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in the middle of the night

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moodboob 


 

The sun continues to rise every morning and the moon and stars glow softly above everyone each night.

Everything is different, but still very much the same.

Lena runs her company, spends an extremely appropriate amount of time in her laboratory, and visits the Tower occasionally to provide consultations or some equipment.

It’s late and quiet when she enters the Tower main area, the sound of her high heels clacking on the hard surface floor, loud each step.

She’s just about to leave and head straight home until she bumps into something or someone, solid and soft. Strong arms wrap around Lena for a second, and then warm, gentle hands are on her arms, movements searching, worried.

Lena looks up.

“Oh—hey, Lena,” Kara Danvers says, and her voice makes Lena’s heart do a weird little dance.

Like it always does.

“Hi,” Lena replies. And then, “Sorry—I didn’t see you coming.”

No one says anything for a moment. Their faces are close and Kara’s hands are still holding her.

Kara Danvers, her best friend, who’s very much in front of her, real and touchable. It’s been a year since she came back from that dark place.

Things with Kara are still the same, but also more, somehow.

Lena takes a good step back, heartbeat terribly and embarrassingly fast.

She looks at Kara, and her eyes are immediately drawn to her sharp frame. She sees Kara, the way she fills the space with her broad shoulders, the sure line of her waist, the way she never seems misplaced as Supergirl, confident of her place. The defined cut of her jawline, the soft small smile on her face, her striking blue eyes, bright and gorgeous.

Under the gentle lights, Kara’s suit hugs her biceps incredibly well and god.

She’s objectively handsome and beautiful, so much so that it hurts to look at her at times, makes Lena’s hand twitch, chest ache with want.

“It’s really late,” Lena says, only a little breathless. She clears her throat. “And you’re here, still working. Are you also with Alex on that new case J’onn sent earlier?”

“Lena, you’re here, too. Working.” Kara touches her belt, tilts her head. She smiles, soft around the edges, soft around the lines of her jaw, soft in her eyes. “And yes, but we just finished up. Finally done for the day!”

“Done for the day,” Lena echoes, arching a brow. She pokes Kara on the bicep. “It’s ten minutes past midnight, Kara.”

Kara pokes her back quickly with a grin, a finger on Lena’s cheek. Lena frowns, unamused.

“Yes, yes, okay,” Kara says, voice a soft breath of laughter, “we all work too much. Don’t leave yourself out of the equation, you’re right here, too.”

Lena only shrugs, pokes Kara on the bicep again, an odd recent thing she’s picked up. She pokes because she can. Because Kara lets her. Because it’s really funny how Kara’s automatic response is to poke back.

“Well,” Lena says with a helpless smile. “Any big plans after this?”

“A little midnight snack before sleep,” Kara says, almost dreamy. “And then tomorrow is Friday so I have sisters’ night with Alex—actually technically it’s Friday now, but you get the point! Oh, and on Saturday morning I’m making a quick trip to Midvale to have brunch with Eliza. And in the afternoon, I’m helping Esme bake a cake for Alex and Kelly— she's planning a surprise cake and she’s being awfully cute about it—” and on it goes for a minute as Kara goes on a tangent about Esme and her sister’s adorable relationship, her eyes twinkling like the night skies.

Lena watches and listens and feels too keen, too absorbed, too invested. As she always is, when it comes to Kara; helplessly fond, incredibly endeared.

“—But anyways, yeah, we're gonna make the coolest cake ever, and it's gonna rock everyone's worlds and…” Kara slows down, pauses all together.

“And?” Lena prompts, doesn't realize she's smiling until her cheeks begin to ache.

Kara blinks. “I’m rambling, aren’t I.”

“Yeah, darling, but keep going.”

“Lena,” Kara whines, eyebrows scrunching. She licks her lips, visibly embarrassed.

Lena laughs, delighting in the blush on her best friend’s cheeks.

“Don't be embarrassed, I like listening to you talk. I adore you,” she says, and something like panic spikes up in her chest. Truth spills out of her, easily, smoothly.

(The truths used to feel like a knife to the throat. Now it sinks into her easily like water, travelling down to the bottom of her stomach and settles there, weighted.)

The crinkle disappears and Kara’s face brightens.

“Okay, so. Um.” Her best friend scratches her brow, clears her throat. “Back to the main topic! Do you want a ride home? I can fly you to yours, no problem.”

Lena checks her phone, thinks about it. “You’re sweet for offering, but I’ll have to pass. My driver is already here, outside the building. He’s waiting for me.”

“Oh.” Kara pouts, a crinkle between her eyebrows appearing again.

Lena chuckles. Is Kara actually feeling bummed over this?

“It’s really late and we should both get going. I’ll see you, okay?” Lena says.

“Okay.” Kara nods, and she lets out this little sigh. It seems like such a secret, uncontrolled thing. Intimate. Lena wonders how many people have heard those sighs, have seen Kara like this, all tired and beautiful.

Big strong arms wrap around Lena, and Lena finds herself stepping into Kara’s embrace thoughtlessly, a little dazed by the warmth of it, the casual sweetness. Her hands find Kara’s cape, one hand clutching at it, and she presses herself into Kara’s front. Kara squeezes Lena in her arms, says into her hair, “Last chance to say yes to my offer. I can fly your driver back home, too. Give him a cool, memorable experience in the sky. Hey, does Frank like Supergirl?”

Lena laughs in a way that isn’t really a laugh but more of an exhale of breath. She feels the smooth material of Kara’s cape under her mouth. Kara smells like raspberry and fresh rain.

“Maybe next time. And yes, Frank is a huge fan of Supergirl.”

Kara huffs out a breath in response, and holds Lena just a little bit tighter. Cute.

Lena smiles.

This is what Lena knows about the opposite of her solitude: touch and genuineness. This is what she knows: warmth, raspberry, and fresh rain. This is what she knows—

“Get a goodnight’s sleep, Lena.”

Kara presses her mouth to the side of Lena’s head. Lena closes her eyes and breathes in.

“Yeah, you too,” Lena says quietly. “Goodnight.”

 


 

Here’s the thing: Lena has been in love with Kara for a long time. If Kara knows, then Kara doesn’t seem to mind.

 


 

Lena cannot exactly pinpoint the moment she started falling for her best friend, cannot say exactly when she realized it.

She knows it wasn’t a quick process, but something slow and continuing, marinated over the years filled with being in each others’ lives, happiness, comfort, fear, sadness, and heartbreak, everything that they had endured together.

Lena loves her life with Kara in it, and what she feels for Kara has nothing to do with Kara—it’s Lena’s problem alone.

She wants and wants. It’s a violent sort of wanting.

Sometimes she can’t speak around Kara, sometimes she can’t look at her. And that’s for Kara’s sake. Especially Lena’s. Because sometimes Lena looks at Kara, and thinks she’s capable of doing irreversible damage. Lena looks at Kara’s gentle hands and stares at Kara’s pretty mouth as she speaks and reality strikes Lena, in those moments, that she could ruin it all.

Lena’s built herself a stronghold and keeps to herself. Inside the four walls are the risky things she could do, all the things she knows she’d do, if she allows it out.

It’s better to maintain this, because Kara is safe outside it.

 


 

The next time they see each other, it is four days later, and entirely an accident. Lena is dressed in a mahogany fitting coat and black jeans, hair tied into a ponytail, thick-framed glasses settled on her nose.

No one recognizes her as she walks amongst the trees in her favourite park.

Here she is, taking a break, in desperate need of fresh air after working long uninterrupted hours in her laboratory. Practicing self-care because she’s cool and she’s absolutely capable of that. Capable, but not consistently capable.

Lena's in the middle of looking at the full moon lighting up the dark sky when she hears an excited gasp from somewhere far to the right of her. She has just enough time to turn and stretch out her arms before Kara comes barrelling into her.

“Hey, you!” Kara laughs, giddy and endearing, squishing Lena in her arms, so clearly surprised and happy to see Lena. She pulls back, grins wide. “You. You are Lena Luthor, my best friend. What is Lena Luthor, my best friend, doing out here at some park?” She squints, tilts her head. “Yeah, you're absolutely Lena.”

A finger pokes at Lena’s cheek, and Lena huffs. She pokes Kara back, on her shoulder.

“This park is far, far away from your area. What are you doing here?” Lena asks, and she’s surprised herself.

Kara laughs again, soft and gentle. Lena can’t look at her. Lena can only look at her. This was a lot easier when liking Kara was sitting at the back of her brain instead of at the very front of it.

“This park happens to have a cafe nearby,” Kara answers, pointing to her left with her thumb. “A sweet old woman runs it and she makes the best dessert in the city! Anyway, I was there for a potsticker eating competition.” She grins, nodding to herself proudly. “I've remained undefeated, Lena, winning eleven consecutive games so far.”

“Of course. Of course…” Lena mumbles with unrestrained affection in her voice, heart fond, fond.

Kara steps back and fixes her glasses, smiling.

“Yeah. Imagine my surprise, bumping into you, out of all people.”

The orange glow of the street lamp casts a warm light on Kara. She’s wearing a white hoodie with a navy blue coat over it, unbuttoned. Black baseball cap and glasses, dark fitted jeans and sneakers; just dressed simple. Who let her be like this? Who is responsible for this? Who got a note about Kara walking around in the world looking like this, being like this, and said ‘sure, this is okay, what could possibly go wrong?’

She’s criminally handsome tonight. She’s criminally handsome all the time. Her blonde hair is tied into a ponytail, highlighting her jaw; she looks ethereal, like something out of a dream. Out of Lena’s dreams.

Lena wants to ruin her. Or have Kara ruin her.

She forces herself to look away for a bit, eyes on the grass behind Kara.

“Yeah. What a coincidence,” she says, a little breathless, then takes a moment. “Well, since you’re here… would you like to join me for a walk?”

Kara nods, and they start moving.

If Lena had to make a list of her favourite Kara things, their night walks would take the top spot. Even though they met by accident, this walk should be no different to their usual walks. There’s no concept of time when they’re together—any moment with Kara is never enough, and Lena gets used to wanting more.

She doesn't remember who came up with the idea, but she grows addicted to it. Strolling around her or Kara’s neighbourhood, talking or not talking, is healing to her, especially after all the stress of running a company and her responsibilities.

There’s a quiet, intimate kind of joy in walking through the streets at night.

Reaching an area where there’s less activity, Lena sees a couple of people walking their dogs. A few jogging. There is laughter and chatter, night birdsong, and music far away, from a portable stereo somewhere.

“Hey, Lena?” Kara asks, after a long moment of silence between them, “what if. What if we get robbed. You know, someone suddenly appears in front of us and they want to take our stuff.”

“You can break their hands.” Lena glances at her, amused. “I have you. I fear nothing.”

Kara hums, touches her belt. “But Lena, you know I have a policy of non-violence. Well, I mean—it’s a last resort thing.”

“Then what are all those muscles for?” Lena asks, arching an eyebrow.

“To carry you,” Kara says easily, then closes her mouth. Her face twists a little, as if she said it without thinking, and her ears turn red. Quietly, she clears her throat. “Been staring at my muscles, huh?”

“They’re the main reason I keep you around,” Lena says, winking at Kara’s faux scandalized face.

“Really, Lena,” Kara whines, mouth pulling into a pout.

“Yes, darling? I don’t only stare, I also appreciate,” Lena replies with a smile, patting Kara’s bicep once, twice, then falters, falters. Falling weak, giving into an indulgent squeeze.

She feels up over the solid lines of muscle in Kara’s arm, the firm curves of her bicep, and she’s feeling extremely normal about this. Kara’s smiling, just seems amused and delighted by this fact.

They walk for a long time, wordless. It’s when they come across a huge oval that they pause for a break, and watch a group of young adults play soccer.

Lena sighs.

“I still can’t believe out of all the people in the world, I bumped into you. Imagine if you mistook me for someone. You pretty much devoured me, but in the form of a hug.”

“What was I supposed to do? Stand there miserably and miss my chance to say hi to you? And not die? I knew it was you,” Kara says, grinning, ridiculously attractive and heartstopping. “Not to sound creepy and weird, but I can recognize you anywhere by your shape.”

“My shape,” Lena echoes, awfully endeared by Kara’s choice of words, one side of her mouth dimpling. She is really going to eat Kara up.

“Yup, your shape. Well, you dress yourself in a certain way in the public eye, which also helps. Lena Kieran Luthor, but make her incognito,” Kara replies confidently, and turns to face Lena.

Their eyes meet.

Lena has trained herself how to look at Kara, chin tipped up to see her properly, Kara with her intense and steady gaze and cheekbones and a full mouth. Lena has to keep her eyes up, and it doesn’t make it easier.

It really doesn’t make any of it easier.

Lena wants to kiss this loveable woman so bad, her endless, wild desire always trying to break free of its bounds, thrashing inside her chest. She wants to kiss Kara. She wants to kiss her, kiss her some more, then do more than kissing.

There’s a different curiosity in Kara’s face, the kind tilt of her head, the lovely parting of her mouth. For a frozen, breathless moment, she watches Kara watch her, and wonders if Kara is seeing her, really seeing her, and wanting her.

All of her. The concept is staggering and absurd.

Lena closes her eyes for the briefest of moments, willing herself to calm. She lifts her hand, her fingers lightly tangling with Kara’s coat, the coat's buttons. Casual, intimate.

Grounding.

“Tired?” Kara asks quietly, and Lena’s eyes open. Her hand reaches up to tuck Lena’s hair behind her ear, and her hand stays up, thumb moving, brushing Lena’s cheek, slow, gentle.

Lena stands still for this. She can feel the heat radiating off of Kara, and it’s taking all of her not to lean into this touch. Her heart hammers, and she lets out a little haggard sigh.

“A little, yeah,” Lena says, barely voiced.

“Okay, let’s head to yours,” Kara decides, taking her hand back. She looks at Lena a little more, and then, says with a nod, “I’ll carry you on my back. How does that sound?”

Lena laughs, soft and easy, the idea sounding ridiculous in her head.

“Kara, come on. I’m tired, but not that tired,” she responds with a shake of head. When Kara only looks at her, expectant, Lena stops laughing, smile slipping away. “You’re serious. Oh my god, I’m too old for that—”

“—Nonsense! I’ve carried you plenty of times, this would be no different,” Kara says, a smile blooming into a grin across her face. Her face is half-lit under the lamp post, the other shadowed. The light is soft on her and her single earring glitters like a diamond.

Lena watches Kara turn around and get down on one knee. Kara stations her hands behind her, then gestures for Lena to climb onto her back with a slight jerk of her head.

“Kara,” Lena says, hesitant, face heating. There’s absolutely no reason why this needs to happen and she doesn’t know why Kara insists.

“Come on, get on my back.” When Kara turns her head a little, her sight is blocked by the front of her baseball cap.

All Lena sees in this angle is that lovely bright grin on Kara’s face. Ridiculously cute.

Lena sighs in defeat. She can’t believe she’s going to do this. The affection she holds for Kara is heavy and present and ever-growing everyday.

Leaning forward, Lena wraps her arms around Kara’s neck as Kara’s hands slides up and under her thighs.

“Up we go!” Kara starts, easily and smoothly hoisting herself to a standing position. Being so high off the ground suddenly causes Lena to let out a little squeak, but she’s quick to readjust to her surroundings. Kara chuckles, and she begins walking already, effortlessly carrying Lena on her back.

“I can’t believe I let you do this,” Lena mumbles, cheeks reddening further when an old woman passes by them with a curious glance. Her legs clutch at Kara’s strong waist.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall,” Kara says. “You know how good I am with my strength and endurance.”

And honestly. Lena does know, and she thinks she’d like to further her knowledge in other ways.

“I’m not worried about falling,” Lena murmurs, closing her eyes.

It’s awkward for a couple of seconds, and then Lena is practically melting into Kara, and that’s. That’s sort of embarrassing, because there’s no way Kara doesn’t notice.

Her body softens against Kara’s back and she rests her head in the crook of one of Kara’s shoulders.

“You’re like, my mini jetpack,” Kara comments.

“Really. Mini jetpack, Kara? Dork.”

“Yes, but your dork.”

It feels pretty nice, being carried like this, and Lena’s sure she could doze off into sleep if she tried.

She makes her body heavier, fully relaxing, and the change doesn’t affect Kara at all; Kara carries the world in her hands so she knows how to carry Lena forward, gently, tenderly.

A comfortable silence takes over. There’s a quiet chorus of crickets and cicadas around them. Lena can tell that they’ve left the park when the sound of cars passing by them is close in her ears, Kara occasionally stopping in her tracks before crossing the road.

“Long day, huh?” Kara starts quietly.

The streets are quiet despite the occasional stir of car tires. There’s a sign from a convenience store not too far from them, bathing the pavement in a white glow. A pop song plays out from the store, voices too distorted to make out the lyrics; Lena recognizes it by melody alone.

“Yeah,” Lena sighs. “Started a new project recently and I'm working with Brainy—we make a pretty great team.”

“Is it stressful?”

Lena tilts her head a little, her cheek brushing against Kara’s shoulder. “No, not really.” A long silence. “Do I look stressed?”

“No, just,” Kara says, pauses. Then, “You look like you’re thinking about stuff.”

“When am I not thinking? There’s always so much to do, things to work on.” Lena hums, one of her hands sliding down Kara’s front. Her fingers catch one of Kara’s hoodie laces, and begins twirling it around her finger, playing with it.

“But you’re okay?”

There’s something about Kara’s voice, something so clear in her note that makes Lena smile, open her eyes.

It’s so very Kara to always check in on her. She feels safe and good and carried and—

“I’m okay,” Lena answers, and holds Kara a little tighter, because if nothing else, this. If nothing, this. If nothing—

Her heart warms and expands, and it feels like it has an infinite capability of growing. Being with Kara makes her feel like this, makes Lena feel like love is a good thing.

A love that is aching quietly and aching in a way that scares Lena, but she welcomes it, might as well welcome it; she lives with it and has lived with it for some time now and there’s not much she can do; there’s no unlearning this because she’s never had the choice so she might as well welcome it like a dear friend, familiar and warm.

If nothing else, this.

“I know we’re not quite there yet at your place, but how would you rate my uber service so far?”

“Hmm.” Lena sighs, smiles. “Pretty driver, likes to talk. Four and a half out of five stars.”

“What! But Lena, you like talking to me,” Kara whines, and Lena can clearly paint the pout Kara’s most likely making right now, in her head.

Lena laughs quietly, affectionately embraces this woman just a little tighter.

They’re nearing her building, Lena can tell, as Kara leads them to familiar streets.

She’s about to close her eyes again when two people walk past them, most likely a couple, one of them bumping the other and squealing.

“Aw, look! That's so cute of them,” one of them says. “Hey, how come you don’t carry me around like that? We’ve been together for how long now?”

“I—well… babe, you’ve never asked me! Come here,” the other person laughs, warmth and affection dripping in their voice. Their conversation grows distant when Kara keeps walking.

Lena blushes furiously, cheeks spiking heat. She buries her mouth in Kara’s hoodie, hides her face against the back of Kara’s neck as she wraps her arms around Kara’s shoulders.

The tip of her cold nose presses against Kara’s skin and she clutches Kara closer, breathing in Kara’s scent which really doesn’t help her inner ordeal.

There’s no change in Kara’s walking pace and her posture remains the same.

Kara doesn’t speak, just stays silent. Lena sees no reason to comment on this either. Unfortunately, she's aware that her traitorous racing heart is making itself known in Kara’s ears. Not much she can do about that one.

The thing is, they’re no strangers to comments like this.

Supergirl and Lena Luthor.

Lena knows the media and people love them together, if the countless articles that pop up every time they stand next to each other are anything to go by.

She understands why they look visually compatible. Sometimes, she reads those articles with headlines that gush over what a beautiful pair they make when she’s in bed, but that’s none of anybody’s business.

It’s sort of the same thing with Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor, but with much, much less public scrutiny and spotlight.

“Well, we’re on your street now,” Kara says, a little breathy and peaceful, her thumb absently stroking up and down the inside of Lena’s thigh.

Lena hums, genuinely finds herself wishing time would slow down.

They come to a stop and Kara lowers herself, gently lets Lena down.

As they stand close, face to face, both wait for the other to speak first.

“Kara,” Lena bites her lip as soon as it’s out, the intimacy of it feeling both like a peculiarity and like the most precious treasure she has ever held in her mouth, “thank you. And goodnight. Get home safely.”

The name itself is filled with love and lovely things and everything good in the world.

Kara looks at her, a smile dancing at the corner of her pink mouth.

“Goodnight, Lena.”

 


 

Kara

hey guys. morning

i’m bored

what’s everyone up to

 

Nia

some of us are at the tower, come join us

these two have been arguing for the past ten minutes. got the front seats and i’m eating popcorn

lesbeans

 

Kara

aww

i wish i could. i’m in a meeting right now and things are going so slow :(

capitalism is an inescapable evil

what are they arguing about? hey, why does lena look… perplexed? what did alex say

 

Nia

something about lena needing to voice out her feelings :)

 

Kara

feelings? what do you mean by that

nia?

are you still there

 

Nia

hold on i’m being chased

lena

lena’s chasing me

got too

involved

and now i am paying the price. alex has the popcorn now

 

Kara

um. you guys all good?

what is happening there

 

Lena

Nothing. Everything’s fine, darling.

 

Kara

oh hey lena!! :D

nia are you still there?

 

Lena

<3

 

Nia

oh. yes. yes, i am still here. i am not being forced to say this or anything. all is well.

no one was chasing anyone. i am completely fine and normal.

my bad, i was just in a silly goofy mood. i gotta go!

 

Kara

um… okay

 


 

Alex

Lena, don’t forget we have game night in my apartment tonight. Are you going to emerge from your cave long enough to grace us with your presence?

 

Alex

Oh, who am I kidding. Of course you’re coming.

A special someone will be there.

 

Lena

Why are you like this

Why must you make it sound like I don’t have much of a social life?

 


 

There’s a chorus of laughter and a gentle song playing in the background in Alex’s apartment. Outside the wind howls as it rushes through the cold streets of National City, well-lit against covering darkness.

Lena takes off her coat when she steps inside and greets everyone first before settling down. Brainy and J’onn are in the kitchen, chatting and preparing food, while Nia is picking out songs on her phone. Alex and Kelly are carefully setting up Jenga in the living room.

She isn’t exactly comfortable, but she isn’t exactly uncomfortable either. Slowly, Lena relaxes into the new environment. It’s warmer here and she’s surrounded by loved ones.

It’s cozy.

Joining Alex and Kelly with a glass of wine in hand, she kneels next to them as they set up the game together on the table.

“Where’s Esme?” Lena asks.

“In her room. She was doing her homework and fell asleep,” Kelly says with a smile, checking her watch. “She’s a heavy sleeper, that one.”

Lena looks around the living room and listens extra closely for any new or incoming sound as she helps with the last Jenga piece.

“She’ll come, you know. Any moment now. Could you be any more obvious?” Alex observes with a knowing smirk, causing Lena to pause her movements.

Having known the remark was coming, Lena easily keeps a cool, straight face on. She looks back at Alex with an arched eyebrow.

“Obvious? Yes, yes, I can, Alex,” Lena replies. Takes a sip of her wine casually.

“You’ve become shameless,” Alex says with a laugh, shaking her head. “I think I liked it better when you fumbled around and looked like a deer caught in headlights whenever I called you out on your whole yearning business. Now you’re just shameless. Utterly shameless.”

Lena takes a popcorn from the bowl and throws it at Alex’s face. Alex easily catches it with her mouth, and Lena considers throwing another. In the end, she just sends her a little frown. An infuriating grin spreads across Alex’s face.

Yeah.

At this point, there’s no use in denying or hiding her feelings. Not from anyone part of the Superfriends, especially not from Alex. Everyone knows, which is incredibly frightening and ridiculous because Lena considers herself a private person who is a master of self-restraint: keeping her cards close to her chest and her feelings in check.

She doesn’t know how everyone just knowing came to happen, but that’s been the case for a long time now. It only got worse for her when Kara came back from the Phantom Zone. It was like there was a switch that day when she hugged Kara so tightly, the rib-crushing kind, teary-eyed and flushed cheeks, and then everyone gave up on being quiet about her long-time feelings for Kara. She feels uncomfortably seen, but she plays the unaffected role well.

Thankfully, the Superfriends never get too far with their comments and keep everything tame. Mostly. The thing is, they never push Lena to make a move. And honestly, that’s something Lena’s grateful for, but at the same time brings a sinking feeling in her chest, makes her uneasy and wonder if it’s because they all know how Kara feels.

That Kara doesn’t feel the same. That they don’t push to save Lena from confessing and getting rejected. It’d make sense.

It hurts to think about the whys and the possibilities and then the realities. Lena is Kara’s best friend, and that’s as far as Lena can go, and as close as Kara will allow her.

It hurts, so she turns to humour.

“Can’t a woman yearn in peace, Alex? I deserve to have a pair of big strong arms wrapped around me right now, but alas. Have some compassion,” Lena says, as she crosses her legs, playing forlorn.

“I’m literally about to puke,” Alex says, with feeling.

“Sweet mother, I cannot weave,” Lena sighs wistfully, swirling the wine in her glass for the extra dramatic effect, “slender Aphrodite has overcome me with longing for a girl.”

Alex visibly recoils, looking well and truly speechless.

That pleases Lena so, and she allows herself a chuckle as Alex dissolves into a sound of pain, Alex going so far as to cover her ears with her hands.

It feels good to tease, to joke along. To feel in control.

“Did you just quote Sappho on me?” Alex huffs, wide eyed. “And also, you’re making it everyone’s problem?”

“To be fair, babe, you were absolutely asking for it,” Kelly reminds Alex as she pats her on the back, laughing.

And really, Alex was.

“Just be glad you can’t read my mind,” Lena says, standing up with an innocent smile that she knows will cause Alex some psychic damage.

“God, where did the shy and blushing mess Lena go? I miss her, bring her back! Who are you!” Lena hears Alex lament behind her as she walks across the room to fetch the phone she left in her coat on the hanger earlier.

When she turns around, phone in hand, she shrugs at Alex.

“And actually, you know what else, Alex? It’s not just any pair of big strong arms I want around me. I’m talking about a specific person, who I think would look really great below or on top of me—”

“No, stop! Don’t even finish that sentence,” Alex blurts out, scandalized, and Lena is grinning. “Oh my god. You want to kiss her so bad, you look ridiculous.”

Lena only shrugs. Again, there’s no use in denying it.

Alex huffs.

“Rude. Again, where’s the compassion—”

Alex throws a cushion in Lena’s way. Unfortunately, Lena doesn’t move away in time and the cushion hits her directly on the face, causing her to stumble back.

And then—

Strong but gentle hands wrap around Lena’s arms, quickly helping Lena find her balance again. Raspberry and fresh rain floods her senses, and her helpless, traitorous heart acts on its own, already trying to beat out of her chest.

Craning her neck a little and looking behind her, she meets Kara’s gaze. Kara’s face is too close, and she hasn’t let go of Lena. The balcony entrance is open and it explains how Kara just got here.

“Hi, Kara,” Lena says with a steady voice and a fast-beating heart.

Kara tilts her head. Too close. Too cute. Fuck.

“Hi, Lena,” Kara replies with an amused smile. They stare at each other, and then a little more.

“Oh, hey, Alex and Kelly, you guys are here, too. So nice to see you two again!” Alex grumbles with a huff, and Kelly is cackling. “Other people exist in this room.”

Kara breaks into a laugh, and greets Alex and Kelly with a hand wave. The moment she lets go of Lena, Lena wastes no time and turns around, pulling Kara in an embrace and fitting herself in Kara’s arms, causing Kara to laugh louder.

“Oh,” Kara says, and rubs Lena’s back, heavy and slow. “Missed you, too.”

“Mm,” Lena makes a sound against Kara’s neck, mouth curving into a smile. There’s a funny, feathery feeling touching her skin. When Lena withdraws her face, she comes to the realization that it’s just Kara’s suit dematerializing.

That’s fine.

And then—

Her smile drops and her mouth runs dry.

Kara is in a white dress shirt with a dark blue tie and suspenders. Her glasses are perched on her nose perfectly, and she smells really, really nice. She always does.

Lena blinks, groans so quietly. Her head falls on Kara’s shoulder. She’s going to need more wine for this, because what the hell.

“Um, Lena,” Kara says questioningly, chuckles. “You good?”

Lena sighs, nods her head wordlessly against Kara’s shoulder. The sudden urge to bite Kara’s neck is overwhelmingly strong; Kara Danvers looks sinfully handsome and Lena’s inner peace is crumbling, crumbling.

“Again, I would like to bring up the fact that other people exist in this room,” Alex says with a whine. “Also, were you at a party or something?”

“Oh, yeah!” Kara replies as she rubs Lena's back casually, “I was at a colleague’s birthday party. Didn’t want to miss game night, so I only popped in for a bit and gave her my present!”

“All right, social butterfly,” Alex says, huffing with a fond smile. “Come join us already! I wanna game and ruin Lena’s winning streak record.”

Lena lets out a laugh, and they finally separate. As always, same drill, same old, she’s going to try not to look at Kara.

(Too much.)

A little later, Brainy, Nia, and J’onn join them and everyone is sitting comfortably in the living room, smiling and laughing and bickering with each other. It’s a whirlwind of drinks and games and shouted conversations and dancing and hugs and singing.

The living room feels stuffy and the air smells of grilled meat. Lena picks out the best pieces of meat and leaves them on Kara’s plate before choosing some for herself. Alex gives her an obnoxious sly look across the table. Nia and Kelly pick up on it, also passing her looks. Kara is oblivious to all of it and only sends Lena a grateful smile, face pink-cheeked and lovely.

Everyone is feeling warm and bubbly. Games were played, blood were shed, friendships destroyed & restored in a span of one hour.

 


 

Later on, everyone is spread out in the house. Lena isn’t quite sure where Nia and Brainy are, but she guesses they’re in the balcony. J’onn has left. Alex and Kelly are most likely in Esme’s room.

Lena’s hips press against the kitchen sink as she pours herself another glass of wine.

Kara comes to join her shortly, sitting herself on the stool, easy, relaxed. She has a drink in her hand, some alien alcohol, and Lena guesses it’s probably her second drink of the night. She knows that Kara doesn’t drink that much, mostly sticking to water or juice at social events.

“Hey,” Lena says, peaceful and only a little breathless.

Kara looks up, a smile playing on her lips. It freezes halfway before it can fully bloom into the soft smile Lena knows and likes. Loves.

“Hey. It’s so quiet now,” Kara responds, scratching the back of her head. She casts around. “And also late. Are you leaving soon?”

Lena hums, soft. She makes her way towards the kitchen island, sitting herself next to Kara, facing her.

“Yeah, I should. What about you?”

“We can't keep Alex and Kelly up, they need to rest soon, so. Yeah.” Kara faces Lena in her seat, too, humming affirmatively. “You brutally destroyed everyone on Monopoly tonight. You had Alex sweating,” Kara says with a smile. “Hey, what’s it feel like to have six consecutive wins now?”

Lena laughs, waves her off. She takes a long sip of her wine, then wrinkles her nose. Her face feels numb. The wine makes its languid way through her entire body, to the very tips of her fingers. She feels wine-strange, the good kind, and her tongue is loose, the world all light and gentle things.

“Kara, you’re on your fifth consecutive win on Jenga. And on pictionary, we’re on our fourth win together,” Lena says, smiling as she places an arm to rest on the counter, index finger drawing random patterns on the surface.

“Nia and Brainy are gunning for victory in pictionary next game night.”

“Aren’t they always? We have plenty of enemies who are desperate to see our downfall.” Lena shrugs, bumps Kara’s knee playfully with hers. “We got this.”

“Well, aren't you confident about us,” Kara notes, bows her head, and chuckles soft. She is ridiculously endearing, and she’s not even doing anything.

Lena takes in a quiet breath, exhales. Stares.

Kara is crossing her arms, making the fabric of her dress shirt bunch up and press against her skin, revealing the blatant bulge of her biceps. Her sleeves are rolled up, the gentle kitchen light spreading across her forearms, shadows caught in the dips of her muscles.

Lena looks and looks. She didn’t know she had a thing for forearms, before her best friend. And as embarrassing as it is for her to admit, Lena has thought about Kara’s muscles more than she’s said her own name.

She looks a little more, when Kara stares into the window, eyes on the moon. Then, Kara turns to face Lena.

Lena averts her eyes. She can feel her fingers twitch with the need to touch. God, what she wouldn’t give to have Kara’s hands on her hips, lips on her skin, fingers threading through her long hair. To pin her against the wall and feel her body, all soft and masculine and—

This is fine, Lena thinks, and then shuts down the entire path of thought for self-preservation.

Picking up her fourth glass of wine, she downs the rest of its content, then looks at Kara again.

Kara drags her eyes up and down Lena’s face, wondering, something curious. Piercing blue eyes are on Lena’s mouth, and Lena blinks, swallows. Her throat feels dry.

“Your lips. You have wine lips, Lena,” Kara explains, her voice low in a way that Lena wants to roll around and under.

“Oh. Do I?” Lena licks her lips.

Kara simply nods. Lena is filled with the urge to lick it again and she thinks she does. Kara doesn’t stop looking.

“What about me?” Kara murmurs.

Lena looks at the shape of Kara’s mouth and she can only handle a quick look, her heart doing a painful, complicated thing.

She says, very quietly, “Looks normal. Not really seeing anything.”

Kara leans forward and Lena isn’t sure what this sort of moment is trying to be but her best friend pauses, stays in Lena’s space. Lena feels paralyzed by Kara’s proximity and her hand wavers, touches Kara’s knee.

“How about now?” Kara asks, with her near violent obliviousness.

“Like…” Lena whispers, and she looks—she's allowed to look and she sort of looks longer than she should, “like—like pink wine.”

Kara chuckles, and it goes down Lena’s spine. She studies Lena, and for some inexplicable reason this moment feels charged. Lena doesn’t know what to do with herself other than stay impossibly still, growing hot all over as her hold on Kara’s knee tightens a little, a sort of message to come closer or move away, she isn't sure, and—

Her best friend is leaning back and looking at Lena, contemplative and curious, and Lena doesn’t understand any of it. She lets out a shaky exhale, her skin feeling like molten lava.

“Like pink wine, huh,” Kara hums. Staring.

“Yeah.”

Lena sighs, and lets herself be stared at. Wine-warm and horny and Kara—god, what a terrible, terrible combination.

“Is something on my face? You’re making me feel self-conscious. A little self-conscious,” Lena murmurs, enjoying the attention but also flustered by it.

She takes her hand back from Kara’s knee and tugs at her sweater sleeves, tugs them down and over her fingers. Her fingertips stick out as she rubs her palms together, an unsure smile on her face when she looks at Kara’s collar bones.

“Don’t be,” Kara says, and when Lena looks up, curious eyes watch her, genuine and intense, with something indescribable. She clears her throat, adds softly, “Just think you look pretty. You always look pretty.”

Lena goes quiet.

Kara showers her with compliments all the time, so this, coming from her, is not a shocker. She’s kind and sweet like that. Lena doesn’t say anything—doesn’t know what to say this time.

She only looks at Kara, and thinks, what are you thinking about, you’re too close, too sweet, too handsome, want to hold you, want to be held, tightly, want to feel you holding me, want to—

Kara lets out a soft sigh, and looks into the window again. Lena averts her eyes, takes a long moment to collect her thoughts in order.

And then—

“Hey, do you think we should go join Alex and Kelly for a bit before we leave? What do you think they're up to?”

“Probably… just chatting and snuggling somewhere. They're cute like that.” Lena tilts her head, blinking. “Maybe they fell asleep. They looked pretty tired earlier. You can use your super-hearing to find out.”

Kara’s face almost immediately pales, horror painting her features, and that alone tells Lena more than enough of the emotional damage and horrors inflicted from the past.

Lena laughs as Kara pouts.

“I—I’d rather not,” Kara says, ears going red. She clears her throat. “Too risky—let’s go with them cuddling. Alex may not show it, but she’s a huge softie cuddler.”

Lena smiles. “That’s not surprising to hear.”

“Oh, yeah. It’s like a Danvers thing,” Kara states, nods solemn. “I like to cuddle, too. A lot.”

“I know that,” Lena says, mouth curving into a small smile. “Very, very well.”

“Sorry.” Kara shrugs. She doesn’t sound very apologetic.

Lena shakes her head, heart thumping full and fond.

“If you know, then you also know that someone like me requires cuddles to stay well and healthy,” Kara says, grinning now, and she wraps her arms around herself, and god, she looks ridiculously cuddable. “C’mere?”

“Kara, darling…” Lena laughs, her fingers twitching.

“Like right now, Lena. Do you want to be responsible for my demise?” Kara huffs softly, raises her arms in the air, welcoming Lena in her space with a wide smile and head tilt that makes Lena laugh louder, Lena's heart growing ten sizes bigger. “No one should have to look at an uncuddled beefcake.”

“Uncuddled beefcake? I’m sorry, have I not been doing my job properly?” Lena replies, her cheeks hurting from smiling, and she feels the shape of fondness swell up in her chest, great and monstrous.

“Yes. Please meet your responsibilities.” Kara’s face lights up, delighted.

Jesus, what is Lena going to do with Kara Danvers?

“Wow. You’re such a dork,” Lena softly exhales, and laughs when Kara only grins at her, proud and shameless. Endeared, Lena's fiercely endeared. “You know, you make me so happy and I adore you more and more each day. I love you,” she continues, a brand of honesty that slips out without her say, too late to contain, and something inside her heart trips over and falls to the ground, how easy it comes from that place of fondness and happiness.

Kara stills visibly in her movements, but Lena just keeps smiling, because even though she’s sort of dying inside at the unexpected slip of words, she doesn’t regret them because it’s Kara, and Kara should know that she’s loved, that she makes Lena’s heart happy and her entire body feel feather-light and floaty; Kara is just that loveable and sincere and earnest.

I love you, Lena thinks, quietly this time, tongue heavy and wine-warm, and these words simultaneously feel so foreign and so familiar. Lena thinks it’s because this kind of love has nothing to do with her and all to do with Kara, and it’s also that love is just really the easiest thing there is and that doesn’t have to be complicated or romantic all the time. She just keeps looking at Kara, thinks once more, I love you, and she repeats these three words in her head again and again as Kara’s face softens, mouth curving into a gentle smile.

“Aha.” Kara fixes her glasses, licks her lips, shy and gorgeous. Her eyes are on Lena’s, bright blue and tender and something ancient. “I… I love you, too, Lena.”

Lena sharply inhales. Too caught up in the moment, she wasn’t expecting to be on the receiving end of it, too. Of course Kara would say it back. Her heart simultaneously flutters and aches, because although she has no expectations, this is a reminder that this is as far as she can go.

Kara is her best friend and being her best friend is not the hardest thing of all. It’s actually very easy—the hardest is the monstrous wanting and the not knowing what to do with this enormous want and the enormous want having nowhere to go, not really going anywhere; it just stays inside Lena’s chest, sealed completely tight, secure—with little cracks, but secure.

It just stays there to the point where it hurts, at times. Feelings are how feelings are, and they are uncaring of what anyone has to say about them.

Love—it’s a powerful word, an even more powerful feeling.

Lena wets her lips, smiles a little. Wrings her hands together.

“So, you’re an uncuddled beefcake, you say,” Lena murmurs, rearranging her knees so they touch Kara’s again, to distract herself from the uncomfortable expansion of her silly heart. “Then what does that make me?”

“Uncuddled human,” Kara responds easily. “You see, Lena, if we both cuddle, then it cancels out. It’s a win-win situation for both of us, I believe. What are we waiting for?”

“Darling, oh my god,” Lena breathes, chuckling when Kara persists. She reaches out, thoughtless, tugs gently at Kara’s necktie, tugging and twirling it around her finger.

Kara laughs, loud and precious, and she scratches the back of her neck, laughs some more, and Lena whines, Kara, Kara, what’s so funny? She leans forward, wants to look into Kara’s laughing face, to see that lovely shape of her mouth; Lena’s body goes heavy and tips forward further, her forehead landing on Kara’s shoulder and her arms suddenly around Kara’s torso. She whispers Kara, Kara, here’s the hug you wanted, we’re cuddling, and the skin of Kara’s neck is so soft, smooth, and the way Kara breathes into Lena’s ear tickles; they’re too close but really, what is too close when Lena, on most days, would like to melt into Kara?

She whispers another small Kara quietly, tenderly wine-tipsy, as Kara hums in approval and rests her forehead against Lena’s shoulder, hand cupping the back of Lena’s head. Lena thinks of saying Kara’s name again, but this time she wants to turn this whisper into mouth on skin. She wants, so badly, to kiss the base of Kara’s throat perhaps she does it, perhaps she’s not even aware of the way she does it; Kara’s hand tightens in her hair and Lena’s dizzy, dizzy and leaning back, their faces close.

“Lena,” Kara says, and Lena shivers because how can her name be uttered like that, easy and searing and wildly tender, “Lena.”

Lena cups Kara’s face with one hand. The touch feels unreal in her body. This is moving to dangerous territory. She looks at Kara’s mouth and she wants to close the distance and kiss her so badly. Lena’s mouth aches, unkissed—god, she wants, wants so bad she feels like it’s carving her inside, a silent ordeal, her body reworking itself to house this kind of want.

Kara’s eyes are hooded and her lips part, pale red and soft-looking, and Lena’s heart beats heavy in her chest.

“Kara, I…” she breathes out, and she doesn’t know how to finish the sentence, doesn’t know, suddenly, how to speak and be understood—does she want to be understood—?

She swallows thickly, the immensity of her desire alarming her. Kara only keeps looking at her, and Lena feels uneasy; Kara’s so pliant and confusing and wonderful and Lena wishes Kara would move away from her touch already but she hasn’t.

There’s so much in the air and Kara licks her upper lip on the very inside, almost imperceptibly. Lena has to stop herself from tipping over, Kara’s whole everything is so close that Lena can’t breathe.

Kara’s eyes flick down, flick back to Lena’s eyes.

Do it, Lena pleads internally as she strokes Kara’s cheek with her thumb, trying to ground herself, trying not to tremble as she thinks, desperately, kiss me, please kiss me. Kara’s eyelashes flutter as pink dusts her cheeks. Watching Lena, as if to catalogue every shift in Lena’s expression.

Liquid pools at the pit of Lena’s stomach.

Kara leans in a bit, or maybe it’s Lena who does it, because her face is closer now and Lena’s losing her mind—

Kara inhales sharply, squeezing Lena’s thigh, and Lena doesn’t know if she’s paralyzed with indecision or she just isn’t getting it. Lena waits and waits, hand caressing Kara’s cheek, softly, desperately, begging, and she thinks to herself, again, kiss me, kiss me—

There’s an approaching sound; Alex enters the kitchen roughly and wobbly, and Lena and Kara separate so fast, the moment popping like a bubble.

“Ah. Fellow women lovers,” Alex greets them, a noticeable slur in her words. She doesn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary when she takes a look at them both, shoulder leaning against the wall as she lets out a little yawn. “Mm. I’m sleepy. I thought you guys already left.”

There’s a breathless moment where Kara and Lena look at each other, and then Kara stands up fast, heading towards Alex like she can’t wait to get out of this situation, away from Lena.

“Alex, you’re going to fall—let’s get you back to Kelly,” Kara says, laughs quietly a little, and before she heads off, she sends Lena a small smile, indefinable and almost, almost apologetic.

Lena deflates—she is not disappointed, she is not disappointed, she is not disappointed. Her heart does a sharp pang in her chest when she realizes that she’s at it again.

Falling, falling, sinking, and if she isn’t careful she’s going to start drowning. That moment was too close. Too suggestive. She almost risked it all just for a kiss.

A kiss. It’s sad and pathetic.

There’s a reason why everyone in their circle knows about Lena’s feelings and why Kara has stayed in her own lane, not asking Lena about it, not doing anything, no quick and easy rejection, not encouraging, just staying quiet.

Lena pretends her heart doesn’t break a little. The more she wants Kara, the heavier her reality becomes.

 


 

Time drags by. Over the course of the next few days, Lena is left to stew in her thoughts. She doesn’t know what it is she’d been expecting after that one night, but complete and total normalcy certainly isn’t it—which is exactly what she’s getting.

She was sure she let on too much that night, but Kara isn’t acting any weirder than usual, still lovely and affectionate and way too willing to spend any time with Lena.

Lena tries her best not to let herself get too caught up in her head and her main strategy so far is to keep up with what she’s been doing for the past years: staying in her own lane.

 


 

Lena, in her lab coat and inside her laboratory, sits down on her seat. She’s tying her hair up into a ponytail, ready to make some progress with her work, when her phone vibrates on the table.

One quick look at it, she decides she’ll answer it later. But then she thinks she saw Kara’s name in her notification, so she doubletakes.

And yeah. It is Kara, sending a text in their groupchat.

 

Kara

guys

guys!!!

out patrolling and i just met this little cutie

puppy with puppy

 

Lena

Puppy next to a puppy.

 

Kara

:D!!

 

Alex

Wow, Lena.

Every single time. The speed of your response when it comes to Kara is not lost on me.

 

Lena

What are you talking about? It doesn’t matter who sends something, I just reply whenever I can.

Right now I happen to have the time, hence my fast response.

 

Nia

lena, i sent you a ‘Which Superfriend Are You’ quiz four hours ago and you still haven’t read it 🤔

it’s okay. i understand the concept of prioritizing and i hold nothing against you

 

Alex

Hold on a moment. Is that an actual quiz? What’s the point of answering that when we’re… the Superfriends in question.

 

Nia

well i wanted to see if they’d get it right. and what kind of questions they set up

just out of curiosity

for some reason, i got lena first try??

maybe it was because i ticked a couple of boxes about liking muscles and golden retrievers

:)

then i tried different options on my second attempt and got myself. the questions are pretty generic

 

Alex

Muscles? Golden retrievers?

????

Interesting.

How very interesting.

Lena, I have questions.

Also Nia, can you send me the link?

 

Nia

i got you bro

 

Kara

wait, what

what are you guys talking about

hey i wanna try that quiz, send me it to me too please

 

Nia

[attached link]

 

Alex

Oh hey I got myself :)

 

Kara

me too!!

 

Alex

Where has Lena gone off to? She hasn’t replied in a while.

Lena.

Pspspspsps

 

Lena

What.

Did you just… call me like you call a cat?

 

Alex

Wow, can’t believe that worked.

Huh. Too easy.

lena

 

Nia

ALEX HAHHAHAHA

!!!!!!!!

you cropped that picture from one of the interviews we did in catco

that’s just perfection

 

Lena

Yeah, perfection.

alex

 

Nia

Y’ALL STOP I’M DYING

JKSHDAJSHDJASD

 

[Alex left the group chat]

 


 

Alex

Lena

I accidentally left while I was trying to send another photo, add me back

You’re the admin

 


 

[Lena added Alex to the group chat]

 

Alex

Me when I’m at work and I'm making time to text the love of my life:

oop

 

[Alex has been kicked off the groupchat]

 

Nia

LMAOOOOOOOOOO YOU TWO I’M IN TEARS

loving that potato quality shot

 

Kara

haha, aww lena. you look so cute there 😍

 


 

Alex

Lena, I’m sorry.

Add me back?

Please. I won’t do it anymore.

<3

 


 

A week passes by and things pretty much stay the same.

It’s almost one in the morning when Lena’s in the kitchen, making herself a drink that would help with her sleep. A rough thud rips from her balcony, catching Lena’s attention.

Kara leans against the balcony entrance heavily. Her head hangs down and her odd posture has Lena setting down her tea on the counter.

Their eyes meet.

“Oh, uh. Hi, Lena,” Kara breathes, voice shaky and low, hand pressing against her side. She's wearing a brown coat and under it is a white shirt, a large bright red staining her right side where one of her hands has taken up residence holding.

She’s bleeding.

Lena is already moving towards her so fast, body acting on its own. When Kara steps inside the penthouse, she tips forward—the movement too fast, careless. Lena catches her by the shoulders, steadies her.

“Kara, what—how did this happen?”

Kara chuckles, winces. “Oh, you should see the other three guys. Normally I’d go home and take care of it myself, but it—it hurts too much,” she manages, breath shallow.

Lena has so many questions, but she pushes them to the side for an agonizing moment.

“Come walk with me to the couch,” Lena says, mustering the strength to keep her voice steady. She wraps an arm around Kara to help her with her balance and then they’re moving, moving, until Kara completely stops after five steps in—

“I don’t want to dirty your couch—I’ll get blood on it,” Kara hesitates, looking uneasy.

Is she serious right now?

Lena looks at her, mouth curving into a frown. “Kara,” she says, firm and non-negotiable, soft.

Kara grimaces, but then quickly schools her features, as if to avoid just how awful she feels. Lena leads her to the couch, and ever so gently, sits her down carefully. Kara lets out a quiet, shaky whimper as she sinks gingerly into the cushion.

Lena’s heart races, mind on overdrive as she observes the blood stain and looks for any other injuries Kara might have, caught between worry and horror.

“I’m—okay. I’ll be okay. Please don’t call Alex.”

Lena, already with her phone in hand, pauses sharply. “Why not?”

“She’s, um. On a three day road trip with Kelly and Esme. They left two hours ago. It’s extremely rare that they get to spend a vacation uninterrupted,” Kara explains with a sort of difficulty, and Lena thins her lips. “Please. This is very manageable, I have you.”

Lena regards her skeptically, then wastes no more time. She says, before standing up and moving towards the bathroom, “Stay here, don’t move. Let me go get my kit.”

She comes back with a chunky first aid kit, then sets it on the coffee table, next to her. Lena kneels down in front of Kara and very carefully helps Kara remove her coat.

“Run me through what happened.”

Kara wets her lips, hesitates.

“I sort of solar flared this morning while I was working on a case with J’onn—Alex knows this already. Luckily, my powers aren’t completely gone, so I had just enough strength to fly here.” Kara pauses for a moment, taking breaths as Lena helps her move her arm. “Anyway, twelve hours later I was wandering around the city and I—um. Spotted someone being backed up in a corner by three masked men. They were talking about giving up some important research and it escalated so fast, I stepped in. One of them had a knife and I let my guard down, so things happened.”

“So things happened,” Lena echoes, looking at Kara disapprovingly. “Why didn’t you call for backup, darling? You need to be more careful…”

“I’ve been through worse.” Kara shrugs, winces. “I couldn’t just ignore them. Everything’s been taken care of, I left in a hurry. Hospital isn’t an option for me.” She licks her lips, one side of her mouth turning into a wry self-deprecating grin. She’s avoiding Lena’s eyes, visibly shy and embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I know I was reckless. Should’ve called someone for backup.”

Lena’s face softens.

Kara’s feelings hang like the reddening tips of her ears, open and clear, and Lena has learned that she cannot physically take someone else’s pain and remove it, but what she can do is whisper some reassurance and comfort, hand touch gentle on Kara’s knee.

She knows that Kara cares, cares too much, perhaps. It isn’t a crime to care too much; Kara hurts and shatters with how she cares, views the world as this enormous wonder that somehow fits into her hands. It simultaneously awes and baffles Lena; she doesn’t know how to handle that weight and hold the world in her hands but Kara does, with her big and kind and pure and tender heart.

“We need to remove your shirt,” Lena informs quietly, tossing Kara’s coat somewhere behind her.

Kara laughs, voice tight. “Oh, yeah. That does need to happen. Okay, sure,” she says, but doesn’t do anything.

Lena stares at her.

“I can’t move around that well right now.” Kara grins shyly. “Here I am. A Super, at a Luthor’s mercy.”

Lena touches Kara’s chin, gentle. Kara freezes, eyes widening imperceptibly. One hand moving to cup the side of Kara’s neck, Lena’s thumb presses under Kara’s jaw, tilting Kara’s head up as she studies her best friend’s state. Her skin is cold to touch, her eyes are dull and slightly unfocused. She’s pale, but otherwise alert.

All right.

“Can you unbutton your shirt at least?”

While Lena opens the kit, Kara does as asked. Antiseptic, anesthetic, bandages, sutures, everything is here. Great. When Lena looks up, Kara’s shirt is still on—she hasn’t even gotten past the first button.

Kara’s hands are shaky and frustration builds up evidently when her mouth curves into frown, small hisses of pain here and there as she struggles to complete her task.

Lena touches Kara’s hand, causing Kara to stop and look at her.

“Let me do it,” Lena murmurs, slipping into Kara’s space.

Kara doesn’t speak, only nods. She leans back and sinks into the couch as Lena settles between Kara’s knees. Deft hands pop the first button swiftly, easily. A shiver works through Kara visibly when Lena brushes her knuckle over Kara’s collarbone, an accident.

Lena swallows, keeps her eyes down. She knows she’s being watched, half-open blue eyes tracking her expression carefully, making her feel nervous at being looked at closely.

When she lifts her gaze again, she’s met with a look, something tender and indescribable.

Lena bows her head, inhales slowly. Blood clings to the fabric of Kara's shirt. She has to focus on the task. Steadying her trembling hand, one by one the buttons come undone, shirt slipping from Kara’s chest.

Kara sits up straighter when Lena helps her remove her top. One arm free of the shirt, Lena jumps slightly when Kara sucks a breath through her teeth.

“Sorry—”

Kara cuts off her sentence with a fast shake of head. “No, no, not your fault. I moved wrong.”

Lena bites her lip, nods slowly. She discards Kara’s bloodied shirt to the floor, and studies the injury. There’s the gash on her left; it’s a clean but deep and wide cut, easy to stitch.

When Lena just keeps looking at the angry bloodied wound, Kara cranes her neck, tries to take a look, too.

“It’s not looking good, is it? Sorry.”

Lena exhales soft, looks up.

“Are wounds meant to look good, Kara?” Lena asks, amused, and pops on clean gloves, before very carefully opening a dressing pack.

“Great point…”

She begins cleaning the edges of the wound, pausing every time Kara winces or hisses with pain, murmuring low apologies.

Kara slowly exhales, whimpers when Lena hits a tender spot. Lena gentles her touch even further as she studies Kara closely, every flicker of pain showing in her eyes, her brows, the way her jaw flexes.

When Lena reaches for the kit again, Kara grabs her wrist, grip soft. Lena looks up, and her gaze locks with blue eyes.

“Will, will it need stitches? Kara says, breathless, and she looks even more pained. The adrenaline must be completely wearing off, pain taking its place.

“About five or six, yes,” Lena replies, and starts spreading antiseptic solution over the wound. Kara draws in slow, deep breaths. While Lena lets it dry, she picks up the syringe and peels away the plastic film. “We need to numb you up first, okay?”

“Oh… needle,” Kara whispers, making a face at the syringe like it’s about to do her entire being wrong, an irreversible and unforgivable damage.

“Shall I be gentle?” Lena asks, voice light and teasing.

“I don’t mind if you’re rough,” Kara replies, then she blinks, touch embarrassed when she realizes what she just said. Her eyes land on the syringe again, and she looks at Lena pleadingly. “Lena.”

“Cute,” Lena says, raising an eyebrow, “afraid of needles, darling?” Then she administers the shot before Kara can react, right into the skin at the corner of the wound. She sticks to one location and injects again, covering another spot, and does it a couple more times.

Kara lets out a shaky breath, recovers. She pouts further, keeping her eyes away from the site the entire time.

Lena smiles, slowly withdraws her hands.

“I’m in pain and you’re being mean to me,” Kara decides, and Lena feels fond, fond, how Kara can find the time to joke and be adorable.

“I’m being whatever you need me to be.”

Kara sighs. “I guess this was worth it. I’ve heard that women love scars. Do you like scars, Lena?”

Lena blinks, laughs. “Kara, you’re a healthy kryptonian. You’ll heal and there won’t be any scarring to talk about.”

“Damn,” Kara says, faux huffs. “There goes my cool and mysterious scar story.”

The medicinal smell of antiseptic is sharp in Lena’s nose. With steady hands, Lena holds the wound closed and begins stitching as Kara watches her silently. It’s quiet between them. Lena works her way through, and it takes time. When that’s over, she applies the strips, then the bandage around Kara’s abdomen and tape with gentle but unflinching focus.

“It’s not too tight?”

“It’s okay. Not too tight.”

Satisfied with her work, Lena leans back and scans Kara’s body, making sure she hasn’t missed anything. There’s a stain of blood on her bra and slacks. Dirt and caked blood have been cleaned off her skin.

“I think we’re done here,” Lena says, nodding. “But you're not cleared yet. We're going to keep a close eye for infection.”

Kara nods.

And then—

“It’s really late, isn’t it? Sorry about this, Lena.” Kara’s voice is small and quiet in the stillness of Lena’s penthouse. The tone catches Lena off-guard. The barb of it sinks deep into her underbelly, and Lena bends over her best friend’s lap, trying to catch Kara’s gaze. “I know you always have so much to do and so little time to rest, and I’m not gonna like, pretend I matter so much that you’d drop everyth—

“What? You do, though,” Lena interjects, frowning. “I know you don't think you do, but you do.”

To me, especially, Lena doesn't say.

“Please don’t apologize, it’s really okay,” she continues. “I’m glad you came here. You know I’d rather you come to me than—”

“—Than try to do it on my own,” Kara finishes, “yeah… but I’m sorry.”

It's not a new thing, Kara having doubts like this. Feeling bad for inconveniencing others—even Lena, her own best friend. Lena gets it. After all, she’s similar in that way.

Lena removes her gloves and cradles both of Kara’s hands in hers, and very slowly leans down to press her lips to Kara’s knuckles, left hand first, then her right.

She can’t help but lean into it—her unhealthy sort of quiet devotion to Kara. When she looks up, Kara’s features are still painted with apologies and something complicated.

Lena’s frown deepens. “Kara.”

No one speaks.

Kara nods. She smiles, small but genuine. She also seems nervous, but not uncomfortable. Still, Lena tries a little harder to reassure.

Lena brushes her thumb over Kara’s knuckles. Deliberately soft.

“You’re so good to me,” Kara says quietly, like she’s afraid to break the moment by speaking too loudly.

“I want to be good to you,” Lena replies, fiercely honest. “You matter to me. I want to take care of you. And I want you to be well.”

Silence. Long and significant.

Lena hopes she didn’t come off too strongly. She is selective with her words; careful with her heart and the times she chooses to give it away.

Kara watches her, expression indecipherable. Between them, the air turns heavy and warm—buzzing and thick with tension.

The eye contact becomes too much for Lena to bear, so she averts her gaze.

She hears Kara take a shaky exhale.

“You aren’t going to kiss it better?” Kara murmurs, a little teasingly as if to lighten up the mood.

Lena blinks, looks at Kara. Honestly, she’s so thankful that Alex isn't here to witness this exchange because she'd probably get Nia to take a photo and immortalize this moment and set up the caption 'feats of incredible homosexual affection'.

Kara’s craning her neck, observing Lena’s bandage work.

Between Kara’s knees, Lena is quiet as she entertains the thought while her hand runs reckless, sliding up to Kara’s abdomen, slowly, fingertips trailing, gentle.

Kara shivers, waits. Lena tilts her head, her finger brushing against the dips and curves of the muscles of Kara's abs, mindlessly tracing her own name on Kara's skin.

“You think it would help?” Lena says, indulging her best friend, and her hand falters only slightly when she realizes how touchy she’s being. Kara doesn’t seem to mind at all.

And then—

“Maybe. Yeah,” Kara mumbles.

Lena’s finger slows. Maintaining eye-contact with Kara, she leans forward and then closes her eyes. Presses a soft kiss to Kara’s bandage, far from the wound, but close enough.

Kara stares, surprise evident in her expression. The tips of her ears and cheeks turn bright red. That's cute.

The corner of Lena’s mouth tugs up into a light, sly smile.

“Better?”

“Better,” Kara says, licks her lips, nods. There’s a sort of mirth in her eyes when she adds, three beats later, “So, I might’ve hurt my head earlier, too—”

Lena stands up and laughs, cups Kara’s cheek and gives her a quick peck on the forehead. Whatever Kara wants, Kara gets.

Not wanting to dive further into this oddly charged moment, she turns around and begins to clean up the coffee table.

“Okay, I think… I can take care of myself now. I should go—”

Lena pauses, then. “You can barely stand, Kara. Stay, I’m getting you some clothes and a blanket.”

“But—”

Lena arches an eyebrow, daring Kara to continue. Kara closes her mouth, pouts, and then Lena is walking towards one of her dressers. A blanket, spare hoodie, and sweatpants in her arms, Lena returns and hands them over to Kara.

“Thank you,” Kara says sincerely with a blush, hand scratching at her thigh. She looks better, healthier.

Lena nods. “Time for you to rest. Now.”

“Yeah. I know my limits…”

“You do,” Lena replies, sighing. “But you disregard them. You act as though you believe yourself invincible.”

Kara smiles, wry. “When you escape death multiple times, you may start to believe it too.”

Lena looks at her, gaze steady. Near-death experiences are no stranger to her. There’s a mutual understanding. Still, she doesn’t encourage it.

“Anyway...” Kara runs a hand through her hair, winces when she raises her arm too high. “Thank you for these.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you?” Lena asks as she turns around to fetch Kara a glass of water. She takes her time in the kitchen, knowing Kara is changing out of her slacks behind her.

“You’ve done enough,” Kara mumbles.

“And yet here I am, willing to do more,” Lena responds as she washes her hands in the sink.

It’s quiet.

“Okay, um… do you have any guest rooms ready?”

Lena walks over to Kara, glass of water in hand, and she’s pleased to see that her hoodie and sweats fit Kara well. She hands the glass to Kara, and Kara accepts it gratefully.

“Nope, you’re staying right here, with me, where I can make sure you won’t sneak off and go home,” Lena says, pinning her in place with a look. “I’m not letting you go anywhere. Alex would kill me if anything happened to you.”

Kara blinks, jaw hanging. “Lena,” she whines, a disbelief huff, “I can barely fly straight and I have no money to catch the cab to go home. Sneaking off is not an option for me.”

Lena hums, unsure of that.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Kara states. She lets out this little yawn, and wraps her blanket around her shoulders. Scrunches her nose, looks at Lena. “You have me all to yourself for as long as you’d like.”

One of Lena’s eyebrows arches.

“Kara.”

“Yes, Dr. Kieran, I’ll be good now.” Kara chuckles, sleep-soft. She picks up one of the couch pillows and places it down on the end of the couch. Lies down and yawns again, her eyelids heavy, drooping.

“Don’t you want to sleep in a proper bed?”

Kara shakes her head, gentle. “I’m fine with sleeping here. You can go and catch up on rest, I swear I’ll stay right here.”

Lena gives her a considering look, unsure. Her fingers flutter uselessly at her sides.

“Or…” Kara says slowly, lifting her blanket a little, space inviting, “if you’re that worried, you can sleep with me. Your couch isn’t too bad of a place to sleep on.” She pats the cushion for good measure. She’s got this soft smile going on, and Lena already falls weak at the suggestion. “Come on, let's cuddle. Cuddling is very crucial for my speedy recovery, Lena, you know this.”

Absolute dork.

“I’m not sure.” Lena’s very weak. She licks her lips, says, “You’re injured. The couch is small, either you fall down or I make one wrong move and hurt you.”

“You won’t, you can sleep on the other side,” Kara easily counters. “Don’t worry, we can both fit here.”

Lena sighs, gives in.

The couch dips when Lena climbs using her knee, and she hovers above Kara, calculating the space. Kara’s trying to scoot over the other way but Lena’s couch isn’t big enough, so Lena’s just sort of stuck in her position, above Kara, looming over her, blinking, flushing.

“Here,” Kara whispers, wrapping an arm around Lena’s middle and gently pressing her down, and Lena follows, pliant, drapes herself atop Kara, so very careful not to accidentally touch Kara’s wound on the other side.

Kara welcomes her with open arms, and Lena buries her face in the crook of Kara’s neck, Lena sighing with it, Kara sighing with it, and it’s the good kind, nice, pleasant, pleased.

It costs her nothing to stay like this; to stay still for Kara, quiet and content next to her. Feeling needed and special for that, honoured that Kara trusts her. It takes no effort at all, to do that for Kara. Lena can and will do anything at all, if it’s for Kara.

“‘M squishing you,” Lena whispers into the juncture of Kara’s neck and shoulder, and she melts, settles soft and heavy, body let loose. “Heavy?”

“You’re not squishing me. I like it like this.” Kara trembles a little, hugs Lena closer. “It’s cold. So cold…”

Lena strokes the side of Kara’s neck, slow and tender; they melt into each other and Lena tries to take and take her shivering.

“S'okay,” Lena murmurs, sinking into Kara further.

Kara keeps her close and Lena sighs and her lips are moving against cold skin, it’s ‘kay, I’ll warm you up, and time feels stretched out and Kara breathes easy and content like she’s tired but glad to be home, elated to exist in this space, right where she belongs.

 


 

Lena wakes up slowly in the morning, warm and comfortable in her sleeping position. There’s an arm slung over her waist, a leg between her own, and Kara’s soft breathing sounds close to her ear.

She listens to the slow rhythm of Kara’s breathing and she’s not sure how much time passes. Eventually she has to get up at some point, so very, very carefully, she slips out of Kara’s embrace.

The mattress shakes slightly. Kara stirs from the movement but doesn’t wake up.

The room is still dark but morning light seeps in just enough through the curtains to highlight Kara’s features. Lena allows her gaze to linger, unrestricted with no one else watching. Kara looks so peaceful. Her thick lashes create small specks of shadow on her cheeks. The gentle slope of her nose. The line of her jaw, strong and prominent.

Lena keeps looking at her, taking it all in, until she worries she’s crossing the line into creepy. Blinks. She raises the blanket higher up to Kara’s shoulders, and then walks towards the kitchen to cook them both breakfast.

When Kara wakes up an hour later, it’s normal. Kara thanks Lena again as Lena checks Kara’s wound. It’s healing at an incredibly fast rate, Kara’s powers are returning rapidly. It’s truly impressive.

After breakfast, they don’t speak about what happened yesterday.

 


 

“So, I think,” Alex says, “that both of you are idiots.”

“Thanks,” Lena says dryly. She doesn’t even have to guess who Alex is talking about. They’re sprawled out on the couch, in the Tower main area, listening to tv news in the background while eating Chinese takeout.

“See,” Alex says, “Lena, you have your thinking about Kara Danvers face on right now.”

Lena pauses, scrunches her face. “I have no such face.”

“You absolutely do. It’s a mix of sappy and mushy and wistful and frankly, it makes everyone in a three mile radius want to puke. You should tell her.”

“No. Whatever it is you’re implying, no.” Alex snorts at that. Lena glances at her, says, “And welcome back, by the way. I hope you, Kelly, and Esme had a wonderful trip.”

“That, we did! I need to show you some pictures later, we took tons.” Alex is grinning wide and happy. Lena smiles. “By the way, Kara told me what happened with her a couple of days ago. Thank you for taking care of my sister.”

“There’s no need to thank me for that.”

Alex hums. “You should tell her,” she tries again, wildly nonchalant, and Lena wonders what is with the sudden push.

“No,” Lena says stubbornly. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, trying to meditate herself away to another dimension where this conversation isn’t happening.

“Lena.”

“Alex.”

“My god,” Alex says, laughing. “You are down so bad for my sister. How many years has it been now?” Lena shoots her a look, unimpressed. Alex waves her off. “Trust me when I say that the tension between you two is palpable. It’s at an unacceptable level that doesn’t meet health safety regulations. Think about the sufferers. Take me, for an example.”

Lena pauses.

“Alex. You’re blowing things out of proportion,” she manages, words failing her because of Alex’s implication. “There’s nothing going on between us.”

“Nothing, are you serious? Keep telling yourself that. We all have eyes, Lena.” Alex is laughing harder now, the air leaving out of her lungs. She almost drops her takeout food in the process.

“You’re laughing,” Lena murmurs, baffled. “I am sitting here, unkissed and uncuddled, and you’re laughing. Go away, this is an Alex-free zone.”

“No, I’m a kind and caring friend. I’m here, making sure you’re alive and well,” Alex teases, unsettlingly affectionate. It makes Lena’s insides squirm, but she calls on every ounce of her willpower not to fall for her wiles. “So, how are you and Kara going?”

“No,” Lena says, shooting her a look.

There’s silence.

Then, “Hey, Lena? Your back must hurt.”

“From what?” Lena coolly sinks into her seat, unable to let her guard down, not really knowing what Alex is getting at next.

Alex grins slow and wide and points her spoon at Lena. “From carrying the useless lesbian industry on your back.”

Lena throws a fry at her, hoping for a headshot, and completely misses.

Alex is laughing even harder.

 


 

One day later, Lena is required at the Tower once more.

Alex drags a chair over to the table Lena is sitting at, a notebook tucked under her arm. She throws it atop the notes and folders. Lena’s running thin, coffee doing very little for her. She leans back, her back painful and shoulders heavy and she'd like nothing more than to be in her nice, warm bed and get at least seven solid hours of uninterrupted sleep.

“We have successfully stopped the operation and captured the leader,” Brainy says through their comms, a little static coming through. “We found their secret underground cavern. You and Lena can rest easy now.”

Alex lets out a heavy sigh of relief and she buries her face in her hands. “So glad to hear it. Was anyone hurt?”

“Dreamer is with me right now and she’s in top condition. I’m the only one with a working earpiece,” Brainy responds. “A couple of civilians have been injured, nothing too serious. Medics are on their way.”

“And Kara?” Lena asks.

“Golden Sleeper’s fine, Eagle One,” Brainy replies, a hint of a smile in his voice.

“Ah. We’re back to codenames again, are we?” Lena chuckles, heart warm.

“Absolutely.”

Lena sinks in her seat, satisfied with the outcome. It took a whole day to track down and capture one single person. Occasionally a high level of disruption will rise and take place, placing several cities or the entire world at risk, requiring all Superfriends to work together. This is one of those cases.

She casts a look around. The Tower is so quiet and it’s dark outside. Her watch reads 11:47 pm.

“God, I could use a strong drink,” Lena murmurs, dragging a slow hand down her face.

“Oh, you and me both,” Alex laughs, the sound of her laughter low and dragging. She looks exhausted and spent, too, bags under her eyes.

“Hey guys, I come forth bearing a care package,” Kara announces as soon as she lands on the balcony, already walking towards Lena and Alex.

Over her chest, she carries a medium-sized light blue box with cute stickers on them.

Alex glances up, squinting. Cautiously, asks, “What gifts?”

“I present to you…” Stopping in front of Lena and Alex, Kara grins and places her package on the table before opening the lid. “Snacks! Someone gave me a gift full of snacks on the way here! How cool and sweet is that? Take some, sharing is caring.”

It’s definitely an assortment of snacks. Alex chuckles at her sister, takes a moment to choose before picking up a packaged chocolate cake. Lena only smiles at Kara, shakes her head soft when Kara tries to give her some. Nia and Brainy don’t seem to be coming back. They must have gone home, which makes sense, because there’s no point in returning here when they’ve completed their mission.

Lena’s back and muscles hurt. She stands up, moves to sit somewhere softer and comfortable so she can rest for a bit as Alex and Kara discuss something, laugh about something, then hug and talk some more.

She lets her eyes roam over Kara’s profile, her eyes, nose, lips, free to soak Kara in when Kara isn’t paying attention. Her eyes slip shut shortly, eyelids growing heavy.

The noise in the background is drowned out and she doesn’t know how much time passes. It’s like that, until Lena registers an added weight to the couch—someone is sitting next to her and they smell so good and they’re warm and—

“Hey,” Kara whispers, and Lena opens her eyes, doesn’t move much, just stays still, only moving her head a little to meet Kara’s gaze.

“Kara,” Lena murmurs, blinking slow.

Kara’s mouth curves into a small smile, something warm and familiar—something only for the two of them. Lena’s tired but thinks Kara is, as well.

“Alex just left. Everyone’s gone home,” Kara says quietly, “it’s just you here now.”

“You’re here, too,” Lena says, and sighs small. She doesn't move. There's a haze in her head, and she waits for it to dissipate.

The open balcony welcomes the cold night air freely into the room and Lena shivers, rubs her hands together on her lap.

“Today has been exhausting. Think I need you to put me in rice,” Lena murmurs, eyes heavy with sleep. “Put me in rice.”

“Hmmm.” Kara hums, chuckles. “How about no rice. How about I do this instead—”

There's a weight shift, and then Kara is moving closer to Lena. With gentle hands, Kara wraps her red cape around Lena’s shoulders. All nicely and perfectly.

Lena sighs, welcomes the comfort and position. Her body turns putty really quick, head heavy and resting on Kara’s shoulder when Kara starts rubbing her arm up and down slowly as if to warm her all up.

“Sleepy?” Kara whispers.

“Little bit,” Lena hums, feeling every tight knot, every tangled ball of nerves inside of her loosen. She’s literally melting. Kara’s other hand covers one of Lena’s, her thumb running up and down Lena’s knuckles, and Lena’s spine goes liquid.

It strikes Lena then that they’ve shared this moment a million times before—one of them finding the other, slowly unwinding from the stress of the day and taking comfort in the surety of one another.

Kara’s here, she’s here and Lena feels very present, wants Kara to feel present too so she leans into the touches, melts, melts into her.

“What time is it now?” Lena asks.

“An hour past midnight.”

“Ah. We should leave,” Lena murmurs, but none of them move to do so.

It's quiet.

She could fall asleep like this, with Kara’s quiet humming washing her over her like ocean waves, ensconced in the safety of the Tower.

“Hey, Lena? Do you believe in soulmates?” Kara asks suddenly, breaking the silence.

“Soulmates?” Lena questions, lifting her head off Kara’s shoulders to look at her. She smiles a little, confused. “As in, one person made perfectly for us?”

Kara nods. Her face is close. That’s okay. “If that’s how you see it?”

“Mmh. How do you perceive it?” Lena says, mind too foggy right now. She wants to know Kara’s answer first.

“I suppose a soulmate, in my eyes, can be between any two people, whether it’s partner to partner or friend to friend.” Kara blinks, tilts her head. “It’s someone who compliments you well on any level, who helps you with your personal growth, and you help them. They make you feel like the purest or most ‘you’ version of yourself. People can have multiple soulmates, for different reasons, throughout life.”

“You’ve put a lot of thought into this.”

Kara looks at her. Lena looks back. It’s quiet. Lena licks her lips, closes her eyes again. Rests her head on Kara’s shoulder again.

Soulmates, and different types of soulmates. The idea that two people bonded together by some force of the universe.

Quietly, Kara asks again, “So, do you believe in soulmates?”

“I believe in you,” Lena whispers, words slipping out of her mouth without her even knowing what she would answer, and she leaves it at that.

Silence.

It’s silly, how Lena’s heart takes this and runs. How she sees Kara, what Kara is, to Lena, is already out there. Lena’s not going to fumble and take it back, make a fool out of herself, too drained to elaborate further. There is the certainty that she feels, in the peace and stillness of the night, in the calmness that envelops them both, in the way they find their way into the same space, close, touching, not close enough.

This is enough, Lena thinks, sighing softly. It’s enough. It has to be.

She hears Kara take a breath, another. Words on the tip of her tongue.

Lena waits. It never comes.

Kara only presses a soft kiss to her forehead, Lena’s face scrunching a little at the tender contact. Three minutes pass, maybe five, or ten—Lena doesn’t know. All she knows is that she’s exhausted and falling asleep fast and Kara’s hand is moving, gentle fingers stroking her hair. Lena lets it happen, too tired and too warm everywhere to think of anything else.

“Lena,” Kara says quietly, “we can’t stay here. We have to leave.”

“‘M so tired,” Lena murmurs, struggling to keep her eyes open.

“I know, baby,” Kara says, and she says the word baby so easily—terribly fond, awfully soft, achingly sweet. “You did so well today. We couldn’t have captured our guy without you. You’re truly amazing.”

Lena opens her eyes; she feels the sudden strange urge to tear up, her insides melting into a pleasant sticky goo at the endearment and praise. She doesn’t move or say anything.

Kara studies her. “Want me to drop you off to yours? This way is faster and you can catch up on rest sooner.”

“Yeah,” Lena mumbles, a peachy pink dusting her cheeks, sleepy, sleepy, head moving and she’s nosing into Kara’s neck now, fingers curling into her side. “Yeah, please.”

“I’ve got you.” Kara presses another kiss to Lena’s forehead. Slow, slow. Gentle. She touches Lena with casual tenderness, like she's precious. “Gonna lift you up and fly us to your place, all right?”

Lena nods wordlessly. Very carefully, Kara scoops Lena up into her arms while Lena’s still wrapped in her red cape before walking towards the balcony and taking flight.

Up in the air, Lena immediately wraps her arms around Kara’s neck and hides her face there, away from the wind. Smushes her cheeks into Kara’s skin, shivering. It’s still cold up here, even though she’s blanketed by Kara’s cape.

“You good?” Kara asks.

“Good,” Lena says, voice a little shaky, and she presses her forehead against Kara’s skin further.

Kara chuckles. “All right, precious cargo still on board and secured. We’re almost there.”

 


 

Kara is a soft and gentle woman, and Lena likes to be treated with softness in the same way.

It’s not exactly something she’s starved for, or has to search far and wide, with Kara in her life. Kara treats Lena to the softness that she craves, and Lena gathers every single moment, keeping all the precious peacefulness in the palm of her hand, close to her chest.

Kara Danvers isn’t the only person who treats her like this, but she’s the only one who has only ever treated Lena with softness, with a gentle kind of care that she didn’t know what to do with at first, but presently doesn’t know how to live without.

When Kara reaches the penthouse and inside after careful maneuvering, she sets Lena down. The warmth of Kara is gone and Lena opens her eyes, takes a moment to adjust to her surroundings. They're in her bedroom.

“Thank you for taking me home,” Lena says, casting around. Kara has turned on the night lamp and closed the curtains.

Lena looks at Kara, really looks. Her best friend is still in her suit and she’s watching Lena curiously. She looks tired, is tired.

“Would you like to stay the night?” Lena can’t help but offer boldly. “I have clothes you can wear.”

It’s not the first time Kara has slept in her home. And Lena and Kara being Lena and Kara, it probably won’t be the last.

Kara blinks. “Uh. I mean… why not?”

And that’s that. It’s simple, them.

They rotate sleepily against each other in the bathroom, brush their teeth and knock elbows as one of them leans towards the sink. Lena always has a spare, new toothbrush in place for when someone comes to stay over. Kara, specifically.

Kara finishes her night routine first, and heads out. A little later, Lena follows after her and they meet in her bedroom. Kara stands around, waiting. For what?

Lena slowly blinks, eyelids heavy. She tilts her head at Kara, questioning.

“So, guest room for me?” Kara explains, ready to leave, to be escorted to the room she’s allowed to use.

That’s a cute assumption. Real cute, really.

Sure, Lena likes her personal space. She likes her room, and she likes her bed, and she likes going to bed alone. She likes Kara more.

Feeling like she could fall asleep any second now, with a small yawn, Lena tugs at the hem of Kara’s shirt and shakes her head. Kara only blinks, a quizzical smile on her face.

Lena frowns, wordless and adamant, and tries Kara’s sleeve this time, tugs and tugs gentle, guiding her towards her bed.

Kara follows, this time.

Lena knows she’s being clingy. Sue her.

“Okay, so no guest room for me,” Kara figures out, chuckling sweet and low. “You’re adorable.”

Lena releases a soft huff, something like a whine and a protest. She’s not adorable. It’s not adorable that she’s sleepy and wants Kara to cuddle with her. It’s not adorable that it’s Kara she wants so much, and why it couldn’t be literally anyone else.

They both get in bed and as soon as Lena’s head hits the pillow she closes her eyes, melting into the comfort of her bed and Kara’s arms, apparently, because Kara is pulling Lena flush against her body.

Lena raises the duvet up to their shoulders and throws an arm and leg over Kara and digs her face into her best friend’s chest.

There are fingers playing with Lena’s hair. Lena sighs, soft.

“That feels nice,” she murmurs, already half-asleep. Her eyes are closed when she searches for Kara’s face blindly with her mouth. When it lands somewhere, she thinks she has pressed her mouth to Kara’s chin. Swelling with night, she whispers, “Love you. Sleep well.”

The fingers in Lena’s hair pause. Continues then, slow, slow. Trembling.

“Love you too,” Kara responds quietly. “Goodnight, Lena.”

Lena hums, comfortable. She’s sleeping next to Kara and she likes that.

She likes it far too much; she could get used to this, is the problem.

She’d do anything for the chance to get used to this, is her last thought before falling asleep.

 


 

When Lena wakes up, slow and languid, they haven’t pulled away from each other so much as an inch.

Somehow, Kara has folded the blankets even more tightly between them. She cranes her neck a bit, looking up at Kara’s relaxed, sleeping face.

Everything comes together quickly after that—there are a few reasons for her to be waking up with Kara Danvers in her bed, secured in her arms.

Lena’s well aware of the fact that it’s all on her. It’s not her fault that Kara is so warm and inviting and will cuddle up with her when asked. Lena blinks, sleepily, shifts. She can feel Kara’s chest rise and fall with every breath, can feel the puffs of air against her skin. For a long moment Lena just lies there, indulgent.

The sun is half risen, casting a pink and orange glow over Lena’s bedroom and Kara looks ethereal in this lighting, this shade, looks something over-worldly and touchable.

Locks of blonde hair fall into Kara’s face, and Lena carefully sweeps them to the side, exposing the surface of her forehead, marred only by the furrow of her brow.

In a moment of weakness Lena gives in to the impulse and strokes her thumb at Kara’s side, and the slight frown disappears naturally, like it had never been there in the first place.

Lena wonders if it's selfish, if she doesn't want Kara to wake up just yet. She closes her eyes, and tucks her cheek against Kara’s neck, stealing bits of intimacy when she can.

When it’s just them two, it’s easier to indulge in intimacy. Out there, it's like the whole world's watching her every move and they just know how desperate she is, grasping at straws while making it look like Kara’s doing her a favour.

She can't stand it.

 


 

A couple of days later, Lena is required at the Tower for her expertise. She arrives there in the afternoon, carrying a small briefcase and a handbag that contains expensive tools and other very, very important items that she hopes will be used. Or consumed.

Brainy’s already there, running some tests, and she greets him with a smile.

They both get to work separately in companionable silence, when Alex and Kelly burst into view.

“We're back,” Kelly says, casting a look around. She’s carefully changing out of her Guardian suit while Alex fiddles with a device.

Everyone gets to work and at some point, Lena gets so lost in her project that when she feels a new presence lurking behind her, she startles a little, turns to see who exactly that person is.

And lo and behold.

“Hi, Lena,” Kara says casually, curiously taking a peek at what Lena’s working on.

Kara’s crossing her arms over her chest. God, her biceps are impressive and distracting. Lena very much wants to put her legs over those shoulders.

Shaking off that line of thought desperately, Lena blinks at her, and Kara blinks back.

“Oh. Hello.”

Kara grins. “Yeah, hi-ya.”

Lena nods. “Greetings.”

“Bonjour,” Kara returns.

Lena tilts her head. “Dia duit.”

“Privet.”

“Ciao,” Lena says back, arching an eyebrow.

“Hola,” Kara responds, scrunching her face.

“Olá.”

“Konnichiwa.”

“Annyeong.”

“Kamusta.”

“Namaste—”

“What on earth is happening over there,” Alex blurts out, watching the entire exchange with blinking eyes. “I have so many questions, none of which I think I want to be answered.”

Lena and Kara turn to look at Alex, and then back at each other. They break into a soft laugh while Alex looks more and more done. Affectionately done.

“Alex, can’t a woman greet her best friend on this lovely afternoon?” Kara asks with a grin. She stretches her entire body, then comfortably leans against the table Lena's using.

“I think one hello suffices,” Alex deadpans. “You guys are so weird. And I say this with a lot of love.”

“What? It’s just me and Lena,” Kara says, like that explains it, and strangely, it actually does.

Alex is baffled but she has this fond smile going on.

It’s quiet as everyone does their own thing. Kara stays close to Lena, looking around and not really doing much.

“I wish we had snacks,” Kara says then, and Lena is already reaching down into her handbag and pulls out a pack of biscuits she’d picked up for Kara at a convenience store this morning.

She gently pushes it into Kara’s hands. Kara quietly gasps.

“Lena Kieran Luthor,” Kara says slowly, grinning wide and soft, “this may be controversial so don’t tell the others, but you’re my favourite.”

“Well, aren’t I special?”

Kara hums enthusiastically as she bites into her snack. Lena, unfortunately, does not miss the quiet hushed “See? Married, I tell you,” whisper from Alex to Kelly, and she’s pretty one hundred precent sure Kara caught that as well and it’s.

Whatever.

Kara doesn’t react, so Lena doesn’t, either.

Lena gets back to tinkering with her equipment while Kara eats and—and just. Watches.

Lena notices Kara looking—after all, she does her own share of it. She gives into it for a moment and lets go, lets herself want, heart aching. Lets herself smile helplessly when she catches Kara’s gaze, hurt herself when she allows herself to hope it means something.

But nothing is new, nothing changes. Kara looks, and Lena looks back, and life keeps humming along.

It’s a little later when Kara has to leave. She stands up straight and touches Lena’s shoulder, kisses Lena just below her ear, whispers, “I need to get back to CatCo now, bye, Lena,” and simply heads straight outside like this parting is normal for them.

And that’s like. Whatever, too.

And Lena just stands there, blinking. Ears pinking, hand touching the spot where Kara kissed her. She catches Alex’s gaze, and it's too late to compose herself, to pretend nothing happened.

Alex is looking at her, her expression something wicked and intolerable.

Lena sighs.

“Don’t start.”

Alex opens her mouth—

“No, keep that closed.”

But Alex doesn’t keep her mouth closed because she’s insufferable and will take any opportunity to remind Lena how much of a useless lesbian she is.

“I’m not the only one who saw that, right?” Alex starts, all to eager to feed her into the wolves.

Brainy, who has been quiet the entire time, finally speaks up. He coughs, “Isawittoo.”

“Well, what’s new here?” is Kelly’s assessment, and Alex agrees gravely. “Kara touches and kisses you all the time. It’s basically her hobby.”

“Exactly,” Lena says, very very pained, “so why are we discussing this very normal interaction between Kara and I.”

“Because we love being extra,” Alex simply answers.

“No, you love being extra,” Lena corrects.

She closes and opens her eyes, takes a deep breath, and leans heavily on her work ethic skills, turning back to her task.

“Gay people, am I right?” Lena hears Alex whisper to Kelly. Lena stands very still and quietly, face and neck visibly colouring in real time and cursedly in real life. Sort of hoping that everyone forgets that she exists or in fact ever did.

 


 

Lena does not catch a break. She actually can't catch a single break.

Five days later, she receives a text from Alex late at night.

 

Alex

Hey, so.

My sister is sort of drunk and she insists on sleeping at your place.

 

Lena

?

 

Alex

I’ll be at your place in a couple of minutes to drop off my goofy sister, be ready. Bye.

Lena blinks and blinks at her screen.

 


 

That’s how Lena finds herself looking at an approaching Alex, who has her arm wrapped around Kara’s shoulder for support, fresh out the elevator of her penthouse.

Kara lifts her head up, and her face lights up.

“Lena!” she greets, a lazy grin shaping her lips.

“Here she goes.” Alex sighs, face fond. “She couldn’t stop talking about you all night.”

The moment Alex stops right in front of Lena, Kara extracts herself off her sister and steps into Lena’s space, big strong gentle arms wrapping around Lena’s middle, face nuzzling Lena’s shoulder.

“Oh,” Lena voices out, tight, surprised. Kara giggles, and Lena recovers easily, hugging Kara back and petting her hair.

“And my job here is done,” Alex says, already turning towards the elevator, “take good care of her, all right? Kelly’s waiting for me to get back.”

“Hold on a moment, I have so many questions—” Lena starts, but the elevator entrance is already closing and Alex grinning is the last thing she sees before it fully closes.

Well.

Okay, then. Leave it up to Alex who thinks she’s doing a lot to help with Lena’s love life.

Lena clears her throat as Kara holds her in a koala grip.

“Kara,” she says slowly, patting Kara on the back once, “how many have you had to drink tonight?”

“I didn’t drink that much,” Kara murmurs, yawning, and holds Lena a little tighter. “Sisters’ night was good. Alex bought me some drinks. Just a little tipsy, is all. ”

“Right,” Lena says, a little doubtful. They stay like that for a bit longer. Lena waits, wondering what to do next. “Darling?”

“Yes?”

“If you want to cuddle, then we should get you changed first.”

Kara lets out this tiny whine, then peels herself away from Lena. She stumbles a bit when she straightens up, then starts making her way towards Lena’s bed—casually, might Lena add, as if she lives here.

Lena only stares and blinks.

What even is happening. It's strange, marvellously so, the way they move around each other. Naturally intimate, domestic. Lena stays rooted in the main area and decides not to freak out about it, to not question anything too hard.

Checking the time, the clock on the wall reads 12:38AM. She closes the laptop on her coffee table and brings her empty tea cup into the sink. Once that’s over, she sits on the couch and pulls out her phone to check for any new messages.

Kara comes back with a blanket over her shoulders.

Lena’s eyes flicker from Kara’s toes to her head. The shirt is a bit tight around her biceps, the thin material stretches over Kara’s muscles easily.

Kara squeezes her eyes shut, stretches long and wide. With her arms above her head, her shirt pulls up to reveal a stretch of her defined abdomen. Lena’s hand feels itchy; she wants to press her hands against the bare skin, wants to absorb the glow of Kara’s sleep-tipsy smile, the pensive look in her eyes, the warmth of her.

Lena is so busy looking and thinking that she doesn’t register Kara getting closer. Her best friend sits down on the couch with her legs folded and nuzzling Lena’s side, resting her head on Lena’s shoulder.

“Kara,” Lena says, heart fond, fond. “You’re not sleeping here.”

“I know,” Kara responds, eyes closed. “Just waiting for you to finish up work, or whatever it is that you’re doing. No rush.”

Lena arches an eyebrow, chuckling soft. “I’m already done.”

“Oh.”

Lena lets out a little sigh, leaning back against Kara and shutting her eyes. Kara wraps them both in a blanket and she’s terribly cute and Lena has to stay very still and quietly and adore and adore and adore.

She wants so much from this woman, and sometimes it feels like an endless amount, more than she could ever give voice to.

It’s late, probably midnight now, and she feels Kara all around her and thinks, it’s okay to just enjoy this quiet moment. In a life as fast paced as the one they lead, where Lena has to run a company and work with the Superfriends at the same time, where she also spends several hours long in her laboratory, deep into her personal research and invention; there is very little time for peace.

It’s rare that she gets to pause, and breathe.

At this moment, with Kara pressed against her side, with the penthouse quiet, with the trouble and news far away—she sighs deeply.

“Alex gave you a ride back home. But you’re here. Can I ask why you insisted on coming here?”

“I always sleep better next to you,” Kara says, and then Lena feels Kara freeze against her, as if she wasn’t meant to say that. Quietly, Kara adds, “And I think it’s the same for you, too.”

Lena softens. “Well,” she says slowly, “I can’t deny that.”

Silence. She feels Kara’s fingers dancing up to her hand and circling her wrist.

“Did you spend most of the day in your lab?” Kara murmurs.

“Yeah,” Lena responds, and she waits and waits for Kara to release her from her embrace. But Kara doesn’t seem to be moving soon at all. “You have to let me go so I can clean up, and then we can cuddle. This is a free one time offer, no strings attached.”

Kara laughs at the joke and shakes her head, squeezes Lena’s wrist. The arm wrapped around Lena’s waist stays there comfortably. “Or I could just keep you here like this.”

Lena turns her head just slightly, thinking. Kara takes this as an invitation to tuck her face into Lena’s neck and hold Lena closer.

Lena lets it all happen.

She doesn’t question why they often end their nights like this. Just goes with it. Because Kara grounds her, and feels safe, and when Lena is with her like this, it’s something like home.

Slowly, she relaxes against Kara’s familiar, comfortable frame, thinking now about how far they've come, how this is new, yet impossibly, terrifyingly natural. Kara is quiet and she doesn't do much, just holds Lena, and Lena twists in Kara’s arms. Kara relaxes her hold just enough to allow it.

“You’ve been quiet,” Lena murmurs. “Don’t fall asleep on me now, I don’t think I can carry you to bed.”

Kara laughs softly. “Not falling asleep. Just resting my eyes.”

Lena hums. She adores these in-between moments, curled up against each other. They’re rare, Lena normally struggling to still and just be, but tonight seems to be one of those times.

Exhaustion from a day of work seeped into their bones, but neither quite ready to close their eyes and drift into sleep. Kara’s breath is warm against Lena’s collarbone, head resting on Lena’s shoulder, limbs draped over her body. Her best friend is verging on too-heavy but Lena doesn’t really mind.

It’s quiet for a while.

“Everything okay?”

“I’m fine,” Kara says, drawing a breath. Shaky, quiet. “It’s been a long week, I’m just enjoying being here with you.”

Lena smiles, lazy and slow, and brings her hand down, heavy at the nape of Kara’s neck, thumb stroking skin, soothing, other hand running up and down her back.

Kara sighs in something like welcomed comfort.

Silence. Then—

“You smell really nice,” Kara mumbles, and she turns her head, presses a little kiss to Lena’s skin, just under her jaw.

Then, Lena feels something hot and wet swipe at her, and she stills sharply—

Kara pulls back so fast to look at Lena, a betrayed look on her face. She scrunches her nose, pouting at the tang. Lena’s perfume.

“Darling. That’s,” Lena says, baffled as she licks her lips, ears and cheeks stained pink, “that’s what you get for trying to figure everything out with your mouth.”

“Lena,” Kara whines in complaint. “I—I was tricked!”

“By perfume? You licked me. I can’t believe you just licked my neck.”

Kara whines, again. So fucking cute. Lena’s so close to eating her up.

“You smell like fruit,” Kara grumbles, lifts her head. Their faces are close. “I thought I would get fruit, but no. I did not. I feel scammed and bamboozled.”

Lena smiles, terribly endeared, incorrigibly enamoured. Her hand moves from Kara’s spine to Kara’s ear, mindlessly outlining the shell of her ear with her thumb. Thoughtless.

“My poor darling,” Lena says, teases. “Do you just go around licking anyone that smells like fruit?”

“No, I—I. Um.” Quiet. A steadying breath. “Now you’re just teasing me,” Kara murmurs, a dusting of red high on her cheeks. Lena’s delighted.

“First, you come into my home unexpectedly,” Lena says, and Kara whispers a quiet yeah, to cuddle, “and now you lick my neck. What’s next?”

Kara hooks her chin on Lena’s shoulder and holds Lena’s body tighter. God, she’s killing Lena.

Lena looks at Kara, and Kara looks back. Kara doesn’t say anything and just looks, stares at Lena like she’s looking for something, waiting for the expression on Lena’s face to crack, like she’s waiting for Lena to get rid of her mask, like she’s waiting for something to happen and and—

Her gaze is heavy and weighted and makes something molten seep into Lena's blood.

Lena bites her bottom lip. Kara’s eyes track the movement, something unreadable and ancient in her gaze.

It's always been unspoken, the tension between the two of them. It's the way Lena’s hands wipe away the dirt and dust off Kara’s face and suit after a long mission. It's the way Kara wraps her arm around Lena’s waist and steadies her balance when Lena forgets to eat, dizzy and lightheaded. It's the push and pull, the give & take, the constant gentle hands & wandering eyes.

There’s a growing ache in Lena’s chest, the chronic throbbing that sings you, you, you; she wants to kiss Kara’s jaw and her cheek and her mouth, over and over and over again, so badly that she aches and fists the back of Kara’s shirt, her fingers beginning to tremble.

She would give everything she has to just lean forward and steal a kiss. Just one small moment of weakness.

Here they stay, quietly. Lingering. Electrified. No words exchanged, just something in the way they look at each other. Lena’s skin buzzes and her heart clenches; it would be so easy to lean in and—

Kara blinks, slow and lazy, seems a little stiff with nerves. The silence stretches with the growing tension in the air and, and—

Lena wouldn’t want to catch herself longing, would she? Wouldn’t want Kara to catch her yearning, and presenting Kara her whole heart for the taking.

Would she?

Dangerous feelings and Kara just don’t mix, they never have. Not like this, at least.

The eye contact becomes too much for Lena to bear, so she does something a little more familiar and kisses Kara’s cheek instead. Drops her forehead to Kara’s shoulder and hides there, worried that she’s letting on too much. She hears Kara take a shaky exhale above her ear.

“Sleep, that’s what’s next,” Kara says, a croak in her voice.

“Then sleep we’ll both get,” Lena manages.

“Sounds good,” Kara murmurs, and it’s getting a little odd, it’s like they’re both sort of acknowledging there’s something between them. Something heightened and unavoidable and real.

One of Kara’s hands runs up and down Lena’s side, then settles on her hip—a thing of too many of Lena’s nightly fantasies.

Lena feels held gently, tenderly, like a peach.

“Yeah,” Lena replies quietly, and bows her head, kisses the side of Kara’s neck, a small kiss, a tiny kiss, just a touch, can’t help it. Small, but there, physical, bold with it and bold with the way Kara digs her fingers into the flesh of Lena’s hips, and here Lena is, flesh and real and present.

And—

That’s as far as they go.

 


 

Kara

morning, lena!!

sorry i had to leave without saying anything but i got a call from j’onn and had to leave right at that second

but yeah, hi good morning :D

 

Lena

Good morning, darling.

It’s okay. I saw your little note, thank you for the muffin.

Is everything fine with J’onn?

 

Kara

yes! he just needed my assistance with one of his investigations

i’m at catco now, on my break. eating bread!! :D

 

Lena

Glad to hear it.

Someone’s in an extra happy mood this morning.

 

Kara

can you blame me? bread is love, bread is life, lena

plus i woke up well-rested and now i feel the power of a thousand suns

 

Lena bites her lip, looking at the text. Asks, jokingly:

 

Lena

Think it has something to do with me?

 

Kara

absolutely

thank you for letting me stay over last night

sleep just comes easier when i’m with you

 

Lena flushes, and has to take a long moment. She puts her phone down, closes her eyes, and breathes in and out deeply for a whole minute. Opens her eyes, and sees a new message.

 

Kara

if i woke up well-rested every day, i’d be unstoppable—undefeatable even!

listen, lena, i know that you have many admirers and several have called dibs on marrying you, but if you ever take up on one of them and they let you down, please give me a chance

 

Lena stares. She doesn’t want to reply to that. For a good couple of seconds, she entertains the thought, and then cringes. Lena really does not want to sit herself down, forcing herself to think of a response that isn’t just the word “please” repeatedly. So, she just types out:

 

Lena

You’re hilarious.

 

“You have that face on again.”

“What face?”

“Your Kara face,” Alex says. “The—the heart eyes.”

Lena blinks down at her phone screen, schools her expression.

Kelly laughs. “Aww. Let her be, Alex. She’s very cute.”

At this, Lena looks up, sending Alex and Kelly the plainest and dullest expression she can muster.

“You guys know that there is work to be done?” she says, ignoring the blatant fact that she was the one who got sidetracked by responding to Kara’s text message.

Alex breathes out a laugh, wants to point out her hypocrisy, but then—

“We’re back and badder than ever,” Nia announces as she bursts into view with Brainy by her side. “Hey, guys, who wants some doughnuts? Brainy bought two boxes. First come, first served.”

“Oh, me. Gimme some!” Alex gratefully takes a piece with a grin, and hands Kelly one of the boxes so she can take a piece of her liking.

“So, what were you guys talking about?” Nia asks, settling comfortably next to Lena on the table. She looks happy, relaxed. Ready for some playful destruction.

“Nothing of importance,” Lena says quickly, eager to shut down this conversation.

She has been trying so hard to act like nothing’s changed when she’s around the others. Although her feelings have become known, she wants as little impact as possible. It’s jarring to think that perhaps there has been a shift in how they’re viewed by their friends, or how they feel around them, despite her best efforts.

Nia blinks, arches an eyebrow. She nods slow. “Okay—”

“Lena was just exchanging text messages with Kara. Massive hearts were coming out of her eyes,” Alex supplies helpfully with an innocent look. “And Kelly thought she looked cute. I agree.”

Nia gasps, delighted with this piece of information. Lena sighs and drags a heavy hand down her face.

“No, yeah, I agree, too,” Nia says, nodding solemnly. She turns to look at Lena. “Lena’s Kara-face is very cute. In fact, as someone who likes to take pictures of her friends, I naturally have plenty from game night. The infamous Kara face that Lena makes is not exactly a very rare sighting—”

“Can we please get back to work?” Lena suggests, cheeks heating, and Alex laughs loud. “You guys are insufferable.”

“But you love us anyway, sucker,” Alex says, grinning.

“Yeah, you love us anyway,” Nia adds helpfully.

“Yes, I do,” Lena sighs, glancing at them both. “But the way you guys are insufferable.”

Alex and Nia exchange an invincible high five in the air, while Kelly laughs at the entire exchange.

There are assumptions, no doubt, about what goes on between Kara and Lena.

And Lena—well, she wishes they were true.

“All right, all right,” Alex says with her hands up, looking too entertained, “we have work to do. Finish up the flirting with your girlfriend.”

Despite Lena’s situation with Kara, she somewhat feels validated. Alex has never shown disgust or uneasiness towards her feelings for Kara. Only overwhelming support when Lena really thinks about it, even though Alex is awfully unbearable at times with the subject.

Alex, who will stare or cut anyone down if they so much as breathe wrong in her sister’s direction. It feels very damn validating, to be considered okay enough for Kara.

But Lena refuses to think more of it. She locks her jaw.

“Stop that. Your sister is not my girlfriend.”

Alex’s eyebrow arches and she’s delighted, looking too happy to continue this conversation.

“Are you sure? Because you guys are literally attached at the hip all the time. She meets with you at night for self-care walks. You two even cuddle and sleep in your bed a lot, Lena, as if Kara doesn't have her own place. You send each other goodmorning texts and kiss one another in greeting and goodbye. You two meet to have brunch and dinner and bicker like an old married couple. You know her schedule like it’s the back of your hand and I have no doubt you can tell me where she is at this moment and where she will be in five hours,” Alex says with a straight face.

“She’s my best friend,” Lena says carefully. Crossing her arms, her mouth tilts dangerously into a pout. “We’ve known each other for six years now, Alex. We hang out. We’re comfortable with each other. I’m not seeing your point here, this is all just typical best friend behaviour.”

Alex blinks, jaw dropping. She’s aghast. “God, I hate gay people so much.”

 


 

Lena drowns in the silence.

The days bleed together, fading from one into the next. At the end of the month, Kara shows up at Lena’s door with—just herself.

Today is no different, tomorrow will be the same and Lena wanting and wanting in silence still isn’t a big deal.

“Kara,” Lena says, watching the elevator close behind Kara. At this point, she no longer questions why Kara visits. She does ask, “Is everything okay?”

Kara doesn’t answer. Lena waits.

“Huh. I don’t really know why I’m here,” her best friend says eventually.

There’s a long silence. Something about her is different.

Lena thinks she should say something. Then, Kara shakes her head, looking up to meet Lena’s gaze.

“That’s a lie. I’m here because I wanted to see you.”

“Oh,” Lena replies. Flushes, licks her lips.

“I just don’t know why. I mean, I sort of do, it’s just—” Kara trails off. She’s lost for words and she seems flustered, restless, a nervous energy to her.

“It’s really late.” Lena isn’t sure what to say. So instead, grabs her coat and beanie from the hook nearby, and offers, “Would you like to take a quick walk with me?”

It’s quiet as they stare at each other. Kara stares silently for so long that Lena starts to think that she didn’t actually say anything out loud.

Then, quietly, “Yeah.”

 


 

“Sorry for showing up so unexpectedly.”

“No need for that. You’re welcome anytime in my home, Kara,” Lena assures, shrugging. Their hands brush on the sidewalk. “I like it when you visit.”

“Oh. That’s—nice to hear.”

When their hands brush once more, this time Kara takes hold, and a sudden warmth envelopes Lena’s hand and—

And that’s fine.

No one acknowledges them holding hands because it doesn’t need to be acknowledged, but Lena silently catalogues the seconds it takes for one of them to pull their hands apart.

Today Kara seems distracted. That’s okay. She isn’t alone in sitting on her thoughts.

Sometimes, Lena goes entire hours without thinking about Kara once. Perhaps that’s mostly while she’s working and she can’t think about literally anything else.

But somehow, a few errant thoughts about how attractive Kara’s voice is or how ridiculously lovely her hands are always find a way to forcefully drive through her protection bubble.

Right now, Kara’s right beside her and that doesn’t stop Lena from thinking Kara-related things.

Lena thinks about this woman so much it hurts sometimes.

(All the time.)

Their walk is mostly spent in silence. The atmosphere is a little different than usual, but not uncomfortable. Lena thinks there is something charged between them, something unknowable and important, but it’s most likely all in her head.

Whatever this is between her and Kara—there isn’t anything.

It’s just them. It’s just how they are. It’s how they work.

 


 

It rains steadily; heavily, after they reach Lena’s home. The wind picks up, a gentle taptaptap against the glass. Beyond it, the streets of National City stretch out. Neon and lights and colours blur behind the raindrops through the glass.

Lena’s in her bed, facing the window.

The door clicks shut. Kara’s gentle footsteps pierce the silence of the night, and Lena lays still—

The mattress dips. Kara touches Lena’s shoulder in greeting, and Lena covers Kara's hand with hers. Moonlight shines down on them and there’s no sounds except for their breathing. Lena tightens her grip, gentle as can be.

She thinks Kara’s going to say something, but then Kara takes her hand back and climbs into her bed.

Lena can’t sleep. She faces the ceiling, closes her eyes, breathes, and feels like her nerves are going to eat her alive.

There are times when it hurts her to look at Kara, to know that this is it.

Kara is the center of her world, and Lena has been trying so hard to conceal this very fact, not wanting Kara to carry this knowledge and burden. It’s been years by now, years since Lena first submerged herself in the vastness of her feelings, and though she has learned to adapt and have gone through many snowstorms in the open land, sometimes she still feels like drowning.

“Hey,” Kara whispers next to Lena. “Is something wrong?”

“No,” Lena answers quietly. She shudders when Kara slides her hand down her arm, starts rubbing it slowly. Her heart races.

“I can hear you thinking loudly.”

“I’m fine,” Lena says, face conflicted when she turns to face Kara. Her hands open and close on the duvet, as if she were a cat kneading a soft blanket. “Nothing’s wrong.”

She’s not lying. It’s a good feeling, to love and be in love with Kara, and it has never been a burden to her. It’s something that feels vital to Lena’s entire being that she wouldn’t know how to break it off.

But it’s not the whole truth either.

Because sometimes, sometimes Lena’s traitorous heart has its moments in which she feels her resolve crumbling, wishing that Kara would nudge just once, just a little bit. The slightest hint of wanting more of Lena.

She never does.

“Then why is your heart beating like crazy?” Kara asks, gaze steady, the right side of her face illuminated by the moonlight. She touches Lena’s hand, smiling quizzically. “Your hands, too. Busy fingers mean a busy mind. What are you thinking about?”

Lena swallows. She can’t think of a single explanation besides the blaring, obvious truth heavy in her heart.

Kara waits. Kara’s always been good at that. Never pushing. Patient.

“Nervous,” Lena hesitates, licks her lips. “You make me nervous sometimes.”

“What?” Kara frowns. “But… it’s just me.”

“Exactly,” Lena sighs, her restless hand reaching out, toying with Kara’s shirt. Dread settles into her bones, and she can’t stop her mouth from moving. “I don’t want to lose you. I never want to lose you.”

Kara looks puzzled, but she shakes her head anyway. “And you never will, we’ve gone through so much together,” she returns quietly, her voice an octave lower than usual.

She’s looking at Lena gently, tenderly, softly. Carefully, Kara tucks Lena’s hair behind her ear. Her hand lowers, thumb caressing Lena’s cheek.

Lena’s eyes light up at the touch and her mouth falls slightly open. She sort of feels like crying, her hand in the fabric of Kara’s shirt, fingers flexing over collar. Lena thinks her fist is shaking, it actually is, and longing aches through every bone of her body, and she feels so brittle. Like her ribs are made of glass, tiny bones.

The silence stretches between them. It sickens Lena, her monstrous want.

“You’re so,” Lena says, voice small and wavering, “Kara, why are you so…”

Terrifying, earnest, lovely, generous, sweet, everything that matters to me, right here, close, not close enough—

“I’m… what?” Silence. It continues on. Then, “Lena, you seem to feel like there's something always stopping you from saying or doing—I don’t know,” Kara says, and it sticks in Lena’s throat. “What’s stopping you?”

Lena’s heart beats so fast she’s worried it might stop. It may break, or burst out of her chest. She had a moment of weakness, and now they’re heading into a risky conversation. They’ve had a lot of tough conversations over the years but this—this is something new entirely.

Kara waits. Lena keeps quiet.

Kara sighs. “Sometimes I think you want me to touch you.” She studies Lena closely with a conflicted expression. She’s not the only one having a hard time.

The mattress dips and then suddenly she’s hovering above Lena, her hands flat on the pillow on either side of Lena’s head. Lena completely stills, finding it hard to breathe because Kara’s suddenly close, too close, piercing blue eyes drag up and down Lena’s face—

“You’re doing it again, right now,” Kara murmurs.

Lena opens and closes her mouth. She draws a shaky breath, tries not to fidget when she says, very carefully, “Doing what?”

Kara bites her lip. Her voice is unbearably soft.

“I thought you’d stop looking at me like you do.”

“Like I do,” Lena echoes.

Kara nods slowly, gaze unwavering. “You look at me in a certain way.”

Lena’s breath hitches. It feels like her heart’s jumped up her throat.

“How do you think I look at you?” she asks after a moment.

“I,” Kara begins, then stops short. She wets her lips, lets out a soft exhale. “Like. Like there’s something more you want to say, or do.”

That again.

Lena parts her lips just slightly. “I didn’t think you paid enough attention to me to notice that.”

“Lena, I’ve always paid attention to you,” Kara returns easily, making Lena flush hard. She shakes her head, smiles something small and sad. “I can only catch you staring at me when you think I'm not looking so many times before it's a little… suspicious. You don’t look at anyone else the way you look at me. It’s been going on for a while now, you just haven’t… stopped at all.”

Of course. Of course Kara has taken notice.

It’s Lena’s own fault, she knows. She indulges Kara too much, encourages her too much, never lets Kara think even for a moment that Lena doesn’t want her, and loves her, as much as she’s ever wanted anything.

“How could I ever stop?” Lena whispers, her heart on the platter. “I’m too busy being yours to look at someone else, Kara.”

Her words sit in the air, the weight of sinking in between them. Time and tension stretch out like a rubber band pulled too tight. Lena’s heart clenches. There must be a reason why Kara hasn’t come forward to her about it until now. Lena feels uneasy.

“Oh…”

Kara goes from well and truly surprised to something much more unreadable and back, finally settling on disbelief. She’s thinking of what to say or how to react, and dread churns in Lena’s stomach; her heart thumps and thumps, like it wants to break out through her chest.

“Do you want me to stop looking at you like I do?” Lena asks, words quiet and voice desperately steadying.

Full of nerves, she braces herself for Kara’s next words, the heartbreak, knowing she wouldn’t get out of it unscathed—

“No,” Kara says simply, voice low and hoarse. “I’m selfish.”

“Selfish,” Lena repeats.

Kara hums affirmatively. Her hand stays planted on Lena’s pillow, while the other moves down, touching Lena’s shoulder, down down down, thumb stroking the soft flesh of her hip. Kara's eyes are dark, and they drop to Lena's parted lips, once, twice.

“When it comes to you,” Kara admits quietly, “I’m very selfish.”

What’s that supposed to mean. What’s that supposed to mean.

Lena’s mind reels, one of her hands raising to grip at Kara’s bicep. Kara hasn’t shown any signs of discomfort or disgust, only gentleness and positive responses. Her heart aches, aches something good, wonderful, hopeful, and warm to the core. It beats furious notes against her ribs, thundering beneath her bone and flesh—

“Hey…” Kara murmurs, mouth curving into a soft frown, and she rubs the palm of her hand against Lena’s chest in circles, as if to soothe her heart.

Lena’s embarrassed. She claws for things to say, doesn’t dare completely hope, and ends up with, “What now?”

“I’ll ask you again, Lena.” Kara shakes her head. Her hand moves from Lena’s chest to cradle her jaw, terribly gently. Lena shivers. “What are you thinking about?”

“You, kissing me…” Lena replies, just above a whisper. “Kiss me.”

Her entire body beats. Like, a single flash of lighting. A loud thunder booms in her ears as millions of thoughts rush through her mind. She—she just said that out loud. She asked for a kiss out loud.

“Is that all?” Kara asks carefully, thumb pausing over Lena’s lips. She presses in, just a bit, and Lena almost, almost gives in to opening her mouth. “Where do you want me to kiss you?”

“Anywhere you want,” Lena finds herself saying.

“Here, then.” Kara smiles, then does as told, obediently lowering her mouth, and presses a kiss to Lena’s collarbone. Her eyes close, soft lips parting, and she does a little more than a kiss—her tongue comes out, laving the skin.

Lena lets out a shaky breath, and she bites her lip, trying to hold back an embarrassing sound rising in her throat.

“Good?” Kara asks, meeting her gaze.

“Yes,” Lena says, a little strangled. If she were standing, her knees would’ve given out for sure. Boldly, she asks, with flushed cheeks, “Want you to keep going.”

Kara is quiet for a moment as she studies Lena. “Okay. I’ll do that, but first… tell me another thing you’ve been holding back,” she says, squeezing Lena’s waist. “What else?”

Lena hesitates, throws her a cautious look.

“You can tell me,” Kara coaxes.

The erratic thump of Lena’s heart turns into an even messier beat. Despite the confidence in Kara’s words, Lena can feel the way Kara grips her waist just a little tighter. Kara needs reassurance. Encouragement, too. That this is what Lena really wants.

“I,” Lena begins. Stops herself, wetting her lips before trying again, just completely tossing it right out there, “Honestly? I want you so bad, you don't even know.”

Kara tenses, but only for a moment. She quietly takes a steadying breath. Looks at Lena, and a little more as her thumb trails down the column of Lena’s neck. Then, she presses a tender kiss to Lena’s forehead, tip of her nose, cheek, chin, under her jaw, and her lips start going down the side of her neck—

“Kara,” Lena breathes, and Kara nudges Lena’s jaw so that Lena lets her head fall back and to the side. Slowly, Kara nips and licks her neck. Lena lets out a shaky sigh. “Tell me something, too.”

Kara pulls back, eyes dropping down to Lena beneath her.

“I want what you want. I want you however you want me to have you,” Kara answers, and the depth of her gaze, the sincerity, everything—leaves Lena breathless.

Lena’s gut goes wild. She hasn’t even considered the remote possibility that Kara might feel the same way. She’s been living in ignorance, and the natural tendency of her self-esteem is to mistrust that this is real.

“You can’t just say that,” Lena says, her voice low. Soft. In response, Kara tilts her head and sighs against the base of Lena’s throat. Lena wraps her hands around Kara’s biceps and her hands shake as she does so, words almost stuttering. “You can’t just say things like that—”

Lena can feel the imprint of Kara’s smile, and the sharp bite of her teeth against Lena’s neck, followed by the soothing—playful mocking—slide of her tongue—

A shivery moan leaves Lena's mouth, and Lena squirms.

“But you asked… and it’s true,” Kara murmurs, nuzzling under Lena’s jaw.

Unbelievable.

“I—” Lena pauses, everything going still. “Yeah. I did.” Unbearably quiet. “Tell me another thing.”

Kara hums.

“It’s not just you, feeling this,” Kara says quietly, hand on Lena’s chest. Lena almost stops breathing. “My heart is so full of you, I can barely call it my own.”

Lena’s heart pounds, unable to believe the words she’s hearing. She stills sharply, a viscous blush fills her cheeks as she searches Kara’s face desperately.

She’s never allowed herself to think about this. She’s never allowed herself to think about Kara beyond the friendship they’d set for themselves. This can’t be real.

“Kara,” Lena says weakly. “Stop saying things.”

“But you asked me to tell you something. Twice now, might I add,” Kara breathes out, chuckling. Lena feels wild. “You don’t believe me?”

Kara leans down, starts sucking on the soft bare skin of Lena's neck, just enough to leave a hickey.

Lena gasps, a slightly trembling hand stroking along Kara’s jaw, over the shell of her ear. Drifts up until it tangles loosely in Kara’s hair.

Kara presses a wet kiss, then drags her mouth up, sucking a blazing trail of bruises all the way to her jaw. Lena tugs hard on Kara’s hair when Kara’s teeth pull at the sensitive skin over Lena’s pulsepoint, eliciting a moan sort of wrecked that Kara seems to like, groaning into Lena’s throat.

A warm hand slips under Lena’s shirt and does not go above or further, only staying there. Just stroking Lena’s belly, dragging touches, delicate and tantalizing all at once.

Lena’s insides feel like they’ve turned to liquid. Molten and hot, settling deep in her lower body. She knows she’s trembling, but Kara feels so solid and moves so surely, like she’s in control while Lena careens off the edge of the cliff, and all she can do is sigh and feel and feel and feel—

“Is this okay?” Kara asks, and Lena almost laughs, delirious, because surely she must be dreaming or perhaps drunk.

Is this okay? Is this okay?

When Lena fails to answer, Kara raises her head and smiles, slow and teasing.

Lena’s losing her mind.

She cups Kara’s face, eyes searching and eyebrows scrunching and soft eyes pleading and mouth aching and heart racing because still she remains really terribly unkissed unkissed unkissed—

“If you don’t kiss me, I mean really kiss me, I might die,” Lena breathes out, and the next second Kara is kissing her and cupping Lena’s jaw in her hand and oh god Kara is kissing her deeply and softly in a way Lena can hardly bear—

The kiss is everything. Lena thinks it's the most alive she's ever felt, the thrum of electricity rising as her fingers touch Kara’s skin, as her lips touch Kara’s own. It’s better than Lena ever let herself imagine. To her delight, Kara isn’t all that shy either.

She’s been fantasizing about kissing Kara’s lips for the longest time, and nothing compares to the soft warmth of having her lips slide against Kara’s; nothing compares to the small sweep of Kara’s tongue over her bottom lip; nothing compares to hearing Kara’s small groan when Lena deepens the kiss, sliding her tongue into Kara’s mouth fully, taking Kara’s lip between her teeth and tugging.

Kara tastes like peppermint and some kind of flower tea. She also tastes like devotion, and Lena’s gut recognizes its own; it’s a deep, tender kiss, knowledge held between six years of friendship, between witnessing each other’s highs and lows. Something mends in Lena, strings pulled taut where they’d fallen weak.

Her hands slide under Kara’s shirt, eager. Maybe this should feel strange. Maybe it shouldn't feel natural to cover the expanse of Kara’s back with her hands, inadvertently pressing her closer to her own body. Maybe it shouldn't feel this easy to figure out each little noise Kara makes under her hands, when Lena starts scratching, when she digs her nails in.

But Kara breaks the kiss and Lena whines—she whines—in the back of her throat as Kara sits back. It’s taken them so long to get this close, why is Kara moving away? Without warning, Kara tugs off her shirt, tosses it somewhere over her shoulder.

She grins at Lena, lazy and slow; the pure, unbridled handsomeness, and then Lena looks down and oh my god—

Kara looks unbelievably sinful—the way she moves a little, the slide of muscle underneath her skin and the clear definition of her abs, her obliques, her biceps, and the deep ‘v’ of her adonis belt—is incredibly pronounced and devastating.

Lena’s lips fall open.

Her eyes dart up to Kara’s, then back down to her torso, fascinated. There's a difference between knowing that your best friend is attractive and feeling attraction swirl in the pit of your stomach while looking at her.

Lena tosses her head back on the pillow, groaning.

“You’re killing me, darling,” she murmurs, and takes a desperate steadying breath. Still trying to process what’s happening, too caught up in treasuring all of Kara, wanting and eager as can be, a little messy, a lot perfect, because it could never be anything less with Kara. “You’re reaching illegal levels of attractive, Kara. Insane, honestly, and I’ll get back to that, trust me, we’re going to have plenty of conversations about how unreasonably attracted to you I am, but right now…”

Kara laughs and grins at her, heart-wrenchingly lovely.

They look at each other for a long moment, just breathing in, taking the other in. Then, there’s a question in Kara’s eyes, searching Lena’s face.

“This is okay, right?” she asks simply, sweetly, still sort of unaware of what she’s doing to Lena.

“Kara,” Lena finds herself uttering, “you have a woman under you, embarrassingly eager and responsive to what’s happening to her, and you’re still asking if this is okay?”

“Oh,” Kara says simply, blinking adorably, and it does something to Lena. The way Kara is kind to her and careful with her and will always ask or check in—would never try to just take, and it's something that Lena really likes. Lena wants her to wreak havoc on her heart.

With a trembling hand, Lena reaches out with awe, trails her fingers down from collarbone to breasts, skims over Kara’s abdomen until she can spread her palm and feel the slow, sinuous flex of muscle underneath. This is real, it’s real Lena has to remind herself, still caught in that space of disbelief. Tender and unrushed. Giving them both some time to let everything sink in.

At the same time, Kara is looking at her, intense but full of wonder and—reverence. Lena runs hot, feels like she would do anything to get more of it.

“Take everything off,” Lena requests, slightly shy. They undress each other with such care and familiarity that Lena doesn’t feel like it’s an inherently lewd act, their hands safe and warm as they freely roam each other’s bodies.

“Lena,” Kara whispers, right into Lena’s greedy open mouth. Lena kisses Kara back, but she lets herself be kissed well and thorough, so slow and deep and dirty; she’s kissed and kissed and kissed, quickly losing the ability to think.

Kara drapes herself over Lena’s body, a soft and solid weight against Lena. Lena whimpers and melts; she wraps her arms around Kara’s middle, refusing to give her more than an inch between them, afraid Kara will leave, or afraid that this is really just a dream—

In every way that Lena can comprehend, she wants Kara. She wants her so badly it’s burning her up with the urgency of it.

“Lena—let me look at you again,” Kara says, gentle, and Lena falteringly lets go.

Lena opens her eyes, feeling a bit like the world tilted on its axis when she watches Kara, the way her gaze tracks over Lena slowly and deliberately, eyes dark, pupils swallowing up the blue of her irises.

God, it’s really been so long since Lena has had someone look at her like this, desired and wanted, and it makes her feel hot all over, arousal pulling at her. There’s a new sort of fire in Kara’s gaze as she drags it up Lena’s body. That she likes what she sees is unquestionable.

“You’re really, really beautiful,” Kara murmurs, looking at Lena like she has all the time in the world to just sit there and admire her. “You probably get tired of hearing it, but—”

“Not from you,” Lena says, and looks away, face burning. “You look at me—you’re always looking at me, too, Kara. Always looking and not touching. Not really.”

Her words sound like a complaint and a whine, but well—it’s the truth.

“Baby…” Kara murmurs, and Lena’s brain turns mush, that godforsaken singular word Kara’s taken to using to get Lena to turn pliant under her fingers. “Do you want me to touch you? Touch you where it feels good?”

“Please,” Lena whispers, arousal sinking into her gut like a hot stone through jello.

“Anything you want,” Kara says, dropping kisses along Lena’s collarbone, across the swollen fullness of her breasts. “Let me just take my time with you.”

Lena shivers. Kara’s weight above her is comforting, safe.

Kara rubs Lena’s inner thigh while tracing her tongue around a stiff pink nipple, swirling lazily, before taking the tip into her mouth. She goes so, so slow. Works her tongue, wet and deliberate, before sucking with some pressure.

One of Lena’s hands cup the back of Kara’s neck, fingernails scraping the skin, touch careful and tender before growing insistent.

Kara bites down, ever so gently, and—

“Kara,” Lena says, voice unsteady, biting her lip hard to muffle her moans.

“You don’t have to be quiet,” Kara whispers, and lifts her hand, caresses Lena’s hipbone, then drags her hand up so she can thumb at Lena’s other nipple. “I want to hear your pretty voice.”

“God…” Lena breathes. Her voice is hoarse and echoes strangely in her own ears.

Kara’s mouth is hot, and when she sucks again, Lena arches into the pressure and suction, sighing at the heat and wet sensation building her up. Kara’s taking her time as she gives attention to Lena’s breasts, the lick and suck and light nibbling making Lena’s chest heave as she squirms against the sheets to seek some friction or relief from the throbbing between her legs.

“Kara,” Lena whines, eyes closed shut, eyebrows scrunching and god she feels like she’s verging on tears. Her head is thrown back and she’s unable to imagine her own expression, but knowing Kara is drinking every inch of it—god, if that doesn’t make her hotter.

She raises her hips and Kara chuckles soft at Lena, who’s currently trying her damn best not to cry at how turned on she is. Kara holds Lena down, not granting her the friction she boldly searches for.

“Why won’t you touch me…” Lena whispers.

“I want to know where to touch you. I want to know how to touch you,” Kara says, rapt in reverence, mouth on the side of Lena’s neck, her palm fitting around Lena’s breast, squeezing and unsqueezing. “You’re so beautiful.”

It's physical but also deep, emotional. Lena completely melts; although she doesn't get used to the praises, she believes Kara.

Kara has an unfading fascination with Lena’s naked body, with the curve of her breasts and the softness of her belly, the freckles decorating her skin. Kara licks along bare skin, teases at the creases of Lena’s hips with her fingers. Lena sighs in pleasure and completely melts against the sheets, simultaneously feeling teased and worshiped.

Her thoughts are fuzzy and distant, but her arousal is so present it’s like a weight on her chest.

She whines in protest, and Kara fits her mouth over Lena’s, muffling her whines. Kara kisses her deeply and sweetly, the wet slide of her tongue filthy and insistent against Lena’s. At the action and press of skin against skin, Lena moans because the unfiltered noises rumbling in her throat just makes Kara kiss her more, touch her more.

There's a twisting knot of arousal in her belly and everything is so hot, physically and metaphorically, Lena fears her skin might burn—but it’s a flame she can’t resist. It’s so fucking good but not enough; Lena’s raking her nails down Kara's back, entire body trembling under Kara—

“Kara,” Lena manages to say, shaky and needy, her inner thighs slick and dripping. Her hips are restless and Kara brings a hand to her belly, pressing in and stroking, keeping Lena in place.

“I know, baby, I know…” Kara says, smiling against Lena’s mouth. “You’re so cute when you’re desperate for me.”

“I need you now.” Lena could sob right now. Needs Kara so much she’s dizzy with it. Her voice is unfamiliar to her own ears. This isn’t like her. It's shocking to her, how she has been reduced to nothing but needy whimpers.

She cups Kara’s jaw in her hands, her face softening in anguish.

“Touch me,” Lena asks, desperate. She’s beyond caring how needy she sounds. “Don’t you want me? Darling, I am begging you to fuck me. Please.”

Finally, Kara’s self-restraint seems to crumble because she pauses, takes a quiet shuddery breath, her eyes hooded and hungry. She nods with a small tug of smile full of promises, and Lena feels her body growing hotter as the fire has nowhere else to go, no way to release steam or smoke.

“Let me take care of you, I’ve got you,” Kara assures, kisses Lena’s jaw. Then, her mouth is against the shell of Lena’s ear, her voice soft and coaxing, “I want to know what you sound like when my fingers are inside you.”

“Oh my god,” Lena whimpers, squirming.

“Spread your legs for me.”

Kara’s request, the scratchy rasp of it, sends a thrill through Lena. Lena does as told, and Kara leans in, leaving kisses on her inner thighs, sucking and nipping at the tender skin between her teeth.

Her mouth is getting closer to right where Lena needs her to be, and Lena digs her nails into the bedsheets beneath them, looking at the ceiling, eyes drifting closed and—

“Eyes open, baby. Look at me.”

Lena does.

Kara licks up the length of her slit, swirls around the swell of her clit, and Lena trembles. When Kara’s tongue swipes over Lena’s clit, a heavy and slow drag, it’s almost too much—Lena nearly comes on the spot, and she closes her eyes briefly.

“F—uck,” Lena chokes out, fisting her hands into the sheets tightly, curling her toes, and she tries to keep her eyes open because Kara said to; their eyes hold steady, the heavy eye contact almost more intimate than Lena can take.

Lena’s already close. So, so close, as Kara runs firm circles around Lena’s clit with her tongue. She’s trembling now, thighs quivering on either side of Kara’s shoulders. White hot heat rushes through Lena and she uses her grip on Kara’s hair to push herself more fully against Kara’s mouth—

When Kara adds a slow, wet suction, everything comes crashing down.

Lena comes with a strangled gasp and her spine arches, head tipped back, mouth opening, one hand fisting the bed sheet, the other in blonde hair. Through it all, Kara stays in her position and doesn’t take off her mouth, but her tongue does slow. Lena’s sensitive, but the way Kara touches her is light—not too much.

As Lena recovers, Kara replaces her tongue with her thumb, wipes her chin with her other hand and then works her way up to Lena’s neck with her mouth.

“Kara,” Lena whispers, squirming, shocked at how easily Kara is working her up so easily, so fast right after just coming. She cups Kara’s face and tastes herself heavy on Kara's tongue, and moans when Kara pushes one finger inside her.

“You’re so pretty when you come,” Kara sighs against her mouth.

Lena preens at that, while entirely flustered.

“Mmmhm,” she lets out a soft groan, unable to form coherent thoughts properly as Kara slides halfway out and back in. She closes her eyes for a long moment, trying to adjust to the feel of Kara pumping into her.

“Want you to come again,” Kara says, breaking the kiss. Her eyes flicker across Lena’s face as if to look for any clues of discomfort. “This time, with my fingers inside you.”

Lena shudders. She opens her mouth, to voice out that she wants that, too, but something else comes out, “‘Like you so much.”

Kara smiles, kisses her neck. “I like you so much, too,” she says, nipping gently at Lena’s skin. “You’re so good.”

“I’m good,” Lena whispers, hair dishevelled, dazed and glassy-eyed, proud swelling in her chest. Her dark eyelashes flutter against her bright pink cheekbones, lips shining and slack.

“You are,” Kara says, and Lena whimpers at the sheer sensation of Kara pushing two fingers inside her now, shiny and slick, thrusting in and out slowly. Lena can hear how wet she is. “Keep being good for me. That’s it.”

“Kara,” Lena breathes out and wraps her arms around Kara, nails digging into her back. “Feels good.”

Kara presses her mouth to Lena’s throat, trailing hot kisses down Lena’s neck as the flat of her palm rubs in tight circles against Lena's clit, and it isn't long before Lena feels yet another coiling, a tightening sensation in her belly.

“Add another,” Lena manages, an audible crack in her voice. She spreads her thighs wider, wanting to take Kara deeper—

Kara sinks inside three fingers, knuckle deep, and Lena’s back arches. The stretch burns. It’s divine.

“Oh—” Lena whines, toes curling into the sheets. All she can think about is how she wants to melt in Kara’s hands, she wants to disappear completely and feel only the touches that are so familiar yet new all the same.

“You’re taking me so well,” Kara whispers as she works Lena over the edge, fucking her slow and deep, hitting that sweet spot with every thrust. “Good girl.”

Lena reacts with a visceral jolt, a sob and a wiggle of her hips. There’s a dampness on her face, and she can’t tell if it’s drool spilling from her lips or tears leaking from her eyes.

Kara’s pace turns harder and faster, the heel of her hand rubbing against Lena’s clit with each slam of her fingers, and Lena responds with hitching gasps. Kara looks so pleased and proud of the mess she’s making of Lena, and she has every right to be, because Lena has touched herself every which way it is possible to, has slept with other women, and she’s never felt like this. She didn’t know her body could feel like this, but it does, for Kara. Unsurprisingly.

“Don’t stop,” Lena breathes, her nerves burning with an electrical fire that causes her to claw at Kara’s back with shaking hands. “Kara, Kara—”

“You’re so lovely,” Kara whispers hotly. “I’m not capable of ever feeling for another person what I feel for you. You have the most precious heart. Thank you for allowing me to be the one who holds it.”

Lena blinks, vision blurring. That’s not allowed. How is Kara allowed to be so attractive and sentimental at the same time? Lena’s body locks and she mindlessly scratches at the nape of Kara’s neck when Kara latches her mouth to hers, kissing her thoroughly.

And then suddenly she’s arching, writhing against the sheets, dizzy, dizzy. Lena trembles and comes with a long, drawn out moan; wave after wave wracks her as her muscles contract and she’s sweating and blinking bright spots of pleasure out of her vision. The aftershocks leave her lightheaded, the orgasm hitting her much harder than the first, her chest rising and falling so profoundly she can feel it graze over Kara’s.

Kara coaxes her through it as she slows the movements of her fingers and palm, while pressing kisses to Lena’s face. Slowly, she pulls out, and for a while there’s silence.

Lena comes back to herself more and more with each breath.

“That was. God, Kara…” Lena blinks, and a tear rolls down her cheek. That’s just great. Incredible, even. Useless lesbian much. “Sorry, just need a moment—”

Kara wipes the stray tears from Lena's eyes using her thumb, so tender it almost hurts. Lena squeezes her eyes shut, trying to calm down her heartbeat.

For two horrifying seconds, Kara looks like she’s worrying, that she thinks she went too far. Lena cups Kara’s jaw, pulls her down for a slow and full kiss, burning that thought away. She kisses Kara long and breathless and then—

With a quick turn, Lena reverses their positions and she presses Kara down, swallowing her little exhalation of surprise. She holds Kara there with her shoulders, and Kara complies, her hand grabbing Lena's ass and giving it an appreciative squeeze.

“Won’t take long for me,” Kara murmurs when Lena leans back, straddling Kara’s hips.

Lena stares as her hands wander Kara’s body.

Kara looks so good—hair mussed, cheeks flushed, lips shiny and bitten red, eyes hooded.

She’s handsome. That’s all Lena can think as she stares at her, taking in every inch of Kara’s exposed flesh. She’s so fucking handsome—this woman she’s known for so long, this woman who’s seared herself across her heart. This woman she’s known inside and out—who has torn her to pieces and stitched her together.

Lena trails her fingertips down Kara's chest and abdomen, exploring the dips and bumps of muscles, and Kara sucks in a breath, letting out a tremulous exhale. Her thumbs trace along the gentle shape of Kara’s adonis belt and she leans in, mouth open and giving it several hot, languid licks.

Kara’s breath hitches.

“Lena,” Kara croaks, and Lena smiles against her skin. Lena won’t tease, won’t wait long to indulge her. She wishes she could spend more time admiring Kara. Next time, for sure.

Lena chuckles and gives her one more playful long lick, delighting in the shuddery sound Kara lets out, before burying her face between Kara’s thighs. Lena rolls her tongue up and down her labia, breathing in the heady aroma of her arousal. Kara is so wet. She laps at Kara’s clit gently, but firmly, and she tastes earthy and sweet.

“Lena, Rao,” Kara moans, and her body jolts forward, body already twisting against the sheets.

When Lena looks up, Kara’s eyes are fixed on her, and that causes Lena to hum low and deep in the back of her throat. At that, Kara shudders visibly. Lena really, really likes that. Kara is so lovely and responsive—there's no stiffness, no hesitation.

Lena wants to hear Kara say her name again, so she licks and sucks harder. Arousal coats Lena’s chin.

“Lena,” Kara breathes out, tugging at Lena’s hair, not too roughly, “I'm, I’m—”

And just like that, Kara comes.

Lena keeps going and going until Kara gently taps her to stop, murmuring, “Come up here.”

Lena wipes her face with the back of her hand. Crawls back up, pressing herself up against Kara's side, touch shy. Her limbs are heavy with an aching satisfaction, and Lena softens as she listens to Kara’s breathing go back to normal.

Sliding a tentative hand on Kara's body, she feels Kara’s abs underneath her palm, a slow caress. Enjoying how they feel. Firm and smooth. There’s her best friend, in all her glory, drenched in a post-orgasm glow.

The air is quiet now. Lena traces shapes and lines on Kara’s skin, writes her name mindlessly.

To be honest, she’s scared. Her mind clears, and starts assuming the worst.

“Kara? Did you mean it?” Lena asks, voice a little shaky. She looks at Kara with soft eyes.

Kara blinks at Lena, evidently confused. “Did I mean what?” Carefully, she rolls to her side, facing Lena. She pulls Lena closer, makes Lena drape herself all over Kara’s torso, slinging her thigh over Kara’s thigh.

They’re a sticky mess. Lena doesn’t mind. Perspiration cools on her skin.

“Lena?” Kara asks again. Gentle fingers card against Lena’s scalp.

“You said—” Lena licks her lips. “That it wasn’t just me feeling this. That you also…” she trails off, cheeks blazing. Even though Kara has given her so much evidence of this thing between them being mutual, Lena still feels unbelievably anxious, as if anything could go wrong at this point.

She’s quick to assume the worst; her poor heart already bracing for the impact as the entirety of their friendship flashes before Lena’s eyes.

“Lena,” Kara says quietly, raising her hands to cup Lena’s jaw, looking her straight in the eye, “not to further delay the slowest slow burn in the history of slow burns, but to be absolutely clear. I don’t just like you. I love you. I’m in love with you.”

And god, it comes out so tender. Her voice is so soft that Lena has no choice to believe her—not that she would have doubted her, anyway.

Lena has never felt so relieved and she feels lighter than air. Everything in the world seems to pause for just a moment as they stare into each other’s eyes with all the emotions they’ve kept at bay for so long.

Kara loves her. Kara loves her.

Lena blinks herself into understanding. And when she comes to embrace the beautiful reality of it, she smiles, as fragile and true as happiness, dimples and all. She laughs quietly, lowers her head a little.

“Oh.”

“Yeah,” Kara whispers. She leans in, brushing her lips with Lena’s. Lena’s heart is in her throat. “I'm in love with you. I’m so, so relieved that you exist at the same time as me. That feels good to say.”

Lena feels golden with affection. It's a privilege, to have access to someone's love. All Lena wants to do is hold Kara's heart with honest hands.

“How long have you felt like this?” Lena asks.

Kara’s voice is shaky when she says: “Years. Years and years and years.”

Have they wanted each other this long? Were they constantly circling each other? Ridiculous. They’ve both been so silly and waited for so long, and Lena is still so intensely in love with Kara that it burns, but it’s a pulsing heat, insistent and calming all at once.

“Me, too,” Lena murmurs, and she dips her head low, nuzzling at the junction of Kara’s shoulder and neck. She grazes her teeth against the muscle, and bites. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Why didn’t you?” Kara counters, rubbing a heavy hand across Lena’s back.

Lena closes her eyes, lips against Kara’s collarbone, face tucked against her neck.

“All this time, I thought I was alone in love. I was… scared,” Lena says, sighing. “Kara, our friendship means… so, so much to me. You felt out of reach. Unattainable. Someone to admire. I just didn’t know I was allowed.”

A pause. “Allowed to what?”

“To love you,” Lena breathes, keeping her face hidden, embarrassed. “To love you in that way. I didn’t know how much you wanted to know.”

Silence engulfs them. A heavy and suffocating silence that presses down on Lena’s shoulders and chest to make her feel even smaller.

“Hey,” Kara murmurs, leaning back a bit. Their eyes meet and hold. Kara brushes her thumb over Lena’s jaw, a gesture so gentle that Lena almost melts right through the bed. “I’m sorry I made you wait. I’m sorry I made you feel like you were alone in this.”

“It’s not your fault. I was completely focused on not letting you see how I felt about you,” Lena says, shaking her head.

“You thought I was unattainable, I thought you were unattainable, and just like that… we wasted a lot of years.”

Silence.

It’s easy to feel all torn up about the wasted years, but Lena thinks perhaps they weren’t wasted after all. Maybe this was how it was meant to happen—a slow burn so slow you don’t realize your heart is on fire until the smoke’s in your eyes, it ends well.

Lena bites her bottom lip.

“Tell me you love me. I want to hear you say it again,” she murmurs, shy all of a sudden, now that everything's out in the open.

“I love you,” Kara says, smiling. Tender, tender. Her hand falls to hold Lena’s waist, holding her steady, keeping her touched and close, and Lena feels loved.

She feels more than anything cared for. To be seen and known and wanted. Blood pumps fast through Lena’s veins.

“Again,” Lena whispers, her hand stroking the nape of Kara’s neck.

“I love you. I’m in with you, Lena Luthor,” Kara whispers, but it’s not quiet. It is soft and it is undeniable. It’s confident. “All of me wants you, always.”

Lena beams.

They take each other in for a single, long moment.

“You good?” Lena asks, unsure what will happen next.

“Yeah,” Kara replies. “Just—I can’t believe it’s real. Us. You know?”

“Us, huh.” Lena grins, slow and lazy. She gets it, truly. Honestly, it feels like she’s about to wake up any second because she can’t have this much happiness in her life. She brings one palm up to Kara’s cheek, guiding her towards her into a small kiss. “What now?”

“We’ll figure things out together. Take things slow. Being your best friend is incredible, and I think we work really, really well as just that, but I think we’d work terrifically as something more than that,” Kara starts. A pause. She scrunches her face. “Hold on a moment. Do you want me to list all the reasons why I think this is a great idea? Because I can and will, if it helps. Okay, so um, we’re always together anyway, and I know how much you like being efficient, so I just think that we make sense, and—"

“Darling…” Lena laughs, and then presses a kiss to Kara’s cheek.

Kara keeps going, because apparently she needs to say her piece, “I just really want to make you happy, and if I can make you happy I’ll be happy. I want to take care of you when you’re sick and when you need help. I want to make sure you’re eating properly and sleeping properly.”

Lena shivers. “I want to do the same for you. I want this, the entire thing, too,” she says, soft and earnest. She touches Kara’s face, gentle, affectionate. Smooths a thumb over Kara’s right brow. “All of this with you. I love you. I want to be the home you come back to.”

Kara’s face blooms into a bright smile, all warm and so full of love, so very Kara that Lena aches a little with it.

“I love you, too,” Kara says, and it sounds beautiful. It is reverant, and settles into every part of Lena and fills her up. She kisses Lena, sweet and deep, and murmurs against her mouth, “I’ll stay by your side as long as I’m welcome.”

When they separate, Lena beams again, cheeks dimpling; she can’t stop.

“What?” Kara asks, smiling.

Lena shakes her head. “I just love the way you say you love me,” she replies, eyes sparkling.

Kara's kind and warm and inviting.

She has broad shoulders and a big heart and a smile that inspires kindness. Lena looks at her; this beautiful, caring, smart woman. This wonderful woman with her unending patience and her unwavering loyalty. This tender-hearted woman, made of everything soft to exist in the universe, looking at the world through eyes of steel. This gentle, teasing woman that always knows when Lena needs to be touched gently and precisely knows how to touch her to make everything inside of her quiet down and make it bearable. This lovely, funny dork of woman who makes Lena laugh with her entire soul.

Lena rests easy in Kara’s arms, rests her ear to Kara’s chest, the steady of Kara’s heartbeat lulling her to sleep. Kara holds on and holds on tight, and Lena sinks fully into it. Savours every single second of being with Kara like this. Sweat-soaked and content and unapologetically in love.

And then:

They’re both startled by Lena’s phone ringing. Lena reaches over to see who it is.

Alex is calling.

It’s a FaceTime video call.

Kara blinks, says with a goofy smile, “Answer it.”

So Lena does, the two of them completely shirtless. Naked, really, but Lena covers them both with a blanket just above their chests.

“Hey, Lena—oh—oh. Oh my god. Oh my god!”

Alex’s eyes are wide and she starts running around her house. When Kara comes into frame, Alex lets out a choked sound, and actually starts screaming.

“Oh my god. I. Oh. My god. Kelly!” and she’s rushing, rushing towards somewhere, probably where her wife is at.

Kelly comes into view, and she blinks. Alex is freaking out, her composure restless.

“Wow. I am completely shocked and surprised by this turn of events,” Kelly says soullessly, mouth tilting into a small smile. Unlike Alex, she’s more relaxed. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I will never recover from this.”

Alex, wild at the edges, recovers enough to say, “About fucking time, you two. Lena, don’t give me that sassy eyebrow arch. And Kara, drop the pout. Now that your sexual tension is at an acceptable level, are you guys still down for Superfriends dinner—”

“We're already full—” Lena answers.

“—No!” Alex abruptly cuts Lena off, “Okay. Okay. Ofuckingkay! You know I meant—you know what, say no more. I’m expecting you two tomorrow.”

The line ends, just like that. Lena and Kara look at each other, and then they both burst into laughter.

“Nice one,” Kara says, smiling, and god.

Lena loves her so much it hurts.