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i’m spilling all my words (but you keep 'em to yourself)

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They’ve fallen into a careful routine, the two of them.

It’s been three months since her return, and they’ve begun to put the pieces of their friendship back together. It feels delicate, in a way right now, as if it could shatter so easily, all over again if they aren’t careful. But at the same time, it feels the opposite of that.

Kara settles into their friendship. Their friendship is nice, a gently burning lovely light that makes her feel warm. Each little act of normalcy is like a little patch covering up the cracks in their friendship.

She visits Lena at her office to make sure she actually eats and to simply spend time with her, and Lena takes Kara out to a restaurant every Saturday night, treating her to dinner. Every time Lena does, Kara finds herself devouring an inhumane amount of food, not having to worry about paying and the costs because, well.

She almost never has to pay because Lena is dangerous and too powerful for her own good; she’s persuasive and charismatic, and she gets inordinately happy (rosy cheeks, soft, big smile, dimpled) when she gets to treat Kara to food. Happy is a good look on her. It’s impossible to turn down her gestures, so she allows Lena to treat her as much as she wants.

Alex has a nasty habit of calling those nights a date. Kara always disagrees.

When Kara quietly touches down on Lena’s office balcony, her eyes scan to see if there’s anyone in the office. There’s only one person there. It’s just Lena behind her desk, her back facing Kara. She’s sitting in her seat, not looking at her tablet and just rubbing at her temples, and Kara knows she isn’t having a good time right now.

Stepping into Lena’s office, she makes her entrance quietly and softly so as to not surprise her friend.

“You look like you could use a hug,” Kara says, and there’s a rise in Lena’s heartbeat when Lena registers her presence.

Lena stands from her seat, a tired sigh falling from her lips. She looks at her tablet, probably to check the time, and a look of surprise takes over her face.

“Oh, it’s lunch time already.” Lena grimaces, a little. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to forget. Time escaped me and work’s been—”

“No, no, it’s okay.” Kara shakes her head, places their bag of lunch on the coffee table, and walks towards Lena. She grins and waves Lena off when Lena manages to squeeze in another apology. “It’s really okay. No big deal.”

Lena smiles a little, embarrassed. She looks at Kara, and hesitates. Kara waits and waits, and eventually Lena rises to her tiptoes, slips her arms around Kara’s torso, and presses herself against Kara.

This gesture is nothing big, nothing special or different but it makes Kara feel like she's floating anyway. It's an automatic response, the way her arms cover Lena, one hand on the small of Lena’s back, the other on the back of her head.

“It’s kind of criminal how good you are with hugs,” Lena murmurs, tucking her face into Kara’s neck. Sometimes Lena likes to bury her face in Kara’s neck. It’s nice. Kara likes when Lena does that. She holds her tighter.

“My arms are made for hugging, haven’t you realized that yet?”

“Oh, I know.” Lena pulls back, but not without squeezing Kara’s arms. She leans against her desk, her eyebrow raising in a way that makes Kara’s whole being flicker and spark. “I’ve been aware since the moment I first saw your biceps,” Lena says easily, casually eyeing at Kara’s biceps with a soft smirk.

Oh. Well.

They have been flirting, haven't they. That is the thing that Kara has been actively partaking in for, well. Since the first time they met each other. It’s always been harmless; Lena can get playful and flirty. That’s the way she is.

“So you agree that my arms are made for hugging,” Kara states, smiling, can’t help it. She tilts her head a little, thoughtful. “I’ve always had these arms. Yet, a certain genius CEO hasn’t taken full advantage of them. Why?”

Lena laughs, loud and unrestrained. Either side of her mouth dimpling has Kara grinning.

Her friend arches her eyebrow in that devastating kind of way again, smirks that playful, flirtatious way again. “Careful, Ms. Danvers. I might start thinking you enjoy me being in your arms.”

“Well, I mean.” Kara frowns softly, scratching her brow. “Pretty much, yeah,” she admits. “You fit in perfectly snug.”

There’s silence. It’s quiet, but it actually isn’t; the rapid beating of Lena’s heart is loud in Kara’s ears. Kara stares at Lena and Lena stares right back, her expression unreadable.

Kara’s about to say something. Maybe backtrack in fear she’s said something weird, because again, their friendship is still delicate and Kara doesn’t want to make things weird, but then Lena looks away, shakes her head smiling, then stands.

“I do, don’t I?” Lena murmurs, walking across the room to fill herself a glass of water.

“Yeah,” Kara says quietly.

Sometimes Kara absurdly thinks she knows; things she shouldn’t, about Lena and her heartbeat and her lingering gaze and touches.

It’s incredibly noticeably different—the way she acts with Kara, and the way she acts with others. She can’t help but always take notice of it. It’s a recent thing, actually—Kara taking notice of… things. There’s that, but she can’t tell if these cases might just be coming from her overactive imaginations.

“Well, National City, watch out,” Lena says, snapping Kara out of her thoughts. She’s pouring a glass of water for Kara. “A Luthor’s just been given permission to take full advantage of your beloved Superhero and ace reporter’s hugs. She doesn’t know what she just signed up for. I can’t be blamed for what’s about to come for her.”

“Lena…” Kara flushes, laughs. She almost pokes her eye with her two fingers, realizing that she doesn’t have her glasses on to fiddle with. The sight makes Lena laugh, a pretty look plastering on her face that Kara can only describe as fond. Kara bites the inside of her cheek. “You’re trying to sound threatening but you just make me want to hug you more. You know, I happened to stumble across a very interesting study about hugs. They say that humans need eight hugs a day for maintenance. For growth, they need twelve hugs.”

“Kara, what.” Lena’s eyebrows are scrunched together like she’s confused, a quizzical smile on her face. She walks to the couch with two glasses of water, and gestures for Kara to come join her. “Eight hugs for maintenance. Twelve for growth. Wow, I don’t know what to say.”

Kara sits and reaches for the bag of lunch she got for them both on the coffee table. She bought Lena a poke salad bowl. With a wince as she eyes at the bowl, she pushes it towards Lena.

How Lena enjoys eating this stuff is beyond Kara.

Lena just chuckles.

“What? You think that’s too much?” Kara takes her first belly burger bite, settling on the couch comfortably. Their shoulders brush.

“I think that study sounds ridiculous.”

“You’re a woman of science, Lena. Look into the research before making such judgement. What kind of scientist does that?”

“So, our biggest and most groundbreaking topic today is some hug theory?” Lena rolls her eyes, smiling. She stabs her fork into her salad.

“It’s a proven scientific fact,” Kara huffs, and then takes her second big bite of her burger. “You don’t even wanna take a look? How about I do my own research and prove its accuracy. To you.”

“Okay, Kara,” Lena says drily. “Have fun.”

“You sound so enthusiastic for me, I’m touched.” Kara nudges her thigh with Lena’s. “I’m going to need participants. All participants will be rewarded greatly. And by participants, I actually only mean one, and that’s you.”

“Kara Danvers, if you would like a hug from me, just say so instead of going through all these hoops.” Lena’s lips twitch. “You could just walk up to me anytime, and do your thing. I’m that easy.”

“I know you are,” Kara says easily, agreeing.

“Wow?” Lena looks taken aback, and she blinks incredulously, which makes Kara grin. What pleases Kara isn’t the shocked look on Lena’s face but the lack of denial and protest. “If only National City knew how much Supergirl likes to get all cozy with a Luthor.”

“You’re going to be my only participant, it can’t be helped. There’s only one of me, I’m a hot item. Not everyone can receive hugs from me eight times a day.”

“I feel so honoured, Ms. Danvers,” Lena says with a lot of feeling. Obviously sarcastic. She’s teasing. She’s cute. It makes Kara want to hug Lena again, squish her right now.

“So, will you?”

“You mentioned rewards.” Lena hums, leaning back on the couch and crossing her legs. She holds a serious expression very well. Kara almost snorts. “What’s in it for me?” Straight to the point and business-like. That’s more like it.

“Ten dollars and my eternal friendship,” Kara deadpans and her delivery breaks her friend’s composure; Lena’s chuckling, cheeks dusting pink, grinning her crinkly-eyed, ever-radiant, quintessentially Lena grin.

Kara lets it sink in, enjoying the sight and lovely cadence of her laugh.

“Kara, you drive a hard bargain. I would treasure that, you know,” Lena says, poking into her salad. “Ten dollars, darling.” And, at that, Kara does snort.

“I’m going to take that as a yes,” Kara says with a shrug. Lena sighs, and shakes her head gently.

They sit in silence for a while, Lena enjoying the salad Kara bought for her, Kara enjoying Lena's company. It’s during times like this that it feels like things are back to how they’re supposed to be, the two of them against the world.

It’s… nice. Kara can’t help but think about how far they’ve come.

They don’t ignore what happened the past year. They don’t gloss over it (at least, not yet) and pretend it didn’t happen. They've had their ups and downs, shown their best and worst but still they have managed to care for each other.

They're still together despite what happened, still going strong because Kara and Lena both want that. They work for it. Kara and Lena aren’t the same Kara and Lena back then, and that’s okay.

Things are different. They've both changed, unable to hold back the way that time alters things. There’s familiarity mixed in with an edge of something new. It's not something to feel sad about but, perhaps, something to enjoy.

Discovering how they fit together all over again.

Kara’s on her second burger when she decides to shift a little closer to Lena, so their thighs press together, and smiles at Lena almost uncertainty when Lena looks at her. Lena leans in, just a little, presses her shoulder to Kara’s.

Kara softens.

The smell of their takeout food fills Lena's office, but with Kara this up close with Lena, Kara easily catches it. Lena’s expensive perfume and shampoo and something else that is entirely Lena. Kara quietly revels in the familiar, reassuring scent. It’s blissful to just sit like this, as close as they want, without having to worry about how it will look to anyone else.

(Lena, who was shyer and less touchy, it had taken a little longer. More than anything, she had looked startled when Kara unthinkingly held her hand for the first time, maybe a week or two into them knowing each other. Kara had shrunk back, conditioned to expect a response, apology already on her lips. But Lena had just smiled shyly and leaned into her a little, adding softly:

“It’s okay, I don’t mind.”)

Recently Kara’s been a bit more openly affectionate. She can’t help it. Lena’s a comforting presence, she’s soft and beautiful and so, so tangible and just—there for Kara to reach out to.

The thing with Lena is that she leans into Kara's touches. She has a subtle way of telling Kara that she encourages it, without having to say a single word about it: leaning into Kara’s affection; smiling at Kara for it; tugging Kara’s shirt, silently asking for more; Kara hearing the gradual slowing of her heart beat, which tells Kara that Lena feels she’s safe and secured around her.

It’s terrible, actually. Lena is a terrible, terrible enabler, and because of that it only serves to make Kara want to touch her more. Call Kara weird, but she likes that she can be like this with Lena, likes that Lena lets her be like this with her, likes that Lena lets no one else be like this with her. Because Kara does notice it; how different Lena acts towards everyone else. Friends, close friends, and then there’s Kara.

“So. Um.” Kara reaches to adjust her glasses, and almost pokes her eyes again. Right. She doesn’t have her glasses on. Rao, she has to stop doing that. “I have something to tell you. M’gann thinks we’re dating.”

Lena stills for a moment, her fork pressed into the salad. Tilting her head, she smiles, bewildered.

“So it’s true, what they say. We really do have a habit of accidentally making people believe that we’re together.” There’s a mischievous glint in Lena’s eye. “Another person we have unintentionally fooled. How long’s the list now?”

Kara laughs, bright and clear, scratching her cheek. There’s a running joke in their group at this point. Kara loves that she can joke about this comfortably with Lena, because their friends are the total opposite. Any information about Kara and Lena together is used as ammo, and they’ll try to embarass them both whenever there’s an opening or opportunity. Vultures.

Kara strokes the rim of her cup, thinking.

“Lena?”

“Yes?”

“Did you know that Kelly too thought we were dating when... um. When we suddenly stopped talking and seeing each other for a while. She didn’t know me as Supergirl at the time.” It’s not the easiest topic to talk about because there’s still a certain heaviness that follows after, but it’s not as bad anymore. Now, she can bring it up and there will be no awkwardness with Lena. “At some point, Kelly asked Alex if we had broken up.”

Lena blinks, looking actually surprised and affected. “Really?”

“Yep.”

“Huh,” Lena murmurs, thoughtfully.

Kara kind of gets it. Five years with Lena, Kara is used to people thinking that way about them. It has never bothered her before (just gets flustered by it), and it doesn’t now. They’re each other’s person regardless of what label they put on themselves.

“And yet our friends still persist, teasing you even with the truth out.”

“Much as it pains me to admit it, I'm an easy target.” Kara smiles, embarrassed. “There’s a reason why they don’t poke you with the stick.”

“You just have to get back at them,” Lena says, considering. “Let them know that actions have consequences.”

Kara takes in another mouthful of food in her mouth. Her cheeks are bulging, and she isn’t really sure what Lena’s doing when Lena pulls her phone out. Lena lifts her phone, then. A second later, Kara hears Lena’s phone shutter going off.

“Wha—” Kara almost chokes, and tries to get all the food down her throat before speaking. “Lena! I had food in my mouth,” she whines, blinking fast.

Lena laughs, double dimples making an appearance, which calms Kara down. Only a little. Kara’s heart starts to speed up when she sees Lena tapping rapidly on her phone.

Kara barely has her phone open before a series of text messages are flooding through from Alex and Nia. It comes from the Superfriends’ group chat. Kelly created it for the sake of team bonding, or so she calls it.

Nia: Okay, no need to broadcast what you two are up to. We get it, you two are hanging out together again, right now. Go ahead and announce it to the whole world while you’re at it

Alex: I’d say great photo, Lena, but you ruined it with the caption. I really didn’t need to see that, thanks.

Kara scrolls up to look at the picture. It is as bad as Kara expects it to be. Her cheeks are bulging, there’s food stuck at the corner of her mouth, and Lena had caught her mid chew so her mouth is open.

The thing is, it’s not the picture that is horrifying. It’s the caption.

Lena: Guys. Emergency meeting. A snack and a meal, what do I try first?

“Lena!” Kara bursts out in a laugh, her cheeks rounding. “Me. A meal? Lena...” Speechless, yes. Flattered, also yes.

“A meal,” Lena confirms, and she’s looking at Kara fixedly, her lips curving into a dangerous attractive smirk that throws Kara off-balance. “See, Kara? If they push, you push back.”

“Yeah, but me? A meal?” Kara flushes.

“Come on now, Ms. Danvers. Surely you’re aware of how easy it is to look at you right now.” It’s just a compliment. Lena’s really nice.

“Only right now? I’m offended.” Kara ducks her head, smiles.

Self-consciousness creeps in, and she finds herself fiddling with the cuff of her rolled up sleeve, folding and unfolding. Both her sleeves are rolled up, tucked into a pair of black slacks, belt securing them around her waist.

For some reason, Lena’s eyes are on her forearms, and Kara doesn’t really know why Lena’s looking there, but she is.

“You’re okay on other days too,” Lena says, looking at her. Kara looks away, the sudden attention making her feel flustered.

“Why, thank you.”

It’s easy being with Lena. A conversation like this shouldn’t be so easy, but it is.

When their eyes meet again, Kara catches the smile on Lena’s face—it’s not playful, not mischievous, and it clearly isn’t a smile that looks like she’s having too much fun joking around. It’s a fond smile that melts at Kara’s heart, and.

And Kara, well. Kara smiles at her, too, and now they’re just quietly smiling at each other, and. It's nice—it’s very nice.

Kara feels at ease.

The sun outside sits high in the sky, turning the sky into a beautiful shade of yellow and orange. Kara starts collecting their rubbish, and Lena stands up to help her clean. Looking at the clock on the wall, Kara’s shocked to see the time. She doesn’t remember the time slipping through her fingers, but she guesses it has.

“Oh, it’s already… I should get going now,” Kara says, scrunching her nose.

“And I should get back to working,” Lena says, bowing her head a little. “Andrea’s coming here soon to go over some work with me.” Kara wonders what it is she keeps hearing in Lena’s voice, when she mentions Andrea. She doesn’t know much about their history, only knows that they had a falling out and they’re back to being friends. It’s always there, that something, and she sees it in Lena’s eyes too, when Lena rambles about work and Kara listens to her talk. She has no idea what it is.

“Stuck all day in the big boss office, huh?”

Lena nods. “I wish I could just lock myself in my lab and tinker with my tools, but today I’m packed with meetings and paperwork.”

Kara knows that Lena will never fault her for the slip of time, but she still feels a little embarrassed and guilty for taking Lena’s extra time. Her friend’s a busy woman. Kara’s busy too, but she has superspeed to get to places she needs to get to and she’s no CEO of a billion dollar corporation. Time is precious for a woman like Lena Luthor.

Lena follows her into the balcony, the sound of her high heels loud, clicking against the floor behind Kara. Looking up at the sky, Kara takes a brief moment to admire the vastness of it. The weather is gorgeous, yellow and orange painting the sky. A gentle breeze.

Lena is quiet behind her. “Kara?” she says then, and Kara turns around to face her. “Thank you.”

Her eyes are the deep mix of forest and ocean, calm on the surface, teeming with something underneath, and Kara can’t look at her for too long because it feels like getting dragged out by the undercurrent. Kara has to look away to catch her breath.

“For?” She lightly clears her throat.

“For the lunches, the visits,” Lena explains. “I really do appreciate that you take the time to come here to spend some time with me. It means a lot to me.”

They’ve had dozens of lunches together. Kara feels a light pink flush high forming on her cheeks and the tips of her ears as she looks at Lena’s shoulder. She smiles, scratches her cheek.

Lena’s never said it like that before.

“Of course. I like spending time with you,” Kara murmurs, and finally looks at her. Their eyes meet and hold.

Lena stands tall, illuminated by the gentle sunlight, and she looks untouchable, almost otherworldly. Her gaze is intense and piercing. Soft and sincere. Kara stares.

They hold and hold, Lena's gaze lingering long, Kara keeping up with her, something strange hanging between them. Kara’s the first to break—she smiles shyly, ducks her head, wets her lips. The sight must be amusing to Lena, because Lena just keeps staring, face inscrutable.

Lena reaches a hand out to Kara but—but she retracts it before it can rest on. On what? On Kara’s forehead, to tuck her hair behind her ear, on her cheek?

Kara doesn’t understand her hesitation. Knowing Lena for a whole five years, there are still some things she can’t quite understand.

Lena regards her silently, softly, staying exactly where she’s at. Unmoving. Ever the braver, Kara closes the gap, wrapping Lena into her arms.

“Maintenance hug,” she says quietly, next to Lena’s ear. “I should get going now. Bye, Lena.”

Lena nods, and Kara barrels into the sky.

 


 

Kara is typically good at succeeding in things she puts her mind to. For this task, however, she happens to be failing miserably.

She arrives at the Catco lobby and stands in front of the elevator, thinking about her current article. Her mind is in a slight haze from lack of sleep and she hasn't been able to give her article the attention it needs because new tasks that require Supergirl keep getting thrown at her. She’s two days past the deadline and Andrea hasn’t stopped breathing down her neck.

Kara stares at the elevator button, breathing slowly. Make it two tasks she’s doing terribly at. It’s just an elevator.

“Hey!” Nia greets her from behind. There’s a smile on Nia’s face when they meet eyes. “What are you doing just standing there? Andrea’s on a rampage right now. We just found out that CatCo dropped to third place on the monthly polls. Of course Daily Planet remains at the top,” she says with a grimace, rolling her eyes. When Nia presses the elevator button, Kara finds herself fiddling with the lapel of her coat. “Don’t get me wrong, I could care less about the polls. It’s just that the rankings really influence her mood, and we’re always behind and the ones that have to deal with her wrath.”

“Yeah.” Kara smiles a little. “I know what you mean.”

“I really miss Lena here. It’s been a while.”

“I miss her, too.” Kara hums, eyeing the elevator number indicator. It’s descending slowly, almost near their floor now. She shoves her hands in her pockets. “Things have changed… it’s better this way. Not being her employee, I mean. I like her as my friend. I also like that she’s able to focus on L-Corp again and spend more time in her lab, doing things she actually likes.”

“True,” Nia says thoughtfully, nodding. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Andrea hasn’t been that satisfied with her performance lately. Kara can’t bear the thought of disappointing Lena if she were still the boss. She’s had her moments with her when she was still running CatCo. While Lena is understanding and has a big heart, she’s also a businesswoman with a limit. She doesn’t put up with inadequacy, and that’s what makes her a great boss.

The elevator opens, and Nia steps inside. She taps on a button, looks at Kara who stays standing outside the cubicle, and cocks her head.

“Kara?” Nia looks at her curiously.

Kara follows after her. The doors close too slowly. Touching her glasses, she looks down at the ground, fingers stroking over her belt buckle.

“So, we’re still up for game night at Alex’s place in two days, right?”

“Yeah,” Kara says. Her breathing shakes a bit, and she thinks she should have just flown to her floor, or take the stairs. She's been doing that more often than not.

Nia nods in approval. “Good. I checked in with Brainy earlier and he said he’ll be able to make it this time.”

It’s quiet, for a bit.

“How’s it going with you and Lena, by the way?” Nia asks lightly, smiling at Kara. The name catches her attention. Nia's genuinely curious. “That post Lena sent earlier made Brainy’s eyes bulge. Today he learned the expressions 'looking like a snack' and 'meal'.”

“That must have been hard to explain.” Kara exhales in something like a laugh, and she wets her lips. “Um, we’re going good, I think. As you already know, we've been meeting and hanging out again... we talk and laugh, and sometimes it feels like old times. I’d like to think that we’re getting there.”

“That’s nice. I’m really happy for you two.”

They’re okay again, but sometimes… sometimes Kara’s unsure. Lena hesitates around her. She notices it, of course she does—being attuned to Lena. It comes in the form of Lena's hand reaching out for Kara and retracting it at the last second. It comes in the form of Lena hugging her goodbye, a smile on her face and other words left unsaid.

It’s as if she’s always holding back.

Kara wishes Lena didn’t feel unsure and careful around her, but she supposes she can’t expect Lena to be the same Lena after everything. Things have changed between them, and that’s okay. What’s important is that they’re talking again. Laughing again.

The elevator doors open, and Kara’s the first to step out.

“Work time,” Nia says, and they both see Andrea taking a phone call in her office. She’s sporting a frown, a displeased face as she talks into the phone, hand gesturing in the air wildly.

Kara and Nia both turn to each other, sighing, smiling.

“Let’s go.”

 


 

She gets the article done and Andrea gives her a somewhat satisfactory grade. Kara can tell that her boss is more than happy about the quality of her article, and the attention it will garner, but a deadline is still a deadline and it was missed. Andrea’s curt with her review and just shoots Kara a pointed look that’s meant to keep her on her toes.

Slipping out of CatCo, Kara decides to spend her lunch time in the Tower. She’s working on a case Nia sent her way just an hour ago, something about catching a new rogue alien in the city. On her way to the main area, she nearly bumps into someone who’s rounding the corner too fast, and her reflexes are so fast that she moves out of the direct line of collision, but their shoulders still hit.

“Ah—that hurt,” the woman says, stopping in her tracks. That voice is... “Sorry, that was my fault. I was careless. Did I scare you?”

“A little,” Kara says, and Alex offers her an apologetic smile. “In a hurry? What’s going on, is there an emergency?”

“Right now? No. There's Chinese takeout downstairs with my name on it.”

“Oh, uh—”

“Come with me?” Alex says, grinning. She’s dressed in her vigilante suit, and she looks polished and flawless. “I ordered enough for four people. It’s just us two here right now and I can’t eat it all, so help me out?”

“Alex... Do you even have to ask?” Kara chuckles, smiling, and they start walking together. Alex is rubbing her shoulder, mouth pursed into a tiny pout. “I’m working on a case with Nia right now, so I’ll just grab a couple of bites.”

“Sure, that’s fine. My shoulder feels like it’s about to fall off. You’re like a walking brick wall, you know that?” her sister mutters, and Kara shrugs her shoulders, laughing. “We should start installing mirrors around here to avoid future collisions.”

“That sounds like a good idea, actually.”

“Yeah? I’ll go talk about it with J’onn.” Alex’s face is thoughtful. “He’s open to suggestions, he was talking to me about it earlier. Finding ways to manage this place better. It just hasn’t been easy because the fund has to come from somewhere. So far, we’ve made this place look livable, at least.” It’s true. There are comfortable chairs to sit on, a couple of wardrobes full of clothes. Most areas resemble something close to home. There’s even a kitchen too, full of food and ingredients.

“I think I have an idea. Can I add a suggestion?” Kara asks, and Alex raises her eyebrows, face suspicious. “Hey! Why are you looking at me like that—I haven’t even said anything yet.”

“Okay. Shoot, Kara.”

“Trust me, it’s a really good suggestion. It will help improve the morale of the team.” Kara purses her lips. “So, we do a lot of moving around here, as well as thinking and strategizing. That costs energy, correct? And because of that we need constant fuel. Alex, I just think that every day, we should have fresh doughnut boxes—”

Alex groans loud, cutting her off. “I knew it. If you want food, you have to buy that yourself.”

Oh well. Kara tried. She shrugs, and Alex rolls her eyes, fond.

After a moment passes, Alex turns her head to look at Kara then.

“How’s it been going with you, by the way?”

“Good.” Kara blinks, craning her neck. “Nothing much is happening here, as always. You know me.”

“Right.” It’s quiet for a bit. “I know that… things haven’t been easy for you since the Phantom Zone. You were gone for a while. It wasn’t your first time there. It’s just… you’ve been quiet.” Alex opens and closes her mouth, furrowing her brows. “Kara. You’ll tell me when you need help? If something’s wrong?”

Kara visibly stiffens, looks at her back, and tries not to look mortified. It hasn’t been easy, readjusting to Earth, that she’ll admit. She hasn’t talked to anyone about this, so even the prospect of someone acknowledging what she’s going through makes her nervous.

Alex worries for her. Of course she does.

“I’m okay,” Kara settles with a quiet exhale. Alex has a lot on her plate right now—she has plans on getting married, and is in the process of adopting lovely Esme. Her own little precious family in the making. Alex has sacrificed so much already for her and right now she doesn’t need to be dragged down by Kara’s baggage. Actually, it’s not even a big deal. Kara’s managing and that’s good enough. “I’m okay,” she repeats herself, smiling this time. “I promise. You don’t have to worry about me, Alex.”

“I certainly hope so,” Alex says. “Sometimes I can't be sure because you just smile through everything.” The delivery is nonchalant, but it makes guilt rush into Kara’s chest regardless.

“Alex—”

“Don’t look so surprised. I know you, you goof.” Alex smiles, her forgiveness easy and gentle. “Just... I'm here for you, okay? If you need to talk about it? If you just need someone to listen, I can do that, too."

Her sister doesn’t press the issue, for which Kara is grateful. She flushes, scratching her brow.

“Thank you, Alex.”

 


 

Kara wakes up disoriented, her heart pounding. Sweat on her skin. Her body feels like it's sinking, separate from herself, and there’s a wave of nausea ringing through the back of her skull. She thinks she’s going to die.

It’s dark. Of course it’s dark, it’s night, but—

She opens her eyes, struggling to register her surroundings—it’s so dark. She can feel herself shaking as she tries to sit up as carefully as she can. Still nothing. Closing her eyes, she presses her hand to her forehead.

The dark feels oppressive. She’s not sure how loud she is or whether she makes any noise at all, because all she wants to do is catch her breath and fight off the heaviness trying to escape her lungs.

Breathe.

A minute passes. And then another minute. Kara doesn’t know how much time has passed by the time her breathing turns normal and her thoughts back in order. The wall is the first thing she sees when she opens her eyes again. There’s her desk and laptop, a nightstand. It’s clear, again. The clock on the wall says three AM.

Too early. There’s still a couple of hours more until she has to get dressed for work. Kara rubs her eyes, trying to remember what dream she was having. She can’t. Sighing softly, she gets off the bed. She's not going to catch anymore rest tonight, that much she knows.

 


 

The sky is dark and clear, and the stars, the plethora of them, shine bright in Kara’s eyes. Her cape flutters gently in the wind. The city below her glows as if it brims of activity and life even though it’s actually quiet; dormant. Most of the roads are empty, but all the traffic lights keep going green, orange, red anyway. A few plastic bags float in the air from street to street.

The truth is, ever since she was sent to the Phantom Zone once more she’s been feeling off-kilter. Her control slips when she’s alarmed. It slips when she doesn’t expect it to.

Sometimes a simple thing like hearing a sudden, loud exploding sound, makes her feel like she’s twelve years old again on Krypton, trembling and scared and confused as her parents send her off, not knowing if she’ll see them again. Using the small elevators at work makes her hands clammy and her heart pound against her chest uncomfortably fast. CatCo could really invest in bigger elevators. The darkness and stillness of the night keeps her awake and makes her feel anxious and terribly, terribly alone. Whenever she manages to actually catch a bit of sleep, more often than not she wakes up drenched in sweat, remembering or not remembering her dreams.

She’s supposed to be stronger than this—better at handling herself. This is affecting her more than she'd like, and it’s calling up emotions she’s spent a long, long time trying to tamp down.

It's heavy—this familiar feeling. It feels like the whole world is sitting on her chest. Kara hates rage. She hates anger. She thinks it’s poisonous. It makes her hate herself when she feels it. She clenches her fist, heart feeling tight.

She's gone through worse, she can get past this. She has to be stable, she’s Supergirl. She has to be strong. She can’t complain.

Time passes. She feels alone and lonely. Her friends are right there, below, she knows they are literally one message away, especially Alex, but Kara feels like she can’t reach out. She can’t reach out every time something happens to her.

Kara isn’t new to feeling lonely, but it’s been a while since she last felt lost and confused.

Breathing slowly, she spends a bit more time just hovering in the sky. It feels like she floats for a long time, although she’s not sure how much time actually passes. It helps a little—just being out here. It always does.

The sky has that calming effect. She looks down at the buildings. Amidst the dozens of skyscrapers, one specific building below catches her attention. The lights are open in Lena’s penthouse.

Kara frowns, rubs her eyes. It’s late, why is Lena awake at this time? She moves, hesitates. Her body betrays her anyway, gravitating towards that direction.

It’s gentle and quiet—the way she lands on Lena’s balcony. She places her glasses on, and her suit de-materializes as she steps inside Lena’s apartment, the door already opened.

Lena stands in the kitchen, pouring hot water into her tea cup. She’s wearing her MIT sweatshirt, her hair tied into a messy bun, black framed glasses hanging on her nose. She looks soft and cozy.

“Do you have any snacks,” Kara says without preamble, walking towards Lena, and she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She shouldn’t be here.

How did she get here again? Traitorous legs.

Lena’s visibly startled. Understandable. Her friend is quick to regain her composure, and she arches her eyebrow at the intruder.

“Hello, Lena Luthor. How are you, Lena? Oh, I’m great. So kind of you to ask,” Lena says soullessly in a monotone voice, chucking her tea bag into the rubbish. “This is a very normal time to visit a friend.”

The quip makes Kara smile. She watches Lena make her way towards the couch to sit. Then, scanning her friend’s kitchen, she wrinkles her nose in disapproval.

“Oh, no. It’s empty here and there’s too much greens. I picked the wrong home to steal snacks from.”

“What made you think I had snacks here in the first place?” Lena asks, placing her mug on the coffee table. Tablet on her lap, she’s typing something on the screen.

“You’re a billionaire,” Kara reasons, joining her on the couch. “Thought I made the right choice. Thought your kitchen would be filled with a variety of food in a cool fancy way, like those movies.”

“I’m very boring, you know that already.” Lena chuckles quietly, folding her legs. Kara adjusts her glasses, smiles at her friend. She disagrees, thinks Lena’s far from boring.

“It’s four in the morning and you made tea. That’s very normal.”

“Would you like some tea too? I can make you one.”

Kara shakes her head. “It’s okay.”

It’s quiet.

“I’m burning the midnight oil,” Lena sighs. She's deeply absorbed with work, her fingers moving and tapping swiftly against the screen. Kara frowns. “And before you come at me, no, this can’t wait. I’m almost done.” Lena’s looking at her, now. “Why are you awake? Surely you didn’t come here to actually steal snacks.”

“I was sleeping.” Kara takes a breath, lowers her head. She licks her lips. “Then I woke up, and I couldn’t go back to sleep.” She kind of doesn’t want to get into it, so she doesn’t go further. It’s not something she wants to unload on Lena. She came in unannounced.

Lena regards her inscrutably. Waiting. For what, though?

Touching her glasses, Kara adds, “So I went night patrolling. Sometimes in my night patrols, I get to save a few cats stuck in the trees.”

Lena looks at her, amused and something else. She hums, considering. “Saving one cat at a time. No rest for the wicked.”

“Meow,” Kara says, nudging her shoulder with Lena’s, and Lena bumps her shoulder back playfully.

“Meow,” Lena says back, scrunching her nose, and that—that actually makes Kara laugh.

“Aw. I never thought I’d hear Lena Luthor meow. Ever.” Kara coos. She wants to reach out for Lena, who radiates warmth and patience. She doesn’t. “What a cute cat.”

“Okay, enough,” Lena huffs, going back to her tablet.

“You’re really pulling an allnighter? I’m gonna tell Jess, I think.”

“Snitch.” Lena shoots Kara an incredulous look. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I dare. She’s incredible, I respect and admire her ability to force you to actually get some rest.”

“I genuinely don’t know how she does it. She sends threats and knows how to be intimidating. Respectfully intimidating, and I eat it all up. ” Lena frowns, a crinkle settling between her eyebrows. A wave of fondness washes over Kara. “Don’t tell her I said that.”

“I hope you get to catch up on proper rest later, then,” Kara says, meaning it. Because unlike her, Lena’s a human.

Lena worries Kara a lot, mostly because she has a habit of overworking or being impulsive and finding herself in unpredictable (and predictable) situations. Lena, who has a brilliant mind and a warm heart. Lena, who’s always moving and working, desperate to get away from the Luthor name. Lena, who excels at everything except taking care of herself.

“I will, I promise.” Lena looks up at her, smiling. Soft soft, gentle.

Kara flushes, coughs a little. “You have to stay healthy and in the best shape to keep working. You take me out to fancy restaurants and buy me food. I care about you deeply.”

“Wow, blatantly admitting that you only stick around here for my money.”

Kara laughs, soft and unrestrained. She laughs and laughs; her shoulders feeling light and her heart warm, and she forgets about the unpleasant past couple of hours.

Silence settles in between them for a single, long moment. It’s nice. She looks around Lena’s penthouse. The lighting is cozy. There’s a bottle of liquor on the countertop. A flower vase on the coffee table. Plumeria. It looks well taken care of.

When Lena catches her eyes, Lena hesitates. Kara scrunches her nose.

“What is it? Something on my face?”

Lena hesitates again. She lowers her tablet, and fiddles with her sleeve.

“You’re wearing your glasses,” she says, leaning her back against the couch. The way Lena says it is quiet and weighted. Kara blinks, cocks her head.

“I am.” Kara slowly nods. “What, did I get my fingerprint on them again?” Taking off her glasses, she inspects them, only to see that there’s none. Confused, she looks at Lena, and Lena shakes her head.

“No, what I mean is. You're unfairly cute with the glasses, don't get me wrong, it’s just...” Lena pauses, wringing her hands. Oh. Something’s wrong. Did Kara do something wrong? Some traitorous, self-loathing instinct prompts Kara to frown, ready to apologize because Rao, she can’t keep making mistakes with Lena—“I notice that you still wear them a lot. Around me, I mean. When it’s just us two. You don't have to keep up with the disguise. It’s just me here.”

There’s a heavy silence.

Oh.

Oh.

“Lena,” Kara says softly, setting her glasses aside. “Oh, no. Please don’t get it wrong, I don’t feel like I have to hide from you. At least, not anymore. I feel most comfortable around you, and you let me be myself without judgement.” She can’t stress this enough.

When people find out that she’s Supergirl, they start to treat her differently. View her differently. They see greatness; a god. Lena still treats her the same even after everything. Lena doesn’t brush off her anxieties and worries. She doesn't look at her weirdly, or respond with “but you’re Supergirl” when she talks about her issues.

She treats Kara as a person with feelings, like she's not untouchable. Like she can get hurt.

“Does it bother you?” Kara asks, question genuine. “That I have them on when it’s just us two, I mean.”

“It’s not that it bothers me.” Lena opens and closes her mouth. She flushes, and Kara waits; her quiet contemplation makes Kara nervous. “I just like seeing you. Without them. Just—just you being… yourself.” Pink dusts on her cheeks, darkening. She bites her lip. “Saying this out loud sounds weird. It’s silly, I know—”

“No, it’s not silly,” Kara cuts her off, correcting her gently. “I understand what you mean. At this point,” she says quietly, frowning at herself. “It’s a force of habit, I suppose. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Lena nudges her shoulder with Kara’s. She touches Kara’s hand, a brush of her fingertips. It's gone quickly. “You’re okay, Kara. I was just curious.”

“Oh.” Kara nods, a little flustered. Quietly, she says, “Yeah, okay. I’m just… I’m scared of screwing things up again. Sorry.”

She’s hurt many people. She’s hurt Lena before. Who’s to say she won’t do it again? Feeling a little thrown off the loop and unable to shake off her discomfort from earlier, Kara takes a very slow, very shaky breath. Steadies herself.

Lena looks at her for a long time.

“Don’t apologize if there isn’t anything to apologize about,” she says, eyes steady on Kara’s. “You’ve done more than enough of that.”

“Sorr—I. But. I mean,” Kara stammers, casting around for a reason why she should, but she can’t think of one. A soft breath stutters past her lips, cheeks burning. “Yeah, okay.”

“And... about being scared? Me, too,” Lena whispers. There's silence. She clears her throat. “It’s okay to be scared. We’ve been through a lot together. I know things between us haven’t been the easiest, but I just—I’m happy it’s not like that anymore. I mean, we’ve been working towards it. I almost lost you, Kara. I don’t want us to take each other for granted.”

“Yeah,” Kara says quietly. She isn’t completely sure what Lena is asking her for, but she knows she’s right—it had gotten too easy to take Lena’s presence in her life as a given. It had given her an excuse to act the way she had, delaying the truth—this part of herself, because there was always the chance to tell her next time.

“We’re not the same. And I don't think we ever will be. We’re relearning each other. It’s okay. We’re doing great so far, don’t you think?” Lena says. She’s sincere and earnest, even if her body language is a little closed off. “So let’s try harder. At being good friends?”

Good friends.

“Yeah,” Kara says, ducking her head, flushing. “Friends. Yeah, of course.”

She can absolutely do that.

 


 

Alex hosts the next Superfriends’ game night.

Kara stands in front of the couch with her arms crossed over her chest. On the coffee table there’s a packet of kale chips, just existing there and… doing nothing, really. Like all non-living objects do.

She takes that as a personal offense and keeps looking at it, frowning, unsure what to do because 1) why is it in front of her 2) just cruel, who’s the sadist that placed it there, within her field of vision and 3) they just want to watch the whole world burn, huh.

“Kara, are you just going to keep glaring at some chips,” Alex says, and Kara can hear the smile in her voice. She’s in the kitchen with Kelly, preparing food for everyone. Kara would be helping but Alex only allows two people max in her kitchen when it comes to cooking.

Alex’s apartment, her rules.

“It’s not just some chips.”

Kara has been hanging out in the living room for the past thirty minutes, while Nia and Brainy are somewhere in the back of the apartment, doing whatever it is they do alone together. J’onn and M'gann are sitting at the other table quietly chatting with each other, small smiles planted on their faces.

Not everyone’s here yet.

Kara scrunches her face, huffs. She keeps her eyes on the packet, biting the inside of her cheek.

“You’re still looking at it?” Kelly remarks, laughing. “Oh, no. It’s causing the crinkle to appear. Those chips are doing nothing to you, you know you don’t have to look at them.”

Kara huffs, again. “It’s bothering me.”

“You look like you’re one second away from using your heat vision. Kara. No holes in my apartment, or else,” Alex threatens, eyebrows raised up. She’s holding a large kitchen knife, and Kara hardly finds that threatening. “Behave. Just because a certain someone isn’t here yet—”

“Alex, Kelly,” Kara whines, absolutely not giving in. “I’ve been deceived, scammed and left to fend for myself. Kale brings up unpleasant memories from my dark past—” as she says her piece, the doorbell rings. A certain familiar heartbeat settles in her ears, automatically causing a smile on Kara’s face.

Alex wipes her hands on a towel and makes her way to the door, answering it.

“Hey. I bought wine,” Kara hears the newcomer say, and forgets about the kale chips just like that.

“Oh, you always bring out the good stuff. Very nice,” Alex says, and Lena’s eyes are wandering as Alex throws questions in her way. Her eyes wander, as if searching for something behind Alex. When they land on Kara, Lena’s face brightens.

Yeah, they’re getting there.

“Hi, Lena,” Kara calls out, sending a little hand wave. Lena does a hand wave back, and Kara finds herself grinning before she realizes it.

"All right, guys." Alex rolls her eyes, smiling good-naturedly at the two. “Get in, Luthor, and get your usual ritual thing done already.”

Lena steps inside, quietly making her way towards the table where J’onn and M’gann are at, and places the two bottles down. Nia and Brainy appear in the living room, and they greet Lena with huge smiles and hugs. Lena returns them all.

“Usual ritual?” It’s a trap, but Kara asks anyway. “The what now?”

“Hug for a normal amount of time, then stare at each other for a normal amount of time,” Nia supplies insufferably. “It’s cool, I totally do that with my other friends, too.”

“Um.” Kara crosses her arms, forehead crinkling.

“Oh, Nia.” Alex sighs, settles herself back into the kitchen. “Nia, you just get me.”

“Alex, I always get you,” Nia says, sending her finger guns.

Kara scoffs soft at the exchange. She is ready to retaliate, to send some devastating pouts, but the moment Lena turns around to face her, her counterargument falls apart in 0.2 seconds flat.

Lena’s hair is loose, straight down past her shoulders with a side braid. A curve of jaw, smooth cheekbones, tired but gentle eyes. She’s wearing a dark sweater and tight blue jeans. Her lips are a pale red, a gentle pink dusting over her cheeks.

Lena looks so soft and pretty.

She steps into Kara’s space and wraps her arms around Kara’s shoulders. It’s easy and casual. It’s them. It’s a gentle touch, more tentative than fierce, but it’s wholly Lena’s choice, Lena’s initiative, and Kara sinks into it.

“Don't pay attention to them. Hi,” Lena whispers, ignoring the teasing and exaggerated sounds sent in their way by their friends. She melts against Kara when Kara locks her arms around Lena's shoulders, fingers moving along her back. “You give the best hugs, you know that?”

“Long day at work? This is why we should make maintenance hugs a thing,” Kara murmurs. Lena melts into the hug further, and her hair tickles Kara’s neck, and her fingers wound in the shirt at Kara’s lower back, clenching and unclenching in a random pattern. “You’re a woman of science, Lena. Lean into the evidence and science.”

“Stop.” Lena laughs quietly, burying her face in Kara’s neck. “I’m leaning into it, right now. They do make me feel better after a long day.”

Finally, they separate. They look at each other, Kara feeling smug being right about her Hug Theory.

Lena’s eyes soften at the sides. Kara can’t tell what Lena’s thinking about, can only think about hugging Lena again because, well. Lena smells nice, and she’s soft, and very, very huggable.

“They wanna kiss each other so bad, it’s quite embarrassing,” Nia comments placidly, and the others are laughing loudly in that loose, unselfconscious way they get when they’re comfortable and settled in.

It's like old times, but Kara doesn't particularly appreciate this part.

So much for rebuilding her friendship with Lena peacefully. Vultures, the lot of them.

“Wow,” Kara says, her mouth in that defensive pout that gets her to places, “can we have one normal game night without you guys being all over our backs?” She feels the tips of her ears redden, and she drops her forehead on Lena’s shoulder. Peeks her face out just enough to shoot a disapproving look at Nia that’s met with an obnoxiously innocent smile. Lena’s body shakes a little against Kara, and then Lena’s laughing, her hand rubbing Kara’s back soothingly.

“No, absolutely not,” Nia says, scrunching her nose. She pauses. “Normal game nights. What does normal even mean?"

Kelly hums, raising an eyebrow. “I have to agree with Nia here. What's normal here? Look around us.”

“You greet a girl normally, and then you get attacked for no reason,” Kara mumbles, and she has no idea why she’s suddenly being put on blast. Lena’s still rubbing her back, which feels so good, so she keeps still, head on Lena’s shoulder, and—

“Keep telling yourself that,” Nia snorts, “you don’t greet everyone like that. I certainly don’t greet my friends like that. At least pretend you like us all equally, Kara.”

Kara laughs out her denial, a choked sound leaving her lips, and tries to bury her face deeper in Lena’s shoulder to muffle her laugh. Okay. That’s fine. Her friends can keep putting her out on blast, and that’s okay. Lena’s always calm and nice about it to Kara, and never makes any comments that would make Kara feel embarrassed.

“I like you all equally,” Kara lies through her teeth, and Lena laughs.

“Boo!” Nia says, and at the same time, Kelly says, “The crowd disagrees.”

“Oh my god,” Alex exasperates, sighs. “Detach, you two. I’ve got games to win, scores to settle.”

“Alex, you’re assuming your games are winnable when I’m here,” Lena finally speaks, and Kara can tell she’s smirking. Lena does nothing to step away from Kara, just keeps giving her little pats on the back.

“Wow, aren’t you confident tonight? It’s on, Lena.” There's still the lack of space between Kara and Lena, which makes Alex narrow her eyes at them. “Unbelievable.” She clicks her fingers impatiently at the two. “Come on. Separate already.”

Right. They really should. Kara steps away from Lena, bites back an apology, and just smiles bashfully at her friend. Lena smiles back, shrugs, and goes to the kitchen to fetch herself a glass of wine.

“You guys are too much sometimes, and for what,” Kara says, plopping down onto the couch. Brainy hands her a bowl of popcorn for strength and support.

“Entertainment,” Nia answers simply, sitting down next to her.

Now that everyone is here, the eight of them drink and shout and eat and play and, by the end of it, they’re warm and happy and bubbling over with laughter and the kitchen is halfway between a disaster and a problem for tomorrow. They finish another bottle of wine then another, arguing in the living room about movies and hot takes.

A couple of friendship-ruining games later, everyone’s settled down and spread out in the apartment. There’s slow music playing from Kelly’s phone through the living room speakers.

Kara only embarrassed herself three times and she now has a beautiful video of Alex and Kelly sloppily performing a dance that will serve as excellent blackmail in the future. She’s made sure to upload a copy to her storage on her email, too, just in case someone tries to steal her phone. Nia has long figured out Kara’s pin on her phone, and that means that everyone else probably knows too—not that Kara cares enough to change it.

Lena sits alone on the couch, eyes on her phone, while Alex and Kelly are in the kitchen chatting to each other. Nia and Brainy are in the living room with her, across the room, looking into the window. M'gann and J’onn are the first two to leave.

Kara decides to approach Lena, looking at Lena’s sweater covered hands as she does so, and sinks onto the couch next to her.

“Did J’onn and M’gann leave already?” Lena asks, and Kara nods. “That’s a shame, I didn’t get to say bye to them. I was taking a phone call.” Her friend frowns, before taking a sip of her wine.

Kara pauses her movements to watch Lena’s lips catch on the rim of the glass.

Lena looks pretty like this—flushed just so slightly, lips soft-red and wet from where she’s licked the wine off of them, a few strands of hair covering her face that Kara’s hand itches to reach out and fix. Kara thinks Lena’s pretty anyway though, her mixture of strong and delicate features that combine, and makes her completely captivating.

“Are you leaving soon?” Kara asks, clearing her throat when her voice comes off a little rough.

Lena hums, and sets down her glass. “Why do you ask?” She looks at Kara, the corners of her mouth curling upwards. “Itching to send the Luthor away? The terrifying big bad?”

“Stop, I’m just curious.” Kara smiles, laughing softly. She nudges Lena’s thigh with hers. “Answer the question.”

Lena tucks her phone away, and rubs her hands together. Again, the sight of her fingers, almost hidden and bitten where they poke out of her sleeves is illegal. Kara clasps her hands together tightly, rests them on top of her thighs. Lena’s cute and Kara’s not going to reach out and coo because she can control herself.

“I think,” Lena says slowly, thinking, “I’ll leave when you leave.”

“Oh.” Kara wets her lips, and almost pokes herself with her finger on the eye. She doesn't have her glasses on. It's an automatic response when she finds herself affected by Lena, and it’s kind of embarrassing. She’s known her for years, and she still gets like this. “That's a lot of pressure.”

She must be making some kind of face right now, because Lena just smiles at her, or smirks morelike, and leans her back against the couch.

“Well. About what you said earlier, Kara? I have some thoughts about it. You said that you like everyone here equally. Unfortunately for everyone, I don’t,” Lena says casually, scrunching her nose.

“What—” Kara laughs, finds herself unconsciously scooting closer to Lena. “Hear this, everyone. So a Luthor has a group of close friends. Out of everyone, her favourite is the Super? Sounds scandalous if you ask me.”

“Please,” Lena says, shrugging her shoulders. “You know you’re my favourite. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re my favourite. You’re acting like this is brand new information.”

And that's—

Wow. To hear Lena say this, to know that this still holds true after everything that happened… Kara flushes. She fiddles with her belt, exhales softly.

Lena’s looking at Kara, and Kara looks back. Kara lets her gaze linger, just a moment, before turning her head to look at Lena’s glass of wine on the coffee table.

“It’s, um. It’s not like that. Hearing it again is nice, that’s all.” It’s always nice. She’s still Lena’s favourite. This is a thank you for being my friend, we’re doing great and things will get better again, they have to, all in one.

Kara bites the inside of her cheek, her neck and cheeks feeling hot. She’s still looking at Lena’s glass. Lena must mistake this as interest, because she then picks it up and holds it out for Kara to take.

“Want to have a taste?” Lena asks.

“Oh… sure.” Wine isn’t exactly Kara’s favourite, apple juice is more of her thing. But it’s expensive wine, and she’s being offered, and what’s the harm in tasting, she supposes.

Kara accepts the glass, stares at it for a couple of seconds, then drinks. She scrunches her entire face at the taste.

“You know you’re supposed to sip wine, right?” Lena arches a brow.

Kara grins widely, cranes her neck. “Is that not what I did?”

“Hardly,” Lena says. Her voice has a soothing quality to it; it’s warm and heavy, like a blanket, and Kara more than likes it. “You downed it.”

“At least I did the swirl thing. That was very cool of me.”

Dimples appear on either side of Lena’s lips when she laughs, and Kara smiles at them. Lena’s smiles always come out heart-shaped. Kara kind of wants to bite Lena’s cheeks. That’s a very normal thought to have.

“Yeah, at least you did that.”

“Of course, Lena. I’m fancy,” Kara says.

“Kara Danvers, how very sophisticated of you,” Lena agrees, and reaches out, ruffling Kara’s hair affectionately. Kara feels so, so fond, she sort of wants to die.

Lena’s smile is soft, but also radiant, and just for Kara. Kara wants to take a picture of it, but her phone is in her pocket and trying to fish it out would ruin the moment. Lena’s smiling big and bright, lit from within.

It’s a good smile. It’s a lovely smile. It’s kind of a smile Kara thinks she’d like to kiss.

Kara stills at the thought sharply, reconsiders it. So it’s a smile Kara would like to kiss. Kara would like to kiss that smile. Kissing that smile would probably feel pretty nice. Interesting.

No matter how she formulates the thought, changing and switching the parts, all is still true. She should probably stop thinking about it now. Or she can think about it later, perhaps in greater detail. But now that it’s there, taken root inside her head, it’s something Kara can’t stop considering now though. How can she, when Lena is just right there, smiling, and easily maintaining all Kara’s undivided attention.

Kara shakes her head and heaves a heavy sigh, leans her back against the couch. As she does that, she settles her hand on Lena’s thigh without thinking.

She keeps her hand there, fingers tapping little drums, and they lapse into silence. Alex and Kelly's voices come out as murmurs from all the way to the kitchen. Since when did they get back inside?

It's overall quiet. They don’t move from their spot. Kara’s incredibly touchy, she knows, unconsciously and subconsciously, but Lena never seems to mind. And that’s the thing that kind of blows Kara’s mind; Lena’s an enabler, which only makes her want to do more.

They hold hands sometimes. They hug often. Kara likes that, likes the comfort and how Lena welcomes and supports her need to touch and be close.

“When are you leaving?” Lena asks quietly, breaking the silence.

“Not sure, I think I’ll stay a little bit longer,” Kara says. “Do you want to go? It’s okay if you want to leave now.”

Feeling brave and bold, she rests her head against Lena’s shoulder. She likes that she can press herself against Lena without it being weird. The tips of her fingers knead into Lena’s thigh. She keeps it there. It feels like the natural thing to do. She sees no reason to do anything else.

There’s an uptick in Lena’s heartbeat. Kara doesn’t mean to listen, but it’s loud. Lena does nothing to remove her hand. She doesn’t show discomfort, either. She only presses her shoulder against Kara’s.

“I don’t. Nice try, but the Luthor stays,” Lena says. “Sorry you can’t get rid of me that easily.”

“I’m not trying to.” Kara laughs softly, squeezes Lena’s thigh.

“Hey, you two,” Alex suddenly calls out to them. “Lena, I need your set of hands in the kitchen. We’re trying to make something new here. I’m having a Master Chef moment.”

“Yeah, please help her out before she burns something. I have to go out for a bit and collect something from my car,” Kelly says, wincing, and Alex makes an offended face.

“Babe, wow. It was one time.”

“Yeah?” Kelly hums.

“I’m perfectly capable of working my way around in the kitchen, unsupervised, thank you.”

“Is that so?” Kelly raises her eyebrows, and Alex huffs, purses her lips. There’s an inside joke there somewhere.

Alex and Kelly start to bicker, as they've always done, and probably always will. Kara watches them. Sees the way they move around each other, how the love and adoration in their eyes never fades away, how each teasing remark is followed by a lovely smile. How at some point they gravitate towards each other, smiles fading only to make space for soft kisses as if it's inevitable.

It’s inevitable, the way Kara’s heart starts to ache at the sight of them, that she feels she has to look away. Not for their sake because there’s nothing that could burst their bubble while they are having a moment, but for her own.

Kara’s genuinely happy for them. It just feels like these days, her heart is filled with blossoming loneliness. A feeling far from foreign, she’s used to facing it. It’s just overwhelming, at times.

“Lena, are you coming or not?” Alex asks, peeking into the living room. She pauses, squints at them two. “Kara, hands where I can see them.”

Kelly laughs and Kara makes an embarrassed noise, taking her hand back. It’s ridiculous—Alex is always so dramatic about her interactions with Lena. It’s not like she was all over Lena, goodness.

“Report to the kitchen, Luthor.”

“All right, coming.” Lena sits up straight, and before she stands, her hand settles on Kara’s thigh. She squeezes tight, and sends Kara a look. A look that’s playful—bordering flirtatious. Kara’s heart kind of stutters. “Be good.”

Lifting herself up using Kara’s thigh, Lena stands and makes her way towards Alex without looking back. Kara rubs the back of her neck, just blinking.

The thing about Lena, Kara has noted, is that she is an expert of toeing the line between adorably flirty and slyly sexy, and she flirts or not flirt without any ulterior motive. That’s just the way she is.

So Kara’s not going to dwell on what just happened.

 


 

It’s a little more later when the apartment has two less people. Nia tells everyone that she has to leave because she has an interview set up early tomorrow. Soon, Brainy has to go, too. Kara has no idea where Alex and Kelly are right now, but she thinks they’re probably in the living room, gathering up the cupcakes they made for Esme. Going for a quick bathroom break, Kara washes her hands in the sink. Looks in the mirror, makes sure she looks fine, that nothing’s out of the ordinary. Using the towel to wipe her hands, she takes one final look before heading to the balcony.

There’s no one here. Kara sits on one of the seats, making herself comfortable. There comes that odd, peaceful feeling that settles in deep when you're hanging out with friends and they leave one by one as the night progresses. After a couple of hours spent with them, you're faced with a gentle quiet.

It’s late. She looks up at the sky. The moon is out, bright and looking incomplete, showing its crescent shape from all the way here. Taking a deep breath, Kara’s eyes slip close.

She lets the world charge at her. Cars drifting sharply on the road, hammer striking a nail, tools and glasses clattering. Droplets of rain hitting concrete, birds chirping, gentle winds, dishes moving against the sink, displeased voices and arguing, moans of pleasure, airplanes, ships honking, all the way to the sea. She doesn’t move, just keeps still, and lets herself get lost in the chaos.

Time becomes tricky, it distorts itself and Kara doesn’t know long she’s here.

“Hey.”

Everything freezes, resumes, and the noise withdraws. Kara opens her eyes. Lena’s standing near the entrance, eyes curious. Kara blinks. The apartment is mostly quiet around her, still just the soft noise of Kelly’s gentle music filtering in, the whir of the heater, the sound of the building settling.

“Hey,” Kara replies.

“I was hanging out with Alex and Kelly. Mind if I join you?” Lena’s arms are crossed lightly, head tilting a little. Kara wonders if she just got here, or was just staring at Kara for some time.

Kara shakes her head, pats the spot next to her. Lena walks, and settles comfortably right beside her. Her seat is big enough for two people.

They sit in silence for a few more seconds, and then Kara asks, “What are they up to now? Have they bored you too much?”

Lena sighs with exaggeration, rubbing her hands together, fiddling with her sleeves. Kara knows Lena likes the soft material of her sweaters, likes the way she can hide her hands in the sleeves. Again, illegal, Kara thinks.

“They’re talking to Esme on the phone right now, actually. Talking about the process, sorting out the details. And no, it’s not that Alex and Kelly bore me,” Lena says, sighing, shrugging. “It’s that I’d rather spend my free time being the thorn in the Super’s side.”

“Aw.” Kara chuckles quietly. “Poor me.”

Lena bumps her shoulder with Kara’s, and Kara grins at her.

“You know, Alex let me take a look at her room. I saw photos of you and Alex. Young. Eliza, too,” Lena says, her voice very quiet in the silence. “I've always thought that it makes sense that you came from a family like this one. You and Alex… Eliza. Open and loving and safe, I mean.”

Kara waits.

“You know me, and where I come from... I’m the only Luthor who’s currently not serving jail,” Lena continues. “Lex and my mother, it’s final for them... I’m officially on my own. I have been, for a while.”

“You’re not on your own,” Kara says quietly. “Not anymore, Lena. Not ever again.”

There’s silence. Lena stares back at her, still wringing her hands on her lap.

“Are you happy?” Lena asks, and Kara tilts her head at the sudden question.

What does Lena mean by that?

It's a broad question. Happy, Kara thinks to herself, she’s—she’s not sure. What is it exactly to be happy? To be satisfied with absolutely everything in your life? That concept doesn’t sound possible. People are complicated—complex. Kara thinks happiness is something else. Fickle like the heart, it comes and goes in moments.

Like right now.

“I’m happy,” Kara says, smiling. “Very happy. I’m surrounded by good people. Look who’s next to me right now. A stubborn Luthor who can’t seem to leave my side.”

“You know what they say.” Lena shakes her head gently, her mouth curling into a smile. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

They’ve fallen into some type of banter ever since they began to talk again, and Kara loves it. She loves that she can be silly, and Lena would match her energy. Loves that she can make jokes with her again, loves laughing with her.

“Anyway,” Kara continues, looking at her friend. “As I was saying. You have us, now. And you're never getting rid of any of us, I hope you know that by now.”

Lena laughs softly, ducking her head. “So I’m stuck with you guys? What a nightmare, Kara Zor-El.”

Kara Zor-El. Kara really, really likes the sound of that—her name in Lena’s voice.

Kara Zor-El. Kara’s heart feels warm warm warm.

They’re sat next to each other, the distance between them smaller than it probably should be. Until Kara decides to shift closer, their sides pressed together now.

Without thinking, Kara cups Lena’s chin and presses her lips soft to Lena’s forehead. Lena stills sharply and visibly and—oh. Kara doesn't mean to surprise Lena, she just means to... adore her.

This feeling in Kara's chest—it’s overwhelming sometimes. It happens when she stares at Lena for too long, or when she hears her laugh. Sometimes, seeing a simple thing like the sparkle in Lena's eye when she's delighted makes Kara feel off balance. There’s just this uncontrollable urge to wrap her arms around Lena, to hold her, to cherish her.

As Kara takes her hand back and pulls herself away, there’s a cute twitch of Lena’s nose. They meet eyes. Heterochromatic eyes, green and blue, find hers. Kara flushes, hard.

“You haven’t done that before,” Lena says carefully, and there it is again; the sound of Lena’s heart beating wildly against her chest. It’s kind of dizzying and flattering, knowing she has some sort of effect on Lena.

Kara lightly clears her throat. She looks down at her hand, resting between them.

“I’ve been wanting to. You have a very kissable forehead.”

“I’ve always had a kissable forehead,” Lena says, and Kara laughs because—Lena really does. “Yet, it has remained unkissed. Why is that?”

“Great question.” Kara looks at her. “Silly me. Rest assured, there will be no more unkissed foreheads on my watch.”

“Hm. Lucky me,” Lena says. She tilts her head slightly, considering. “Foreheads, you say. Really you mean just mine, right?”

There’s a playful glint in Lena’s eye and she’s smiling, cheeks pale pink, and she’s—she’s cute. Kara is startlingly aware of Lena’s body next to her own. The awareness is like an ache under Kara’s skin. The urge to reach out, to touch.

“Just yours,” Kara says quietly.

Despite the light-hearted atmosphere, there’s an intensity to it. They’ve known each other for five years now, and lately they’ve been dancing around each other. A shift in their energy, some kind of tension in the air between them, and it’s not one Kara’s used to. It feels new, in a way Kara struggles to explain.

And—

She can’t help but notice the tinge of red staining Lena’s lips. It’s from all the wine earlier.

Kara thinks, very much not for the first time, Lena’s really pretty.

She barely thinks before she says it. “You’ve been braiding your hair a lot recently. The side braid looks really nice on you,” she murmurs, “I like it.” Her fingers twitch against her lap, and she flexes her fingers with the desire to thread them into Lena’s hair.

“Yeah?” Lena says, just as quietly.

“Yeah,” Kara croaks.

Kara wants to touch. Lena’s so close, so warm, and—Kara’s eyes move to Lena’s hair. Her hand, ever the traitor, reaches out and slides into Lena’s hair, threading her fingers through the soft dark hair.

It’s strange, because Kara has always been very touchy with her, but suddenly it all feels so much more significant. To Kara's defense it's hard to be friends with someone as attractive and endearing and cute as Lena and keep your hands to yourself.

Unable to help herself, she goes for more, wants more, kind of always wants more, so her hands move, somewhere. She tucks the lock of stray hair behind Lena’s ear. Kara hears a heartbeat, deafening in her ears. She stills for a single, long moment, her hand still in Lena’s hair.

Lena doesn’t say anything, her eyes are trained elsewhere on her lap as if it’s the most interesting thing in the room. Her smile is subtle, but it’s there. The tips of her ears are flushing a soft pink and she's so cute.

Kara’s blood crackles with the sparks. Her fingers move to trail down Lena’s jaw, and Kara watches Lena tilt her face into the touch.

This is unusual for them. It is intimate. There’s no question about it. The way Lena reacts to her—Kara honestly doesn’t know what to make of it.

“Kara, it’s. It’s getting late,” Lena murmurs, staying close as her fingers move to fiddle with the front of Kara’s shirt. It’s one of Kara’s best button ups, but it’s starting to wrinkle from the way Lena curls her fingers into it.

Lena is someone who fiddles with her hands a lot, so this action doesn’t surprise Kara at all.

“It is,” Kara agrees quietly. Lena’s smile disappears. Her face gives nothing away, but the sound of her heart does. It always does.

Kara draws in a slow breath. She can’t help herself, because Lena is an enabler and she always seems to enjoy Kara’s touches. Feeling encouraged and unexplainably bold, Kara slides her hand lower, and her fingers skim along the nape of Lena’s neck, stroking slowly above the edge of her sweater.

“Is this okay?” Kara asks, and watches Lena soften further.

“Yeah,” Lena whispers, voice sounding a little scratchy. “Feels nice. Your hand is warm. Always warm.”

Fingers moving to stroke along the side of Lena’s neck. Lena breathes in through her nose. She looks gorgeous. It’s Lena, of course she does. Her earrings dangle prettily, her neck makes Kara hyper-focus, suddenly having to fight the urge to put her lips against the soft skin and wait, what. That came out of nowhere.

There's way too much neck, way too much collarbone exposed for her to handle.

Heat trickles through Kara, gradual and lazy, and her own heart gives a hard thump. Lena’s hand moves from Kara’s shirt to her thigh. Fingers grip on Kara’s thigh, and it leaves Kara feeling a little light-headed.

She watches Lena. The flutter of closed eyelids when her fingertips reach Lena’s jaw, the bob of her throat as she swallows thickly.

“Lena?”

Lena’s eyes open, her gaze back on Kara’s face, lips parted, eyes even more enormous. Whatever she sees in Kara’s expression makes her suck in a shaky breath. Or maybe it’s just that their faces are so close now, and oh—Kara finds that she’s leaning in closer.

Her eyes are fixed on Lena’s mouth, and for a moment—for a moment she thinks about kissing Lena, just leaning in and pressing her mouth to hers, tasting those lips and drinking her in.

Suddenly it’s not funny anymore.

Kara stills sharply, new thoughts keep surfacing and surfacing. The air between them is practically humming with tension. The tension can be suffocating, is suffocating right now, and keeps building and nothing seems to lessen it.

Kara knows that she should stop. She—she wants to lean all the way in. She’s too caught up in the moment. In the gentle stillness of the night, of spending time with Lena. They need to get up and join Alex and Kelly. Get her thoughts straight.

Kara needs to move away. They’ve only just begun to put the pieces of their friendship back together. She needs to move away.

Kara knows this. And yet—

And yet somehow, she keeps her hand on Lena’s jaw, cupping her tenderly.

“Kara,” Lena murmurs. There’s a pink flush high on her cheeks.

It’s devastating. Kara feels windswept; destroyed. It’s so gentle and intimate—the way Lena says her name. She’s never heard Lena utter it like this.

She looks into Lena’s eyes, sees something pure in there. There’s that gentleness and an unwavering trust Lena’s always placed in Kara. Today there’s something else, something more, trying not to stand out. It’s buzzing, desperate, feels almost tangible. This makes Kara’s mouth dry; her breath turns shaky.

She traces the contours of Lena’s face with her eyes: over long eyelashes and the tip of her nose, down the dip of her philtrum to her lips. Soft, full, and addictive. Kara licks her lips, looks back up, and doesn’t miss the way Lena’s eyes follow the movement; Lena bites her lip, probably unconsciously, and Rao—

There’s a sharp intake of breath, loud in the quiet of the room, and Kara’s not sure if it comes from herself or Lena.

Lena's heart grows erratic when Kara slides her hand down Lena's face a little, her thumb stroking Lena's bottom lip gently. Red lipstick. Kara’s careful not to smudge.

“What are you thinking about?” Kara asks. Voice dropping lower.

She watches the slope of Lena’s neck and the way her throat constricts as she swallows. She should look away but she can’t; she should take her hand back but her thumb moves on its own, pressing it against Lena’s bottom lip.

“I’m thinking,” Lena says, just as quiet, voice shaky, “... are you going to kiss me? Or am I going to keep thinking about it?”

Oh.

Kara feels the whole world tilt. She kind of forgets how to breathe.

Lena waits, cheeks rosy, lips parting. Kara supposes she should have expected this. What with all the touching, the looks. Still it shocks her, and something twists inside her chest.

“I’m,” Kara croaks, heart overtaking her more rational thoughts. Lena breathes slowly, her face is impassive and refusing to give Kara a hint about what she might be feeling. But she seems to want Kara to. Something else drives Kara now—something needier. Something that’s been pulling her down this path for all this time. “I’d like to. This has been driving me crazy. I want—I want to know what it’s like. Just once?”

And—and it’s ridiculous, this reckless request, and she can’t tell what Lena’s thinking, but Lena nods slowly—

“Just once,” Lena says.

Kara can’t quite put her finger on it entirely, as to what feels so odd about them. She swallows thickly. Lena wants the same thing. To give into it, satisfy this craving for… what?

There’s an ache that pulls at her gut, something close to worry. There’s something about her words that just doesn’t feel right. To be in need of something physical is one thing; to want to know what it feels like between them specifically, how the two of them together will be—

It’s different.

The silence feels almost tangible as Kara’s heart hammers in her chest.

It’s just a kiss. It won’t mean anything beyond that. But while it may not mean anything, not in the romantic sense in a way these things probably should—there will still be an impact.

“Kara,” Lena says, and Kara leans in.

The first touch of Lena’s mouth is so gentle it’s barely there. She kisses Lena soft and careful, in disbelief that this is happening. Lena’s lips are soft, slick and warm as they slide against Kara’s own. She slides one hand to the back of Lena’s neck, keeps the other on Lena’s jaw, and kisses Lena like she means it.

This is the opposite of rebuilding that trust and friendship with Lena. What is she doing, this isn’t the way—

“Kara,” Lena sighs softly against her mouth and—

The sound is new to Kara, sweet and wanton. Kara drinks it in as one of Lena’s hands fists the front of her shirt, the other squeezing her thigh. There’s none of the awkwardness Kara was prepared for. Only want and reciprocation. It just dawns on Kara how badly she craves real contact, how Lena seems to be in the same position as her. Both willing to put their friendship to one side just for tonight.

Lena’s breath hitches and Kara takes advantage of her parted lips. She licks into her mouth and tilts her head, kissing her slow and languid. Lena tastes like that wine she was drinking earlier, and something else that’s distinctly her, and Kara can’t get enough of it. She has known Lena so intimately, and for so long, and yet here’s this whole new layer of her that Kara has never gotten to touch.

A soft, choked-off whine immediately falls from Lena’s lips. It makes Kara dizzy, makes her want that sound again.

“Lena,” Kara whispers, and Lena whimpers when Kara gives her waist a squeeze.

The way Lena starts moving, crawling into Kara’s lap as if something isn’t enough for her, the way she’s trying to get more of Kara. The way Lena’s kisses turn a little desperate after that, like she just wants. Kara helps guide Lena, until her body is fitting over Kara. The contact makes Lena groan, and the sound sends Kara’s head spinning.

Kara pulls her face back, just a little. Her eyes trail over Lena’s face. Her lips glisten in the lowlight, the sheen of Lena on her mouth. Lena keeps quiet, just touches Kara’s collar, messing with the material, eyes not meeting Kara’s.

“Okay?” Kara says. She can hear how low her voice has dropped, how it’s so different from how she would normally talk with Lena, but it doesn’t feel strange.

“I should be asking that. I'm on your lap. Weird how that happened,” Lena mumbles, her hands making crinkles on Kara's collar. Kara isn't sure if Lena's aware that she's fiddling.

“Yeah, very weird,” Kara comments, knowing exactly how that happened. She tames the waver in her voice. “No complaints, though.”

Lena looks back at her. Her face is pretty, eyes glassy. Her mouth is red and swollen and kiss-wet and terrifyingly pretty and Kara really wants it on hers again.

“Is this... part of our thing where we’re working towards being very good friends,” Lena says very weakly, smiling tentatively, which makes Kara wince, heat flooding her cheeks.

“Lena, I—”

Lena shakes her head. “Kiss me again,” she says, wets her lips. “Don’t stop yet.”

Kara breathes, breathes, and she isn’t sure what to think. Warm skin and the weight of Lena’s body ground her from her dizzy spiral, and she just nods, doesn’t object. She can never object when it comes to Lena’s requests.

Kara leans forward and kisses the beauty mark on Lena’s neck, tilts Lena’s face and kisses her nose, her cheek, the mark above her eye, which makes Lena close her eye adorably for a second, then the corner of her mouth, the curve of her jaw, and Rao—

What is she doing—

Somewhere in the back of her brain Kara reminds herself that this should feel a lot more like slipping towards the precipice of a cliff against her will, but it feels, miraculously, like the opposite—

“Kara,” Lena protests—whispers. “Kara.”

“Okay,” Kara says, and presses their mouths together again.

She kisses her so soft and chase that makes Lena whine, and Lena shifts against her but Kara stills Lena, squeezing her shoulder. Kara fits their mouths together again and again. She licks into Lena’s mouth slowly, and Lena lets out a soft, desperate whimper. Gently sucks Lena’s lower lip in between her teeth, tugs, swallows the sound Lena makes, and feels Lena shiver against her.

It should feel weird, to feel her friend like this. But nothing so far has felt weird, from the very moment all these heavily charged moments began months ago. No, years ago. Scary, sometimes. Unbearable, too. But weird? No, it’s never felt like that.

She wraps a secure arm around Lena’s back, one hand threading her fingers through Lena’s hair. The kiss, the stroking of the small of Lena’s back, both are intimate, but it feels more intimate to touch hair. To caress Lena’s scalp like she wants to.

Lena pulls away this time, to breathe, and she looks down, not meeting Kara’s eyes, already looking dishevelled—

“Rao,” Kara whispers.

They meet eyes and Lena’s eyes are so dark. Kara doesn’t know what to say, and just strokes Lena’s waist. She watches the way Lena’s lips are trembling each time she inhales.

She should say something. Lena said something earlier. They’re supposed to try harder at being good friends.

She should say something—but what?

Lena studies her closely.

“You look like you’re thinking loudly,” Lena says, lips curling into a small smile. It turns coy when she tilts her head just a little. “Beloved friend, how are we doing?”

And Rao, just like that Kara laughs, soft and fond, can’t help it. She relaxes a bit, feels calmer. Beloved friend. She likes that Lena can still make quips despite how unorthodox their friendship has been.

“We’re still doing good. Working on it. I think we’re being very good friends right now,” Kara mumbles, lips twisting into a wry smile. Lena’s fingers trail through the hair at the nape of her neck and then forward, tracing faint lines behind her ear and along her jaw. Lena’s never done anything like this to her. This sends goosebumps rolling down Kara’s arms.

It feels really nice.

They should probably stop now. This is getting too much—she’s going to stop.

She doesn’t. Kara leans in again, tries to catch Lena’s mouth with her own, but Lena’s fingers slide under Kara’s jaw to tilt her head back, gentle but firm. Her mouth trails down the column of Kara’s neck, wet and warm.

“Lena,” Kara whispers, exhales sharply.

This is the opposite of stopping. She can’t stop the sounds that fall from her mouth when Lena works the skin at the base of her throat lightly. Lena hums against her, nips a bit harder, and Kara slides her hand up to the back of Lena’s head, holding her there. With the flick of Lena’s teeth, Kara feels her smile against her skin.

“You smell nice,” Lena murmurs, so soft and low, and Kara just tilts her head back a little more, sighs out a breathy yeah. There won’t be any bruises to leave, they both know it, but Lena keeps nipping and trying to work one into her neck.

Kara wonders what colour Lena’s skin will bruise under her mouth, and shudders at the thought. A few more kisses and Lena gives up, and kisses her way back up to Kara’s mouth—so so slow it’s dizzying, so so soft it makes Kara sink back into her seat, boneless.

There’s a deep pressing want in Kara’s chest, and hot arousal pooling low in her stomach, but she doesn’t act on it. Can’t. This is already a lot.

Rao. It’s a lot.

She grabs Lena both by the arms gently, and pulls away, faces still close.

“Lena, um. I’m...” Worked up. Kara’s breath is unsteady. Rao, she’s so horny she’s kind of embarrassed.

Kara’s been reckless, but in an entirely different way than she thought. She has been reckless, but she's not going to act on it. This is Alex’s place and Lena’s her friend and she’s a gentlewoman, damnit.

“Sorry,” Lena says, and drops her forehead on Kara’s shoulder. Kara squeezes Lena in her arms.

“You’re fine,” Kara croaks, words not finding her well.

“I got ahead of myself, didn’t I? Again, weird how that happened,” Lena sighs, presses her face against the juncture of Kara’s neck and shoulder, and turns tiny tiny. For some inexplicable reason, Lena seems to really like her neck.

“Lena?” Kara struggles to think straight so she just says, “Are you a vampire?”

“No.”

“Okay. Was just checking.”

Kara feels Lena smile against her skin. Lena feels so good in her arms, soft and firm at the same time, fitting so perfectly against her. Kara doesn’t say anything, Lena the same, so she just squeezes Lena again.

Reality sinks in bit by bit.

Yeah, she just kissed her friend. Kind of more than kissed, actually, and—yeah, wow. A few more moments pass, and then Lena pulls her face away from Kara’s neck, looks at Kara. She starts smoothing Kara’s shirt so that it’s less evident that they pretty much just made out with each other.

She does it silently and calmly while Kara stays still, flustered, face burning, suddenly feeling really shy. Rao. Lena’s hair is a little disheveled, and she starts helping Lena with shaky hands. She hopes Lena doesn’t notice.

Lena’s touches are gentle gentle, not serving any help to Kara’s racing heart at all.

“Yeah, I’m done for the night. Seeing everyone tonight was nice. It’s not always possible to gather everyone in one place outside of work.” There’s a voice coming from another room. Alex. Footsteps get closer and closer.

“Yeah, I get what you mean. We all have demanding lives,” Kelly says lightly.

Kara and Lena startle apart the moment they come into sight—Lena removes herself so fast Kara’s left blinking and impressed, just looking at the empty Lena-shaped spot in front of her.

When Alex’s eyes land on them, she watches them long and slow.

“Oh, hey. We were just coming up to check on you guys,” Kelly says, smiling.

“Hi. Uh. We’re doing good. And I think I should get going now, it’s late,” Kara says with a hoarse voice, standing up and grabbing her phone from the small table beside her. She is buzzing everywhere. She feels drunk but she’s not.

“Same here,” Lena murmurs, and she starts moving as well. Kara’s heart won’t stop beating fast.

“You know, you two can stay over if you guys want,” Kelly suggests, hands gesturing towards the apartment. “We have spare rooms.”

“Yeah, Kara. We have space for you two,” Alex says, and Kara shakes her head without looking at her sister, politely declining. Lena does the same. Things are going too fast. Or she’s going too fast and she can barely keep up with herself.

There must be nothing wrong with the way they look or seem because neither Alex nor Kelly point out anything about them; all they do is make sure Kara and Lena have all their belongings before letting them go free. They both leave quietly, and soon they’re on the sidewalk outside of Alex’s apartment.

The sky is dark, the night late, and the moon stands out in a sea of black. Lena stands close to her in the street as they settle at a spot with decent lighting. Their breaths come out foggy into the cold night air. The street light touches Lena’s hair gently, sharpening and softening her features at the same time, and Kara shakes her head, wills herself to get it together.

“Well that was interesting,” Kara says, and Lena blinks. Her friend doesn’t say anything, but she looks expectant as she watches Kara back. Kara flushes. “Good kiss, by the way,” she adds lamely, and she kind of wants to fling herself into the sun.

Lena nods at her slowly, and Kara looks away, feeling embarrassed. A moment passes. Kara hears a quiet inhale from Lena, almost steadying.

“Good kiss,” Lena echoes, and when Kara turns to face her again she can see mirth in Lena’s eyes. “Really, that’s all? Is this going in my Yelp review?”

“You kind of ravaged my neck, so there’s that, too.”

“That’s what friends are for,” Lena deadpans, and Kara blushes hard, remembering that she said those exact words to Lena a long, long time ago. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“And you like teasing me too much,” Kara murmurs, rubbing the back of her neck.

“It's a thankless job but someone's got to do it.” There's a smile on Lena's face, which calms Kara a bit. Only a little.

“Wow.”

“See? Thankless,” Lena sighs.

“Sorry, I'm just.” Kara chuckles quietly, licks her lips. “It’s not every day that you... kiss your friend on the mouth and your sister walks right into it.” At least, not in Kara’s case.

A long silence follows. The streetlight glints off one of Lena’s eyes as she looks at Kara.

“Best friend,” Lena quietly corrects, and if Kara wasn’t feeling so flustered she’d melt at the correction. It kind of catches Kara off guard, the way Lena focuses on that and not the kiss. So Lena still considers her as her best friend, after the reveal, after the whole not talking to each other, after everything. Favourite person and best friend. Kara breathes slowly, doesn’t say anything. Lena watches her closely, exhaling softly. “Actually, Kara? Maybe Alex and Kelly did see something. I think you should take a good look at yourself in the mirror later.”

Taken aback, Kara’s jaw drops and she touches her face, a little panicked, and Lena laughs at the sight.

“Lena,” Kara whines, mouth curling into a pout—

“Relax, I’m kidding. You’re okay.”

Kara swallows drily. Her mouth, her tongue, still taste like Lena when she licks her lips. Lena stares at her and nearly steals the breath from Kara again.

“It’s getting really late. We both should get going.” A small cough. The kiss—they should probably talk about it seriously, this time. Kara is sure Lena’s wondering about it. “Goodnight, Lena,” Kara whispers, internally groaning at herself.

Lena nods, her pupils visibly blown so dark and so wide. Her cheeks are flushed pink. It’s comforting to know that Kara isn’t the only one who still feels affected. It’s not something she lets herself dwell on. They really, really should talk about the last twenty minutes, but—

“Sleep well, Kara. Goodnight,” Lena says simply, and then steps away.

Later inside Kara’s apartment, Kara just stands in front of her door, heat coiling deep in her stomach. It settles, staying there. Her forehead is knocked into the wood trying to wipe the kiss from her mind.

“Rao,” she murmurs, knocking her head against the wall again. Lightly. She closes her eyes.

Rao.

 

Chapter Text

When Kara wakes up, she wakes up anxious, skin sweaty, head pounding. She gasps into consciousness, her whole body jolting as if an electric shock had sparked through it.

It’s dark—but bearable. She presses her fingers to her sternum and takes a long, deep breath, then raises her hands to rub her temples.

Did she dream of something? She must have, but she can’t remember anything. The more orientated she becomes, the more tired she feels. Her breathing evens out after a couple more minutes of recovering her bearings.

The time is five am when she reaches out to grab her phone from the bedside table. Kara rubs her forehead and lets out a slow and heavy exhale.

There’s no getting back to sleep so she supposes she’ll get ready for work early.

 


 

Things blessedly aren’t awkward with Lena following the events yesterday. Or so it seems.

They’re having a Superfriends meeting in the Tower and Lena’s sitting right across the table from Kara, sending gentle smiles her way every time they meet eyes as Alex stands in front of the whiteboard, talking about public perceptions and the way the public perceives the Superfriends.

The truth is, all Kara can think about right now is the kiss. They really did that, huh. They have to talk about it properly at some point, because she’s pretty sure yesterday’s talk barely counts as a proper discussion. Because you don’t just randomly make out with a friend—a friend of five years and not talk about it. Communication is important, it’s how people make sure that things are okay and matters are properly explained, they have to—

Alex clears her throat loudly, snapping Kara out of her thoughts. Kara blinks and composes herself, trying not to look visibly startled.

“So, about last week’s incident. Thankfully it didn’t end up in a disaster. The building collapse wasn’t on us, but I’d still like to emphasize on handling all property with care. Let’s keep the damage to the minimum, guys,” Alex says, and she points her whiteboard marker at Kara. “And by guys, I mean you, Kara.”

“Hey...” Kara purses her lips, scratches her brow. “I’ve been good. It’s been a couple of months now, and I haven’t caused any serious damage. Ask any citizen here, all you’ll get are good reviews.”

“I know, but a reminder doesn’t hurt.”

“Reviews?” Nia hums, arching an eyebrow. She’s sitting next to Lena, in her civilian clothes. “Well then, can I say something about that one time you sneezed and—”

“Nia, that was an abandoned warehouse in a completely isolated area.” Kara blinks, incredulous. “For many reasons, that doesn’t count!”

“All right, true.” Nia shrugs with her shoulders, then holds a finger up. “But man, that sneeze? I’ll never forget about it. You Supers are truly… terrifying, in a powerful way.”

Alex hums in agreement. “I wasn’t there, but I know what you mean, Nia,” her sister says with a knowing look, which makes Kara huff. Alex turns to face Brainy then, nodding at him. “Now, Brainy, about this new armour suit you’re working on—”

“Yes, the suit. I’ll get it done in a couple more weeks. Once it’s tested and ready to go it’ll be the best and most well-rounded suit up to this date,” Brainy declares with a burst of passion, and everyone in the room turns silent, looking at each other, confused.

Alex slowly nods. “Okay… that’s great. Thank you for that.”

“We believe in you. I love your passion for invention and design,” Kelly speaks up, smiling at him.

“I’m hardcore.” Brainy nods, hard. Kara laughs, and multiple amused faces turn to look at Nia. Nia crosses her arms over her chest, a proud grin on her lips. No words are needed to know where exactly Brainy got that from. “And adding to that, if anyone has any issues with anything tech-related, please do come see me.”

Alex smiles quizzically. “We already do, but okay, Brainy. You do great work.”

“I was just putting it up there as a reminder,” Brainy explains with an urgency, eyeing Lena oddly before looking at Alex.

A chuckle fills the room then, deep and smooth, and it comes from Lena. The sound does something weird to Kara. She more than likes the sound.

“Don’t mind him,” Lena says, leaning her elbows on the table, crossing her legs just under. She sighs softly. The tip of her pink tongue darts out and wets her lips and Kara stares, mesmerized for two terrifying seconds before tearing her eyes away. “Brainy’s just acting like this because of last week’s mission. My tech worked and his didn’t, and now he’s—”

“Lena,” Brainy complains, his face twisting into something displeased. He crosses his arms, a petulant pout on his lips, and right across him Lena grins.

“Brainy,” Lena says his name back, voice light and teasing, which only makes Brainy pout further.

They’re cute. It's like watching siblings banter.

“First of all, the only reason why my tech failed to activate—”

“All right, guys,” Kelly steps in gently. “We’ll end that here.”

“No, let them keep going,” Alex says, interested, and Kelly arches her brow. “What? It's a friendly competition, I respect it.”

“I’m down for blood,” Brainy says with a frown, unabated.

“Oh?” Lena looks delighted.

“I said friendly competition, you two,” Alex stresses, and Nia laughs at the whole exchange.

“Anyway. As I was saying,” Kelly continues, rolling her eyes at everyone, though her fondness is unavoidable, “is there anything else we need to touch on before we end this meeting?”

Everyone’s quiet. Brainy’s pouting; he looks like he’ll be pouting for the rest of the day. Nia chuckles at him, patting his back, while Lena smiles at him. Not doing anything to poke at him, but smiling at him in a way that siblings do to tease the other without saying anything.

And Kara’s just here, staring, and trying not to stare too much at Lena.

Because boundaries, Kara mentally notes when she finds herself looking at Lena’s hands, neck, and that soft soft mouth. Boundaries, she repeats in her head when she can’t help but recall how Lena felt against her, in her lap, the pleased and content sounds she made in Kara’s arms.

Alex claps her hand, loud, which startles Kara. Almost.

“Okay. And that concludes our meeting. Scram, everyone,” her sister says, shooing everyone away.

J’onn, who has remained mostly quiet, immediately stands up to leave with a smile, but not before exchanging a couple of words with a few people. Alex and Kelly are standing next to the whiteboard, having their own little conversation while Nia and Brainy are already headed somewhere.

“Hey, Kara and Lena? Brainy and I are going out for some food and coffee at the usual place,” Nia says, entering the elevator with Brainy, “wanna come with?”

Brainy holds his hand out to keep the doors from closing.

“Sorry, I’ll have to pass this one,” Lena says with a slight wince, and stands from her seat. She starts collecting the stacks of folders from the table, sorting them into a neat pile before taking them with her. “There’s a lot of work to be done today. I’ll come next time, I promise.”

“Sure, that’s okay,” Nia says, “and Kara? What about you?”

Kara blinks, and flushes. She feels silly for feeling a little queasy just by looking at the space Nia and Brainy are currently occupying. The Tower’s cubicle is small—even smaller and crowdier with two people inside. It’s a space she has been actively avoiding.

“Yeah I’ll come, you guys go on ahead. I’ll be there.” Kara scratches her brow, licks her lips.

“Yeah, that works. We’ll meet you there, then,” Nia says, grinning. “You’re paying, by the way!”

“Wait what, I am—?” Kara doesn’t get to have her say because the elevator doors have closed, but she knows Nia and Brainy heard it. Rascal. Sighing as she turns around, she finds Lena’s eyes on hers. Curious and soft. Kara blinks. “Oh, hi. What is it?”

“Nothing,” Lena says.

Kara stands there awkwardly for a bit, suddenly unsure how to act or what to do now that she’s with Lena alone. Yesterday didn’t end badly or weirdly, but she still wants to talk to Lena about it again and make sure they’re absolutely okay, but Lena looks busy with whatever it is she’s doing and Nia and Brainy are waiting for her to join them and, and.

That’s pretty much it.

“Shouldn’t you get going?” Lena looks at her, amused. “By the way, I hope you managed to get a good night’s rest after last night. It was really nice having everyone in the same room, not for work-related reasons.”

Kara doesn’t think waking up sticky, drenched in sweat with a pounding heart and two hours total of sleep counts as a good night’s rest, but she smiles anyway.

“Yeah,” Kara says, rubbing her neck.

It’s a new day and they’re simultaneously acknowledging and not acknowledging what happened.

Kara thinks she should be feeling afraid or anxious after yesterday but—she doesn’t. They’re friends, and they kissed once, and even though it’s a little strange to Kara, it doesn’t seem to have messed up their friendship at all. But still, they have to talk at some point, especially knowing that Lena doesn’t take intimacy lightly.

Nia and Brainy are waiting for her. She has time to talk to Lena later.

“Um, I do need to get going. Talk to you later?”

“Of course,” Lena says, softly grinning. “I have to stay here and catch up on important work, so I can’t join you guys. Go satisfy that kryptonian appetite.” Kara’s heart warms. Nothing feels out of place with Lena—it’s like yesterday never happened.

Kara grins, sends her a two finger salutation before taking off on the balcony.

 


 

It’s later in the day on an early afternoon when Kara finds Lena still hanging around in the Tower. Brainy isn’t coming back to the Tower—he’s currently meeting up with Alex to investigate something, while Nia has gone to CatCo to finish piecing her interviews together.

Lena sits on the couch in the main area, quietly working on a paper as she sips her coffee. She’s settled in comfortably.

Walking towards her, Kara plops herself down next to Lena on the couch, trying not to be weird with her movements because there’s no reason to feel awkward with Lena. Not now, not ever.

“Hi,” Kara says, keeping a respectful distance between them. “You’re still here. I thought you’d be gone by now.”

“I’ll be leaving soon.” Lena places her mug down, looks at Kara with a small smile, then starts writing and filling something out using a pen. There’s two thick stacks of papers on the coffee table. “I just needed a quiet place to do my own thing. There are no distractions here.”

“What’s wrong with your office in L-Corp?”

“Jess,” Lena says, sighing, and Kara laughs. “What? I’m serious. I received strict instructions from her this morning. She said I wasn’t allowed to return to my office—my own building until two o’clock. Which is when my only scheduled meeting today starts.”

“So you’re out here, secretly doing work when you’re not supposed to.”

“I always have work to do, Kara,” Lena murmurs, checking her watch. She puts her pen down and opens her tablet, and Kara can’t help but follow the movement of Lena’s swift fingers as Lena types something out. “I like being busy and productive. Productive me, is the best me.”

“I like relaxing and self-care,” Kara jokes, and Lena laughs. Lena’s eyes are still on her work.

“I receive enough of that, thanks to you.”

Kara likes watching Lena when she’s focused like this, writing or brainstorming or trying to figure out how some new technology or equipment works. Usually Lena looks up as soon as she feels Kara staring, but in moments like these, she can look all she wants.

There's silence.

“It’s amazing how you do it,” Kara says quietly. “Working on both L-Corp and, you know,” she says, gesturing around the room they occupy, “this.”

Lena lifts up her gaze, and takes her mug of coffee in her hands. She arches an eyebrow at Kara with a small smile.

“Funny, because I wonder the same thing. CatCo and,” Lena says, imitating Kara this time with her hands, “this. You’ve been doing this for how many years now? And you do it well.”

“Six years.” Kara smiles, ducks her head. “I don’t know about ‘well’. I have my ups and downs.” It’s quiet. Lena looks at her, contemplative. “I’ve had moments where I doubted I could… I could have both. If I could live a normal life on top of being Supergirl.”

If there was only Supergirl, there would be nothing for her here on Earth, only duty. She thinks about Alex and Eliza, and feels her heart grow warm. Looks at the person in front of her, who watches her closely; attentive.

She waits for Lena to say something, anything. Nothing.

Kara wets her lips. “I used to chase normal—craved it when I was sent here by my parents. Eventually I stopped, because I realized that it’s not about living a ‘normal life’, but adjusting to my new normal and living this life as best as I can.” She thinks about her cousin. Clarke is able to have everything, despite who he is and where he’s from—despite having these powers—despite, despite. Kara breathes slowly, feeling slightly embarrassed at the way Lena regards her. She has all her attention. “Supergirl is what I can do. Kara is… well, me. Just me. Just Kara. Who has a really great hand in writing.”

Lena looks at her, eyes soft, smile gentle.

“Just Kara?” Lena questions with a lilt in her voice. “Can I let you in on something? I don’t think it’s a secret at this point, but I’m a big fan of ‘just Kara’,” she says, and when Kara shifts a bit on the couch, her fingers brush Lena’s.

Lena doesn’t move away. Kara doesn’t move, either.

“Aha,” Kara chuckles shyly, ducking her head. Lena’s nice. Kara doesn’t know how to respond to that, so she just smiles. Lena strokes her fingers.

“Adopted? We are that,” Lena says. “Traumatized? That’s us.”

“A heavy burden? We carry that,” Kara adds, and Lena breathes out a laugh, squeezing Kara’s fingers.

“Aren’t we a triple threat?” Lena says, grinning. She takes her hand back.

These jokes are a little dark, but Kara is comfortable enough to be laughing about it with Lena. Kelly would send them amused but worried looks if she were here, hearing them talk. Everyone copes differently. Kara knows that Lena likes to make jokes when speaking about the difficulties in life. She doesn’t judge—she gets it.

They lapse into silence.

When Lena reaches out for her mug again and tucks her lock of hair behind her ear, it’s normal. When she takes a sip and catches Kara’s eye and smiles at her, it’s normal. When Kara smiles back, it’s normal.

A few more moments of silence pass, and Kara speaks. “Lena?” she asks, “Are we okay?”

“Yes?” Lena looks at her, slightly tilts her head. When Kara doesn’t say anything, she says, with an eyebrow arched up, “Why do you ask? Are we... not supposed to be?”

“No. I mean, yes we’re supposed to be.” Kara flushes, fiddles with her cape. “And we are, I think? It’s just, I thought we should talk more about what happened yesterday…”

It’s a foreign thing—to be feeling unsure around Lena, so Kara really has to ask once more.

“Okay.” The confusion on Lena’s face is replaced by realization, and she nods slowly.

Now that it’s out there, Kara doesn’t actually know what she wants to say or what they’re supposed to talk about. They’re okay—they seem to be very much okay. There’s that. She’s worried about something, but she can’t pinpoint what it is.

Lena watches her closely, ever patient and warm.

“We kissed,” Kara murmurs—starts.

If Lena had a problem or question or anything, she would have spoken up about it. She’s not the kind of person to tolerate an awkward vibe—to pretend to be okay while going along with some bullshit. So Kara supposes all she wants is the acknowledgement that they kind of got too handsy with each other yesterday. More than handsy, but that’s besides the point.

She must look weird right now, like some kind of nervous ball of energy, because there’s a slow, growing light smile on Lena’s face. Her best friend tilts her head as if she’s endeared by the sight of Kara, and she’s scooting closer, and. And. She pats Kara on the back.

“We kissed. It happened, and it was just a kiss. We got caught up in the moment. That’s all it has to be,” Lena speaks for her, and that’s—that’s true.

But the thing with Lena is that there isn’t anything ‘just’ with her. Or that’s how Kara feels, but she’s not going to dwell on that. She’s good with words, but she’s bad with feelings. She’s never been very good at processing them, mostly because Kara is constantly moving forwards, not looking back. There’s always something new going on, whether it be a new threat or a life changing moment that there isn’t really much time to quietly ponder about less important matters.

There is never anything ‘just’ with Lena, and Kara’s not going to dwell on it. It doesn’t matter. She doesn’t think she needs words when she looks into Lena’s eyes.

“What are you thinking about?” Lena nudges her shoulder with Kara’s.

Kara clears her throat, shakes her head. “Nothing much. Promise. I just… wanted to double check and make sure that we’re still doing great in the friends department,” she says, biting the inside of her cheek. Lena breathes out a laugh, at that. “Hey, don’t laugh. I’m being serious.”

“Yes, I know, but it’s just—friends department? Really?”

“Lena,” Kara whines, and Lena can’t stop laughing.

Kara takes in everything about her friend. The way Lena’s nose gets scrunchy when she laughs, her eyes gently creasing at the edges, the way her body is loose and relaxed—so different from when she’s Lena Luthor in front of a camera, or her employees. Kara knows how privileged she is to see Lena like this: soft, vulnerable, comfortable, and just a little silly.

It takes a couple more moments until Lena’s laughter dies off. When it does, her eyes turn gentle.

“Well, Kara,” Lena says, quietly and deep in her naturally husky voice, and Kara’s brain chooses right this moment to inconveniently remember the way Lena uttered her name yesterday—soft and content and slightly out of breath. Kara feels her cheeks burning at the vivid memory, and it makes it much harder to think about boundaries when she finds herself looking at Lena’s mouth again. That very mouth was on her neck, jaw, chin… Kara shakes her head, tears her eyes away. “If you really need to hear it out loud again, then yes, we’re doing fine.”

“Cool, cool.”

That’s—good to hear. A moment passes.

It would be wise to stop talking about this now, but Kara can’t help but add one more thing to this topic.

“Hey, did you know. Um. That I’ve broken noses in the past,” Kara murmurs, rubbing her neck gingerly, “Plural. All from kissing.”

“Really?”

Kara nods, her eyes on Lena’s mug on the table. She lets out a breath, chuckles quietly. “As someone who didn’t get their nose broken by me, I just feel like you should know.”

Lena hums, thoughtful. When Kara turns to look at her, her face goes hot. Lena’s eyes are on hers, steady and unwavering. It catches Kara off guard a bit—she said this in a lighthearted way, not meant to be taken that seriously, but Lena’s face has turned more solemn than playful.

“I can’t imagine how hard it is, always having to tread carefully around everyone all the time.”

Kara shrugs, smiling wryly. She’s gotten better of course—managing her strength throughout the years, but having better control doesn’t completely get rid of the strength problem. She could still hurt someone if she’s not careful.

“I could have broken yours.”

“But you didn’t,” Lena returns with a light smile on her lips. “You’re always gentle with me,” she says so easily and—

Kara blinks, and looks away. Lena can’t just say something like that so casually. It does something weird in Kara’s chest.

“So. We’re okay,” Kara murmurs quickly, not so subtly ready to move on from the topic.

It’s not that she’s uncomfortable with the warmth and raw honesty Lena so freely hands to her, it’s just that. She likes it—enjoys it a lot, in fact, but it really affects her. It makes her heart grow three sizes bigger, makes her feel embarrassingly happy and floaty, makes her want to do silly things, like maybe lean forward and kiss Lena again.

And—Rao. She did not just have that thought again.

“Yes, we are.”

“Good.” Kara looks at Lena out of the corner of her eye nervously. “Very good.” She nods, hard.

Lena raises an eyebrow. “You’re cute.”

Kara flushes. “Know I’m cute,” she murmurs, the words spilling from her lips before she can stop it. For some inexplicable reason, she’s been really lacking in the self-preservation department lately; her eyes are on Lena’s mouth when she says her next words, “and I also know that I deserve to be kissed every day, I think.”

And—

Lena blinks and blinks, and then she’s laughing. Kara doesn’t know what went over her, but she felt like she needed to say that because, well. It’s an undeniable statement. What can Lena say about that?

“No, I agree,” Lena says, dimples appearing on either side of her mouth. Kara’s not going to reach out and pinch her cheeks. “Every single day that goes by without you being kissed, is a crime committed against cute people.”

This sort of thing… again, it’s just flirting that has little to no weight. Kara feels like they’re friends but not friends. In an odd state of uncertainty, having little jokes where she can make one about when they made out, and Lena will joke back. It’s strange, but Kara doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

She just wonders how they got here, and how they got here pretty fast.

Lena’s smiling at her, gentle and soft, teasing and loveable, and Kara’s about to say something silly, like maybe tell Lena she’s part of the Cute Community too until—

“Hey, guys,” Nia says, briskly entering the room, and Kara turns around to see her carrying a box of pizza with Brainy. “I heard something about a kiss? Knock knock, you weren’t making out, right?”

“Nia,” Kara sputters, blinking fast. “What, why would you even say that—”

“No, we were fucking,” Lena responds drily, and Kara looks at her so fast. Lena, unaffected by Nia’s entrance, only shrugs. Kara’s face heats up.

“Uh,” Brainy says, and then nothing else.

Nia sighs. “It really is harder to tease Kara with you in the picture,” she laments with exaggeration as she joins them on the couch, sending a pout in Lena’s way. The box of pizza is opened, and Brainy digs in almost immediately.

Lena chuckles, amused, and then she’s back on work mode as she fiddles with her tablet. Kara, however, is not as amused as Lena.

“Nia, come on,” Kara says, unimpressed.

“What? It’s true.” Nia shrugs. “I’m just saying.”

“I raised you and this is how you treat me?” Kara crosses her arms, frowning, and Nia just grins at her. Offers her a pizza slice as a peace offering. Kara accepts, but still she huffs disapprovingly. “Why are you two back here? Brainy, I thought you went to see Alex."

“I did, and then I was told to get back here. Alex also called Nia back here for this investigation we're working on,” Brainy says. “We're just waiting for her.”

“All right, people.” Lena laughs, gathering her tablet and all her paperwork, and slips them inside her mini case. She stands up with the mini suitcase in her hand. Yeah, Kara thinks she’s part of the cute community for sure. “It’s time I leave, I have a business to run. Nia, please go easy on her.”

“I make no promises,” Nia says, scrunching her face.

“Wow,” Kara says.

Lena makes her leave, but not without flashing Kara a smile and waving bye at Nia and Brainy.

Kara rubs her hand over her face, sighs. She needs to get back to work, too.

Well, that’s that.

 


 

It finally happens.

Kara’s in the middle of a task, typing on her computer in CatCo when her phone rings.

“Hello?” Kara says, picking up her phone without looking at the name or number that called her. She places it between her shoulder and ear, eyes on the computer screen, completely absorbed in the article that needs to be handed in by today.

“Guess what,” Alex heads straight into it, a sense of urgency in her voice. It makes Kara pause, a little worried.

“What is it? Something wrong?” The other line turns quiet. “Alex, did something happen—”

“Okay. I didn’t mean to do this today—spontaneously, I mean, but I proposed to Kelly and—and Kara, she said yes—well of course she’d say yes, the woman lives with me and we both agreed to co-parent Esme, but that’s not the point—Kara! She said yes! We’re getting married, and, and—”

“Woah, Alex,” Kara sputters a little, feeling overwhelmed by the sudden call, but she’s grinning anyway, so wide it’s threatening to split her face into two, “okay, slow down. You’re talking too fast and you sound like you’re about to faint. Take a deep breath.”

Alex does. Kara hears the long exhale she lets out on the other line.

“Kelly said yes, and we’re getting married,” Alex says quietly this time, a huge smile evident in her voice.

Kara squeals and stands up so fast in her spot in excitement, and several faces turn to look at her. The action even catches Andrea’s attention, who’s all the way across the end of the room. Kara blushes in her spot. She mutters an apology to her colleagues, quickly sitting back down.

The huge smile on her face refuses to leave.

This is what her sister has always wanted. Someone to love, someone who will stay, someone who wants to start a family with her and—that someone is Kelly.

“Congratulations, Alex,” Kara says quietly, fond fond fond. Her sister deserves this. To be happy. To be happy with someone.

Alex laughs, and there’s the sound of a refrigerator door closing on her end. “Sorry. I desperately wanted to tell you in person, but I just got so excited and I couldn’t wait to share the news… Kelly’s outside right now and I’m here in the kitchen, spreading the good news like wildfire to my favourite people.”

“Aw, Alex…” Kara’s heart swells; there’s something overwhelmingly heartwarming about Alex’s pure excitement and joy. “I am so, so happy for you.”

“Thanks, Kara. Today’s been so lovely. Kelly is taking me out somewhere later, she apparently has a surprise for me and I’m not allowed to ask about it.”

Kara winces. She wants to tell Alex that it’s sister’s night today, actually, but she doesn’t. Not when her sister is going through such a special day, and she’s going to make sure that nothing, absolutely nothing can ruin it or cause her worry.

“I’m getting married to Kelly Olsen,” Alex says, repeats—and it sounds like she’s still trying to process this. “Holy crap.”

Her sister’s happiness is infectious. Kara feels her heart go warm tenfold. At the same time, there’s a sinking feeling in her chest, something indescribable and heavy, unpleasant and crushing.

Everyone's in a good place. Clarke has his family. Nia and Brainy are happily in a serious relationship. There's J'onn and M'gann, quiet about their growing bond but it's there and it’s real. And now there's Alex and Kelly…

It’s really hitting Kara now that her sister is getting married. She knew it was coming but—still, knowing beforehand wasn’t enough to prepare her for the tightness in her gut. She takes a moment to let the breath leave her lungs, let her insides crumple a little. Swallows down, and then steels herself.

“Okay, I really gotta go now. I’ll meet you tomorrow, Kara?”

“We’ll see each other tomorrow,” Kara confirms, nods. She’s happy for Alex and Kelly, and she’s going to focus on that feeling. She licks her lips. “You’ll tell me all the details? I want to know how all this went down. Oh and—please tell Kelly congratulations and that I love her.”

“I will!”

“I love you, Alex.” Kara smiles, fiddling with her collar.

“Love you too, kiddo. Gotta go now, bye!”

 


 

The air smells like freshness and grass.

Around her, the city is alive and teeming. The sidewalks are packed with groups of college kids laughing and shouting to each other; the trains creak and the night buses make an appearance. The glow of the National City lights are so bright that they feel like they’re bathing in bright light—it lights up the sky with its terrifying intensity.

Kara looks up at the dark sky. It looks like it’s going to rain soon—it’s a blur of grey clouds, the moon barely hidden behind the vast darkness.

She stands just there on the sidewalk, breathing slowly. A tiredness seeps into her, bone-deep, all muscles exhausted. She’s tired, but she doesn’t know what exhausts her. She yearns, but doesn’t quite know what she yearns for. There's a restlessness inside of her.

She's unsettled, feels like she’s floating between places. Homesick for something that's long lost.

The traffic lights turn red, and Kara starts walking towards her destination.

They're to meet at a small cafe, thirty minutes before it closes down. Outside the store, Lena’s already there, waiting, holding two coffees.

Lena wears blue jeans, a black shirt, and a burgundy coat. Her face is clean, her make-up wiped away, leaving her looking a lot less like the CEO Lena Luthor and a lot more like Lena Luthor again. It’s a face Kara has seen countless times. Large glasses settle on Lena's nose, an accessory that easily fools passerbys into thinking she’s just a random, nameless woman in the city.

Kara fixes her own glasses, adjusts her black baseball cap, and heads straight towards her. Lena's face brightens the moment she sees Kara.

“Hey,” Lena greets, handing Kara her coffee. Kara smiles, takes it gratefully.

“Hi,” Kara greets back, and they start walking.

It must be a cold night. Everyone's wearing an extra layer. Lena’s cheeks are rosy, and every breath she blows there’s a puffy cloud. There's a silence between them as they pass through the streets and many college students.

“You know what I like about our walks?” Lena says, letting out a quiet exhale. She holds her coffee in one hand, and the other is kept inside her coat pocket.

“What is it?”

“Not everyone has the privilege of walking late at night. When I’m with you, I can walk around without fearing for my life.” Lena looks at Kara, then focuses on the pathwalk ahead of them. “I don’t worry when someone approaches me. And if I were to get attacked—well. I’d worry for them.”

“Your friendly kryptonian, at your service,” Kara says, and holds two fingers over her eyebrow in salutation. It makes Lena smile.

Lena’s a high-profile figure and a woman. The dangers of walking alone—she gets it.

They take strolls every now and then—so far no one’s tried to attack them in all their years of spending their time together at night. No one knows that the woman walking past them is Lena Luthor, billionaire and CEO of L-Corp. Or Supergirl, beloved and treasured by the people of Earth.

In the distance, a woman is carrying a backpack. More specifically, it’s a see-through backpack designed for pets. There’s a fur baby occupying the space.

“Chonky cat,” Kara whispers to herself in wonder, delighted.

“Mh? Did you say something, Kara?”

“Chonky cat,” Kara repeats louder this time, smiling at the tabby cat that’s just quietly keeping to itself, looking content inside. They both come to a stop on the sidewalk, waiting for the lights to turn red so they can cross. “Look over there, across the street. Adorable.”

Lena follows the line of Kara’s gaze. When her eyes land on them, a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth.

“Chonky cat,” Lena agrees, nodding.

Good talk.

Later they find a bench, and Lena leads Kara to it, just to rest for a bit. It’s quiet—a comfortable silence between the two as they finish off their coffee.

Kara chews on the rim of her cup, thinking.

The truth is, she can’t get rid of the sinking feeling in her chest. It’s been there ever since that call with Alex. The more she thinks about it, the more she’s afraid to figure out exactly why she’s feeling like this. Deep down, she knows. She’s just afraid to bring those thoughts into the surface.

“So,” Lena says, drawing the word out a little. “Is there a reason why you called me out here today?”

“Um.” Kara blinks, turning her head just slightly to meet Lena’s gaze. She wets her lips, fixes her glasses, and smiles. “Do I need a reason why I want to hang out with you?”

“No, of course not.” Lena shakes her head, smiles. “It’s just, it’s Friday and you’re out here spending your time with me on a Friday night,” she explains, shrugging. “Isn’t it sisters night today?”

Ah. Of course Lena’s aware of her schedule. Kara blushes, and looks away.

“Yeah,” Kara murmurs, rubbing the back of her neck, “we were supposed to have sisters night today but there was a change of plans. Alex and Kelly have a date night thing.”

“I see.”

“I got ditched so I’ve come to bother the best Luthor about it.”

“Poor me.” Lena laughs softly, and leans against Kara’s shoulder. She presses in, and the weight feels nice. “I have to say, the cancelling sounds like it was done last minute.”

“She has a valid reason—something beautiful happened. I’m really happy for her.”

Lena hums thoughtfully. “Then why are you making that face?”

“What face?”

“Crinkle,” Lena explains, and taps on Kara’s forehead using her index finger.

Kara scrunches her face, grumbles. “Lena,” she mumbles.

“There has to be a reason why you’re making that face. You’ve had it on since I saw you across the street. What is it?” Lena asks, eyes curious. When Kara doesn’t answer, she says, softly, “You can tell me.”

Kara hesitates. It’s silly. It's not worth mentioning. It’s not something she wants to get into right now, not ever, but there’s something so sincere and disarming about Lena. She always knows when to push and when to let Kara be.

“It’s not good,” Kara says weakly, ducking her head. She looks at the ground, fiddles with her hands. “I’m terrible. Really, really terrible.”

“Why do you think you’re terrible?”

“You’ll think I’m awful,” Kara says in a whisper.

“Never,” Lena argues.

Kara turns her head to look at her, fidgety around the edges, and Lena looks right back. It’s quiet in their area and Kara feels a little tense. Perhaps it’s vain, but she really doesn’t want Lena to think she’s awful. She likes being on her good side—wants to stay in her good graces.

“Alex is getting married,” Kara says, and averts her gaze again. “She asked Kelly, and Kelly said yes.”

Lena’s jaw drops, just a bit. “Oh. Oh, wow. I mean, I knew it was coming but—wow. That’s amazing,” she says with raised eyebrows, and she turns quiet, taking the time to process this.

“I know, right? I’m happy for them—I truly am.”

“But?” Lena asks gently.

Kara licks her lips, hesitates. “Alex is my sister and friend.” She takes a long, shuddering breath. “And she’s going to get married and ride off into the sunset I—I won’t really have anyone. It’s silly, and ridiculously selfish to feel like this, I know—”

“Kara,” Lena says softly, and touches Kara’s wrist. Kara stops wringing her hands on her lap, frozen by the contact. “That isn’t true—none of that is. And you have other friends. Remember what happened this morning?”

Kara rubs the side of her face, feels something prickling right behind her eyelids. Rao, how embarrassing. Now that it’s out here, she feels a little wild around the edges. There’s a familiar frozen kind of feeling—it’s like she isn’t sure how to get any of what’s in her head out in the open for anyone else to see.

All she knows is that there’s a tightness in her gut.

“That’s true but—it’s different. I’m… Alex is the only one who—who knows me. Really knows me,” Kara murmurs. Her chest twists and for a second she feels like she’s about to crumble. But then she draws in a slow breath, and it fades, just enough. “You know it’s different.”

“I’m your friend,” Lena says quietly, stroking Kara’s wrist. Soft, gentle. “And Alex isn’t going to forget about you, or leave you.”

Kara exhales slow and heavy, heart thudding in her chest. She shouldn’t be this easily affected by a simple touch and anything Lena says, but she is. And Kara knows—she knows Alex won't leave her. She's just been out of her depth lately.

Life is a lot, and she particularly has a lot in her life. Overthinking is never any help to her.

“Yeah…” She manages a weak smile, embarrassed. Of course, of course. “I’m sorry. I know I’m being ridiculous.”

“Darling, you’re not,” Lena assures Kara, shakes her head gently. “You’re scared. Things are moving and changing fast.”

It’s quiet for a single, long moment. Lena keeps touching her wrist, warm thumb and index finger drawing random patterns on her skin. It feels really nice.

After a few more moments spent in silence, Kara speaks.

“Thank you.”

Lena studies her.

“It's true that you never need a reason to come hang out with me,” Lena starts, her fingers staying on Kara’s wrist. “So I'd just like to put it out here in words now. With a reason or no reason—if you need anything, or if you’re having trouble with something? Call me,” she says quietly, eyes steady on Kara’s. “Even when you’re feeling lonely? Come to me.”

Kara breathes in and out, a little lost for words. “Sure.” She wets her lips, cheeks heating. Warmth drips down her spine, into her ribcage, and blows her heart up big. “Okay, Lena.” A pause. “You too, though.”

“Kara.” Lena laughs quietly. “In case you don’t already know,” she says, leaning and dropping her voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “I already do that. You’re the only one who knows how to effectively lure me out of my comfort zone. Actually get me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. You’re kind of terrifying.”

“I'm not terrifying. I know terrifying. Have you seen my wardrobe?” Kara says, flushing. She touches her black cap, fiddling with the material.

Lena smiles, shakes her head gently. “So, you understand?” Her friend seems determined to make sure her point gets across.

There’s a look of understanding in Lena's eyes, which tells Kara she's talking about something more. It's gentle, not pushing. Saying without using words, you can be real and vulnerable with me. I won't think any less of you.

It's suddenly a lot.

Kara swallows thickly. They both understand each other; understand how much weight is on the other’s shoulders at all times.

Lena is sweet. Kara's heart kind of hurts at the thought of how warm, kind, gentle, and thoughtful Lena is. And how there is only one of her on this planet. Kara’s heart hurts and she doesn’t know if she deserves this much from Lena.

“Yes, I understand.” Kara just sighs sort of resignedly. “Guess I have no choice but to officially appoint you as my Person.”

“Good. I’m honoured.” Lena nods, grins gently. She looks satisfied; delighted. They’re close, and Kara can smell Lena’s shampoo from here, something soft and fruity.

“It's not a big deal. You look way too happy about this.” Kara bites the bottom of her lip, smiling silly, and she looks up at the sky. “Quick, what’s it like being Kara Danvers’ Person.”

“Now, calm down.” Lena lets out a soft breath, chuckling. “It’s barely been a minute. I’ll let you know sometime in the future. This is a big deal.”

“Okay. I will patiently and eagerly wait for a detailed feedback,” Kara says, and her best friend is laughing now. “Positive feedback only, by the way. I get hurt easily.”

“Dork,” Lena says. Fond, fond.

Their eyes catch and linger. A silence settles in between them.

Lena cups the side of Kara’s face, starts to leans in and then pauses—

Kara stops breathing. Her heart thunders against her chest.

Using her other hand, Lena takes the black baseball cap off of Kara’s head, and her thumb brushes against the corner of Kara’s mouth. Kara feels like she’s forgotten to move when Lena leans forward and presses her lips on Kara’s cheek.

Lena presses and lingers... only for a second, but lingers, still, and Kara's chest is doing all sorts of things.

There’s a lot you can hide under the guise of just friends, but they’re pushing. Lately they are pushing and pushing.

“Lena,” Kara says, voice strained. Her face warms.

Lena pulls back with a soft grin tugging at her lips, and instead of giving Kara her black cap back she wears it. Kara stares, soft frown on her face. That’s hers. Lena looks good with the hat on her head.

Her hat, specifically.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help it. You’re cute and you deserve to be kissed every day. According to you it’s a rule, don’t look at me.” Lena shrugs. “The day was going to end. This was for the cute people.”

Kara takes a quiet, shaky breath. “Wow. How valiant and noble of you.” Ducking her head, she adjusts her glasses shyly.

She knows Lena’s looking at her right now, but she feels a little too flustered to make eye contact with her. Five years with Lena and she still gets like this. Absurd. It’s absurd.

“Single-handedly saving the cute community,” Kara mumbles.

“That’s me.”

It’s when they both feel a tiny droplet of rain touch their cheeks that they both decide it’s time to head back before it rains. They’re walking and it’s in the direction of Lena’s penthouse because Kara always insists Lena gets home safely first. That, and Lena’s home is closer.

By the time they’re standing right in front of Lena’s building the rain has already started; droplets of rain hitting against concrete.

They stay standing close to each other, Kara waiting for Lena to get inside her building. Lena is unmoving and doesn’t look like she plans on going inside yet.

She looks at Kara, and Kara looks back.

“Would you like to come in for a bit?” Lena asks, and looks up at the sky, sheltered by the entrance building. She covers her eyes a bit from the rain. “It’s pouring.”

Kara shakes her head, grins. “I’ll be fine. A little rain won’t hurt me,” she says, tugging at the lapels of her coat just to make her point. She wears a hoodie underneath it, which serves more protection but it’s not like she’ll need it if she’s going to fly back to hers.

“It’s pouring,” Lena continues, “just stay in for a bit. And if the rain doesn’t go, you can stay in one of my guest rooms.”

Kara flushes. She’s Supergirl. She's stronger than Superman and can travel to places just as fast as The Flash. Despite it all, Lena still worries and dotes on her.

Kara really doesn't want to impose, but she doesn’t want to get wet and the idea of staying inside Lena's penthouse and spending more time with her warms Kara, and Lena is offering, so.

She eyes at Lena carefully, her eyes tracing over the contours of Lena’s face before they meet Lena’s unwavering stare. She finds herself holding it—unable to look away from the soft and sincere look in Lena’s eyes.

“Okay,” Kara says, voice just above a whisper.

They walk inside the building and in the lobby as they approach the elevator, Kara stills at the sight. Feels her stomach drop. Because of course for them to get inside Lena's penthouse they have to take the lift.

The cubicle is just a little smaller than CatCo’s. Bigger than the Tower’s. Kara inhales slowly and deeply, and shoves her hands inside her coat pockets.

When the door opens, Kara follows Lena into the elevator quietly. The biometric scanner is taken care of by Lena, and soon they’re going up floor by floor.

“Are you hungry?” Lena asks, breaking the silence. In the corner of Kara’s eye she can see Lena leaning against the railing, checking her phone. “I’m prepared this time. Changed things up a little, I have snacks in the kitchen. Kara Danvers approved snacks and other food.”

Kara chuckles quietly, fingers twisting and untwisting the material of her coat pocket. She keeps her eyes trained to the floor.

“I could use a snack or two.” A pause. “I’m glad my last visit inspired you to bring real food into your kitchen.”

Lena laughs softly, shakes her head. Kara smiles at the sound.

“Inspired is a strong word, but okay. Now you have to leave me and my kitchen alone,” Lena huffs.

“Sure. We can’t let the public know that Supergirl has a tendency to go around roasting Lena Luthor’s kitchen. Even if it’s deserved.”

“It absolutely is not, leave us alone.” Lena laughs, and Kara's smile widens, can’t help it.

“This is kind of suspicious, though. Using snacks to further entice a Super into a Luthor’s home? I guess this is how I go.”

“This is how you go,” Lena agrees. “What can I say. Supergirl is that easy.”

“Lena.” Kara turns her head to look at Lena, blinks incredulously. She laughs, baffled.

“Kara,” Lena returns, and she’s smiling in that specific Lena way that makes her double dimples appear.

Kara stares.

The elevator opens then, and Kara is first out of the cubicle. The lights open almost instantly and she’s greeted with a clean and tidy living room. Settling in the penthouse, air enters into her lungs more easily, and she feels lighter; better.

Through the balcony windows Kara can see that the rain is pouring heavily over the city now.

“Make yourself at home,” Lena says, getting rid of her coat and placing it carefully on the couch.

Kara does. She gets herself a glass of water as she looks around the kitchen. It really does look less emptier than before. It’s—filled. There are fruits, snacks, biscuits, and more ingredients lying around. Kara looks at Lena, jaw dropping a little, and Lena just shrugs, a small smile on her face.

Thirty minutes with Lena just chatting about work and not work in the kitchen passes quickly. The rain is showing no sign of stopping anytime soon. Kara’s looking through the window as she holds the cup of tea Lena made for her.

“It’s late and it’s still raining,” Kara observes, peeking in the window.

“Yeah,” Lena says, looking outside with her.

The rain—it’s really not a big deal.

Flying back to hers through the rain really isn’t an issue, but Lena’s been really welcoming and Kara feels tired, a good tired—the best tired she’s had in a while. The lack of sleep is an ongoing problem and right now she mostly just wants to hit the bed and get as much rest as she can, so she says:

“I guess I’ll stay?” Kara rubs the back of her neck, shy.

“I guess you are.”

Lena brings her some comfortable clothes to change into, and with a quiet thanks Kara quickly changes into them in the bathroom. This is new, uncharted territory—sleeping in Lena's home. She’s never done that. Even before they had their falling out—Lena always kept to herself, her home off-limits even if Kara was allowed to swing by anytime.

She values her personal space and privacy more than anything, so Kara thinks this is kind of a big deal.

Wearing Lena’s clothes, Kara can smell her. The scent of her shampoo, moisturizer, perfume and something else that is entirely Lena. It’s a nice, comforting smell. Wearing her clothes—she’s never done that before, too.

There’s a knock on the bathroom door as Kara inspects herself in the mirror.

“Are you done? Can I come in?” Lena asks, her voice muffled behind the door.

“Yeah,” Kara answers, and Lena comes in with a new and unused toothbrush in her hand.

They get ready for bed side by side in the bathroom, stealing shy glances at each other in the mirror as they go through their nighttime routines. Kara keeps giving Lena light shoulder bumps, distracting Lena from brushing her teeth, and Lena bumps back, and now they both get toothpaste all over the place. It’s worth it for the way Lena rolls her eyes with a fond smile through a mouthful of foam.

After they complete their night routines, they go to their respective places, Lena the first to choose the side she normally sleeps on. Kara carefully slides under the covers, closes her eyes and lies on her back. Outside the building she can hear puddles being stepped on, water splashing against car tires, and water rushing through sewers.

She turns her head, looks at Lena.

“The rain’s stopped,” Kara whispers.

Lena makes a low sound in her throat, something like a hum. She’s lying on her back with her eyes closed.

“I can go.”

“You can, if you want,” Lena says. “But you’re here now, comfortable and settled in. I’d prefer it if you stay.”

“Okay.” Kara bites the inside of her cheek, squishes the side of her face on the pillow. “Thank you,” she mumbles, barely audibly, but Lena seems to hear it anyway, nodding.

Lena turns her head then, looks back at Kara, and Kara wonders if she’s ever going to stop being taken aback by her eyes. A lock of her hair falls off Lena’s forehead. Kara’s fingers flex with the desire to thread them into Lena’s hair and then lean forward and kiss her forehead.

She doesn’t. She does smile at her.

Lena smiles back, soft and gentle. Pretty, pretty.

“Earlier… you know, Kara, I said you can sleep in one of my guest rooms. Not in my bed, but here you are.” A light arch of an eyebrow. “Followed me here like a puppy.”

“Oh, I.” Kara opens and closes her mouth. “Oops.” She grabs the blanket and covers her mouth with it, ears and cheeks pinking. Lena did say guest room before, now that she mentions it. Not her bed specifically. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“You padded closely behind me the moment I was done in the bathroom. It's cute that you instantly assumed you'd be sleeping with me. I didn’t have the heart to make you turn around.”

“This is embarrassing. Sorry, I'll get up and switch rooms—”

“It’s okay—really. You’re fine.” Lena shakes her head. “Stay here. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You know how it is.”

Kara laughs softly, fond. She takes a breath, relaxes.

It wouldn't be their first time falling asleep together, just never like this. On more than one occasion, they’ve fallen asleep together in the Tower on the couch or in the same room during breaks. It’s usually after a long session of forming ideas and strategies to face whatever threat is going on that they find the time to nap.

Sleeping in the same bed—and in Lena’s bed? It’s a first. It’s nice, being allowed to be this close to Lena.

“‘Night, Lena,” Kara tells her after a while, voice hushed.

“Goodnight, Kara,” Lena replies quietly.

Kara turns to the other side. There's enough light that comes through the curtains that the dark doesn't feel oppressive. The sliver of moonlight and Lena's presence in the room. A steady heartbeat in her ears.

She’s accustomed to being unable to sleep and thus stays up until the early hours of morning but with the warmth of Lena near her and the muted sound of the outside, she swiftly drifts off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Kara wakes up softly and warm.

She moves the tiniest bit, and then completely freezes.

Huh.

Oh, no. She’s not imagining it, she definitely has her nose pressed into Lena’s collarbones. She also, quite terrifyingly, definitely has her arm wrapped around Lena’s middle. She moves her legs a bit, only to realize that one of them is definitely thrown over Lena’s under the covers. So she turned over during the night.

Okay. There’s a lot happening, but Kara doesn’t dare move.

Thoughts from last night start to filter back through. Right. She was hanging out with Lena and chose to stay in because Lena let her. She remembers settling into Lena’s bed, when she was meant to stay in one of the guest rooms originally. Remembers whispered good nights.

Her entire head is dizzy with Lena’s scent. Lena is warm and solid against Kara, and Kara’s trying to keep her heart steady, steady.

Breathing slowly, gradually she feels all her muscles relaxing.

When she has her bearings she moves, shifts, and oh, no. Oh no no no no. She can’t move, because Lena’s arm is folded around her waist, fingers clutching into the fabric of her shirt.

“Lena?” she says so very quietly, and she’s met with no response.

Kara swallows hard. Her face is still pressed into Lena’s neck. It is mortifyingly comfortable, she comes to a realization. It’s been a long time since she slept next to someone like this, and she forgot how it felt.

To be held, to hold, to feel well-rested, and this all feels—nice.

She squeezes Lena, the gentlest of squeezes, and presses her nose just a little bit against Lena’s neck. Something inside of her wants to stay here all morning, wrapped up together under the blanket. Revel in the feeling of Lena so close to her like this.

It makes Kara’s heart hurt. She doesn’t think she’s touch-starved, so this unexpected, almost overwhelming feeling surprises her.

Lena sighs in her sleep, and when she shifts against Kara, and then a bit more, fingers clenching and unclenching Kara’s shirt, Kara feels Lena freeze completely. There’s an erratic heartbeat in Kara’s ears.

“Kara?” Lena says, voice scratchy, thick with sleep and soft-sounding.

Kara’s also sent into a total and absolute stillness. It’s okay. There are worse ways to wake up to, and waking up tangled in her best friend isn’t too bad. It’s cool. Kara can play it cool.

“Yes?” Kara murmurs against Lena’s neck, her lips brushing against skin, and she hears Lena’s breath hitch—

“I. Kara. This is kind of… I didn’t expect to wake up in this position,” Lena says carefully, sounding strangled, and although she sounds uncertain and confused she doesn’t do anything to move away from Kara.

“I just woke up too, um—sorry.” Kara pulls her face back, sensing some discomfort from Lena. “I didn’t move away like I should have. You’re uncomfortable—” she says, embarrassed, tilts her head up so she can look at Lena and wow, Kara didn’t anticipate this, their faces are so close—

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Lena hurries to say. Two beats later, “I was just… a bit surprised to wake up to this.”

Kara looks at Lena, and Lena looks back. Their limbs are still tangled together. The room is dim with morning light, gentle golden seeping in just enough through the curtains to highlight Lena’s features.

Lena’s face is puffy with sleep, her hair messy in a messy-attractive way, and Kara thinks pretty, pretty, she’s so pretty.

Kara stares, then flushes when she catches herself staring.

“I think it was me who moved, sometime during the night. You know I’m a cuddler, Lena,” she mumbles, looking away and pressing her forehead against Lena’s collarbones. Just to hide from Lena’s gaze. “You should have anticipated something like this to happen the moment you let me in your bed.”

To emphasize her point, with her arm still wrapped around Lena’s middle, she gives her friend a squeeze.

“I guess I should have,” Lena says quietly.

A few minutes pass. Kara feels Lena soften; relax.

“You have nice curtains, by the way,” Kara whispers.

Lena nods, and she begins playing with Kara’s shirt, fingers lightly moving around Kara’s back. “Only the best. Blocks out just enough light. Perfect for vampires like me.”

“You’re not a vampire, Lena. You said before.” The corner of Kara’s lips tug up as she recalls that one night with Lena in Alex’s apartment. Winces then, when she remembers what happened before that conversation took place.

Images, begone.

“I did.” Lena laughs quietly. “But, you know if I wanted to? I could bite you, with you keeping me close like this.”

Kara stills. She doesn’t think she can handle Lena’s mouth on her neck again.

“Please don’t.”

“So you’re just gonna keep me here? Am I allowed to leave?”

“No,” Kara says simply, squeezes Lena in her arm. She’s so soft. And small like this. Kara pauses a bit, rethinking her decision, “Or maybe... yes. ‘M strong, Lena. Might break you.”

“You can’t break me,” Lena replies, with confidence. “All right, two minutes.”

“Two minutes what?”

“I have to get up in two minutes for work.”

“Okay. So until then, I can’t let you go,” Kara says. “It’s included in the best friend bylaws.”

“I’m sure you can bend them.”

“I can, but I refuse. I’m a cuddler and you’re cuddly, so naturally this is what happens.”

As if accepting her fate, Lena just says, resignedly, “Okay.”

It’s just… really quite alarming how relaxed she feels right now. She can feel all of the month’s stress melting out of her body, eased away by the warmth of Lena’s body against hers, the press of Lena’s hand on her back, running gently up and now through her hair, scratching at her scalp a little.

Although this isn’t how she thought her morning would go, she honestly... can’t remember the last time she felt this comfortable. If she never had to move again, that would actually be quite ideal.

Minutes pass, and Kara thinks she might’ve gotten an extra minute off there; she can’t tell. Not wanting to get in the way of Lena’s morning routine, she lets her go.

“Okay,” Kara murmurs, pulling herself away from Lena and then squishing her face against her pillow, pouting because why does time always pass so fast when she wants it to go slowly. “Very good. You may carry on with your little morning tasks.”

“Thank you so very kindly, darling.”

Kara flushes at the term of endearment, presses her face further against the pillow.

The bed loses some weight, and Lena leaves.

 


 

Kara's favourite parts of the day, she thinks, are the parts where she is making coffee. It doesn’t matter what the current time is, it’s a quiet time spent alone, with nothing to guide her thoughts except for the whizzing noises from the brewer machine as it passes the water through the filter and coffee grounds.

It’s during moments like this, doing something so mundane and unimportant that she gets this sort of stillness in her world, a quietness in her mind where she doesn’t have to answer to anyone, where she’s not thinking of what tasks she needs to be doing, where she could be going next.

Closing her eyes, she breathes slowly, resting her fingertips against Lena’s countertop, mind drifting to wherever it decides to go. The world is loud—it’s always loud. It’s more than just a sound in Kara’s ears. Creating a wall around her, she focuses on honing in on the sound of the machine as it is a way to grant her some sort of an escape from existing.

Just a bit.

She hears one step then, heels on the kitchen floor, and then a second and a third.

“Look who’s finally up,” Lena says. Kara’s eyes are closed, and she keeps them closed even as she hears Lena come closer, heels clacking quietly on the floor.

“Not going to lie, Lena, it was a struggle getting up. It should be illegal for your bed to be that comfortable.”

Lena laughs quietly.

Kara opens her eyes, looks at her best friend.

The pale morning light coming from the balcony windows touches Lena, casting her in a glow that looks good on her, pretty pretty, her whole self just this side of ethereal. Her jaw is sharp, her expression also sharp but warm and private, eyes gentle that Kara feels rooted to her spot, transfixed.

Lena’s dressed in a pencil skirt and high heels; makeup flawless with deep red lipstick matching the red lining of her Louboutin. Hair pulled into a high ponytail, neat and just perfect, no strands sticking out. It accentuates her sharp jaw and neck, and Kara’s having a hard time looking away.

There’s a tightly fitted shirt she has on, the fabric straining, something Kara notices all too quickly. Lena has a deep plunging neckline, showing plenty of cleavage.

Kara stares. Her eyes linger on Lena’s mouth and below her neck unconsciously until Kara forcefully tears her gaze away.

She is allowed to notice. Nothing wrong in noticing.

“Um. Good morning.”

“Good morning,” Lena replies.

Eyes on the countertop, Kara clears her throat, licks her lips and swallows thickly. In the corner of her eye she sees Lena tilt her head in the smallest way, curious, and Kara tries not to shrink underneath her best friend’s gaze.

“Would you like me to make you coffee?” she murmurs, and opens one of the cupboards, taking a mug to use for her coffee.

Heels clack against the floor, coming closer to Kara, and it stops. Lena sits just behind the countertop, tablet in front of her.

This is new.

The closeness of it. It feels weird and not weird at the same time, how Kara’s standing in Lena’s kitchen in the morning after staying the night and Lena’s close by, already dressed for work.

“Thank you, but I think I’ll have my coffee somewhere else. I have to leave soon, there’s a very important client I have to meet in about,” Lena says, and when Kara turns to look at her she sees Lena checking her watch, “twenty minutes. Don’t have much time to stick around, I’m afraid.”

“Ah. Okay,” Kara says. Lena looks up, and their eyes meet. There’s a moment of silence, and Kara blushes. “By the way. You look really nice. I mean, you always look nice but—yeah, you look really… nice.”

Lena blinks, a slow smile spreading across her face. She’s looking at Kara innocently, like she’s completely oblivious to the fact that she’s the most irresistible woman on earth.

“Only nice?” Lena asks.

Kara doesn't know if Lena’s flirting or actually just genuinely unsure, but whatever the case is, the one thing to do with Lena is that whenever there's an opportunity, always praise her.

Because Lena is Lena, and Kara thinks Lena always deserves to be showered in praises and compliments.

“You’re pretty,” Kara mumbles with her cheeks heating, scratching her eyebrow as she turns to her coffee, eyes on the sugar she’s pouring into her mug, “in a breathtaking way.”

At that, Lena turns quiet. Kara pauses at the lack of response. She doesn’t turn to look at Lena, just stays rooted in her spot.

“I’m sure you receive plenty of compliments like this every day,” Kara continues, smiling a little. When there’s still no response, she adds, the smile on her face widening, “Don’t tell me you’re shy, Lena. Bashful?”

The stool scrapes against the floor behind her, the sound telling Kara that Lena has gotten off her seat.

“It’s different when it’s from you,” Lena replies. Two beats later, she adds, “It’s different when it’s from friends.”

Oh. Well Kara suppose this answer doesn’t surprise her one bit. Humble and sweet—that’s the kind of woman Lena is.

Lena lets out a sigh, and Kara turns to look at her.

“I should get going now,” Lena says, tucking her tablet into her mini case before checking her watch for the time. Kara starts to move as well, because if Lena is to leave now, she should go, too. As she moves, Lena turns and faces her, pauses. “There’s no need to go, Kara. It’s fine if you want to stay here a little longer.”

Kara blinks.

“Are you sure? You’ve been so kind to me—I don’t want to intrude on your space too much.”

“Intrude?” Lena questions, genuine surprise taking over her features. “Nonsense. If I didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t be here.” She arches an eyebrow, as if daring Kara to argue with her.

“I know how much you value your privacy and space, so I just.” Kara flushes, licks her lips. “Never mind.”

Lena taps her index finger on the countertop slowly, eyes studying Kara carefully.

“Sometimes I think I have you figured out, but then other times I think I don’t know a thing about you,” Lena says quietly.

“Huh? I’m an open book. A little too open, I think. You’re the one I have trouble reading,” Kara responds with a smile, and Lena turns quiet. “Anyway, um. You sure you want to leave me here all alone?”

Lena leans back on her seat, shrugs. “What are you gonna do, Kara? Eat all the food in my kitchen? Sneak around my rooms, searching for my evil secret Luthor world domination plans?”

“Okay, I get it.” Kara scratches her cheek, ducking her head. “Well then, I’m about to make pancakes. What if I burn something and you’re not here to save your home?”

“Kara.” Lena laughs, shaking her head. Kara’s eyes flicker to Lena’s mouth, her pretty heart shaped mouth. “You won’t. A fire extinguisher or even the fire department has nothing on Supergirl.” Silence. Lena’s mouth has stopped moving. Kara looks back up, face warming. That was very subtle and not at all obvious of her. Lena clears her throat. “Please just make sure my balcony is closed before you leave.”

“Okay,” Kara mumbles. She steps away from the coffee machine and faces Lena, elbows against the countertop. When Lena nods at her, a gesture that tells Kara she’ll be making her leave now, Kara says, a little hurried, “Lena? Wait, just before you go. I want to say thank you for letting me stay over. And um, for keeping me company last night.”

“You’re welcome,” Lena says simply, softly grinning, cheeks dimpling.

Kara wants to look at her forever, kind of. That’s a weird thought, one she will fling into the sun. She stares at her best friend a bit more, thinking, wondering if Lena truly understands how much she appreciates her.

Her mouth opens and she wants to say more, but surprisingly finds that there are words that feel thick in her own throat. She doesn’t trust herself to kick them out in the right order right now, so she steps into Lena’s space.

She doesn’t mean to do this, but the pull is monstrous.

Kara cups Lena’s cheek and leans in, pressing her mouth against Lena’s forehead. Just a peck because it feels right, like the correct thing to do, for someone who feels the way she feels.

As she pulls back, Lena’s nose and eyebrows twitch in that same cute way that they did last time she did this.

Kara lets out a shaky breath, smiles.

“I’ll let you go now. Be safe.”

Something indecipherable flickers across Lena’s face. Lena nods at Kara, smiles back, then turns to leave.

 


 

Kara is thumbing through emails on her phone as she munches on a sticky bun, away from her desk, on the balcony when Alex appears on her right.

The moment their eyes meet, a grin breaks out in Alex’s face, and she’s walking towards Kara with a box of doughnuts.

“Hey, you,” Alex says, taking the seat right next to Kara. She’s dressed in her favourite leather jacket and jeans, casual and comfortable. “What are you up to?”

“Alex!” Kara exclaims, lowering her sticky bun with a grin. “I’m on break right now. Nothing much, just sorting my emails here.” Alex hums, and pushes doughnuts in Kara’s way. “You’re here. Is something wrong? Did something happen?”

“No, you’ve got to stop expecting work-related things from me.” Alex waves her off, chuckling. “No, nothing important. Unless you count yesterday,” her sister says slowly, bright and beaming, lifting her hand and showing off her engagement ring.

“Looking good! Look at you, happiness is a lovely look on you.” Kara smiles fond, fond. “Hey, you said you’d tell me about the details. How’d it go with Kelly?”

It’s really happening. Things are changing, things will be different now, and that’s okay.

Alex grins. “Actually, can I save story-telling time for our next sister’s night?” Her face drops, then. “Oh, no. Yesterday—that was sister’s night. God, I’m sorry I completely forgot about it,” she says, wincing, an apologetic look on her face.

Kara can’t have that.

“What? Please, don’t be. We have plenty of those, Alex.” Her sister doesn’t buy it, still wearing a guilty expression. Kara sighs. She tilts her head, and says, “Come on, you bought me doughnuts. You’re forgiven.”

Alex stares at Kara for a few seconds before a smile takes over her face.

“I won’t miss the next one, I promise.”

Kara waves her off good-naturedly. “So, what really brings you here?”

“I told you I’d come see you. See what’s up and new with my sister. Making sure you’re doing all right.”

Putting her phone down, she takes a doughnut from the box. She smiles, unsure.

“Right now I have a doughnut in hand, thanks to you. This is the best day ever, I think,” Kara asserts, and Alex laughs loudly, causing two of Kara’s colleagues inside the building to look at them curiously.

“Dork.” Alex looks at her, fond. A little later, she says, quietly, “I’m glad to see you doing okay.”

Alex is looking at her in some type of way, and Kara wonders what she’s thinking about. Kara knows her sister; she’s familiar with the way she talks, acts, and moves around Kara. There is worry etched on her face, but it’s not too much in an overwhelming way.

“You seem to be doing that a lot lately. The worrying,” Kara points out gently. She looks away, watches a bird soaring high up the sky. “I’m doing okay. Is there something going on that makes you think I’m not?”

It’s quiet.

“You’ve been through a lot, Kara. And that’s an understatement,” Alex replies, turning to face the sky, too. Kara tenses, frowns at that. Sure, that’s true—she’s been through a lot. But she’s okay—or at least she thinks she is. She’s Supergirl so she can’t afford to not be okay. Kara’s confused, and looks at Alex, and Alex looks back. “It’s just… sometimes it’s hard to know what goes on in your head. You do worry me.”

“I don’t want you to worry. I can take care of myself.” Kara has no idea what gave Alex the impression that she’s someone that needs to be checked up on more than usual, but she’s just going to go along with it.

“I want to worry about you. You deserve to be taken care of.”

“There’s nothing to worry about.” Kara frowns, starting to feel uncomfortable. “You’ll be the first to know if something is happening to me that’s worry-worthy.”

“Worry-worthy?” Alex smiles quizzically, shaking her head. “Look, I’ll take your word for it, but I am concerned about what kind of things you consider as worry-worthy.”

Kara feels uneasy. Her brain has always had an interesting definition of the word help. Can’t help it, because she’s different from everyone. Not just because she’s an alien, but because she’s also Supergirl.

“You’ll be the first to know,” Kara tries again, chuckling wryly. She takes a doughnut into her mouth, pauses. “Or Lena.”

“Lena, huh?” Alex says in an odd tone, looking at Kara funny, like she knows something Kara doesn’t, which makes Kara feel weird. “All right. You know how I can be, Kara. I’m your sister. It’s just my duty to annoy and check up on you, whether you like it or not.”

“I know. I couldn’t hide from you if I tried,” Kara huffs, smiling lightly.

The sky catches her attention again, and she stares at the clouds. The clouds shift, rays of sunshine hitting the CatCo building and them two.

“As you already know. There’s nothing much going on with me. It kind of feels weird.” Alex doesn’t say anything. Kara thins her lips, touches her tie. “Why is it weird to me? It shouldn’t feel weird. I don’t know.”

But maybe that’s the problem. When there are moments when it feels like things have become stagnant or there isn’t much going on, Kara feels anxious. She’s so used to moving forward, looking ahead that she finds that resting, simply resting and enjoying this luxury—this moment of a serene sort of time a foreign concept to her.

She focuses on the life around her. She looks down at some street, sees a college student sleeping, slumped in a seat waiting for the bus to come. The old couple behind the student, holding hands and talking on the sidewalk, are probably on a date.

She stares, thinking about the little things in life. The couple chat and embrace each other. The student continues to sleep peacefully. 

Kara watches, and thinks how people easily go on with their lives.

“That one sounded bitter,” Alex says lightly.

“It sounds weird coming from me, right?” Kara exhales a soft chuckle. Quietly, she asks, “You don’t think I’m allowed to be bitter?”

“You’re allowed to be anything you want.” Alex stands, stretches with a groan. She takes one doughnut, and leans her waist against the table. She looks thoughtful. “What’s wrong with ‘nothing much going on’?”

“I don’t know, I feel out of place.” Kara wets her lips, rubs the side of her face. “I’m used to something happening. Fixing someone’s mess.”

“Nothing much is happening,” Alex agrees, nodding. “So take this time to relax. Don’t keep standing around on the alert, waiting for the next crisis to happen. Go have fun or take a rest. Do literally anything you want to do. Focus on yourself.”

Kara’s jaw drops a little. Focus on herself? The idea unsettles her. Maybe because she's always focused on doing the opposite of that, with good reason. Focusing on helping others—on comforting others, on their issues or pain, is easier than dealing with her own. She knows she has her own issues. She would rather deal with everyone else’s issues or feelings than look too close at her own.

Kara wonders if it’s wrong or right to focus on other people other than herself. Avoiding her issues by ignoring her pain isn’t helping her, but Kara thinks helping someone else with their problems isn’t such a terrible thing to do either.

Kara flushes, fidgets with her glasses. She feels so unsure. “I don’t know. The Phantom Zone got me real good, I guess,” Kara jokes lightly. Alex regards her intensely, eyes scrutinizing.

Oh. Kara cringes; she didn’t mean to make Alex worry even more. She doesn’t want to make Alex worry more than she already has.

“What’s with the face,” Kara puffs out a silent chuckle, scratching her cheek. She tears her eyes away from Alex, feeling self-conscious. “Do you think I’m that much of a mess?”

Alex sighs, touches Kara’s shoulder.

“I think that you were messed with that much. Like I said, you’ve been through a lot. You’re doing the best you can. You always have.”

Kara’s shoulders relax.

It’s quiet for several moments, Kara staring absently at the sky.

“You don’t have to know what you want, just know what you don’t want. Take a break and take your time. I just want you to be happy,” Alex murmurs, squeezing her shoulder.

She pauses, turns to look at Alex.

“I—” Just as she opens her mouth to reply, she’s abruptly stopped by a loud, sharp explosion in the far distance.

They both startle, rushing to look over the railing. Not too far away from their area, there’s smoke filling up the sky.

“I’ll get on it,” Kara says, frowning as she tunes in to the sound of that direction. She hears cars honking, cries of help, and multiple fire hydrants bursting.

“I’ll meet you there,” Alex urges, nodding, and she’s already gone before Kara can say anything.

 


 

Sirens blare.

Kara lands on a street, cape flapping gently, and she’s quick to survey the area. There are cracks in the concrete around her, four cars flipped upside down, people running away. Everywhere, medics are rushing to tend the injured, some of them wheeling gear, some of them listening to a couple of distressed civilians.

There’s a lone drone flying around in the area.

“You’re on the news. They’re still trying to figure out what happened—do you need me there?” Nia’s voice rushes in her ear, the comm link open.

“It’s fine. I got this,” Kara says, scanning around for the threat. “We, I mean. Alex is on her way.”

“Okay. But let me know if you need me, I’ll be there faster than you can blink.”

“Sounds good.”

“Stay safe out there.”

“Thank you, Nia,” Kara says, allowing herself a smile as she lifts a huge concrete block off the road so cars can get through. She’s just about to talk to one of the medics for information when she hears multiple hissing sounds through her super hearing. Ten blocks away from her. She rushes to that direction, there in almost an instant using her super speed.

Four aliens and a prisoner transport vehicle. Kara concludes that they've broken out—either someone helped them, or those aliens found an opportunity to distract the authorities watching over them and break out. She looks to her right. Behind one of the aliens, three bodies—one in civilian clothes and two in blue uniform are on the ground, bleeding and unmoving.

The absolute lack of pulse from them makes Kara let out a small, tired exhale.

She always sees death and yet it still saddens her.

The four aliens stare at each other, clearly not very amicable with the way they are pointing their claws at one another. They’re speaking in a language Kara isn’t familiar with, but it’s apparent to her that they’re heated with each other, arguing about something. They don’t appear to have registered Supergirl’s presence yet. They don’t even care about the drone flying in the air, recording every word and movement in sight.

Kara can take them all. It’s not the first time she has dealt with multiple threats by herself. Looking up at the sky, she takes a deep breath. One, two, three. Clenches her jaw, then looks at her targets.

“All right, that’s enough.”

Kara doesn’t yell, but it’s enough that she raises her voice, accompanying it with a decisive clap shattering the icy hisses creeping through the streets before it can freeze them all over. The aliens flinch visibly, looking shaken by the sheer force of the clap, but they’re quick to recover and compose. They stand their ground, hostile, ready to go on the offense as all eyes are now on Supergirl.

Wordlessly, they come to an agreement that she’s the biggest threat of them all. Arguing comes later.

They all charge at her at once, but they’re too slow. So, so slow that Kara is able to get behind one and incapacitate them, then the second one and the third, then the fourth—yeah, that was too easy. They didn’t even get to go further than two steps.

She has four of them on the ground by the time Alex arrives on the scene with her motorcycle.

“Hi,” Kara greets Alex, grinning. She’s being recorded right now in the news, so she refrains from using her sister’s name. “You didn’t need to come.”

Alex jogs up to her, observing the hissing aliens. They’re back to arguing with each other. A+ for breaking out, F for teamwork.

“I did. You never know what you’re up against,” Alex huffs, rolling her eyes with a smile. “Good work, by the way.” She looks around the area, pauses when she spots the bodies lying in the street. “Those three over there, are they—”

Kara shakes her head, smiles sadly.

“I see.”

 


 

Kara is fine.

It’s an okay day, the prisoner break-out problem taken care of quickly and smoothly. The breeze in her hair feels good. The smell of cinnamon buns is warm, familiar, from a cafe not too far from this building.

She wonders if she should be doing this.

It’s not what she’s doing that’s the problem, not really. She’s allowed to do whatever she wants, she’s allowed to go wherever she wants. She’s a grown adult, she’s free to do anything she wishes to do in the world. Even the things that are illegal, actually. She’s very much capable of them, but she has no interest in breaking any laws.

The point is, it’s fine that she’s on her way to L-Corp to meet Lena. It’s what she’s been doing for the past months, ever since her return, ever since Lena hugged her tightly that day, ever since they started healing the cracks of their friendship. Alex told her to enjoy every moment of peace and quiet and Kara’s going to follow through it. Sure, this isn’t anything new, but that’s besides the point.

It just makes sense to go see Lena during her free time.

Kara lands quietly on the balcony of her best friend’s office, and steps inside the building. Lena isn’t here, which is odd considering Lena always is during lunch time. Maybe she’s just chatting downstairs or is having a bathroom break.

A new flower vase stands on Lena’s desk. Kara walks towards it, smiling at the plumeria settled comfortably in the pot. Lena’s always loved her plants and having a couple around. She seems especially fond of plumerias.

“Supergirl,” comes Lena’s warm voice, and Kara startles.

Kara has missed Lena’s entrance staring down at the flower vase on the desk, which is hard to do, when Lena’s Louboutin heels alerts everyone within a two kilometer radius that she’s entering a building thirty seconds before she actually does.

“Hi, Lena,” Kara says. Lena still looks the same as she did in the morning except she has abandoned the hair tie. Beautiful, and Kara’s kind of awestruck. Lena’s hair is down, falling in loose curls around her shoulders.

As Lena walks inside her office, there is someone following after her moving in confident strides; a tall woman in a side slit dress, the material clinging to every inch of her, accentuating every curve and wow, she’s gorgeous and she’s—oh.

Rao.

Her boss.

“Hi, Miss Rojas,” Supergirl says amicably with a nod.

“Oh, what a surprise. Here I am, suddenly in the presence of the Champion of Earth,” Andrea notes with a light smirk, not even bothering to hide the way her eyes travel over Supergirl, slow and dragging. The attention makes Kara blush, but she stands strong on her ground and smiles, waves. “So the rumours are true. You get personal visits from Supergirl in your office, Lena?”

“Andrea, please don’t start.” Lena rolls her eyes at her friend. There’s affection in her voice. She rounds her desk, placing her phone down, and looks up at Kara. “I didn’t know you were coming today. If I knew—”

“It’s okay. I just came,” Kara says, shaking her head. She can smell Andrea’s expensive perfume from here. It's soft, nice, not too much on the nose. Andrea stands close to Lena like they’re long time close friends. She smiles at Lena like they’re long time close friends.

They are, in a way.

“Did I come at a bad time? I can go.”

Lena looks at Kara, and then at Andrea as if she’s been put in an unexpected spot, and with a wince, she says, “There’s no need—”

“Oh, don’t worry.” Andrea waves them both off. She watches Kara, regarding her in a way Kara can’t quite describe. Curious, maybe. “You came just in time, I need to get back to my company. It was nice having lunch with you, Lena,” Andrea drawls, giving Lena’s shoulder a squeeze. There’s something about her eyes, the way she looks at Lena that tells Kara it’s a look she shouldn’t be witness to. “See you around.”

“Sure, Andrea,” Lena says, a light smile on her face. “See you around.”

Andrea turns, nods politely. “Supergirl.” She leaves then, but not without casting a lingering glance at Lena.

It’s quiet for a moment, and then Lena lets out a sigh. She’s walking towards the balcony, ushering Kara to come join her. Kara does.

“This is shocking news,” Kara says, joining Lena against the railing. They both look down below, at the streets and roads, people and vehicles. “You have a friend who isn’t me, Jess, or the Superfriends.”

Lena breathes out a laugh, pokes Kara on the bicep, hard.

“Rude,” Lena grumbles, shaking her head with a smile. She settles her elbows against the railing and arches an eyebrow at Kara. “I have other friends. You know I have Andrea. You guys aren’t the only people in my life.”

Kara chuckles. “I know, I was teasing you. I was just thinking that you seem to be on better terms with Andrea again.”

Lena hums, contemplative.

“We... we’ve been working on it and things are looking better,” Lena murmurs. Her lips thin as she stares into the distance. “Things are never simple with her, but she’s genuine.” Rubbing her hands, she draws out a steadying sigh. Kara can only describe the look on Lena’s face as guarded and fond. “I’m just tired of fighting and resisting the good things that are trying to come into my life. I think I’ve done enough of that.”

Lena hasn’t exactly told her what went down with Andrea, the reason why they had a friendship break up. All Kara knows is that whatever happened, the damage done was big enough to cause a decade’s worth of avoiding and strong hostility to each other.

Kara wants to tell Lena that if Andrea hurts her again, she’ll raise her fists. But she doesn’t. Can’t. What’s the difference between her and Andrea? They both caused Lena a lot of hurt in the past. They’re both trying to make it up to her and do better.

She doesn’t have the right to play as the protective best friend. Her words would only be laced with irony.

Kara exhales softly, smiles ruefully. “Treat yourself gently, Lena. You deserve plenty of ease in your life.”

“Ease, huh.” Lena turns her head just slightly to meet Kara’s gaze. “Earlier… did you know that a paparazzi was following us? Andrea and I were grabbing lunch at a restaurant a couple of blocks away.”

“Really?” Kara’s eyebrows raise. “Why? Did they, did they think—?”

“What?” Lena blinks, laughs. “You mean were they trying to figure out if we were involved with each other? No. I think they were just looking for pictures to post. Our faces and names together earn them easy clicks.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah,” Lena says, shrugging.

Kara watches Lena’s hair move in the breeze. The golden afternoon sunlight touches Lena's face, casting Lena in an otherworldly glow. She’s wringing her hands, and the smile she’s wearing turns wry.

“They would never paint us in the kind of light you were thinking of earlier.”

“Why not?”

“Because of the stigma.”

“Stigma,” Kara echoes, tilting her head.

Lena hums, nodding. “Well, everyone just assumes there’s no way. I could kiss a woman on the mouth in public, but when it comes to a man? I breathe near one and everyone thinks I’m suddenly secretly married with a kid on the way.”

Kara’s mouth turns down gently at the corner. Lena looks away, shrugs it off. Kara supposes she understands.

There are many people in this world who will misunderstand you, purposely or not.

“Have you, uh,” she says, licks her lips, “have you kissed a woman in public?”

“No,” Lena answers, and meets Kara’s gaze. She seems amused by the question, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “No, I have not kissed a woman on the mouth in public. I was just saying hypothetically, Kara.”

“Oh!” Kara makes a pained sound in the back of her throat, half-laugh and half-embarrassment. “Oh. Yeah, that. Yeah. Okay, I get it.” She knows her face is warming to the point of red, and she’s making a fool out of herself, but that’s okay.

“Yeah.” Lena’s expression turns to amused to something different, something softer with a fond smile.

“Still, back to the topic at hand? That’s awful,” Kara murmurs, frowning as she recalls all the articles she’s seen released about other celebrities. Lena isn’t immune to the stigma.

There’s a loose string of hair hanging awkwardly in Lena’s face. Kara’s finger twitches.

She reaches her hand out, tucks the hair behind Lena’s ear in a slow, smooth manner. Lena stills immediately, a sharp intake of breath.

“All this talk does make me wonder, though. Do you think the public would think differently if they saw you with me?” Kara tilts her head, cups the side of Lena’s face, smiling. “Say if I kiss you right now and pictures are taken, would they think any differently?”

Kara can’t help but entertain the thought. It’s an innocent genuine question, not meant to be taken as coquettish.

Maybe it’d be different. She wonders what the media would think—what the people would think if they saw Supergirl touching Lena Luthor’s cheek like this.

Would everyone think they’d look good as a couple? Do they make sense together?

She wonders, but she knows the answer deep down. She’s a journalist, of course she knows. Lena’s right, there’s stigma everywhere. Too many out there don't take romantic relationships between two women seriously.

“So?” Kara asks lightly when Lena doesn’t follow through, running her thumb gently across Lena's cheekbone. She’s only really interested in what Lena thinks about them two together painted in such light.

It’s quiet. The heartbeat in Kara’s ears is deafening. She drags her thumb down down down until it’s on Lena’s jaw, cupping it with her thumb and index finger.

Lena lets her. She doesn’t do anything, just keeps looking at Kara, surprise adorning her features, pink-cheeked, pliant, maybe thinking of an answer, or waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting—

For what?

Kara licks her lips, and Lena’s attention falters shortly as she tracks the movement of Kara’s tongue.

There's anticipation lingering in the air and Kara can feel the tension buzzing underneath her skin. Her ears are ringing with that anticipation, and with Lena unmoving, Kara isn’t sure what to do.

Feeling too flustered, Kara drops her hand from Lena’s jaw. She breathes a nervous laugh.

Just like that, the small bubble of tension bursts. She looks away with a shy smile.

“I guess the result wouldn’t be that much different. Supergirl or not, it doesn’t matter,” Kara says, turning back against the railing with her elbows, watching an airplane flying in the sky. Her heart thuds in her chest. Whatever that was, it’s best not to read too much into it.

“Unfortunately, you’re right,” Lena finally answers, a little bit breathlessly. “They would, ah. Still think we’re just two great friends having fun. Braiding our hairs. Sharing gossip. The wonders of female friendship.”

Just two great friends having fun. Kara can see it.

Supergirl may have a voice, but she’s not always taken seriously. She’s not Superman. People find her twice more controversial than her cousin.

“Well,” Kara says slowly, thinking. She folds her arms, eyebrows scrunched together. “Sure, that’s an issue for sure. But not everyone will think that way. Not everyone looks at things through hetero lens. Let’s talk about those people instead.”

“All right?” Lena says, sounding unsure.

“We’ve been seen interacting dozens of times. I’m aware of how people just… say things on the internet. Surely those people have some kind of name made up for us already.” Kara scratches her cheek, humming. “A name to refer to us easily—oh, I’ve already thought of one. What do you think about LuthorSuper?”

She turns her head just a little to look at Lena. Lena’s looking at her hands, elbows on the railing, face thoughtful. Her ears and cheeks are still looking flushed. It must be cold out here outside, being so high up.

“LuthorSuper?” Lena looks amused, the corner of her lips tugging up. “Mm, I’m not sure, Kara. I wouldn’t use my last name. If we used that, people would constantly mix us up together and mistake us both for your cousin and my brother.”

“Oh, Rao,” Kara says, chuckling and grimacing. She squints her eyes in thought. “You’re right. Okay. How about CorpSuper then.”

Lena shakes her head, disagreeing.

“What is it?” Kara says, pouting now. “I’m kind of into this, Lena. Invested. What’s wrong with CorpSuper?”

“First of all, that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue,” Lena points out, and then she meets Kara’s gaze. “Second, you know it’s convention to put the person who tops first.”

She holds a short pause, as if to watch Kara’s reaction. Kara almost chokes. She blinks and stares, the tips of her ears and cheeks burning.

Delighted to find her flustered, Lena grins, eyes fond. “By the way, they use SuperCorp.”

Kara doesn’t know what to do with her mouth, with her face, still processing what Lena said.

“Lena,” she blurts out, flabbergasted, trying and failing not to smile, blushing hard. “Wow.”

“What?” Lena’s looking at her innocently, still grinning. Her double dimples are peeking through. Kara will not get distracted by them.

“Don’t what me.”

Lena’s eyes crinkles at the edges and her nose wrinkles up as she laughs. The sound rings like a bell in Kara’s head, reverberating in her veins.

“I’m surprised you got the joke,” Lena says.

Kara doesn’t turn to fully face her. “Come on, now. I’m not that clueless, Lena,” she says quietly with an easy smile, tilting her head a little, eyes locked on her best friend. Her voice drops low. “Or naive.”

A moment passes. Lena’s facial expression is a hilarious mix of amused and surprised, and her trademark neutral mask. Her gaze darkens, and Kara doesn’t miss the quiet inhale her best friend takes, almost steadying.

Doesn’t miss the way Lena’s eyes flicker down to her mouth, either. Again.

Kara feels her mouth suddenly dry. They’ve been—they’ve been doing this a lot lately.

She holds Lena’s gaze.

Holding, holding.

But then the moment is over and Kara is stepping back, stepping away from Lena like nothing happened in the first place. Even though Kara is the one who has chosen to step away, she still feels it; the whiplash—feeling so much at once and then suddenly having it ripped away in the matter of a few seconds.

“All right, time is money,” Kara lightly jokes, rubbing her hands together. “I think I should… get back to CatCo,” she says, letting out a shaky exhale when she looks down below, at the streets. “Andrea will go wondering where I am when she gets to her office. My break will be over in a couple of minutes.”

“Right,” Lena says, and Kara turns to her. She smiles. “If she gives you any trouble, you tell her to come to me first.”

Kara laughs, shaking her head, heart still pounding from earlier.

“Thank you for visiting me,” Lena says earnestly.

Kara nods at Lena, then barrels into the sky.

 


 

When Kara sits down behind her desk, she looks up, expecting to see Andrea lingering around the floor.

There’s no sign of her. Andrea doesn’t seem to be here yet. Maybe she’s still on her way here.

Kara sighs and breathes easy, sinking in her seat. Whenever she’s in the same room as Lena and Andrea, in her Supergirl suit, fear rises in her chest.

Cat and Andrea are similar in some ways. Sharp, observant. Confronting. She knows that her disguise works well, but how long can she keep it up with Andrea when she finds herself, every now and then, in the same room as those two? Kara doesn’t think she’s very subtle around Lena. She only knows this, because of the way Alex and Nia tease her about her.

It wouldn’t surprise her if Andrea already knows, or has caught onto a single thread, hinting that she’s Supergirl. Or maybe not, perhaps Kara’s just being paranoid.

She decides to drop it.

Opening her laptop, her mind goes to Lena as she waits for the system to start up.

Lena.

Lena, Lena.

Kara chews on her pen, her brain hazy with flashes of memory: the weight of Lena on her lap, the softness of Lena’s mouth on her own, the sound of Lena’s quiet pleased sighs.

Huh.

“…and someone took my sandwich,” Nia is saying when Kara zones back in. She’s looking at Kara very pointedly, like she’s waiting for her to answer a question.

Kara has no idea when Nia sneaked up on her.

“Unbelievable,” Kara says, blinking. “That’s terrible.” She hopes that she can manage to successfully play this off and prevent Nia from catching on to the fact that she was not listening even a little bit.

Nia arches an eyebrow up. “You didn’t hear a single thing I said.”

Darn.

“Sorry,” Kara says, wincing. She touches her necktie and starts rolling up her sleeves, buying time. “I’m a little distracted.”

“I can tell,” Nia says. “I was saying that we’re facing a serious issue right now, yes you’re included because you’re part of this floor. Crimes are being committed inside the staffroom. Just recently, my lunch started disappearing.”

This catches Kara’s interest. “Disappearing?”

“That’s right.” Nia nods, lips thinning as she crosses her arms, feet tapping against the floor. “There’s a lunch thief out there, and I need you to help me catch them.”

Kara doesn’t use the staffroom that much, preferring to go out or sit somewhere quiet on her lunch breaks. Nia does, and that alone makes it personal.

“That is serious. How can I help?”

“I’ll let you know when I formulate a good plan. This is serious business. Can’t trust anyone here, these days,” Nia huffs, leaning close to Kara as she scans their surroundings with distrustful eyes. “So, what were you thinking about that got you so distracted?”

“Women,” Kara says with a sigh. She stills sharply, realizing what she just said.

“What.” Nia straightens up, her eyebrows raising. “I see.”

“No, not like that. I mean… just someone, actually.” Kara’s ears go pink. “I went to see Lena during my lunch break. She was with our boss.”

“Oh? No way.”

“Yeah,” Kara breathes a small chuckle, scratching the back of her neck. “I sure didn’t expect to see Andrea there.”

“That’s kinda awkward. But you were in your,” Nia says quietly, looking around, “suit, right?”

Kara nods, sighing. “One of these days, sooner or later, I feel like Andrea’s going to figure me out. Just like Cat did.”

“That’s rough, buddy.” Nia winces. “I feel the same, honestly. The one thing going for me is that she hasn’t seen me in my suit. Like we haven’t been in the same room and all.”

“Yeah.” Kara pouts. She isn’t sure if Andrea could keep a secret, if she did figure her out. She doesn't know her boss well enough for a concrete answer. But Lena knows her, and trusts her.

So that gives Kara a bit of comfort.

Sort of.

She’s about to speak again when suddenly, the sound of the elevator opening reaches her ears.

Heels clack against the floor, the strides certain and powerful. The individual moves confidently, in a way, as if they own this building.

Kara looks up and sees Andrea heading towards her office.

“Oh, gotta go—” Nia startles when she, too, realizes who’s back, and she scatters off to her desk clumsily, almost tripping on air. The sight makes Kara laugh.

The sound catches Andrea’s attention, and Kara and Andrea meet eyes.

Andrea tilts her head, eyebrow arching, eyes sharp. Curious.

Kara blinks, blushes, and quickly busies herself with work.

 


 

Work ends smoothly without much of a hassle.

It’s eight pm when Kara’s walking around the city sipping on bubble tea, thinking about what to do on this fine peaceful night.

J’onn and M’gann are at the Tower right now, working late and investigating a case together. Alex offered to help them before, but J’onn refused and told her to go home and see Kelly. Nia and Brainy are out on a date, spending their time together at some nice restaurant. Lena is most likely fiddling with her tablet or tools at home.

Everyone is busy, the world moving on while Kara wanders aimlessly from street to street.

She likes the world at night.

There is something calming about the city past a certain hour, with the change of the lights, the energy in the people on the streets. Everything feels exposed and open, vague and concealed all at once. The calming chaos of this place mutes the noise inside her head and makes it bearable be it for a while.

Kara tips her head up, closes her eyes and sucks in a breath, just standing and unmoving, street lamp light hitting her face as she allows herself to get lost in the environment. She breathes slowly, knowing that no one is watching her, everyone too busy to care, lost in their own worlds.

Flowers are blossoming; there are young adults playing soccer on a big field and a huge musical show starts soon somewhere in the distance. The world at large keeps moving along and life goes on despite whatever anyone is going through—despite the pain, heartbreak, or even death.

She breathes slow and deep, trying to live a bit slowly for a while, trying to catch up with her emotions that are running as fast as the world.

Sometimes Kara gets it, has it all figured out; she gets being a reporter and Supergirl, she understands what she’s doing here, and then there are moments where she thinks… what is she doing?

Opening her eyes, she looks around; she’s surrounded by a maze of shops in the area, neon lights flashing from different paths. She walks, and walks. Inevitably, decides she’s had enough when the lack of direction has her feeling antsy.

She’s about to head home, call it a day when her phone vibrates in her pocket.

Lena

Help me choose a number. Five or eight?

Kara

um… eight?

Lena

Got it, thank you.

Kara

what’s this for?

Lena

Just work. I’m trying to figure something out.

Kara frowns at her phone.

Kara

lena

it’s way past office hours

When Lena doesn’t reply, Kara tries again, amused. She’s not going to push or force Lena into stopping, but she knows she’s welcome to try. Gently.

Kara

hey you

Lena

Hey, me.

Kara

have you ever heard of the concept of resting?

just a thought

Lena

Hmm.

I don’t know. Why don’t you come here and tell me about it?

That’s... a joke, right? That has to be a joke. Because Kara really would, don’t test her. She stares at her phone screen, chewing her bottom lip.

Kara

you are aware that i’m fully capable

of doing exactly just that?

Lena

I am, yes.

So it is an invitation to come see her.

Kara is speechless for a moment before breaking out into a massive smile. She’s grinning at the text message, feeling her heart warming, swooping, soaring. It’s not the outcome she was expecting, but she’s going to take it.

After all, she has nothing better to do.

Under a flickering streetlight, Kara makes a sharp turn and slips into an alley where not a single soul is present, and jogs straight ahead.

There’s only one way in front of her, and she starts running faster, taking off her glasses, the combined rush of excitement and giddiness to see Lena a heady mix.

The moment her Supergirl suit completely materializes, she shoots into the sky. Finally with a destination in mind, she confidently heads straight to Lena’s penthouse.

 


 

Landing on Lena’s balcony with a gentle thud, her suit turns back to the way it was before.

She’s still dressed in her work attire; a navy blue necktie and plain white button-up shirt, tucked into her dress pants. Her sleeves are rolled up to her elbows, hands inside her pockets.

The moment Lena registers her presence Kara catches the few seconds of Lena looking at her forearms.

“Hey,” Kara says, joining Lena on the couch casually, then realizes she hasn’t stopped smiling since she received Lena’s texts.

“Hi,” Lena greets back with a chuckle. She takes a sip of coffee as she types something on her tablet. Damn. She really is working. “You came. I didn’t think you would.”

Lena's changed into a soft-looking red sweater and pants, hair falling down in its natural waves. Her face looks freshly scrubbed.

“First things first, I’m curious. What are you working on at this time?”

Lena blinks. “I’ll try not to bore you with too many details. Two years ago I began a project - focusing on medical technology,” she says. “So, researchers and doctors rely heavily on huge and expensive machines such as MRI and CT scans, or on invasive implants, right? I'm working on launching an affordable low-power non-invasive device that can be used in any environment for capturing real-time data of the brain.”

Kara listens with rapt attention and interest, taking in everything her best friend is saying, and she doesn’t interrupt except when it’ll broaden the conversation. Lena has always been passionate about engineering, and it shows. Scattered equipment and blueprints lying around in her personal lab, research data and paperwork and empty cups of coffee on her desk.

“I’m up to the point where I need to seriously start thinking about when I should release it,” Lena continues, rambling with her hands in the air, and Kara nods, smiling. “I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself, but I have high expectations. I hope that this tech will one day be ubiquitous.”

“When do you think it’ll be ready?”

Lena bites her lip, pausing in thought. “Technically, it’s already ready. It passed the clinical trial two weeks ago. I’ve gained the FDA approval, it’s ready for market release.”

“Already that far?” Kara blinks rapidly, jaw dropping a little. “Lena, this is huge? Congratulations. Shouldn’t we be... celebrating?”

“Celebrate? I don’t know about that,” Lena says, with an uneasy smile. “I’m still working on the release details. So many things can go wrong. No matter how many presentations I’ve done, it never gets easier.”

Kara smiles wryly. “I get that.”

“So I have to be completely prepared, because anything I do or say earns a mixed response.” Lena pauses, sighs. “Because of what Lex did in this world, I’m back to square one. My intentions are always doubted.” She gets a distinctly uncomfortable look, and starts fidgeting with the sleeve of her sweater, lips falling into a frown. She stares absently at her lap.

“Lena…”

Shrugging, quietly Lena says with a bitter tone, “The last remaining Luthor has released a brand new tech. She only cares about herself—she’s just doing this to fill more money in her pocket, as well as expect a grand 'thank you' from the public. Just another scheme to gain attention and feel good about herself.”

Kara studies her for a long moment. She frowns.

“You’re placing yourself in purgatory. Come here,” she says softly, and wraps Lena in her arms. Lena freezes, but she’s quick to react and lean into the touch, pressing her face against Kara’s neck.

What Lena wants more than anything is to do good. She’s always been like that.

Kara rubs Lena’s back slow and heavy, but that isn’t enough to get rid of the tension in Lena’s body.

“You always go out your way to help people when you can and I hope you know it never goes unnoticed. The world is unfair but you remain good and kind,” Kara whispers. “They can say anything they want. I know that your intentions are pure and your heart is sincere. I believe in you—many of us do. The content of your heart is all that matters, because people will misinterpret you, just to have a reason to dislike you.”

Lena doesn’t speak for several moments.

“Thank you, Kara,” Lena says very very quietly, and then Kara feels something tug at her neck—her necktie is being played with. Lena’s playing with it with her hand, twisting and pulling and fiddling as she speaks. She pulls her head back a little, her forehead in the same level as Kara’s mouth. “That means a lot to me coming from you. I… I know the actual truth. There are people in my life that see me—they’re the people I should pay attention to. That’s where the treasure is—being seen and being loved.”

Her best friend is silent for a moment, just tugging. When Lena doesn’t continue, Kara says:

“I sense a but?”

Lena lets out a quiet, heavy exhale. “But sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve it. All this love. I feel like I’m not doing enough on my part.”

Kara’s heart hurts to hear that. Lena has been having these thoughts. She strokes Lena’s hair gentle, gentle.

“Lena, no. You deserve it all. What makes you think you don’t?”

Lena pushes her forehead against Kara’s shoulder, turns small in Kara’s arms, and Kara imagines Lena looking embarrassed when she speaks.

“Everyone is... incredible. I still can’t quite believe you guys let me in your little circle, truth be told. I just don’t think I’ve earned my place.” She lets go of Kara’s tie and wraps her arms around Kara’s body. She fists the back of Kara’s shirt, exhaling shakily. “I don’t think I’ve done enough to warrant such precious trust and approval—”

“Lena,” Kara cuts her off gently, frowning. Her heart clenches, seeing Lena doubt herself like this. “What you are to us, your value—this isn’t about achievements or doing enough, but if you really want to go there? I wish you could see yourself the way we see you, because you would see how genuinely amazing, admirable, and lovely you are. I’m pretty sure we’re the lucky ones to have you so close to us.”

She feels Lena trembling in her arms, feels the way her heartbeat is gaining speed from where Kara’s body is pressed against hers.

“You’re more than your achievements,” Kara says confidently, squeezing Lena in her arms. “You’re more than what you can offer.”

Lena falls quiet. Deathly quiet; she seems taken aback by that, like she’s not used to this perspective.

Kara supposes it’s a hard concept to stomach, when she herself at several times in her life has chained her entire identity to all the things she has done well, can do better, will overcome.

She has spent many years asking and answering her own questions about who she is, what her purpose is, and what it means to be alive on a foreign planet, different from everyone, despised and shunned by those who are against her existence.

“Am I?” Lena finally speaks, a fragile note of seriousness trapped in her voice.

She pulls her head back just enough to look at Kara, an unsure smile on her lips, gaze searching, eyes a pretty combination of greens, blues, and silvers.

“Baby…” Kara murmurs, touches Lena’s face. Lena’s lips part, eyes a little wide, and she blushes. She looks sort of stunned. “You’re enough just the way you are. You've always been enough—more than enough,” Kara coos-whispers, thumb rubbing a soothing trail along Lena’s cheekbone, and because Kara can’t help herself she presses a kiss to Lena’s forehead. “You are so special to me and those around you. You deserve the world and more.”

Lena softens against Kara. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips and she looks hesitant.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Mm.” Kara gives her best friend a squeeze. “Of course.”

“Has it always felt like enough?” A pause. “For you?”

Kara flushes, feels caught like a clipped bird.

“No. Not always,” she answers. “If we’re to talk about right now... at this moment? Just being here, with you? It feels right, like I’m doing something right, and that’s enough for me.”

It’s quiet for several moments, Kara looking at Lena, and Lena looking right back. It’s nice, until Lena’s gaze starts to feel too much with the silence.

Kara lightly clears her throat. She pulls back, faces the coffee table, and clasps her hands together on her lap.

“Anyway, Lena. I’m going to take you out to dinner next week, we’re going to celebrate,” she decides, nodding to herself, then looks at Lena. Lena just blinks. “I’m proud of you. Please be proud of yourself, too. I'll be cheering you on and looking forward to what you do next. You’re doing amazing.”

“Okay,” is all Lena says, and then she’s smiling—beaming. Pink-cheeked, pretty.

“Okay to… me taking you out to dinner or allowing yourself to be proud of yourself?”

“Yes,” Lena says, giving a non-answer again, and Kara laughs short, wonders for a moment if she has broken her.

“Lena,” she whines, mouth pursed into a tiny pout. “All right, I’ll take your answer as an okay to both.”

Lena just hums, and at this point Kara has given up trying to get a concrete answer out of her.

They fall into a companionable silence, Lena leaning her shoulder against the cushion, legs up on the couch, feet tucked underneath her, facing Kara.

Kara isn’t really sure what to do next, but she stays rooted in her spot because something is pulling at her neck again—Lena has reached her hand out and is back to playing with her necktie.

Lena gives it a little tug.

“So,” Kara starts smugly, turning her neck to smile at her best friend, who seems to find neckties more interesting than going back to work, “you’re done for the day.”

“Yeah,” Lena murmurs, not looking at Kara, looking down, sighing. “I shouldn’t have texted you, look where that got me. You’re distracting and dangerous—an active threat to my productivity.”

Kara laughs low and soft, pleased with herself.

Without thinking, she puts an arm around Lena and gently pulls her close until they’re hip to hip, and she lets her hand settle on the curve of Lena’s waist comfortably. She allows herself to get tactile and affectionate, lets Lena rest her head against her shoulder, lets herself lean against Lena because well, she wants to, and Lena is always welcoming, and she doesn’t want to question why.

“Am I distracting?” Kara asks, thumb stroking Lena’s waist, that red sweater soft against her skin. She dangerously wonders what it’d feel like, running her hand along the softness beneath this sweater. “How, in what way?”

“From thinking clearly. Also, the day is ending soon and it’s kind of unfair that it’s only now I get to see you like this. You look really good,” Lena says quietly, touching Kara’s collar, fingers running down her necktie, and she’s still not looking at Kara when her palm slides down Kara’s dress pants-clad thighs before traveling back up to her shirt.

Kara mentally notes, insanely casually, that this is totally normal between them.

It’s not.

It’s so intimate, the position they’re in; they’re always intimate sort of, they’re always so close in a way that’s different from the physical intimacy Kara has with her other friends. In a way that Kara has only ever been with people she is dating.

They’re pushing and pushing, again.

“Yeah, I know,” Kara says with a shy smile, her hand lifting up to card through Lena’s hair. She still hasn’t had the time to change out of her work attire—right after CatCo she went straight to patrolling. Then she went to wander around the city for a couple of hours, and now she’s here, in Lena’s home.

“Oh, okay, she knows.” Lena bows her head, lips tugging into a smile.

“Every office needs a little eye candy, right?”

Lena breathes out a quiet laugh at that, which makes Kara smile. She squeezes Lena’s waist.

Rao, they should—they should probably separate. But hands keep roaming, casual, easy.

When Kara turns her head a little, Lena finally lifts her gaze, and they meet eyes. Lena’s eyes are so dark Kara could drown in them.

Oh. Lena has that familiar look on her face again, like.

Like—

“You look like you want to kiss me,” Kara notes quietly, terrifyingly, heart pounding, but she keeps her voice steady.

Lena studies her. Eventually, Lena lets out a soft sigh.

“You know, Kara, you can’t just casually enter a girl’s home looking like that, and then go on about your day,” she murmurs, cupping the side of Kara’s neck, cheeks rosy, “single-handedly crushing all her insecurities, telling her that you're proud of her and that she's doing amazing, smothering her with praises. And then have the audacity to wonder about something like that.”

“Um,” Kara says, and then closes her mouth.

Lena takes a deep breath, and Kara sees a flicker of emotion she isn’t quite sure how to interpret.

“I think highly of you, Kara. I’m not—I don’t solely rely on you for my sense of self-worth. I’m just saying that you mean a lot to me, so I take your words to heart,” Lena says.

Kara inhales sharply. It’s straightforward and heartfelt and it catches her off guard. So many things are happening all at once, and she struggles to keep up.

“And finally, to answer your question, yes, I do want to kiss you,” Lena admits. “I have been wanting to kiss you all day.”

Kara’s brain goes blank and reboots, static buzzing in her ears.

Lena’s confession doesn’t shock Kara, but it does pin her in place. It's not like she does a good job at pretending she doesn’t know. She does notice when Lena’s eyes wander, linger. How can she not?

“Oh,” Kara murmurs, and her hand is back on Lena’s waist, rubbing absently. Her heart threatens to beat out of her chest. She forces her voice to work. “Can I ask why?”

Lena only keeps looking at her. No words come out of her mouth.

Kara stiffens.

“Go on, then. Take one for the team and save the cute community once again,” she lightly says, half-joking, half-serious, but it does nothing to dissipate the tension between them.

Lena’s eyes are hazy, mouth parted. Her pupils swallow up the green of her irises and she just looks and looks at Kara. Hesitant.

Kara swallows.

She may not be good with emotions, but she very much knows how to recognize lust when she sees it. The rush of heat flows through her at being looked at like that by Lena.

They’re always pushing and pushing and pushing and—

The line between friends and more than friends is thinning and only keeps thinning, like it’s decided on an outcome—an inevitable one, without any form of resistance.

Kara didn’t think she’d find herself in this position tonight, but here they are again. It’s always been like this with Lena.

Lena still waits, and as each seconds pass she’s looking less and less confident; she licks her lips, eyebrows scrunching in the tiniest bit in a devastating way, and she hesitantly looks away from Kara as if she’s bracing for rejection and—and—Kara can’t have that.

She forces herself to move, to do something, giving into the utter need to stop the self-doubt and self-consciousness creeping into Lena.

“C’mere,” Kara tells Lena gently. She taps on her lap twice, and Lena’s eyes widen, just a bit.

Lena takes a few seconds of considering it before finally settling on Kara’s lap. Before Lena starts to feel some sort of embarrassment Kara knows she’ll feel, Kara touches Lena’s neck carefully, hand cupping the back, and draws her in a slow kiss.

“Been wanting to kiss you too, actually,” Kara admits, sighing, her other hand reaching out to trail fingers down the curve of Lena’s spine.

“Kara,” Lena breathes shakily, eyes sliding shut, both her hands finding Kara’s shoulders. Her grip tightens, and she lets out this small, soft and devastating sound against Kara’s mouth.

Rao.

Kara might be obsessed with the way Lena kisses her. Ever since that night in Alex’s apartment, she’s been hooked. It’s the way Lena always seems so unrushed, her hand now moving slowly up Kara’s neck to her jaw, so in tune to the way Kara responds to her. It’s like everything else around her disappears completely—as if she can’t be bothered by anything except the pursuit of Kara’s mouth.

Soft, so soft. Lena’s lips are softer than Kara remembers, plush and warm beneath her own. Lena angles her head to slot their mouths together more comfortably, one hand gently tugging on Kara’s tie in the process.

The world feels like it’s spinning, and she fights down the urge to open her eyes and check. She has Lena in her arms again, in her lap, wanting and pliant, and Kara still sort of finds it difficult to believe this is happening again.

Her tongue darts over Lena’s bottom lip, tracing the seam of her mouth, coaxing Lena’s mouth to open, and Lena does with a soft groan. They kiss languidly and exploratory, deep and wet, and it’s quick to turn sloppy and lazy when Lena softens in Kara’s arms, Kara leaning back against the couch.

They keep at it, more and more, until Lena pulls away just a bit, to breathe. She turns her face slightly on the side.

Kara inhales, breathing in Lena’s scent. The soft, citrusy burst of her shampoo, the spice of lingering perfume and sweet, clean scent of her skin. Something that is just Lena, something that Kara can almost taste on her tongue.

“This,” Kara mumbles, tilts her head and leans forward while Lena catches her breath. She presses a kiss to Lena’s neck, slow, lingering. Just to say, can I?

“Yeah,” Lena murmurs, fingers sliding across Kara’s shoulder to the back of her neck and under her collar, hand playing and tugging with the necktie.

“Hm,” Kara hums, parts her mouth and drags it up Lena’s neck, moves slow slow and just a hint of teeth as she does, and—

Lena shivers against her, hand tightening her grip on Kara’s necktie but not pulling. Kara drags hot wet kisses down Lena’s neck, slow slow slow and Lena moans low in her throat—which goes straight to Kara’s lower belly. Heat surges through her veins, sparks shooting to her fingertips and toes.

“Like how you sound,” Kara whispers. She is still tentative with the way she touches Lena, grazing one palm over Lena’s thigh before moving them higher. She kind of more than likes when she hears Lena’s heart pick up each time she touches her.

Lena pulls back properly this time, just enough to get a proper look at Kara. Her lips are swollen already, kiss-bitten red. Face rosy, her eyes are dark, filled with something that ignites sparks inside of Kara. Mesmerized, Kara stares, can’t help it, and her lips part; she doesn’t know if she’s still breathing at this point. She doesn’t get to look that long because—

“You keep. You keep saying things. You can’t keep saying things like that to me,” Lena murmurs, running a hand down the side of Kara’s face. She cups her face with both hands, kisses her.

She licks into Kara’s mouth, and Kara groans, threading her fingers through Lena’s soft hair.

“Why not?” Kara asks, sighing softly into Lena’s mouth.

“Too sweet.” Lena nips at Kara’s bottom lip, hand cupping the nape of Kara’s neck. “Dial back, heart can’t take it.”

“Sorry,” Kara breathes.

“You’re not.”

“No.” Kara smiles against her mouth, withdrawing a little bit to say a couple more. “Just being honest, Lena. You deserve to hear good things.” And she should probably shut her mouth now, but sometimes she can’t help herself. “I like complimenting you. I like making you feel good.”

Lena freezes almost immediately.

Kara honestly didn’t mean for that to come out so dirty. She clears her throat lightly, and hurries to add, “Making others feel good about themselves.”

Lena tilts her head, lips curling; she looks amused. “Now, do you see why SuperCorp works and not CorpSuper?”

“Lena…” Kara lets out a quiet chuckle. So they’re still on about that. Lena can think whatever she wants, but Kara’s not going to deny or admit to anything. But she will say this. “Okay. I get it, you power bottom.”

Silence.

Lena studies her for a single, long moment, face impassive, and then she laughs. Soft, nose scrunchy. She wraps her arms around Kara’s neck and leans in, just embracing Kara, a simple hug, bodies flushed. Kara squirms a little, feeling the tightening of the heat coiling in her belly.

Lena’s not—she’s actually not wearing anything under that sweater. Kara can feel every inch of Lena’s upper body, her nipples poking through her shirt into Kara's own.

“We haven’t been very good at being friends, have we?” Kara whispers, rubbing Lena’s back slowly.

“No, we haven’t,” Lena agrees just as quietly. She buries her face in Kara’s neck, and Kara wraps both arms around her, holding onto her securely.

Lena shifts just a bit for comfort, and presses herself firmer against Kara, the friction of her breasts sending a blaze over Kara's skin.

Kara takes a shuddering breath. Rao. Lena can’t not know what she does to her.

“You’re not wearing anything underneath that sweater,” she points out weakly.

Lena pulls back then, tilts her head. Kara lets go of her, and she’s greeted with the sight of Lena’s breasts straining against her sweater, nipples poking through the fabric. Kara’s mouth goes dry so fast. She looks back up, finds herself under Lena’s contemplative gaze.

“How very astute of you.” There’s something coy in Lena’s mouth when she speaks, in the way she cocks her head. Looking down between them, Lena takes one of Kara’s hands. She plays with Kara’s fingers, thumb tracing her knuckles, and murmurs, “You have nice hands, you know. I’ve always noticed that.”

Kara blinks. “Oh. Thank you? I think you have nice hands, too.”

“Think about them a lot. These very nice hands,” Lena says quietly, “that could and should be under my shirt.”

Kara almost stops breathing right there. Lena, with her cheeks flushed, carefully guides Kara’s hand to the hem of her sweater, and they don’t go any further than that.

A lot is happening and Kara inhales sharply, fingers twitching. Lena is looking at her, waiting to see if it’s okay.

Oh.

Rao.

Kara nods, heart thudding in her chest. Who’s she to deny Lena? Lena squeezes her hand, smiles sweetly and devastatingly at her.

Slowly, she guides Kara’s hand further underneath her sweater, fingers trailing across soft skin at an unhurried pace, and it goes higher and higher until—

Kara cups Lena’s breast, and she watches the way Lena seems to tremble when she squeezes and unsqueezes. She swipes the pad of her thumb over the stiff bud of a nipple, then presses. Then, her fingers draw around it before trapping it between her finger and thumb.

Lena sucks in a shuddery breath, drops her forehead on Kara’s shoulder. Her hips rocks forward, subtly.

“Do you just let anyone with nice hands touch you like this?” Kara breathes out, palm fitting around Lena's breast perfectly, and Lena pulls back, just a little.

“Not just anyone with nice hands. I’m picky,” is all Lena says cheekily, before leaning in and angling their mouths together.

They touch and kiss like that for a few more minutes, lazy and a little filthy, until it turns eager, messy, until Kara’s starting to feel a little too hot.

It’s not something she can ignore anymore—the fire smoldering low in the pit of her belly.

Lena breaks the kiss, pressing a hand between their chests.

“Kara,” she rasps. And—oh. Has her name always sounded so good from Lena’s lips? “We should slow down… or stop.”

Stop. Stopping is a good idea, yeah. Stopping is for the best, they should absolutely take a step back and recollect themselves, but with the way Lena is looking at her right now, like—like she wants Kara, makes Kara pause for a couple of seconds before giving her answer.

“Do you want to stop? What do you want?”

Lena looks at her, eyes searching. “I want what you want,” she says, so sure, and that—that isn’t the answer Kara was expecting.

Kara doesn’t know what to say. She takes a deep breath, licks her lips.

“I want to keep going. But, Lena, I…” Kara closes her mouth. Opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out.

Lena waits.

Something about this feels irrational, but also right. Being with Lena is easy, and every time Kara looks at her best friend all she can think about is how much she wants her closer, closer. She knows that she adores and treasures Lena, but she doesn't really... know what she wants from Lena with this love she has for her.

Here she is again, having difficulties putting her thoughts and feelings in order. It seems that when she’s with Lena, this becomes more apparent.

There are words in her throat, thick and overwhelming, and she doesn't know what to say, how to phrase what she’s feeling. The silence stretches the small space between them to the limit, before Lena’s face softens.

Kara bows her head, terribly embarrassed, then meets Lena’s gaze. Quietly, she settles with, “You’re important to me.”

“You’re important to me, too,” Lena says easily, eyes steady on Kara’s. When Kara doesn’t speak, Lena adds, “We don’t have to do anything, you know.”

Kara doesn’t know what to think about this, only knows that she’s overwhelmed by the urge to get closer to Lena. She’ll probably never be close enough, but she decides to try anyway.

All worries fall back to a vague jumble of thoughts as everything else gets taken over by this moment.

“I want to keep going,” Kara reminds her, absently stroking Lena’s thigh. “I just—I want to make you feel good. Like. That’s all I want to do.”

“Oh,” Lena says.

“Can I? I want this,” Kara breathes.

“You want me?”

The way Lena phrases it so bluntly—makes Kara blush. Kara nods, anyway.

Lena still has that odd look on her face. Studying, searching, but soft. Vulnerable. She exhales quietly. Bumps her forehead with Kara’s, kisses her lightly on the corner of her mouth.

“You sure about this?” Lena murmurs, slides her hand across Kara’s shoulder and cups the nape of Kara’s neck.

“Yes. What about what you want?”

Lena shakes her head gently. “Trust me when I say I only want to do what you want to do.”

“Oh.” This again... really winds her. The look on Lena’s face is final. If she persists and asks what Lena wants, Kara knows she’ll get the same answer so she just leaves it at that, for now. It’s clear to her enough that Lena wants her, too.

It’s quiet, and then it’s quiet for a bit more.

“The last time I was here, I accidentally came to your room and ended up sleeping in your bed,” Kara murmurs, ears going pink. She thinks she’s always going to be embarrassed about that incident. “I think I need a little notice and encouragement before moving. Where do you want me to go?”

“I want you in my bed,” Lena says, and then.

Kara stands up, taking Lena with her, hands firmly under her ass to support her weight. She weighs like nothing. Lena wraps her arms and legs around her and yelps a little before finding her balance.

“Your bed, not one of the guest rooms,” Kara asks for confirmation again as she smiles, heading in that direction.

“My bed,” Lena says, laughing now. She places a few light kisses on Kara’s throat, tongue tracing over her skin, until Kara warns her she’s going to drop her if she keeps doing that.

Kara successfully maneuvers them to the bedroom, leaning over to drop Lena gently onto the mattress. She’s standing at the foot of the bed, and she looks at Lena, really looking at her, and the visual is nothing less than breathtaking. Her hair’s a bit of a tousled mess already, and her cheeks are a rosy pink, lips shining and parting, and her facial expression is… like nothing Kara has ever seen before. It’s hungry.

“Come here,” Lena says, and then Kara is crawling up the bed, settling on top of her and meeting her lips again, much more frantic than those kisses on the couch. Lena groans under her weight, one hand wandering up to tug at Kara’s tie once, twice. Kara catches the hint and helps Lena loosen it, and soon the tie is thrown to the floor.

Lena lets out this quiet, soft whine when Kara pulls back, just a bit. Even though Kara already knows what Lena wants, she can’t help but ask, just to make sure. She touches the hem of Lena’s sweater.

“Can I take this off?” Kara asks quietly and unevenly, voice already gone, which surprises her a bit, the sound almost foreign to her ears. This is already far more than they’ve done, being in Lena’s bedroom, body hovering over Lena, bracing herself with one arm. It’s so much, but not enough at the same time.

Lena swallows hard visibly. She nods. “Yeah,” she croaks.

“It’s not too late to back out. Tell me to stop.” Kara slips her hand under Lena’s shirt, hand massaging lightly over her belly, which is soft, so soft.

Lena lets out a shaky breath.

“Yeah, here’s the thing,” Lena says, her hand finding Kara’s wrist and squeezing it. Her eyes are half-lidded, heartbeat loud in the silence. “I really don't want you to stop.”

Kara feels her mouth water. She helps Lena out of her shirt, and then it drops to the floor, and—

Kara sort of stops moving, breath catching in her throat.

Lena’s beautiful, almost ethereal with only the bedside lamp and moon illuminating the room. The reveal of those full breasts and stiff pink nipples, steals Kara’s breath away.

“I know this is… cheesy,” Kara says in a low voice, her gaze sweeping over Lena, “but you’re beautiful.” She lets her hand settle on Lena’s belly again, then takes her time to let it wander upwards to her chest.

Lena’s lips part, cheeks darkening in colour, and Kara leans in to press a quick kiss to her forehead.

“I hate that I’m so into that,” Lena huffs out a weak laugh, and bites her lip. She wraps a hand around the back of Kara’s neck, thumb caressing soft skin.

“What? Being complimented?” Kara smiles. “Come on, you’ve always been into that.”

“It’s embarrassing, really,” Lena says, averting her gaze. Two beats later, “Thank you,” she murmurs, voice barely above a whisper, a touch of shyness, and Kara’s heart aches at the sound of it. Lena meets Kara’s gaze then, and her hand slips down, fingers playing with the collar of Kara’s shirt. “Want to see you, too,” she requests softly, tugging.

Kara swallows.

While she unbuttons her shirt one by one, Lena’s deft fingers go to her belt, already unclipping the belt buckle. Kara’s fingers tremble a little as Lena does it. Not breaking eye contact with Lena, not looking away. Not stopping.

Kara shrugs her shirt off, and soon they both tug the rest off, more clothes dropping to the ground.

It hits Kara then: we’re really doing this.

But with a very naked and gorgeous woman right in front of her, with Lena already running a curious hand over Kara’s abdomen, slowly and softly, Kara really doesn’t want to think about anything else anymore other than Lena.

There’s a long moment of stillness as Kara watches Lena. She looks at her, and then more, before she touches, hands running all over Lena’s body, slowly as she explores every inch of skin: down the slope of her shoulders, her chest, her abdomen, her hips. She skims over Lena’s breasts, rolling stiff nipples against the palms of her hands, pulling a shaky sigh from Lena.

“Lena,” she says, reverent.

“God,” Lena murmurs, her hands sliding across the slope of Kara’s broad shoulders, trailing down her biceps. “Kara. Do you know how hard it’s been to look at you and not touch?” she says, voice getting hoarse.

That’s when Kara realizes she’s not the only one appreciating. She blinks, and then laughs.

“What do you mean, not touch?” Kara questions, smiling, and leans down to place a kiss near Lena’s jaw, then another beneath it, trailing down. “I’m pretty sure you’ve taken every opportunity to do so.”

She has always been hyper aware of Lena’s touches. The way Lena squeezes her bicep whenever she passes by, or when they’re simply just talking when no one’s around. The way she sinks into Kara’s arms in their hugs.

“Not in the way I wanted to,” Lena says with the tiniest of huffs, frown light on her face and—Rao. Cute.

“How you’ve suffered,” Kara says, pulling her face back.

Seconds pass. Lena’s expression is wanton, though there’s that same warmth that makes Kara’s heartbeat erratic.

Lena cups Kara’s face in her hands and kisses her. The kiss starts slow, tentative because of the newness of nudity. Kara angles her face and the kiss turns deeper and dirtier, as one of her palms fit around Lena’s breast.

“Kara,” Lena moans, shaky and heavy into Kara’s mouth when Kara thumbs over her nipple. Kara wants more of that sound. Wants to make Lena shudder, wants to see her shake apart under Kara’s touch.

She pulls away, and starts dropping kisses along Lena’s collarbones, across the fullness of her breasts. She traces her tongue hot and wet around one nipple, before taking the tip into her mouth, and lightly sucks.

There’s a hitch of breath; Lena whimpers, hips pushing forward. Kara switches, mouth closing around a stiff nipple, swirling it with her tongue. Having her hands and mouth on Lena’s body feels like she’s being redeemed. If it’s wrong, it wouldn’t feel like this.

“Kara,” Lena breathes, squirming against the mattress. “Are you trying to be a tease, or are you unintentionally really good at it?”

“I’m not trying to be a tease. Just want to touch you,” Kara murmurs, hand exploring Lena’s naked body greedily, palm running over where it can run, reveling in the warmth and smoothness of Lena’s skin.

After a moment she moves her hand to Lena’s belly, just rubbing, stroking, and Lena’s hips tremble, then jut forward, desperate for contact.

“You’re so pretty, Lena.” All this attention seems to be making things difficult for Lena. She’s whining, high in the back of her throat, and she has a tight grip on Kara’s bicep.

“Kara, I’m already so…” Lena whimpers. “Don’t you want me? You said...”

“I do, I told you this. I just want you to relax for me first,” Kara whispers, pressing a wet line down Lena’s throat, hand sliding further down and stroking Lena’s thigh. The slickness on Lena’s inner thighs knocks the air out of Kara’s lungs. She’s already that wet. Dizzying, the evidence is dizzying. Kara caused that. “Gonna take care of you. Make you feel good.”

She’s not really sure how to do this, or what to do, but touches how she wants to.

“Okay,” Lena answers shakily, voice so far gone, beautifully wrecked. All because of Kara.

Kara swallows.

Her hand slides from Lena’s inner thigh to between her legs, and her flingers glide over the swollen bundle. When she presses, circles, and rubs, Lena’s whole body jerks, spine arching. It is, decisively, the hottest thing Kara has ever seen.

“Fuck,” Lena moans, high and needy and filthy, sending arousal pulsing hot through Kara’s body.

Wet—Lena is so, so wet. Kara watches, breathless, as Lena’s eyes turn glassy, a beautiful pink flushing over her chest, body twisting against the sheets.

She’s entranced at every sensitive reaction. So new, but immediately collected as familiar.

“Pretty, so pretty, inside and out,” Kara praises, dragging hot wet kisses down her neck, and chuckles a little when Lena lolls her head to the side. “Really like how you sound,” she groans, and Lena squeezes her bicep, hard. She presses and rubs tighter circles, drawing another desperate noise. “Want my fingers?”

“Please,” Lena breathes, closing her eyes, eyebrows scrunched in pleasure. “I want—god, yes.”

Kara is all too happy to oblige; if there’s one thing she enjoys, it’s giving this woman what she asks for. With the heel of her palm moving against Lena’s clit slowly, she pushes one finger in easily, and the sheer of Lena’s slick warmth all over her hand, makes her shudder.

“Okay?” Kara asks. She takes her time, thrusting her finger at a slow pace, in and out as Lena trembles underneath her.

When Lena doesn’t answer, Kara halts her movements, palm stilling, finger still inside her.

“Lena, baby.”

The pet name slips out of her mouth so easily, but strangely enough, in the bedroom or not, Kara doesn’t feel weird about it. It’s familiar, holding Lena like this, but foreign all the same.

Lena whines a desperate sound. “Feels good,” she chokes out, eyes opening and pleading; needy. Kara’s all too happy to continue. “More—I want more.”

“Anything you want,” Kara replies, speaking in a hushed voice, despite it just being the two of them.

One finger becomes two, buried to the knuckle, and Lena arches, mouth falling open. Kara leans down and kisses her deep, swallowing Lena's moan, muffled by the seal of their mouths. She licks into the hot space of Lena’s mouth, swiping her tongue along the roof, slow and filthy, messy and uncoordinated, but lovely all the same.

Lena takes her eagerly, hips restless, nails scraping against Kara’s back. She meets Kara enthusiastically, and Kara gradually picks up the space, driving her fingers deeper and harder into Lena.

Lena’s close. Kara knows, because she can feel it in the way Lena’s inner walls go tight around her fingers, the shaking of Lena’s thighs, how her hips squirm against the sheets, how she keeps making shivery moans into Kara’s mouth.

A few seconds later, every part of Lena clenches and Kara’s name escapes her lips in a guttural moan that Kara immediately wishes she could hear again.

Kara doesn’t stop thrusting into her, palm stroking tight circles against her clit, but she does slow down, bit by bit. Eventually, Lena taps on Kara’s shoulder weakly, murmuring her name softly to stop. She doesn’t pull out just yet, but she does completely halt her movements.

It’s suddenly so much quieter.

She nuzzles her nose against Lena’s collarbone. They’re silent for several moments as Lena catches her breath.

Moments pass, and Lena softens on the bed. Pulling her fingers out of Lena painstakingly slowly—not fully out, she thumbs Lena’s clit, light light, and Lena’s breath hitches.

“Kara,” Lena says, voice low and scratchy, hands clutching Kara’s biceps.

Kara leans down and presses a kiss to Lena’s lips, before resting her forehead against Lena’s. “One more. Can I?” she asks quietly, stroking the swollen nub with the pad of her thumb.

“Yeah.” Lena swallows, nods. “‘M sensitive, but. Please. Want that, too.”

“You always work hard. Just wanna make you feel good,” Kara sighs, and noses Lena’s jaw. As she pushes two fingers back inside Lena languidly, her head swims.

The heady, musky scent of Lena’s arousal makes her feel lightheaded, terribly aroused, mouth dry.

She crooks her fingers, and Lena half sighs, half moans, body tensing and welcoming anything Kara gives her.

“You like feeling full, don’t you?” Kara notes quietly, lightly nipping at Lena’s jaw. Lena already feels so tight around her fingers, and slowly she's relaxing; getting used to it. “Can you take another finger? I think you can.”

“Yeah,” Lena whimpers, one of her hands wrapping around the back of Kara’s neck, “want that. Want you to stretch me, need it to burn.”

Yeah, she’s going to make the most out of this night. She wants Lena to see stars. Lena is eager, easy to read, so unfairly attractive in a way that Kara wishes she could stop thinking about.

She adds the third, all the way in, going knuckle deep and Lena’s—tight, tight. Lena whines underneath her, and she stills for a moment, giving Lena the chance to adjust as she rubs the flat of her palm against Lena’s sensitive clit, groaning at her slickness.

It’s easy to lose herself like this, to focus on the little differences in Lena’s breathing and the sounds she makes to know what’s good.

“You okay?”

It takes Lena a couple of seconds to answer.

“Yes,” Lena says, voice breathy, “keep going, I—I can take it.”

“I thought so,” Kara murmurs, and starts working Lena up again with deep strokes. “Good, you’re so good,” she sighs into Lena’s neck, and Lena is all she see, hear, smell, taste. Her soft skin, slick warmth, the salt of her sweat, her raspy voice moaning Kara’s name.

“Oh, god—”

Lena deserves nothing but the best, and Kara’s heart aches at the memory of the conversation they had earlier. About the way Lena feels about herself.

“You’re so good. You’re always so hard on yourself, and I wish you weren’t.” She pushes further, fucking Lena deeper, and gets into a rhythm, not waiting very long before increasing her tempo, eager to make Lena feel good.

Echoing in this room, Lena’s breathy noises mix with the wet and messy sounds of Kara’s fingers thrusting inside of her.

“Kara,” Lena whimpers, fingernails digging into the nape of Kara’s neck.

“You’re more than enough. Always been,” Kara says softly, coaxing Lena into another orgasm. She licks a wet stripe up Lena’s throat, dragging her open mouth over the curve of Lena’s jaw, nuzzles at the spot behind her earlobe. “Take a breather. You’re doing great, baby.”

“K-Kara. God. Fuck,” Lena inhales sharply, her other hand flying up to tangle in Kara’s hair. Her chest is glistening with sweat, every muscle in her body tensed. “I’m—”

Lena squeezes tight around her fingers, head thrown back against the pillow. She comes with a hitched cry, trembling, mouth falling open.

After some time, Kara pulls out slowly, and when she shifts a bit she becomes all too aware of how uncomfortably turned on she is right now.

It’s quiet. They stay there like that for a minute, Kara pressing soft kisses to Lena’s neck as she rubs her belly. Soft, soft, Kara really likes how soft Lena is.

Lena’s eyes are closed as she catches her breath. When Kara lifts her head, she sort of just stares. Fully taking in the sight before her, her breath is taken away. Lena looks unabashedly beautiful like this: head tilted back, chest rising and falling and pale skin flushed pink, lips parted and soft.

Boneless and fucked out.

Swallowing hard, Kara finally registers her words. “Are you okay?”

Lena opens her eyes, dark lashes fanning across the tops of her cheeks. Her eyes are glazed, soft, vulnerable. Shining.

Shining?

“Lena,” Kara says, bewildered. “Are you—are you crying? Rao. I’m so sorry, did I hurt—”

“No,” Lena quickly says, voice raspy, and when she blinks, a single tear rolls down her cheek. Kara lifts her hand in mid air and panics then, ready to fling herself into the sun because Rao. Rao.

Guilt seeps into Kara, and her mind races at the thought of pushing Lena too far and making her cry. Lena turns her head away and wipes it away with her arm.

“Lena—”

“I’m okay,” Lena insists, voice steady this time. Her arms stay covering her eyes as she collects herself. “I promise.”

Kara hesitates. She isn’t sure what to do. Rao, she just made her very naked and attractive best friend cry actual tears. Her hand ends up settling in Lena’s hair, pushing back and stroking through it as soothingly as possible.

“Too much?” Kara asks, worried.

Lena nods, letting out a shaky exhale. “In a good way. You just surprised me.”

“Felt good, though?”

“Mmm,” Lena hums small, and she lowers an arm a bit just to look at Kara. Her lips thin, and after a moment she’s covering her face again with her arms, fists sort of clenching, knuckles paling, clearly still affected.

Kara frowns, presses a kiss to Lena’s neck, her shoulder. “It’s okay. I’m here,” she whispers, rubbing Lena’s arm. “I’m here.”

“Yeah,” Lena replies quietly. There’s a soft beat of silence and then: “Well, this is embarrassing.”

Oh, no. Lena experiencing embarrassment? Not under Kara’s watch—

But before she can get a word in, Lena shakes her head and sits up. She touches Kara’s shoulder, pushing her down until Lena is now hovering on top of her.

Lena cups her face, thumb brushing her cheek soft, slow. There’s a stillness and that inexplicable look in her eyes, one that Kara has seen a couple of times. She’s deeply familiar with it because of the way it pins her in place, causing her to forget how to breathe for a bit. It sort of unsettles Kara at the same time, not knowing what Lena’s thinking about.

Behind those eyes there’s always this intensity, and when it’s paired with that look that Kara can only describe as unwavering and tender, it’s—a lot.

It makes her nervous, being looked at so intensely.

It makes her chest feel tight.

“Lena,” Kara murmurs, gaze settling on Lena’s shoulder.

While Lena takes a moment to—Kara doesn’t know, just stare at her—Kara can’t help but squirm, deeply aware of how painfully aroused she is, and—

“Yeah,” Lena finally speaks, voice scratchy. Her hand goes lower and it runs to wherever it can reach; down Kara’s chest, her abdomen, hips. Kara swallows, nods, and lets out a shuddering sigh when Lena cuts to the chase and starts leaving a trail of wet kisses down, down, down.

“It’s, um, it’s not gonna take long for me to—oh,” Kara moans, the sound embarrassingly shaky when Lena’s mouth finds her. Her body jolts forward, just a bit. Of course Lena’s good with her mouth—Kara’s been learning all kinds of things about Lena’s mouth recently. She laps at Kara’s clit gently, but firmly, and Kara already feels so, so close—

She tips her chin up at the ceiling, breathing raggedly. Her abdominal muscles flutter.

She doesn’t reach out for Lena. Her eyes shut close and she brings her arms over her face, just keeping it there, not wanting to accidentally reach out and break something. Or hurt someone.

“Lena. Lena,” she finds herself sighing as she squirms against the mattress, body writhing, legs spreading open; Lena keeps licking and kissing and sucking, and her hand reaches over to Kara’s abdomen, fingertips stroking the skin there.

Lena’s tongue on her, is hot and wet and perfect, and she switches to a slow, dragging suction then, making Kara shudder, her knuckles turning white.

She comes with a moan she’s never heard herself do, waves of pleasure rolling through her. Her brain fizzles static, and only the wetness and warmth of Lena's mouth and the hand splayed across her abdomen keeps her rooted to the ground.

For a single, long moment there’s only heavy breathing. Lena removes herself from Kara, and lays right next to her as Kara recollects herself.

When Kara opens her eyes, she finds Lena already looking at her. Observing. Kara flushes.

“Hi,” she murmurs.

“Hi,” Lena says back. It’s quiet.

Kara wants to say something, but what do you say in a situation like this?

“You’re staring,” Lena whispers.

Kara bites her bottom lip. “You’re worth staring at.”

“That’s. That’s cheesy, darling. Get out of my bed.” Lena scrunches her nose, and the sight makes Kara smile.

“Lena, you can’t just invite someone into your bedroom, then kick them out when they say something nice.”

Lena makes a non committal noise.

They lapse into silence, no words said between them.

“Something’s been bothering me. I really, really have to ask,” Lena starts. “I’m sorry I cried during sex, do you still think I’m pretty,” she sort of jokes, sleepy-looking and gorgeous and—and. “It’s unusual for me to cry. I feel I need to clarify this.”

“Stop,” Kara says, shaking her head. “It’s okay, seriously. Please don’t be embarrassed. You know, I’m the same with good food. I cry real tears, Lena.”

Lena laughs gently.

It’s quiet again.

They just stare at each other silently, and Kara can so easily see a path where they may pretend this never happened, that Kara hadn’t just sent them shooting over the invisible line in the soil they’ve maintained for the last—Rao, how long?

Lena moves a bit, hesitant in a way when she shifts closer to Kara.

Blood running wild in her veins, Kara’s heart pounds in her chest. Lena’s hair is tousled and she’s just… looking at Kara. There's a softness to this side of Lena, an openness she doesn't like to let many people see, and it's times like these that Kara realizes how special their connection is.

Under the moonlight, Lena’s gaze is tender, contemplative.

Achingly vulnerable. On purpose.

The sheer sight makes Kara’s heart hurt. She doesn’t know why, but her throat feels tight. Her insides are turning into a giant, messy tangle of feelings.

It hits her then, as she looks into Lena’s eyes, and it doesn’t come as a revelation—it’s more of a reminder, sudden and with full force—how she has the ability to hurt. How she can hurt Lena again, if she isn’t careful.

Guilt seeps inside of her.

She blinks once—twice, her train of thoughts broken when Lena brings the duvet up to her shoulder. She makes sure that Kara is fully covered, too. Her best friend is all soft curves and sweet warmth and Kara tries to let herself breathe.

Fondness washes over Kara in amongst the more frightening emotions currently swirling inside of her.

“You okay?” Lena whispers.

Kara’s ankle finds Lena’s under the covers.

“Yeah.” Her eyes slide close. Being here feels right. But a part of her mind is in overdrive, trying to figure out why she’s feeling out of sorts.

Bit by bit, exhaustion is pushing those thoughts further and further away. She’s tired.

“Are you sleeping here again?”

Kara becomes very still. “Is that okay?”

“It’s late. Better if you stay here,” Lena reasons.

“Yeah,” Kara says, so quietly, the word coming out as sluggish. Her eyes are still closed, eyelids too heavy.

She feels Lena shift a little on the bed, but she’s too tired to open her eyes again to see if she’s settled herself comfortably.

A couple of minutes pass, and sleep comes easy for Kara.

 

Chapter Text

It starts with darkness.

Absolute stillness and darkness, no way to tell where she’s at, her sense of direction impaired; no way to tell which way she’s facing. She opens and closes her eyes, feels like she’s floating in the air.

Space?

Unable to escape the void and total silence, she’s forced to focus on one thing. She’s terrifyingly alone. It goes on, and on, and there’s nothing she can do. She can’t even hear the sound of her own voice when she speaks.

Time passes and silence stretches.

When she opens her eyes again, what appears before her is the overwhelming sight of a dying planet, violent orange and deep red burning brightly, harsh flame enveloping it completely.

Krypton. Her people, her loved ones—everyone.

Her entire planet is burning right in front of her and there’s nothing she can do but watch.

No.

No, she can’t look away or move at all—

No, no!

Kara awakes with a shaky whimper, her nerves ignited, and she finds herself trembling when she attempts to sit up.

A wave of nausea sweeps through her body and she’s pressing her eyes shut, a hand on her chest as she tries her very best to inhale slow and deep, to calm down her own breath.

She lived and everyone died. It was just a dream but it still happened.

Kara balls one of her hands, doesn’t realize she’s causing a small tear in the duvet until she hears the rip of fabric. She lets go.

Her chest aches, but her heart calms.

This room smells like Lena. It’s dark, but she can still make out her surroundings.

Kara looks to her side. Lena sleeps peacefully. Bit by bit, she's remembering exactly how she got here. There’s a lot to unpack, but right now she can’t shake off her distress. It’s too dark, almost suffocating, and everything feels too much.

Very carefully and quietly, she slides out of the bed so as to not disturb Lena’s sleep. She walks towards the bathroom a little unsteadily, picking up and slipping on her shirt from the floor, feeling something akin to cold. How strange.

The light automatically switches on the moment she steps foot inside.

She closes the door as quietly as possible. She doesn’t look at the mirror when she grips the sides of the bathroom sink.

Her hands shake when she runs the tap and washes her face.

Kara doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand why even now she gets like this, why it’s so easy to crumble—just why so many things can still get to her.

She's Kara Zor-El, the Last Daughter of Krypton. Her cousin, Kal, is the last son of Krypton but he doesn’t remember Krypton.

Kara does.

Some days, some nights, it's—heavy. The heavy weight of remembering and the heavier weight of forgetting.

She remembers, but she’s also starting to forget. A couple of faces have already become a blur and their voices have turned distorted. Adding to that, there are certain events she can no longer recall anymore.

The realization burns, liquid hot and expanding from her chest.

Kara’s no longer that terrified and helpless teenager, but she feels like nothing’s changed at all, and she loathes herself in ways she thought she had overcome. She finally looks in the mirror. Her appearance looks normal, nothing out of the ordinary. It inexplicably frightens her.

Her eyes shut with a silent exhale, and she presses the heel of her palm to her eye. She’s not going to cry. It’s fine. She can handle this. It is an emotion, and it’s okay to have it.

At least, that’s what she tells herself. She can’t identify what it is exactly, that feels so strong and heavy. Fear? Anger? It feels like both and something more.

You’re fine, Kara tells herself. It feels like her lungs are collapsing on themselves again, like the room’s running out of oxygen. You’re fine, Kara.

She doesn’t know how much time passes; she’s so caught up in herself that she doesn't even register the light footsteps coming towards her. There’s a small knock on the bathroom door, and then:

“Kara?”

Kara stills completely in her spot. Lena’s voice is thick with sleep, rough at the edges, and soft in the way she says her name. Kara hastily wipes her face with the towel clean, and clears her throat.

“Yeah?” she replies. Her voice comes out in a whisper, shaky and nervous, and she hopes Lena attributes this to Kara speaking with a sleep-heavy voice. “Do—do you need to use the bathroom?”

It’s quiet.

“Yeah. Can I come in?”

“The door isn’t locked. You can.”

Lena turns the knob, and enters. Kara doesn’t look at Lena as she occupies the space beside her. She just starts washing her hands, trying to find something to do, panicked and terribly embarrassed to be in this state.

Lena opens one of the cupboards and takes out a small case that contains her contacts. Kara keeps her eyes trained on her hands.

“Little bit too early to start the day, isn’t it?”

Kara stiffens, muscles tightening. She looks at Lena in the mirror. Lena’s wearing a shirt, completely unbuttoned from top to bottom as if she just slipped it on as a second thought before coming here. She looks pretty, sleep soft. Memories from a couple of hours ago fill her mind.

She licks her lips, turns off the tap.

“I was just washing my face. I hope I didn’t wake you up.”

Lena doesn’t speak. They hold each others’ gaze in the mirror and it’s a physical thing that feels too much. Kara flushes, looks away.

“I must have woken you up,” she murmurs, dread sitting heavily in her chest; she definitely disrupted Lena’s sleep. Lena is always working hard, putting long hours both in L-Corp and the Tower, receiving little rest.

She doesn’t register her hands gripping the bathroom sink hard until Lena reaches out, touching her wrist.

“That’s not an issue. What’s wrong?” Lena asks. She sounds tired and Kara feels guilty. “You sounded scared earlier.”

“I'm fine.” Kara takes a shaky breath, face burning. “Sorry, I'm just. I haven’t been very good at sleeping lately.”

It’s quiet for a couple of seconds.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Kara breathes slowly.

The world is alive outside of their room, vehicles on the road, nocturnals actively moving from place to place.

Lena looks at Kara and Kara feels uncomfortably exposed. Kara doesn't like thinking about the nightmares, or the memories they bring up. It still hurts. She doesn't want Lena to worry. She just needs a moment.

Breaking eye contact, she ducks her head.

“It’s okay, I’m fine,” she murmurs, smiling, then realizes she shouldn’t be smiling. “It’s not a big deal. You should go back to bed and catch up on rest.”

There’s a couple seconds of tense silence, loudly filling the space between them. Thankfully, Lena doesn’t push and just nods.

“You’ll come, too?” Lena questions.

Kara looks up, takes a proper look at her. Lena looks less sleepy and more awake and alert, her voice quiet and gentle as if the moment is too important to break with any sudden sounds. As if, as if—Lena’s speaking to someone who’s frightened, on the edge of fleeing—

The more orientated Kara becomes, the more embarrassed she feels. She seems so strung out that Lena has taken to responding to her in this way. Lena’s looking at her with what appears to be concern, her features gentle.

Kara hesitates. “Yeah,” she breathes.

Wordlessly, they both slip back under the covers quietly, with only Lena shrugging off her shirt. Kara’s heartbeat is loud as she turns in the bed, facing away from Lena. Everything is louder than usual for Kara, nerves fraying at the edge and she can’t tune out the sounds from everywhere.

Lena turns on the bedside lamp, light dimmed to a low setting. Kara's silently grateful.

There’s no use pretending she’s not afraid of the dark. It scares her because of the way it makes her feel helpless; the way it's so easy to get lost and swallowed up by the pitch black.

To be never seen again, of drowning in nothingness, of fading away.

“Can I?” Lena asks, touching Kara’s shoulder.

Kara doesn’t know what Lena’s asking for, but she whispers yeah anyway. An arm tucks around Kara’s middle, and Lena presses her front against Kara’s back. Kara doesn’t realize her hand is all hard fist until Lena runs her fingers over it, soft and comforting.

“You know, you don't need to downplay the things that affect you. At least, not to me,” Lena murmurs, her warm breath expanding against the nape of Kara’s neck. “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it.”

Kara exhales shakily, something filling her heart and extending along her ribcage. She’s not going to cry.

Perhaps she hasn’t been as subtle as she thought. Or maybe Lena has just been really attentive. She’s horrified with herself. Not for anything she’s doing, but at being known, being exposed, so she just allows herself to feel and be pulled into their own world where everything is gentle lights and comforting.

It’s a firm, physical reminder that Lena’s here, that she isn’t alone—that she doesn’t have to be alone. There's a lump in her throat and she doesn't know why, a warm rush in her brain that suspends her whole body.

“I’m sorry,” Kara whispers.

Lena holds her close, and Kara listens to the reassuring beat of Lena’s heart, feeling familiar skin touching hers. She wills herself to focus on all of those things, anything to fend off the ugly, creeping sensation that she’s been feeling ever since waking up.

“Don’t be. I just want you to know that you’re safe,” Lena says quietly, hugging her tighter. “You’re okay. I’m here.”

A whimper tumbles on her next breath and now, now she’s ashamed.

But the shame doesn’t stop her from holding Lena’s hand. The shame doesn’t stop her from tucking herself into Lena’s front, scooting back until they’re fitted perfectly. Her eyelids feel heavier and heavier.

She feels ridiculously safe and present here.

 


 

Kara wakes up gently to the smell of coffee and pancakes.

She peeks one eye open, hand reaching out blindly, and sees that the Lena-shaped spot in the bed is empty. Sitting up carefully, she glances at the clock on the wall. It’s seven am. On the bedside table, there’s a pile of clean clothes obviously set up just for her.

Kara breathes slowly as she listens to Lena’s movements in the kitchen. Standing up, she gratefully takes her clean shirt and sweatpants and changes into them.

Nervously, she saunters into the living room and sees Lena sitting on a stool, newspaper and tablet in front of her, already dressed for work.

Kara steels herself as best she can and enters the kitchen.

“Good morning,” Kara mutters, not really knowing what to do, or how to act, highly embarrassed because she’s pretty sure everything that happened last night, actually happened. Not a dream. She passes by Lena and fills herself a glass of water.

“Hey. Good morning,” Lena greets back with a small smile, raising her cup of coffee in the air. “I cooked just enough pancakes to feed one hungry kryptonian. Dig in.”

Kara blinks, smiles back hesitantly. Normality. This, she’s comfortable and can deal with. Honestly, she’s disappointed in herself for the way she was acting last night, but she tries to be gentle with herself.

“Um.” Kara clears her throat, licks her lips. “That’s all for me?” She points with her thumb at the two plates full of pancakes, draped in maple syrup, puffy and looking delicious.

“Who else?” Lena says with a shrug, carefully setting her mug down. “I only have one kryptonian in my life.”

Kara’s smile widens at that. She tentatively grabs both plates and balances them in her hands before settling next to Lena.

“Aren’t I special,” Kara murmurs, amused at Lena’s choice of words. She pokes her pancake with the fork, shoulders relaxing as she grows more comfortable by the second, relieved that Lena isn’t asking about what happened earlier. Kara is beyond grateful. She'd rather not sour their morning with her issues.

Lena has seen her at her vulnerable and low points, but never quite like that.

Things are going okay so far, if what happened earlier isn’t counted. She spent the night in Lena's home. Differently, this time. Rao, that—that really happened.

“Make sure to eat all of that,” Lena mentions, interrupting Kara’s thoughts.

Kara looks at her, ears and cheeks colouring. Lena made her breakfast. Now’s the time for breakfast, not vivid images of last night.

“You’ve taken your portion?” she asks, mouthful of pancake.

“Yes. And darling, please don’t talk with your mouth full,” Lena points out, grimacing, but the look on her face is fond.

“Don’t talk to me with my mouth full,” Kara replies, grinning, and she swallows everything down.

“Kara...” Lena laughs, all shining eyes and dimples. The corner of her mouth tucks into her cheek.

She takes Lena all in—takes in the warmth in her chest, the beauty of Lena’s smile, the weight of them two existing in the same space. The morning sun slinks lazily in through the balcony windows, winds around Lena’s body like a quiet, calm cat, casting her in gold and orange. She’s pretty in the sunlight, she always is; beautiful, in that real touchable way, her face a balance of sharp and soft features.

Kara feels very present.

Her finger twitches. It’s honestly hard. It’s hard to sit here and be close to her and not reach out to her; Lena’s right here in front of her—existing softly and loudly and wonderfully—

Kara simply has to touch. She really has no choice. It’s like her hand has a mind of its own, reaching out, thumb slowly stroking Lena’s cheek because she can, because it’s okay, Lena always welcomes her. She tucks Lena’s hair behind her ear.

Lena stops laughing, stops moving.

“By the way, Lena,” Kara mentions quietly, and her hand slides down, fingers tangling in dark hair, liking how soft Lena’s hair is under her fingertips, “I’m still taking you out next week. You deserve to be celebrated.”

She’s already making mental notes on how to celebrate Lena’s success. There’s no way she’s going to let Lena shrug off her achievement without a proper celebration.

Her eyes flicker back to Lena’s face once she’s done with touching.

Lena licks her lips, looks at Kara’s shoulder.

“Sure, all right,” Lena says, a little breathless. She cranes her neck slightly. “Taking me out, you say. Just to confirm it again, you mean in a dinner way? Not in an assassination attempt way.”

Kara laughs. “Lena. Dinner.”

“You can’t take it back now, then. In case you have second thoughts.”

“The plan’s already locked and loaded,” Kara seals with a soft grin.

They settle into a silence as Kara devours her plate. Lena’s back to sipping her coffee as she reads the newspaper, long and elegant finger tapping the surface of the countertop before turning the page when she’s done reading the section.

Something about them… it’s still too early to say, but something about them feels different in a way that’s hard for Kara to put into words.

They don’t treat each other any differently, really, but in their world, there’s an expanding grey space. This space where they don’t know where they stand grows larger, more prominent, and maybe Kara should start to worry about how easy she feels when she’s with Lena.

What they are, right now. They’re not friends, they’re not more.

When Kara lifts her gaze, she sees that Lena’s already looking at her. There’s something loud and palpable there, something Kara has trouble naming. But it’s huge, so real that once Kara can, she won’t be able to unname it.

“How… how do you feel, by the way?” Lena asks, voice turned low and quiet.

And it sounds like are we okay?

Tell me and be truthful, are we okay?

And silence falls over them, not an uncomfortable one, but one that acknowledges what they both did last night, the weight of it.

And Kara doesn’t know how to respond other than “Yeah, I’m okay.” Other than, “If you’re okay, then I’m okay.”

Lena’s eyes soften.

“All right, that’s great,” Lena says, and that’s that.

They stay in the kitchen, carrying on with their tasks as they enjoy each others’ company and Kara knows all is well between them as it should be and they’ll just go on like this, like they always do.

 


 

Two days pass.

She doesn't see Lena, but they text here and there. It’s normal and they’re okay, just like Kara said they’d be.

As they remain stagnant, it's getting harder to avoid the impending question hanging: we're okay, but where do we go from here? What are we doing?

But Lena stays quiet. So Kara stays quiet, too.

 


 

The moment Kara sits down at her desk, she pulls out her phone and texts Nia. Her friend doesn’t seem to be here yet and it’s been ten minutes since their shift started. There’s an article she’s been working on and she can’t quite move forward without Nia’s piece of information.

“Kara Danvers, hi,” someone says behind her, and Kara turns to face them. It’s Mackenzie, her colleague of six years. “I am in love. With you, specifically.”

“Hi. Um,” Kara says, blinks at her. Oh. Suddenly a lot is going on. The silence stretches, and she blushes when she realizes that she has to give an answer. “Thank you.”

Mackenzie raises her eyebrows. “Thank you?”

Kara feels her face grow warmer. How does one usually react in a situation like this. Is there a right way to react? This isn’t the first time someone’s confessed to her, and it probably won’t be the last. It’s happened multiple times already and it never gets easier because the outcome is always the same.

“I don’t know what to say except that I’m flattered. It’s just, I don't…” Kara trails off uncomfortably, scratching her cheek. Guilt lurches in her chest, the rejection at the tip of her tongue.

They barely talk. This is really unexpected.

Kara’s aware that she hits the fine spot of ‘pretty’ and ‘masculine’ that captures a certain kind of woman’s attention and she’d be lying if she said that she’s unaware of the other fact: people find her objectively attractive. She can’t not be, when Alex is always in the corner teasing her about how many men and women have talked or come forward to her.

Just thinking about it flusters Kara.

“Oh! Oh, god.” Suddenly, something lights up on her colleague’s face, akin to realization. “I thought for sure that you weren’t with Lena Luthor, but I guess I was wrong. Sure wish I could melt into the floor right now.”

“I… what. Lena?” Kara stammers, touching her glasses. “No, she’s not. We’re not…”

“Are you guys not together?”

“No,” Kara almost exclaims, and she knows at this point, her face has turned red. “What made you think that?”

“Kara. People talk.” Mackenzie shrugs. She takes a deep breath, the colour of her cheeks mirroring Kara’s.

“Oh,” Kara says. She chews her bottom lip, surveys their area. Everyone’s too busy with their own tasks to take notice of them. “Why, um. Can I ask why you’re telling me this now? I mean—about your feelings—”

“Impulse, a now or never moment,” Mackenzie answers too easily, and blinks. Her lips slowly turn into a thin line, her face shaping into a grimace. “Yeah, I’m sorry. Terrible timing and inappropriate. All right, I’m going to… leave now. Forget this conversation ever happened, thanks.” She turns and goes for a hasty exit.

Kara’s left blinking, stilling in her seat, thoughts scrambled.

“Damn, Kara!” Nia comes up behind her, laughing, and Kara almost falls off. “You look like your soul just took a screenshot after that exchange.”

“Nia! I’ve been looking for you.”

“Here I am. I heard all of that, you know.” Nia approaches with two coffees in hand, an unsettling smirk not leaving her face as she looks at Kara. “Hey, wasn’t she like. Mean to you and Franklin during your early years of working here? Wow, who would’ve guessed it. Mackenzie has a thing for you.”

“Please don’t start.” Kara takes the coffee gratefully, frowns. Desperate to move on from this topic, she asks, “Where have you been? I need your report for—”

“Oh! Right, about that. I’ll send it to your email in a bit,” Nia promises with a nod. She crosses her arms as she leans against the glass window. “Right now we have a more pressing matter to discuss.”

“Nia,” Kara warns.

“Like, seriously? Mackenzie?” Nia shakes her head disbelievingly, smiling. “Geez, isn’t this floor just a whole basket of fruit? Because I'm pretty sure our boss is also—”

“Nia.” Kara scrunches her face, lets out a heavy sigh. Scratching the back of her neck, she looks around, again. Curious. Nervous. “All right, I’ll bite. I need your perspective on something. Strictly from a CatCo. employee’s standpoint,” she starts, already regretting it, “would you think that there’s something going on with me and Lena? Because Mackenzie just straight up mentioned her earlier. With ease.”

“Yeah,” Nia answers without hesitation.

“What.”

“Yeah, dude. Like she said earlier? People like to gossip. Especially in the staffroom, you should come visit sometime,” Nia says, grinning. “You and Lena come up a lot.”

Kara opens her mouth. Closes it.

“Come on now, is it that shocking? We're a news outlet. Word travels quite easily.”

“No, I get you. I'm not entirely clueless on what goes on in this building,” Kara murmurs, making a face. “I was just taken by surprise earlier. I mean, me and Lena?” She breathes out a chuckle, fiddling with her necktie.

Knowing that people outside her friend group have been gossiping about them in that way, genuinely surprises Kara. She also doesn’t know what to think of it.

“Honestly, I’d take what was said about you and Lena as a compliment. Is the friendship even real if there's no rumour you're gay for each other?” Nia sing-songs, to which Kara just sighs defeatedly. “Is the friendship even real if you're not at least a little gay for each other?”

“Nia,” Kara huffs, her cheeks and neck warming, really warming. “All right. I get it.”

“Do you really?” Nia’s smile is insufferable.

“Please just send me the email.” Kara buries her face in her hands. “And not a word about this exchange in the group chat.”

 


 

Wednesday greets Kara with another productive morning in CatCo. For the rest of the day, she has free time. Unless an emergency pops up, that is.

She stands in front of the National City museum, biting her lip as she stares at her hand. In her hand is a ticket she was given earlier in the year, from one of the night guards of this museum, a guard she saved from a burning building. The other ticket is in someone else’s possession.

As Supergirl, from time to time people send her gifts. While she understands the gesture, she does her best not to encourage it. When someone catches her at the right time and offers, most of the time she’ll take it with a simple thank you and a smile. As long as the gift is small and inexpensive—like a box of chocolate. It’s not a problem.

Like the two free tickets she received.

She stares and stares at her hand, and then at the museum, wondering if she should turn around and go patrolling instead.

Go have fun or take a rest. Do literally anything you want to do, Alex’s voice rings in her head.

Kara bites the inside of her cheek, and starts walking forward. Yeah, all right, she can absolutely do more of that.

It has been so long since she’s been to a museum. All those moments when she had her cape on, dealing with aliens and attending meetings with important people inside a museum can’t be counted.

Kara blends in with everyone easily. She's bundled up in a white dress shirt and dark grey slacks, long brown coat, both hands inside her coat pockets.

Checking the time on the wall, it’s 3:30pm. There’s still an hour and thirty minutes left to explore before the entire place closes for the day.

She walks and walks, entering an area. There's a constant flow of people, parents with baby strollers, kids and teenagers looking around with curious eyes, elderly couples strolling arm in arm.

Further observing the current area she’s in, there are a couple of canvases hanging on the wall. She’s reminded of how she used to paint things. She hasn't picked up the brush in so long. As she takes in her surroundings, she can't help but think how much she misses it.

She wanders around for a while, eventually coming to a stop in front of a new art display that’s trapped inside a glass room.

About fifteen people surround it, many with wide eyes and captivated faces, and they’re exchanging to each other their fascination and horror. Some of them have their phones in their hands, taking pictures and recording the exhibit.

“This art piece is titled ‘Can’t Help Myself’ by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu,” Kara hears one of the visitors say to one another. “It’s a machine. A robot arm, specifically, programmed to clean up the blood-like liquid that's constantly leaking out of itself.”

The robotic arm fills the room with unsettling noises as it tries to clean its mess with slow and sometimes swift scooping motions. Surrounded by glass for people to watch it attempt an impossible task, it’s a paralyzing sight.

Kara breathes slowly, eyes fixed on what's in front of her.

“I don’t get it,” a woman scoffs beside her, eyeing at the arm with an arched brow, light wrinkles around her eyes. She’s noticeably shorter than Kara. Long dark hair with grey streaks. Dressed warm and looks like she’s in her forties. “People really get emotional over this? It’s just a machine.”

“I think that’s the point.” Kara smiles wryly. “It’s a machine. It’s also art that mimics life.”

“And?” The woman makes a face, her impatience seeming to wear thin. “It’s still a programmed robot. It’s not art. How can you feel for it?”

The robot carries on with its fruitless task, its flow getting more and more frantic, desperate. A couple of visitors begin to look uncomfortable by the sight, one looking contemplative, another one can’t tear their eyes away from it.

Kara turns back to the woman.

“It’s okay if you don’t feel anything,” she says, nodding slowly. The blood-like liquid on the floor cannot be properly contained as it just keeps flowing out. The robot scoops and scoops, its movements turning hysterical as if it’s overcome with panic and frustration. The screeching noises that come along sound like screams, the more Kara listens. “For others it means something and they empathize with it. However, I can understand why you said that.”

“Everyone's looking into it too much. There's no need to make it all that deep.” The older stranger shakes her head. “It has no emotion or knowledge of anything other than what it’s programmed to do.”

“It’s a programmed machine, yeah,” Kara agrees lightly, hums. The arm suddenly flails around and slows down, turning sluggish. It seems as if it’s… tired. It wants to keep going, but it's so, so tired it becomes painful. Repeating the same actions, expecting different results, condemned to a Sisyphus task. “But it represents a feeling or thought. Art speaks to people in different ways. It’s similar to how we feel sad when a fictional character feels sad. It’s just a fictional character but we can sympathize with them.”

The visitor looks at Kara, her lips turning into a frown. She still looks unconvinced.

“What?” Kara cranes her neck a little, smiles. “Would it really hurt to take a moment and try to appreciate it?”

The woman’s eyes are wide, and she looks at Kara skeptically and unsure, a little shocked, too, eyebrows raised up as if she wasn’t expecting Kara’s patience to stretch and keep stretching.

“You're an odd one.”

Kara squints. “Um.”

“Fine, you actually make a good point with the fictional characters,” the stranger lets out a deep sigh, crossing her arms. Kara smiles. She doesn’t think this person is mean or unpleasant or anything like that. The visitor seems genuinely confused. “Honestly? It does remind me of something. Marriage, maybe.” Just when Kara thinks she's going to explain further, she makes a face then, sharply shaking her head.

“And?” Kara prompts.

“Look. All right, maybe you’ve convinced me.” Her hostility is slowly slipping away. Now she just looks at Kara, uneasy. “I admit it's a little thought-provoking. Happy?”

“Only a little?”

The dark-haired woman shoots her a look. “Don’t push it. Just looking at it makes me feel uncomfortable.”

Kara grins, soft. So that’s all she’s getting out of her.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable,” she quips, shrugging.

“Hah!” The amused woman chuckles in short bursts. “I know that one. Cesar A. Cruz.”

“Oh, you know that one, do you.” Kara slowly claps, lips tugging up in a smile. “Amazing.”

“Now you’re just teasing me.” The stranger expels a huff. She wears a faint smile. There’s a shift and something about her is different now—her posture and disposition have changed. She’s less irritable. More amiable. Kara stares, for a bit. Tracing the lines and light wrinkles on her face.

“Am not,” Kara says, mirth in her tone.

It’s quiet for a couple of seconds. The older woman opens her mouth to speak—

“Mom!” a young child runs towards them at a fast speed, a wide smile on his face, big black beanie on his head, and Kara thinks, oh, cute. “Let’s go see the other rooms. I want to move on now, let’s go, let’s go!” He’s already pulling at his mom’s jacket, ushering her to move, a huge bundle of energy.

The mother just sighs, ruffles his hair. “Well, looks like I have to go now.” She turns and looks at Kara with a smile, a genuine smile. Kara sort of blushes. “You. You’re a kind, genuine soul. The world needs more of you. Don't let grumpy fools like me take away your light.”

Kara blinks, and as she thinks of a response, the mother just waves her off and the two are already walking away. They're out of sight now and Kara just keeps standing there.

Huh.

It’s a little later when something or someone pokes at Kara’s bicep from behind, almost making Kara jump in surprise.

“Hi,” Lena greets lightly, a smile already on her face, disarming and breathtakingly pretty, “I got stuck in traffic. I’m sorry I arrived a little later than our meeting time.”

“Lena! I didn't think you'd come.” Kara smiles back, shakes her head. “It’s okay. I’m glad my extra free ticket is being put to good use.”

Lena makes a face. “You dropped the ticket right on my desk, Kara. I didn’t even get to see you come by.”

“I was in a hurry this morning,” she mumbles, coughs a little, remembering the way she supersped in and out of Lena’s office while Lena wasn't there.

It’s true, she was in a hurry. Because maybe she was too shy to ask Lena to visit the museum with her in person. Maybe not. Maybe it was just an impulse thing, like what happened with Mackenzie. Mackenzie. Oh, Rao.

Really, Kara just didn't know who to give her second ticket to. Lena was the logical choice.

“Well, I was in my lab.”

Lena looks at the display, moving and standing next to Kara casually. Like it’s a given; she has an unquestionable right to be there. Dark hair falls over her shoulders and she’s dressed in a blouse and jeans, a coat over her frame. Her stilettos boost her height, allowing her to level with Kara’s.

“Are you hungry?” Lena asks, meeting Kara’s gaze.

“A little,” Kara replies. “I ate earlier.”

Lena tilts her head slightly. “On my way here, I saw a cat cafe and they sell sticky buns. You like cats and sticky buns,” she says. “What do you say? My treat.”

Kara nods, smiles helplessly. It’s the kind of smile that rips itself out of your heart and onto your face, sidestepping your brain entirely.

“Have I told you that you're my favourite person?”

“Not today,” Lena says, grinning softly, incandescently, and Kara breathes a fond laugh.

“Well,” Kara drawls lightly, turning to face the exhibit with Lena, “it’s been… four days since we last saw each other? I better make up for it.”

The robot arm is still at its task, turning, spinning, and scooping, helpless and desperate in its draining routine. Kara’s mouth turns down in a frown, heart heavy. It's not about feeling sad for the robot, it's about relating to it.

“A visceral piece in person,” Lena near-whispers.

“You heard about this before?”

“Yes, one of my employees mentioned her son wanting to go out to see the exhibit once.” Lena inhales, almost steadying, her eyes flickering around the glass room as she takes it in.

Kara hums. Lena seems captivated; affected. Under the soft lights of the museum, her jaw is sharp and looks like it was chiselled by a divine being. Should Kara reach out to touch, she’d only feel tenderness.

“What do you think of it?” she asks, genuinely curious.

“It makes me think of suffering.” Lena ducks her head, just the tiniest bit. She smiles small, wry. “Like you’re trying to pick up the shards while you keep yourself together as best as you can. But no matter what you do, the trauma will always be there even if you act like it isn’t.”

“Huh,” Kara says, lips pursing. That’s one way of looking at it.

“It’s a clever visual representation of surviving, not living,” Lena continues, eyebrows scrunching as she regards the arm in quiet wonder. She pauses, turns and looks at Kara. Asks, voice low, “What about you? Thoughts, Miss Danvers?”

Kara wets her lips, flushes. Connecting to an inanimate object can turn personal when you give it perspective, and voicing your thoughts on it feels like a very vulnerable thing. She looks away, her gaze landing on the blood-like liquid on the floor. Messy, all spilled out.

“I guess… it reminds me of the feeling where you’re trying to fix other people’s messes,” she murmurs, touching her glasses, “but can’t even fix your own.”

Lena is silent. Kara speaks again, her eyes turning glassy.

“The crushing weight of the world, filled with countless responsibilities and hardships. No matter how much you ‘fix’ things, something else or something new is running towards you that requires your attention. You’re barely managing and always moving, too busy to notice the little, enjoyable things in life.”

The arm twists and the scooping motion slows even further, turning considerably weaker, and it looks like it’s on the verge of shutting down. It's haunting.

Kara inhales deeply, then exhales shakily. “This machine… no matter how exhausted and worn it is, it still keeps going.”

“Because it really ‘can’t help itself’,” Lena finally speaks with a small smile, joke-playing with the titled piece, and Kara blinks, lets out a laugh at that. A moment passes. Lena sighs, tilting her head to one side, something rueful in her expression. “It was designed to fail. How sad.”

It is sad. Kara bows her head, hums thoughtfully. She touches her belt buckle. The thing about sadness is that it's part of reality, not something wrong with reality.

“It holds on, even when it’s tired,” Kara says quietly, and thinks of Krypton. Her parents. Friends. Everyone she knew. She remembers and forgets slowly.

Lena shoves her hands inside the pockets of her coat, moves a little, her shoulder brushing Kara’s.

“It’s okay to hold onto things and then let them go,” Lena says.

Kara turns her head a little to meet Lena’s gaze.

The world goes quiet.

“What if you don’t want to? What if you can’t?”

“It depends,” Lena replies, gentle. “Depends what you need to let go of.”

“Depends,” she echoes, considering Lena. Averting her gaze, Kara watches the new stream of visitors making their way towards the center of the room. “I'd like to think that it’s okay to hold on, too.”

Lena hums. “Not always.”

“Agreed.” Kara lets out a shaky breath, smiles a little. She's the primary keeper of Krypton—of everyone's memories. She misses everyone now as much as she missed them then. “Perhaps not ever. Maybe holding on is the thing we’re not supposed to do, but do anyway.” More quietly, she adds, “Maybe holding on is the only reason we hurt.”

Grief will always be there. This feeling doesn't just go away with time. Grief, in its purest and rawest state, is just love. It’s the love that is inside your heart that you now don’t know where to put it.

The pain that Kara feels now is the happiness she had before. That’s the inevitable exchange.

There’s silence.

“Kara?” Lena says, and they begin walking, moving to a new area where the space is larger and there's much less people, everyone spread out and far away. “There's something I've been meaning to ask you for some time.”

“What is it?”

“Last year… you had the chance to bring Krypton back when Mxyzptlk asked you what you wanted.” Lena’s face is blank, but her eyes are piercing and focused entirely on Kara. “Brainy told me about it—your attempts to rewrite history. Why didn’t you bring Krypton back?”

Kara’s entire body freezes and she stops moving completely, causing Lena to halt, too. She looks at Lena with wide eyes. Breathes slowly, lips parting.

The world around them is a rampage of noise, the kaleidoscopic flurry of laughter and voices and street noises and birds flapping their wings, high up in the sky.

“I, I couldn’t,” Kara manages, her heart doing something terrible. Twisting, clenching, aching.

“You could have brought back everything.” Lena looks at her just a little desperate. “Your people, your culture, your language, your land… you had the perfect opportunity to regain everything.”

“It wasn’t an option,” Kara answers tightly, and finds that she's breathing hard, chest heaving.

“How—what do you mean by that?” Lena licks her lips, starts pacing back and forth. “You could have had anything else in the world, and you asked for—you asked for—” Lena doesn’t finish her sentence. Her body comes to an abrupt stop and she turns towards Kara again.

For a few seconds they look at each other, Lena stunned and Kara in shock, before Lena looks away with a devastating frown that makes Kara’s heart drop. Drops all the way down to the pit of her stomach.

Lena lifts her head, eyes on Kara again, her lip trembling when she asks, “Why?”

It’s a valid question. There’s no reason to be afraid of answering. Kara’s gut does a painful twist, her mind racing.

Truth be told, she’s never thought about this until now. Bringing Lena back to her was the goal, no question about it; the most important thing, really—it was all she could focus on back then.

It’s a simple and valid question, yet her tongue feels heavy in her mouth.

“Does it matter now?” Kara speaks quietly, running a nervous hand across her face. “You’re here, with me. Things between us are better than ever.”

“Kara,” Lena persists softly, eyes pleading and, goodness, how can her name be so heavy, how can a name burn like that. It's all like a sucker puncher to the heart. “If you don't tell me, I won't know.”

“I–well.” Kara’s stammering. Lena reaches out, wraps her fingers around Kara’s wrist. Soft, warm, tender. “It’s because…” Kara trails off, cheeks flushing, taking in the patient features of Lena’s face.

There’s something about Lena that strips Kara bare. Something about her that strips away the fact that Kara’s a Pulitzer award-winning reporter and the Champion of Earth, and leaves her stumbling over her words.

Kara takes a slow, deep breath.

Every day she’s hurting and still wakes up, later basking in the sun outside, the wrong sun, yellow and different and not red, and she talks to people, people who have no idea what it’s like to stand in a field full of flowers in Krypton, to breathe in the air or forest or ocean there and, oh, to experience the different kinds of dishes and beverages served in kryptonian families, and to listen to unique lullabies and tunes, flowing with poems and stories, witnessing their artistic side and, and—

She still wakes up and is painfully reminded that her loved ones have crossed a bridge she can't follow. Death waits for no one and simply passes the pain on to those who survived. Not everyone gets a happy ending and that’s life and—

She still wakes up and exists under the yellow sun and when she looks at Lena, she thinks, oh, it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t hurt like that—

“My younger self would have chosen Krypton if she had been given the opportunity to go back,” Kara starts quietly, eyes going glassy for a moment. “I didn't know where I fit in and I felt like the world was offended by my existence. But time passed, I met so many wonderful, loving people. I met you. I’ve changed so much, Lena.” She draws in a deep shuddering breath to steady her words. “Not once did it cross my mind that I could choose Krypton—I was so focused on making things right with you back then.”

Lena’s lips part. The heartbreaking disbelief and shock painting Lena’s face, tender in the careful lighting, flares into something hotter. Her fingers weaken their hold on Kara’s wrist.

“You were deep in your goal.” Lena’s voice is barely above a whisper. “Do you regret—?”

“No, I don’t regret the choice I made,” Kara says immediately, certain and sincere. She touches Lena’s face, gentle, gentle, then carefully tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “Even though the whole thing didn’t really work out, it made me learn a couple of things. I’d choose you over and over again.”

Lena seems hesitant, like she can barely believe what she’s hearing, like she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her eyes begin to shine with the threat of tears.

Kara’s heart breaks a little. It beats hard against her ribcage, drumming so loudly inside her chest, and it just aches, and beats, an echo of words: do you really not know? Haven’t I made it obvious?

She closes her eyes, lets out a shaky breath. Opens, then looks at Lena, desperate and earnest.

“Don’t you get it? Krypton isn't my present and future. Right here is where I belong and where I'll stay,” Kara breathes, hand sliding down to hold Lena’s hand. She applies pressure, thumb brushing over her knuckle. Having Lena’s hand in hers, the world feels welcome and inviting, and this world feels like a world, authentic and physical. “There are days where everything hurts a little more. But, it’s good to be here, with you, Lena.”

Lena flinches, her breath hitching. She looks stricken, caught off-guard. They’re both silent for a moment, the heaviness of the words not lost on either of them.

It’s interesting, how you can think to know the totality of someone, already having recorded every single piece of them, only to be confronted with the truth, flakes of new expressions that Kara never thought she’d see on Lena’s face.

Kara swallows thickly. Ducks her head and flushes. She’s unable to tune out this melody so familiar and aching to her, the rapid beating of a heart belonging to the person right in front of her.

Lifting her gaze a little, she casts a slow look around them, and then at Lena, thinks: home, away from home.

“Okay. I get it,” Lena says, her voice low and carefully measured, a thud thud thud loud in Kara’s ears and—

That’s all Lena says.

 


 

They use the remaining thirty minutes they have left to explore the rest of the museum, taking in as many sights as they can.

This time there’s less talking between them and more inspecting and quiet appreciation of the exhibits, a couple of stolen glances and lingering gazes; brushing of hands and shoulders here and there.

 


 

Lena is a woman of her word.

She's driving Kara to the cat cafe, the ride mostly filling with silence as Kara looks through the window from the front passenger seat. Red and orange lights dance on her face as they pass through the bustling streets of National City.

Their conversation from earlier replays in Kara's head, over and over. She didn't know how deeply rooted she was to this world until she said it out loud.

Lena's been extra quiet. No follow-up questions or anything. So Kara's been quiet, too. She wonders if she said too much. Or said something wrong.

They reach their destination and Lena pulls her car into the parking lot smoothly, the area barely filled with parked cars. When they both get out and start walking towards the cafe, Kara gasps the moment she sees the store’s front and its large sign, accompanied with a cartoon drawing of a black and white cat.

“This is so cool already.” She turns and faces Lena, body practically vibrating.

“I bet inside will look cooler,” Lena says with an arched brow.

Kara beams brightly, and Lena blinks, beams back.

As they enter the cafe, a bell rings over the door and several inhabitants turn their heads at them, short-span interest piqued. There's gentle and lighthearted music playing in the background. All the tables look clean and the chairs have an interesting fashion, colourful and cushiony looking. Everything about this place is soft and cozy.

Lena takes care of the entrance fee and they find a spot in the corner, sitting at one of the tables. Kara settles comfortably, shoulders relaxing and body sinking in her seat. Something fluffy brushes her leg. She looks down.

“Chonky orange cat,” Kara whispers, reverent, and smiles wide. “Lena, a unit of fluff spotted!”

The cat keeps head-bunting Kara as if it's demanding attention from her, rubbing its face, insistent. Kara bites her lower lip, trying to contain herself. Helping the cat up on her lap, she showers it with praises and forehead rubs.

“Chonky orange cat,” Lena agrees. When Kara looks up, she’s awarded with Lena’s gentle smile directed at her. Kara’s heart trips a bit, then reboots. “It’s my first time visiting a cat cafe,” Lena says, her curious eyes flicking around the room.

Cats, everywhere. They’re not the only customers here.

“It’s my first time, too. I think this is the best day ever,” Kara declares confidently, and when she scratches that sweet spot behind the orange cat’s ears, the cat begins purring loudly. “If I recall correctly, there’s four cat cafes in the city. I’ve lived here for over five years and it’s only now that I’m visiting one?”

“We need to step up our game, Kara.” Lena chuckles. “Same boat, your sister tells me that I barely have a life outside work.”

“Oof,” Kara says.

“Yeah.”

“You have game nights with us,” Kara reasons with a frown.

“Game nights apparently don’t count to her. That's fine, times are changing. I’m in a cat cafe. Maybe I'll tell her about it later.”

“You're in a cat cafe, it’s absolutely brag-worthy,” Kara huffs, nods sagely. The cat on her lap rolls over then, asking for belly rubs this time. Kara beams.

An employee comes to their table and he starts explaining the environment of this cafe and the rules. The subtle realization on his face when he takes notice of Lena doesn't go unnoticed by Kara.

“The cat on your lap, her name’s Mischief,” the staff member says with a light smile.

“Mischief,” Kara coos, giving her more belly rubs. “Are you the top mischief causer here, Mischief? You’re so cute.”

“Both points are true,” the young staff member says, laughing.

A small black cat with dark green eyes jumps onto Lena’s lap then, slowly blinking at Lena, tiny paw lifting and resting on her abdomen.

“Oh,” Lena says, blinks back.

“Ah, that cat’s name is Bean. He’s a very quiet one,” the attendant explains, nodding at Lena. He makes a face then, something satisfied as if he’s gathered that Kara and Lena are going to be fine on their own. They all exchange smiles before he makes a quiet exit to see the other visitors.

“Hello, Bean,” Lena greets, voice low and gentle, hand stroking the cat's forehead. Bean purrs, starts licking her palm. Lena looks delighted. “Aren’t you so cuddly and cute? You’re baby,” she coos, earning a rich mmrow? from the responsive cat.

Kara grins, heart feather-light and fond, endeared by the sight. She looks at Lena and Bean, and thinks: what’s the difference?

She watches quietly, eyes going glassy for a bit. Bean reminds her of Streaky, the stray cat she found when she was younger. It was thanks to Streaky that she learned how to be gentle. Scooting closer to Lena, their shoulders touch and she pats Bean on the forehead.

The black cat keeps raising his paw at Lena, and Lena just smiles, tilts her head curiously.

“I think Bean is trying to offer you his pink toe beans in these trying times,” Kara says. “Squish the doubloons to accept.”

“All right, cat whisperer.” Lena laughs, shakes her head. When she presses her thumb lightly against pink toe beans, claws poke out involuntarily. Bean starts nibbling Lena's index finger gently. “You have very impressive murder mittens, don’t you, Bean?”

Kara’s cheeks hurt from smiling. She loves it here.

“You know, that person recognized you,” she points out, turning her head to watch the staff member tend to a new guest. “We got our first evidence. Your proof of having a life outside work: hard-working and busy CEO billionaire Lena Luthor and her good friend Kara Danvers sighted in a cat cafe by a cat cafe employee.” She pauses, gasps. “We were at the museum earlier. That counts, too.”

“I love this for me,” Lena says, grins. She soothes a hand gently along Bean’s back, and more cats come to join them.

As Kara devours the sticky buns Lena ordered for her, she snaps pictures on her phone, filling her gallery with Lena, Lena with a cat, Lena holding the cat, Lena petting the cat, Lena holding the cat’s paw, Lena smiling at the cat and—

And–

Yeah.

Lena and the cat because why not. She likes taking pictures of her friend(s) and this is how she rolls. Alex might have some interesting words for her but Lena needs all the proof she can get, so. She’s here to back up Lena’s claim if Alex dares to doubt. It's serious business.

 


 

Lena is there at the parking lot, waiting beneath a street light, staring up at the baby pink and blue sky.

The evening breeze is gentle, blowing through Lena’s soft dark hair, and the air sprinkles a delicate pink blush onto the highs of her cheeks. Her gaze is contemplative, eyes sparkling.

She’s breathtaking. Kara can’t help but smile.

“Did you know that even their restroom is super unique looking,” Kara says as she walks towards Lena, unable to control her smile.

The lot is empty now, save for Lena’s car. Her footsteps come to a stop when she reaches Lena’s side.

“Did you take pictures there, too, darling?” Lena teases, meeting her gaze, then back up at the sky with a smile, marveling. “Nevermind, I already know you did. Send those to Alex as well.”

“Lena,” Kara whines, neck warming because yeah, she sure damn did, “their design really is cool and different, okay. I’d go back and take more.”

Her best friend laughs.

“We have cat fur all over us now,” Kara mentions, content to just stand out here with Lena for a bit.

“We got to pet cats. Worth it,” Lena replies.

“Ah, got some news coming in hot.” Kara chuckles lightly. “Lena Kieran Luthor is a cat person.”

Lena sighs, nudges Kara’s shoulder. “Well, I never said I wasn’t.”

It’s quiet. Lena’s still looking up. Kara follows her gaze.

“The sky looks pretty today.”

“Yeah,” Lena murmurs absently, far away.

Kara tilts her head, glances at her. “Thinking about something?”

“Oh, nothing serious. I'm thankful that you invited me to join you today.” Lena blinks slow. “It’s just that. I’m always working in my office or laboratory. When I’m not in either of those areas, I'm stuck in a meeting room for hours.”

The moon peeks through the clouds. Leaves rustle, huge tree branches sways in the soft wind.

“The sky is beautiful,” Lena says. “Too many times, we forget to take a moment to look up.”

There’s this little frown between Lena’s perfectly shaped eyebrows. A wrinkle on her face that Kara’s fingers itch to smooth out, that her mouth wants to—well.

Kara clears her throat.

“Yeah,” she agrees. Right now the sky feels expanding and refreshing. She never tires of looking. “The humans forget. I don't—it's kinda hard for me not to notice it,” she jokes with a soft grin. Flying and breathing and just taking in the city or sky is a part of her meditation.

“It makes me feel extra appreciative of everything.” Silence fills the space between them. The sky has that effect on everyone. “How incredibly lucky I am to look at the same sky as you,” Lena murmurs, exhaling quietly.

Oh.

For a moment the whole world stills, or at least Kara does.

They stare at each other for a couple of seconds, eyes filled with something ancient and indescribable. Blood rushes through Kara's veins and her heart pounds unrelentingly.

That’s—that’s a very sweet thing to say, Kara wasn't prepared to hear something like that. She’s trying to figure out what to say, how to respond. Shyness stills her tongue, as if Kara’s reached her limit on vulnerability today.

Lena just smiles, takes a step forward and carefully wraps Kara in her arms. Kara is tense, tense, then her shoulder weighs more heavily against Lena, and her heart is racing away from her as she blankets her arms around Lena’s middle, her palm cupping the back of Lena’s head.

Kara’s heart beats and frantic in her chest, and she wonders if Lena can feel it. She wonders if her coat will smell like Lena now, too. Wonders what the exact time it is, if the sky has changed from its warm cotton candy hues, how long she can extend this hug.

Lena presses herself close close close. She sighs soft, and Kara feels the breath on her neck. Her best friend tightens her hold just once before she lets go and stands. At this point Kara’s still trying to think of something equally nice to say.

She doesn’t know what Lena’s thinking about when Lena reaches out, her gentle fingers curling along the lapel of Kara's coat.

“Maintenance hug?” Kara murmurs.

“Yeah, need it for growth and all,” Lena says, and Kara breathes out a laugh, can't help it.

“Growth, that's right,” Kara says, a little breathless as she's still unsure of what to do while Lena tinkers with her coat. Because what can she do other than just stand there and let herself be looked at—be seen, let Lena keep touching her.

Lena’s expression turns careful. Something Kara doesn’t know what to do with.

It’s quiet. A long, weighted look. Considering.

And then—

“Can I kiss you?” Lena asks, hand sliding up to cup Kara’s face, gaze searching.

Kara lets the question sit, a bit, and breathes slowly. Lets them sink in as she holds Lena’s gaze. Takes a breath, another. Something so, so strong twists in her chest.

“Yeah,” she says very quietly.

Lena lifts her other hand and cups Kara’s entire face, tiptoes a little, then kisses her. Kara closes her eyes. Fingertips press to the curve of Kara’s jaw and then slide to the nape of her neck, hand stroking up and down.

The kiss is soft, tender, so soul-aching it makes Kara’s chest hurt. Lena kisses her slowly and sweetly, and electricity courses through Kara’s veins, nerve endings cracking with sensation. She feels alive.

Easily reciprocating, Kara sighs into Lena’s mouth, and tilts her head. When Lena wets her lips, Kara feels the soft flick of her tongue against her own lip. Her hands find Lena’s waist and she squeezes, letting Lena kiss her until her lips feel raw and tender. She parts her mouth, lets Lena lick and sigh into her mouth, and Kara is dizzy, dizzy.

Kara has kissed other people before, but none of them comes even close to how careful Lena’s lips are against hers.

Always unhurried, and slow, dragging with how it leads her, as if just trying to savour every moment of it. Lena places her arm around Kara's neck, pulls Kara a little closer, and the press of her curves makes Kara shudder.

The world becomes quieter and it slows down, slowly-dripping quality of honey, molten gold. Lena tastes like coffee and contentment.

There’s no one around and Kara loses track of time of how long they spend making out under the street light.

Lena pulls back, catching her breath, hands slipping down to Kara’s shoulders. Her eyes are glassy, cheeks pink, heartbeat wild. Kara's mind races with soft, tender thoughts, and then something that grounds her back to reality.

What they are. They’re not friends, they’re not more. But they’re something.

And they’ve always been like this, haven’t they?

Her grip on Lena’s waist tightens, and she's scared of—

She doesn't really know what it is she's scared of.

If she were less afraid, she might be able to talk about it more. Lena looks at her and Kara looks back, and what Kara feels in her chest surpasses words; it’s something like a lake within an ocean within the earth within the immensity of space in the universe, and so she settles with silence helplessly.

“We should get going,” Lena says, voice low, stroking her thumb along Kara’s jaw. Kara shivers.

“Yeah,” she croaks.

Lena studies her for a single, long moment, and Kara gets lost in her endearingly coloured cheeks and her swollen lips.

“Want me to drive you back to your loft?” Lena drops her hand, looks at her car. “Your apartment is on the way to mine.”

Kara wants to say that that would be unnecessary. That she can literally just fly back to hers in a matter of seconds. Lena knows this and yet she still asks.

Kara really wants to say no, that would be unnecessary.

She opens her mouth, and says:

“Sure.”

It’s probably a very silly thing, but Kara is pretty helpless when it comes to Lena. Her record and history easily shows that. Anything to spend more time with her. Kara gets the feeling Lena wants to spend more time with her, too. Lena wouldn’t be offering if she didn’t want that, so.

 


 

The car ride is quiet.

The radio music is turned on, dreamy pop music fitting between the two as Lena drives and Kara stares out the window.

Sometimes when I look into your eyes. I pretend you're mine, all the damn time.

A lot happened today. Kara’s tired, in a good way.

They stop at a red light and a couple of pedestrians cross the street. She feels Lena's gaze on her. It's comfortable, even if they aren't talking at all. Shifting in her spot a little, she tilts her head at her best friend.

Lena's eyes are soft and intense at the same time. Or maybe Kara feels that way about them.

The ride back home isn’t a long one.

Lena parks in front of her building and Kara gets out of the car. She bends down to meet Lena’s eyes.

Kara’s tired, but energy buzzes beneath her skin. While she can't get rid of the feeling akin to fear, she doesn't let it drive her. It's not right. She's with Lena. It's just Lena.

What's there to be afraid of?

“Thank you for everything today,” Kara says. There’s a beat of silence. “I could fly you back to yours. Could lift you and this car up and just zoom away.”

“That'd be a sight to see. We'll trend for weeks if anyone sees us like that.” Lena laughs. Her warmth envelopes Kara entirely. “I’ll pass. I appreciate the offer though, darling.”

Kara grins, soft. “Travel safely, Lena.” She takes one step back.

The two share a nod, and Kara wonders what Lena’s thinking about. She wonders and wonders.

“Bye, Kara,” Lena says before she silently closes the door and drives off.

Turning around, Kara walks forward with a lighter heart and shoulders.

 

Chapter Text

Today is sisters night and Alex orders lots of food and drinks, including a couple of light alien alcohol beverages for Kara. She complains to Kara for a full half an hour about the unpleasant people she had to deal with on a case she worked with J'onn, and then spends the next half an hour finally catching Kara up with what has been happening with Kelly and Esme. How the night of the proposal happened, and afterwards that, about how in one more month, the adoption process will finally be complete.

Esme will be living with them soon enough. Alex is going to become a mom and she’s getting married.

Kara must be making a certain face right now because Alex suddenly stops moving in the kitchen. Alex’s mouth is closed and she’s tilting her head, a small smile on her face.

“Things are going to change,” Alex says lightly, before filling herself with a glass of water. “A lot is changing already.”

Kara nods, rubs the back of her neck, and smiles back.

“Yeah,” she replies.

“Is that okay?” Alex asks tentatively, and Kara blinks. Why does her sister ask her this?

“Alex,” she starts, lips curving into a small frown. “Why wouldn’t it be? You're starting a new phase of life, which is exciting. You know that I’m happy for you.”

Her sister nods slowly, lingering around in the kitchen before making her way towards Kara. With a quiet sigh, she carefully sits down next to Kara on the couch.

“I know that. I also know that I have your full support.” She playfully bumps her shoulder with Kara’s, causing Kara to lose the frown. “I just want you to know that it’s okay to feel sad, too. You can feel both happy and sad, at the same time.”

Kara licks her lips. “I—I know.”

She’s always known things like this will take place; it's just difficult to prepare for its impacts. The relationship will change; she's going to miss parts of what will inevitably go. Alex's responsibilities—her priorities will change from what they once were.

And that’s okay. Does the love weaken? Not at all.

“We’ll still talk, have plenty of sisters’ night. I’m not going anywhere.” Alex's gaze is steady on Kara, gentle, earnest. “I just want you to know that I’ll always be here for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Or else,” she warns with a grunt, poking Kara on the side.

Kara laughs, nodding. “I know, I know.”

They eat their takeout in silence. Alex keeps dropping extra food on Kara’s plate as she takes swigs of her beer.

Kara feels fond. It’s good to be here.

But even in the heart of happiness, a twisting feeling sinks into Kara’s chest, a razor-sharp thorn coiling around her like some heavy shadow and trails whispers under her skin: you’re still alive. You’re here, happily settled in and comfortable; why are you still alive when so many others have died—how is that fair?

Why is she the only one that gets to live?

It’s a poisonous path of thought, one that Kara knows well. It comes at random times in huge waves. Having been thrown into that cold dark place once again, has reignited the thorn around her heart, and it’s tighter than ever.

Kara isn’t physically alone. She has friends, she’s close with her family, but the loneliness and guilt still claws at her, coupled with the itching feeling that she doesn’t deserve everything she has.

It feels wrong to have reached this far. It’s not fair that her people don’t get to live to see what “better” looks like. She feels incredibly lucky to be here, but she hurts so deeply for everyone that didn’t make it.

Sometimes it hurts to adapt, but it’s simply part of living. It feels surreal to be alive.

Kara knows better, but sometimes her thoughts get the better of her and the guilt of living well feels heavy and inescapable.

She stares at the skin of her hands. Wonders what they would look like, if her skin would be covered completely in scars and marks if she didn’t have her healing powers.

“So, you went out with Lena,” Alex breaks the silence nonchalantly, and Kara’s startled. She looks at Alex, who’s scrolling through her phone.

Kara clears her throat, scratches her brow. “I do that sometimes. We are best friends.”

“I will steal your potstickers,” Alex threatens and narrows her eyes, unhappy with the sarcasm.

“What—” Kara gasps, sitting taller on the couch, forming a protective barrier with her arms around her plate full of potstickers on her lap. “Leave my potstickers out of this!”

She bites her bottom lip, eyebrows scrunched up, body on high alert as the poison in her mind is already dissipating.

“Kara, really,” Alex scoffs, rolls her eyes with a disbelieving smile. “As if I could successfully take one from a kryptonian.”

Kara relaxes, but only a little.

“You went to a museum and a cat cafe with Lena, Kara,” Alex deadpans. “I haven't even been to a cat cafe with Kelly. Now I wanna. By the way, how was the date? Tell me already.”

“Alex! That was—yesterday wasn’t a date, it’s not like what you’re thinking,” Kara corrects her with a wince. Alex isn't even being subtle about it—she never tries to, when it comes to Extracting Information about Kara and Lena. “We’re not gonna get into that, but I will send you some more pictures we took.”

“Stingy! You’ve flooded our chat enough with pictures of Lena and cats,” Alex huffs, waving her off. “All right, then tell me about that long-time coworker of yours? Funny because I heard, from a very credible source, that she has a thing for you.”

Kara almost chokes on her potsticker and looks at Alex, eyes blinking fast.

“Nia told you? I told her not to make a big deal out of it,” she groans.

“She didn’t mean to tell me,” Alex says, shrugging. “I asked her how her day was yesterday and she went into it. The Mackenzie part slipped past her mouth, and she really, really tried to backtrack.” She takes a sip of beer, a smirk on her face forming. “I gave her a look. Just a little look, you know? Then she simply told me the rest.”

“Rao,” Kara breathes out, burying her face in her hands.

“Who’d have thought, huh. Mackenzie?” Alex hums with a quizzical smile, shaking her head. “So even after that, still no new potential love interests for you?”

The way Alex says it makes Kara duck her head, face heating.

“No. I’ll probably die alone, or something,” she replies flippantly, picking at a loose thread on her sweater. When she raises her head, looks at Alex, she finds herself getting glared at.

“Kara, please. I doubt that.”

The topic sort of makes Kara feel antsy. Why are they talking about this again? She fixes her glasses, then finds that there are no glasses to fix on her nose. She almost pokes herself in the eye, and Alex laughs at her, expression warm.

“I think you give me too much credit,” Kara murmurs, bumping Alex’s knee under the table with hers.

“I’m not. I’m pretty sure you’d have no difficulty getting whoever you wanted. You just don’t try.” Two beats later, Alex adds, “You should try.”

That catches Kara completely off-guard. She swallows.

“I… I don’t think that’s true. That first part, anyway. But the second part… you might be right.”

Alex hums with a pointed look, leaning back on her seat.

Kara isn’t sure what else to say. It’s a small revelation, one that Kara tries not to think too much about.

 


 

It’s a slow morning in CatCo and Kara slips out for a moment, seeking some extra work to do with her free time.

She lands quietly on the Tower balcony and walks straight inside, looking to see if Supergirl is needed here today.

Nia is reading something off the whiteboard while Brainy, who stands right next to her, is looking at his tablet with a contemplative gaze. M’Gann is also here, in front of the whiteboard as she discusses something with Nia.

Near them is Alex typing away on the keyboard as she analyzes what’s on the computer screen. Someone moves beside her and it’s definitely not Kelly and—oh, there’s Lena, too, her hands on the desk, back facing Kara.

It looks like Lena and her sister are working on something together. Kara moves in quietly so as to not disturb anyone’s focus. She leans against the table in the middle of the room with her hip, arms crossed as she watches the two.

“Weird,” Alex says with a head scratch. “The readings are dead, are we sure that your device is even working—”

“That can’t be right,” Lena murmurs, looking closely at Alex’s computer screen. She takes over, scanning for the error. A couple seconds of rapid typing later, a sigh slips out of Lena’s mouth and she turns to face Alex. “You connected it to the wrong link. I created two devices. One of them is offline.”

“Wait, you made two?” Alex balks, pausing.Wow. I don’t imagine the materials coming in cheap.”

“They break easily.” Lena only shrugs. “Have to make an extra one to be safe.”

Alex only looks at Lena, face twisting into something horrified. Kara smiles at that.

“Reconnecting and going through the setup…” Lena murmurs, more to herself. “There we go. Connected.”

“Yes, it’s working now,” Brainy calls out, and from across the room he raises his hand in the air and gives her a stiff thumbs up. Lena smiles, sends him one back. “I’ll keep a close eye and record what comes through.”

Lena nods. Looking past her shoulder, just when she opens her mouth to speak again, she catches Kara’s eye. Kara grins, waves, and Lena’s face lights up.

“Hey,” Lena greets. “When did you arrive here? I didn’t hear you enter at all.”

“A couple of minutes ago. I can be sneaky.” Kara laughs quietly and tries not to look at Lena’s mouth.

(Too much.)

Lena kissed her not too long ago. They've kissed multiple times now. Now's really not the time to think about Lena's mouth. Her very nice and soft mouth. That Kara sort of wants on hers again.

Rao.

She rubs the back of her neck. “I just came in to check if you guys need my help on anything?”

“Nope, we’re just about almost done,” Alex supplies and she's already sorting the messy folders laid out on their desk into a neat pile. When she turns and hands them to Lena, she stills, craning her neck. “Oh.”

Lena blinks. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just, taking a closer look, you’re—small,” Alex observes, and Kara notes the height difference. “I'm so used to seeing you in high heels that I forget you're not that tall.”

Lena’s wearing her ‘trusty comfortable sneakers’ as she fondly calls it. It’s a new thing that she’s been doing lately—wearing more casual attire around the Superfriends. It warms Kara’s heart.

Her best friend in her sneakers, paired along with Alex’s riding boots, creates a funny picture.

“I could put you in my pocket, Lena,” Alex says with a thoughtful hum. “You would give me great advice, I think.”

“I’d tell you to commit a crime,” Lena answers easily, arching an eyebrow before she swiftly snatches the folders from Alex.

Across the room, M’Gann and Nia break into a loud laugh and they turn around, watching Lena and Alex, curious and entertained. Nia wraps an arm around Brainy’s shoulder as she twirls a whiteboard marker in her hand, face delighted, ready to bring chaos into the mix.

The atmosphere is light, playful. There’s nothing urgent going on, no pressing matters to tend to. Kara thinks that out of all the Superfriends she loves, relaxed Superfriends is her favourite. They’re all comfortable and loose, just joking around and laughing despite their sore muscles from working. There’s familiarity to this Superfriends, something untouchable, that is just them.

Alex snorts and pushes it with a smirk. “Aw, you don’t like being called short?”

“Alex, calm down. You’re not that tall,” Lena states, rolling her eyes.

“Well, if you guys want to talk about height, make some way,” Nia declares with her hands raised up in the air, over the top with her movements as she walks and joins in the conversation. Settling right next to Kara comfortably against the table, she grins at Lena. “Tall person, coming through.”

“Why are we talking about height?” Lena frowns, eyebrows scrunching. She’s very cute, and Kara’s fingers twitch.

Nia laughs, and she tilts her head, eyeing Lena’s sneakers. “Hey, those look really comfortable.”

“Right?” Alex hums, agreeing. “Comfortable suits Lena well.”

“Come on. It’s just a pair of shoes, guys… but thanks,” Lena says, mouth curving into a small smile.

Suddenly, someone’s phone starts ringing and everyone looks at the sound’s direction. Nia winces and fishes her phone out of her pocket.

“Oh. I have to get back to CatCo soon,” Nia sighs, looking at her screen. “I’m working with a partner on this article and she wants it done as soon as possible. Like, a whole week before the deadline, man.”

“Oh?” Kara finally speaks, intrigued. “Andrea assigned you with someone? Who?”

Nia smiles slowly, eyes filling with mischief. Kara feels like she shouldn’t have asked.

“Why, none other than Mackenzie,” Nia answers with an insufferable tone, causing everyone to look at Nia curiously.

The work in the Tower is going slow, so everyone’s hungry for some entertainment.

“Ah, yes. Mackenzie.” Alex makes a knowing face, smiling as she exchanges the most subtle look ever in human history with Nia.

“Am I missing something here?” M’Gann, who’s been mostly quiet, asks as she looks back and forth between Alex and Nia. “Who’s Mackenzie? And why are you guys speaking like… that?”

Oh, no. It’s time to tune out of this conversation.

Kara softly scoffs and goes to the nearest available computer, the one next to Lena’s. She pretends to be busy with a task. Checking her emails would be a good start.

“Oh, you know,” Nia says vaguely, drawing out her words.

Kara can't explain it, but she can just feel Nia's eyes burning holes in her back.

“Uh. Why are you guys looking at Kara?” M’Gann says behind Kara, and Kara wants to fling herself out of here. “It’s kinda creepy, not gonna lie. Kara, you got history with her or something?”

Rao.

“She’s just a random co-worker, no one important,” Kara gives in, voice tight, and she hears Alex and Nia snicker in the background.

“Random co-worker? What an interesting way to describe your colleague of six years, Kara,” Nia delights, fanning the flame with terrifying ease.

M’Gann crosses her arms. “I’m definitely missing something here,” she says slowly.

“You’re not missing anything,” Kara speaks a little too fast. “She—she, um. Suddenly asked me out not too long ago, and I said I wasn’t interested. Nia’s just reaching.”

Lena glances at her curiously. Kara can take all the attention, no problem, but when she has Lena added to the mix, her confidence wavers and her face grows hot.

“I see. Hey, when's the last time you had feelings for someone, Kara?” M’Gann asks with alarming innocence, bull-dozing and guns blazing. “If you ever need a wingwoman, I’m here. I’m just saying, you know I'm good at that stuff. You've seen me move around during my time at Al's dive bar.”

“Rao.” Kara rubs her face slowly, now flushing a shade of red at this point. Her friend seems genuine, so Kara just says, “Yes, of course, I do remember. Thank you for the offer, M’Gann.”

Lena, who stands right next to Kara, scoots close, and pats Kara on the back. Probably for support. But then when Kara turns her head to look at Lena, she finds amusement painted on her face. Kara’s baffled.

“Yeah, I got you,” M’Gann says, and then there’s a light smirk playing on her lips that makes Kara feel uneasy, makes her wonder if M’Gann has been playing with her, too. “By the way, you didn’t answer my first question.”

The two main instigators of this topic snicker again in the background.

Kara stands still for a moment, wondering if it’s socially acceptable to superspeed out of here and buy some doughnuts and then go on about her day.

“Why’s everyone so interested in my love life all of a sudden?” she murmurs with a soft huff, turning to the table. Leaning against it, she drags a heavy hand across her forehead.

Sighing as she thinks about her superspeed option, her eyes catch Lena’s gaze. They both share a look, something secret and intimate.

“Oh snap!” Nia gasps so loud. “Did anyone see that? Why did Kara share a look with Lena just now? And how do they manage to sneak in a moment at literally any given time?”

“I saw it, too,” Alex adds helpfully, insufferably. She turns to Kelly, who’s been quiet the entire time, busy with filling out some paperwork. “Babe, you saw that too, right?”

“Sure did,” Kelly drawls noncommittally, then flips to the next page of her folder.

“Huh,” M’Gann says thoughtfully.

“It was also caught on security footage,” Brainy supplies as he looks at his tablet. He raises it up in the air for everyone to see, the screen zoomed into Kara and Lena's faces, further inflicting Kara some psychic damage.

“Hah! Caught in 4K!” Nia whistles, giving her boyfriend an proud pat on the back.

“What moment? Why are you guys watching my every move?!” Kara balks with a face; she’s fighting for her life out here. Lena, who has turned quiet, only offers her a smile and shrug, leaving Kara to fend herself. “Lena,” she whines, mouth curving into a pout.

What does a girl have to do to get some support here?

The pout must have worked because Lena is laughing, deep and throaty, a fond look gracing her features.

“All right, guys. That’s enough, leave Kara alone,” Lena orders, arching an eyebrow as she makes a point of looking at every single face in the room, sharp boardroom face on. “Everyone here has work to do.”

Kara nods with feeling as Lena speaks. Everyone is quiet as Lena dares anyone to continue. It’s truly baffling to Kara how her friends are quick to zero in on her when the topic is about her and Lena. There’s Lena, but they always go for her instead.

She wishes she could be more like Lena. Unbothered and cool, not easy to fluster.

“Aw, look at them. How cute,” Alex dangerously braves on, the glint of challenge in her eye, and for a moment Lena and Alex exchange a battle of odd looks that Kara’s way too happy to stay out of.

“Saved by her girl. So, so cute, get me out of here!” Nia's face twists in disgust. “Couples make me sick.” Very, very quietly, she whispers into Brainy’s ear. Brainy, did you catch that SuperCorp moment on tape, too? Brainy nods at her. Good, you’re amazing. Save, don’t delete.

Kara can hear everything.

She huffs, bewildered. Not taking the bait, she only says, “You’re in a relationship with Brainy, Nia. ‘Couples’ include you.”

“I know,” Nia replies with an easy grin, looking unaffected as if she knew that exact response was coming. “I only said it just to feel something.”

“Nia,” Lena warns, swooping in, and Kara wants so badly to hug her best friend.

Nia stands up straight and salutes. “Yes, ma’am. Roger that,” she says before sneaking in one final unbearable wink at the two. “I have to get to CatCo now, I’ll buy you some doughnuts on the way, Kara, just to make up for being insufferable. It’s my job as the youngest. Love all you guys, bye!”

“Yeah, I’ll be taking my leave as well,” M’Gann says, shrugging, “I have to go meet with J’onn.”

The Tower is much quieter, now that Nia and M’Gann are gone.

Kara looks at Lena, and Lena looks back. It’s hard not to notice the height difference. Lena in her sneakers, Kara in her boots. Yeah, she finds herself agreeing with Alex’s pocket comment from earlier.

“Thanks,” Kara says to her best friend. She flexes her fingers in the air, her arms itching to wrap around Lena. It’s actually unfair to look this cute and intimidating at the same time.

Lena nods. “A slow work day turns everyone into hungry hawks.”

“Yeah.” Kara flushes.

“All right!” Alex clasps her hands, and starts typing on the keyboard. “Sorry to interrupt you two, but Lena, can you come over here for a sec? We both missed something here. Nothing big, it won’t take long.”

“Yeah, sure,” Lena answers. When she passes Kara, she gives her a bicep squeeze.

Lena and Alex both get back to their tasks and Kara’s left alone, trying to recall the reason why she came here in the first place.

“You guys sure you don’t need my help for anything?” Kara asks one last time, looking around with a frown.

“We’re good here, darling,” Lena replies, tone dripping with affection Kara feels like caving. Like wrapping her arms around Lena and pressing her lips to her, opening her mouth for her and swallowing her, devouring her, keeping bits of her inside.

Here she is again, thinking questionable thoughts.

Kara clears her throat, scratches her brow. “Okay, um… then I’m gonna take my leave as well and go back to CatCo.”

Brainy nods at her. “Don’t worry. We’re just testing out some equipment, not planning an attack against some powerful rogue alien.”

“If anything comes up, let me know.”

 


 

The morning soon fades into afternoon and Kara finishes her work in CatCo without any issue. She’s flying back to the Tower to gather some files she’d like to look at to work on at home, and hopefully get a couple done to help ease J'onn's workload.

Stepping on the balcony and inside the main area, she finds that no one else remains lingering around except for one person.

“You’re still here,” Kara comments quietly and carefully, not wanting to disturb the peace and stillness filling the room with her presence. “Everyone’s gone except for you.”

Lena hums softly. She’s sitting on a stool with her legs crossed, a desk in front of her. On the table is her tablet, a stack of books, and some oddly-shaped materials that don’t look like they’re from Earth. Her best friend tinkers with them, her hands moving around, a deft confidence.

Content to stick around for a bit, Kara leans back against the wall. She lets out a silent exhale and crosses her arms, just watching Lena work.

She’s curious and likes looking at Lena, sue her.

“Before you come at me, I took breaks,” Lena speaks and looks past her shoulder to meet Kara’s gaze, throwing a small smile in Kara’s way. She turns back to her work station. “I’m close to finishing up here.”

“Uh-huh,” Kara says slowly, tilting her head.

“Hey. You don’t believe me?” Lena chuckles as she picks up a pen, writing something on her notes.

A smile tugs at the corner of Kara’s mouth. “Do you believe in yourself?”

“Just watch me.”

“I am,” Kara answers with a widening smile, every muscle in her body relaxing as roots herself in her spot.

Lena laughs. “I don’t mean it literally, Kara. Go and do whatever it is you came here to do.”

“I think I’m content to stay in my position for now.”

“So you’re just going to keep standing there, watching me? Do something else.”

“Okay, well.” Kara squints her eyes, considers it. “Sure. I could sit next to you.”

Lena pauses her writing. There's a metal-looking artifact in her other hand. “That’s even worse.”

“Even worse?” Kara questions with a smile, delighted to hear why.

“You’re distracting and you know it, don’t pretend,” Lena replies. Her best friend waves that piece of metal in the air. “I can feel you grinning behind me. Go away,” Lena adds with no bite at all.

“So eager to get rid of me.” Kara stays exactly in her spot, smiling fond, fond. Her hands twitch and she wants to reach out and touch Lena, maybe pull her into a hug. She doesn’t move. “Hey, Lena? If I could physically put you in my pocket. As an advice-giver, would you tell me to commit a crime?”

“Oh my god,” Lena says, breathing out a laugh. “What’s with you guys wanting me in your pockets all of a sudden?”

Good question.

“It’s what someone says to a person they find cute. Take it as a compliment.” Kara says, chuckles soft. She crosses her arms over her chest a little tighter. “Anyway. Answer my question, Lena.”

“No, hold on. I’m cute,” Lena repeats, and she says it like it’s a question, soullessly in her tone. “I’m cute, so you want to put me in your pocket?”

Kara nods, her lips stretching into a smile again. “That, and I want to hug you.” A beat later, she adds, “And squish you.”

“Oh, so now you want to squish me.”

“Have you heard of the term cute aggression?”

“I… don't think I have?” Lena sounds amused. She delicately tucks her hair behind her ear, bows her head and starts typing something on her tablet. “Are you going to tell me about it?”

“Cute aggression is what happens when you see something cute. Say, a cat for example. Your brain gets so overwhelmed by the cuteness, which makes you want to squish or maybe even bite the cat.”

“Bite?” Lena breathes a soft peal of laughter. She cranes her head a bit, a pause in her tablet reading. “Sounds like cuteness inspires aggression.”

Kara hums, grinning now as Lena gets the idea. “Pretty much, yeah.”

“So you want to hug and squish me.” Lena turns her head, glances at Kara with a heart-stopping light smirk. Huh. Kara wants to wipe it off her face, knows just the right method on how to go about it, but she doesn’t want to disrupt anything right now. “Then why am I not being hugged and squished right now?”

“Lena,” Kara whines, unmoving, but she’s bouncing up and down on her heels with barely contained energy, trying to resist the pull towards her best friend. “You’re working right now. And you called me a distraction. I have self-control.”

“Oh? She has self-control, she says,” Lena teases, amusement stark and attractive dancing across her face. Dimples pop out and she chuckles deeply with a shake of her head.

Everything about Lena does a lot to Kara’s heart, it’s terrifying.

Kara wants to walk over to her. She wants to move and reach out and brush away that teasing smirk on Lena’s face and—

She doesn’t move. It’s all new ground. She doesn’t know what she’s allowed to do and what she isn’t. What Lena expects from her.

They lapse into a companionable silence.

She thinks about what happened the past few days. Lena comforting her when she woke up in a tangle of nerves. Lena’s soothing voice. And after that day, Lena’s eyes. Lena’s hands, caressing her face. The press of lips.

Lena is incredibly soft. Kara knows this: the touch of her skin and her hair, the considerate rhythm of her heart. Soft. But not weak. Kara thinks she's never met anyone as strong and kind-hearted as Lena.

Kara breathes slowly.

She isn’t sure how to define their relationship. It scares Kara how easy it is, being with Lena. What this all means.

The depth and intensity, what they are. What they’re not.

What they could be.

“Kara?” Lena mumbles distractedly, her back still facing Kara. Kara’s senses snaps back into place. “Still there, being a creep?”

“I’m not being a creep.” Kara flushes with a smile. “I’m just enjoying the air here while thinking about what I should have for dinner later.”

“Right. Okay, darling.” Lena lets out a husky chuckle, and Kara isn’t prepared for the next set of words that Lena uses. “I believe you.

Kara flinches, inhaling sharply. Her chest does something terrible. There’s no mistaking what Lena just said. Kryptonese.

“What… what did you just say?” Kara asks, standing up straight, stiffening.

Lena pauses completely, and everything falls quiet. Kara can’t tell what Lena’s thinking about, but she catches onto the sudden change of pace of Lena’s heart in her chest. Finally, Lena drops her pen and she turns her head, meeting Kara’s gaze.

“How, um—where did you learn that from?” Kara tries again.

“Oh, just from Lex’s studies.” Lena looks at Kara for a long moment, her face blank. “He was well-versed in Kryptonese and up to this day, I still have no idea how he obtained his research. I started learning it way before I met you.” She wets her lips, wrings her hands, her words careful. “And you’re probably wondering why. You see, I came to National City with a goal in mind. I thought, if I wanted to help Supergirl, I might as well educate myself a bit before moving. I wanted to show her—you—that I mean only well.”

“Lena,” Kara says, voice sounding rough in her ears. Her heart is trying to escape the confines of its cage.

“I—ah. It’s not much at the moment.” Lena’s cheeks turn pink, and she waves a hand in the air as if this is a small and unimportant matter. “I only know a bit.”

Knowing her best friend, Kara gets the feeling that ‘a bit’ is a huge understatement. Lena just spoke her language and she’s acting like this is no big deal.

Kara exhales a shaky breath, takes a moment.

It is a dead language, Lena,” Kara tests, speaking in Kryptonese, voice quiet, a little shaky. It’s been a long, long time since she spoke in her mother's tongue. Her chest feels tight, constricting persistently. Sometimes, it aches to be known. “I think you know a lot more than you let on.

Lena’s lips part. She watches Kara carefully.

Is it okay?” Lena replies in Kryptonese. Her pronunciation is unfairly perfect. Clear and sharp-soft.

Kara wants to melt into her voice. She swallows, something trembling at her sides. Her hands.

What is?

“Me, learning your language. You and Supergirl are the same person… after I found that out, after all the mess, what happened between us and everything, I—” Lena slips back to English, sharply freezing. She shrugs her shoulders, licks her lips. “I... started taking the learning more seriously.”

At that, Kara doesn’t know what to say. What to feel. Her questions are being answered, but at the same time, she’s left even more confused.

She understands Lena wanting to learn the basic words and a couple of phrases. That’s one thing. But it’s turned into something bigger, with Lena’s drive to learn the language completely. Which is another.

Kara can’t move, something ripping her ribcage open, wrapping its fist around her heart. Her chest heaves, mouth opening. Closing. No words coming out.

Lena’s face falls. Embarrassment and guilt prickles her features. “Too much? I’m sorry I overstepped—”

“Lena,” Kara cuts her off gently, shaking her head. Quietly and surely, she says, “You didn’t overstep, you’re fine.”

“But you seem upset,” Lena notes.

“I’m not upset, I’m just confused.” Kara frowns, her eyes starting to burn. “It’s just, I don’t understand why? Why you’d bother to continue studying when…” she trails off, and rubs a slow hand across her forehead. “You’re set on learning it. Kryptonese is a dead language, there’s no point in learning when everyone who speaks it is dead.”

That’s according to her knowledge. Maybe there are a handful of aliens that know a couple of words here and there. Maybe a few even hold a level of fluency. Either way, it doesn’t matter because as far as she knows, no one uses it as a form of communication.

Her cousin Clark, a kryptonian, has little understanding of the language. When he speaks, he fumbles over his sentences. He has no interest in learning.

“Not everyone,” Lena gently corrects. “You’re still alive.”

The burning starts to feel like a sting in Kara’s eyes. Kara clenches her jaw, the hard bits inside her chest just crumbling.

“Lena, you know what I mean,” Kara manages thickly, wild at the edges. “Learning a completely different language takes a tremendous amount of effort and time. You seem to already have a good grasp of it. It’s just… I’m only one person and there are no real advantages of knowing Kryptonese for you and—and—”

Kara stops short as she takes it all in. Time is a precious, precious thing. Why does Lena waste her valuable time, learning a dead language? It’s hard to digest this.

“That may be true,” Lena says quietly. “But, Kara. It’s not about what I can gain from it. Not really.”

Kara swallows, throat swollen from trepidation. “I still don’t understand why.”

Lena sighs, eyes softening. “You know why.”

A heavy silence takes over between them.

Kara lets the words sink into her chest and take root. The vice around her heart softens. Somehow, that hurts more. Lena looks away, turns to her desk once again. She begins sorting out her belongings, as if she’s finally done for the day. Her movements are careful.

Kara takes a moment, looks down at the floor, hard.

“You already know more than Superman,” she murmurs, chest tightening. Her back is heavy against the wall when she crosses her arms. Her shoulders shake, just a little. Lena has an earnest interest in her culture. Lena cares. “My cousin is fluent in multiple languages, but he never learned Kryptonese.”

That seems to take Lena by surprise. “He can’t speak it?”

“He… he can only speak a little bit.” Kara takes a deep breath, eyebrows furrowed. “And that’s okay. Why would he learn the whole language, exactly? To speak it to... who? He’s disconnected from kryptonian culture. He grew up on Earth and that language serves no use here. It’s all understandable… even though it makes me sad.”

Lena’s lips part. She stays quiet.

“I—I know it's silly for me to feel this way. My cousin owes me nothing. I get sad or hurt over the smallest things, it's embarrassing.” Kara scratches her brow, cheeks heating from shame. “I'm supposed to be the most powerful being on Earth—this person who protects, inspires hope, and keeps everyone strong. But how can I keep doing that, when I’m hurting too? I crumble over unimportant matters.”

Her eyes fog.

She carries a heavy burden of responsibilities and expectations on her shoulders. She's scared of so many things, but dying isn’t one of them, and that scares her, too. She's afraid of causing pain to the ones she loves. She’s afraid of disappointing others, afraid of not being enough.

“You’re not silly for feeling the way you do, Kara.” Lena’s mouth curves into a soft frown, eyes filling with concern. “Powerful being or not, however big or small the issue is? If something affects you then it matters. Don’t call them unimportant, your feelings matter.”

Kara stiffens, feels heavy and nakedly vulnerable, and she tries to backtrack because it suddenly got too real.

“Lena, I mean. It’s fine, I didn’t really mean—”

“It’s not fine,” Lena says, and Kara flinches. “I wish you'd stop doing that.”

“Doing… what?”

“Making yourself small for the sake of others' comfort. You’re afraid of inconveniencing people with your fears and worries, so you keep quiet. You treat your feelings as if they're irrelevant.” Lena's words are gentle but cutting, piercing through Kara’s chest.

“That’s not, I’m not...” Kara stutters, falling short for words. She flushes deeply, takes a long moment. “Does it really matter? Someone like me… I have to put myself—my wants and needs last. And that's okay, because I can handle it all.”

Kara can’t whine. She has to be the 'strong' or 'stable' person among everyone because she’s Supergirl. Too many people depend on her. If she’s not careful, if she slips…

Lena only looks at her, face inscrutable.

Kara has trouble looking back. She feels unsteady, so she looks away.

“Just because you can handle more doesn’t mean you should. You don’t deserve that,” Lena speaks in a low voice, unflinching, and Kara trembles with the quiet force of it, the way Lena doesn’t need to yell or speak loudly to be heard.

She feels entirely helpless and at a loss for words. Her jaw clenches. Lena’s never been afraid to call her out on matters.

“I worry about you,” Lena says, voice achingly tender, and the words make Kara's heartbeat speed up, despite telling herself not to look deeply into the words—into everything that’s happening right now. How did the conversation get to this point? “You're so used to taking care of everybody else that you don't think about you—you forget to take care of you.”

Kara still can't find her voice, no words take shape on her tongue so she doesn’t say anything.

“Your worries and fears… and the pressure and doubts? Kara, you don't need to burden yourself with the weight of everything. But if you're that persistent…” Lena shifts forward a bit, her hand buzzing with energy, opening and closing on her lap as if she wants to get up and walk across the room and touch Kara. “At least let me share the burden with you, even if it's just a little bit.”

And—

Everything goes still. Quiet.

There's something overwhelming in Kara's chest, tightening around her throat.

“Lena,” she says, very very quietly, voice shaky with a conflicted heart, “I—I don’t know…”

“You know how to care for someone, Kara. And the way you care for me is exactly the way I want to be cared for. Let me do the same,” Lena asks, almost desperately, and she watches Kara with a gentle and intent gaze, unwavering. “Anything just to make you feel less lonely, I'll do.”

No one speaks. The silence that stretches is the silence of something waking up and carefully unfolding and reaching towards the sky.

Kara averts her gaze, heart pounding in her chest. Judging by the careful movements Lena is making in her peripheral vision, Lena has looked away too, elbows on her desk. Hands twisting nervously, maybe.

“Too much?” Lena asks, voice low, shy fear palpable in her voice.

Kara shivers. Her heart hurts.

She walks, like her body is moving on auto-pilot, and she doesn’t even realize it until she’s standing right in front of Lena. She touches a gentle hand to Lena’s shoulder.

Lena only stays still, her hand tightening around the piece of metal she’s holding.

Slowly and carefully, Kara's fingers slide across Lena’s shoulder and gathers Lena’s soft long hair in her palm. She pushes dark hair to the side and over her shoulder. Lena’s heartbeat is a fast steady beat in Kara’s ears.

Bending down just a bit, Kara presses a soft kiss on the nape of Lena’s neck.

“You’re never too much,” Kara near-whispers, moved beyond words. She guards her silence for a moment. “I don’t know what to say—I just. Thank you. Lena, you… you care for me the way I want to be cared for, too.”

“Oh,” Lena says, and sets down the item in her hand.

Each gesture of kindness fills Kara up, and stings her like a papercut at the same time. Lena is a gentle soul and has a good heart. She is so good and so kind and patient.

Kara draws a slow breath, eyes growing hotter. It's—a lot. She feels undeserving of such love, especially from someone like Lena Luthor. She doesn't think she's worthy of this level of affection, care, and protection. But she lets these thoughts go for now. The last she wants is to make Lena worry even more.

I appreciate you,” Kara says in Kryptonese, voice rough with emotions, and she drops her forehead against the back of Lena’s neck. Her arms wrap loosely above Lena’s shoulders and she sags down a little, almost draping herself across Lena’s back.

I appreciate you, too, darling,” Lena replies quietly with ridiculously perfect enunciation. She only turns her head a little, touches Kara’s wrist, squeezing it. “More than you know.

Darling. Darling, darling, darling. Kara trembles, lets out a watery chuckle. She’s always been so affected by Lena’s personal pet name for her, and she can’t put into words how she’s feeling right now.

How much it means to her that Lena cares this much.

Lena took up Kryptonese just so Kara would feel less lonely. Going out one’s way and learning a whole language—just who does that for someone?

“Lena,” Kara whispers weakly, feeling her throat seize up, eyes burning hot, heart feeling a little too heavy, too full. Her heart beats hard, just once, as though it is having a hard time handling this situation. “Think I might cry…”

“Would that be so bad?” Lena asks, soft.

When’s the last time she cried in front of someone who isn’t her sister? Sure, Lena’s seen her cry before, but this… it’s different.

It’s them two without any more secrets and clashes; it’s Lena knowing she’s Kara Zor-El, and in all essence, just Kara; it’s Kara who crumbles because she’s seen and loved.

She takes slow and deep breaths, respiration desperately trying to steady. Vulnerable and embarrassed about it, she reminds herself that Lena is safe. Easy. Familiar. She presses her forehead to the back of Lena’s neck further, nuzzling into her, as one of her arms slide down Lena’s body to wrap around her middle, the other staying above Lena’s shoulder.

Lena brings a hand to Kara’s hair, fingers massaging her scalp gently. Kara closes her eyes.

Lena is a whole world of warmth, Kara couldn’t say where she was in National City or on Earth at this moment.

It will be evening soon and Kara finds herself in the middle of a complication, a feeling that starts from beneath her ribcage, traveling higher and higher, until it’s at the back of her throat. She wishes to stand taller, because this is what Lena has given her today—feeling light-footed, shoulders significantly less heavy; she feels like she could grow somewhere she hasn’t thought she could grow in.

Lena turns around and faces Kara fully, her arms locking around Kara’s shoulder and back, hand cupping the back of her head.

“It’s just me here. It’s okay to cry,” Lena says, then places a kiss on the side of Kara’s neck, and maybe, Kara doesn’t have to carry the whole world alone.

 


 

Kara flies around for a bit.

Night fell a few hours ago and she floats in the sky without aim. After some time, she touches down and stops for some potstickers and noodles at a small business restaurant before wandering around again.

The truth is, she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Lena. It’s like ever since they had that unexpected conversation, something shifted inside of Kara. A switch in her brain was flicked, her soul, and heart.

Lena is her best friend. Everywhere she goes, Kara takes a piece of her with her.

They say that a relationship is about inventing your own language. That it’s this language that the two of you build—a precious thing you don’t speak with anybody else. It’s okay that there are no words for them or that people mistake them for something they’re not because—they don’t understand them.

How could they? They don’t speak for Kara and Lena.

Kara is effortlessly articulate in their language, but she doesn’t know how to define them. She doesn’t like trying to define them because the words never feel enough when it comes to describing Lena and Lena And Kara.

There’s no doubt in her mind that Lena is aware of the way there’s something… settled between the two of them.

Something sure, but also at the same time, terrifyingly ambiguous.

And that makes Kara ache, like there’s a bone mended wrong and it’s in her deep and she doesn’t understand why the feeling is close to bittersweet. Doesn’t know how to make it comforting and better, doesn’t know how else to say it except that it hurts, hurts something so delicious; she aches when she looks at what’s in front of her, or rather who, so she strays from digging deeper because of what she might find or have to acknowledge and—

And she’s just—

Scared. That’s the plainest way of saying it.

When Kara takes one more step, her phone vibrates in her pocket.

Lena

Kara, I just found one of your chapsticks under my couch.

Kara blinks at her screen, and her chest fills with something known and confusing and alarming. It’s been seven hours since she saw Lena. She tries to keep it cool.

Kara

oh!

i was looking for that earlier, i thought i lost it

Lena

Well, feel free to swing by anytime to take it back.

Kara

will do, thank you :)

Lena

Found your hair tie, too.

And I’m pretty sure this coat belongs to you.

Daringly, Kara types with a small smile:

Kara

lena, do you want me to come over or something?

you can just ask

Lena

I have snacks.

At Lena's strong refusal to be direct, Kara laughs, fond. Her ears turn a little pink and she bites the inside of her cheek as she types in her next message.

Kara

well, um… about before

there’s something i need to know first

i’m sorry i cried and ruined your shirt

do you still think i’m handsome?

She closes her eyes and imagines Lena reading her text, laughing with dimples on her cheeks.

Lena

Yes.

Kara stumbles and almost trips on air. She flushes; she wasn’t expecting such a serious and straightforward answer.

Kara

even when you saw me covered completely

in mud and goo after that alien I fought against the other day?

Lena

Of course.

Kara

and that one time i shoved five cookies in my mouth

during game night

do you think i’m cool?

Lena

Sure, Kara. You’re very cool. More charming than ever in my eyes, too.

Kara

and funny too?

this is you when i bring you lunch and you realize it's kale

cat

please laugh at my meme

Lena

That’s very accurate!

You can’t see it, but I’m laughing. You’re effortlessly funny, darling.

Kara

:)

okay i’m coming over

 


 

Kara lands on Lena’s balcony with a gentle thud and she walks inside, the glass door already opened. Still feeling quite raw and embarrassed from earlier and ruining Lena's shirt, she has half the mind to abandon her visit, chicken out and go home.

But she stops herself.

Lena wants to see her, so Kara will let herself be looked at, dotted on.

Kara fully expects Lena to be working when she gets inside the penthouse, but she isn’t. Instead, Lena is in the kitchen, pouring herself a cup of tea, hands careful so she doesn’t accidentally spill or burn herself.

“Hi, hello there, I have come to eat your snacks,” Kara announces herself, making her way to the kitchen. By the time Kara gets there, her Supergirl suit has fully dematerialized.

Lena looks up and sets down the kettle.

Hands in her pockets, Kara grins at the sight of the pile on Lena’s countertop. And when she looks down at her clothes, her face scrunches. She needs to change out of them soon; she feels icky.

White button up shirt tucked in, black suspenders strapped over her shoulders and a necktie. Oh, no. Where’s her jacket? She must’ve left it on her desk.

Lena watches her, reaches out for perhaps a hug, then seems to think better of it, aborts the action altogether.

“What?” Kara frowns, fiddles with her suspenders. “I should’ve gotten changed first before coming here. I smell, don’t I.”

Lena blinks at her. “No.”

“Okay...” Kara slowly nods. “Um. You were about to touch me.”

The longer Lena looks at Kara, the more self-conscious Kara gets. Eventually, Lena just sighs. She turns back to her tea, shaking her head.

“Yeah, no,” Lena backs out, a delicate pink hue spreading across her cheeks. She touches her cup, keeps her gaze somewhere on the kitchen island. It’s faint at first but the more Kara tries to get Lena to look at her, the redder they get. And it spreads up to her ears. “I was going to pull you into a hug, but… you do stink.”

Oh. Wow.

“Lena,” Kara whines with a scandalized look, and she frantically lifts her arm up to smell herself. Nothing, there's actually nothing. Is her sense of smell broken?

“I’m joking,” Lena soothes, softly laughing. “You’re fine. It’s just, what’s with you always surprising me, coming into my home and turning out like—” She points out vaguely with her eyes, eyebrows pinching together, and she actually looks offended.

“What do you mean?” Kara asks, makes a face. “How do I surprise you, when you already know that I’m visiting beforehand?”

Lena’s heartbeat is fast and it's familiar and petrifying.

Oh.

Kara feels her face go hot. It's not that she doesn't know that Lena finds her attractive, it’s just that she's very bad at acknowledging it. Dizzying, it's a very dizzying thing to think about.

“I still want my hug.” When Lena doesn’t answer, Kara adds, quietly, “For maintenance.”

And that does the trick.

Lena turns and faces Kara, tiptoes up a little and silently pulls her into an embrace. It’s a lame excuse to touch Lena. They barely keep up with the numbers, but it works. Always works. The hug only lasts for a couple of seconds before Lena withdraws from her and turns.

With a smile, Kara scoots closer to Lena innocently, shoulders touching. Lena is very obviously trying to ignore Kara as she drinks her tea. In peace. Maybe to take a moment to compose herself. Who knows with Lena.

“I came for the snacks and now I think I'm staying over for reasons.”

“Reasons,” Lena echoes, closing her eyes as she takes a careful sip of her still-hot beverage.

“Yeah.”

“Right. And who said you can stay over?” Lena asks, slowly tapping her finger on the counter.

Kara opens her mouth and pauses, blushes. She didn’t mean to assume Lena would just let her sleep here again. Lena values her space and alone time. Kara gets that.

She licks her lips, stutters when she speaks, “I meant—staying here longer. I’m staying here longer. Not over.”

Lena's eyes open. She studies Kara for a moment, grins soft. “I’m only kidding. If you want to stay over, of course you can.”

“Lena…” Kara's mouth curves into a small frown. “Aren’t you just full of jokes tonight—why do you keep teasing me?” she grumbles, crossing, her arms over her chest.

“I've said it before and I'll say it again. You’re cute when you get all flustered. Makes me want to bite you,” Lena answers, then stills for a moment, as if she just realized something. She looks at Kara, blinking, and Kara blushes, puzzled. “So this is what cute aggression feels like? Nice to know the name for it.”

Kara bites the inside of her cheek. “Lena, you say that but then what about the times when I’m not flustered, huh? Not cute?”

Lena turns to face Kara fully again, cocking her head to the side with delight painted on her face.

Kara Zor-El, you’re entirely too precious,” Lena slips into Kryptonese smoothly. She touches Kara’s suspenders, and lightly tugs. “What am I going to do with you?

Kara inhales sharply, eyes going wide. She looks at Lena, more alert.

I—I still can’t believe you learned Kryptonese,” Kara switches, too, speaking a little slower so Lena understands every word she says.

Not learned. Learning—still learning,” Lena corrects Kara, a small smile gracing her features. Kara just trails over Lena’s face, affected, her brain still trying to process the fact that Lena is and has been learning. “I'm, ah. I’m not at a level where I can freely converse. I worry. About saying something silly or confusing. Vocabulary needs working on.

Kara shakes her head, smiles encouragingly.

You’re doing amazing, I really am impressed. I can teach you, you’ll learn better from me. Lex's studies… can only get you so far,” she tentatively suggests, cheeks colouring when she registers the pale hand that keeps moving and smoothing over her shirt and straps, gentle, touchy.

Lena hums. “True. That would be nice, I’d love that,” Lena agrees quietly as her fingers give another tug, her eyes slowly dragging from Kara's face to her necktie. The pad of Lena’s thumb runs over Kara’s suspenders, just feeling the material, curious, maybe.

Good. I got you.” Kara nods, determined. Anything Lena wants, Lena gets.

Lena smiles. Her eyes, usually a lovely shade of green and blue, look almost grey under the soft lights. There's so much life and comfort in those eyes. Kara loves them.

“What?” her best friend asks, and Kara blinks.

Sometimes, when she looks at Lena, she has to remind herself not to stare.

Kara shakes her head. “Your smile just makes me happy every time I see it.”

Lena’s smile turns into something more shy and sweet and—

Kara wants to kiss her.

She knows the intimacy of Lena’s touches. She has learned the shape of her lips, traced them with her tongue, shuddered desperately under them.

She is so intimately familiar with Lena, knows each angle of each tight smile and each frown, and finds herself once again in the vast uncharted waters of being intimate with her. Something has changed.

They don't pretend not to know, they just don't talk about it. How long can this go on?

She brings a finger to Lena’s face and traces her soft features, starting with the jaw. Her heart almost booms out of her chest at the way Lena’s breath hitches, the way Lena tentatively leans into the touch.

Kara cups Lena’s face with one hand. She tips her head to the side and presses a soft kiss to Lena’s cheek because she can, because Lena allows her to, and then one on her forehead. The tip of her nose. Lena's eyes close for a bit, eyebrows cutely scrunching when Kara kisses just above her eye.

When Kara pulls back, she finds Lena looking at her, the pink hue on her face visibly darkening. Very cute.

“What?” Kara asks, blinking.

Lena blinks back, incredulous. “What do you mean what? I should be asking you that.”

Okay. True. Because what kind of person just showers their best friend’s face with kisses out of nowhere.

“Oh,” Kara answers simply. The cogs in her brain slowly begin to turn again, but it’s no use because she opens her mouth too early, to say something, give any reason for her actions. “I pay for my snacks through affection now,” she blurts out, taking her hand back with a blank face.

“Hold on a moment.” Lena's expression twists then, looking well and truly baffled. “Affection? Pay?”

“Paying back is a thing between us now,” Kara says without emotion, feeling on the edge of unhinged. She said a silly thing, might as well see it through to the end.

“No it’s not and it will never be a thing between us,” Lena shoots her down with a sharp arch of an eyebrow, daring Kara to persist. She pauses then, mid sip of her tea. “Actually on second thought, darling. How much do cuddles go for in the market? Or what do you want for them?”

Kara breathes out a soft laugh and desperately steps back, moving away from Lena before she does something silly, like pull her in and kiss her on the mouth this time. Turning around with a small arm stretch, she walks towards the couch and heavily plops down on it.

“Hmm. I don’t know, Lena, we may have to negotiate,” Kara mumbles, taking off her glasses and placing them on the coffee table in front of her. “My rates are quite high and very reasonable for cuddles of my quality.”

“Damn,” Lena curses under her breath.

Kara loosens her tie around her neck a little, and then her ponytail too, hair tie then coming completely off and rolled to her wrist. Running a hand through her messy blonde locks, a big quiet sigh falls from her mouth.

She’s tired, in a good way. Sagging against the couch with her cuffs rolled up and folded neatly around her elbows, she crosses her legs and rests her hand above the arm of the couch. Looks up at Lena.

Lena’s heartbeat, for some reason, rises.

“Hey, ‘m joking,” Kara says with a little yawn, rubbing her eye. “I want cuddles. C’mere for unlimited hugs and cuddles. At the grand cost of zero dollars.”

Lena does so, quietly. She makes her way towards Kara with her cup of tea in her hand, and sits down next to her. She lets herself be gently pulled into Kara’s side. Kara wraps an arm around Lena’s waist and sighs.

“Unlimited hugs and cuddles,” Lena murmurs, tucking herself comfortably into Kara's right. “Someone might drown, if you let me be free with my affections.”

Kara thinks she wouldn’t mind. Not at all. She closes her eyes, makes a soft quiet sound.

“Sleepy?”

“A little,” Kara whispers. “Just need to rest my eyes for a bit.”

Lena hums. She’s warm and Kara’s mind gets a little fuzzy, muddled by her comforting scent.

They’re both silent for a while. Kara rests her head on Lena’s shoulder and Lena places a gentle hand on her thigh. Warm fire grows from the base of Kara’s chest as Lena drums slow fingers over her slacks.

Truthfully, she's aware that she’s developed this appalling habit lately of finding excuses to touch Lena. Lena's in front of her and Kara stirs with quiet want. She only thinks of getting closer. It terrifies Kara, this lack of control.

Alex's words ring in her head. You could have someone. You just don't try. It's true, what her sister said about her. Kara doesn't try to look for love. She doesn't look at. She's afraid.

But she's not afraid of love. It’s being loved that scares her. She allows it to surround her, but she doesn't reach out for it because if she takes one step closer and leans into it—it feels like it'll all go away.

Her heart beats, thinks of all ugly, unhappy possibilities of what can happen if she does.

Kara’s not very good at keeping loved ones within reach and her history shows that well. Adding to that, she has trouble allowing herself to accept all this care and love because she doesn’t feel right to experience it.

But it’s all here, it surges where her skin swelters. Right where she feels Lena, right against Lena.

Kara breathes slowly, and Lena gives her a squeeze, as if to remind Kara that she’s in good hands while she rests, Lena’s here with her, that she’s important and cherished for no other reason than existing.

The space in Kara’s chest grows and an impossible warmth fills her from head to toe, as if she’d forgotten their conversation in the Tower already, mind and body finding safe shelter in here.

Lena carefully sets down her tea on the table, like she’s finished with it.

“Hey, Lena?” Kara asks quietly, lifting her head from Lena’s shoulder.

She watches Lena and burns with a thousand questions she wants to ask yet doesn’t want to know the answers to.

Lena looks at her back, simmering in quiet curiousity.

When Kara opens her mouth to speak again, her tongue feels heavy. She burns with a thousand questions and she can’t even bring herself to ask at least one. She flushes when she just ends up closing her mouth.

“What is it?” Lena prompts, careful hand reaching out to tuck blonde hair behind Kara’s ear. She touches Kara’s jaw, gentle, gentle.

“I, um. Just thinking…”

It’s getting harder and harder, if Kara’s being honest. Every time she looks at Lena, her tongue feels heavy and her eyes lose focus and her throat constricts as words get caught in it, desperately trying to claw their way out because they can’t keep not talking.

So what if Kara's afraid? What about how Lena feels?

The hand on her face is soft and persistent in its caresses on her jaw.

“About?” Lena asks, tender.

For a moment, it feels like even the air is holding its breath. Lena does this sometimes—not with any pressure or expectation. No judgment. Perhaps to test the waters or maybe to hold out a hand to Kara, quietly letting her know that it’s there when she’s ready to take it.

Kara looks away and ends up breaking it off, frustrated with herself. She can paint this feeling in thousands of colours, but she can’t pick out the right words, put them in the correct order to explain the space between her ribs. And if she tries to speak them, she’s afraid that once the words meet the air, they’ll shatter and pierce through their bond. Perhaps not irrevocably, but enough to damage. Enough to make them both bleed.

Her heart rattles in its cage, so she just silently asks Lena to come close, closer, maybe. Kara lifts a hand up, cups the back of Lena’s neck, lightly scratching her scalp. Looks at Lena’s mouth, leans forward a little, touches the tip of Lena’s nose with hers.

Lena, as always, doesn’t shy away and gives Kara what she wants.

Kara’s heart hammers in her chest harshly, a wild contrast to how softly Lena kisses her. Lena’s hand stays on Kara’s jaw while her other warm one grabs Kara’s shoulder, squeezing, pulling her just a tiny bit closer. It’s chaste and starts slow, lingering, as if they don’t want to part. But it becomes more desperate with time, still chaste, still just lips glazing, breaking off with wet sound.

“Kisses,” Lena murmurs, amusement in her voice, “are they part of the unlimited hugs and cuddles deal?”

Kara flushes. Kisses are nothing new, but she plays along, perhaps to at least provide a certainty in the middle of a mess that’s out of both of their control.

“Yeah… you're very special.”

Lena studies her for a long moment. She tips her head to the side gently, so gently, and traces kisses up and down the side of Kara’s neck, works her way back up to her cheeks and then her lips.

Kara rolls on her back heavy against the couch cushion, bringing Lena with her, and Lena climbs on her lap. Their hands drag across each other, touching, just feeling, and at some point Lena’s hands settle between Kara’s shoulder blades. Lena presses closer, and Kara parts her lips, sighs softly when Lena nibbles on one of them with light flicks of tongue.

Lena tastes like peppermint and some kind of flower tea and her lips are soft and warm.

“Weird,” Kara says with a weak smile when Lena pulls back, “really weird, how you keep ending up on my lap. Huh.”

“And in your arms,” Lena sighs. Kara wraps her arms around Lena’s shoulders; just hugging her, covering her like a blanket. Lets Lena tuck her face into the curve of her neck as Lena turns smaller. “Maybe I belong right here.”

Kara’s heart stumbles, and gets back up.

“Maybe,” she agrees quietly, dangerously.

Lena buries her nose further into Kara’s neck, something tender and vulnerable that makes Kara’s heart bleed just a little. Maybe it’s the emotional vulnerability, maybe it’s because of the fact that Kara cried today, but Lena’s touches make her throat feel thick with emotions again.

For some reason, they always end up like this. In this moment that always feels so new but so familiar, it’s as if Kara keeps rehearsing a play with her best friend that never gets performed because there's a piece missing.

They always end so close to everything and yet so far from it.

They’re both quiet for a moment. Lena withdraws and watches Kara, her gaze lingering on Kara’s eyes, and her lips, nose, and eyebrows. She takes a thoughtful journey down Kara’s middle, and then back up. Replaces it with her hand, runs it down the expanse of her shirt, before tugging at Kara’s suspenders.

The look on Lena's face catches somewhere between ravenous and enraptured. She looks like she’s looking into the face of god, but also like she wants to eat Kara alive.

Lena leans in once again, this time nosing along the curve of Kara’s jaw where it meets her neck.

Kara’s head falls back and she shudders as Lena trails lazy kisses down the side of her throat.

She mouths at Kara’s skin, hot and wet, licking along the ridges of her collarbone. A soft sound slips out of Kara’s mouth, and Kara strokes the small of Lena’s back. Gentle, a little possessive.

“Lena,” Kara sighs, shivering with arousal, and Lena sneaks both of her hands between them, starts nimbly undoing the top button of Kara’s slacks. With the popping sound of the unbuttoning, Kara’s hands travel down and wrap around Lena’s waist with a squeeze.

“I won’t go where you won’t let me. Can I?” Lena asks, voice hot and soothing, viscous like honey and coated with desire.

Kara swallows, nods.

“Do only what you want to,” Kara whispers. She trusts Lena unquestionably.

Lena stills visibly, searches her face. “I want you to want me like this.”

Kara’s breath gets trapped, heavy in her throat. There’s a tug in her rib cage and she doesn’t trust herself to speak, so she just nods.

She craves Lena not because she’s never had her before but because she knows what it’s like and she wants more of it.

Lena plays around with Kara’s tie for a moment, before she starts untying. Her eyes are dark, her gaze intent. She pulls on the garment until it’s loose enough for her to undo the first couple of buttons under the necktie. Kara’s throat bobs in anticipation. Lena’s eyelashes flutter as she leans down to give the warm skin of Kara’s neck an open mouth kiss.

“This,” Kara says, voice gravelly and rough. Her hand plays with the hem of Lena’s shirt cautiously. Thumb and index finger holding, staying, questioning. She’s slow; she needs Lena to be comfortable, too.

It takes a couple of seconds, but then Lena pulls back. She smiles, dangerously and sweetly, and then Kara isn’t shy anymore.

Her hand touches Lena’s soft belly, and then reaches her chest. Kara lets her hand remain there, palm curving around to fondle the fullness of Lena's breast. She rolls and presses a stiff pink nipple and then switches, giving the other one attention because, well. She really, really, really likes Lena’s breasts.

And as if Lena’s noticed this, she breathes a soft chuckle against Kara’s neck. She cups Kara’s face with her hands and kisses her. Lena’s lips are slick, and Kara parts her lips, deepening the kiss.

There's this addicting flare to Lena’s kisses, and Kara finds herself melting both inside and out, feeling weaker and weaker the more Lena maps the inside of her mouth with her tongue. The kiss turns dirty, sloppy and wet, and Kara’s brain goes foggy while heat burns low in her stomach, arousal pooling there and festering.

Lena presses impossibly closer, and then they both turn a little more desperate—Lena’s fingers in Kara’s hair, hand grasping Kara’s shirt.

“Kara,” Lena breathes out.

Kara hums, and Lena shifts again and, and—

The sound Lena makes is a soft needy noise in her throat, shaky when she exhales in the too-still silence of her penthouse. She presses herself to Kara, a slow grind once against her thigh, and the movement seems to be an involuntary one because Lena pulls back so fast.

She has gone completely still over Kara.

“Oh,” Lena says with a shy murmur. Her mouth is shiny and spit-slicked, eyes glassy and cheeks flushed pink; she’s so beautiful, it’s almost unbearable. “I didn’t mean to… do that. Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Kara croaks out, and she has to admit—that was really hot. “Didn't do anything wrong, you’re fine…” She strokes the soft flesh of Lena’s hips for a moment, gentle, indulging. Then in a firm grip, her hands wrap around them, pulling Lena’s weight down to her thigh, pressure light and encouraging her. “Go on.”

“Kara,” Lena breathes, hesitant. She looks sweet and soft, pliant and willing and definitely into it, but also uncertain, embarrassed.

“It’s okay,” Kara soothes, bold hand rounding Lena's ass, squeezing. Lena trembles in her hold. She wants to watch Lena fall apart like this, wants to encourage her with nothing but words and hands as she gets herself off Kara’s thigh. “Let me see you do it again, and again. You’re pretty.”

Lena’s breath hitches, her eyes darkening to something carnal, pupils swallowing up the green of her irises.

And with that, she presses her face against Kara’s skin, the juncture between her neck and shoulder, maybe to hide her face. She moves, properly straddling Kara’s thigh, and plants both her hands on Kara’s shoulders.

It starts painfully, perfectly slow, but Lena quickly unfurls before Kara.

“That’s it,” Kara says breathlessly, mesmerized by the way Lena moves against solid muscle. She keeps a steady hold on Lena’s hips, helping her grind forward onto her clothed thigh. “Just like that.”

“Kara, Kara,” Lena says, open-mouthed hot against Kara’s neck, soft moans spilling out of her parted lips.

Kara hums, digging her hands deeper into Lena’s soft skin.

“God. Kara, feels so good,” Lena moans, the sound low and drawn out, pretty, pretty, and she moves her hips with purpose, rolling languidly and sensuously, as if she’s savouring the feel of Kara against her. She breathes out, fisting the collar of Kara’s shirt. “God. Fuck…”

It’s agonizing feeling Lena solid and soft against her thigh, and Kara groans at the wetness.

She can feel just how absolutely soaked Lena is through their layered clothes. Lena pulls her face back, looking at Kara through long lashes, and Kara holds her gaze, relishing the way Lena’s mouth opens and closes repeatedly without a sound, a blissed out look on her face.

“Pretty, you’re so pretty,” Kara praises, and Lena lets out a trembling whine at the attention. “You want to be good for me? Ride me faster,” she coaxes with a gentle pull that encourages Lena to lose all her hesitations. “I want to hear you moan.”

“Wanna be good for you,” Lena says, breathes out shakily. Her confidence grows and she drags her hips back and forth, her movements turning faster and desperate, lips finding Kara’s in the process. “Like being good for you…”

Kara’s heart does all kinds of flips and she can barely think about those words because Lena is kissing her breathless as she rubs herself on her thigh. Lena’s warm and so worked up and her mouth is hot and velvety, and Kara gets drunk on the moans she gets to swallow when she flexes her thigh.

The second she changes the angle a little bit, swiveling Lena’s hips in slow circles, Lena’s body stutters. She falls forward against Kara’s neck, fingers clenching around Kara’s shoulders, a devastating broken whimper falling from her lips, high and feminine.

Arousal floods through Kara’s body at the sound, pooling liquid and heavy between her legs, and she’s not doing much better.

“Kara, I, I need—” Lena moans, brow furrowed with pleasure. She's whining, desperate and needy, her hips thrusting with abandon as she gets herself off against Kara’s thigh shamelessly.

“It’s okay,” Kara manages, voice low and hoarse. “Take what you need.”

After a moment, Lena wraps her arms around Kara and buries her face in Kara’s shoulder as her movements grow slower, sloppier, but still frantic with every second passing. She's gasping and whining into Kara, and her thighs begin to tremble.

“Go on, baby,” Kara encourages breathlessly.

Lena comes with a strangled moan and stutters out a couple of jerky thrusts, her body shuddering against Kara. Kara can feel the dampness seeping into her pant leg from Lena, and light-headed—Kara feels light-headed.

Lena’s violent shaking slowly calms down. She slumps forward onto Kara, boneless and sated limp and stays there panting.

Time ticks by in silence.

Kara rubs Lena’s back as Lena softens against her. But when she shifts at some point, just a little bit on the couch, Lena chokes out a throaty whimper.

“Kara, don’t suddenly move like that, I’m—” Lena manages, her hands squeezing Kara’s shoulders as she digs her face into Kara’s collarbone. Her hand slides down and she doesn’t speak, just tugs at Kara’s necktie, still trying to regain herself.

Kara flushes, blinking. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just,” Lena says, voice with that breathy, fucked out quality to it, “I’m good.”

Kara swallows. It’s intoxicating being able to make Lena tremble and moan, make her feel good and lose composure, and she thinks about wanting to test out just how many ways she can make Lena come undone. Which is an absolutely normal thought to have about your best friend, yeah.

A moment passes and Lena pulls back a bit, her fingers slowly and gracefully unbuttoning Kara’s shirt all the way. Her eyes are on Kara’s for a couple of seconds before she lowers her gaze, hands and eyes on her task. Lips swollen, pretty dusting of red high on her cheeks. Dark hair mussed and disheveled in a way that steals Kara’s breath away.

“So, she’s good, she says,” Kara says teasingly, quietly. Lena licks her lips, avoids Kara’s eyes, stance shy because she didn’t even mean it that way. Kara smiles knowing, endeared. “You are good. And you’re always good for me, too, aren’t you?” she murmurs, her hand slowly stroking Lena’s thigh.

Lena quietly preens under Kara’s attention, a small smile on her lips. Kara isn’t a fool, she knows how much she affects Lena with her words.

She reaches a hand out to tuck dark messy strands of hair behind Lena's ear as she lets Lena unbutton her shirt, lets her get rid of the necktie too, lets Lena slip a hand behind her and under her shirt to undo her bra before tossing it to the floor. In return, Kara helps Lena out of her sweatshirt and lifts it off of her, before leaning in to give her a slow and sweet kiss, smoothly unclasping her bra in the process.

When she presses her thigh into Lena, Lena lets out a low moan against Kara’s mouth, the sound rumbling through her throat, and one of her hands fists at Kara’s suspenders, pulling.

“Kara,” Lena murmurs, almost like a warning.

Kara pulls back and chuckles, a slow and lazy smile stretching her lips. For a moment she lets herself drink in the sight, eyes moving with slow deliberation over Lena’s half-naked body: eyes glazed over, cheeks flushed, lips wet and parted, the curves of her breasts, stiff pink nipples. Kara lets out a quiet breath because, goodness, she’s never prepared.

Lena looks as ruined as Kara feels.

Pressing her lips to Lena’s sternum, she travels to Lena’s breasts and takes the tip of the hard nub against her tongue. She keeps the wet suction light and slow, and Lena makes a guttural sound, legs firmly between Kara's thigh once again, pressing and further ruining her slacks.

Lena pauses sharply, as if she just realized what she was doing again.

Kara leans back, amused, and squeezes her bare shoulder. “You want to go again?” she asks, because Lena is Lena and she can do anything she wants to Kara, and Kara will let her. “You’re so pretty.”

Lena bites her lip. “You keep saying that.”

“I keep meaning it,” Kara easily replies.

Lena has that dark, heavy-lidded look. This time she isn’t hesitant about what she wants; she just raises herself up with her knees on the couch, one hand on Kara’s shoulder to support herself, and Kara helps Lena out of her remaining clothes.

The heady, musky scent of Lena's arousal leaves Kara dizzy, throat dry. Slickness coats Lena's inner thigh and folds, and Kara forgets how to think for a moment, then rushes to catch up. Heat gathers in Kara's lower belly and her mouth waters; actually she’s changed her mind, she wants to use her mouth and hands instead, make Lena come under her, but Lena's lips is already is on hers, hot and wet and eager, clit in direct contact with strong muscle and she’s already shivering in Kara’s arms from the sensitivity—

Kara can feel Lena and she groans, wishing her slacks were off—she could take it off now but doing so would be cruel. Lena moves against her, needy and beautiful, little breathy noises escaping from her, kissing Kara open-mouthed, tongue heavy in her mouth.

“H-hah,” Lena exhales, breath shaky, and her forehead hits Kara’s shoulder, head lolling as she fucks herself faster and harder on Kara’s toned thigh. “God, 'm already—” she pants, sounding completely wrecked.

Kara’s voice is rough when she speaks, “You’re doing so good.”

And Lena just whines, cute and pretty as she grinds down frantically, chasing pleasure, chasing a release, losing more of her composure, slipping fast, and Rao, Lena looks amazing like this—

“You make me feel so good,” Lena moans, nipping at a spot on Kara’s neck, hand sliding up to tangle into blonde hair, tightening and tugging at the strands as rubs herself on Kara. “Fuck, fuck…”

“You’re doing all the work,” Kara says with an amused smile, and she gives her a small, playful smack on the ass before squeezing, firm, firm. Lena shivers.

“No, don’t… I don't mean it like that,” Lena breathes, closing her eyes, “feel how wet you make me?”

Lena saying things like that doesn’t help Kara at all, and Kara has half a mind to superspeed out of her clothes just so she can feel Lena in full, skin-to-skin contact; she's craving it more and more now. A part of her feels frustrated that she can’t touch Lena the way she wants to.

“I do,” Kara says, voice rough.

The air is heavy around them. Kara can tell Lena’s close when Lena fists her shirt, her hold tightening as she moves a touch more frantic, little breathy ah, ah, ah’s fall from her mouth.

“Kara,” Lena whimpers, riding Kara in earnest.

“Yeah… ” Kara whispers, “come on, it's okay, come on me.”

It takes another three or four thrusts and then Lena comes with a broken moan, Kara’s name on her lips. She tips over the edge and her entire body quivers as she rides out her orgasm, no finesse to her movements.

But it’s Lena, so it’s graceful.

Slowing down and through the tiny jerks of the aftershocks, Kara strokes her, a gentle hand running over Lena’s hair and then her back in slow circles.

Lena’s breathing gradually slows, becoming smooth and steady once more. The rapid beating of Kara’s heart doesn’t lessen. The warmth that she feels, the way her stomach swoops wildly every time Lena presses in close to her. It’s so easy to get lost in Lena, it’s alarming. Her slacks have been completely ruined and she wishes more than anything that she'd removed them. Wants nothing more than to feel Lena’s orgasm painting her bare skin, marking her with Lena’s scent. Marking her as—

As—

Lena shifts, fiddles with the button on Kara’s slacks, the one she undid earlier, and then there’s a rasp audible in the quiet room. She slowly pulls Kara’s zipper down, and Kara holds her breath.

Carefully, Lena removes herself from Kara and lowers down to the floor, settling between Kara’s legs. Looks up at Kara, one hand on Kara’s knee, fingers long and pretty and delicate, the other tugging low at her suspenders.

“Yes?” Lena asks, her hand sliding down, index finger toying with one of the clips of Kara’s suspenders. Clearly she wants them off so she can remove Kara’s pants.

Kara blinks for a second, forgetting herself, forgetting there was anything to do but make Lena feel good. The more Lena waits, stroking her knee, the more Kara becomes aware of how painfully aroused she is.

She wets her lips. Lena looks at her, the affection and desire in her eyes self-evident. Her face is open and honest and Kara feels a pulse of nerves at the way Lena regards her, the weight of it.

There’s an uncertainty to what they are because they move around it, so they’re like this; Kara burns with questions and Lena doesn’t say anything, so they’re like this. It’s Lena, so Kara is like this.

Kara swallows the words sliding down her tongue.

She leans forward a little, draws a deep shuddering breath with an overwhelmed heart. Cups Lena’s face, touch tender, and nods.

Chapter Text

The back of Kara’s leg hits the edge of the bed, and she pulls Lena along with herself.

Quick, deft hands make work of the rest of Kara's clothes, and shortly enough, it’s just skin on skin now.

Lena leans Kara onto her back, straddling her hips.

Kara lets out this little laugh as Lena nips at her neck, wanting and eager to please. For a moment, Kara wonders what would happen if she switched their positions, if Lena would allow her to make her come again.

She tests the waters, and flips their positions. With a hand on the small of Lena’s back, Kara pins Lena down on the mattress. Lena wriggles and squirms, lying on her front as she attempts to get up or face Kara.

But Kara maintains her hold, keeps Lena under her like this—

Lena bursts into a soft peal of laughter, and she murmurs, “Kara, Kara…” as Kara trails her fingers down the curve of Lena’s spine, pressing her thumbs into the dimples on her lower back. Wrapping her hands fully around Lena’s waist, Kara squeezes and shudders deeply at the low, soft moan she gets in response.

“Darling,” Lena whines, trembling, when Kara dips down to mouth at the back of Lena’s exposed nape. Slowly, Kara goes low, lower, kissing into Lena’s back dimples because Rao—Lena has them, and Kara really, really likes. How did she miss these?

Cute. Lena’s really cute. She has double dimples on both her cheeks. Today Kara discovers that Lena has back dimples, too.

“You’re so cute, Lena. So cute,” Kara says, grinning against Lena’s skin, and then she gives Lena’s ass a little playful nip—

That seems to do it for Lena.

Because suddenly, there’s a hand on Kara’s shoulder, pushing her down, and Kara goes along with it, allowing the weight to move her. Kara blinks up, finds herself under Lena, their positions reversed.

“Oh. Hi again,” Kara says, smiling innocently, lazily.

Lena arches an eyebrow.

“Come on. Let me have my turn,” Lena says with a huff, and it’s a cute huff too, which makes Kara’s smile go wider. “Wanna make you feel good, too.”

But shortly enough that smile slips off her face. Lena's eyes are dark and half-lidded, and Kara’s belly coils tight with heat, reminding Kara how terribly turned on she is.

Lena keeps Kara in place against the sheets, her hands sliding down Kara’s chest, curving around to palm her breasts.

“Lena,” Kara sighs, her hands wandering, rounding Lena's shoulders.

A kiss to Kara’s mouth, to her jaw, and then lips find all over the side of her neck, mouthing wetly at her skin. Kara inhales sharply, tilts her head back.

“That feels good?”

Kara quivers, nods. “Yeah,” she whispers.

Lena sighs, open-mouthed, and then bites at the juncture where Kara’s neck meets her shoulder. Kara feels hot all over, and she squirms underneath Lena.

“You’re so…” Lena says, low and deep. “Do you have any idea what you look like?”

“No,” Kara murmurs. “Tell me.”

But she thinks she already knows because she’s seen herself like this before, knows what she looks like twisting and putty under someone’s touch. Then again, maybe it’s not the same, because this—she doesn’t feel the same. Kara can’t pretend she doesn’t know because she does know. It’s because of Lena. No one has made her feel this way before, this intense jumble of emotions—hot and heavy, seconds away from breaking open, intertwined with something fragile, delicate.

But Lena doesn’t know that. She’s not a mind reader even though it feels like she is.

“Gorgeous,” Lena says. Her voice drops to a husky register. Kara’s heart is pounding. “Handsome.”

Lena kisses lower, all the way down Kara’s thigh until she can sink onto her knees properly, head perched between Kara’s legs.

Lena’s gaze shifts back up to Kara’s face, lips parted, eyelids hooded. Whatever she sees in Kara’s expression makes Kara suck in a shaky breath. Somehow, there’s a part of Kara that feels a little bad, and she wants to tell Lena that she doesn’t have to do this, to make her feel good, too, because she doesn’t do things for people, expecting something in return—

Lena’s hand is moving up, slowly stroking Kara’s firm abdomen, feeling her muscles flex and pull underneath Lena’s fingertips and—

Rao. Kara is done for.

Lena looks at her from between her legs, earnest and trusting and a little dazed-looking.

She leans in and presses her nose to the crease of Kara’s thigh, trailing little kisses here and there. Her eyes flutter shut when she mouths a damp trail down Kara’s inner thigh, then repeats her movements with the other thigh. Nips, soft licks. As Lena does this, she keeps her hand on Kara’s abs, feeling the soft skin and tracing the fine lines of Kara’s muscles with the tip of her index finger.

“Lena,” Kara breathes shakily, hips going restless, and Lena’s lips curl into a smile. Then, just as Kara’s about to protest, Lena nudges sideways and slides her mouth over Kara’s clit, diving in hot and wet, tongue and lips and the barest hint of teeth—

Kara makes a broken sound in the back of her throat at the first swipe of Lena’s tongue, and it’s all a little too much for her. Lena watches Kara with a steady gaze, eyes molten as she drags her tongue, and every part of Kara winds up tighter and tighter.

She sets Kara on fire, the desire so palpable on her face.

“Yes—” Kara groans, and she closes her eyes, her fingers tangling in Lena’s hair, “Just like that. Lena.”

Lena makes a little sound against her, half moan half sigh, visibly proud of herself. Her lips wrap around Kara's clit and she does a little slow suction, wordlessly asking for more praise and—

“That’s good—” Kara rasps out, her voice fading into a whimper, and she’s already feeling the telltale heat in her belly, feels it tightening and she’s getting close, so close. She is unbelievably, horrendously, undeniably wet.

“Mmm,” Lena says, a rumble of sound, like she couldn’t—like she couldn’t help it. She laps slowly at Kara’s clit, broad strokes, collecting the pooling wetness on her tongue.

One thing Kara has learned about Lena in the past weeks is that Lena is good at giving head. So impressive, that she makes Kara grab at the sheets desperately as Lena eats her out, the wet and sloppy suction turning Kara’s mind into a pile of mush.

“God,” Lena whispers, sounding as shaken as Kara feels. Somehow, Kara is afraid to look at her face right now, afraid of what each of them could see—so she squeezes her eyes shut, focusing on the wet sensation of Lena’s mouth.

She’s so close to falling apart at the seams at the feeling of all of it, and she’s moaning and whining and all kinds of sounds Kara doesn't even recognize from her throat.

Lena starts licking and sucking in earnest, and Kara is helpless. She comes, and her whole body goes tight, her hips stuttering as her orgasm hits her, somehow suddenly overwhelming her. She pushes into Lena, as deep and carefully as she can, riding it out as a guttural moan leaves her lips.

It takes Kara a couple of seconds to come back down to reality. She opens her eyes. Lena’s mouth is still on her, licking her through it, her touches light. Her eyes are soft and in something like reverence. The last aftershocks tremble through Kara's body and she feels sensitive all over.

Lena pulls back, just a little. The moment seems blurry around the edges, dreamlike almost.

Half of Lena’s face is illuminated in the light of the lamp, but Kara can see everything. Lena’s wet mouth, the shine of Kara’s wetness on her chin.

Kara folds her arms over her face, whispers a quiet Rao under her breath, groans and says, “Lena, I’m gonna die, you’re gonna kill me. You’re so—”

Lena’s mouth is on her again. She’s smiling and she’s devoted; Kara doesn’t get another moment to regain her composure. Lena’s tongue is hot, smooth, unerringly finding Kara’s clit and stroking, then stroking all over, gathering Kara’s slick and moving it around.

She licks, and sucks, and she keeps going and going until Kara is trembling again, starts to feel it build up again, rising, rising—

Kara’s breath catches in her throat right before she comes again, wave after wave of it, the tension releasing all at once. She moans low, back arching and chest heaving.

Lena always goes quiet after sex, characteristically peaceful, and tonight isn’t any different. Kara opens her eyes and—Rao. The sight of Lena like this between her legs—parted lips shiny and bitten red, lashes heavy, coloured cheeks—is a lot.

“Come here,” Kara murmurs, still breathing unevenly, and Lena wipes her chin first, then does as told. She cups the back of Lena’s neck, tangles her dark hair, and catches her mouth. She kisses Lena, tender and languid, quiet breathy sounds slipping from them as Kara tastes herself in Lena’s mouth.

Even though Lena’s the first to pull away, she keeps pressing little kisses along Kara’s jaw, as if she’s hesitant to separate herself from Kara.

“That was good,” Kara whispers.

Lena preens. “I did good?”

Kara flushes, nods. Lena’s smiling, soft, pretty. Kara’s heart pounds; she likes that Lena likes to stay close to her, touching her in some way, likes that Lena likes to kiss her, likes likes likes.

It’s a dangerous path of thought, she knows. It’s dangerous that she wants to get used to this. Something tightens in Kara’s throat, feeling almost like a physical thing. Like it's suddenly a little harder to breathe, to swallow.

Her hand moves on its own, and it trembles, just a little. Can’t help it. Kara cups Lena’s face, gentle. Her thumb moves, rubbing against Lena’s pink cheek. It’s soft underneath her finger. Lena closes her eyes in a shuddering breath, a small smile curving over Lena’s lips. Kara doesn’t dare move away, absolutely doesn’t think she has it in her, so she just waits for Lena to open her eyes again.

When Lena’s eyes open, Kara is unprepared. Lena’s eyes are glistening, but not with tears. It's vulnerability, a trace of heartache, and plenty of something unnamed. Kara recognizes it because she has felt it herself. Lena looks reluctant, almost afraid, but she's beautiful.

Before Kara can stop herself, she's leaning in, lazy and unthinking.

Lena sinks into her touch easily. She kisses slow, tired, blissfully exhausted. Kara trails her hands up Lena’s back and holds her close. The room goes completely quiet when Kara pulls back, grabbing the blanket from the side so they can snuggle up underneath the covers.

No words are exchanged. Lena’s tucked in safely against Kara’s neck. The lights are off and they’re bathed in silence.

They are curled around each other, skin against skin and bare in more ways than one, hands on each other like they’ve never touched before.

 


 

Kara is not quite sure what wakes her up and she’s not sure she’s being woken up either, until she blinks slowly, registering the delicate touch of someone’s hand caressing her cheek.

Her body is draped over something warm, a solid presence. Half of her face is squished against something soft and—

Kara tips her face slightly up.

Gentle green eyes stare at her. They look almost grey under the low lighting.

Lena’s awake. Kara doesn’t move, only looks back at her best friend, her head on Lena's chest. Lena, who is naked under her. The skin to skin contact ignites sparks all over Kara's body, abruptly reminding Kara that she’s very much naked, too.

With every breath, each time Kara moves she is becoming increasingly aware of Lena. Her warmth, her curves, her softness.

Somehow, their positions switched in the middle of the night. The memory of last night sinks in, of Lena thoroughly kissing Kara and dropping between her legs, so easily stuck in Kara’s mind, and Kara thinks she should do something… nice in return?

As if Lena can sense that Kara’s about to get up and move away, under the blanket one of Lena’s legs goes over Kara’s, preventing Kara from leaving. She presses her palm against Kara’s back, and Kara stops moving.

“No leaving,” Lena says, as she starts stroking Kara’s back and playing with her hair.

Kara frowns a little, lays her head back on Lena’s chest. Watching this woman just. Do whatever she wants. Letting her do whatever she wants. Kara spends a moment deliberating between staying comfortable and cozy with a sleepy Lena or getting up to make her way to the kitchen.

“But I want to make breakfast. Want to make you breakfast,” Kara explains.

“You can make me some later. Right now, you stay,” Lena orders with a smile, small and lazy. She runs the pad of her finger across the highpoint of Kara’s cheekbone.

Kara stays still, closes her eyes briefly when Lena traces the brow bone.

“I stay,” Kara repeats-questions. From this angle, she can see the freckles on Lena’s neck easily. Kara wants to kiss them. She doesn’t move.

Lena’s eyes slip shut and she hums. Scritches her fingernails against Kara’s scalp lightly.

It feels really nice. Kara melts.

The sun shines through the window, painting the room in a gentle glow of orange and pink.

“Yeah,” Lena replies, “you know, you said something about best friend bylaws. We have rules, Kara. You say you’re a cuddler and that I’m cuddly. So cuddle me.”

Kara laughs soft, recalling that conversation many nights ago.

With a sigh, Lena opens her eyes, and Rao, Kara wants to kiss her. She wants to kiss her forehead and her cheeks and her nose and the rest of her face and spend the morning like this, remembering the sweet way she woke up.

“‘Cuddle you,” Kara murmurs, voice still crackly and rough from sleep. She wraps her arms around Lena’s middle. “M’kay. I stay and cuddle you then. The cuddler to your cuddlee.”

A smile plays at Lena’s lips again, her cheeks rosy. Silky dark hair, sleep-tousled.

Lena’s breathtakingly pretty in the morning. She’s pretty all the time.

“Did you sleep okay?” Lena asks.

“Yeah. Slept really well, actually,” Kara answers, then adds with a quiet voice, “better than I have in ages, if I’m being honest.”

She feels good, well-rested, tenderly touched and held.

Lena’s hand in her hair stills. Continues, then. “Really? I'm glad.”

“What about you?”

“Me? I slept like a rock.”

The atmosphere in the room is light and cozy, and it makes Kara wish every morning looked like this. She's never been a morning person but she thinks she could be convinced if mornings started with Lena.

And that’s—

Absolutely not a normal thought to have about her best friend. Kara hastily puts it aside.

“You know I, um. I used to get these intense nightmares,” Kara starts quietly. “It's part of why I struggle sleeping, even now. When I was younger, I used to wake up crying, and whenever someone was around they said I was mumbling in my sleep. I became self-conscious and I didn’t like sleeping around other people, too scared I'd wake them up. Alex had to wake me up every time I was saying things and thrashing in my sleep. I remember every look of worry on her face. Haunts me to this day.” Kara bites her bottom lip, takes a deep breath. Lena stays quiet. Listens. “I'm better now for the most part. It’s rare but it still happens.”

“Is it… like what happened before?” Lena asks, her hand rubbing up and down Kara’s back, coming to a standstill.

Kara licks her lips. Flushes at the memory of Lena hugging her tightly when she couldn’t sleep after waking up from a bad dream that night.

“Yeah.” Kara keeps the side of her head on Lena’s chest, face staying tipped up to meet Lena’s gaze. “It still happens to me. So, just letting you know. I would understand it if you don’t want me around here.”

Lena’s hands continue, and she traces shapes on Kara’s skin. Writing something, whatever thoughts are surfacing in her mind.

“Kara. Are you telling me to kick you out of my bed?” Lena tilts her head. She grins, soft. “I’m no monster, you’re not going anywhere. I want you here.”

Kara smiles, exhales a soft relief. They let the air go quiet between them, that same atmosphere she remembers from the night before lingering on. It’s like the room feels smaller than it is, both of them looking at each other with curious eyes, and it’s ancient and a little electric.

It feels so intimate, the eye contact and touches and—everything. It always does, with Lena.

Kara looks away. She closes her eyes, breathes slowly. Listens to the steady rhythm of Lena’s heartbeat.

Lena's hand stays on Kara's back, her fingers delicately stroking Kara’s spine, up and down, slow, the softest of touches. The other cups the nape of Kara’s neck, then travels up, playing with blonde locks, an unrushed, soothing motion.

They hold one another. It dawns on Kara that nobody but Lena has ever held her like this.

Kara can't remember the last time she's been this happy and in such genuine peace.

The thought that happiness this good can be so fleeting, especially in times like these, scares her.

It makes her wonder. Wonder what exactly she’s doing, just in general. She’s here again, in Lena’s bed and in Lena’s arms, soaking up all the comfort and peace she can get.

Just a year ago, she’d brought Lena nothing but pain.

And much before that, she had brought so many people trouble and suffering. Kara understands that she’s not easy to be around with. It’s not surprising that so many of them have left her, intentionally or not.

Kal, who didn’t know how to deal with Kara and dropped her off to the Danvers family, hoping for the best. Not once did he come to pay her a visit. He only started talking to her after she became Supergirl. Mon-El, who she sent to his death. Years ago, when she pushed that button—just how many Daxamite lives did she end? The thought leaves her lightheaded, heart twisting. Clenching tight, tight. There’s Kelly, who was an employee at CatCo. Kara was able to save James and Winn, but failed to rescue Kelly, who fell to her death. Astra is gone. So is Non, who she murdered. Killed. There’s no other way to put it. And Jack is no longer here. Jack, who Lena sacrificed for Supergirl’s sake.

Rao. It never got easier after the loss of Krypton.

Everywhere Kara goes, suffering, destruction, and death seems to follow her somehow.

She makes herself smaller in Lena’s arms. Hiding and tamping down her emotions is a habit that she can’t break.

So many have been hurt, have died, and yet here she remains. Alive and severely unscathed, basking in warmth and affection.

Kara is loved and supported as one can physically be. She knows that.

She has it so unbelievably good.

And that’s the problem, isn’t it, because it feels—

It feels—

Wrong.

Unfair.

There are things that Kara has gotten a good grip of, but she still hasn’t gotten a hold on her guilt and fear eating at the inside of her chest. She is still working on managing her pain in a way that isn’t so paralyzing.

Kara is stronger now, but she’s afraid of the things she thinks could destroy her all over again. She’s afraid of returning there. Who she was, when she was younger. Helpless, weak, a heavy burden to those around her. Who she could still be. She is afraid of being uncovered, that she isn’t as strong as she thinks she’s getting.

She is terrified of being hated and abandoned, of being told she’s caused pain when she has spent her entire life trying to get rid of her own.

Kara doesn’t notice how deeply her thoughts have consumed her until she feels a soft hand on her cheek. Lena is a warm presence under Kara, her breathing and touch a grounding pressure. Kara is being held close, closer than close, as if nowhere will ever be close enough.

Many people respect and admire Supergirl. At the same time, there are those that fear her. If they saw how she quivers from Lena Luthor’s touch perhaps they would be less afraid.

“I’m heavy, Lena,” Kara whispers. “Am I not hurting you?”

“No.” Lena looks at her. “You’re like a weighted blanket. Perfectly on top of me.”

Despite Kara’s heavy heart, she smiles, small. Her mind is telling her to get up and move away, but her body is begging her to stay in this embrace.

Finally, Lena takes her hand back and lets it fall to the side. The other stays in Kara’s hair.

Kara wants to be selfish and ask for more touches. It’s laughable how she thought she knew hunger before this. She knows Lena would give more, if she asked.

The enormity of what Kara has, revolts her—she really gets to have it all: affection, comfort, and support.

It feels unbearable, at times. Nauseating.

Kara is not deserving of this. She's here, but she's not meant to be here.

Against all odds, despite the universe’s plays, she is alive and living well. Kara can’t shake off the inescapable pressure on her neck.

The pain is so heavy it feels physical. Having it good feels like there are two hands wrapped around her throat, squeezing tightly.

Her heart turns into a painful thing in her chest, asserting its sheer desire to continue beating.

“Lena,” Kara says quietly, then stops; she doesn’t quite know what she’s starting.

Lena hums questioningly.

Kara opens and closes her mouth. Takes a breath.

“You spoil me too much,” Kara ends up saying.

“Do I?” Lena tilts her head. Her fingers pause in Kara’s hair, then continues moving. “I don’t think so. Too much isn’t a thing.”

“Yesterday, you told me the sweetest and kindest things. Now, you have me in your bed, comfortable and warm. Playing with my hair and having me this close,” Kara says with a chuckle. It comes off a little wry. She lifts her head. “What have I done to deserve such treatment?”

Lena looks at her. Kara aches at the sight of Lena looking at her like she’s meant to be treasured.

A moment passes.

“Deserve?” Lena echoes. It’s quiet for several beats. Then, “I meant everything I said to you yesterday, Kara. I know how you care for me. I just want to do the same.”

“But you don’t owe me comfort. Or anything,” Kara replies, licks her lips.

“Kara,” Lena says sternly, softly. Nothing on her face shifts.

“Lena,” Kara says in the same tone.

Everything goes still. Tense.

Kara draws a slow breath. Exists. It’s devastatingly easy, existing. She feels like her life was meant to end, on Krypton with everyone—her people.

But she is still here, wretchedly still here, and she feels searingly awful, beneath the weight of that. Of living well.

Sharp, curdling guilt stabs through Kara.

“What is it that you think you deserve, Kara?” Lena asks quietly, cupping Kara’s jaw with her free hand. “You know that it's less about owing and more about… caring.”

She is looking at Kara, paying no mind to the time or the outside world. There is something heartbreakingly tender in her gaze.

Kara wants to hide, but the only place she feels safe is in Lena’s arms.

She exhales, a little shaky. It frustrates her, how she has trouble voicing out her feelings. Lena did call her out on this before, about Kara keeping her troubles to herself.

It’s not something Kara does a lot—being honest about her pain. No one wants to see an emotional or unstable kryptonian.

Lena waits. Brushes her thumb across Kara’s cheek, slow. The touch is as tender as it is desperate.

“I’m, I’m not… a good person,” Kara responds with difficulty, face conflicted. “That’s why people leave me—I’m not easy to be around with. I save lives. I also hurt them.” She flexes her jaw, exhales slowly. “I’ve failed so many people and helplessly watched them suffer. Honestly… there are some days I don’t understand how you can stand to look at me, knowing how much I hurt you before.”

Why Lena Luthor would stand strong by her, unafraid and unapologetically close is a mystery that she isn’t sure she wants to unravel.

“That’s not true,” Lena says, her gaze unwavering, and it makes Kara nervous to be looked at intensely. “You’re a good person. You’re not perfect, but you’re a good person. No one is perfect.” Seconds pass, the words sitting in the air. “I hurt you, too, you always minimize that. We both made mistakes. We hurt each other, but we made our way back.”

Kara opens her mouth, closes it. Lena waits for her to find her words. Kara hesitates, rubs her face.

“Am I wrong? Talk to me,” Lena says, with unbearably gentle hands.

At that, Kara’s entire body flinches. A sharp inhale through her nose.

“Alex visited me and we had a sisters' night a couple of days ago,” Kara starts. “Yesterday, I wrote a great article and submitted it on time. I had lunch with our friends before they left to get back to work. I even had time to wander around the city, and I did whatever I wanted. I’m surrounded by the loveliest people. We have game nights and movie nights. After work, I get to come and see you every day.” Kara pauses, draws a slow breath. She hates how she sounds. Like something ungrateful. “I can’t complain about the life I have here. How can I? I feel like I get to have everything I hadn’t even dared dream of before. I have it so… good.”

“But?” Lena nudges gently.

“But it doesn’t feel right. I haven’t done enough and I don’t—I don’t deserve this, Lena. The spot to be here.” By Lena’s side. Exist like this. Both. Kara doesn’t elaborate. “I shouldn’t be here. I’m not… good. I’ve done things I’m not proud of.” She rubs her eyes. Looks at Lena, focuses on her. Whispers, “I hurt you, broke your heart. Yet, you're still here.”

Lena studies her. Kara wonders what Lena sees.

“Your happiness is not something to be earned or achieved,” Lena says carefully with a steady voice. “Happiness should not be something that binds you with guilt. Kara, I don’t stay close to you despite your past or because of it. I stay close to you because you’re Kara, and because you’ve been Kara all along.” Kara remains silent. Lena continues. “You told me something similar not too long ago, darling...” She smiles, something small and wry. “That I'm more than my achievements and what I can offer.”

Kara swallows. Forces her voice to work. “I… I do remember that.”

That’s right. She recalls that conversation. Licking her lips and looking away, she flushes out of embarrassment. Hypocrisy.

“I believe you. I trust you,” Lena says, dragging a heavy hand across Kara’s bare spine. “So please trust me, too, when I say it to you back. I’m happy you’re here with me. You deserve comfort and good things. You’re also more than your duty.”

Kara looks at her. Shudders, breath catching. Lena isn’t finished.

“You’re a good person. You aren’t defined by your mistakes and regrets. You don’t have to believe me, Kara,” Lena says, her features open, softening. “But I believe it, and I know with absolute certainty that I’m not the only one.”

Kara stares at her. She stares until she can’t ignore the burning behind her eyes, the lump in her throat, the fierce warmth spreading through her chest, her veins, all the way through to her fingertips.

She doesn’t realize she’s crying until Lena is thumbing her tears away with a gentleness that makes Kara’s heart clench.

Without a word, Lena pulls her close and a little higher, wrapping both her arms around Kara’s trembling body. One arm wound securely around Kara's waist, the other cradles the back of her head to tuck her face into Lena’s chest, allowing her to hide her tears from the world.

Steadying Kara, sheltering her, with vast tender patience and care, like she has always done and always will do. So very carefully holding Kara right where she is, against Lena.

Kara hasn’t been doing a very good job at unlearning her beliefs about duty and obligation and her place in this world, hasn’t she?

Lena’s right.

People don’t need to earn good things to receive them. Sometimes good things are given out of pure love.

Kara shakes a little, curled up in Lena’s arms, letting herself weep. There is no safer place in the world when Lena holds her.

Quietly, Kara cries for everyone she lost, again and again. She cries for the memories of Krypton growing distant every day. She cries for all the lives she took and can never give back. She cries for her loved ones, all that they have endured and suffered. She cries for Lena, a kind and lovely woman who has been betrayed and hurt over and over, again and again, and again. She cries for herself, for all the pain she has learned to conceal because if it’s her pain, it’s all right. If it’s her in pain, it’s fine, as long as everyone else is okay.

Kara knows better, she really does, but sometimes the guilt and self-loathing takes over, and she finds herself consumed.

She is feeling lighter, but the helpless, heavy feeling in her heart isn’t going away. It’s not going away. Makes her wonder, will it ever?

It’s—frustrating. She doesn't know how to make the pain of living well disappear. It’s an old sort of trauma but it hurts just like new. There’s this overwhelming numbness in too many parts of her mind, and yet her emotions are sharp and sensitive beyond the limit.

Even though she has been given the chance to live, she is still haunted by all the people that she’ll never get to say I’m sorry and thank you to.

Several minutes pass. She calms down, relaxes.

“M’sorry, Lena,” Kara murmurs against Lena’s collarbone, wipes her eyes with a tissue Lena somehow passed to her earlier.

Lena squeezes her. “What?”

“Embarrassed,” Kara says, voice hoarse. “Cried on you twice now.” She’s so embarrassed. Unable to stamp down the need to lighten up the air, she turns to humour, “Sorry you’ve had to witness this twice now. Do you still think I’m handsome?”

“Darling,” Lena huffs, a smile in her voice. “There’s nothing wrong with crying. Everyone needs to cry.” She sighs, soft. Scratches the nape of Kara’s neck lightly. “I'm here for you, don't worry.”

“Thank you.” Kara chuckles wetly, just a little.

Without thinking, Kara makes herself smaller and buries her face in Lena’s breasts.

Lena's heartbeat picks up.

Ah.

Right.

This isn’t really something they do. There is a lot of kissing, making out. Sleeping in Lena’s bed. Sex. Waking up to each other. And now, added to the mix, there is digging her face in Lena’s chest like it’s an everyday thing that she does. It’s too late to pull back now.

It has been done and Kara’s comfortable.

Rao. What is she doing. What have they been doing.

Lena doesn’t say anything. Only goes back to stroking Kara’s hair. Well, that’s comforting. Encouraging. Something soon to be normalized, probably.

“Are you hungry?” Lena asks quietly, fingers tangling in soft blonde locks, other hand caressing her back. Intimate. Bruisingly intimate. “Want me to make you breakfast? Food will make you feel better.”

“We can make breakfast together, but later. I want to stay like this a little more,” Kara mumbles, voice a little scratchy from crying. She winces. Her eyes must be puffy and red. She refuses to look at Lena right now. “I’m feeling better already, just staying like this.”

“What?” Lena chuckles with amusement. “Having your face buried in my chest is helping you?”

Kara whines, pressing her face further between Lena’s breasts. She says something, but it comes out incoherent. Inaudible.

“What? I didn’t quite catch that.”

Kara whines again, squishes her face deeper.

“This is my safe place,” Kara says against Lena’s skin. “I am healing. Flourishing in all dimensions.”

Lena laughs, a pretty and vibrant sound. “Kara,” she murmurs. “You’re… such a boobs woman.”

Kara blushes. “Maybe.” Then, “Or maybe I’m just a heart woman, Lena. You see, boobs are close to the heart… I am planting my face here simply because this is where your heart is situated. Yeah.” She sighs, nods with feeling. “Love is stored in the boobs. I mean boobs, I mean—heart!”

Lena is shaking under Kara, her soft laughter filling the room. The sound is beautiful. It really warms Kara.

“Now, when I touch your, um, left,” Kara continues, finding herself smiling as she lifts her hand up to cup Lena’s left breast, “listen closely and get this. I am not touching your boob, Lena. I am feeling your heart. See?”

“Kara. That’s not how it works, oh my god,” Lena says through breathless laughter. She wraps her arms around Kara, squeezes Kara against her chest like she can’t help it. Like she’s unbearably endeared.

Kara sort of can’t breathe. Oh well. If this is how she goes, then so be it. She will be at peace with this. Suffocation by Lena’s breasts after crying. Isn’t it pride month? It’s definitely pride month. That’s even better.

Lena lets her go after a while.

Kara finally lifts her face, takes a small peek at the clock hanging on the wall

“Oh—the time. We should both get up now and make breakfast,” Kara mentions, blinking. She looks at Lena, hopes that the areas around her eyes don't look too red and puffy. “You’ll be late to work if we don’t. I’ve taken up enough of your time, your people will start to talk.”

“Mmh? Let them talk.” Lena’s head tilts slightly, and she smiles, lazy and quizzically. “Come on. I’m the big boss, I can do whatever I want. Come in whenever I want.”

Kara flushes. Her lips part. Lena’s eyes fall to her mouth, then goes back up.

It’s almost funny, what they’re doing. Have been doing. They have been talking to each other, relearning each other all over again, and rebuilding their friendship with all the cracks in it.

They’re doing all that, and doing it all well.

But they don’t talk about this.

This unnamed thing between them, it’s—

Driven by something pressing and unspoken. Something bites inside of Kara, sharper and more insistent than before. A little worry, a little fear.

There is a lot wrapped up in this that Kara is too afraid to unpack. Too scared to pull at threads that will bring to light the truths about herself and about Lena and about this whole thing that she isn’t ready to face.

And so she doesn’t.

Lena looks at Kara’s lips again, but she doesn’t move so much as an inch. Kara can see that there’s a shy request in those eyes, a gorgeous blue and green.

Kara worries about morning breath, but she can’t deny Lena. She leans in, presses her mouth to Lena’s. Lena cups Kara’s face in her hands. Tilts her face slightly, kisses Kara like the touch of her mouth brings Lena some kind of relief.

The kiss is sweet and brief.

They look at each other, and then a little more. Shortly, Kara gets up first, and then Lena follows after.

They make breakfast together. It’s nice.

 


 

Kara and Lena both get an equal amount of crap from the rest of the Superfriends about the way they talk about one another in conferences and interviews. Or Kara would like to think that’s the case, at least.

She would also like to think that she keeps her words mostly safe. Tame. But in reality and also in comparison to Kara, Lena generally keeps her affection and admiration within the boundaries of professionalism.

“Really, Kara?” Nia is laughing as she scrolls her phone, leaning against Kara’s desk. “So I listened to the interview you did in the morning as Supergirl. You were asked about the current state of the city.” Kara looks up, scrunches her face. “Someone uploaded a cropped version of the interview. It’s pretty much just seven minutes of you waxing poetic about a woman. Lena. Our Lena!” Nia throws her hands in the air, and Kara doesn’t like the way she grins. It’s wicked and teasing. “Not gonna lie, that’s kinda gay.”

Oh, here she goes.

“Waxing poetic about a woman,” Kara repeats blandly. “Why must you phrase it like that? I’m professional. I spoke the truth and nothing but the truth.” She scratches her eyebrow, frowns. “Lena helped shape National City to the way it is right now. It’s important to give credit where it’s due. Don’t you agree?”

“Yeah, but seven whole minutes, Kara. Really? And the fact that the interviewer threw in only one question,” Nia deadpans. “What do you think of Lena Luthor, he asked, and somehow you managed to turn the whole thing into a mini ted talk about her.”

Kara’s frown deepens. She stops typing on her laptop. So what if she talked about Lena for seven whole minutes. What’s the issue? Lena deserves all the recognition and praise sent in her way. She made several extremely great points about how smart and kind her best friend is.

Extremely great professional points, of course.

“Not only is Ms. Luthor talented and brilliant,” Nia quotes, reading the text version off her phone screen, “she also has a great personality. Humble, sincere, and warm-hearted. She is an inspiration. She makes the world a better place. I find myself endlessly impressed by her body of work, her mind, and also humour. Whenever I'm in the same room as her, my immediate thought is, “Oh, hey! That's Lena!” and there's a different kind of happy I get. I like seeing her around. I’m honoured to call her my friend and partner.”

“Nia, come on. It doesn’t sound that bad.” Nia stares at her, face blank and something that rings yeah, doesn’t sound that bad, to you. Kara grimaces, fake coughs. “Okay, well, I admit. When you put it out like that, it sounds…”

“Dude, I didn’t contribute anything new here,” Nia snorts, squints at Kara. “I just used your own words. And this is only a small portion that I read out, mind you.”

Kara flushes, touches her glasses. Okay, but it’s still within the boundaries of professionalism. She’s mortified, but at the heart of it, it still doesn’t make what she said any less true.

It is what it is.

She isn’t sure if Lena will take notice of the interview. But knowing Jess, her sharp and dependable assistant, Lena is bound to be informed about it. In the past, Kara has mentioned Lena plenty. Most of the time, Lena doesn’t come up to her to speak about it. Not every little thing needs to be discussed.

Kara grumbles at Nia looking at her all funny.

“Is the fruity and kind-hearted superhero slash reporter actually blushing at her own words?” Nia observes proudly and solemnly. She’s pressing her lips together as if to suppress her laughter. “Happy pride month! Especially to Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor!”

“Nia, come on,” Kara huffs, jaw slacking; she’s about to end her friend’s entire career, but then Andrea appears around the corner—

“Oh, crap,” Nia mutters under her breath, scrambling to stand up properly with a wince on her face, “gotta go, I have an article to hand in.”

“Yes, yes, go,” Kara sighs, scrunching her face, all too eager to put an end to this conversation.

So, yes.

Despite what some friends say from time to time, Kara would like to believe that she’s very good at being professional in her interviews. Absolutely. She is not someone who gets sidetracked; she does not get swayed easily at the mere mention of her best friend, because she is a very professional person.

At least, that’s what she likes to tell herself.

 


 

Kara walks around the city for an hour, picking up a couple of items before making her way towards L-Corp.

With a gentle thud, she lands on Lena’s balcony. Her suit dematerializes, and she walks forward, dressed in her dark slacks with a belt. Navy blue trench coat over her white collared shirt and tie.

Lena already looks like she’s wrapped up her work, and she’s half-facing away from Kara, watering her small flower pot situated on her desk.

The entire floor is quiet and the late afternoon sun illuminates the entire office, including Lena, in a gentle orange light.

Kara pauses, hand on the entrance of the balcony.

Lena’s beautiful.

There’s no other word for it, and if there is, it’s drowned out by the voice inside Kara’s head. She honestly can’t think of anything else when she looks at the way light touches Lena’s body, when her gaze traces the strong lines of her eyebrows, the slope of her nose, the shade of red on her lips, touched up with lipstick. Lena’s wearing a green blouse, tucked in her pencil skirt. Her high heels click-clack on the floor, her steps confident and effortless. Soft dark hair, tied up into a high ponytail, allowing sunlight to touch the back of her neck.

Kara’s mouth aches, just a little.

There’s a lump forming inside of Kara’s throat, and it feels a lot like her heart that’s pulsing against her skin. She steps inside the office, and Lena finally takes notice.

Lena smiles at her—pretty pretty pretty—and turns around, tending back to her little plant.

“Hello, Ms. Luthor,” Kara says with a soft grin, placing her box of tea on the side for a bit. Hovering behind Lena curiously, she settles both her hands on the desk, chin on Lena’s shoulder. Takes a peek at Lena’s plant. It’s a baby neon pothos.

“Ms. Danvers,” Lena acknowledges, then carefully turns around. She leans against her desk, facing Kara. Easy, casual. Kara doesn’t move, keeps Lena pinned to her spot. “What a surprise. You’re here. May I help you?”

Kara scrunches her face. “Lena,” she whines, mouth tilting into a small pout. “We have dinner together, scheduled in an hour. Remember? Please don’t tell me you forgot.”

Lena’s head tilts, mirth in her eyes. “Yeah, of course I remember.”

Kara huffs.

Lena grins teasingly, soft around the edges. She cups Kara’s face with one hand, gentle but secure, as if she doesn’t want her to move away but is ready to let her go if that’s what Kara wants.

Kara’s heart thumps.

It scares Kara, this sort of convoluted intimacy where every distance feels simultaneously too close and not close enough, but all she can think is that there is no place in the world she would rather be at this moment.

Lena looks down at her lips, and waits. Always waits, eyes a touch shy with request. She brushes her thumb across Kara’s mouth once, twice.

Kara’s weak. She leans in, gives Lena what she wants, and kisses her. Lena hums. Her voice is deep and comforting, and Kara wants to drown in it.

It’s intoxicating having Lena so close. Lena, who lets out this soft pleased sigh when Kara nibbles gently on her lip. It's a pretty sound, one that Kara wants to bottle up and keep forever. It’s devastating how well they fit together, how seamlessly their lips slot against each other, and Kara sighs, sunlight flooding her entire body when Lena opens her mouth to deepen the kiss.

Lena’s fingers curl around the nape of Kara's neck, and her other hand fists the front of Kara’s shirt.

Kara kisses Lena, languid and sweet, and kisses her some more until every last smear of Lena’s lipstick is gone, until her lips are slick and shiny.

Kara doesn’t know how long they stay like this, and her thoughts are swimming, her head feeling hazy. She’s addicted, doesn’t know how she’s meant to not kiss Lena now.

When Lena pulls back for air, she takes a moment, then turns her head a little, whispers into Kara’s ear. Fingers tugging on her necktie, gentle, playful.

“Kinda wanna skip dinner,” Lena murmurs, speaking the way she does when it’s just the two of them this close, secret and bare, “and just take you home.”

And—

And do what?

Kara blushes, pulls back to look at Lena properly.

“We can go home after,” Kara says. A long pause. It’s crazy to her, that this is just something they do now. She stares at the woman in front of her. Lena’s eyes are dark and glazed, pink-cheeked, all traces of lipstick gone. The sight of her like this, leaves Kara a little dizzy. She licks her lips, corrects herself, “I mean—you can take me to yours after. This dinner’s important, Lena. It’s for you.”

Lena sighs. “A celebratory dinner. Aren’t I lucky?” she says, smiles gentle and big, double dimples popping into her cheeks.

Kara nods, solemn.

She’s about to step away when Lena stops her with her hand.

“Hold on, you have a little…” Lena murmurs, using her thumb to wipe away the smear of lipstick from Kara's mouth.

“Oh.” Kara stays still for this. When Lena lets her go, Kara steps back. “Thanks.”

She fixes her glasses and straightens her tie. As she does so, she catches Lena checking her out.

Kara looks away with a smile, flustered.

She wants to ask. Wants to know what Lena sees when she looks at her so intently. How she feels when Kara is welcoming and responsive to her touches. What exactly she wants from this and—

She doesn’t though. Never does. Kara’s not sure she’d want to hear the answers.

When her eyes land on Lena’s desk, she gasps and remembers the little box she came here with. So she grabs it from behind Lena and presents it to her best friend with a grin.

Oolong and rooibos tea. Lena really likes her tea, so it’s just natural for Kara to bring her some of the good stuff.

Lena blinks, and accepts it.

 


 

As they make their way towards the elevator, Lena thanks Kara for about the third time for the tea. In the hall, Lena holds the little box close to her chest like it’s something dear and precious to her.

When they reach the end, Lena presses the elevator button. The entrance opens, and they enter inside the cubicle.

The space is small, but Lena’s private elevator is bigger than CatCo’s. Kara licks her lips, keeps her eyes trained on the ground. Her stomach drops when they start to descend.

Lena reaches for her hand, holds it. Kara looks up, meets Lena’s gaze.

“So, where are we eating?” Lena asks with a small smile. Squeezes Kara’s hand. “We’ll use my car. I can drive us there.”

Kara breathes in slowly. “It’s about a fifteen minutes drive from here. Don’t worry, I’ll guide you there,” she answers, squeezing Lena’s hand back. It’s on the other side of the city. A steakhouse Alex and Kelly recommended to her a long time ago. She heard nothing but fantastic reviews from them.

It should go well.

Lena hums. She keeps the tea box close to her chest, looking blatantly happy and content.

Kara smiles at the sight, trying not to blush.

“You know it’s just tea, Lena. It’s not a big deal,” she mentions, tilting her head.

“It’s not just any tea.” Lena shrugs. A few beats. “Thank you, again, by the way,” she says for the fourth time, but this time her voice is quiet. This time it sounds like she’s thanking Kara for something else.

Kara can only nod again.

It’s amusing to see Lena Luthor overjoyed by something so simple like tea. This wonderful, brilliant woman, who is…

Her ally?

Her friend?

Her partner?

In all honesty, Kara isn’t really sure what to call Lena anymore. The only one that always makes sense is Lena.

The elevator dings, and the entrance opens. With Lena, Kara walks out with a smile and rosy cheeks. It’s quiet as they make their way towards the car park.

Lena doesn’t let go of her hand until they have to get inside her car. Kara slips into the passenger seat and turns on the radio.

They have dinner, and it’s nice. After dinner, Lena drives her home, and later on Kara ends up pressed against Lena in her bed once more, lips against skin, names uttered breathlessly, intimate, and that’s—

That’s just how it is now, between them. These days, more often than not, they find each other, again and again.

And again.

 


 

Time passes.

Kara and Lena aren’t strangers to tension, so Kara thinks they could probably go like this for a long time before anything huge had to happen.

Things are different, yet in some ways, the same. Lena touches Kara in a way that Kara would allow no one else to touch her, touches her in a way no one else does. Kara touches Lena in what she hopes is normal ways, to a normal extent, insofar as anything about them can ever be considered normal. As this is their current state, Kara’s working on adjusting to their new normal while also trying to understand how she found herself here.

It’s Sunday and it’s late when she completes her last patrol of the day. A few more minutes of flying around, she comes to a stop.

The lights are open in Lena’s building.

She hovers above it for a long moment. With a grin, she’s about to land on the balcony when she hears a voice speaking—

It’s definitely not Lena. The voice speaks again, and it’s clearer to Kara this time. She knows this voice, but it almost sounds foreign in her ears—it’s fond, secretive, like she’s not meant to hear or witness it.

The voice laughs, and then, joining it, is another laugh. Far softer and quieter; Kara recognizes it immediately.

Her heart warms at the sound.

Lena is here.

Kara doesn’t know what to do. She hesitates outside the building. She doesn’t know how pleased Lena will be if she interrupts, but at the same time, there’s no way she can just stay floating up here for who knows how long. It’s okay. Kara could just come visit another time.

Just as she’s about to leave, a loud impact of something like hard glass hitting the ground rings through the air, and then Kara’s on the balcony, stepping inside the penthouse—

“My bad. This hangover is killing me,” someone sighs, and they look up. They see Kara at the entrance.

It’s just Andrea, retrieving her phone from the floor.

Kara’s shoulder relaxes, lets out a little sigh of relief. She meets Lena’s gaze first. Lena’s on the couch, holding a mug with both hands, posture relaxed. Behind her is Andrea in the kitchen, and Andrea looks like she has just emerged from the bathroom, steam blowing out from the bathroom area. She’s clad in… well, just a towel.

This is awkward.

“Sorry, um, hi. I didn’t know you… had company,” Kara says to Lena. She looks at Andrea, nods politely. “Hello, Miss Rojas.”

Silence falls at her arrival. Lena stares over at her, clearly surprised. Andrea looks surprised, too, not expecting Supergirl either. But her expression smoothly changes into something else, something close to mirth.

“Supergirl,” Andrea speaks with a disbelieving yet highly intrigued arch of an eyebrow. Her lips curl into a flirtatious smile as she picks up her phone. “No worries, I accidentally slept in. Lena kept me up all evening.” She grins, looks at Lena. “I’m not opposed to a few more rounds tonight, though.”

Kara flinches sharply, stiffens.

“Andrea, put some clothes on and go home already,” Lena sighs with a fond, affectionately done smile. She stands up, walks towards Kara. “Sorry about that. She came to have a chat and a drink, and then ended up falling asleep. Spilled her glass on her shirt while at it.”

Oh. Kara licks her lips. Nods jerkily. Unsure what to do exactly, or say. Lena glances between the two of them.

“What a sight this is,” Andrea chuckles deeply as she moves around in the kitchen. When she catches Kara’s eyes, she sends Kara another flirtatious glance. “Lena, I already knew you were getting private visits from the Champion of Earth in your office, but this? In your home, too? Tell me, what’s your secret. Must be nice, having a cute and smitten hero wrapped around your finger.”

Kara blushes, but stands still, strong in her spot. She opens her mouth to speak, but Lena beats her to it.

“Andrea,” Lena says slowly with a slight warning in her voice. She sighs, shaking her head. Andrea smiles like she’s enjoying herself, while Lena only arches an eyebrow. “Go and get yourself dressed. Your driver is waiting for you outside the building.”

Andrea laughs, acquiescing. She heads into one of the guestrooms and shuts the door behind her. There’s a sort of awkward silence that falls between Kara and Lena.

Lena looks at her.

“Can I get you anything?” Lena asks then, her voice soft, and she’s already moving towards the kitchen, opening a cupboard and taking out a mug.

“Oh, um.” Kara scratches her eyebrow. The air feels odd. Not tense, just different. She hesitates, rubs the back of her neck, and joins Lena. “Tea sounds nice. Sorry for the surprise visit.”

“Mmh.” Lena chuckles as she boils the kettle. “Is it truly a surprise visit if I’ve learned to expect you to come in at night from my balcony—which is not an entrance, by the way.”

She’s smiling, easy, casual.

Kara’s shoulders loosen, and she feels herself relaxing.

She supposes that’s a reasonable expectation. There are days when she’d find herself flying, gravitating towards Lena’s home. Sometimes she comes here with excitement and with purpose, to see Lena and share something cool and interesting she learned about at work. Sometimes there’s nothing and she’s floating in the sky, moving and only moving in one direction. She’d be stepping inside, body mindless, greeting Lena and then catching herself mid-way, wondering what she came here for.

It doesn’t really matter the reason; there’s no need to have a justification for her visits. Kara likes existing in Lena’s space.

Kara bows her head, smiles a little.

“Well… I don’t stop by every day,” she replies, her finger drawing a random pattern on the countertop. Her mouth is moving on its own, and she can’t stop her next words: “Do you get disappointed when you don’t get to see me? When I don’t show up on those days?”

Lena drops the tea bag into her cup, pauses.

“Well,” Lena drawls, looks away. She opens the fridge, tilts her head. Then looks at Kara. “Do you get disappointed when you open your fridge at night and the only snack you see is yourself?”

Kara blinks at Lena, jaw hanging. She laughs, loud and soft. Her ears and cheeks go red at the implication. Lena smiles at her.

“Okay, that’s, um—that’s a good one,” Kara says, shaking her head with a sheepish smile. “But, Lena. You avoided my question.”

Kara’s genuinely curious. Lena goes quiet. Lena’s eyes drift to the windows behind Kara, looking at the sky like she’s having some sort of internal conversation.

A weighted silence settles between them. Something like fear gnaws at Kara's heart as she discovers that actually, she’s sort of afraid of Lena’s response.

The silence stretches, and Kara grows worried.

Lena opens her mouth—

“All right,” Andrea enters, popping the moment like a bubble. She’s dressed this time, a simple shirt with a long coat and tight-fitting jeans. She looks between the two. “Well, it’s time for me to go. Thanks for the chat, Lena.”

Lena sets down the kettle, looks at Kara for a brief moment, a small odd smile on her face before walking over to Andrea. She leads Andrea to the entrance.

There’s quiet talking that Kara can hear. Promises to stay in touch, and to not let things grow so distant again. She tunes the voices out.

Kara sits still, reaches her hand out. Touches and fiddles with one of the flower pots on the kitchen island.

After a short moment, Lena comes back and hands Kara her mug of tea. It’s just them two now. Kara accepts it with a small grateful smile, and she wonders if she should bring up her question again. Resting her elbow on the counter, she fiddles with her mug for a moment before taking a sip.

There’s a long silence.

“You know, it's kinda odd to see how Andrea acts towards Supergirl,” Kara murmurs with a quiet chuckle, scratching the side of her head. “She is flirty, but… in a teasing way. To Kara Danvers, she’s sort of the same, but she can get pretty… sarcastic?”

Lena looks at her, shakes her head with a smile.

“Don’t let her get to you too much, she’s just a big tough tease,” Lena says, making her way around the kitchen island. Leaning against it with her hip, she stands next to Kara, her mug in both hands.

Kara’s head tilts. “Has she always been like this?”

“Oh, absolutely. She hasn’t changed one bit in that department.” Lena hums, thoughtful. “You know, back in boarding school I was the quiet, shy girl in the whole class. I didn't have many friends because of my last name.” She touches the rim of her mug, tilts her head. “Do you remember Roulette? Veronica Sinclair?” Kara nods. Lena bows her head, chuckles. “She used to pick on me. But Andrea was always there, giving her the stink eye. Behind all the intimidation and sarcasm, she has a caring side.”

“Wow,” Kara says, blows out a soft breath. Who knew that about her CatCo. boss? Certainly not her. But she can see it. She remembers Andrea giving Nia a mental health day off sometime ago. Kara thought that was kind and thoughtful of her. “I’m glad Andrea was there for you.” She takes a careful sip, considers Lena’s words. “You were the quiet, shy girl, huh. I was the same when I was younger. I think… we would have been good friends as teenagers.”

“Yeah? I think so, too.” Lena grins, gentle. “It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I used to let everything get to me. I cared about the smallest things, and I cried too much, according to Lillian,” she says with a wince. “Can you picture that?”

“Hmm. You want me to… picture a kind and caring Lena?” Kara touches her chin, lets a moment of silence pass. She chuckles, smiles at her best friend. “Yeah, sorry to break it to you but that’s really not hard to picture.”

Lena’s lips curl into a smile. Her face goes pink, cheeks dimpling.

“Kara Danvers. You’re my favourite,” Lena murmurs warm and low, raising her mug up as if to hide her face. Her fingers are half covered by the sleeves of her soft dark green sweater.

She looks warm, so very warm. Kara wants to bury herself in that warmth.

As she drinks, Kara stares.

Lena takes notice. “What?”

There’s a question that’s been nagging Kara, and she finally decides to ask.

“So, um, I’ve always wondered... Did you and Andrea—?” she trails off. Vaguely.

Lena blinks, sets her mug down as she seems to immediately understand what Kara’s getting at.

“Well, it was complicated, but yes. We dated for a bit. I hooked up with her a couple of times, a long time ago,” Lena admits, and Kara’s lips part, a little pang making itself known inside her ribcage, “but… not now, not in the future.” Silence. Then, “Not while I—” Lena’s voice breaks off like a snapping branch.

Kara tilts her head. “Not while you…?”

Lena licks her lips, looks at her.

“Not while I belong to you.”

Kara stiffens sharply. Lets out a shaky exhale.

There’s a heavy silence as Kara digests this.

“Belong,” Kara whispers, unmoving.

That’s a strong word. There’s no other way to interpret this.

Lena only nods as she stares back at Kara, gaze unwavering. Kara doesn’t know how to respond to that. Whatever face she’s making is causing a messy, loud beat in Lena’s ribcage.

Belong. Things become real when you give them a name.

Kara’s stomach tightens and twists into knots. A dull, heavy feeling settles on her chest. She can’t pretend not to understand it anymore. She isn’t surprised, though she isn’t sure if she’s known. Maybe she’s always known, deep down.

“That’s a big word.” Kara’s voice trembles. She knows Lena notices.

“Yeah, it is. Kara,” Lena says, her words a whisper. Reluctant. There’s a long beat of silence before Lena opens her mouth again. “Kara, I...”

Lena's going to voice out the words stuck in her throat. Kara has never wanted to hear and say those words more. A little helpless, shaky breath slips past her, and she opens her mouth before Lena can finish her sentence.

“Don’t,” Kara cuts in, a little frantic, mouth moving on its own. Something seizes in her chest, frightened. “Don’t say it. Please. Not yet.”

Now that they’re finally having this conversation, Kara’s mind races.

Under the gentle kitchen light, Lena’s eyes are wide. Soft and expressive. Something like hurt is painted all over her face. Kara hates herself for bringing it back. It’s a sight she knows well, but it’s one she hasn’t seen in a long time.

Lena nods, a small dip of her head. She is watching Kara, quiet, and careful. Kara thinks that Lena will leave it there but she doesn’t. Of course she doesn’t. She uses her words to get to where she wants, and she’s not afraid of them like Kara is. There’s something lamentably hilarious about this, when Kara is the one who uses and strings words for a living.

“You know though, right?” Lena says. Her words are slow and controlled. As though trying desperately to keep her emotions in check.

“I know,” Kara answers, her words barely above a whisper.

Lena doesn’t say the rest of her words. But Kara knows.

She may try to face the other way but the way Lena looks at her has grown unavoidable. There’s more than just concern, or warmth. Undoubtedly, there’s more than just friendship, too. Something heightened. Deeper. Unfolding, gradually, only for Kara to see.

“I know,” Kara repeats, firmer and softer. She looks at Lena, a coiling of nerves. “Lena, I,” she breathes, wets her lips. She feels like her mind is on overdrive. “I’m sorry, I just, I don’t know what to…” think? What to say?

Lena watches her. Kara hears that familiar heartbeat, pounding in her ears.

It's really hitting Kara, the full weight of the reality that Lena feels something for her, fiercely and sincerely. Her self-esteem is so low that she has trouble understanding this—

Kara draws in a deep breath and stands up, unsteady. She’s not sure why her body is backing away.

If this is something she doesn’t want, then has she been leading Lena on this entire time? No, that isn’t right. It’s something else. Kara’s thoughts and emotions are in an impossible tangle. She drags a heavy hand down her face, wills the alarms in her mind to stop blaring—

Lena reaches for her, but Kara pulls back.

Lena drops her hand, her lips parting. Kara winces.

And hasn’t it always been like this? They move in sync. One moves, the other responds. Even if their movements contradict the other, they’re still synchronized.

One looks, the other looks away.

“Kara? You know you don’t have to—” Lena pauses, licks her lips. “You don’t have to acknowledge it, you don’t have to respond.” She fiddles with her hand. Nervous, shaky. “I just wanted to let you know.”

Kara goes quiet. She exhales slowly, but the tightness in her chest persists. The silence goes on, and—

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.” Lena’s voice cracks despite the fact that she's only whispering. Kara looks up. Those eyes, a pretty green and blue, hold a tenderness so delicate it makes Kara’s chest ache and twist. “I didn’t mean to burden you with this.”

“No, don’t… you’re not a burden.” Kara opens and closes her mouth. She doesn’t want Lena to feel bad about the situation. That wasn’t her intention. She rubs her face. “Don’t do that. Never apologize for your feelings. It’s just, I… I’m trying to… understand because...” She tries to think of how to explain her own feelings and discovers that she can’t. Her face flushes in embarrassment.

Lena studies Kara closely. She looks like she wants to say more. As Lena waits for Kara to find her words first, she rubs her hands together, then runs fingers through her hair. Under her soft sweater, Kara catches a glimpse of colouring there. Greys and purples. Bruises. Kara’s chest goes tight, tighter.

“You okay?” Lena asks, hesitant.

“Your, Lena, you have—? Raise your shirt up,” Kara requests quietly, and Lena is, at first, confused. But then realization spreads across her features, and then she does as told with reluctance.

It’s all there, the bruises. Kara didn’t imagine them. Her eyes go wide. There are bruises scattered across Lena’s waist, marked into her flesh. Acid rises in Kara’s throat. She stares at them in horror. Lena’s so pale. It looks like dark ink on her.

“Oh… Rao,” Kara whispers, her hands trembling at her sides at the state of Lena’s skin. Her eyes flicker up to meet Lena’s. “Are these because of me?”

A long beat.

“No. I mean, yes. But, Kara, it’s fine,” Lena responds, hastily covering her skin.

“What? No, no, it’s not,” Kara says, breathing shakily, heart aching and twisting, “Lena, I’m so sorry. Rao. I didn’t know I’ve been—I didn’t mean to—”

Lena takes a step towards her, and Kara steps back. Again. Lena frowns, hurt evident across her face. Her best friend doesn’t want distance. Kara wants distance. She’s not safe. There’s a pit in Kara’s stomach; it’s always so disorientating, to see that she’s hurt the very person who cares for her, and treats her well. She’s given Lena a couple of hickeys before, but these aren’t hickeys, these are different and unintentional and from her hands and—

Everything she touches, she really does ruin—

“Kara, Kara. Listen to me,” Lena says, her voice low and steady, careful, “you didn’t hurt me. For someone like me, bruising is normal. Okay?”

“Normal,” Kara repeats.

Lena nods. “Completely normal, yes. I have sensitive pale skin and I just—bruises easily.”

Kara closes her eyes, rubs her head like it hurts. Tries to calm herself. “So you’re saying I didn’t hurt you when I—every time we—”

“No, I swear you didn’t hurt me. You haven’t hurt me,” Lena quickly assures, eyes soft and desperate. Kara remains silent. Quietly, Lena adds, “I'd tell you if you hurt me. You’re always gentle with me, Kara.”

Kara nods shakily. She feels at a loss and isn’t entirely convinced. She watches Lena, wants to touch her, is terrified she’ll hurt her if she does.

Everything is still tense. Kara searches Lena’s face. She wavers, swallows heavily against the lump in her throat. Remembers, as she breathes slowly, what happened just moments before. Lena gave a name to her connection with Kara. Belong.

It’s unavoidable and unmistakable, what Kara sees now.

Lena is blatant with the way she presents herself in private, walls completely down and all of her bare for only Kara to see.

Here is my heart. Wholly and affectionately yours.

Lena’s heart was made to be held with gentle, careful hands. Kara’s hands are shaking. She’s desperate to understand because—why her? Kara can't help but always be very cognizant of the fact that she has hurt Lena in the past.

Her hands were made not for holding and loving, but for ruination and ugly destruction. Everything perishes in her hands. She doesn’t need red kryptonite in her system to cause pain in others.

Lena looks at her, face open and soft. Kara clenches her jaw, tight. She wants Lena to look at her like Kara is what she feels like right now—something dangerous and hideous that you would not want near you at all.

“Okay.” Kara stops, drawing in a deep, faltering breath. The inside of her eyelids begin to sting. The silence feels unbearably heavy. She lets the breath go, soft and shuddering. “I think I should go.”

Lena visibly stiffens.

“Kara, you don’t have to.”

“I feel like I have to,” Kara whispers, heavy with misery, her hands fisting and unfisting.

Confusion and hurt flashes across Lena’s face and Kara hates herself. She doesn’t know how to continue without hurting Lena. Will she ever stop leaving marks on this woman? It seems like all that she is capable of doing is hurting people, sometimes.

“You know we don’t have to talk about anything,” Lena says quietly. Keeps her distance, respecting it. “Stay?”

There's something about the way Lena’s eyes are shining, the worry palpable on her face, that creates multiple large fissures in Kara’s heart. It's been doing that a lot lately, her heart. Fracturing. Like tattered stairs in a very old house, fracturing with every step, making Kara slow her pace, unsure of when it will eventually break and take her down.

“I can’t,” Kara replies, scraping herself raw with her words. She bows her head, licks her lips. The need to comfort Lena, to be comforted by her in return, chokes her. “I think I… need some time alone for a bit. I’m sorry.”

A long silence. The air is all tension and nothing else.

“Are we okay?” Lena’s voice is small, fearful.

Kara’s head snaps up, looking at her. She swallows thickly, nods.

“We are.” Quietly, and more firm, Kara adds, “We are, Lena.” It sounds apologetic because maybe it is. Maybe she’s sorry for a lot of things.

“Okay.” Lena wrings her hands together. “Can I hug you before you leave?”

Kara hesitates, nods. She lets Lena step into her space and pull her against her body. Lena tucks her face in the crook of Kara’s neck, arms wrapping around Kara’s back and under her red cape, holding her tight. Strong arms, as if on autopilot, rise to wind around Lena's smaller frame. But then Kara falters in mid air, sharply stops herself.

As if sensing Kara’s reluctance, Lena squeezes Kara tighter.

“I really need you to know it’s okay. You’ve never hurt me,” Lena says quietly. “I’ll see you, right?”

Kara touches the small of Lena’s back. Presses, just a little, with her trembling hand.

“You’ll see me,” Kara confirms, voice steadying and low. She exhales unevenly, pained. Steps back from Lena, carefully, afraid that even grazing her leg might bruise, or worse, tear it off.

They’ll be okay. They have to be. The reason they work is because they understand each other. Right now Kara feels lost, and she needs to quiet the half-formed twisted thoughts in her head.

Lena looks at her, and Kara looks back.

There is silence between them. It continues on and on, fraught and strained.

Kara swallows. Lena feels close and far away, and Kara stops herself from trying to reassure Lena with another touch. She's hyper aware of everything around her and anything she touches. It's sort of eating her alive, how genuinely and terrifyingly easy it is for her to cause damage.

Wordlessly, Kara ends up turning around and walking towards the balcony.

She barrels into the sky.