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hold me close (don't let me go)

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“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


As far as Tuesday nights go, there isn’t anything particularly significant about this one. There are no world-ending catastrophes that call for her superpowered assistance, no interviews to chase or articles to fine-tune before tomorrow’s deadline, no anniversaries or birthdays or momentous occasions to celebrate - in fact, you could venture to say that it’s been a perfectly normal evening, and that’s not something Kara can say very often. But that’s what it is: normal.

The two of them are on Kara’s couch, silently but pleasantly existing in each other’s spaces after a long day. Lena sits upright with both legs bent at the knee, one tucked under the other as Kara nestles against her, her head resting in the soft junction where Lena's left shoulder meets her breastbone. She’s only half paying attention to the Friends marathon playing on cable, and Lena has her ear buds in, listening to a podcast. From the way her breath has slowed to a steady cadence of inhale and exhaling, Kara thinks she must’ve fallen asleep at least fifteen minutes ago. At least, that's how long Kara has had the tv on mute, preferring the soundtrack of Lena's body to whatever is going on in a twenty year old rerun.

Lena’s left arm rests around Kara, her delicate fingers splayed limply over her thigh and it feels like those five digits anchor Kara to this plane of existence like a ship at port, keeping her from drifting into dark places that still haunt her despite the time that has passed since leaving the Phantom Zone. She keeps hoping she'll wake up one day and feel like her old self again, but so far all that greets her most mornings is anxiety that has proven to be more crippling than kryptonite has ever been.

Except for the mornings when she opens her eyes and sees her reflection in bright green irises, ebony hair fanning the pillows, and Lena's head resting in one propped hand as she coaxes Kara awake with soft, reverent touches that leave her skin tingling long afterwards. Mornings when things feel like they have a shred of a chance of being ok again.

Kara lifts one hand, hovering over Lena's, and lets the pads of her fingertips descend on warm, sleepy skin. She barely makes contact, grazing over the bones in her fingers and lingering across the curves of each bent knuckle, tracing the contours like she wants to memorize them, tuck the images away in her brain so she has something to hold on to. Just in case.

She slides her fingers underneath Lena's, lifts her palm off her leg and shivers at the slight coolness left behind. She takes a few minutes to simply hold Lena’s hand, marveling at the weight of it in hers, thinking about how she has lifted full-size aircrafts with little effort, and yet this one pound of flesh and bone can bring her to her knees.

She traces a line along the muscle of Lena's thumb, down where the pale skin creases and then across the paper-thinness of her wrist, forming an L. She’s human, therefore she is fragile, but Lena Luthor is easily the strongest person Kara has ever met, and sometimes she feels so much for this woman that she thinks it will split her invulnerable body in half.

Her heart swells as she traces the rest of the word, one little letter at a time: o, v, e…

She has just finished the rounded tail of the final letter when she hears Lena’s heart thud more quickly in her chest. She shifts slightly, and the sound of the fabric adjusting is stark in the silence of the room. She silently turns her hand over in Kara’s and briefly presses their palms together before interlocking their fingers, humming softly into the crown of Kara’s head. Kara stiffens, guilty that she woke her up, but then Lena’s fingertips slide down Kara's hand and wrist, pads grazing the landscape of her palm, gently twisting and turning in a dance that feels as intimate as if they were between the sheets rather than fully clothed on the couch. It makes her ache, so much so that she doesn’t even realize she’s crying until she feels Lena’s thumb swipe at a single tear balancing precariously on the apple of her cheek.

Lena wordlessly guides Kara up into a sitting position, turning her own body so that Kara is positioned between her bent legs, toned back facing Lena’s chest. She gathers Kara’s long blonde tresses in one thick handful and gently moves it to fall over her right shoulder, exposing her neck and the tiny wispy hairs that trail down it. She places both hands flat on Kara’s back, the thin fabric of her tank top doing little to conceal the muscles that ripple underneath, and starts to run her hands up and down the planes with varying levels of pressure. Some passes are light, supple touches that barely make contact, others have her pressing her thumbs into the divots of Kara’s body, kneading just up to the point where it would be physically painful for Lena to go any harder. Kara lets her head fall forward and closes her eyes, focusing on the way each nerve ending responds to Lena’s tender ministrations - there’s always something unspoken in the way Lena touches her, no matter how subtle the gesture. She pours herself into every embrace, every kiss, every little graze of bare skin against skin, almost as if it’s the first and last time they ever will.

Like Lena is just as afraid of losing her again as Kara is of leaving.

Kara lets out an involuntary noise on her next exhale that is somewhere between a moan and a whimper. It lasts no longer than a second, but it’s enough that it rattles in the hollowness of her chest like an echo that refuses to dissipate into the ether and let her be .

Lena responds instantly, gathers Kara close and pulls her into her chest where she is safe and loved and not alone , and Kara follows willingly. Lena angles her head to slot in the crook of Kara’s neck, placing soft, soothing kisses wherever her lips can reach in a tiny diameter of skin. Her arms loop underneath Kara’s, each palm firmly cupping a deltoid as her thumbs rub calming circles across the balls of her shoulders, and her actions say more than words ever could.

More tears fall down her cheeks as she cries, but it isn’t a messy, mucus-y kind of crying; she doesn’t sob or make any noise after that single admission of pain, and the tears simply fall as if her body can no longer physically hold them in anymore. And the strange thing is, Kara doesn’t think these tears are solely about fear - because underneath those layers of pain and anxiety, Kara feels an overwhelming sense of pure joy that pushes against her ribcage, threatening to burst free from the confines of her body because she’s here , on this planet where she arrived at exactly the right time in order for her to meet the people she holds most dear to her heart. She’s here , in her home, against all the odds stacked against her being able to escape the Phantom Zone not once, but twice in her lifetime.

She’s here , in this city, on this couch, with her person - a person she cannot imagine having never met if her pod had decided to take a few more turns around the stars, missing the window of opportunity that led to this very moment.

Kara drags one of Lena’s arms down, lets her palm sit open in her lap like a blank page in one of her journals, waiting to be filled. So she does - slowly, deliberately, pouring everything she can into those four little letters.

When she’s finished, Kara closes Lena’s fingers around the invisible word and brings it to her lips, kissing each knuckle as if she could lock it away with that simple act. Lena brushes one stray lock behind Kara’s ear, and her voice trembles as she bends her head forward, whispering softly,

“I love you, too.”

It’s a regular Tuesday evening. Quiet. Nothing very significant or monumentally extraordinary about it - except it is, because Kara is here and alive and encompassed in Lena’s arms. And really, what could be more extraordinary than that?