Regret had been a common theme in her life for so long. Almost as long as loneliness. So, there had been something almost comforting about the days following what Lena was absolutely certain was up there with some of the most deplorable things she’d ever done.
A text. Just a simple text. She was reading over it right now as she pressed her back against her kitchen island and drew her knees closer to her chest.
I think we should take a step back for a while. The two of us. I hope you understand.
Of course. Whatever you need. Are you okay?
I am now.
Kara’s response had been a relief, really. Until reality had set in. Until she began to wonder just how badly she’d really hurt the other woman. She’d warned her, right? She’d told Kara she wasn’t worth it. That she wasn’t good, or good enough, or any of those things. Yet she’d been so insistent. First as her friend, then as more. As all of the things, Lena had let go of over the course of mere moments without even having the decency to do it over a phone call, much less in person.
The truth was, though, that it had been overwhelming. From the way Kara smiled at her in the morning in the bed they so often shared - like she was the most perfect thing she’d ever seen - to the more subtle changes. Especially the way they no longer had to attempt to hide glances that lingered for too long. The way Kara’s undying love and support now manifested in even more real, irrefutable ways.
Lena had begun to believe her. She’d begun to believe that everything she was giving to Kara was safe with her and that it was enough for her. She’d been terrified. And that fear had led her to make what now felt like the greatest mistake of her life.
And it had all culminated in this moment. This moment of freedom, if that’s what you’d call it. Terrible, suffocating freedom. It had only been a couple of weeks. That was the worst part. It hadn’t taken long to find just the right amount of liquor to lull herself into the level of numbness that would allow her to sleep in her alarmingly empty bed. It hadn’t taken long at all for her to realize how desperately she needed Kara here, and all the validation and soft acceptance that came with her.
Lena’s eyes darted away from her phone and she reached up quickly to catch a tear that had begun to slip down her cheek. She was so tired of crying. She was so tired of how pointless this all was.
Every night she wondered if Kara’s promises still counted. Every night she wondered if it was too late to take all of this back when she knew Kara would be better off without her. That she’d be better with someone who was sure. Someone who could give as much as she gave.
Tonight, though, she finally broke. She scrolled to Kara’s name in her phone and did her best to clear her throat as she pressed the call button. She could just ask her to come over. They could just talk like they always used to. Right?
Going without hearing Kara’s voice, as it turned out, had affected her even more deeply than she’d thought. Almost as much as the fact that she’d answered more quickly than seemed humanly possible.
A million possibilities ran rampant through Lena’s head. Apologize, maybe? Say hello? Say literally anything at all?
Across the city, Kara’s hand trembled as she clutched her phone to her ear and focused her hearing. The panic she’d felt threatening to overcome her at first turned into worry instead of relief. Lena’s heart sounded like it was trying to hammer out of her chest. She could hear the sharpness of each breath. The way each exhale shuddered back out of her.
“Can you talk to me? Please. Tell me you’re okay.”
Lena ran her hand over her face as her brow furrowed and she dug her heels into her kitchen floor. “I’m not.” Those two simple words came with a quiet attempt at choking back a sound that threatened to betray her.
Yet, Kara had heard it perfectly. Lena knew she had. There was something in the silence that passed between them that left little doubt about that.
Kara was having a difficult time, herself. It was killing her to hear Lena like this. To know what this must have been doing to her. “You’re home, right?”
Lena nodded. A nod that Kara heard as she struggled with her own composure. That was something Lena could be thankful for, at least. She wasn’t so sure she wanted to keep trying to talk.
“I’ll be right there.”
If Lena had learned anything by now, it was that Kara meant that quite literally. Tonight, she was glad for it. Tonight, she wasn’t sure she could stand another minute of how things were.
Kara didn’t waste a single second, and as she rounded the corner into the kitchen - she was glad she hadn’t. In fact, for a second, she just stood there looking at Lena. At the too-big sweater she was wearing and the slightly glassy, piercing gaze currently pointed in her direction.
She’d spent two weeks thinking she’d never see Lena like this again. In anything but striking business attire, done to the nines with a politely disarming smile always at the ready. But here she was. Here they were. And Lena wasn’t smiling. Neither was she.
Kara’s attention shifted to the small collection of empty wine bottles on the counter as she blinked hard against the way her eyes were burning. “Are you, um…”
“No.” Lena shook her head and wiped at her eyes, though there wasn’t much she could do about her appearance, now. It was a little late for that. “Not tonight, anyway.”
Kara let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding and moved towards Lena quickly as the other woman started pushing herself to her feet. Without even thinking, she was reaching for her - finding her waist with her hands and looking down at the way Lena’s own looked as they wrapped around her wrists.
“Sorry.” Kara apologized quickly, though Lena didn’t let go. She didn’t try to push her away, either.
“No, I’m sorry, Kara. I’m...so, so sorry.”
“We should get you cleaned up. Something to eat. I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry about the mess, either. I’ll take care of that, too.”
Lena wasn’t really surprised to find Kara already leading her towards the bathroom. “Can you stop being so good for a second? I really don’t deserve it right now. Even you can admit that.”
“I’m a little worried about how weird my friend is acting right now.”
“So instead of acknowledging how selfish and immature what I did was, you’d rather push that aside and...what, exactly?”
Kara paused and shut her eyes for a moment, pursing her lips and glancing quickly at Lena before she kept walking. “Help you feel better. Or something. Here.” She stopped next to the shower and reached in to turn the water on for her. She still remembered exactly where to leave the handle so it would be the temperature Lena preferred. “I’ll go work on doing something about the kitchen and some food. Is take-out okay? Unless I’m wrong about how much grocery shopping you’ve been doing lately, that might be the only option.”
“I didn’t call you so that you could come take care of me, Kara,” Lena said in a tone that left the other woman struggling to continue focusing on the things that were much easier to focus on than the elephant in the room. Lena had to resist the urge to reach out when a few wavy locks of hair fell against Kara’s face as her head hung slightly.
Suddenly, though, Lena didn’t have the words, anymore to say what she needed to say. For a while, they were just quiet. Until Lena lifted her eyes to the ceiling and began tugging her sweater over her head. “I got scared, Kara. People get scared.”
“Then you should have said something.”
Lena froze with her shirt still in her hands. That was...true, obviously. She should have.
“After everything we’ve been through, you could have said something. Anything. I would’ve been here. You just...ghosted me. I kept wondering if maybe I was calling you too much. Coming around too much...”
“It wasn’t you.” Lena’s brow furrowed and she reached out carefully to touch over Kara’s hand. “I had to process some things. A lot of things. Feelings. Inadequacies. I thought that was something I needed to do without you and I was wrong. Not about all of it. You’re still too good, for example. And I still can’t give you what you need.”
“You’ve always been what I need.” Kara didn’t bother to keep trying to push the emotion out of her voice. “You’ve always been more than enough. It just took me a long time to tell you just how…’enough’ you are. Just like you’re still enough right now. Maybe someday you’ll even believe me. I don’t need anything. Your friendship would be great. It really would. Your trust, maybe. We’ll work on that one. The other stuff, though - I don’t need that.”
“Are you being honest with yourself?” Lena asked as she lifted a brow and wrapped Kara’s hand in her own. “About that last bit? Are you being honest with me?”
“It was nice.” Kara murmured with a faint shrug. “It was really nice. But I don’t ever want to be something that isn’t good for you.”
“You could never be that.” Lena gave her hand a gentle squeeze, then, before twining their fingers together to pull her closer - until she could rest her forehead against Kara’s shoulder. The smell of her shirt alone was so much. It was just so much. “You have no idea how many times you’ve been the only good thing. It’s just like me to try to ruin that.”
“You didn’t.” Kara was careful about how she wrapped an arm around Lena’s bare shoulders, and even more careful about the way she brushed her thumb softly across one of them - avoiding the strap of her bra. “I should let you get to it. The kitchen…”
“It can wait.”
Kara still remembered the first time she’d heard that tone. That low murmur that felt and sounded more like a purr than anything else. It was different this time, though. Vulnerable. It made the warmth Kara felt spreading through her mingle with the desperate need to protect her. To give her and to be whatever she needed to feel safe.
It was all she could do just to attempt to answer - though any words she might have formed turned into nothing more than an unintelligible murmur when Lena’s lips grazed the side of her neck. Yeah. It could wait. It could definitely wait.
“You’re lucky I can afford to replace so many bras.” Lena murmured as she felt the material of the strap that had been resting beneath Kara’s fingertips come apart in her grip.
“Oh, shit. I’m sorry, Lena. It’s just-”
“Been a long two weeks. Yeah. I really am sorry about that.” Lena smiled. A soft curve of the corners of her lips that showed the barest flash of the whitest teeth. That smile was the prettiest thing Kara had ever seen...every single time. Even when it was almost a question like it was now. “Take a shower with me?”
“You’ll definitely let me get us something to eat when we’re done?”
Lena laughed in a quiet, breathy way. She’d almost managed to distract Kara with a gentle touch to her stomach beneath her shirt. Almost. “Definitely.” She lifted her eyes to meet Kara’s and unhooked her bra behind her back at the same time. She’d always found it...well, cute - for lack of a better word - that Kara couldn’t manage not to stare when she did that. At least for a second or two.
Cute enough that she reached out to pull Kara closer by the belt loops of her jeans so she could kiss the corner of her mouth. “I missed you.” She admitted quietly. The sound that admission earned her was so close to a whimper she almost winced because of it. Before she could, though, Kara chased away that creeping, insidious guilt with a kiss that threatened to take her breath away, entirely.
Lena only pulled back long enough to tug Kara’s shirt over her head. Now that was something she might never get used to. How utterly, painfully perfect Kara was. That realization was only driven home more deeply when they’d both finally managed to do away with the rest of their clothes and Kara was touching along the small of her back as they stepped into the shower together.
“It isn’t fair.” Kara said quietly as Lena faced away from her and leaned her head back to allow the blissfully hot water to wash over her face and slick her dark hair down her back.
“What isn’t fair?”
Kara sighed and stepped close enough to reach for the shampoo over Lena’s shoulder. “How pretty you are. I swear I lose twenty brain cells every time I look at you. I don’t even think they come back afterward.”
Lena might have been able to come up with some quick-witted, clever response had Kara not begun to lather her hair. Which, of course, came with a fingertip massage against her scalp. One that had her hands sliding up the shower wall and her head hanging between her arms rather quickly. “Have I mentioned I missed you?”
Kara leaned forward as the last of the suds ran down Lena’s back and pressed her lips against her shoulder blade in a soft kiss. “Yeah. I missed you, too, you know. A lot. Every day.”
Lena turned her head just enough to look at Kara over her shoulder. Just in time to watch her press against her back and reach out to cover her hands with her own against the slick marble of the shower wall. “Show me, then.” She murmured in response, slowly turning around to face her - running her hand slowly along Kara’s arm as she did so. She liked to do that. To feel the strength of her beneath her touch. Yet another thing she’d missed. How safe she felt with Kara against her - sliding an arm around her lower back - just letting herself melt into that feeling.
“Don’t do that again, Lena,” Kara mumbled as she pressed her forehead against the other woman’s temple. “Please. Just don’t shut me out. I hated it out there.”
“I won’t.” Lena reached for her when she spoke, stroking along the sides of her neck to keep her close even as she felt Kara’s head tilting until, finally, their lips met again - in a slower, shallower kiss than last time. One in which Lena used her own lips to part Kara’s while her hands slipped further down the warm, slick skin of her neck towards her chest.
She didn’t stop when Kara lifted her easily with a gentle grip on the backs of her thighs. She just wrapped her legs around her waist and let her arms rest against her shoulders. Lena still remembered the first time Kara did that. She’d probably always remember it. With a soft smile that she pressed against Kara’s cheek and a barely audible, breathy chuckle.
Kara caught Lena’s appreciative gaze, then. Became trapped in the silvery strands of her irises and the warmth of her smile until the smile faded when she rocked her hips gently against Lena’s. Until Lena nodded faintly and traced the lines of Kara’s lips with her thumb.
Kara let one of Lena’s legs slide down her own - supporting her until her foot met the shower floor while she held her other thigh just above her own hip - giving herself the room she needed to trace slowly up her inner thigh. Her eyelids fluttered when the wetness of the water against Lena’s milky skin changed into something slicker just at the crook of her thigh.
The fact that she could do this to Lena still made her breath catch in her throat. The fact that Lena still had the wherewithal to stroke along the nape of her neck encouragingly didn’t help much, at all. If anything - it made Kara want her more. Though, she’d learned over the course of navigating what they’d become to each other that Lena rarely did things for no reason. She suspected Lena knew what those gentle, approving murmurs did to her. She suspected Lena had always known.
Lena knew a lot of things, now, though. She knew it didn’t matter how hard she dug her nails into the nape of Kara’s neck when her fingers pressed into her. She knew it didn’t matter how weak her legs got or hard she sank her teeth into Kara’s shoulder.
There were other things that could matter so much more. That did matter so much more. Kara’s breathing, for one. The way she was panting against Lena’s ear because Lena knew she wasn’t out of breath. That it was all need and emotion being gasped into her skin. It was all the feeling of her corresponding tightening around Kara’s fingers and the way she clung to the other woman as she worked her hips with every thrust of the strong hand between her thighs.
Yet, as overwhelmed both physically and emotionally as Kara was, she still managed a quiet, breathy ‘Okay?’ against Lena’s cheek. She almost always did. And that soft concern was almost always answered just as it was now - with a faint nod and a stroke of Lena’s trembling hand along the back of her head.
That’s when Kara knew she was getting close. When the muscles in Lena’s thighs began to quiver and her fingertips shook whenever they weren’t dug into her somewhere and when her breathless whimpers and moans got quieter and less frequent despite how frantically her heart hammered in her chest.
Kara was never more glad for her hearing than she was when Lena began begging her without words not to stop. It was just as heady - just as new - every time. Lena knew she wouldn’t, of course. Maybe that’s what made it better. That she was so overcome the pleading attempts just came tumbling from her lips, anyway as she pressed into the blessed friction of Kara’s palm against her clit and the firm thrusting of her fingers.
Two weeks wasn’t long, yet it seemed like forever. Forever since the last time Lena gasped for ragged breaths against Kara’s chest after her head fell against it. Forever since she felt Kara’s lips against her jaw along with the sharp puffs of her breath.
“Sit down.” Lena finally murmured over soft sounds of water hitting their skin.
Kara lowered Lena’s leg from her hip and reached up to stroke along her flushed face and lower - grazing the freckle at the front of her throat with her thumb slowly like it was something to be cherished because it was. Because all of her was.
But she’d asked her to sit down, and Kara didn’t have the willpower to wait for whatever Lena wanted her to do that for. Even if she had, it would have evaporated when she moved to the bench on the far side of the spacious shower and found Lena kneeling between her legs before she could even focus on what she was doing.
The kisses she found brushed against her inner thighs were so soft and warm, Kara didn’t even mind how exposed she was. They were as soft and warm as the hands that were parting her legs, but the further up they trailed, the more still Kara went until, as Lena’s mouth was hovering between them - breathing warmth against the place she ached to be touched the most, the marble of the bench in her grip began to grate slightly in protest.
“Touch me.” Lena murmured - close enough that her lips were now grazing skin. Close enough that Kara’s stomach tensed visibly in that certain way that Lena loved to watch.
Slowly - carefully - Kara twined the fingers of one of her hands in the dark, wet silk that was Lena’s hair. She marveled at the trust Lena had in her as her tongue first found its mark and her grip tightened almost imperceptibly. Lena’s eyes flashed up to meet her own, then, but there wasn’t any worry there. No warning. Lena just liked to watch. She liked to watch Kara’s face when she first found her clit with languid circles of the tip of her tongue.
Soon after, one of her hands came up so she could trace the tightening muscles of Kara’s stomach with her fingertips - maybe to soothe her - maybe just to feel them. Maybe both.
She didn’t tease. Not tonight. Her mouth was pressing close just when Kara needed it to. Just when her heels began lifting from the shower floor and her head fell back against the shower wall.
There were certain words Lena still wasn’t good at. Those words centered mostly about her feelings and expressing them - so she spelled out her apologies with the molten heat of her tongue and her lips and moaned her appreciation in low purrs that had Kara gasping and tugging at her hair. Never too hard, though. She was always so careful. Maybe not with the marble-tiled bench she was probably ruining - maybe not with Lena’s furniture if it was unlucky enough to be the only thing handy enough to grab that wasn’t her - but Kara was careful where it mattered. Always. And it was one of the things Lena loved most about her.
One of the countless reasons that, right now, she wanted to make her come more than almost anything in the world. To make her forget, for even a moment, that she’d sent that stupid text. That she’d pushed away the one person in this world that she would always need.
So much so that she wrapped her arms around Kara’s thighs tightly to pull her hips closer and drove a shudder through her already trembling body in response.
Lena wasn’t sure when her eyes had shut. All she knew was that they snapped open in response to her name and the sudden press of thighs against either side of her face. The timing was perfect. She didn’t miss a single second of Kara’s eyes rolling back and her lips parting or of her hips flexing off the bench.
She knew just what Kara liked, now. Just how long she could keep up the slow, rhythmic sucking that had brought her crashing over the edge. Just how long she could pepper the other woman’s thighs and stomach with kisses before strong arms would start reaching for her to pull her into the hug she knew was coming.
They stayed like that for a while. With Kara bent towards her while she knelt up and slipped her arms around her in return. They both needed this moment and everything that it meant. Until, finally, the heat of the shower began making itself known again and Kara was helping her back to her feet.
In a daze, they dried each other off and Lena didn’t complain when Kara made her sit in the kitchen while she straightened up because Lena didn’t mind watching her flip through take-out menus and place glasses in the dishwasher. Especially not when she was wearing her clothes. Sweats that were just a little too baggy and hung off her hips just right. An old MIT sweater that used to be Lena’s favorite...and still was, just not on herself. The way it hung off one of Kara’s shoulders was too perfect for that not to almost always be the one she pulled out for her to wear.
Kara had never bothered to ask why it always happened to be clean when she was over. She probably never would. It was all just too good to ask questions. It was all too perfect.
But Lena knew there were probably a million questions running through Kara’s mind as they sat, half under the sheets in her bed eating a meal that was suspiciously, adorably free of vegetables. She knew because she couldn’t remember the last time Kara had just pushed her food around on her plate.
It was too weird to be eating when Kara couldn’t. It settled the guilt too firmly back in the pit of her stomach. “Tell me what’s on your mind, Supergirl.”
“You.” Kara answered honestly - albeit nervously. She knew Lena needed the quiet, sometimes. She worried that was one of the reasons this had happened. God, she worried.
“What about me, hm?” Lena sat her plate to the side and reached out to stroke over Kara’s thigh on top of the grey silk that covered it.
“It can wait. I promise.” Kara replied with a half-hearted smile directed at her before she leaned in just enough to kiss the gently rounded tip of her nose.
“I’m trying not to make this about me when it needs to be about you right now.” Lena replied as she reached out to twine her fingers with Kara’s and pull the other woman’s hand into her lap. “Can you help me out with that?”
Kara dug her teeth into her lower lip for a moment before her eyes slipped shut and she sighed. “I don’t want to push you away again. I don’t want to scare you off.”
“I did that, Kara. I did what I always do. The only thing I’m good at.” Lena responded with a squeeze of her hand. “I scared myself off. I talked myself out of the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Lena opened her eyes slowly, but the furrow between her brows stayed. “Don’t talk about yourself like that. Please.”
“I’m sorry. I’m working on that.” Lena’s head hung in frustration until fingertips lifted it again by her chin and she couldn’t have looked anywhere but at Kara even if she’d wanted to.
“I know you are. And you’re doing so good.” Kara tilted her head just enough to kiss Lena’s chin as her thumb left it. “So good. No matter what you’ve managed to convince yourself of over the past few days.”
“I hurt you, Kara.”
“Yeah. I’ve hurt you, too. We’ll move past it. If you want to, I mean. Like everything else. If we can move past the fact that we were madly in love with each other for forever before we managed to admit that to ourselves, we can move past the fact that you needed a little space, right?”
Lena hadn’t realized a tear was about to slip down her cheek until it was too late. Until Kara was already catching it with her thumb before it could fall.
“Nobody’s perfect, Lena. But I’ve never met anyone who came as close as you do.” Kara sniffed softly and swallowed and Lena really couldn’t help the little laugh that got choked back in her throat when she had to lift her hands to wipe Kara’s face, too.
“I’m just sorry, okay?” Lena sounded so adamant that Kara moved close enough to reach out and stroke along her side. “I can be sorry, at least. And I can promise you that next time, I’ll tell you what’s going on in my head. I don’t ever want you to have to feel the way you’ve been feeling again. I don’t ever want you to think that the way I am is in any way your fault.”
“I don’t. I mean, there is no such thing as ‘the way you are’.” Kara sighed, then. In relief, mostly. Relief that it really hadn’t been her. That she hadn’t been needy or clingy or any of the other hundred things she’d been concerned about. Things she could’ve kept trying to hide from Lena - things she would have known already, anyway. “I accept your apology?”
The slight wince that sentence came with - the slight lilt at the end that made it sound like a question - had relieved, if not nervous laughter suddenly spilling between them until it faded into much less suffocating, much more comfortable silence.
“I love you, Kara Danvers. I love you, and I’m glad you accept my apology. I’m glad you’re so stubborn about sticking around for me.”
Kara cursed quietly as she pressed her face into the crook of Lena’s neck in time to hide the tears that were pooling in her eyes again. “Stop that. I love you, too - but stop that. I’m trying to be strong for you and you keep making me cry. It isn’t fair.”
“You’re so strong. You tell me that all the time. You should be able to recognize it in yourself.” Lena murmured quietly as she removed their plates from the bed entirely as Kara’s gentle tugging at her shirt told her she wanted to lay down. Undoubtedly to hold her better. To be held.
“Not fair at all.” Kara sighed as their legs tangled in that comfortable, familiar way that had come so naturally between them. “I’m feeling very attacked.”
“I’m sure you’ll be attacking whatever monstrosity you’re going to create out of the eggs and cheese in the fridge in the morning, so turnabout is fair play.”
“It isn’t going to be a monstrosity. ...How did you know I noticed the eggs and cheese in the fridge?” Kara lifted her head just enough to look at Lena as she narrowed her eyes.
Lena could have sworn she was attempting to pout, but the resulting flutter of warmth she felt for the other woman was so good right then. So perfectly Kara. “Because I keep them there for you, and I replace them every time you use them all in one sitting.”
“Oh.” Kara couldn’t really argue with that, but the apologetic kiss that was delivered to her forehead after Lena turned the lights off softened the blow. So did the next few minutes. Minutes that turned into more than just that.
Yeah. The next morning’s omelet was absolutely going to be nothing short of a monstrosity.
And that was fine.
That was perfect.