There really is just something about being clean, Kara decides idly; opening the bathroom window and letting the breeze outside tug at the build-up of steam as she towels off. She’s about as used to being covered in anything from dust to goop as a sentient being can get, but in this case, absence most certainly does not make the heart grow fonder.
House rule number two - with number one being that the balcony door is too an entrance - is ‘no grungy superheroes in the bed’. Lena had originally put ‘filthy’, but… well, there’s more than one meaning of that term. Something that Kara - who blows chilled-but-not-frozen air at the foggy mirror until she can see herself in it - had only been happy to remind her of.
She's dressed and has finished drying her hair just in time to hear her phone ding from its position on the counter, and sticks a hairband between her teeth before picking the gadget up and swiping open the message.
Please remind the future Mrs. Possible that she still owes me a rematch.
Kara grins around the elastic. I think you mean ‘another’. And you know we haven’t talked about that.
Yet, is the near-instant response, and she ties her hair back in a quick braid while she tries to figure out if Alex is up late or early. I give it 7 weeks and a day before she asks YOU.
What date did Maggie bet on?
No answer, and Kara pulls her glasses off as she cants her head towards the open window; focusing her hearing until she can just barely make out the kind of language that Eliza would definitely still have a thing or two to say about.
The radio silence stretches on, and Kara rolls her eyes as she closes the window back up; deciding to needle them both over it tomorrow if need be. Settling her glasses back into place on the bridge of her nose, she feels her hearing re-center until the loudest sound is the almost-drone of the water in the building’s plumbing system and the low, plasticity crackle from the live power lines hidden behind the tile walls.
Nothing more than white noise to her, really, and since both became synonymous with home and peace long ago, they soothe her enough for a yawn to slip free; hidden behind her hand as she pockets her phone before nudging open the bedroom door, stopping for a full five seconds, and feeling the smile come unbidden when she then starts moving again.
The early morning sun is spilling in through the windows, and Lena is sleeping. She's curled on her side – half-dressed on top of the covers and her face cast in gentle shadow – and Kara takes a moment to brush back a stray lock of hair from those peaceful features; to trace the tips of her fingers over the arch of Lena's eyebrow, the curve of her jaw, and along the line of her throat where she can feel the slow, soothing beat of her heart.
Out like a light. Kara bites her lip and debates trying to wake her; weighing the discomfort from sleeping in your day clothes - some of them, anyway - with the fact that when they last got out of this bed, it was earlier than it is now. But Lena’s eyes are flickering behind their lids in the first cycle of REM sleep, and she looks so content that Kara doesn’t have the heart to disturb her.
The shirt is loose enough to work as sleepwear for a few hours, surely.
So instead, she crouches low enough that she can scoop her up slowly and smoothly, and uses a careful hand to cradle the dark head until she can settle it against her shoulder and straighten. Lena doesn’t wake from the motion; instead simply sighing and nuzzling closer, and tracing lazy fingers over the top of Kara’s chest in a sign of recognition so easy that it almost hurts.
She forgets sometimes, just how much more physically fragile Lena is. More often than not, she’s larger than life in almost every sense; meeting any challenge with steel in her eyes, titanium in her spine and more courage in her little finger than most people need over an entire lifetime.
Like this, though? Peacefully sleeping, curled up and breathing slow and easy against Kara’s chest?
Like this, Kara remembers until she has to swallow against a suddenly tight throat. Until she has to rapidly blink at how light Lena is in her arms; at the faint, additional heat at her ribs that comes from a slowly healing bruise where only Winn’s brand of magic kept her from almost, almost--
(“Hey.” A hand in her own, and the brush of lips against her thumb while her heart refuses to settle. “Almost doesn’t count.”)
It’s at times like this where the temptation is almost too strong; the one to keep Lena safe, and even to forget to care about the price of that safety if that price didn’t include one very vital thing.
Lena’s trust in her, which is the one thing that Kara will protect above all else.
Besides, she decides with a slight smile, giving in to that temptation would be a fight the likes of which no one has ever seen, because there is no way on this or any earth that Lena would stand for it.
So that’s kind of that, she guesses, and uses a long, slow breath - without the freezing aspect - to push back the covers until there’s enough room for her to set Lena back down; to carefully help her nestle into her usual spot on the mattress - further from the full-length windows in what was originally designed as a solar - and to remove the tie from her hair as gently as she can.
Lena stirs anyway; a soft hum catching on a lazy inhale before her eyes flutter open. “Mph? Hey.” Her voice is low and throaty and makes Kara smile; as does the hand that reaches out to give her cheek a slightly uncoordinated stroke. “You okay?”
Yeah, she’s being read like an open book again. “Never better.” It’s true, and she only means it more when Lena frowns sleepily; when it takes Kara turning her head enough to press a kiss to the base of her palm for the furrow to go away. “I promise. Go back to sleep, sweetheart.”
“Sure?” It is so very, very clear that Lena is fighting to stay awake, but she fights because she cares, and Kara still doesn’t know how anyone in their right mind could ever look at this woman and see some kind of ice queen. “Mmkay.” The word - coming only after Kara has nodded - is slurred, and half of Lena’s face is sinking into the pillow while the long, dark lashes on the one, visible eyelid flutter slowly. “Y’coming?”
“In a few minutes,” she promises softly. “I need to eat.”
The answer to that is a low, lazy chuckle, and Kara rolls her eyes but leans in enough to brush her lips against a sleep-warmed cheek anyway.
“You have a very dirty mind,” she admonishes, but guesses that the smile on her face is probably audible in her voice.
“Mmhm.” Lena’s hand slips along the side of her throat, over her shoulder and down the length of her arm in a slow trail of soft skin and goosebumps while the corner of her mouth quirks up. “Excellent inspiration,” she burrs, and then she’s out again before Kara can even tuck the duvet over her.
She does it anyway, of course, and then lingers for a few moments; carding her fingers so, so gently through Lena’s hair, and wondering how it’s possible for so much emotion to be contained in a single body.
There’s no response from Alex even when she finally makes it to the kitchen, so Kara sets her phone aside and takes the time for a long stretch before setting about the task of keeping herself fueled; though not until she’s performed a quick check that they have both milk and honey for when Lena wakes up later.
After that, though, she has to focus on feeding herself; if only because her stomach will wake Lena back up now if it keeps growling like it is. So she fishes what she wants from the fridge - most of it, anyway, since she dutifully stays away from the items tagged with No first-time testing without supervision xx - and heats everything up with a few practiced glances over the rims of her glasses.
She eats slowly, once she’s sat down at the table and tugged over the few articles she needs to edit; something that’s a recent experience, but one she actually rather enjoys, now that there are options specifically designed to meet her nutritional needs in reasonably sized servings. She even eats the vegetables, though that has more to do with the sauce that - for all she cares - could be poured over shoelaces and still be amazing.
Lena steadfastly refuses to give up the recipe for that one. Kara hasn’t quite admitted defeat yet, though.
There’s half an article left by the time her phone finally dings with a new message, though this one is from Maggie rather than from Alex.
I’ll swear on any power you want to split the winnings 50/50 if you hold out for 10 more weeks.
Ah… hah. She gives the screen a long, slightly suspicious look and spends a moment twirling the pen between her fingers before setting it down. How much, exactly? she asks, and takes another bite while scanning a few more paragraphs.
When the answer pops up… well, Kara’s long been likened to something of a bipedal vacuum where food is concerned, but this time she actually does almost inhale it. That, of course, sends her into a coughing fit; one she suppresses with every fiber of her being because if Lena hears, Lena will ask , and if Kara couldn’t hide the Supergirl thing from her way back when, she couldn’t hide a hangnail now.
HOW , is all she manages to send back, and even typing out that much takes serious effort.
Do you not realize how many people you both know? Bet’s been going since before you and LL grew enough ovaries to kiss. Nobody’s ever picked anything right because the two of you move slower than uphill molasses, so the pot’s been pooling forever.
And… okay, so those are sound points. Not that that stops Kara from glowering at her phone before downing the remainder of her drink, because jeez, don’t at least some of all those people have anything better to do?
She asks Maggie as much, and sighs when the only reply is a crying-with-laughter emoji. So that’s a no, then, which is a little weird because she’s definitely not used to being the center of that much attention unless she’s wearing her supersuit.
On the other hand, she can think of plenty of things to use half of the winnings for.
10 weeks, LD. To the day.
Kara sets her dishes into the sink to instead drum her fingers against the countertop, and spends a long moment watching the peacefully shifting ocean.
She guesses that Maggie is starting her day since the answer - a simple thumbs up - doesn’t come until she’s finished brushing her teeth.By then, she’s full and relaxed enough that she can barely focus on the screen to begin with, so she sends the message a cursory glance and a small smile, and then puts the phone away entirely before slipping into bed.
The sunlight warms her back while Lena rests peacefully against her front, and Kara just pulls her in closer; feels the lazy twitch of sleep-warm fingers between her own, and the slow, hypnotic movement of deep, steady breathing. She takes a long breath of her own and buries her face in Lena’s hair; feels the dip in the pillow beneath her head and the regular in-and-out of the diaphragm under her hand.
Lena sleeps, and with another long breath that easily becomes a contented sigh, Kara joins her.
(Nobody wins the pot this time either since - nine weeks and two days later - Lena is the one to ask Kara. But there is another milestone added to bet on.)