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Of Cave Bears and Blossoms

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Kara balanced her paintbrush on the edge of the raised metal tray she had been using as a pallet. She plucked her damp towel off of the small table next to her well-used easel and scuffed at her hands as she padded to the door, a slow smile growing on her lips. If she had her way she wouldn’t have worried about locking her front door at all while at home. However after multiple earfuls from Alex and all of her close friends, she kept it locked. At first it had annoyed her. She was Supergirl . She didn’t need to lock her front door when she was home. But… she did like the ritualistic normalcy of unlocking it and pulling the wide door open to let Lena in.

 

“Hi!”

 

“Hi, sorry I’m late, traffic was awful .” Lena griped, but still smiled as she pulled Kara into a one-armed hug and carefully balanced their dinner in the other.

 

Kara grinned into her shoulder but was careful not to let her body lean in-just in case there was paint on her shirt. Lena had told her It’s fine in the past, but it was still mortifying to get oil paint on your best friend’s expensive clothes. She pulled back and stood to the side, letting Lena in and followed the pizza and potstickers with her nose.

 

“I’m starving.

 

Lena gave her a coy teasing look over her shoulder as she sauntered into the kitchen, her heeled boots thumping on the hardwood. “You’re always starving, Kara. Insatiable, even.”

 

Kara blushed and closed the door. “Maybe not the right word to use.”

 

“Please, I’ve seen how much you enjoy burritos from that food truck staked at CatCo on Wednesdays.” Lena grinned wickedly and set their meal down on the high table.

 

“I’m ignoring you.”

 

Lena laughed as Kara stiffly marched herself back to the easel, convinced steam was trailing behind her. She had just picked her brush back up and laid down a few blots of color when Lena’s heels approached her. The warm inviting scent of cheese, spices, sun roasted tomato, and brick oven baked dough arrived with the subtle floral of Lena’s mild perfume.

 

“Here, sweetheart, you’re a little hangry.”

 

Kara turned her head and blinked at the pizza slice Lena was holding up to her to take a bite of as a peace offering. She could still tell that Lena was trying not to tease her by the turned up corners of her mouth, but her eyes were soft. Kara scrunched her nose at her and took too big of a bite, the tip of Lena’s finger brushing against her lip as she bit down with half of the slice in her mouth. It was good pizza and she sighed through her nose, cheeks full as she started chewing her way through her mouthful and daubed some more color onto her canvas. Lena grinned and kissed her on the corner of her jaw.

 

“That’s better.”

 

Kara blushed again for a different reason and grumbled a staubbit around her pizza as Lena laughed again. Lena finished the half eaten slice and brought a plate over, alternating between eating and feeding Kara as she painted and told her about her day at L-Corp.

 

It was a familiar scene, Kara painting and Lena sitting sideways on one of the tall kitchen chairs pulled to the edge of her drop cloth. A twice-monthly hang out, if they were lucky. Kara counted herself as the luckiest woman in the world after everything they had gone through. Even more so now that after everything, she and Lena had come back together closer than ever.

 

Closer than ever was the easy way of saying they liked each other more than normal friends do .

 

However, acknowledging those feelings was far easier than acting on them. It was easier to dance closer and not say anything. It was easier to hug longer and let their originally platonic cuddling morph into something not so platonic. Oh, it would happen at some point. They had both hinted at it but had either been interrupted by someone or some thing -or interrupted by themselves. It was apparent they were looking for the proper permission to finally admit their feelings. Neither one of them knew what this permission looked like, but they were content in their current situation.

 

Lena had had her fill, and having placated Kara into a less-hungry state had washed her hands and opened a bottle of wine. She was watching her quietly, asking mundane questions about the painting and what she wanted to do next. Kara got a little over-enthusiastic with her yellow and a goop of it landed on her wrist.

 

Ah -oops.”

 

Without really paying it much thought, she quickly deposited what was on her brush onto the canvas, and then swiped the bristles over her skin to scoop up what she had splattered. The smooth, cool sensation felt nice and left a soft streak of yellow in its wake. But, it was expensive paint and Kara didn’t waste any. She daubed her brush against her canvas and kept working.

 

“Have you ever painted on skin before?”

 

Lena’s question was soft and half-muffled, the sound of her taking a sip immediately following the upper inflection of her voice. Kara glanced over her shoulder and saw her looking at the new yellow streak on her wrist. Her mind clicked in place for a moment, cycling through strange examples and moisturize me and Toxic by Britney Spears before realizing what Lena probably meant.

 

Oh . You mean, like, body painting?”

 

Lena shrugged a shoulder, a small pull to her brow indicated she was thinking. “Yeah.”

 

“Well, I’m not too artistic with my makeup, that sounds hard.” Kara demurred, intimidated by the question.

 

“No, I mean, have you ever just painted on someone before? Not special effects.”

 

Kara paused and lifted her brush away from her canvas that was starting to look like a memory.

 

“Oh… no… do you have a picture?”

 

Lena pulled her phone out of her pocket, mouth working as she searched for her next words.

 

Erhm, Nia? Sent me a text-“ She started scrolling on her phone. “-she sends me pretty things when I’m having a hard day. Where is it-

 

Kara set her brush down and leaned back against the high kitchen table next to her best friend. She inched close-not too close. Close enough to feel the heat of her body, but there was still wet paint on her clothes. A merciful barrier.

 

“Here.” Lena tapped on a picture from a few days ago of a woman’s back covered in bright swirling colors. “This may be a bit bold of me, but… would you paint on my back like that?”

 

Oh . Like that .

 

Kara looked closer, realizing the woman’s partner was straddling her. It looked incredibly intimate and she cleared her throat to fight back a blush.

 

It was tempting.

 

“... let me think about it?” She picked her brush back up.

 

Lena pulled her phone back, a soft smile curling around the corner of her lips. “Sure. If not, that’s okay. Watching you paint is soothing.”

 

“Okay.” Kara grinned, but turned and put her brush down again with an excited wiggle of her shoulders. “Okay actually I think I need some more pizza first. Gotta tank up to finish this tonight.”

 

Lena rolled her eyes fondly. “Whatever you say, Kara.”

 


 

So I’ve been thinking about that back painting picture.

 

Kara stared down at her phone on the low kitchen table with her heart in her throat. Her lunch sat uncharacteristically half-eaten to the side. It had been three weeks since Lena had shown her the picture and she had thought about it. A lot. Enough for her to go to the craft store earlier that day to pick up body-safe kids paints and new soft brushes. And baby wipes. She was prepared. Mostly.

 

She wanted to try painting on someone’s back.

 

She wasn’t sure if she was emotionally prepared to paint on Lena’s back.

 

Her phone buzzed.

 

What about it ?

 

Kara laughed nervously in her empty apartment, eyes flickering to the plastic bag sitting in the wooden chair by her front door. She picked her phone up, frowning at the small nervous tremor in her fingers, and typed out a response before she could chicken-out again.

 

I got some safe paints today, we could try that when you come over later?

 

She hit send, and immediately typed out another message-

 

But it could be your hand or arm, if you aren’t comfortable?

 

She waited three seconds.

 

Or not at all, I don’t want to freak you out or anything.

 

She waited barely another second, feeling as if she had made a mistake and started typing-

 

Sure, that sounds fun.

 

Kara stared at those four words for a long moment of stunned silence. Really, there was no reason for her to be stunned. Lena had brought it up in the first place.  She deleted her half-assed rushed apology and typed out something else.

 

If you’re sure?

 

The only response she got for the rest of her lunch break was a maybe something with shapes would be pretty . It wasn’t very helpful, but it was reassuring that they were both still interested. That alone managed to buoy Kara through the rest of her work day and early evening as she helped put a house fire out on the upper east shore. She had just touched down on her small balcony as a key turned in her front door.

 

Lena slipped into her home in painted-on black jeans and a plain white t-shirt that was obviously tailored to fit perfectly. Of course there was also a nice blazer that clearly was expensively designed to look simple and most likely cost two months of Kara’s rent, and one of her large leather purses Kara often lusted after on late-night online window shopping. She looked comfortable and casual and her heart did a funny leap in her chest. Kara also felt embarrassingly like a grime ball covered in soot and sweat. Lena had seen her in worse shape, but she couldn’t help it.

 

There was no chance to hide and sneak in through the tiny bathroom window as Lena immediately spotted the jewel tones of her suit. Her happy smile slipped into worry when she noticed how much of a mess she was.

 

“Kara-are-are you alright?”

 

Well, so much for being clean before Lena got there. Kara wriggled into her apartment and removed her boots.

 

“Hey! Yeah-just uh. Put a fire out. Thankfully no one was home.” She shrugged and started shuffling towards her bedroom. “I’m gonna shower? Five minutes.”

 

Lena’s shoulders slumped in relief. “I’ll order out?”

 

“No we can still cook, I’m just-“ she gestured to herself. “I’ll be right back.”

 

Her best friend smiled softly and held her hands up in surrender. “I’ll start washing the vegetables.”

 

Kara wanted so badly to kiss the dimple in her cheek and for the stupidly mundane action of washing vegetables , but she forced herself to retreat with a rushed be right back . She made it back out in four minutes and thirty-two seconds and Lena had only had time to put her stuff down and wash her hands.

 

“Okay-hug time.”

 

Lena dropped the carrots hastily as Kara barreled into her arms with so much force she had to spin them and absorb the impact. The glasses rattled ominously behind her on the shelf as she thudded into the counter. Lena squeaked in surprise and clutched at her, the momentum leading her to fall into Kara’s chest, but it only lasted a moment and she was returning the overly-enthusiastic hug with a soft laugh. She humored Kara by tucking herself into her embrace and wrapped her arms tightly about her ribs. Kara giggled into the side of her head as she felt her squeeze as hard as she could, all soft curves and lean muscle. It was a new habit Lena had started a while ago, citing that she never got to hug to her full potential and was making up for missing out on bone-crushing hugs for years. It was one of Kara’s favorite rituals she got to have with Clark, and it made the inside of her ribs feel cottony and soft when Lena told her she was that person for her.

 

“Besides the fire, how was your day?” Lena mumbled into the collar of her t-shirt, arms relaxing into a softer pressure.

 

Distracted by you .

 

“Okay. Nothing too bad but a little bit of a slog.” Kara answered, kicking down the betraying thought.

 

“Mmm. Well, let's get some food into you. That will help.”

 

Lena patted her back and pulled away, her cheeks flushed and her expression happy. Kara bit back a flirty comment about a way to a girl’s heart , but instead they got to work prepping an easy sheet pan meal. It was simple and tasty and filling, quick comfort food that checked Lena’s healthy category and something that Kara could heap onto an uncomfortable amount of rice with too much seasoning (in Lena’s opinion, a tablespoon of paprika is overkill but Kara didn’t think so). There was an underlying current of nervous energy and it took all of Kara’s self control not to start blabbing about the paint in its plastic bag under her easel.

 

Lena pushed the last few nibbles of her dinner around on her plate. “So, um.”

 

Kara stuffed another forkful into her mouth and chewed slowly just so she wouldn’t ramble. Lena glanced up at her, mouth working wordlessly as her eyes flitted from Kara’s eyes to her mouth to her hands and back again. Her face pinked in a blush that Kara knew was reflected on her own.

 

“Um. Do you want to work on one of your other paintings before, you-uh, first?”

 

Kara leapt at the distraction and nearly spat out her mouthful to answer her. “ ‘Eah .”

 

Lena’s nose scrunched in mild disgust at her half-masticated food. Kara shut her mouth and nodded emphatically with a few mhmms to follow up and support her answer. If anything she needed to try to temper her nerves, just a little. Lena seemed to slump a little too, a mite of tension easing off her shoulders.

 

“Okay-I… okay.” Lena stuttered, and then busied herself with stabbing the last small bites onto her fork.

 

They fell into their normal routine of cleaning up the kitchen together, though a smidge quieter than usual. As always, Lena shooed her off to her easel where Kara would happily get to work. It was a little more difficult to get into the groove as she stared down the plastic bag on top of her large paint caddy box from college. Ten minutes in she moved it to the low table and behind her, out of sight. The crinkle of the settling plastic bag was still just as distracting as looking at it and Kara aimlessly filled in swatches of underpainting.

 

The sink ran and Kara listened to her best friend- her crush beyond a crush -clean up the kitchen of her rent controlled apartment as she struggled to put color on her canvas. Fifteen minutes passed and Kara had managed to calm to a simmering buzz when Lena slid back into her self-designated seat. Out of the corner of her eye Kara watched her take her phone out of her pocket.

 

“What're you thinking about?”

 

Lena’s voice was low and soft. Kara swallowed thickly against her nerves.

 

“Um. Painting.”

 

She heard the huff of a laugh behind her and tried to ignore the heat crawling up her neck. Lena didn’t say anything else and Kara’s thoughts reeled across her canvas. Her confident brush strokes became timid dabs, over-thought and sparse. What if painting on Lena’s back made things… weird? Bad weird? A knot formed heavy in her stomach with worry as she idled, messily pushing paint around her pallet in a loop of mounting anxiety.

 

“If you don’t want to, we don’t have to.”

 

Kara stopped ruining her paint and pulled in a deep breath through her nose. She paid attention to how her ribs and stomach expanded in a gentle grounding stretch, held it for a moment to gather all of her bad thoughts up into a tight little ball, and then exhaled just as slowly while imagining that anxiety flowing from her body. It helped. A little.

 

She wanted . But the mind can play terrible tricks.

 

“I’m okay. Just nervous.” Kara admitted, daubing a bolder swath of color onto the canvas.

 

“‘S just me.” Lena’s comment was mumbled into her glass.

 

I know, that’s why.

 

Kara shrugged, too afraid to clarify. “Let me paint a little more?”

 

Ice clinked in Lena’s glass behind her. “Whatever you need.”

 

Another brash comment battered against Kara’s teeth. She bit down hard on it and offered a nod instead, holding on tight to the impulsive you’re what I need . It was silly. Frustrating to say the least that she felt so impulsive around Lena, and definitely not healthy that she was avoiding it rather than talking it out like a responsible adult. They had said no more secrets , but the awful little voice in her head hissing don’t mess this up it’s finally good -

 

Kara rolled her shoulders back and forced herself to pay attention to the task in front of her. Slowly but surely she relaxed and eased herself into the comfortable calm that painting sometimes brought her. Her mind stilled as her paintbrush wandered, filling in blocky values as the geometric profile of Argo’s university emerged. She had painted the building so many times she had lost count. It had been a haven for her lifetimes ago.

 

Another half hour passed and Kara finally felt calm enough. As the personality of the University built up under her brush, thoughts of geometric wings had unfurled. Not the feathered generic angel wings she saw on memorials and classic tattoo posters, but something more mechanical blending science with art. Something that reminded her of what medical rescue workers on Krypton had worn when a cargo ship’s gravity ballasts had failed. It reminded her of Lena and how she had a knack for sweeping in to save the day. It was a bold idea for a task she had never tried before.

 

“I think I’m ready to paint now.”

 

Behind her Lena hummed a soft sound of acknowledgement, burred by alcohol and the content lull she fell into when she watched Kara paint. Kara quickly cleaned up her station and washed her hands while Lena refreshed their drinks. The nerves returned but now this time Kara had a game plan.

 

“Where do you want me?”

 

Kara turned and came face to face with smooth pale skin.

 

Oh .” Her eyes popped- “I-I uh.” She had not been prepared for that.

 

Kara physically shook herself to feel a little more centered, feeling her face and neck warm. “Okay. Sorry, just startled. Um-“

 

Lena’s low laugh curled around her red ears as she retrieved the plastic bag of body safe paints and soft brushes.

 

“It’s only me, Kara. You’ve seen me in worse states.”

 

The gentle teasing helped and drew a slightly exasperated huff and shy smile out of her. “I know.”

 

Kara met her best friend’s gaze for a moment, her nerves immediately tempered when all she found was humor and trust. And she was thankful she had pulled the curtains closed.

 

“Okay, so-sit here? And I’ll sit behind you.”

 

Lena followed her floppy gesture towards the seats of the low kitchen table. “Okay.”

 

“I need uh-water! Water cup.”

 

Kara dumped the plastic bag on the table, very much not looking at the soft curve of Lena’s chest as she draped her t-shirt over the back of one of the low chairs, and hustled back to the kitchen. She also grabbed a few paper plates for a pallet for easy disposal, not wanting to pull out one of her glass pallets for something so cheap.

 

Okay. ” Kara huffed, forcing her shoulders to stop hunching.

 

It was more of a shape up affirmation for herself as she collected her items, but the single word drew another low laugh from Lena. She had seated herself straddling the chair her shirt was draped on. Her slender arms were hooked over the back and her chin was resting on her crossed wrists. She had pulled the thin nude straps of her bra completely off her shoulders, relying on the band about her chest and the straps around her biceps to hold the thin fabric in place. The elastic looped loosely around her arms, tempting her. Kara swore her eyes were twinkling at her but that was probably the infatuation.

 

“Okay-so-“ she hustled back with a fistful of paper towels and set her cup and plates down, beating back thoughts she shouldn’t have about her best friend. “-you said shapes and I started thinking about wings.”

 

Kara grabbed the bottom of the bag and upended it noisily on the table next to them. A quick moment later had the little bottles arranged by color group and she was ripping into the brush packaging.

 

“But scientific wings. Not cliched wings. But shapes.” She clarified, nervous that Lena would shoot it down.

 

“I’d say something self-deprecating about giving me wings but I’m a little too drunk to flip your optimism right now.”

 

It was a well-meaning tease, thankfully , and Kara gently nudged the seat of Lena’s chair with her knee. “Hush or I’ll paint nice things about you on your back.”

 

Lena laughed again in her chest, low and rich. The sound wormed its way into the small spaces in Kara’s chest and she couldn’t help but grin in response. Hearing Lena happy always made her feel happy. It was contagious.

 

She took a couple minutes to squeeze out bright pools of paint onto the plates, just enough to hopefully achieve her idea. Only an attempt would tell, and she pulled up another chair behind Lena. Kara sat on the edge of her seat and tried not to look at how the angle of her thighs repeated Lena’s. She tried not to think about how a foot of distance felt simultaneously way too close and yet a chasm as she picked out a wide flat brush and dipped it in the water.

 

“Ready?” Her brush wandered to the gaudy yellow and red.

 

“Yes.”

 

The soft bristles scritched softly across the paper plate as she mashed some of the two colors together into a warm peachy-orange. Kara turned her attention to the expanse of smooth pale skin in front of her.

 

Frankly? Lena was delicately perfect.

 

Compared to the sturdier muscles Kara twisted in the mirror to see, Lena’s back was the most beautiful composition. Where she was broad and strong, Lena was slender and lean. Kara’s eyes traced along the subtle bumped ridges of her spine to the angled planes of her scapulas spread wide like her own wings under slight muscle and fair skin. Her ribs shifted and expanded with her slow steady breathing, their profile barely hidden by a thin blanket of softness. Dark freckles dotted her shoulders and Kara counted each one. Her study was cut short as the thin bewitching muscles connecting the low curve of her left shoulder blade to her spine rose into relief momentarily as Lena tilted her head in wordless question. Rhomboid major , Kara thought before responding.

 

“Sorry, just thinking.” Kara rushed out, glad that Lena couldn’t see how red her face had become.

 

It was now or never, and Kara reached out.

 

Lena’s skin was warm against her pinky as she anchored her hand. A singular point of distracting contact that warmed her chest as she finally picked a spot just to the right of her spine and touched the soft brush to her skin.

 

Lena flinched in surprise, her ribs expanding sharply with her gasp.

 

Cold .”

 

“Sorry-um-” Kara picked her hand back up, her heart in her throat.

 

“No it’s fine, I was just startled.” Lena’s shoulders shifted as she got comfortable again, the bright pop of color stark on her fair complexion.

 

“Okay.” Kara hesitated with a nervous warbly laugh. “Sorry, this is kinda silly to be nervous about.”

 

“You’re doing fine.”

 

“I just started.”

 

“And you haven’t jabbed me with your brush yet.”

 

Kara snorted a laugh and placed her pinky back on Lena’s back. “Yet.” She offered, gently touching the brush to the same patch of shiny paint.

 

Lena hummed and kept still as the soft bristles drew across her skin, up towards the top of her shoulders and over to the curve of the joint. Kara blocked in a diamond shape across the back of her shoulder and pulled it down into a point. Before she moved any further in the nebulous design loosely held in the forefront of her mind she mirrored the shape onto the other side of Lena’s back. She adjusted her color with a little more red, frowning at the cheap paints, and started blocking in shapes. Uniformity wasn’t a goal she was aiming for tonight, that laid more along the lines of not spontaneously burning up into a ball of flaming attraction.

 

Slowly but surely, wings unfurled across Lena’s shoulders.

 

Kara had originally planned to keep them contained on just her back, but a different idea distractingly rattled around until she couldn’t stand it and asked Lena if she could pull the design onto her arms. Her best friend had simply answered with a sure and they adjusted, Lena turning in her seat to slouch against the low table with her chin on her hands as she occasionally took a sip of her drink. Kara paused periodically to ask if she was okay, worried that it was getting more awkward the longer they stayed quiet. She tempered her check-ins after Lena admitted that it was soothing.

 

It’s not a massage but it feels like it. You’re fine, Kara. I’ll say something if I need to.

 

It was trust without saying I trust you . Kara held this new responsibility with the utmost care.

 

When her painting (if she could call it that) was completed, Kara put all the messy plates aside and scrubbed at her hands with a damp paper towel.

 

“Done. Let me take a picture so I can show you?”

 

Lena sighed and turned her head, the delicate muscles along her spine between her shoulder blades shifting under fair skin. “Okay.”

 

Kara nodded and licked her dry lips, fumbling with her phone until she managed to pull up her camera. It took a herculean effort to keep her hands still, but she managed. She took one picture from a higher angle, and then slid her phone onto the table in front of Lena. Long slender fingers turned her phone.

 

For one long moment Lena looked at the picture of the wings on her skin, swirling and angled and puzzled together in bright crisp swatches of color and thin incomplete dark line work. Kara’s heartbeat roared in her ears as she watched her zoom in and look at smaller sections, still quiet. Then without preamble her phone was back under her nose and switched to the camera again.

 

“Take some closeups? And then send them all to me?”

 

Kara hesitated with her heart in her throat. She wanted to but it felt like overstepping even with Lena outright asking her. Panic seeped in as the worry of these pictures getting out somehow latched on to her nerves.

 

“Are-is that a good idea?”

 

Her best friend peeked over her shoulder at her, concern etched into her brow. “Kara I’m not going to post them. I just want to look at your work.”

 

Kara opened her mouth to protest but Lena beat her to the punch.

 

“I’ll hide my face, how’s that? And then we can encrypt your photo album on your phone.” Lena pulled her own phone out and navigated to her photos.

 

Kara watched her scroll to the bottom, past a scant few albums listed as work and ideas and friends - right to an album labeled Kara’s Art underneath Mom and Home . Her heart did a funny swoop in her chest, a surge of affection washing away the panic.

 

“I… I just want to have a record of it.” Lena tapped hesitantly on the thumbnail, opening up an extensive collection of pictures. “I wish I had more pictures of my mother, so I, ermh. A trade off. I hope it’s okay?”

 

Kara leaned over her shoulder and watched her slowly scroll down pictures of her work both complete and in progress. Pictures of her standing at her easel working, mixing paints and frowning at her tool kit. There were some bad photos of her with goofy faces as she concentrated or unflattering angles, but it was endearing. Kara knew she took pictures, and really didn’t mind that she did. But this is how Lena saw her when she painted. It was intimate how she captured her at ease.

 

Kara couldn’t think of anything to say, and didn’t want to mess up the paint with a tight hug, so she leaned down and pressed a kiss to the top of Lena’s head. She picked up a soft surprised oh and turned her face to rest her cheek against her hair, resisting the urge to physically nuzzle into her.

 

“Love you.” She murmured, brazenly affectionate in the face of Lena’s vulnerable confession. She had told her she loved her before- and she did . This time it was colored by the romantic love she had been hiding for a long time.

 

But Lena didn’t need to know that.

 

She didn’t want to ruin anything.

 

The pads of Lena’s fingers pressed into her wrist next to her phone full of incriminating pictures of her creating. Her touch was a little cool, chilled from the dregs of her drink.

 

“Love you too. But-” Her shoulders shifted. “-it’s itchy.”

 

“What- oh . Oh, hang on-” Kara laughed and straightened up with her phone in her hand. “Sorry, hang on.”

 

Kara could feel her face warming with a deep blush as she snapped a handful of more pictures from closer angles, always careful not to catch her best friend’s face. She could see the angle of her jaw and the proud curve of her chin in a few, but at a glance she was a faceless canvas. Kara set her phone down again next to her as she tried not to stare too hard at the attractive shift of her clavicle when she sat up.

 

“Send yourself the ones you want, I’m going to go get a washcloth for your back.”

 

Lena hummed something happy and took her phone, eager to see the pictures. Kara left her sitting at the table and forced herself to walk a more human speed to her bathroom, but it still wasn’t fast enough to escape the creeping feeling that they had just unintentionally crossed an invisible line in their relationship.

 


 

Kara made the mistake of thinking that painting Lena’s back was a one-and-done deal.

 

It turned out that her best friend liked it. She said it had been fun and relaxing . In fact she had liked it so much she asked Kara if she wanted to paint her back again barely two weeks later.

 

But only if you’re comfortable, of course .

 

Kara hadn’t told her she had created her own new photo album of those eight pictures.

 

Only if YOU’RE comfortable. She had texted back, nearly dropping her phone into the harbor as she drifted over it on patrol.

 

She did drop her phone onto her face later that night when Lena finally answered her.

 

I’m always comfortable with you .

 

Had she been human she would have sported a fat lip the next day.

 

Even against her nerves, Kara agreed that we should do it again-the painting I mean . That text had gotten her a short voice memo of Lena just delightedly laughing at her flub, but Kara saved it anyways because of the sweet you’re entirely too cute, Kara at the end of the message. It hadn’t been malicious in the slightest, but it did give Kara an easy clue that there was something more there for Lena too. It was a fearful decision to hope, but she couldn’t help it.

 

Lena showed up the following Friday evening in designer leggings and another simple white tee, comfortably casual and looking absolutely exhausted.

 

“I think you need a meal and a nap.”

 

The only answer Lena gave her on that matter was a displeased mph into her shoulder as she sank into their hug smelling of gentle soap and crisp early fall air. Dinner was shared and drinks were refilled and Kara found herself seated behind a sleepy shirtless Lena daubing fluffy rosy gold clouds of a sunset onto her skin in an airy lightness that reflected the weightlessness of her heart.

 


 

The alluring act of breathing artwork onto Lena’s skin was a new exciting addition to her painting routine. About once or twice a month they settled in at Kara’s low kitchen table after a shared meal and relaxed. The paint was cheap, but Kara knew how to wield them to a workable quality. It was often the most frustrating hurdle that her poor best friend was in the front row to witness, but she always managed to turn out at least something decent.

 

From the fluffy sunset clouds grew constellations. From constellations blossomed blue and purple galaxies stretching across her shoulders. And then reeled back in, clear rippling water in turquoise and creamy foam washing over the gold pinky sands of the Caribbean. Kara admitted she had only been once for an hour to rest in the sun, never a true vacation. Lena mumbled into her arm that she would take her, her words blurred around the edges in contentment.

 

Of all the people Kara would have pinned for this role of living canvas, Lena was at the bottom of her list.

 

She had been surprised by Lena many times in the past, but allowing someone to slather paint on her skin? Kara comically imagined taking her by the shoulders to ask her where the real Lena Luthor is . Her Lena was calculating, wickedly smart, and carefully guarded. Or at least she had thought so. That last observation had eroded over time as they grew closer in their friendship. A friendship that was definitely and absolutely laden with feelings .

 

So many feelings.

 

Feelings that Kara was too afraid to put into words, so she poured them into her paintings. They came through as a shower of shooting stars from the curve of Lena’s right shoulder at the acromioclavicular joint down to the dip where the inferior pole of her left scapula spread under lean muscle. From there they blossomed into an elaborately detailed scientific anatomy of the bones she was painting over, each bone filigreed with intricate patterned line work that took entirely too long but resulted in a stunned gasp when Lena finally saw the finished product. Her words became too big in the form of a bold geometric mandala curving over the base of her neck and dipping to the middle of her back, interrupted by the black band of her bra.

 

“Well, almost perfect.” Kara handed Lena the phone and got up with a slight wobble, feeling the alien alcohol Lena had picked up for her. “Washcloth time.”

 

When she returned with a warm damp cloth to clean her back Kara almost missed the murky, apprehensive look on Lena’s face. Cold panic curdled in her chest as she trudged to a halt, the alcohol sitting uneasily on her stomach.

 

“What is it?”

 

Lena looked up in surprise, her own note of panic etched into the crease between her brows.

 

“Oh-I-erhm-“ she waved at her phone, “-just thinking.”

 

“Are you sure? I mean, are you-you still okay? With this?” Kara asked, shuffling to the table and sinking sideways into her chair as Lena turned with her. “Because, like, consent and comfort and-and-yeah.”

 

“Kara, it’s fine . I’m honestly just a little drunk right now.”

 

“Well, okay, me too, but then-“ the heat of panic crept up her neck, “-I don’t want you to feel… obligated? ‘Cause, I just don’t want to mafke yoo fewl -“

 

Kara stopped talking as warm fingers pressed into her lips. A slightly exasperated smile was tugging at the corner of Lena’s lips, free of lipstick and stained by the red wine.

 

It’s okay . I’m just in my head. And drunk.” Her fingers slid off her lips and Kara couldn’t help the shaky gasp and flutter of her eyes at the soft draggy sensation-

 

Those same fingers took her by the chin and gently wagged her head.

 

“So stoppit . You’re always looking out for me when I need to be looking out for you .”

 

Her eyes were as green as the sea and Kara wanted to kiss her.

 

Instead she nodded against the warm fingers firmly holding onto her chin and answered with a hoarse okay . She couldn’t escape the feeling as Lena nodded with approval and turned away for her to wipe her back clean. 

 

Their time together continued in brief bouts around their busy schedules. Lena returned almost every other week now with some sort of expensive treat and dressed casually. Kara thought she looked unfairly good dressed down in tailored t-shirts and dark jeans or leggings. The unspoken words of her massive crushing attraction coming forth in the paint she laid across Lena’s skin.

 

Landscapes and seascapes and skyscapes, patterns and swirls and vibrant abstraction. Kara pushed the body paint to its formulated limit, each one more elaborate and looser than the previous painting as her nerves simmered low into affection and craving. She was playing with fire now. They both were. Their little station moved from her kitchen table to a nest of pillows under a new paint tarp on the floor in front of her easel. Things got riskier as Lena coyly suggested that she had found other examples of body painting online that weren’t confined to the backs of shoulders and Kara crunched her plastic cup in her grip. The suggestion was walked back with pleased laughter on Lena’s end as ice water dripped down Kara’s steaming face.

 

Of course, the seed was planted. But the not yet in her head was stronger. It was a cruel distraction that sent her heart racing and her imagination became nearly unbearable in her rare quiet hours. Thankfully her drive to make her paintings worthy of Lena helped drown out that particular vein of wandering thoughts. Which is where she currently found herself.

 

Kara swayed a little on her knees, the tip of her nose tingling from the numbness of alcohol as she watched the smooth delicate muscles around Lena’s spine twitch against the drag of her paint-cooled brush.

 

“Sorry-it’s the, uh, pattern.” She muttered, squinting against the fuzziness in her head-and then grumbled- “ Mmhhf. Stupid bra strap .”

 

Kara sat back up on her haunches in a slouch and started rolling her brush in her current color, a warm earthy red brown that matched the gently loose replicas of the bears from Chauvet cave. The painted artifacts in question were a testament to human’s need to create, like the same evidence that Krypton had salvaged in the remains of structures and hidden tapestries after the fall of their golden era. The forms were simple and humbling, and Kara lined up the central bear on the curve of Lena’s scapula as if it were the curve of the cave the real paintings were housed in. From the bears had swirled forth a paisley pattern in waves, imagining the shapes to be foliage or a stream-up until she was interrupted by that damned man-made elastic.

 

“Hmm?”

 

Lena’s questioning hum and turn of her head caught her attention as she frowned at her pallet. Her knee was warm where it pressed gently into Lena’s hip.

 

“Oh-‘s’fine. Just… didn’t plan good.”

 

And there went her grammar. Kara frowned harder. She must have had a little too much.

 

“Don’t worry ‘bout it.” Kara mumbled again, straightening her back as she prepared to continue-

 

Lena twisted her arms behind her back and deftly unhooked the little metal eyelets of her bra clasp. Kara felt her jaw drop and her face heat as Lena curved her back up and slid the garment out from under her chest. She had seen Lena’s bare back before when she wore ridiculous designer dresses to events, but never like this. Never so relaxed and open where Kara could still see the lines impressed into her skin from the band. Never so vulnerable before.

 

“O-oh.”

 

Lena folded her arms back up under her head again and Kara’s eyes were drawn to the softness of her breast pressed into the drop cloth-covered pillow.

 

“This okay?”

 

Kara blinked and looked deliberately back at her pallet, roughly pushing her brush around in her paint again in an attempt to reign in the stupid thoughts battering around her frontal lobe.

 

Sure .”

 

Her voice was so squeaky and high pitched she couldn’t help but flinch at her own chirp of an answer. Lena shifted again underneath and a warm hand smoothed onto her thigh just above her knee. The touch brought Kara back up out of the risky spiral she was teetering on the edge of. She looked back up to her best friend’s face and was immediately soothed by the serious expression of care and concern.

 

“Are we okay?”

 

What Kara heard was, Do you trust me ?

 

She did. Implicitly so. This was Lena. Her Lena. Of course she trusted her.

 

Kara took a deep breath in and sighed it out, forcing herself to let go of the tension seizing her lungs and her head. In lieu of answering with words she couldn’t string together, Kara leaned down and pressed a kiss to the back of Lena’s head. The long slender fingers on her leg squeezed in understanding and retreated as Kara straightened back up. They were okay, this awkwardness would pass just like it had before.

 

Kara painted all the way to the waistband of her jeans and Lena told her it was the best one yet.

 


 

If someone were to ask what their painting nights were, Lena would call it art therapy and Kara would call it hanging out . They were both right (and wrong). It was both of those and more, unspoken confessions and relaxed barriers and expansions of trust. The more Kara painted the more their last walls of resolve faded like the muddying of colors when she cleaned her painting off of Lena’s skin. Her best friend had surprised her one night with a set of vibrant body-safe paints she had personally formulated with much trial and error after consulting a few other chemists.

 

These should work better than what you have been using. And Anish Kapoor isn’t allowed to use them.

 

Lena’s half-hooded eyes and hint of a grin curling around her lips were etched into Kara’s brain for days on end.

 

She was right, of course. Lena was brilliant after all. The paints mixed beautifully and had far better coverage than the other paints she had been limping along with. Kara painted a masterpiece from nape to waist without one single grumble. It was only after she had taken pictures that she realized this.

 

“You made these so I would stop complaining, didn’t you?” She asked, carefully wiping away the paint with a warm washcloth.

 

Bitching was never your forte, darling. I had to do something.”

 

Kara poked her in the soft spot of her side and grinned when she squirmed away, chuckling low in her chest.

 

On one chilly evening Kara made the bold suggestion of a swirling design that would follow the curves of her clavicle. Lena had just happened to be wearing a long sleeved shirt with a v-neck, a safe idea so that she could pull down onto her shoulders but still stay clothed. She had stumbled across a tattoo artist that specialized in realistic ornamentation. It wasn’t a style Kara would be able to emulate but it was inspiring enough for her to try something more graphic. Not too graphic, but maybe some darker line work.

 

It was an okayish idea-in theory. If you weren’t in love with your best friend.

 

Kara blushed the entire time, trying hard not to let her eyes drop lower than the fair skin she was painting nor rise higher to the soft lips that had a smile dancing around them the whole night. She could feel a bead of sweat trickle down the line of her spine as she put on the finishing touches on the laurels crawling up the column of Lena’s throat, heat throbbing in inappropriate places. As she took her phone out Lena shifted her shoulders, letting the shirt slide down a little further.

 

“D’you think I’d be able to pull off a tattoo like this?” She asked, tilting her chin up. “Miss Hard Ass CEO with Hard Ass Tattoos?”

 

“Says the woman who cried when they deactivated Opportunity.” Kara teased, quickly taking pictures of her work.

 

She was glad she had been quick with the camera as Lena’s hand slapped down on her pallet-and then wiped across her face.

 

Kara sat stunned as Lena stifled her laughter, the cool paint wet on her cheek and the side of her nose and corner of her lips.

 

“Did you just-“

 

Lena shocked her out of her stupor when she pulled her own phone out and snapped a quick picture of her, no longer trying to hide her crooked grin.

 

“Okay, you know what?” Kara snatched her brush up and poked her once in the cheek before retreating out of hand-smearing range, firing off one more teasing remark. “Four-year-old.”

 

Lena’s response had been equally teasing, finally a good parental figure .

 

That had set off the inclusion of Kara painting both her back or chest, depending on what Lena was in the mood for. And every time, Kara still couldn’t believe that this was something they did. It was fun. Childish, almost. Neither one of them had been allowed to truly be children, and Kara supposed that this was them trying to catch up. She was okay with that and decided not to question it too closely.

 


 

There were three errors in judgment that Kara would later look back upon and realize they were the final three steps needed for her and Lena to finally come home to each other.

 

Of course she didn’t know that right at that moment , kneeling next to Lena on the floor while she carefully connected the dark freckles on her neck and chest as she built a constellation she used to see from Krypton. Lena had wriggled her arms out of the elastic straps of her bra again. Tonight’s painting had started with a vibrant galaxy on the front of Lena’s neck. She had even included a swirling black hole to cover the tantalizing freckle dotting the center of her throat, deciding that if she couldn’t see it then she wouldn’t be tempted to press her tongue to it. It was vain wishful thinking on her end. Trying to cover it only drew her attention to it more.

 

In an attempt to gain her emotional control back Kara had moved on, extending the galaxy to drape over the dips above her collar bones before swirling out into thin geometric lines. It was a different kind of puzzle to match up the kryptonian constellations she remembered with the dark freckles dotting Lena’s chest. It wasn’t an original idea, nor was it a perfect science, but there was still a beauty in it. Her best friend had gotten strangely quiet when she had told her what she was doing, and Kara was too afraid to look at the emotion she knew was playing blatantly across Lena’s face. It was one thing to paint stars on your friend. It was an entirely different thing when those stars are associated with home .

 

Kara had mentally planned three constellations that followed the tiv girod .

 

On Lena’s right pectoral was the constellation for imagination, zhguzhor . It was historically one of Krypton’s strengths and Kara saw much of it in her best friend. On her left was the star pattern for industriousness, or gazrhyg . Lena was the very definition of action, diligence, and hard work. Both constellations were perfectly connected through the freckles she could see, even if their orientation was tilted and not quite to scale. She had happily told Lena about the constellations as she painted them, explaining their significance in relation to their core beliefs and the tiv girod as a whole. It wasn’t often she spoke about Krypton so candidly and Kara couldn’t help but greedily relish the opportunity to share it with Lena.

 

Which led her to the final constellation and section of this installment.

 

Shahrrehth.

 

Hope.

 

Hope in the face of struggle that things can and will get better. A striving hope to be a part of the solution. To hope for the best.

 

Hope was very important to Kara, and Lena was just as important. It was simply what belonged, though impermanent, on her body.

 

Kara touched her brush to Lena’s skin, dotting the top half of the constellation as she told her these things with her eyes focused on the gentle rise and fall of her chest. Things were going entirely too well… until she realized with a grimace that she should have started higher up her sternum. Or scaled the entire constellation smaller. Either way, the bottom half was exactly where the cups of Lena’s bra curved and met.

 

“…I’m going to have to start this one over.” She sighed, sitting back and pressing her lips together in annoyance.

 

“What? Why?” Lena tilted her head to try to look at her chest without tucking her chin. “It looks fine to me?”

 

“No, I-“ Kara sighed heavily through her nose and gestured limply towards her chest. “-it’s too big. I ran out of space.”

 

Lena let her head rest back onto the drop cloth covered pillow, her expression unreadable.

 

“That’s all?”

 

Her question was soft, almost relieved. Kara couldn’t stop the grin, letting her messy hand fall to her thigh with a slap.

 

“Well I’m not going to paint on your bra . That would be a little ridiculous. I’ll just clean it off and start over-“

 

Before she could finish her sentence Lena was arching her chest up and reaching behind her back. Kara’s eyes locked on the way the softness of her chest pressed against the edge of the cups of her bra and nearly swallowed her tongue. The fabric loosened and Lena relaxed back down onto the nest.

 

Somewhere in Kara’s brain a little voice said oh no .

 

Long slender fingers pinched at the stitched fabric where the cups of the bra met and pulled the whole garment away.

 

Kara stared at Lena’s bare chest for a solid three seconds with a dial-up tone in her ears.

 

“Um.”

 

She was petite, smaller than Kara had realized but perfectly her . Soft and dusky, and just as beautiful as she had imagined in the small hours when she felt the most guilty and the least restrained.

 

“Or I could just give you more space.” Lena whispered, her chest flushing the barest pink and the muscles working in her neck as she swallowed nervously.

 

Kara’s heart crawled up into her throat at Lena’s granted permission. It made her feel brave to the point of near recklessness. She felt ridiculously dramatic with her obnoxiously overwhelming mesh of respect and humbleness and blatant carnal magnetism, if she could be blunt. Lena was a very attractive woman to her through many facets, this simply hadn’t been the equation before.

 

“Or… you could do that.” She answered, and watched the tension in Lena’s body start to ease before she could finally gather the courage to meet her eyes. “Thank you.”

 

The first thing Kara noticed was that Lena wasn’t trying to hide how nervous she was. Her eyes were wide and her brow a little furrowed, and she could see the muscle jumping in her jaw. Kara didn’t want her to feel that way, she wanted her to feel safe. Her heartbeat thundered in her ears as they stared at each other for a long painful moment, her mind reeling through what she could do to help her feel better. And, without thinking of the potential consequences, Kara set her pallet down and hastily stripped off her own t-shirt and sports bra.

 

“Kara-”

 

“There. Now we’re even.” She told her as she picked her pallet up, her face hot and her heart racing.

 

“You didn’t have to.”

 

Kara swallowed thickly and squared her shoulders, finally meeting Lena’s eyes again. She looked a little stunned, which Kara decided was better than nervous.

 

“I wanted to.” -and then with what she hoped was a reassuring smile- “Now stay still so I can finish.”

 

Lena nodded and let her head rest back onto the covered pillow, her eyes dipping to below her chin. Kara resisted the urge to cover up by finding her pallet and rolling her brush in the swatch she had been using. Lena stayed still as directed while Kara worked through the rest of the constellation that curved up the slope of her breasts and ended at the bottom of her sternum. She was careful to only let her brush touch her skin, feeling that if she used her pinky to anchor her hand it would be too much of a line stepped over. As she connected the last star she felt Lena rest her hand next to her knee.

 

With a slow deep breath, Kara sat up and studied her work. The truth is she didn’t want to stop. Not right at that moment. She pursed her lips and looked back down at her pallet, her mind racing to find a way to prolong this little bubble of privacy for a few more minutes. Her attention landed on the swatches of cool colors on her pallet and a few dabs of paint still unused. Kara cleared her throat softly and took a leap.

 

“I, uh, still have some purples and blues I could use up. If that’s okay?”

 

Kara chanced a glance at Lena and was relieved to find that she didn’t seem nervous anymore. However, there was a soft blush high on her cheekbones and her brow was smooth. Before Kara could look closer at how her eyes seemed darker Lena nodded again.

 

“Go ahead, but I’m a little ticklish.”

 

She sounded the same, if just a little winded. Logically Kara had a pretty fair idea of what was going on between them but she couldn’t find it in herself to stop playing this new role she hadn’t let herself venture towards. What she was seeing from Lena was green light after green light and she was happily and cautiously easing on the gas. Kara decided she would allow herself time later to freak out about their evening, but first she had some paint to use up. There would always be time for talking later.

 

Kara gave her best friend a firm nod and picked up a different brush. Over the next fifteen minutes she meticulously filled in a vibrant galaxy around the three constellations on Lena’s chest to match what she had painted on her neck. As her soft brush smoothed over the curve of Lena’s breast she felt her hand crawl up onto her knee. The heat of her touch through the old paint-stained jeans fell heavy to the cradle of her hips. They were definitely stepping towards the unspokens they had been carefully avoiding for far too long. Kara wanted to run towards this inevitable collision but knew that rushing would be too risky.

 

Finally, Kara touched the final highlights to the galaxy under the center constellation and sat back up. She set her pallet aside and wiped her fingers on her dirty paper towel.

 

“Finished.”

 

Lena’s hand didn’t leave her knee. “How does it look?”

 

Kara sucked in a deep breath as she pulled out her phone, letting her eyes really take in what she had painted. Where she had painted.

 

“Beautiful.”

 

There were a dozen other words leaping around in her head, but that one just felt right. Lena was beautiful, both with and without paint on her skin. The most beautiful part of her in that moment was the unabashed affectionate trust in her expression. It knocked Kara’s breath from her lungs. Rao, she wanted so badly to kiss her.

 

“Um. Should-“ Kara cleared her throat and wrestled herself away from making a mistake. “-should you cover up?”

 

Kara gestured with her phone, the screen lighting up as she tilted it. A crinkle started forming between Lena’s brows.

 

“Then some of your art wouldn’t show.” Lena told her as if she were suggesting something idiotic.

 

Kara’s eyes dropped back down to her chest. Her best friend, bare from the waist up and covered in a design of her own making, looked completely at ease. She watched her breathe for a moment, taking in how the gentle planes of her chest rose and fell. Kara wanted to say something, anything , but the thought kiss her was stuck on a loop in her head.

 

“Take the pictures? Please?”

 

The squeeze of a warm hand on her knee brought Kara back up out of the staring contest she was in with Lena’s lips.

 

Right.

 

Kara cleared her throat again and nodded, her face so hot she was sure that she matched the exposed bricks in her apartment walls. “Yeah, okay.”

 

Lena’s hand slid off her knee as she stood up and stepped over her hips. She could have easily stood next to her, or hell, even floated over her. But no, her stupid brain told her to straddle Lena’s body and lean down.

 

“Tilt your chin up?”

 

Lena did as she was asked and Kara quickly took a couple nice photos of the design, making sure to get all of it. She was suddenly very glad that she had encrypted her phone when they had started this whole body painting thing. The embarrassment would absolutely kill her if anyone saw these pictures. Not that she was embarrassed to be doing this, but because she was selfish. These were their memories and she didn’t want to share them with anyone but Lena. Especially now that she had several photos of her topless. Territorial was not in her vocabulary, but jealousy was.

 

“Okay.” Kara handed Lena her phone. “I’ll be right back and I’ll let you clean off.”

 

Lena murmured an okay and took her phone before she could drop it. She stepped back and almost lost her balance, her foot nearly landing on her pallet. A rough kryptonian curse eked out between clenched teeth as she caught herself and plucked her shirt off the ground. Kara slipped her tee back on and retreated to get a washcloth, running from the urge to kiss her, kiss her -

 

Kiss her.

 


 

Her second error in judgment started with:

 

“Because? Why not?”

 

Kara looked at the new sleek bottles of paint in her hands. They were the same shades as the paints Lena had formulated for her, but now she could smell subtle fruity scents.

 

“I didn’t know edible paints were a big thing. Does body safe mean, like, sugar?” She muttered, eyeing the little labels.

 

“Oh, no, these don’t have sugars. But they are formulated to be body safe. Within reason depending on the circumstance, of course.”

 

Kara looked back up, suspicious of Lena’s unclear answer. “ Within reason ?”

 

“...ingesting small amounts is safe, but I wouldn’t recommend drinking half the bottle. Like I said. Within reason depending on the circumstance.”

 

Lena gave her a sneaking look when she said circumstance , her brow quirking up and a sly grin tugging at the corner of her mouth. Kara couldn’t have stopped her blush if she tried. The implications in circumstance were heavy and her imagination plummeted straight into the gutter.

 

“O-oh. Well.” She blinked owlishly, unsure how to proceed. Lena must have realized she was floundering and pulled her phone out.

 

“Why don’t we start with something like this? I think the fluidity of the paint changed some, so it could be good practice.”

 

Her voice was still deep, playful. She was flirting . White teeth caught her lower lip as she bit back a wide grin and showed Kara a cute design of fruits in a bright drippy collage. Kara’s mind immediately started overlaying the vibrant art onto the contours of Lena’s shoulders she had become so familiar with, and how she could use the fairness of her skin as a brighter highlight. She tried very hard not to think of fruits in connotation to Lena’s body.

 

“Nia said I was a whole snack at the last game night so I think this could be a good joke.”

 

The comment had Kara snorting and the tension eased, even if her mind kept running back to circumstances . She set the bottles back down on the kitchen table and scrubbed her hands together, needing some sort of stimulation to keep her focused. Her blush crept down her neck.

 

“Yeah-um. Let’s eat first and then we can try these new paints? Low blood sugar means shaky hands.”

 

Lena tilted her head in agreement. “Sure. Let’s eat.”

 

Dinner was fairly relaxing. They talked about their days, complained about pop culture, and tried not to get too sucked into Lena’s personal project discussions. Eventually they ended up in the pillow and drop cloth nest in front of Kara’s easel with Lena talking through equations. Kara let her think out loud, blocking in colorful shapes from the tops of her shoulders down to just above the waistband of her dark jeans. Lena had removed her bra while Kara wasn’t looking and frankly she was too enamored with her to protest.

 

The new paint was different, almost too wet and it stayed wet for much longer. The colors were still vibrant, mixing took a little longer, and the scents were subtle but not terribly chemically. While not as bad as the store bought paints, they were a different kind of challenge. Though Kara did have to admit the alcohol she had indulged in was probably stronger than she had realized and played a part in her struggle with the material. Or maybe it was just the paint. Either way, she was sitting crooked with one leg folded and the other thrown over the back of Lena’s thighs. She was slouched, painting crescent moons of golden melons fanning out from a split dragon fruit.

 

“What’s the verdict?”

 

Kara stuck her tongue into the corner of her mouth and concentrated hard to follow the curve of the last crescent. She sighed and straightened up a little when she finished the pull of her brush and switched it out for a clean one.

 

“Different. I think… my drink was too strong.”

 

Lena chuckled low in her chest, the sound muffled against her forearms folded under her chin. “Me too.”

 

Kara hummed around a smile and started the next section of kiwis and coconut. “It’s… slippery.”

 

Lena was quiet for a long moment as she worked, her back rising and falling gently with her breathing.

 

“Do you want to taste it?”

 

Kara leaned down and pressed her tongue into the red strawberry on the back of Lena’s left shoulder.

 

Her skin was warm.

 

Lena stiffened underneath her.

 

Oh .

 

Kara’s stomach dropped out and she sat back up, her heart slamming around inside of her chest with panic. “I-uh. I’m sorry, that wasn’t-wasn’t um. Appropriate.”

 

She could feel her face scorching with embarrassment as the chemical flavor sat sickly sweet on her tongue. Why couldn’t she just think for two rao-blessed seconds?

 

“I-”

 

“It’s okay. I don’t mind.” Lena rushed out, her own blush coloring her cheeks ruddy.

 

“It’s on my pallet, I should have just- dammit . I’m sorry.” A lump formed in Kara’s throat and she swallowed against the burn of tears. “I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable and here I am-”

 

Lena twisted and her hand landed on Kara’s knee again, tight as if she were afraid she was going to run away.

 

“I offered . It’s fine . I just… was startled. That’s all.”

 

Kara forced herself to look at her best friend and nearly burned up for an entirely different reason.

 

Her eyes were dark .

 

Lena looked like she was one step away from crowding into Kara’s space to tell her just how okay it was. She put two and two together and realized that she had vastly misinterpreted her initial reaction to her licking her and panic bled into craving. A blunder that was actually a correct assumption, and now her heartbeat dropped to throb in less than appropriate places.

 

Kara swallowed thickly against the artificial flavoring and let her eyes drop to Lena’s parted lips. That little voice that had been plaguing her with chants of kiss her kiss her kiss her was back and screaming in her ear-

 

“I’ll ask first next time.” Kara breathed and tore her attention away from Lena’s mouth.

 

Lena’s eyes were focused lower around her chin.

 

“What does it taste like?”

 

Kara licked her lips and watched Lena’s eyes flick back up to hers, wide and dark and wanting.

 

“Tastes like cherries.” Kara whispered hoarsely, and then continued her painting.

 


 

Kara’s third error in judgment wasn’t really an error on her part at all.

 

They had continued their time together after the red paint incident in a ridiculous dance of flirting and inaction. Lena was at her apartment almost every Friday evening now as the weather warmed, bringing arrangement after arrangement of beautiful spring flowers. Kara’s paintings, both on canvas and on her best friend, blossomed into vibrant depictions of the deep seated love taking up about seventy-two percent of her brain space on a daily basis.

 

Tonight’s endeavor was a coral reef theme complete with tropical fish. It was a fun exercise to push the fragrant blue paint as far as it could go, smoothing it into currents around the muted coral and vibrant blue tang and orange clown fish. Lena had removed everything from the waist up again and it was a battle to keep her eyes focused on where her brush was. It was a very open invitation for something to happen, but they had both come to an unspoken agreement that this game was a welcome part of the dance they wanted to prolong.

 

Kara scrunched her nose, annoyed, and smoothed the pad of her thumb over an unsatisfactory brush stroke. The further along she progressed in her painting the more she started correcting herself. It wasn’t any worse than other scenes she had painted, but this one was hard not to nit-pick over. By now the pad of her thumb was covered in mottled blue paint, making the metal casing on her brush slip in her grip.

 

“What does that one taste like?”

 

Lena’s question sounded sleepy and relaxed. Kara could feel the hum of her voice in her chest as she smoothed away more paint with her thumb. It was a curious sensation and it made her want to press her whole hand flat to her sternum while she talked.

 

“Raspberry… I think.” She muttered, painting over the smeared spot in a solid color. The hues would need to be built up again.

 

“Mhhh.”

 

Lena nodded with her humph and recrossed her legs at the ankles, stretched out on the floor. Kara started working on that annoying little spot again in silence, trying to get the ray of soft light just right-

 

“Have you tried it?”

 

Kara spared her best friend a glance, not fooled by her nonchalant tone. The last time she had asked her about the taste of one of the paints she had ended up licking her shoulder. A teasing grin tugged at the corner of her mouth as she daubed on another swatch of paint, not falling for Lena’s transparent temptation-though she wanted to. She also hadn’t had anything but a glass of red wine that evening with dinner, leaving her clear headed and present.

 

“Not yet. Do you want to?” She asked, sitting back to look at the spot she had tried to fix.

 

“Sure.”

 

Kara gave up on her brush and dumped it into her water cup, holding her pallet up and pointing to the blue with her messy hand. “Okay, here’s some on-”

 

Lena’s fingers curled around her wrist and pulled her messy hand away from the pallet. Kara paused and turned just in time to catch Lena’s dark eyes as she pressed her tongue flat to the pad of her thumb. She was warm and so soft. Heat lurched into her hips as her eyes dropped and watched pink lips close around her thumb. Kara’s breath escaped her lungs in an embarrassingly ragged huff as Lena sucked her into her mouth, her tongue licking off the blue paint. Lena pulled her away a moment later, the edges of her teeth gently scraping against her skin as she sucked gently at the pad of her thumb. Kara inhaled slowly through parted lips as she watched Lena lick her own, the tip of her tongue faintly blue.

 

“Raspberry. I think.” She rasped, the hot fingers circling her wrist scorching against her skin.

 

Fuck .

 

Kara carelessly dropped her pallet next to her knee and leaned down, the clawing desire to kiss Lena finally winning out at the sight of her thumb wet with her saliva. She could hear Lena suck in her own breath, her free hand coming up to grasp at the collar of her t-shirt-

 

Both of their phones went off at the same time, Lena’s buzzing next to her hip and Kara’s chiming somewhere near the bottles of paint behind her.

 

The balloon of tension burst and Kara froze, feeling Lena’s warm breath puff across her chin. The waistband of her jeans dug uncomfortably into her stomach from how far she was crunched over. Lena’s head fell back and she sighed sharply with disappointment, recognizing the sound Kara had set for her Supergirl messages.

 

“I-sorry-”

 

Lena reluctantly untangled her hands from her as Kara sat up, her blue-tinged lips balling over her teeth in frustration as a deep blush colored her fair skin. Kara ached to lean down and kiss her just once-but was fairly certain if she did she would have to tell Alex that Supergirl wouldn’t make it. And that just wouldn’t be professional . Plus if it was a real emergency… that would just be shitty. She could hear her sister’s chiding tone in her head and decided that she didn’t have the patience for it that evening.

 

Kara plucked her phone up off the drop cloth with her clean hand and tapped the screen. Alex’s cryptic All Hands On Deck message was unfortunately urgent and left no room for flexibility.

 

“We have to go in.” Lena bemoaned, shifting behind her.

 

Both of them.

 

Disappointment curdled heavily in her stomach and frustration clogged her throat. Kara felt like she was about ready to cry.

 

Fuck .”

 

Lena laughed hollowly at her curse, her own frustration on full display. Kara clenched her teeth together and eased herself up onto her knees, moving her discarded pallet a little further away towards the paint bottles. She would have to clean up the mess later whenever she got home.

 

“I’ll get you a washcloth.”

 

“Okay- wait . Picture?”

 

It was a last grasp at some closure and control over their current predicament and Kara was glad she had suggested it. She twisted awkwardly on the drop cloth and shuffled back towards Lena. She had propped herself up on her elbows, her dark hair a little extra messy in its loose bun. Green eyes were blown wide and dark, but her mouth was twisted into a frown.

 

“I-yeah. Picture.”

 

Kara brought her phone up and quickly took some pictures of her unfinished painting after Lena eased back down again. One of her pictures caught parted pink lips at the top of her screen and Kara kept it out of selfishness. She wanted to remember why this one was incomplete.

 

Once she was done she hauled herself to her feet. “Hang tight. Tell Alex you’re coming in with me?”

 

Lena nodded and sat up, unlocking her phone with a swipe of her thumb. Kara shuffled clumsily back into her bedroom, barely catching Lena’s quiet curse of frustration.

 

Fuck .”

 

Kara could feel the press of Lena’s tongue on the pad of her thumb for the rest of the night.

 


 

After Kara had returned to the DEO, tired and covered in rubble dust and reeking of smoke, she discreetly asked Lena if she was free the following night. Had there been no one else in the room she was certain Lena would have finished what she had tried to start on the floor of Kara’s apartment.

 

Instead she had gotten a barely noticeable blush and a promise that she would be there by seven .

 

They had left the private conversation at that for the evening. There were too many curious eyes and ears even if the majority of their owners knew they spent a lot of time together.

 

The following morning Kara woke up with the sun nearly vibrating out of bed with excitement. All she could think about was Lena . That she would be coming over later. That she had been topless underneath her and that they had almost almost kissed the night before. Kara couldn’t stop thinking about how her tongue had felt against her thumb… and couldn’t stop wondering what it would feel like to feel her tongue in other places.

 

She kept herself busy catching up on house chores, a grocery run, and some cleaning. She also cleaned up the mess she had been forced to leave the previous night, setting aside the pillows and drop cloth and paints for that evening instead of tucking them away in their cardboard box. In between her tasks she day dreamed about what would happen, what Lena wanted, what she wanted. Kara knew what she wanted. But. At the base of everything Kara didn’t expect anything to happen, deciding early on in the day that she would let Lena lead.

 


 

Kara heard Lena step out of the lemon cleaner scented elevator at one minute until six-thirty and her heart flopped out of her chest and around on her kitchen counter. The last time she had been this nervous she had submitted her article exposing Lex. She stayed stock still in her kitchen, listening to the familiar heeled boots thmp thmp thmp down the hall. There was the swish of clothing, the crinkle of both paper and cloth bags. The creak of the svelte leather pants that Lena wore when she wanted something. Her best friend let herself in with a jingle of keys and Kara started back into motion again.

 

“Hi-I hope I’m not too early?”

 

Kara just about dropped the block of fancy ten-dollar cheese she was holding. She had seen Lena from designer chic to CEO boss ass bitch to whatever the odd flowy blouse era was after she came back from Ireland… but this was different. She was wearing her deep green overcoat rolled up to the elbows, the boxy shoulders making her look sharper. Underneath she was wearing a pair of tight black leather pants Kara had dreamt about peeling off of her legs, and a scoop necked shirt that dipped nearly too low showing a lot of smooth fair skin. She was sure she had seen each piece of clothing at some point, but the high ponytail and the smoked out eye makeup and dark nude lip were so artfully done her stomach flipped. She was simply dressed, but somehow she made it look so good.

 

In short, Kara was losing her mind.

 

“Hi! No-you’re fine-er, it’s fine.”

 

Lena tilted her head and smirked .

 

Kara tried again-and her eyes dipped straight to soft cleavage peeking out of the low neckline.

 

“Um.”

 

She pressed the plastic wrapped cheese to her face and let out a frustrated huff. Lena laughed softly and put her bags down on the table, then quietly thmped to her. Cool fingers curled around her wrists and gently pulled her hands and the poor cheese away from her face.

 

“I’m sorry you just look really good.”

 

Her confession blurted out before she could stop it and Kara felt her face turn even redder. Lena’s expression softened as she rescued the cheese before Kara could accidentally mangle it.

 

“It’s just me.” Lena tried to reassure her softly with a crooked smile, which of course made Kara want to burn up even faster.

 

“I know, it’s because it's you.”

 

Lena studied her for a long moment, her cheek dimpling as her smile grew wider.

 

“The feeling is mutual.” Lena murmured, honeyed low words that sat in Kara’s chest.

 

It made her feel bolder just as her stomach started to quietly rumble. Kara swallowed down her nervous laugh and let her eyes wander to her lips and the curve of her chin. What terrible metabolic timing.

 

“I really want to kiss you but I’m afraid I won’t want to stop and I’m really hungry .”

 

Lena’s eyebrows rose the further along the sentence she rushed, and Kara watched her green eyes dip to her own mouth for a brief moment at really hungry . She realized with a blush the secondary connotation of eating in regards to a more romantic moment and felt compelled to clarify-even if that was also a tempting idea.

 

And then her stomach growled just a little bit louder than before, catching Lena off guard. Kara wanted the floor to swallow her up.

 

Lena balled her lips over her teeth but in the end couldn’t contain a scrunchy smile. “Come on. Dinner first, potential shift in relationship later?”

 

Kara had nodded mutely and let herself be whisked into their evening. The paper bag Lena had brought contained a bottle of very nice wine and something for Kara to try. The cloth bag had containers of fancy appetizers from one of their favorite restaurants Lena liked to take her and their friends to for celebrations, and in a sense tonight was also celebration.

 

Dinner was a sensual affair of shy looks barely hiding the mounting tension they had been trying to keep at bay for months now. Kara had trouble focusing while she cooked, distracted by how Lena’s pants hugged the curve of her hips just right , or how the light played over the planes of her chest and cheekbones. She nearly broke her nice dishes when she spotted a hint of black lace when Lena leaned down to take their warmed appetizers out of her oven. The smug glance Lena gave her after she straightened up and put the tray on a hot pad had Kara wishing she had chosen something a little more attractive to wear than her paint jeans and a clean gray t-shirt. Her shirt did sort of show off her arms but it felt like Lena had an unfair advantage in the visual teasing department.

 

Clearly they were dancing into the next steps of their game and Kara happily leaned into it with energy jittering through her body. She was careful not to overstep, only lingering when Lena wasn’t around a hot pot or a knife. They orbited closer, upping the amount of casual touches to hands and elbows and waists.

 

Kara studied Lena with a near-reverence. Her long fingers moved with precision and purpose, poised with any action. The delicate muscles in her neck as she talked or swallowed were mesmerizing in their complexity, framed by the thick cord of the tendons arcing from clavicle to jaw hiding just under fair skin. She couldn’t stop watching the way the corner of her jaw and the high slope of her cheekbone caught the light from the nearby lamp. How the light reflected off her sleek hair and made her green eyes sparkle.

 

It was a wonder Kara managed to finish her meal at all. It was even more of a feat that she was able to tear herself away from the table to clean the kitchen up while Lena set up their floor nest unasked. Painting was part of their ritual now and to not paint felt wrong. Kara was uncertain of how much painting she would be able to do and frankly she wasn’t stressing over it.

 

As Kara was setting up her paints lena pulled her boots and socks off and draped her shirt over the back of one of the low kitchen table chairs. She was feeling warm and fuzzy from her two cocktails, and missed Lena lying down on her stomach. She shuffled towards her on her knees with her paint pallet, brushes, a water cup, and a damp cloth held carefully in her hands as Lena watched her with dark eyes. Her chin was propped on her folded forearms and the thin elastic straps of her bra had been slid off of her shoulders. The band about her ribs was transparent lace and Kara swallowed down a garble of words.

 

Kara took one more moment to reach for the little cardboard box she had designated to hold the paints Lena had formulated for her and squeezed plain black and white onto her pallet. She was thinking something graphic and patterned, random so she didn’t have to think too hard. Once her pallet was ready, Kara arranged herself on the floor next to Lena’s side and wiggled around until she was comfortable.

 

“Doesn’t your back hurt when you sit crooked like that?”

 

Lena’s question drew her up short just as she dipped her brush into the pool of white. It wasn’t a new question, but the tone of how it Lena asked was . It wasn’t the concern she had voiced before, it was an invitation.

 

“Well, it’s alright…” Kara murmured, dabbing a few starting points onto Lena’s back with her pinky anchored to her warm skin.

 

She waited, wanting a more explicit invitation to do what she really wanted to do, her mind flashing back to some of the more intimate pictures of body paint pictures Lena had showed her months ago.

 

Kara blocked in a few more areas of flat white, letting the tip of her pinky trail along Lena’s skin in a teasing touch. She bit back a grin as the delicate muscles in her back contracted and relaxed. Goosebumps prickled pale skin and Lena fidgetted.

 

“If you don’t want to hurt your back, you can-”

 

Kara was up on her knees and straddling her hips before she could finish her sentence. She sank down until she was sitting on Lena’s rear, her thighs bracketing her ribs. Just like some of the pictures. Kara watched her back expand in a soft gasp.

 

“This ok?”

 

Lena cleared her throat quietly and relaxed into the cushions. She turned her head a little further to look up at her, a pretty pink blush coloring her cheeks.

 

“Yeah.” She croaked, her fingers digging into the drop cloth.

 

Kara did grin at that and started working again, blocking in bold patterns that matched the reckless affection in her chest. Lena was warm underneath her, and it was very distracting. She stayed still under Kara’s brush, the only movement was her breathing and fingers fidgeting with the drop cloth. Kara thought she was entirely too cute. It was actually getting harder to concentrate on the undulating patterns across her shoulder blades as different thoughts and ideas centered around Lena mulled over in her head.

 

Her mind was firmly stuck on Lena .

 

And Kara wanted to ease their game further.

 

“This is good, but I actually think I have a better idea that would be pretty on your chest.”

 

Her suggestion was dotted with touches of black paint, deepening the dimensional noisy pattern. Lena was silent for a moment until Kara set her pallet aside, then murmured an agreement that she would like that. She held still as Kara took a couple quick pictures of her wild black and white patterns, and then wiped her back clean with the damp cloth. Kara was a little tipsy, but she wasn’t a cad.

 

“There, let me-”

 

Kara rose up onto her knees and made to move off of Lena-but she twisted quickly underneath her and clutched at her thighs to keep her close.

 

“You don’t have to.” Lena breathed, rearranging herself comfortably onto her back.

 

How could she say no?

 

Kara nodded and eased herself back down to sit on her hips. Lena’s hands didn’t move from her thighs until she stretched to reach for her pallet and the little box of paints. Her mind was full of flowers as she watched Lena arch her chest up and pull away the lacy bra she hadn’t had a chance to admire yet. She was as beautifully soft as she remembered and didn’t shy away from looking at her chest. Lena’s hands returned to her thighs in the form of a teasing caress and Kara busied herself with her paints, dabbing out a rainbow of colors as heat rippled through her body.

 

She started at the hollow of her throat. Lillies and violets and plumerias and made-up blossoms, all in a myriad of colors that melded and meshed in complementary opposites and gradient blends. Her brushes smoothed over the gentle planes of her pectorals, making sure to switch to her softest as she traveled lower to her breasts. This time Kara didn’t shy away from drawing a fully laden brush over her pebbled nipple, relishing the tightening of long fingers on her thighs. She kept painting, letting it get brighter and wilder as she traveled down her stomach and tried not to blush too deeply under Lena’s heavy stare. A stare that clearly projected that she wanted Kara to do something about it … whatever that it may be.

 

Kara had a pretty good idea.

 

Her brush reached the waistline of her leather pants and Kara decided she did want to do something about all of this. About them . Lena was giving her blindingly green signals and she would be an idiot not to see that they were matching her own. Kara swallowed thickly and met dark eyes.

 

“I haven’t finished painting my idea yet.”

 

Lena’s chest hitched subtly and her hands tightened on Kara’s thighs for a moment-and then gave her a gentle push before reaching for the button on her pants. Kara’s heartbeat deafened her as she watched Lena slip the metal button free and reach for the zipper fly.

 

“Help me?”

 

In her haste to do so Kara almost upended her pallet on the drop cloth, but caught it just in time. Her face burned but Lena didn’t laugh, the barely-there tremble in her fingers betraying her own nerves. She hooked her fingers into the loosened waistband and gently pulled the tight pants down her legs, letting her knuckles drag against warm smooth skin. She had barely tugged her feet free when Lena licked her lips and toyed with the waistband of her underwear. Kara shuffled back up her body, letting her hands smooth back up Lena’s bare legs.

 

The garment was sheer and black and lacy to presumably match the bra she hadn’t gotten to admire.

 

“I don’t think the paint will show up on these.”

 

Kara shook her head to agree and her mouth went dry as Lena pushed them down her hips, exposing delicately smooth skin. Lena was already glowing a beautiful blushing pink, hinting that she was enjoying their current painting session. Kara remembered to move and pulled her underwear down her legs, her attention heavily distracted as her eyes kept drawing back to the apex of her thighs. This had never been a moment she expected to witness Lena in, her desires locked away in day dreams and wishes.

 

Kara tossed her underwear to the side and found Lena’s eyes again-and then deliberately started stripping out of her own clothes. She didn’t stop until there wasn’t a single stitch on her. Then, she picked her pallet back up and straddled her hips again.

 

Lena hadn’t said a word, but the tight returning grip on her thighs and the hungry heavy attention roving from her chest down to the short cropped hair between her legs was all the encouragement she needed.

 

“It’s only fair. Just so you aren’t alone.” Kara offered anyways, picking her brush back up and feeling as if she was overly-charged with sunlight.

 

“Sure.” Lena rasped, nonchalant and strained all in one.

 

Kara kept painting. Her brushes filled in the softness of her waist, dimpled by the impressions from her jeans and underwear. She strayed lower to the wide flair of her hips when Lena squeezed her legs tighter, heat pooling low in her belly and starting a tell tale aching pulse between her legs. She felt too hot and too jittery as the moments strung on, rearranging herself to straddle one of her legs and painted down onto her abdomen-and then paused. If she painted much further it would be-

 

Lena spread her legs and Kara whispered a fuck .

 

“Go ahead. I told you they were body safe.”

 

Lena’s charged reassurance pulled Kara’s eyes away from blushing deep pink and obvious slick arousal. Reason won out for the moment and she pulled her hand away, her brows rising up towards her hairline.

 

That body safe?”

 

Lena finally gave her a crooked smile at her squeaky question.

 

“Remember, I made them? They’re, um, essentially a paint lube.”

 

Oh .” Kara took a long moment to process, eyes darting from her pallet to Lena’s body. To puffy pink folds slick with her excitement. She had been painting her best friend and overwhelming crush with weird sciency lube for weeks .

 

That kind of body safe.”

 

Yes .”

 

Lena’s approval was paired with more adjustment, bending her knee up that wasn’t trapped between Kara’s and relaxed her thigh open in a full presentation. She was in a full staring contest with her vagina and her head felt like it was going to burn up. It took all of Kara’s self control not to drop her pallet to the side and fit her mouth over the little bundle of nerves at the top of her sex.

 

“Okay. Um. Tell-“

 

Lena shifted her hips again and Kara watched her folds part with a red face. She took one more moment to rearrange herself again, kneeling between her spread thighs.

 

“I-uh.” She swallowed thickly and sank forward, clutching her pallet and brush. “Tell me if something… doesn't feel good.”

 

Lena hummed something along the lines of don’t worry so much as she got comfortable. Kara could smell her and staying focused became that much harder. She thought quickly and began to fill in the remaining skin in front of her, saving Lena’s invitation for last.

 

Finally, Kara had filled every inch of her front-except for where Lena clearly wanted her to paint the most. Unwilling to put it off any longer, and not sure she could with the dwindling threads of her self control, Kara loaded her brush up with a peachy gold and started blocking in the shape of a large abstract flower. Lena sucked in a breath above her and the muscles in her stomach tensed as she painted over delicate skin and slick folds. A soft bitten off moan escaped when she drew her full brush over her clit and paused slack-jawed to watch it twitch from the sudden stimulation.

 

Kara kept painting, adding more reds and golds to make it look like the throat of the flower was curving into her vagina. She made sure to keep the paint- the lube -from actually dipping into her, though the controlled twitch of Lena’s hips when she drew close told Kara she wanted her to. The more paint she dabbed onto her, the harder it became for Lena to stay still. It was hypnotic watching her clit twitch and arousal bead at her entrance, clear and sticky. One bold experiment of swiping her brush over the gathered slickness and pulling it up to her clit had resulted in a frustrated but pleased huff. She didn’t want to stop painting her, eager to keep teasing her with her soft brush until she couldn’t stand it, but finally her final flower was adequately complete.

 

With a quiet groan, Kara straightened up. She felt light headed, full of embers and ready to explode. Without a word she set her pallet to the side and picked her phone up with shaky hands. Lena watched her quietly with her own breathless tension and a pink face. She had dug her fingers into the drop cloth and crunched fistfulls into twisted lumps.

 

Lena was gorgeous .

 

Kara watched the muscles in her throat move as she swallowed and brought her phone up. She first took a full picture and then picked out the best angles for details, ending with the final flower between her legs. With each picture she made sure to hide Lena’s face as she always had, but this time it felt far more secretive. Far more intimate-and it was. Of course it was. But she couldn’t help but acknowledge the bare emotions and vulnerability they were sharing. The obvious love and attraction boiling over into the lust they had been dancing around for far too long.

 

Kara held her phone out and let her hands fall to Lena’s bent knees once she took it. She stayed quiet as she looked at the pictures, taking the moment to drink her in. It was her best work yet and Lena wore it beautifully.

 

“Too bad you’ll have to wash this all off.” She finally croaked, swiping her thumbs over the ridge of her kneecaps with her eyes locked on her peachy gold clit.

 

Lena set Kara’s phone down next to her shoulder and swayed a knee to catch her attention. When she did, Lena parted her knees just a little further.

 

“Do you want to taste it before I do?”

 

Kara’s breath whooshed from her lungs and heat lurched into the slow tightening swirl in her hips.

 

Rao help her , she did .

 

She didn’t even hesitate, easing herself down onto her stomach. Lena’s breathing picked up minutely as she finally pressed a kiss to the soft skin of the inside of her thigh-and then leaned in with a broad tongue.

 

The sound Lena made as she fit her tongue into her and relished the heat in a single stroke sent her head spiraling into the clouds. Most of her higher reasoning went with it as she withdrew into a broad lave up to the slowly engorging bud at the top of her sex and placed a messy sucking kiss to her clit. The powerful muscles in Lena’s thighs jumped around her shoulders and fell open further as she raised her chin up, the taste of her and the faint chemical flavors of artificial fruit filled her senses. Kara licked her lips and found Lena’s dark eyes.

 

“Tastes like cherries.”

 

That single phase set them into motion and Kara didn’t look back.

 

Long fingers raked through her hair as she returned her mouth down to the single abstract flower and took her time to try to taste each color of paint she had used. Kara made sure to be thorough, licking over each streak and sucking in each puffy fold as Lena rewarded her with sighed gasps of her name and moaned curses. Her favorite new sound was the deep rumbling purr in her chest that paired with her tongue massaging over her clit. This had always been the ache of a dream for her, but the very warm and solid body carefully grinding against her mouth was anything but. Kara must have been doing something right because she didn’t last much longer. The squeeze of Lena falling into release around her tongue made her want to go back for more and more and more -but slender hands pulled her up and finally Kara knew what it felt like to properly kiss Lena.

 

She lost track of which way was up as Lena rolled her onto her pallet and boldly stroked her fingers into her with sharp teeth in her lip. Her heart was leaping into her throat as Lena asked if she was okay. Kara kissed her like she had dreamt about as her answer and blushed hotter when Lena smiled wide against her lips. All she could think was Lena Lena Lena and wanting to be close to her. The paint was cool and wet on her back but the deliciously slick friction and stretch of Lena’s fingers curling into her were far more enjoyable. And she was very good at it. That with the sliding press of her thumb against her clit wound the spool tighter and tighter in her belly until she was twisting her fingers into the drop cloth and whining breathlessly into Lena’s mouth as she trusted herself to sink into her orgasm.

 

Heat surged through her hips and the deep ache of release stole her breath, leaving her weightless in the crush of pleasure. She could hear herself making soft breathy noises into Lena’s mouth, trying to keep herself from bucking too harshly into her hand as Lena pulled thread after thread of heady gold from her hips. The drop cloth paid the price as her hands ripped into it with the pop and tear of threads when Lena bore down and her heavy thumb almost immediately rubbed another orgasm out of her that sent her mind reeling to white.

 

Kara vaguely knew she had thrown her head back as she spasmed around Lena’s fingers again, the grazing of teeth and tongue on the column of her throat coaxing shivers and goosebumps from her body. Only when she caught her breath did she let go of the cloth and greedily slide her hands over Lena’s body, trying to express the thoughts and emotions through her kisses. She didn’t have the capacity to be embarrassed for the overwhelmed tears that Lena kissed from her cheeks, not when she could taste the salt of Lena’s own overwhelmed relief on her lips.

 

For a few moments they simply indulged, until Kara could feel Lena becoming restless against her. She had only had the first initial instance of release before taking matters into her own hands, and Kara decided that she would make sure she got as much of her as she wanted. Hours had been spent painting the breadth of her care onto her skin, now she wanted to help her feel good for as long as she would accept her.

 

Once her tears had dried and her heart had calmed, Kara kissed Lena breathlessly until she was distracted enough to let her take advantage of her strength. She sat up and pulled Lena into her lap, sneaking her hand low between them and easily pressing her fingers into slick heat. Lena moaned against her mouth and languidly rolled her hips onto Kara’s fingers with a sigh, grabbing onto the edge of the low kitchen table to steady herself. Kara adjusted her hand and let Lena start riding her, dropping her head to suck a pert nipple into her mouth. She groaned in appreciation as fingers drew over her scalp, lightly scratching as she switched back and forth while Lena kept bobbing in her lap with soft pants.

 

“I brought something in my purse, you should get it.”

 

Kara almost didn’t hear Lena’s suggestion, too caught up on how she felt around her fingers and against her tongue. Lena sank down on her and cupped the back of her neck with one hand. With the other she cradled her draw and tilted her chin up with a press of her thumb.

 

“Baby?”

 

Kara blinked, hazy eyed. “Huh?”

 

A warm thumb pressed against her lower lip and she snuck her tongue out, licking over it the way Lena had the night before. Kara watched Lena’s dark eyes drop to her mouth, her lashes fluttering and her kiss swollen lips parting in a quick inhale. She swallowed thickly and met her eyes again with pink cheeks. There was a smudge of gold on her chin from Kara’s face.

 

“Something in my purse?”

 

Kara blinked, finally registering what she was saying, and peered over the curve of her bare shoulder with a squint. She pushed her vision up into her x-ray and picked out a silk bag. She focused a little harder with a crinkle forming between her brows-and realized it held a strangely shaped dildo and two small bottles. Kara blinked again in surprise as heat crawled up her neck, stuttering as Lena rose up off of her with a sigh and settled on the floor next to her.

 

“I-you just decided to bring that?” Kara laughed, awkwardly climbing to her feet.

 

Her heartbeat throbbed in between her legs as she stumbled clumsily to the large leather purse. It was thankfully gaping open sideways and Kara plucked the bag from it, mindful of the paint on her hand. She didn’t dare use the hand Lena had been riding.

 

“...I actually brought it last night.” Kara turned with her brows raised, pinning Lena with a gleefully surprised look-who then blushed deeply. “I like to be prepared!”

 

Kara tiptoed back onto the drop cloth with a grimace at the messy footprints she had somehow managed to track onto her hardwood. At least it would be easy to clean-and lowered herself back down with the silky bag held out. Lena took it from her, still blushing and covered in slightly smeared flowers. Kara leaned further and nosed into her cheek, searching for a kiss. Lena tilted her head and indulged her, humming as she licked into her mouth.

 

“I love you, you nerd.” Kara murmured, butterflies filling her chest as Lena smiled happily into her lips.

 

“I thought that was implied.”

 

Kara made an insincere affronted gasp at Lena’s teasing, earning an easy and joyful laugh. “ Implied ?”

 

“I love you too-”

 

She blew a raspberry into her cheek for her attitude. Lena laughed louder and repeated her affections in between kisses until they settled again. Kara watched her loosen the drawstring on the bag and swallowed thickly as she pulled the toy out. She didn’t know what made this dildo particularly special, but she did know that the bulb on the curved base made it a strap on without the need of a harness. A mix of anticipation and intimidation clogged any comment in her throat. The other two bottles were a lube and a cleaner.

 

“Have you worn one of these before?”

 

Kara gingerly took the toy and turned it over in her hands, clearing her throat softly when she noticed the wet shine on fingers. The shaft of the toy was soft and squishy but she could feel the firmness of the core.

 

“I-no. But I can try.”

 

It was then that Kara finally decided that the floor wasn’t adequate and gathered Lena into her arms. She paused to let her grab their phones and the little travel bottles, then smoothly rose to her feet. Lena was a familiar weight in her arms but the warmth of her bare skin and the toy hooked over her finger were excitingly new.

 

“Are we really doing this?” Kara asked, pressing her nose into Lena’s temple as she stepped into her dim bedroom. It was almost a little silly to ask her that now , but she still felt compelled to check. Just in case.

 

Kara set Lena on her feet and watched her dump their phones and bottles onto the bedside table before stripping the covers back. Kara climbed up onto the bed after her, watching her stretch lithely to turn the small lamp on. Gold light washed over Lena with a click and her lungs forgot to work properly for a moment. Rao help her , she couldn’t get over how amazing she looked.

 

“I want to. Do you?” Lena asked softly, lounging against the cool sheets of her bed.

 

Kara nodded and turned the dildo over in her hands. It was a surprisingly pretty tie dye of pastel orange, spring green, powder blue, and a warm yellow. She must have hesitated a little too long because Lena was wriggling closer.

 

“Want some help?”

 

Her hand smoothed the length of her thigh, comforting and maddeningly scorching. Kara managed to croak a yeah and watched Lena stretch and reach for the little bottle of lube.

 

“Do you want me to do it, or you?” Lena asked, the little cap snapping open with a press of her thumb.

 

“Um.” Kara watched her pour some into her palm and then curl her fingers around the bulb that would sit inside her. “…both?”

 

A low laugh rumbled in Lena’s chest as she guided the toy between her legs. The silicone was cool against her and Kara squirmed in surprise. She murmured cold in response to Lena’s pause, but then moved it to press against her as her heart hammered in her ears.

 

“Just relax, take your time.” Lena reassured her.

 

Kara gave it a few experimental rubs, then pressed it against herself. Lena’s slick hand strayed back to her thigh as she began to shallowly thrust it, blushing deeply at the entire situation. She could hear the sticky noises of the lube and her own arousal, then took a deep breath and slowly pressed the toy into her core. It felt thicker than it actually was-and then it quickly slipped flush after it eased past the curve of her pubic bone. Lena reached between her legs and pressed it firmly against her, her warm fingers stroking around it to make sure it sat comfortably.

 

“How’s that?” She asked, squirting out a little more lube into her palm and returning the bottle to the bedside table.

 

The playfully colored toy jutted out, erect, from her hips. Kara squeezed around it out of curiosity and it bobbed. She looked up and noticed Lena was eyeing it approvingly with her lip caught in her teeth. She gave it another small squeeze. It bobbed again and Kara watched Lena swallow and lick her lips as the lube started to drip down the heel of her hand.

 

“Feels good.”

 

Lena nodded shakily and curled her slippery hand around the shaft. She gave it a few twisting pumps, coating the toy with the lubricant. Each push and tug made the toy shift inside her and press against her clit. Kara wanted her to keep touching it, but Lena curled her fingers around the head, gave it a playful tug, and then let go. She laid back with a hungry expression that made adrenaline pump through her body.

 

Most of the paint was still intact, and even between her legs it was still fairly clear. Kara reached out and cupped her raised knee with one more reckless though breaking through.

 

“Can I take a picture?”

 

Lena nodded without hesitation, her crooked grin coming back full force. Kara could feel her heart racing, fluttering high in her rib cage as she stretched and snagged her phone from the bedside table. She squeezed around the toy as she shuffled on her knees in between Lena’s legs, afraid that it would slip free if she wasn’t paying attention. She sat down on her haunches and let the toy barely touch slick painted folds. Without needing to be asked Lena spread her legs further, bringing her right knee up and out. Kara took a few quick pictures of their hips so it looked as if the dildo was the stalk of the flower. But…

 

“Can I take one more picture?” She asked, shifting just a little closer so the rounded head slid against her.

 

Lena’s chest hitched and she hissed a yes as her long fingers crept down to press into the creases where her thighs met her hips, framing herself. A final invitation Kara eagerly answered. She reached down and held the dildo steady with her already sticky hand, then pressed into her. Lena squished and stretched, deep pink and still painted red and peachy gold around the sherbert toy. Kara rocked into her gently and took a few more pictures as she let herself slide all the way back out, finishing with a final image of Lena spread open and connected to her by a single string of arousal.

 

“Let me see?”

 

Kara handed her phone over and waited, rubbing her hands against Lena’s thighs as she waited. She looked up when she heard her name and blushed shyly when she found her phone pointed at her. Kara didn’t mind, it was only fair Lena took her picture too.

 

“You’re gonna help clean this up, right?” She asked, sticking Kara’s phone under the pillow behind her.

 

“Yeah. Shower after.” Kara nodded, leaning over and bracing her free hand next to Lena’s ribs.

 

Good -”

 

Lena moaned breathily as Kara pressed into her again and started a slow dragging rhythm. It wasn’t a motion she was completely used to and it took a moment for her to figure out how best to angle her hips as she stared down between them. Lena must have understood she was concentrating and let her focus on finding a pace and position that felt right, smoothing her hands over her shoulders and sweeping her hair out of her face. When she felt like she got the hang of it Kara let go of the dildo and brought her other hand up to bracket Lena’s ribs. The roll of her hips became more confident as she squeezed around the bulb of the toy, panting as it pressed into her clit with each thrust.

 

Everything felt hot . From the stretch of the dildo inside her to the press of it on her clit, Lena’s thighs and hands, her breath washing over her chin. Kara ducked her head down and finally, languidly thrust the length of the toy all the way into her. Lena moaned a curse as she pressed flush, the slick heat of her so warm against her skin. It felt so good to be so close to her she only rocked back a little before coming home again in a slow roll of her hips, grinding her pubic mound into her clit. Lena’s brows furrowed and her mouth fell open in a gasp, the tendons in her neck standing out as she sucked in a breath.

 

Kara kept up her tight grind, reluctant to pull away more than she really needed to. Lena craned her neck up and kissed her through pants and soft moans, her hands curling up and around her shoulders. With a full thrust, Kara let her pull her down and into her embrace. Lena’s thighs were warm around her waist, bobbing with the unhurried motion of her hips. Her stomach and breasts were so soft and so warm Kara just wanted to lay on her. Her heels dug into her rear and her nails bit into the backs of her shoulders and Kara loved every second of it. To try to show Lena how much she was enjoying her Kara managed to coax one of her hands from her shoulders and laced their fingers together. She pressed her hand down into the mattress and held on tight, sighing her own moan as she managed to find a rolling thrust that pressed the base of the dildo into her clit.

 

The burn of muscle in her abdomen and the heat of their closeness was consuming, punctuated by Lena’s murmures and sounds of pleasure in her ear as she turned her head and pressed their cheeks together. Then-the dull pressure of Lena’s teeth pressing into the top of her shoulder in a lazy bite, the wet press of her tongue soothing her unmarred skin when she let go. Electricity crackled down her spine and Kara rolled her hips a little more enthusiastically with a soft grunt. She squeezed around the curved bulb and stroked into her, against her, mouthing at Lena’s ear when the pitch of her moans grew higher and breathier.

 

Sloppy kisses on the top of her shoulder became fewer as Lena quickly succumbed to Kara fucking into her. Her head fell back onto the mattress and Kara watched her tense and strain, a high femenine moan caught in her throat-and her eyes rolled back before fluttering shut. Her mouth fell open in a silent oh and Kara pressed as close as she could in a tight grind. She could only imagine what she felt like and made room for Lena to arch her chest up, still grinding. Kara decided she was more beautiful in this moment of vulnerable release than anything she had ever painted.

 

Fuck .”

 

Kara didn’t bother to stifle her low, pleased laugh as Lena sucked in a fresh breath and immediately gasped a curse. She eased up on her grind and sneakily rested her weight on her elbows and knees so Lena could catch her breath. Kara pressed kisses to her cheeks, her jaw, and chin as she waited. It made it a little easier to not focus on the throbbing ache of her own clit. The close grind she had kept pace in for Lena had also really been doing something for her. Seeing the pure ecstacy on Lena’s face was a pleasing alternative.

 

“Did you cum too?”

 

Her hum of dissent led to Lena untangling their fingers and raking her nails all the way down Kara’s back. Lena’s fingers grabbed tightly at her rear and pulled her into her hips. The prick of her nails made her hips jump and drew a whine from her.

 

Your turn .”

 

Kara barely heard Lena’s comment but the hands digging into her ass were as clear as any. She kept her grind tight after taking a moment to adjust, honing in on the gently ridged base of the dildo over and over and over until that familiar tell tale tug in her abdomen made her rhythm sloppy. Dull straight teeth on the side of her neck had her clenching her fists on the bedcovers as she neared the peak-

 

Lena’s hand snuck between them and rubbed quickly at her own clit as Kara’s mind wiped blank in release. She kept grinding through her orgasm, starting to feel just barely present as Lena’s hips pressed up into her with a whined release. When she withdrew her hand and Kara was mostly back into her body, she settled down onto Lena’s front and drank her in. She was beautiful and witty and everything Kara could have dared to hope for.

 

“Again? Please?”

 

Kara picked her head up and propped herself up onto her elbows at the eager plea. “Yeah?”

 

“Or,” Lena kissed her, once, twice, then grinned. “-it’s water proof.”

 

Kara leaned her head up, thoughts swirling about her head as Lena watched her. For as much as she loved enjoying time together, Kara also did want to try different things, and Lena was an open canvas.

 

“...I think we need to test how water proof this.”

 

Lena’s grin turned wicked.

 


 

Alex jammed her key into the lock of Kara’s door, still half asleep with her coffee clutched in her other hand and the bag of doughnuts carefully held in the crook of that elbow. She had forgotten to tell Kara she needed help shopping for a new arm chair and figured a doughnut peace offering would soften the request. They needed to leave in the next half hour if they were to hit the good stalls at the market. Finally she jimmied the key at the correct angle and the lock ground in that awful nails-on-a-chalkboard way. Alex grimaced and shouldered the door open.

 

“Hey, Kara? Remind me to bring my double-yoo-dee-forty for your lock.” She called.

 

And then she stopped.

 

Kara’s apartment was a mess .

 

“Kara, what the-”

 

There was paint all over the floor in her studio space on the scrunched up drop cloth, smears and multiple sets of fingerprints on the edge of the lower kitchen table, a half and a third footsteps trailing back around the corner to her bedroom-

 

“Can you come back later?”

 

It was Kara in the bedroom, and she sounded like she wanted to roll into a ditch. It was then Alex looked a little closer and spied Lena’s expensive shoes by the door and her large leather purse turned over on the wooden chair next to Kara’s.

 

Oh.

 

There was a tangle of clothing scattered near Kara’s easel and not all of it was her sister’s.

 

Oh .

 

Oh no .

 

“I’m not trying to make paint based assumptions here but… Uh. Yeah . I’ll come back later.”

 

It was all she could say, the embers of walking in on her sister and best friend the worst kind of second hand embarrassment. With two quick steps she deposited the bag of doughnuts on the high table, snagged two, and marched herself back to the door with her breakfast balanced on the plastic lid of the coffee cup.

 

“I promise I’ll text you first from now on, I’m sorry-I love you!” She called, feeling her face heat as she wrenched the door back open. “Luthor, if she’s mean to you just tell me and I’ll kick her butt.”

 

HEY-

 

Thanks Alex -“

 

She closed the door and locked it. There was a muffled burst of yelling and helpless laughter on the other side of the door and Alex clomped back towards the elevator with a tired yawn. Maybe Kelly and Esme would be game to tag along… she needed someone to whine to. And maybe to convince her not to try to erase her embarrassment with adrenaline or booze at eight forty-five in the morning. Her five-year-old would be a helpful distraction if she could bribe her with a park outing that afternoon.

 

Urrggmhhdfff goddammit .” She crammed half of one of her doughnuts into her mouth as she waited for the elevator.

 

Her phone chimed with a short text from Kara, an IM SORRY with a slew of crying emojis. Alex sighed tiredly and typed back it’s okay it’s my bad . And then as an afterthought sent one more as the elevator dinged its arrival.

 

But also ew , and an upside down smiley face.

 

She heard the ALEEEEX from all the way down the hall and choked a laugh on her doughnut as she stepped into the car and elbowed the lobby button. One day, Alex would have an uneventful morning.

 

One day .

 

The elevator doors slid shut.