Kara is good at controlling her abilities. She's had plenty of time to learn, for example, how to stop herself from accidentally incinerating some lowlife who has the audacity to catcall her on the street when she's 15 minutes late to work with Ms. Grant’s coffee spilling down her arm. She's good at completing daily tasks at a slower, more human pace - even if she does take advantage of an empty office from time to time in order to speedy-finger-type her way through an article she forgot to finish the night before. She’s good at filtering out the enormous amount of noise her super-hearing picks up, which had been the hardest ability to master right after actual flight - learning how to block out car alarms blaring from two states over, a hundred different conversations around town combining to form an incoherent, garbled din - even the ants marching beneath her feet was a sound so magnified it hurt her ears those first few weeks after arriving at the Danvers' home. But in time, Kara had gotten the hang of that one too - or so she'd thought.
Because they’ve been dating for almost ten months, hit all the "firsts" in any budding relationship from first kiss to first fight to first time holding Lena's hair back as she vomits into the toilet bowl after eating bad sushi, and yet -
Kara still can't hear a damn thing except her own thunderous heartbeat in her ears every single time Lena walks through the door.
"Sorry I'm late, today was an absolute nightmare ," Lena sighs as she shuts the apartment door with one heeled foot, dropping her briefcase unceremoniously on Kara's kitchen island with a heavy thud. She sheds her jacket and opens the fridge, pulling out a can of soda - she's been trying to cut back on the scotch - and busies herself with fixing a glass of ice to pour the contents into.
"Someone managed to hack into LCorp's mainframe and, unlike a normal, civilized hacker who might’ve tried to find an access point into our accounts, this individual decided that their time and efforts would be much better spent creating a fully nude animation of my brother that dances across every LCorp screen, every five minutes - All. Day. Long ." Lena makes a little noise of distress as the fizz from her soda starts to overflow onto the counter and hastily grabs a dishtowel to sop up the mess.
"It took ages to find the source - I had to cancel all of my meetings and reschedule the demo for the new image inducer with our shareholders from Metropolis, which was just delightful because we've had to change dates twice already and they probably think I'm so incompetent at my job that they may just decide to pull out altogether, and I can't afford to lose their support so I'll have to - darling, why are you looking at me like that?"
Kara has lived on this planet for years - she's adapted to the yellow sun and the powers it gives her, knows how to tune in when she needs to and how to tune out when she has to. It keeps her loved ones safe and keeps Kara sane, a delicate balance that must be maintained in order to protect the planet and still live the full life she's cultivated outside of the cape and sigil.
Kara is good at controlling her abilities - or at least, she was. Now, she feels like she’s 12 years old again, a newcomer to this strange planet with its overwhelming chaos, with not one ounce of practiced focus in her little alien body.
"Do I have something on my face?" Lena laughs, self-consciously touching her cheeks with both hands. "My teeth?" She makes a face that is so unfairly cute it makes the war drums in Kara's ears beat all the faster, a crescendo that she's positive will end with her going slightly deaf if she doesn't get a grip .
"Do you really not hear that?" Kara blurts out - a little too loudly apparently, because Lena visibly starts and spills more of her drink, this time onto the floor. She curses and drops the damp towel on the floor, using her expensively-clad foot as an impromptu mop.
"Hear what? " Lena asks.
"My -" Kara cuts herself off, suddenly shy as she turns her head to hide her face from Lena’s view. "I don't wanna say…"
Lena slips off her shoes and carries her glass to the living room with too much grace for someone who spent the last ten hours battling a cyber menace. She plops herself down on the couch opposite Kara and pokes her playfully with a bare toe. "Well now I have to know. My curiosity has been piqued. Besides," She lowers her voice until she's practically purring. "You've turned such a lovely shade of red that it makes me think I'll like the answer."
Heat engulfs her impenetrable skin, she knows she’s blushing head to toe at this point and she’s not sure if it’s more from embarrassment or the nearly unbearable desire to pin Lena down and kiss the smirk right off her smug face.
This isn't the first time Kara's been in love. At least, she thinks it was love. It still gives her pause years later, trying to figure it out - but with Lena, there's no question. She loves Lena in every sense of the word with an intensity she didn't know was possible. It’s the most real thing she’s ever experienced. Whatever her experiences in the past, this relationship and all the feelings it sparks in her is new territory for Kara, and she doesn't quite know if she's doing it right half the time. She doesn't want Lena to think she's weird or stunted or just… bad at this.
“Karaaa…” Lena singsongs softly, her smile growing wider as Kara turns more and more scarlet with each agonizing second. Finally, Kara groans and buries her face in her hands.
“I would never.”
Kara peeks out through her fingers, feeling stupid and sheepish. “I didn’t think I would still be feeling like this.”
“Like… this !” Kara gestures to her chest, thumps it with one tightly clenched fist. “I thought all those things you feel when you start a relationship - the butterflies, the nerves, the excitement - would fade after a while. Like, not disappear , but that they wouldn’t be so… intense. I mean, we’ve been together for the better part of a year and I still… I’m still so…”
Lena cocks her head and narrows her eyes, but with a smile on her face that is one part endearment and one part utter confusion. “And you still…” Lena prods.
Kara sighs. “When I first came to Earth, it took me a long time to get my super-hearing under control. Everything was so loud and I didn’t know how to filter any of it out. Eventually I got the hang of it, but sometimes… sometimes my heart pounds so hard when I look at you that I literally can’t hear anything else around me, even if you’re the one actually talking. I have no idea what you said when you walked in just now. Not one word.” Kara hides her face again. “I feel so stupid.”
Kara feels the couch shift, knows instinctively rather than actually sees Lena come around and kneel on the floor in front of her. Lena’s hands are cool as they take Kara’s wrists, guiding them away from her flushed face. Her eyes are shiny, green pools filled with nothing but tenderness.
She takes one of Kara’s hands and gently places it on her chest. Lena is wearing a low neck today - advantageous, for it allows Kara to feel Lena’s heartbeat all the better. It’s absolutely hammering underneath her touch.
Kara almost jumps to her feet in alarm. “Oh my God, are you ok? Do you need to go to the hospital?”
Lena’s forehead falls into Kara’s lap as she lets out a hearty, exasperated laugh. Her voice is muffled through the fabric of Kara’s jeans. “No, you silly, wonderful woman.” She picks her head back up, clasping both hands over Kara’s and meeting her confused gaze. “It’s been doing that for years.”
“Like… like a medical condition?”
Lena bites her lip, possibly to keep from calling Kara something rather more than ‘silly,’ even in the most loving way. “Like since the day I met you, Kara.” She says quietly.
There’s a beat of silence that seems to stretch into minutes before Kara’s abashed face splits into a slow grin. “Oh…” She responds. “Well, now I don’t feel so stupid.”
“You shouldn’t,” Lena says. She gently pushes Kara’s knees apart and sidles her way between them, cupping her face in her hands with a smile. “Because if you’re stupid, then I’m stupid. And I have three PHD’s, so, I would really like to not consider myself stupid.”
Kara chuckles, turns her head to kiss the palm of Lena’s hand. “Not stupid.” She whispers. “Although I’m gonna have to relearn how to block out my own heartbeat, because I really like hearing the things you say.”
Lena leans in and kisses her, slow, gentle, pouring as much love as she can into it before she has to pull back for air. She tucks a blonde strand behind Kara’s ear and lets her fingertips trail down her neck, feeling the fire beneath her skin. “That’s fine,” She murmurs. “Just focus on mine instead.”