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In August, Kara kisses Lena to save her life.

A surfer at Locarno Beach loses control on a particularly vicious wave and his board slips free of his grasp, clocking Lena square in the back of the head where she's bobbing happily in the surf.

The next thing she knows, there's hot sand at her back and a hot body against her front. She's laid out on the beach, head spinning, ears ringing, and Kara's mouth is on top of her own.

"Breathe, Lena,” she gasps in the split second before the salty softness of her lips covers Lena's once more. “Breathe, sweetheart. Breathe.”

Kara's mouth is open, and it's moving against Lena's, and it's searing and insistent and delicious as the sun beating down on them from the cloudless sky. Lena registers, slowly and with great difficulty, that the purpose of her best friend's lips upon her own in this moment is, ostensibly, mouth-to-mouth. Rescue breaths. Not a kiss.

That being said, the fact that Kara has neither pinched Lena's nose nor tipped her head back à la the accepted technique, the fact that her hands are not tilting Lena's chin up to open her airway but are instead cupping her cheeks, the fact that Lena is already breathing— none of these things seem to matter to Kara.

Her best friend's only concern in this moment appears to be the accuracy with which she can slot their mouths together again and again, the exploratory nudge of a tongue between plush lips, the salty, gritty press of their swimsuit-clad bodies on the damp sand.

This is the first time Lena has ever felt her best friend's mouth upon any part of her body. Her head pounds. Her pulse races. Her mind reels. She maybe doesn't handle it as well as she could. If Lena is still breathing in this moment, it is in spite of Kara, not because of her.

When Lena's weakly flailing fingers connect with Kara's hips, when her eyes flutter open and her chest continues very definitively rising and falling all on its own with no external assistance, a throat clears loudly above their heads.

“Kara,” Alex says tightly, a shadow against the blazing sun. “I, uh. I think you got it.”

Kara draws back at last, their mouths separating with a wet pop that sets Lena's heart racing for reasons utterly unrelated to her latest near-death experience. Strong arms lift her gently, propping her torso – wet, hot, covered only by a skimpy bikini – against Kara's chest – wet, hot, covered only by an even skimpier bikini.

“You're alright,” Kara coos against her temple, bulging arms closing protectively over Lena's stomach and ribs. “You're okay, you're alright.”

Lena is not alright. In this moment, with the memory of Kara's mouth fresh on her tongue and the indent of a surfboard fresh in the back of her skull, Lena cannot recall ever being alright in her life, not for one single second.

Kara's attention, thankfully, is not on Lena's thundering pulse or clammy hands or sapphic overload. Her attention has turned to the circle of people surrounding them, peering down with anxious eyes.

“She's okay,” Kara reports on Lena's behalf, rubbing soothingly at her hip. “She's breathing.”

“After that performance?” Nia gets out, a little strangled. “I should hope so.”

Lena feels Kara's posture tighten against her, prompting a tensing of firm forearms and biceps that her already spinning head really doesn't need right now.

“Performance?” Kara asks, slow, a challenge.

“Was that supposed to be CPR?” Brainy asks, brow furrowing. “Because I'm not sure—”

“Unless CPR stands for conspicuous passionate romance, it was no such thing,” Alex interjects firmly. She looks a little green around the gills. Lena knows the feeling.

Kara's defensive stance tightens. She tugs Lena more firmly into her lap. “I was saving her—

“You were doing plenty with her,” Kelly mutters. Alex quirks a brown, vindicated. “I'm just not sure saving was high on the list.”

Kara's chin rises. “I'll have you know that rescue breaths—”

“She hadn't even stopped breathing!” Alex explodes. Lena tries very, very hard to disappear.

Above her head, blue eyes narrow. A plump bottom lip with which Lena is intimately familiar sticks out, Kara's pout a nautical mile wide.

“So, you're telling me a girl can't use her mouth against her best friend's mouth to save her life these days?” Kara asks her sister heatedly, full of the righteous indignation of the unjustly persecuted. “What are you, a cop?”

Alex visibly ages half a decade right there, right in front of Lena's still-hazy eyes.

“...yes?

“You guys are unbelievable,” Kara grouches as her sister checks Lena over. Aside from a headache and lips that feel deliciously swollen and bruised – the first is Alex's professional appraisal, the second, her own – she's declared healthy as a horse. That doesn't stop Kara scooping her up into her arms as the others gather their stuff, cradling her close on the walk back to the car.

“I was being a good Samaritan,” Kara insists as she trails after the others. “Protecting people, saving people. Like I'm supposed to.”

“I'm not sure tonguing your best friend is in Supergirl's job description,” Nia mutters from the head of the group to a chorus of stifled laughter and Alex's despairing groan.

Kara's selective superhearing evidently elects to ignore the comment. “You guys have no respect for rapid first aid,” she says primly, one hand tucking Lena's head tenderly against her shoulder while the other squeezes her thigh. “If I had to, I'd give rescue breaths to any one of you.”

Alex turns so sharply on her heel that she sprays sand three feet in the air. “If that is ever what's required to save my life,” she says sharply, waving fingers encompassing the entirety of she and Kara's current entanglement, “then for the love of God, just— let me die.”

 

In September, Kara kisses her onboard a burning spaceship with one minute left to live.

Their covert mission to track down and rescue aliens trafficked into the Maaldorian slave trade had been going really, really well, right up until the point at which they'd been caught.

The slavedrivers, spooked by the discovery of Supergirl and her heavily armed backup aboard their ship, beat a hasty retreat which involves jettisoning themselves out into space in handy little escape pods and flooding the remaining inhabitants of the vessel with flammable, noxious gas.

Lena shepherds the terrified victims toward the dream portal Nia is holding open through sheer force of will, Kara and J’onn flying them through it in droves, an evacuation that cracks the sound barrier.

They're being poisoned, all of them. Lena can feel it in her lungs, a cloudy sort of tickling, fine gossamer laces tugging at the edges of her airways, tightening them, closing them completely. She can see it in the tremble of Kara's hands, the sweat on J’onn's brow, the hacking coughs Nia lets out as she struggles to maintain the portal. She can see it in the terrified faces of the Loraxans, the Starhavenites, the K'hunds; in the expressions of those who know they have only moments before death claims them as painfully as possible.

They're all being poisoned, Lena knows that. But different physiologies react differently to such toxins; some species claimed quicker, others slower. Her scientist's brain is still trying to analyse the data even as she coughs so hard she retches, ribs cracking, lungs screaming.

It's clear to her that one species out of the many on this ship is affected worse by this; succumbs faster, suffers more. It's clear to her, as her knees give out and her body crumples, that that species is human.

At least the others have gotten the rest of the victims out, she thinks as the corrugated metal of the floor rushes up to meet her. At least they won't die here as well.

Her body hits something hard and unyielding but it's not the ground, she realises at length through hacking coughs and streaming eyes. She's being held, held up by something warmer, smoother, firm yet malleable as it moulds itself around her.

Through the fog of fumes and the flicker of flames comes Kara's face, skin pale and bruised, eyes wide and panicked. Close as a whisper then closer still, as poison floods Lena's cells and sanity leaves her and all she can think is don't die with me. All she can think is never let me go.

Lena can tell from the thickness in her lungs and the utter absence of her breath that she has moments left to live. She's just about to use the last of her strength to shove Kara away from her, towards the portal, toward home and light and life, when Kara's hands leave her hips to cradle her jaw instead. When Kara leans in, and presses their mouths together.

Yes, is all Lena can think. Yes, yes, yes. If she could have chosen her last act in this life, it would have been this. To know that Kara would, too, to know that she feels the same—

Kara parts Lena's lips with her own and it's everything, it's warmth and hope and love and eternity and Lena is going die knowing that in this, at least, she wasn't alone. Kara parts Lena's lips with her own and Lena's knees, already jelly, disintegrate entirely.

Kara parts Lena's lips with her own and something cool, something bitter and metallic and vaguely oily flows between them. Kara licks in past her teeth, tongue working warm and slick, coating every inch of the inside of Lena's mouth in the substance. The strange liquid trickles down her throat, pooling in her belly, dousing the fire ignited by the tinder of Kara's kiss.

Because this is not a kiss, Lena realises as her airways slacken and clear, as oxygen reaches her desperate bronchi once more. This is not a kiss. This is an antidote.

This is not a kiss, and yet even when Lena's chest has cleared, Kara does not pull away. When every last drop of medicine has trickled down Lena's throat, when nothing is left mingling between them except breath and limbs and heat, Kara is still there.

Kara is still there, two hands buried deep in the tangle of Lena's hair, holding her steady as she licks and licks and licks, along Lena's lips, at the roof of her mouth, against her tongue.

It's long minutes, at least, minutes if not hours before they finally break apart, Lena's newly cleared lungs heaving as if her life still depends on it. Kara releases one hand from Lena's hair, the other sweeping the wild strands back from her face. Her thumb tracks the length of Lena's bottom lip; presses at the corner of her mouth. When she holds it up between them for inspection the tip is coated in a shimmering grey film.

“You have to get it all,” she hums, that same digit pushing and pushing until Lena's mouth yields to her once more, the last remnants of the antidote as acrid as Kara's thumb is sweet against her tongue. “You have to, please, I can't— you have to be okay.”

She is okay. Alex confirms it, hooking her up to wires and monitors in the med bay once they make it back to Earth. The antidote was strong enough, got to her quick enough, that she'll suffer no lasting damage from the inhalational neurotoxin the slavedrivers were sweet enough to gift them. Kara holds her hand through all of it, hooked up to wires and monitors of her own, thumb kneading tender circles against Lena's palm.

“You know, Kar,” Alex mutters as she bustles between gurneys, gaze flicking unsubtly between their flushed cheeks and swollen lips, the thin silver sheen still clinging to the pressed red of both their mouths. “I really could have given you that antidote in a bottle.”

 

In October, Kara kisses her while hovering five feet in the air, sporting a zebra-print towel as a cape and a drawn-on crayon moustache.

Esme is going through an involved and intense dress-up-play-act stage, which Kara and Lena are under strict instructions not to discourage at Auntie's Night. It's good for her creativity and development of self-expression, apparently.

Whatever it's good for, it ultimately involves Lena being cast as Rapunzel ensconced high up on a tower of chairs and cushions because she is, as her niece puts it, pretty as a princess, a statement with which Kara heartily agrees. Kara lands the role of gallant knight, taking her rolled-up-magazine sword and towel-cape very seriously. She's midway through allowing Esme to draw a thick black moustache above her upper lip when her brow furrows.

"Why does the knight have to be a man?” she asks, garbled beneath the press of Esme's tiny fingers. Her eyes flick to Lena's, high above the living room in her cushioned tower. “We're not instilling good feminist ideals in her, are we? Break free of the patriarchy, Es. Let your knight be a girl.”

Esme's tiny brow crinkles. “Girls can be knights?”

“Sure can,” Kara nods as Lena adds, “Girls can be anything they want to be.”

Esme nods happily. Kara wrinkles her lips, testing the waxy masterpiece. “It's a shame we didn't have this forward-thinking revelation before you started drawing, little bug.”

The six-year-old narrows her eyes, appraising her aunt intently. Then she straightens, grinning, a flick of her wrist the final flourish on Kara's moustachioed masterpiece. “Girls can have moustaches, too!”

So, Lena is Rapunzel, Kara her gallant knight and Esme – as per the point of the entire endeavour – gets to be the dragon prowling ferociously and adorably at Lena's feet.

There are many battles.

Many battles, involving a lot of dramatically sustained “injuries” (Kara), laughter (Lena), and impassioned growling (Esme). At long last, weary from her days on the battlefield yet emboldened by her determination to reach the princess up above, Knight Kara takes her last stand. A lot of tickling and giggling and shrieking later, Kara has her niece upside down in her arms, blowing loud raspberries all over her cheeks and belly.

“Forsooth, that I should have slayed this dragon!” she soliloquises, carefully tossing a gleeful Esme into the nest of blankets and pillows constructed for this very purpose. “And interred her bones forever at the feet of my beloved!”

“Now you climb!” Esme stage-whispers from her feathered grave.

“Now I climb!” Kara decrees, floating herself off the ground with over-exaggerated scrambling motions and great grunts of fake effort.

“Rescue the princess!” Esme instructs and Kara hauls herself up the last half-foot, floating conveniently at Lena's eye level.

“I am here to rescue you, Princess,” she manages, solemn despite the smirk tugging at the corners of her mouth. One hand extends in invitation.

Lena places her palm delicately in Kara's, fighting to keep her own smile from ruining the moment. “What's next, darling?”

"Now the beautiful knight saves the beautiful princess,” Esme informs them from five feet below.

“Hello, beautiful princess,” Kara whispers conspiratorially as she extracts Lena from the tottering tower of living room detritus, hovering them both in mid-air. “I'm here to save you.”

“Why, hello, brave knight,” Lena whispers back, too low for Esme to hear. “Tales of your moustachioed beauty were not unfounded.”

Kara snorts as Esme claps her hands, feet kicking gleefully in her cushion cocoon. “And now you have to live happily ever after.”

“Did you hear that, princess?” Kara asks, and her voice is lower suddenly, almost husky. “We have to.”

Lena's just opening her mouth to respond when another open mouth lands upon hers instead.

Just like each time before, the kiss is so surprising that for a moment, Lena has no idea how to react. Her muscles slacken in shock and she probably would have slipped clean out of the embrace all the way to the ground had Kara's arms not twined tight around her, one hand at her waist, the other pressing between her shoulder blades.

Kara's breathing hard, panting into her open mouth and the kiss is deep, so deep, that Lena's left powerless against it. She's just along for the ride as Kara shifts and moves against her, angling them together again and again.

When Kara pulls back only to surge forward slower this time, sweeter, pressing one, two, three soft kisses to Lena's bottom lip, all she can do is sigh.

When her dazed eyes flicker open, Kara brushes the tips of their noses together. Her crayon moustache is smudged out of recognition above her top lip, in some places faded completely.

“How was that for happily ever after?” Kara calls to their niece, her eyes never straying from Lena's.

“It was good,” Esme declares, casual and offhand as though this is something that happens every day. "Now the princess has to say thank you to the knight. ‘Cuz she gotted rescued.”

“Thank you,” Lena repeats mechanically, higher brain function snuffed out, what's left of her mental faculties residing somewhere low and useless in the cradle of the hips Kara's squeezing like she has any right to, like they're hers to do with what she will.

Kara lowers them carefully to the ground, the locked focus of their gazes never breaking once.

“Any time.”

 

In November, Kara kisses her because her lips are chapped.

They haven't talked about it. Neither of them has mentioned, not even once, the string of kiss attacks with which Kara has ambushed Lena, now numbering a resoundingly shocking three. Neither of them has mentioned their newfound intimate familiarity with the taste of the other's mouth, the press of their bodies or the pitch of their gasps.

Lena has not mentioned how distracted she's been, lately. How she'll be doing something innocuous like brushing her teeth and then she'll start thinking about what flavour of toothpaste Kara uses, whether it would complement her own, how it would taste to lick it from her skin. How she'll press her fingertips to her own lips and wish they were Kara's, how she'll absentmindedly slip a pen into her mouth and wish it was Kara's thumb. How she can't focus on much besides the fact that her gorgeous platonic best friend keeps kissing her and not saying a damn word about it.

If Kara has been having any of the same thoughts, she hasn't mentioned them either.

And now here they are, bundled up against the icy bite of the ocean breeze as they line the sea wall along with hundreds of other supporters. National City's annual marathon has been going for hours already and though the elite runners have already begun trickling by, they'll have to wait a while longer for Kelly and her team of social workers running for charity to pass their spot.

Alex has taken a cold and tired Esme to warm up in a café with some hot chocolate, leaving Kara and Lena with strict instructions not to lose their prime position near the finish line. Privately, Lena wonders if she shouldn't be taking Kara to warm up with some hot chocolate – and probably a pastry or twelve – just to stave off the pout that's taken up permanent residence on her face.

“I'm bored,” Kara complains, right on schedule, knocking her shoulder into Lena's. “I want to stay and support Kelly but, Lena, I'm just so bored. I hate standing still!”

The blonde floats herself off the ground a few inches, oblivious in her frustration. Lena grabs her by the crook of her elbow and yanks her back down.

“We can't take a break until Alex and Esme come back,” she says, repeating the same line she's used eight times already. “Once they do we can go and stretch our legs, get a snack.”

“Thank Rao,” Kara grumbles. “I'm so hungry. And it's cold. And it's so damn windy, it's making even my skin dry. My skin that can withstand bullets, Lena.”

Lena rubs her elbow in absent sympathy, eyes scanning the stream of runners for anyone she recognises.

“Do you have any moisturiser on you?” Kara asks, suddenly close enough to Lena's ear that she jumps.

“Not today. Sorry, darling.”

Kara's frown deepens. “Chapstick, even? My lips are cracking like a glacier in the spring.”

“Descriptive.” Lena roots through the pockets of her pea coat, checks her purse. “Um— no. No, I don't think I have any.”

Cool fingertips slide beneath her chin without warning, lifting her face and tilting it into the light.

“But you're wearing it,” Kara accuses. “I can see it.”

Lena swallows heavily, the fingertips against her throat bobbing with the movement. “I put it on before we left this morning,” she manages, voice only fractionally higher than normal.

Kara's eyebrows hit her hairline. “You've been wearing chapstick for five hours and it still looks that good?” she whisper-yells, tilting Lena's face this way and that. “How is it still so shiny? What the hell is it made from? Superglue?”

“Camphor and carnauba wax, mainly,” Lena answers absently, distantly, thoroughly distracted by the hot brands of Kara's fingers scorching a trail across her skin beneath the hinge of her jaw. “I— I use a highly specialised brand. It's thirty dollars a tube.”

Thirty dollars?” Kara shrieks, eyes wide and scandalised. “Lena. Can it really be that good?”

Lena swallows again, Kara's knuckles skating her throat as she does so. “You tell m—”

And then Lena's open, thirty-dollar-chapstick-covered lips are pressed against Kara's once more.

Kara's mouth is deliciously hot in the chill of the late fall air, her tongue sweeter than any cosmetic flavouring money could buy. There's no hesitation this time, not so much as a moment of coy restraint. Kara licks straight into Lena's mouth like she's hiding a popsicle in there, hands sliding beneath the open folds of Lena's jacket to smooth over denim-clad hips.

Their bodies slot together in a way that feels dangerously close to practiced and Lena forgets about the race, forgets about the wind, forgets about the hordes of people pressing in on them from all sides. The only thing that exists in the universe, now and forever, is Kara.

Kara, lifting Lena onto her tiptoes, tilting her chin up to account for their height difference. Kara, and her gasping breath and her mouth slanting over and over against Lena's, the desperate sound that builds and builds in the back of her throat. Kara, and the taste of her, smell of her, feel of her, kissing Lena right here in the middle of the city on a windy Sunday morning in November like it's the most natural thing in the world.

Kara's mouth is slick when they eventually break apart, shiny and wet, though whether it's a result of Lena's transferred chapstick or their mingled saliva, she couldn't say.

She smacks her lips appreciatively, rubbing them together as one arm stays close around Lena's waist beneath her jacket, fingers curling in the belt loops of her jeans.

“Yeah,” Kara hums pensively just as Alex and Esme rejoin them, Kelly's charity running group appearing in the distance. “I'd say it's worth every penny.”

 

In December, Kara kisses her because she's cold.

That's it. No rescues, no requirements, no life-saving antidotes or elaborate play-acting. Lena is cold, and Kara kisses her, as if that is in any way an appropriate reaction to the situation.

The situation, naturally, is she and Kara alone in a draughty gondola halfway up a mountain on some ill-advised family ski trip that Lena had only agreed to come on in the first place on the condition that she never, not once, has to touch snow.

And yet here she is, decked out in newly purchased salopettes and an enormous down-filled jacket, shivering beneath twelve layers of fleece on her way to the top of a freezing piste all because Kara had said please.

"But you can ski,” Kara says for the twelfth time that morning, relaxed and at ease as she lounges against the plexiglass separating them from a dizzying drop. “You can, right?”

Lena, rigid as a stone in the centre of the gondola, gripping the lone safety bar with both hands, barely manages to move her jaw beyond the chattering of her teeth.

“I can ski,” she starts shakily, wiggling her frozen toes inside her boots, "the same way I can paint, and play the piano, and recite epic poems in their original Latin. Because it was something Lionel and Lillian required of me as a child. Not because I wanted to.”

Kara clicks her tongue in sympathy, crossing the gondola to pry Lena's hands off the safety rail. Her footsteps cause the carriage to sway even more than it had been already and Lena redoubles her grip, clenching her jaw.

“Sweetheart, relax,” Kara coos, gently working her gloved hands beneath each of Lena's clutching fingers in turn. “We're just going up there for the view. If you don't want to ski, we'll hop right in the gondola and come back down.”

The notion of getting back into this rickety death trap causes Lena to tense up even further. Kara shakes her head fondly, successfully releasing Lena's lethal grip on the cold metal bar and cradling her hands instead. “You need to relax your muscles to get your shivering under control.”

“It's because I'm shivering that I can't relax,” Lena shudders, teeth clicking rhythmically in her skull.

Kara's brow creases. “Are you really that cold?”

If she hadn't been so afraid of plummeting to her death, Lena would have rolled her eyes so hard she'd have fallen over. “No, I'm shivering like this for the fun of it.”

Kara clicks her tongue once more. “Oh, baby. Here.” And to Lena's horror, she unzips her own ski jacket, leaving her in nothing but a thin base layer, and tugs Lena into the gap created by her open coat.

“You'll freeze!” Lena protests instinctively even as the warmth of Kara's body registers through her many, many layers and she presses closer, eager for more.

“You know I'm only wearing this coat for appearances,” the superheated Kryptonian reminds her, coaxing Lena's frozen hands against her back and pulling the edges of her jacket around her huddled form. “I'd give it to you, but people would probably look at me weird.”

"No, this is good,” Lena hums, the contrast of stillness after the past half-hour of wracking shivers a welcome reprieve. Her numb nose hits the fleece buff at Kara's neck, pressing beneath it to the heat of her skin.

Kara flinches at the sudden cold, chuckling as she wraps her arms more securely around Lena's body.

“Better?”

Lena sighs, pulling back far enough that their gazes meet. “Better. Thank you.”

Kara's eyes glint turquoise gold in the brilliant winter sunshine, something warm and undefined tugging at the corners of her mouth. “You know, I'm not sure you are,” she breathes, eyes crinkling. “Better, I mean. Your lips are turning blue.”

Lena's brow furrows. “It's highly unlikely I'm suffering from cyanosis at this temperature,” she mumbles, shaking her head. “I really doubt—”

“No, I definitely see a blueish tinge,” Kara insists, walking Lena backwards until her shoulders hit the curved plex of the gondola's side. “We'd better get them warmed up right away.”

And Lena is a fool, a damnable, irredeemable fool, for not seeing where this was heading from the very first word to fall from Kara's lips. Lena is a damnable, irredeemable fool, for finally realising exactly where this is going, and not doing a damn thing to stop it.

When Kara's mouth closes over her own this time, it's no longer accompanied by the shock of their previous encounters. This time the kiss is warm, intimate, sweet and tender and coalescing into a distinct feeling of comfort and home that Lena really should not get from making out with her platonic best friend.

And making out they are. With no audience around them, Kara abandons her relative chastity of their previous encounters in favour of pressing Lena back hard against the glass side, the solid warmth of her body an exquisite juxtaposition to the freezing plex. Kara's thigh slips between Lena's legs and one of them moans, low and breathy. Or maybe it's both of them, or maybe it doesn't matter, because Kara's hand is smoothing down Lena's side, down and down until it reaches her thigh, hooks beneath the back of it, hitching it up around her own waist.

And then there's delicious pressure and friction even through all these goddamned layers, and then there's gloved fingers beneath the buff at Lena's neck, tugging it down. And then Kara's mouth leaves her own to skate across her jaw, down her neck to attach itself to her pulse point, sucking firm and deliberate.

“No sign of slow heart rate,” Kara pants against her skin, tongue soothing over the hickey she'd just bestowed before venturing lower, repeating the process. “S’good. Not hypothermic.”

Lena doesn't even have it within herself to scoff at the flimsy pretence because Kara's mouth is already travelling back up to her own, licking in past the clean edge of her teeth, sucking Lena's tongue into her mouth as she cants her hips sharply into Lena's pelvis.

Lena moans, then, really and properly moans, right there into her best friend's mouth in a rickety gondola on the side of a ski hill she'd never wanted to come to in the first place.

Kara grins at the sound, grins right into the kiss, slowing the frantic tempo of their kisses into something smoother, saccharine and honeyed. She keeps them pressed close, foreheads and noses and lips brushing, over and over to the steady roll of the gondola up the mountainside.

When she finally pulls back it's barely a hair's breadth, smile wide, eyes sparkling. "Look at that,” she hums, low and rumbling as they reach the top. “Your lips are back to a healthy colour. What a lucky escape.”

And then she releases Lena only to grab her hand, tugging her out of the gondola and into the blinding snow like nothing had even happened.

Well.

Maybe it's the mind-numbing cold that does it. Maybe it's the altitude, the decreased oxygen getting to her brain. Maybe it's the plain and simple fact that her best friend in the world keeps making love to her with her mouth and then seeming to forget all about it thirty seconds later.

Whatever it is, Lena's had enough.

“No,” she calls at Kara's retreating back. “No. No way. Come here.”

Kara freezes from where she'd been bending to deposit their skis, turning to face Lena with the expression of a condemned man walking to the noose.

“What was that?” Lena demands, inwardly cringing at the high, shrill tone of her own voice. “Why did you do that?”

Kara's mouth opens and closes comically. Gloved fingers clench and unclench against the tops of her thighs. “Um, your lips were turning—”

“Don't bullshit me.” Lena stalks closer, the finger she's jabbing against Kara's chest forcing the blonde backwards until she hits the snow-covered bows of a nearby pine. “Why did you kiss me just then? Why have you been kissing me for months?”

Kara's teeth dig hard against the plush of her bottom lip. “I didn't— I only—”

“Tell me the truth,” Lena says, quieter now, pleading. “Please. Tell me the truth.”

Kara's cheeks are flushed above the collar of her jacket, a mouth-watering pink against the snow at her back. “Because I wanted to,” she whispers, almost inaudible over the sounds of the slopes. “Because— because I've always wanted to.”

Lena softens like the snow moulding to the shape of their bodies, jabbing finger replaced by a gentle hand over Kara's chest, over her ribs, over her heart. “Why didn't you just say so?”

A long moment of quiet between them as snow flutters down from the boughs overhead, crystallising on the ends of their eyelashes.

“I didn't know if you'd want me to,” Kara says in the smallest voice Lena's ever heard. “I didn't know if you'd let me, without a reason.”

“Darling, if I didn't want you to kiss me, I would never have let you,” Lena breathes, reaching out, smoothing her thumbs along the proud arch of golden cheekbones. “And your reasons have always been flimsy to say the least. I mean, what was next? What else would you have come up with?”

“I was going to kiss you after dinner so I could taste your dessert,” Kara says without so much as a second of hesitation, eyes wide and sombre. “I'd already planned it out.”

Lena's mouth drops open. “No.”

Kara flashes her a close-mouthed smile. “Yep.”

Lena shakes her head. “Really?”

Pink lips purse. “Uh huh.”

“Darling.” Lena laughs then, head thrown back, snowflakes melting on the heat of her upturned cheeks. “You were really scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one.”

“I know.” Two gloved hands slide tentatively around Lena's waist, blonde eyelashes fluttering. “Does— does this mean I won't have to use it?”

“Kara,” Lena says as gently as she can manage, sliding her palms up to cup the face of the woman she loves more than her heart can possibly contain, idiotic romance plans and all. “I've been casually making out with you for half a year under the guise of the worst come-ons imaginable. We've waited long enough. What do you say we skip dinner and go straight to our own dessert?”

Kara's smile is so wide Lena could drown in it. In fact, she plans to.

“I say, your lips are looking a little blue again,” she beams, scooping Lena clean off the ground and crushing their bodies together in an embrace so tight no force in the cosmos could break them apart. “I think I'd better take another look.”