Lena that refuses to be doused even by the water she’s submerged in. Her body heats up, the combination of Kara’s confident smile and the words making her knees feel weak. Make me.
Suddenly desperate to distract Kara from listening to whatever chaos is going on inside her body, Lena launches herself through the water and grabs Kara’s shoulders, dunking her under the surface. She pushes down hard, fully knowing that Kara is a brick shithouse and if she didn’t want to go under, she wouldn’t have. Kara humors her for a moment, taking her punishment, before she comes back up and takes Lena with her. Her arms wrap securely around Lena’s hips, her face somewhere near Lena’s chest, and lifts her straight up.
“Kara!” Lena squeals, clinging to the top of her head. “Put me down, that’s so not fair –“ But before she can finish Kara is falling backwards, laughing, and both of them hit the water with a splash.
Lena resurfaces first, her bikini top slightly crooked, shaking the water out of her eyes and slicking her hair back. Kara comes up next to her, looks in her direction, and immediately chokes.
On what, Lena isn’t sure, but while Kara is in the midst of her coughing fit she takes a minute to think.
There’s been a strange tension crackling between them all weekend. The anonymity of the trip seems to have made Kara even more open with her affection, and it’s wreaking havoc on Lena’s mental state. And now, Kara is looking at her – really looking, and getting flustered. It’s vexing.
Before she can introspect any longer, Kara has recovered, and she’s distracted for the rest of the afternoon by trying not to stare.
To Lena’s dismay, Kara seems to have even more plans after their beach trip. There’s some sort of scenic lookout hiking trail in the park, and she wants to walk there. Through the woods. In the heat. And, to top it off, she insists that they don’t need a map.
“I’ve flown an entire spaceship into the atmosphere, Lena.” She insists, walking resolutely past the visitor’s centre at the beginning of the trail. “I think I can handle navigating a hike.”
Two hours later, when they’ve taken what Lena knows is at least their third wrong turn, Kara still seems determined to see it through.
“Kara,” Lena says, fighting to keep her tone mild even when her feet are screaming at her, “I think we’re lost.”
“We’re not lost!” Kara insists, marching onwards. “We’re almost there, I can feel it.” The forest is starting to feel oppressive, the trees too close and the bugs too thick. There’s a heavy humidity here that didn’t seem to exist out in the open, and it makes her skin sticky and hot. Besides, the sun is setting soon, and a dusky darkness is falling on them – it makes Lena anxious. Her body is protesting the constant movement with every step.
“We’re in the middle of the woods,” She finally replies, her frustration bleeding into her tone. Kara picks up on it, turning around and furrowing her brow.
“Are you okay?”
Lena sighs, sitting on a fallen log and massaging her thighs. “I’m not exactly used to walking this much. Especially uphill. My legs are killing me.”
Immediately Kara is beside her, resting on her knees and looking up at her with concern. “Shoot, Lena, I’m sorry, I didn’t even think – I’m giving you the worst camping trip, aren’t I? Are you okay? I can fly us back to the campsite?”
Kara’s dismay is so acute that Lena defrosts pathetically quickly.
“I’m fine. Just tired.”
Kara brightens, then. “Well, that’s easy to fix. I’ll carry you!”
“Absolutely not.” Lena’s answer is immediate, and Kara blanches for a second.
“I don’t need to be carried around. I can do it myself.”
Kara looks strangely relieved at Lena’s reasoning. “Well of course you can, but you won’t like it. I want you to have fun.” Kara looks so sad, so disappointed with Lena’s lack of enjoyment, that as usual she gives in.
“…fine. But no bridal style.”
A piggyback ends up being the compromise. Lena feels absolutely ridiculous, riding around on Kara’s back like a child, but even she can admit that clinging to Kara’s broad shoulders and resting her chin there is much better than trudging along behind her, and Kara doesn’t even register her weight.
The reassuring grip on her legs and the gentle rocking motion as Kara walks is sort of soothing, actually. She starts to relax, her eyes drifting closed as the smell of forest is blotted out by Kara’s perfume. I’ve never seen her put any on. Is it perfume? Does she just naturally smell this way?
Before she can properly nap, the path starts to slant upwards considerably. Kara speeds up, jostling Lena’s comfortable position. “Hey, I think we’re here!”
Lena opens her eyes up again just in time for them to emerge from the treeline, and even if the view wasn’t worth it, Kara’s adorable gasp is. Lena slides off her back, and Kara takes a few steps forward, drinking it in.
They stand on a rocky cliff overlooking the lake, nothing but water and trees and sky as far as the eye can see. The orange sunset shines over the shimmering water, and a breeze brings the fresh lake air up to their lookout, and Kara stands framed by the fading sunlight with her blonde hair tousled gently. She looks heroic - She isn’t even sweating. She’s unthinkably beautiful, and Lena feels frumpy in comparison with her sweaty face and her ponytail sticking to the back of her neck.
But then, Kara looks back at her and grins in a way that makes Lena feel like none of that matters. “See, I told you this would be worth it. It’s worth it, right?”
“Yes. It was worth it.” Lena replies, choking back the conclusion that her mind brings forward. Of course it was - it made you happy.
They fly back to the campsite after spending the evening watching the sun sink slowly behind the horizon. Dinner is sandwiches, assembled by Kara on the picnic table, and some more marshmallows roasted on the fire. By the time they’re crawling into the tent, Lena is exhausted. She struggles to change into sweatpants (borrowed from Kara) and a pullover (also Kara’s) in the small space, while Kara herself puts the fire out and sets their new cooler inside the car where it’s safe.
The exhaustion evaporates when Kara climbs inside, taking off her bra under her shirt and making an off-handed suggestion.
“You know, it’d be warmer if we shared a sleeping bag.”
The bra lands on top of Kara’s duffel bag, and Lena struggles to comprehend and respond to the sentence while also fighting to keep her expression neutral. She focuses on a point somewhere over Kara’s shoulder, willing the cool-headedness that comes so easily to her in the boardroom to return to her now.
“I don’t think we’ll both fit.” Is what she manages to say, hoping that she sounds less distracted than she feels. Kara just laughs, crawling across the air mattress and grabbing Lena’s blankets. She starts to unzip the bag, talking all the while.
“We just have to zip them together! We can make one big mega-bag, and both sleep in it. Cuddling will share body heat.”
Sharing body heat? Cuddling?
Thrown off as she is by the whole situation, Lena can’t manage to come up with a believable reason to say no; she’s pretty sure that ‘because I’m in love with you and I’m afraid that if I sleep in your arms once, I’ll never sleep properly without you again’ is not the right direction to take. So Kara zips their sleeping bags together, crawls in, and opens it up to Lena, smiling encouragingly.
I can do this. We’ve fallen asleep together on the couch before. It’s fine.
But as much as she tries to deny it, this is different, and she knows it. Kara is holding her, turning over and pulling Lena to her front and burying her face between Lena’s shoulderblades. She grabs Lena’s hand, slotting their fingers together. They’re spooning.
It’s for warmth! She thinks you’re just her friend, stop thinking about her hand moving lower -
Kara takes a deep breath, exhaling contentedly, and the heat of it makes goosebumps erupt on Lena’s arms.
“You smell good.” She murmurs, already drifting off into a comfortable sleep. Lena, on the other hand, lies stiff and vigilant. She’s hyperaware of Kara, of the heat of her, of each and every place where their bare skin is touching – ankles intertwined between thick socks, their hands still joined, the sliver of Lena’s belly between her sweater and pants where Kara’s arm rests. Quite honestly, she’s afraid of what she might do if she falls asleep.
I’ll just have to stay up. It’s not like I haven’t pulled all-nighters before.
Lena steels herself for a long night, settling in as best she can without disturbing Kara. She closes her eyes, just for a moment, and the next thing she knows there’s light filtering into the tent, and her face is freezing cold. Birds are tweeting merrily outside and Kara is shifting, taking her much-needed warmth with her. She seems even hotter than usual – the stark contrast between Kara’s temperature and the temperature of the tent is startling enough to shift Lena into full wakefulness.
I slept through the night.
All the way through, with not so much as a bad dream or a bathroom break. She feels refreshed for what feels like the first time in weeks, and she hates herself for it.
It’s clear that Kara is trying not to wake her up, attempting to sneak off the mattress, but even Lena knows that such a task is impossible. It bounces with every movement, and finally Lena chuckles, turning over.
“You have the power of flight. Could you not have just floated gently off?”
Kara freezes, almost at the edge, and rubs her neck sheepishly. Her face is flushed, and she seems unable to meet Lena’s eyes. “I…didn’t think of that. Uh. Good morning!”
Lena stretches, letting the sleeping bag slip off her form and feeling the chilly morning air hit the exposed skin of her stomach. Her pants are riding down a little, but she’s too groggy to care. Coffee. Need coffee.
“Morning. It’s not quite so cold today,” She yawns, rubbing her eyes, but she’s met with silence.
Opening her eyes again, Lena looks over at Kara – she’s still sitting on the mattress, one shoe on and the other suspended halfway to her raised foot, with a moonstruck look on her face and her mouth slightly agape. Her eyes are fixed securely somewhere around Lena’s midriff. Looking down, she can see that she was right – her sweater has ridden up past her bellybutton, and her pants are low on her hips, exposing the edges of her underwear. She pulls at them self-consciously, covering herself again, and the movement seems to jar Kara from her stupor.
“Breakfast!” Kara trills, her voice high and loud. She stands up abruptly, her head hitting the top of the tent, but luckily she doesn’t rip through it – she just leaves, unzipping the door and stepping outside with one shoe still off. She leaves the door undone, hanging open.
Determined to shake off the strangeness, Lena changes into the most camping-appropriate thing she brought – black pants and a cardigan – but she bundles up with Kara’s sweater on top, and follows Kara outside. There’s already a fire crackling in the pit, and Kara has some pans set on a grill over it – Lena can see bacon and eggs, and a bowl of sliced fruit on the picnic table.
“No bears today?” Lena teases, sitting down in the folding chair closest to the fire, and Kara laughs, seeming a little calmer than she did a few minutes ago.
“No, but I had to shoo a few raccoons away from the car this morning. They seemed determined to get in there somehow.”
Kara’s sunny self is back, the odd moment of the morning forgotten, and Lena relaxes to enjoy a bear-less breakfast. They sit around the campsite until the sun starts to heat them up, and around the time that Lena deems it warm enough to take the sweater off, Kara starts to get fidgety.
“Kara?” She ventures, and Kara looks up from where she was staring into the forest.
“You seem bored.”
Kara shakes her head vigorously, thoroughly unconvincing. “Oh! No, I’m fine.”
Lena can tell she isn’t, but she’s sitting still because she knows that Lena didn’t enjoy their hike yesterday. She sighs.
I’m going to regret this.
“So…you mentioned on the way up that there are kayaks?”
There are, in fact, kayaks. Lots of them, and easily rented, as Kara excitedly discovers. They rent two, and take off through the water towards the other side of the lake. Kara carves through easily, her biceps flexing, and it’s obvious that she’s holding back so that Lena doesn’t struggle to keep up.
As much as she’s generally opposed to unnecessary physical activity, Lena admits that this is pretty nice. It’s an easy pace, only a slight strain on her arms, and the breeze from the lake cools her off. It’s quiet and open, and she’s just starting to enjoy herself when the silence is cut by a loud, revving engine.
A large motorboat rips past them, banking and making a sharp turn soon after, its occupants raising their beers and laughing at the kayaks in the water. The resulting wave isn’t gigantic, but in combination with Lena’s surprise at the rudeness of the boat driver, it manages to throw her off – she wavers briefly, loses her balance, and then she’s in the water.
Luckily she manages to dislodge her legs quickly, and she surfaces a few seconds later with wet clothes and chock-full of irritation at irresponsible teenage boaters. She opens her mouth to say something about it to Kara, only to be slapped in the face with another wave. It gets in her mouth, making her cough and sputter, and in the confusion she hears Kara’s voice, high with panic.
It’s followed by a splash, and before she can think about what’s just happened, Kara is treading water beside her. She wraps an arm around Lena’s middle, holding her close.
“Are you sure you’re okay? God, this was a terrible idea – why does anyone kayak?” Kara babbles, her wet hair stuck partially over her eyes. She turns slightly towards the now-distant boat, looking indignant. “Why would they do that?”
“Kara, I’m fine.”
Kara doesn’t seem to hear her, continuing her tirade. “Human sports are all so dangerous – Lena, why did you say yes to this?!”
“Kara!” Lena finally barks, startling the Kryptonian out of her panic. “I can swim. It’s fine.”
“Oh.” Kara replies, looking abashed. “Right. Yeah.”
“I would like to go get dry, though, if it’s all the same to you.” Lena admits, shivering, and Kara springs into action. Lena clings to her back as she pushes their kayaks back to shore at almost-superspeed, and Lena can feel the baking sun starting to dry her clothes as they walk back to their site. She swears that she can feel Kara’s eyes on her the whole way, but whenever she looks over, Kara’s head is facing resolutely forward.
It's been a strange day.
It started off strange, with Kara having her little freakout in the morning, and now Lena is starting to notice things. Like how Kara puts a gentle hand on her lower back every time she climbs over something as they trek through the wilderness looking for a good place to have a picnic, or how the little things she usually does without thinking – putting bites of food into Lena’s mouth, or leaning her head on Lena’s shoulder – now seem heavy with something that wasn’t there before. Or like how Kara looks at her whenever she thinks Lena isn’t looking, as if she’s a particularly complex math problem that she’s having trouble solving.
It’s painfully apparent about halfway through their picnic, as they sit on Kara’s cape in the grass and eat sandwiches, pointing out chipmunks and birds. Just as Lena is digging through the bag looking for the fruit Kara packed, Kara gasps and points at the treeline.
“Lena, look!” She says in an excited whisper, and Lena looks up with a carton of strawberries in her hands. She glances at the patch of forest Kara is pointing at, expecting a squirrel or maybe a rabbit, but she almost gasps as well when she sees what Kara sees – a female deer, standing slightly obscured by foliage and looking right at them.
“She’s beautiful! Look at her!” Kara says, getting into a crouched position. She takes a few strawberries from Lena’s container and starts to inch forward slowly, holding out her hand and making soothing noises.
“Kara, I don’t think it’ll come any closer, deer are very skittish –“ Lena whispers, but to her surprise, the deer steps forward a few paces.
Kara grins, continuing on her path towards the animal. As Lena watches she makes her way all the way over, slowly reaching out with the handful of fruit, and somehow, the deer leans its graceful head forward and eats directly out of her open palm.
“Come over here!” Kara says in a hushed tone, gesturing her head for Lena to come forward. Lena grabs the container of strawberries and starts to inch forwards, aiming for Kara’s pace.
It’s beautiful up close. For a wild animal, its fur looks surprisingly soft, and its wide brown eyes show intelligence. But when she’s about four feet away, the deer looks up sharply from Kara’s hand, startling at Lena’s approach. It bolts back towards the safety of the trees, settling just within sight.
“Hey, it’s okay! Lena’s my friend! She won’t hurt you!” Kara calls, as if the animal can understand her. The deer makes a soft snorting sound, and despite her logical brain, Lena takes slight offense to it.
“I think animals just don’t like me. I’ll stay here.” She says, but Kara grabs her hand and tugs her forward.
“Don’t be silly! She just got scared. Come on.”
Kara guides her back towards the deer, holding out a hand full of berries again. There’s a strange sort of serenity to the sight – Kara, in her khaki shorts and ponytail, gently letting a wild animal eat out of her hand with a soft smile.
“Hold out your hand, Lena!” She says, nodding, and Lena obeys. She slowly, painstakingly extends her arm with a handful of fruit, feeling strangely rejected when the deer looks up at her for a few seconds and then turns back to Kara.
“See, I told you. She doesn’t like me!” Lena hisses, dropping her hand down. She sits on a nearby log, putting her still-full hand down next to her. “Clearly I don’t radiate sunshine like you do.”
“What are you talking about? She’s just shy.”
“She seems perfectly fine with you.”
“Well, that’s – oh my god, Lena, look!” Kara squeals, her gaze fixed somewhere beside Lena. Before she can ask what has her so excited, Lena feels a soft tickle on her hand. Looking down, she has to stifle her own embarrassing noises.
Nibbling at the berry in Lena’s hand is the smallest, most delicate baby deer that Lena has ever seen. Its legs are so thin that she worries a stiff breeze will knock it over, and its tiny little face makes her heart clench.
It’s not scared of me at all.
In fact, when it finishes its snack and Lena’s hand is empty, it takes a few steps closer and starts to lick at her arm, trying to get the salt from her skin. It tickles, but Lena wills herself to stay still.
“He likes me,” She whispers, looking up at Kara with a smile. For a few seconds, she’s startled by what she sees – Kara is looking at her with an almost pained expression. Something like longing, or confusion. It’s intense, but brief – it clears as soon as they make eye contact, and Kara is her normal self again. She fawns over the baby, giving Lena more fruit to feed him, and when they run out the little family finally wanders away.
It’s only after this whole distracting scenario, when they’re packing up the picnic and heading back to their site, when Lena realizes how warm it is. The forest feels stifling all of a sudden, and she wipes at her brow, sighing.
“This weather is ridiculous.”
Kara laughs, nudging her with a shoulder. “You’re from California, how is this hot?”
Lena frowns, stealing Kara’s water bottle and taking a deep swig. “In National City, I go from air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned buildings. This is different.”
Kara stops, then, and puts her hands on her hips. “Okay, complainer, just stand still.”
“Stand still? Wh –“
Before she can even consider what’s about to happen Kara opens her mouth as if she’s going to whistle, and a blast of cold air washes over her.
Freeze breath. Kara is using freeze breath on her, and even as it cools down her skin, it’s firing up something else inside her, something hot and squirmy. She can imagine those cold lips in other places, cooling the sweat on her skin, wrapping around certain things, and the temperature difference would be exquisite –
“Feel better?” Kara looks so satisfied with her own cleverness that Lena has to take a deep breath and plaster on a smile.
“Definitely, yeah. Much better.”
Her throbbing clit argues otherwise, but all she can do is grit her teeth and follow Kara out of the woods.
Kara’s greatest wish, Lena learns as dinnertime approaches, is to catch a fish and cook it herself for dinner. She seems excited about an island that the local store owner told her about, where there is apparently an abundance of trout.
“Do you even know how to cook a fresh fish?” She asks, grimacing at the idea of killing something in order to eat it, and Kara just shrugs.
“How hard can it be?”
It is, as Kara discovers when they rent a small motorboat and she settles into the driver’s seat, very hard. She looks at the controls like they’re a foreign language, and Lena sighs affectionately, nudging her out of the way.
“What are you doing?” Kara asks, brow furrowed.
“Just go sit over there.” Lena assures her, pushing her towards the opposite seat, and fires up the engine. She unties the rope from the dock and eases the boat away from the small marina easily, the motions coming back to her like riding a bike. Kara just stares, open-mouthed.
Lena grins. “What? You really think the Luthor children weren’t taught to sail? Lex and I were forced to go to yacht club.” She maneuvers around a buoy as she talks, heading out to the open lake.
“This isn’t a sailboat, Lena!” Kara says, still seeming flustered at the shock of the scenario. She fiddles with the fishing rods, glancing up at Lena every few seconds.
“I’m aware. It’s a similar concept. You need to learn to operate small watercraft as well to get your license.”
Kara nods, and the rest of the trip is spent in relative silence. The water shimmers with late day sunlight, and the small boat cuts through it easily. Eventually the island looms, and Lena releases the small anchor just off the rocky drop-off.
“Right.” She says, rubbing her hands together. “I can operate a boat, but I definitely can’t fish.”
Neither, apparently, can Kara. She brought everything they need – rods, bait, some lures – but she gets squeamish about putting the worms onto the fishing hooks.
“I didn’t know we had to kill them!” Kara says, horrified at the prospect.
“What did you think was going to happen?” Lena replies, exasperated. “You’re about to kill a fish. Are you really not okay with killing a worm?”
Kara goes slightly pale.
But finally, they both get their rods into the water, and settle in to wait. The water is still and peaceful, but after a few minutes, Lena can see Kara starting to fidget.
Lena snorts, elbowing Kara as she laughs. “I could have told you that!”
“I’d never been before! How was I supposed to know?” Kara protests, almost letting go of her rod as she gestures. “I wanted to try –“
Without warning, her rod twitches, and immediately Kara grabs it with both hands.
“Oh, god! Oh, god, what do I do?” She yells, holding the rod with a look of pure, unfiltered panic. It continues to pull down towards the surface of the water, and Lena grabs her arm.
“I don’t know, reel it in?!”
Kara does, reeling furiously and rocking the boat until she finally pulls up a moderately sized fish. She holds it aloft, still wiggling, with a look of clear triumph.
“I did it! Lena, look! I got one!” She laughs, unrestrained and happy, and Lena can’t help but laugh with her.
“I did it, I did it, I did it –“
And then, unprompted and completely unexpectedly, she grabs Lena by the shoulder and kisses her hard on the mouth.
It goes by so quickly that by the time Lena has computed the situation, it’s already long gone. Her lips tingle, her body seems to be going through hot and cold flashes, and Kara is momentarily frozen in an increasingly worrying look of terror. She opens and closes her mouth a few times, looks down at the fish in her hands, and in a strange bout of panic, Kara kisses it too.
She kisses a fish. On it’s weird, gaping mouth.
“…did you just kiss a fish?” Lena finally asks, clearing her throat to get rid of the slight crack in it. Kara averts her eyes, shrugging.
“It’s a thing that fishermen do?”
“I doubt that.”
Kara goes into full-blown defense mode, then. She holds the feebly wiggling fish up, pushing it towards Lena. “I didn’t want it to be left out!”
Kara lets the fish go anyways in the end, after seeming to really realize for the first time that to make it for dinner, she’d have to murder the helpless, floppy thing she’s pulled into the boat. Instead, in true Kara fashion, she names it Frederick and sends it on its merry way. They watch the sun set quietly over the lake from the boat, and Lena still feels the burn of Kara’s lips at the corner of her mouth.
It’s dusk by the time they head back. After returning the boat and the fishing gear, Lena makes a request – a shower. She’s felt grimy for the last two days, and she knows that there’s a communal building not far from their site with individual showering rooms that you can enter from the outside. They’ll probably be mildewy and damp, but they’re better than nothing.
Of course, knowing her luck, there’s only one shower left when they arrive – and upon turning the handle, they discover why it’s unused. The handle is clearly broken, unlockable and difficult to close.
“It’s okay – you go in first, and I’ll stand out here and make sure nobody walks in on you,” Kara insists, crossing her arms. True to her word, Kara stands like a guard dog as Lena undresses behind the barely-closed door and steps under the lukewarm spray.
It feels nice to finally wash her hair, and rinse off some of the lake grime and wood smoke. But all the while, she can’t stop looking towards the door. She’s excruciatingly aware of how little space there is between her naked self and Kara, how easily Kara could turn the handle and come inside and pin her to the wall and slide inside her, filling her with strong fingers as she leans in close, whispering her name, Lena, Lena –
Lena jumps back to reality violently, realizing belatedly that her hand is resting on her pelvis and her clit is absolutely throbbing.
“Are you okay? Your heartbeat just got really fast.” Kara asks, muffled by the door and the sound of the water.
She listens to my heartbeat?
“Um – yes. Fine. I’ll be out in a minute.” Lena manages to reply, trying to keep the shake out of her voice. She finishes up quickly, dries, and dresses, and she can barely look Kara in the eye when she goes into the shower for her turn.
Not to mention she spends the whole time wracked with detailed mental images, only furthered by her new knowledge of how Kara looks in a bathing suit.
When Kara emerges from the bathroom, her hair wet and dressed in sweats and a t-shirt, they head back to their site and Lena tries to go about the night as usual. Kara starts a fire again, they eat dinner, and then they sit together by the flames - but there’s an underlying crackling tension in the air that, now that they’re sitting still and quiet, Lena can’t help but dissect.
Kara kissed her. She kissed her. Of all the ways she’d daydreamed it happening, this wasn’t even close to being on the list. And now, Kara is staring into the fire so hard that Lena almost expects to see her heat vision activate, her chair set at least a foot from Lena’s. Every other night, they’ve been practically cuddling, and the space feels like a gulf.
It’s Kara that finally breaks the silence.
“Lena – about earlier.”
Oh, god. Here it comes. Lena steels herself for impact.
“Kara –“ She starts, but Kara pushes on, seemingly unable to stop now that she’s started.
“I didn’t mean to almost kiss you! I was excited, and it just sort of happened. I really hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable.”
It’s said with an earnestness that makes Lena’s heart sink. Maybe she really didn’t mean to. Maybe I’m just making all of this up in my head.
Okay. Do it, Luthor. Just say it.
“I’m not unaccustomed to kissing women, Kara.”
Saying the words, finally veering out of subtle hints and into blatant ones, is more of a relief than she thought it would be. Something hard and tense in her chest relaxes, like her whole body is exhaling.
Kara, infuriatingly, still doesn’t seem to get it.
“Oh, good. I thought maybe that you grew up fancy, so you did that cheek-kissing thing with your friends? Sometimes I still get confused by human friendship customs, they vary so much –“
Friendship customs? Oh, Kara, you beautiful alien.
After how much effort it took to say it in the first place, Lena is tempted to just let it go. Let Kara keep living in the dark. But she’s peeking out of the closet, now, and she might as well see it through. “No, Kara, I – not my friends.”
Kara looks confused, and Lena sighs, elaborating.
“I’m…gay. I kiss women pretty exclusively. It didn’t bother me.”
There’s a few seconds of excruciating silence – all Lena hears is the crackle of the flames and the sounds of the outdoors. All sounds that she’s become accustomed to, now, but at this moment they feel deafening.
“You’re – you’re – oh!” Kara looks like there are several hamsters running full-tilt in her head, clearly shocked and trying not to show it. “Right! Gay, you’re – I had no idea, with meeting Jack and everything –“
Lena scoffs, digging into the dirt with the toe of her shoe. “Jack was…my final attempt at heterosexuality.” She admits, fidgeting and staring into the embers to avoid Kara’s clear crisis a few feet over. “He was my best friend, and I thought that if it could work with anyone, it should have been him. I wanted it to work. But…it just didn’t. I felt more just sitting next to a beautiful woman than I did while I was kissing him.”
She finally braves a look over at Kara, and finds Kara’s gaze on her intently. She looks impossibly thoughtful, like she’s seeing Lena for the first time just now.
“Are you…is that okay?” Lena asks, her voice quiet. She can tell that she’s definitely failed at masking her nerves.
The thread of fear in her voice seems to shake Kara out of her thoughts, and she nods vigorously. “Oh gosh, of course! Of course it is, Lena. You’re my best friend.” She finally scoots her chair closer and puts an arm around Lena’s shoulders, meaning to give comfort, and it should feel the same as it always has but it doesn’t. It feels different.
When they finally climb into their mess of sleeping bags, the strange sense of different-ness persists. Instead of cuddling like the night before, they lie almost stiffly side by side, looking up at the ceiling of the tent. Lena curses herself, her stupid, reckless desire to be honest.
Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve ruined everything.
She almost jumps when Kara’s voice, quiet and unsure, breaks the quiet.
“Hmm?” She answers noncommittally, picking at her thumbnail under the blanket. There’s something heavy about the air, and Lena can’t tell whether it’s a good thing or not.
There’s a pause, and it stretches so long that Lena actually thinks Kara might have fallen asleep. But it’s finally broken again by a question so quiet that Lena has to strain to hear it.
“How did you know?”
Lena frowns. She can’t be asking what I think she’s asking.
“How did I know what?”
Kara pauses again, wiggling around as if she can’t get comfortable. Her next words come only after she’s finally settled, just close enough that Lena can feel her heat.
“That you were…you know. That you liked girls.”
Lena’s stomach does an alarming flip, a strange tightness taking up residence in her chest. She makes a strangled noise before she can stop herself.
“I – what? Why –“ She stammers, and Kara answers too quickly to be telling the truth.
“I’m just curious.”
Lena swallows. The truth has taken her to some strange places tonight. It led here here, to this tense conversation, and she’s not sure she wants to continue. In the end, though, she decides to keep on the path.
“I fell in love.” She admits, her whole body still tense. Kara’s head turns, and Lena can feel two eyes on her.
“Mhmm.” Lena says, and Kara keeps staring long enough that she clearly wants an explanation. Lena sighs.
“I’d always had an idea, you know. I had…thoughts, about girls in my class. But I could write them off as jealousy, or intense friendship, or admiration. I never felt that thing for boys that everyone said I should.”
Kara’s voice is still quiet, and definitely curious. “Who did you fall in love with?”
She’s not entirely sure she’s ready for Kara to know that her first real love was Veronica Sinclair. Veronica before the alien fight club, before the corruption, when she was just a business major with big dreams who convinced Lena that applying her genius to graduating early instead of partying was the better route. Instead, she deflects.
“It was in college. It was the first time I was ever really given any freedom, and I went overboard. Partied too much. One night, a girl found me puking my guts out in a bathroom stall in some random dorm building. We got really close…she got me out of that whole scene.”
She can see Kara nodding out of the corner of her eye. “And you fell in love with her?”
“Yes.” Lena confirms, quietly. It’s been a long time since she’s had to think about that whole disaster – even when Kara had come to her office asking for Veronica’s location, she was able to push it down. But now, she feels raw and exposed.
“Did you date?” Kara asks, and Lena feels the deep, hollow spike of a pain long forgotten.
“…no, we didn’t.” She manages, biting at her lower lip. The sting of it grounds her. “I told her how I felt, and she…we stopped being friends.”
It’s not lost on Lena how close the is to reliving that whole, horrific experience right now.
Kara seems to bristle, her voice getting louder and more indignant. “What? She stopped hanging out with you?”
Lena laughs humorlessly. That’s an understatement.
“That’s the short version, yes,” Is what she admits out loud. “After that, I had some casual hookups. Trying to figure out if I was really gay, or just had a weird anomaly crush.”
“And?” Kara edges, and Lena shrugs.
“And…I’m really gay.”
Kara giggles nervously at that, and it makes the fear in Lena’s chest ease a bit.
“And then, Jack?”
Lena sighs. “Yeah. Clearly that didn’t work out.”
Kara nods, and the silence descends again. Again Lena feels the heavy, weighted tension, and again Kara breaks the quiet with an unexpected question.
“So…what does love feel like?”
Lena startles, finally turning her eyes away from the ceiling and looking at Kara. The light filtering through the tent material makes her look translucently pale, and she’s looking at Lena intently.
“What does…Kara, you’ve been in love. You were with Mon-El.”
“I don’t know.” Kara’s voice is small, and quiet. “Looking back, what I felt with him…it didn’t feel like people say it should.”
The sentiment is achingly familiar. Lena can remember feeling that way – lying next to Jack at night, looking at his face and willing herself to feel something. To feel anything. Butterflies, fireworks, heat – she would have settled for just comfortable warmth. But there was nothing, besides a deep platonic affection.
“How did he make you feel?”
“I don’t know. Like I wasn’t alone. Like I wasn’t the only one who could remember Krypton. It was nice that I wasn’t in danger of breaking him. What did you feel, with your friend? What’s it supposed to feel like?”
“Like…” Honestly, it’s difficult for Lena to remember how Veronica made her feel. It feels like a lifetime ago, muddied by a broken heart and the knowledge of how she turned out. All she can think of is Kara. When she opens her mouth, the words spill out like she’s been just waiting for the oppourtunity to say them.
“Like you’re the only people in the room, when you’re together. Like when you see them, your chest expands to fit all the feelings that bubble up. Like you want to be with them all the time, no matter what. Like you want to kiss them for the smallest, most insignificant things and you can’t explain why.”
She cuts herself off, then, worried that she’s said too much. Kara turns onto her side, looking intently at Lena through the darkness. Lena turns her head, meeting her gaze.
Kara just keeps staring, her eyes flicking over each part of Lena’s face in turn. There’s something going on in her head, and she consistently opens her mouth as if to say something before closing it again and biting her lip. Finally it stretches on long enough, and Lena breaks, sighing.
“Honestly, Kara, what –“
The air mattress shifts, and suddenly there’s a warm weight on top of her and soft lips covering hers.
It’s not exactly what she imagined their first kiss to be like, in the moments of weakness where she let herself daydream about this moment. Their faces bump together slightly as Kara’s arms jostle the bed, and it’s dark, so Kara actually kisses somewhere closer to her chin the first time. And besides that, Lena is so shocked at the whole rapid change of situation that she simply blanks, her mouth still slightly open as Kara’s awkward kiss ends.
But in the few seconds after, when their breaths are mingling and Kara’s eyes are still closed, her body seems to realize exactly what’s happening. Every nerve roars to life, urging her to pull Kara closer and not let her go. She slips a hand around to the base of Kara’s neck, puts her knee up to bracket Kara’s hips, and pulls her back down.
The second kiss is magic.
Kara’s hair falls around them, blocking out what little moonlight is diffusing through the tent, and she’s surrounded by the sweet smell of her. Kara presses perfectly against her, a hipbone hitting the most wonderful spot as their chests rub together, and her lips. Her lips. They’re soft and gentle, tentative in a way that makes Lena’s heart contract almost painfully. They part for air, and Lena arches up to eliminate the space between their bodies, and Kara lets out a tiny, broken whimper.
“Oh,” She breathes, and that one tiny sound explains everything that Kara is feeling – surprise, wonder, desperation, and unmistakeable arousal. Lena drinks it in, tilting her head to deepen their kisses, and then Kara engulfs her like a wildfire.
Like a switch has been flipped, Kara is everywhere at once. Their kisses become hot and open, her hips starting up a steady grind, and she props herself up with one arm while gripping Lena’s hip with the other.
It’s overwhelming, and suddenly the tent is stiflingly hot. The shower she took earlier did very little to wash off the grossness of being in the woods for the weekend, but Kara somehow still smells amazing, and she tastes so good, and instead of worrying about how thoroughly she’s washed, Lena loses herself to the rocking motion of their bodies.
“I don’t know – I don’t know what’s happening.” Kara pants, her hips dragging slow and deep along Lena’s thigh and making her breath stutter. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just know I’ve wanted to kiss you all weekend, and I didn’t know why, and now –“
Lena pulls back, worried. “Kara, if you’re not sure about this –“
“No!” Kara says, halting in her incessant, desperate movement. “I want this. Lena, I’ve never felt like this – I didn’t know it could be like this. With you.”
Lena swallows, her throat feeling thick with the weight of this moment. Kara’s eyes are wide and blown out, her lips swollen, and Lena can just see the rapid rise and fall of her chest pressed against her own. It’s probably a bad idea, she knows – being your best friend’s first experience with a woman is always dangerous territory, and it’s even more so when you’re hopelessly in love with said best friend – but she’s only human. A few tastes of Kara’s lips and she’s already addicted, and with the object of her craving pressed intimately to her, she doesn’t have the willpower to resist.
She pulls Kara back down, wrapping a leg around her waist, and leaves it up to the universe.
There are moments that are awkward – the mattress is so bouncy that their faces bump together sometimes, and it’s hard for Kara to hold back her strength, but it’s so, so good. Kara doesn’t even take the time to try to remove their clothes – Lena’s shirt gets rucked up over her breasts and her bra is pulled down unceremoniously so that Kara can play with her nipples, and she’s eager and a little bit clumsy but it’s more than enough.
When she finally pulls down Lena’s pyjamas enough to slip her hand inside, Lena can hear the slick sounds her fingers make as they make contact with her cunt. She’s so wet that she can hear it, and she knows that Kara can hear it, and Kara is whimpering before she’s even been inside her, oh god, Kara is going to be inside her, and it’s all so much –
“Will you – show me?” Kara pants into her neck, slipping two fingers through the wetness between her thighs with little finesse but a lot of enthusiasm. “I don’t know how –“ They slip over Lena’s clit by accident, and she twitches like a live wire. Kara does it again, rubbing broad strokes, and Lena is pretty sure she’s not going to need much instruction at this rate.
“Two fingers inside, and - your thumb – fuck!”
She doesn’t get to finish her sentence, because suddenly there are two long digits nestled inside her and Kara’s thumb is resting against her clit.
“Like this?” She whispers, her voice trembling, and Lena whines.
“God, yes – move your hand –“
Eager to please, Kara obeys. Her fingers slip out almost all the way before plunging back in, and it’s good, but it’s just slightly off. Normally Lena would be quieter, let her partner figure it out on their own, but Kara seems to crave the direction. So she pants into Kara’s ear, adjusting her hips.
“Not – don’t pull out so much, do shallow – fuck, yes, just like that!” She gasps, tangling a hand in Kara’s hair and tugging hard as Kara switches to shorter, deeper thrusts. At Lena’s enthusiastic response she speeds up, her hand like a piston, every harsh movement bringing her closer, and Lena can barely think past how good it feels.
Clearly, Kara is a fast learner.
She’s also very clearly enjoying this as much as Lena is. She’s whining in little puffs of air against Lena’s collar as she fucks her, and Lena wants to touch her so badly, but she doesn’t want to startle her into losing control when she’s clearly so close to losing it as it is.
And it’s clear that she is – every muscle is taut, one hand working magic inside Lena and the other tightly clenching a pillow above her head. She makes desperate noises, whispers things into Lena’s skin that are intoxicating in their earnest wonder – it’s as if she’s consistently surprised. Surprised at how good this feels, at how much she’s enjoying it. She murmurs about how beautiful Lena is, how it feels to be making her feel good, how she can’t wait until –
Kara cuts herself off, then. But Lena eggs her on, turned on to near-insanity by her inexperienced, instinctual, wonderful words.
“Can’t wait until what?” She pants, her voice high and breathy, and Kara groans, speeding her hand up.
“Until – I can’t wait until –“
“Tell me.” Lena demands, and Kara breaks.
“I can’t wait until you come for me, Lena, I – I want to feel it, on my hand, on - on my fingers –“
And that, apparently, is all it takes. Kara laves a few circles over her nipple and keeps up her savage pace, and her words hit Lena at the core of her, down to the quick. That tight, simmering feeling starts to expand, and Lena’s toes curl in the flannel fabric of the blankets as her back arches.
When she comes, it’s with Kara’s fingers curling sweetly inside her and Kara’s voice in her ear, the salty taste of her skin on Lena’s tongue and the smell of her hair surrounding them. Everything is Kara, in her body and her heart, and it makes the pleasure that much more intense. It draws out longer than usual, Kara still moving her hand with intent, but finally Lena has to tap out.
“Stop, stop, fuck, I can’t –“ She gasps, tugging Kara’s tangled hair. Kara stops immediately, propping herself up and peering down at her.
“Did you come?”
The question is absolutely absurd, from her side of things. Did she come? She came harder than she ever has in her life, and she’s pretty sure she’s ruined for anyone else now, and Kara is still asking.
“You have no idea.” She manages to groan, slinging an arm over her face. It’s partially to give her a few moments to collect herself, and partly because Kara’s gaze is so intense that she’s worried she’ll do something stupid like pour her heart out if she meets it any longer.
Instead she slides a hand down to Kara’s waistband, pulling at it with questing fingers.
“Can I touch you?”
Kara hesitates, looking torn.
“I…I don’t know if I can control myself. My powers, I mean. I might hurt you.” She admits, and Lena nods.
“Okay. What if we go slow? Nice and easy, and you can tell me if it’s too much?”
Swallowing, Kara agrees. “Okay.” Immediately Lena pushes on Kara’s chest gently, until she follows her lead and rolls over onto her back.
“I’m going to take your pants off, okay?” She warns, and Kara nods vigorously, lifting her hips. The sweatpants come off easily, leaving her –
Bare. Kara isn’t wearing underwear, and Lena is staring the patch of soft, trimmed hair and the shiny wetness that’s smeared across her thighs – wetness caused by Lena, she’s wet because of me - and suddenly, the only important thought in her head is taste. Spreading Kara’s legs slowly, she wiggles down the mattress until she’s inches from her swollen cunt.
“Is this okay?” She murmurs, reining in the almost overwhelming instinct to have her mouth on Kara right now to make sure she’s feeling comfortable and in control. Kara’s eyes are wide, her mouth open, her chest heaving. Her hand twitches, and she anchors it to her own abdomen.
“I’ve never…this is new. Just, slow?”
The fact that nobody has ever done this for Kara before, that Lena will be the first to give this to her, makes a heat flare inside her. She nods, lowering her head.
In the spirit of letting Kara acclimate to the sensations, Lena doesn’t go for her clit right away. She kisses and nips at her thighs, tasting the slick there and trying to keep her pathetic moans at the flavour to a minimum. She makes her way closer to Kara’s centre, swirling her tongue slowly all the way, until she finally spreads her open slightly with her fingers.
It’s dark, but she can still see everything she needs to. Kara’s clit is swollen, so prominent that it takes some willpower not to suck it into her mouth immediately. Instead she runs her tongue around the edges of it, into every fold, tasting and teasing softly. She dips inside her a few times, reveling in the still-abundant wetness there.
And, she’s so responsive. Kara’s hips twitch and quiver, but she stays in control of her movements. Her face, though, is less controlled. It contorts every time Lena tries something new, usually accompanied by breathy cries that only egg her on.
Finally, Kara taps on the mattress.
“I don’t think I can – I’m close, I’m going to hurt you.“ She gasps, starting to close her legs. Lena reluctantly leaves her spot, moving up to kiss her reassuringly.
“It’s okay. It’s okay.” She murmurs against Kara’s lips, her face still slick. “Can you touch yourself? Is that better?”
Kara nods, clearly relieved, and quick as lightning she’s taken her shirt off and tossed in away.
“Too hot,” She explains, but before Lena can respond her hand is between her legs, rubbing frantically at her clit. She’s completely bare now, in contrast to Lena being almost fully clothed, and the contrast is somehow insanely appealing. Her lips stay on Lena’s, and when Lena starts to move away with the intention of watching, Kara whines in protest.
“No – kiss me, please, I want you to kiss me when I –“
The desperation in her voice tempers any disappointment Lena might have felt about missing the show. Their lips crash together again, and Kara is hardly capable of properly kissing back – she’s just panting into Lena’s mouth at this point – but clearly it’s enough. The tent is filled with a symphony of both their moans, the slick sounds of Kara’s fingers moving and their tongues moving together, messy and wet. Finally Lena bites hard on her lower lip and palms at one of her exposed breasts, and it’s enough - Kara arches up, her voice cracking as she chokes out the most beautiful thing Lena has ever heard.
It’s short, and intense, and it leaves Lena feeling almost as sated as she felt after her own orgasm. As Kara comes back down to earth, catching her breath and almost dislodging Lena from the mattress as she flops back from her arched position, Lena vows to log that sound away for the rest of her life.
As they lay together, their bodies slowly cooling and Kara stroking her shoulder, Lena hears a loud voice in the distance. It comes from a few sites over, at least – probably one of the teenagers they passed yesterday, by the pitch of her voice.
“Finally! For god’s sake, get a room!”
In her post-coital high, rather than being embarrassing, the clear indication that they’ve disrupted half the campground with their romp just makes her laugh. She starts to giggle, and she feels Kara’s chest rumble underneath her as well – soon enough, they’re rolling together on the air mattress, clutching their abs and gasping through the laughter. Lena’s bra is still askew, and her pants are nowhere to be found, and Kara is in a similar state of sweaty disarray, and it’s pretty much perfect.
The giggles peter out eventually, leaving the two of them tangled in a comfortable, half-naked heap. She feels calm. Serene, almost. Kara’s heartbeat is soothing, and even the sounds of nature aren’t enough to keep her up right now. Nothing can keep her from sinking into a deep, cleansing slumber.
Except for that.
Lena’s heart starts to sink, the elation of the last few minutes ebbing away. Can’t we just have one night before this all falls apart? She briefly considers pretending to be asleep, but there’s too much nervousness in Kara’s voice for Lena to resist wanting to soothe it.
Of course, Kara asks the question Lena least wants to hear right now.
“What does this mean?”
Trying to buy time, Lena plays dumb. “What do you mean?”
Unfortunately, Kara can’t be discouraged.
“You know. For us. What does this mean?”
Lena knows exactly what she wants this to mean. She wants Kara to love her. She wants to go home together, and tell all of their friends, and have proper sex in a proper bed with some kind of tech to dampen Kara’s powers, and more than anything, Lena wants this to be real. But it doesn’t matter what she wants. She refuses to be the one to take this jump. Putting the ball in Kara’s court, she steels herself for heartbreak.
“Whatever you want it to mean, Kara.”
She can practically feel Kara frown. “But…what about what you want it to mean?”
Lena sits up quickly, needing some space from Kara’s comforting arms. “What I want doesn’t matter.”
“What? Of course it does,” Kara insists, sitting up as well. She inches closer, and Lena tenses.
“Lena.” Kara says, her tone almost reprimanding. It makes her feel silly, and she pulls her shirt back down with a huff.
“It doesn’t matter, Kara.”
Kara throws her hands up, her frustration bleeding into her tone. “You have to help me here. I – I didn’t even know you were gay until a few hours ago!”
Lena laughs humorlessly. “I dropped enough hints. Are you sure you didn’t know? Or were you just ignoring it and hoping it wouldn’t come up because it scared you?” Lena doesn’t know what possessed her to say it. It’s a thought she’s had a few times, namely when Kara does something particularly romantic and claims that it’s just a friendly thing, and she’d never thought to voice it until now, with Kara still hot and loose-limbed underneath her.
Kara is quiet for a moment after that. Lena can almost hear the volume of her thoughts, pushed into overdrive.
“You’re right.” Kara whispers, sounding like she’s just worked out a complicated math problem. “I didn’t think – you’re right. I kept having these feelings, but I didn’t…” She trails off, sounding lost.
“Yeah. For you.”
Lena’s chest tightens almost painfully with the heartfelt admission. With the amount of times that’s happened this weekend, she muses, she’s probably in danger of serious heart problems. But she’s still wary.
“What kind of feelings?” She asks cautiously, and Kara goes for the gold with her answer, tugging at Lena’s arm until she settles back down, tucked into Kara’s side.
“You know. Chest-fluttery, happy, butterfly feelings. The stuff that you said say you’re supposed to feel when you’re –“ She cuts herself off, fidgeting with Lena’s hair. She runs her fingers through it almost rhythmically, scratching gently at her scalp. “Um. And, you know, sexy feelings. I was scared of what it meant.”
Lena does know. And oh, how she wishes Kara had finished that sentence.
“I accepted all of those a long time ago,” Lena finally admits. “For you.”
Kara pauses in her finger-combing, looking down at her. “You…you did?”
“Kara, I’m lying on top of you half naked right now. You were inside me not 15 minutes ago.” Lena can feel the hot blush creep up Kara’s neck at the reminder, and she grins, finally feeling like maybe, just maybe, this isn’t going to fall apart.
“And…” Kara swallows, and Lena can hear the pulse speed up under her ear. “The other ones? The…not-sexy feelings?”
“…those too.” She admits, and Kara relaxes, breath whooshing out of her so quickly that Lena feels the chill of it.
“Oh. Good. Okay. So, would you maybe want to…” She trails off, her restless leg making the whole mattress shake. “Would you –“ She cuts off again, huffing in frustration. “I’ve never done this before.”
“Done what?” Lena asks, trying not to laugh at her awkward phrasing.
“Any of this!” She exclaims, and Lena loses the battle. She chuckles, and Kara seems to steel herself in reaction. She moves to that they’re face to face, and takes a deep breath.
“Okay. Lena. Do you want to –“
Lena, feeling giddy with the knowledge of Kara’s feelings, cuts her off with a kiss. “Yes.”
Kara blinks owlishly, looking adorably confused. “You don’t even know what I was going to ask!”
“Whatever it is, the answer is yes.”
Kara grins, looking devious. “Really? Whatever it is?”
“Really.” Lena confirms, and Kara bites her lip, raising an almost Luthor-worthy eyebrow.
“So…do you want to marry me?”
“What?!” Lena chokes, jerking back in surprise. Kara keeps up the façade for a few seconds, but soon enough she bursts into laughter, covering her mouth.
“Oh Rao, your face! You should have seen –“ She giggles, and Lena smacks her shoulder, but Kara is still laughing, and she can’t help but join in.
“You ass –“
Kara’s laughter calms down, and Lena lays back down on her chest. It feels strange and new, this easy laughter and physical contact when just two hours ago Lena had been agonizing, but it’s unbelievably good to rest her cheek on Kara’s bare shoulder, to hear her steady heartbeat and feel how her muscles shift as Kara pulls her closer. Their legs tangle, and Kara’s toes flex against her calf.
“Will you...be my girlfriend?”
She says it quickly, like she’s ripping off a band-aid, but her voice is steady and sure. Lena’s heart skips, and she can feel Kara smile when she hears it. Lena’s response is immediate – she means to go for a lighthearted tone, but it ends up coming out achingly sincere.
“I thought you’d never ask.”
When the birds wake her the next morning at an ungodly hour, she finally finds that she doesn’t mind at all.