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Is it safer if we just say that we tried?

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The credits rolled, shrouding her apartment in darkness. Kara blinked at the TV. 

That movie could not have been two hours long. It only felt like twenty minutes had passed.

Lena stirred beside her. She sat forward, stretching her arms overhead. She looked back at Kara from her precarious perch on the edge of the couch. Kara shrank into the armrest, feeling somehow caught in the act. The act of being too distracted by your super-hearing your best friend’s pulse to normal-hear the movie  you  picked.  

Lena set her arms down. “You haven’t said a word all night, Kara.” 

Kara chuckled (a little too hard, admittedly, for something that wasn’t even funny). “We’re watching a movie,” she said with a shrug. “Isn’t that kind of the point? Besides, you hate when I talk over movies.” 

Lena relaxed into the couch again. “I hate when you talk over movies the same way I hate when you steal my fries from Big Belly.” 

Kara held up a finger. “Okay. You don’t  really  hate that. You just pretend to, and seriously? You’re not going to eat them anyway—” She adjusted her glasses. “I see.” 

Lena reached across Kara’s lap to grab the remote. “So, tell me.” She lowered the volume till the music was only a small whir in Kara’s heightened ears. “What’s wrong?” 

Kara shifted. “It’s nothing.” Lena cocked a brow at her. “Really, it’s not a thing—it's nothing. But how about that movie, huh? The part where ET goes home—that always makes me emotional. He did...go home, right?” 

Lena did not so much as crack a smile. “I thought we were done with secrets.” 

“We are.” Kara inhaled sharply. “You’re right.” She turned to her. “I’ve just been thinking about—about us, actually.” 

Lena’s eyes lit up. “Us?” 

“Yeah.” Kara licked her lips. “I keep feeling like, I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Like we’ve left some things unsaid?” 

“Oh.” Lena frowned. “I’m not sure I follow.” 

“Maybe I’m just overthinking this—stop me if I sound completely crazy—but I feel like, we aren’t as whole as we were before. Like we feel fractured—incomplete? Unfulfilled. Am I making any sense?” 

Lena looked flushed all of the sudden, her eyes glittering in the low light. “Kara, I know we said some horrible things to each other—I certainly did some things I regret—and I get it’s hard to trust me as you did before, but you have to know I would never—“ 

Kara grabbed her hands. “No!” She calmed her voice. “No, Lena, that isn’t what I’m saying at all. I trust you. I do. I mean, Rao knows I wasn’t perfect to you either.” She shook her head. “There’s just...something. Sometimes,” she sighed, frustrated. “Sometimes there feels like there’s only one thing that will fix us.” 

“Then why not try it?” 

“I’m afraid,” she admitted. “We just got here...back here. Things are good again—at least sort of.” 

“Things are tense,” Lena said softly. 

Kara sank into the couch. She hugged the blanket to herself. “Yeah. They are.” 

Lena found her hand again. “Everything needs to adapt to changes, Kara. Or else they fall apart.” 

Kara swallowed the sharp tickle in her throat. “I don’t want us to ever fall apart again.” 

Lena smiled. “I want to make us work, too.” 

The credits had wrapped. The TV flickered to total blackness. The music fell to silence. Kara heard the slide of her own clothes as she leaned toward Lena, and Lena’s breath catch as she did. She heard the gentle contact of their lips meeting when she kissed her. 

Suddenly she could hear beyond the inch of space between them, beyond the walls of the apartment. She could hear the city, its people, the cars down below, the waves crashing against the docks in the bay. 

Lena drew back. Kara did not move, staring at where Lena had just been. 

Lena faced the TV, a hand to her mouth. “I don’t understand,” she whispered. 

“I’m trying to…” Kara pieced the sentence together, her voice quivering, “adapt to changes.” She touched a hand to her chest. It felt like everything was exploding out of her. Like that kiss had been the long-lost key to a forbidden vault. She felt afraid. She felt exhilarated. She felt absolutely nauseous. 

Lena was still looking at the black screen. 

“Oh no.” Kara switched on the lamp beside her. “You’re not saying anything. Please say something.” 

“Kara…” 

“You don’t feel the same way.” She turned away, chanting beneath her breath, “That’s okay. It’s okay.” 

“No, I just—I’m not sure what I feel.” Kara shot up from the couch and paced in front of the coffee table. “Look, don’t freak out.” 

“How can I not freak out? I just  kissed  you—and you—and I’m  so  stupid—“ 

“It was strange,” Lena said slowly, working through her thoughts aloud. 

Kara stopped dead in her tracks. “ Strange? ” 

“Odd. Bizarre. Curious.” 

Kara wagged a finger at her. “Somehow not the rudest thing someone has said about kissing me, but I also did break a guy’s nose with my face.” 

Lena laughed. “I’m not trying to insult you. I’m just telling you, it’s not so simple to wrap my head around. We’ve been friends for years. Sure, I’ve had an errant thought or two about you—“ Kara blushed to hear that. “—but I explicitly didn’t follow those thoughts down the proverbial rabbit hole. We never talked about liking each other—liking women, even—so it felt largely taboo to express even a blip of attraction to you.” 

Kara settled in her seat again. “Lena, I wouldn’t have judged you. Ever.” 

“I know that. I just have had such a hard time holding onto people I love, who love me,” she said looking at Kara. “I didn’t want something silly like that to scare you away and ruin what we had.” She rolled her eyes. “That’s what stealing alien weapons is for.” 

Kara smiled. “You only get to use that excuse once.” 

Lena reached across the couch and stayed her knee with a firm hand. “Kara, I love you. I really do. Do I love you so much that I want to kiss you?” She paused, eyes scouring Kara’s. “Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to learn that answer.” 

 

*** 

 

There were no boundaries for friends like Lena, but certainly Kara had crossed one. 

Kara hadn’t seen Lena since their movie night a week ago. They’d exchanged a few words over text, mostly to coordinate this week’s game night, but not much else. 

She doubted her friend would even turn up this evening. She expected a last-minute text any moment now with a flimsy excuse about having to work late, and Kara wasn’t going to hold it against her. 

When Alex opened the door for Lena, a chorus of cheers erupted from the living room. Kara cringed from her spot behind the kitchen island. They were overcompensating. They were trying to make Lena feel welcomed, after all that had happened. This was her first game night in a long while, after all. 

As Alex ushered her into the apartment, Lena turned and met Kara’s eyes. She offered a small, polite smile, and set her purse down on the island. Kara opened her mouth, “Sey.” 

Lena frowned. 

“Sorry—I mean, I wanted to say hey, but also sorry, and it came out ‘sey.’ Sorry. Hey. Hello.” 

“Hi.” Lena spared her further humiliation by simply turning away and greeting Kelly with a huge hug. 

Kara scurried past them out of the kitchen and tucked herself into the corner of the couch, where she would desperately wait for the night to start and then promptly end. When Kelly leapt at the opportunity to pair with super genius Lena Luthor, Kara did not raise her usual hell. She instead pulled her devastated sister down (“I—me, your girlfriend—have a PhD  too , you know?”) to sit beside her, avoiding all the eyes in the room. 

Alex rapped a fist against Kara’s head halfway through a spectacular charades losing streak. “Is this thing on? Are you having trouble connecting to our Danvers Sisters Telepathic Server?” 

Kara feigned a laugh. “I’m sorry, Alex. I’m just having an off night.” 

Two hours later, Nia and Brainy came away the reigning charades champions. Kara encouraged everyone to polish off the rest of the soda and booze, the pizza, too, for she’d lost most of her appetite. 

Lena slipped out the window onto the fire escape. Kara didn’t give herself the chance to ponder whether or not it was a good idea to follow her (it wasn’t, probably), and strode across the apartment, out the window. She slid it shut behind herself. Lena had her back to her, leaned upon the icy railing, staring out across National City. 

Kara half-shrugged off her cardigan, about to offer it to Lena, then slid it back on in a panic. She did up the middle button for good measure. “I could’ve really used your help back there,” she joked. “Nia and Brainy have been crushing us these past three game nights, but you and I make an unstoppable team.” 

Lena turned her head, a slight smile upon her red lips. “We do.” 

Kara leaned against the rail beside her. “You’ve been avoiding me all night.” 

“I didn’t mean to,” Lena admitted quietly to the city. “I just needed space to think—“ She inhaled. “—about what we discussed before.” Kara said nothing, afraid of pushing Lena any further than she had already. “It’s nice being back here after all that’s happened—being with you, and all our friends. Just having some semblance of normalcy.” Lena shrugged. “But you wormed you way into my head, like you always do, when you said we felt incomplete—unfulfilled.” 

Kara cringed hearing her words echoed back to her. “I just meant—“ 

Lena laughed her off. “I know what you meant, Kara.” She nodded to herself. “I think I’ve been feeling that way, too.” Lena stood from the railing. Kara shot to her feet a split-second later. She felt like she had to get in position for something. She had to brace herself. 

Lena hugged her arms against the winter chill. “Kara? You’re really serious about this? You have feelings for me. Romantic ones.” 

“Yes,” Kara laughed. “You’re Lena Luthor. Who in National City hasn’t daydreamt about you?” 

Lena’s green eyes searched Kara’s face, twinkling with the city lights. She reached out and slowly drew Kara’s glasses from her nose. Then, she stepped in close—close enough that Kara was enveloped in her rosy perfume—and let down Kara’s ponytail in soft, blonde waves. She slid her hand under the collar of Kara’s oxford shirt, fingers finding the Kryptonian crest emblazoned upon her chest. 

“And Supergirl,” Lena said, “does she daydream about me too?” 

Kara’s heart pounded against Lena’s hand. It clicked for her, then. Lena could believe that she—that Kara—had real feelings for her. It was much harder to believe that Supergirl harbored secret feelings for the Luthor family’s billionaire heiress. Their history was not one of happiness and trust. Theirs was what had made Lena ultimately doubt the friendship she and Kara had built together. 

Kara trapped Lena’s hand against her sternum. “She does.” 

Lena stared at her mouth. “Can we…I don’t know—explore this further?” She laughed, withdrawing her hand. “Can we do that even without making more of a mess of our relationship?” 

“Explore…how?” 

She smiled. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, Kara. Call me old-fashioned, but we could…go on dates? Kiss a couple more times?” 

“In that order?” 

Kara. ” 

“I’m kidding. Of course.” 

Lena rolled her eyes. “Of course.” 

 

*** 

 

Dating was the easy part. Kara had already practiced this plenty with Lena. It had been their weekly ritual for years to meet for lunch twice a week, and for dinner at least once. 

Lena had insisted Kara not take her anywhere fancy tonight. There was no need to put on airs around best friends, after all. So they settled at their usual bar on the south side of town, eating greasy finger foods and drinking cheap beer. It was simple to slip into the familiarity of it all. 

And maybe that was the problem. 

Because Kara didn’t fully know how to slip  out  of that familiarity. She  didn’t know how to be  romantic  with Lena. It felt like the lines had been blurred between them for so long—how could she make the distinction now? 

Even with Lena Luthor kissing her slowly on her living room couch, Kara was confused with how to proceed. Where should she put her hands on her? Her shoulders? Was that too reserved? Her thighs? Was that too forward? 

“You can touch me, Kara,” Lena encouraged her between kisses. 

It was time to make a choice. Kara forwent the shoulder and the thigh for a comfortable middleground: the hip. “Is that okay?” she breathed. 

Lena hummed against her mouth. Kara was feeling pretty good about her decision until she realized how much she had been able to tune out with her eyes shut and her hands to herself. Now she was made very aware of the fact that it was Lena she was kissing. Lena’s lips were on hers. Lena’s  tongue  was in her mouth. Lena was warm and soft, her body shifting beneath Kara’s hands. She smelled like a whole bouquet of roses, tasted like cheap beer and sea salt. Kara drowned in the heightened sounds of Lena’s breathing, the little sigh she made every time Kara touched her body a little more boldly. She leaned into Kara’s touch, and Kara retreated when she did. “Hey, um—I need to stop a second.” 

Lena drew back, pupils blown. “Are you okay?” 

“I don’t know. I—“ She adjusted the askew collar of her shirt. She tried to catch her breath. “I’m really afraid.” She clutched her chest. “Rao, it feels like my heart is going to explode.” 

Lena rubbed Kara’s arm. “It’s just me, Kara. You have nothing to fear.” 

“It’s not  just  you. It’s  you . I’m not—I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t want to hurt you again.” It had been her idea to open this can of worms, and she felt pretty silly now trying to put all the worms back in their proverbial can. Even Lena had managed to stay calm when she’d been less warm to the idea outright. “You seem so okay with all of this. I just want to think about it as clearly as you.” 

“You don’t think I’m freaking out, too?” Lena laughed, wiping her palms on her slacks. “I mean, yes, I have more experience with women than you do, but I don’t think any kind of experience prepares you for this.” 

“This?” 

“Making out with your best friend on a Friday night.” Lena paused, seeming to sense those were not the words to placate a frenzied Kara. “Maybe you’re having second thoughts. Let’s just—let’s call it a night. Okay?” She got up from the couch, smoothed out her clothes, and gathered her coat draped across the armrest. 

Kara reached for her but came up empty-handed. “Lena, wait.” 

Lena flipped her ponytail out from under the faux-fur of her coat collar. “No, really, it’s alright. I need to think about this some more as well.” 

“Promise?” 

Lena turned to her, her eyes softening. She braced a hand upon Kara’s shoulder and leaned down, kissing the top of her head. “Promise.” 

 

*** 

 

Kara insisted a change of scenery would be good to get out of her head. Lena, in her apartment—it was difficult to recontextualize what with the years of movie and game nights in that very setting. 

That was how they ended up back in Lena’s penthouse.  

Kara had always felt a bit like an intruder in Lena’s home. Perhaps it was because, back then, she’d still been hiding herself from Lena. Because Lena would never have invited Supergirl into her penthouse, into her most private and intimate spaces. She realized she had never seen Lena’s bedroom. She’d only gotten as far as the kitchen just beside the foyer. 

And suddenly, she was getting to be much more familiar with the living room couch. She was on top of Lena. She’d gotten bolder with her hands—and her mouth. She pushed her knee into the warm apex of Lena’s thighs. Lena canted her hips against her leg. “ Kara .” It came out a harsh moan. 

Kara shivered at the sound of her name. She had heard Lena say her name a thousand different ways, a million different times. Angrily, sadly, excitedly. But not quite ever like  that . Heat flashed down her body. She was turned on by how much she was turning Lena on. 

Lena clutched at her back, grinding herself against Kara’s leg. “I need you,” she breathed into her neck. She eased back, staring up at Kara. “Sorry. Is that too much? Are you ready?” 

Kara’s brain had gone from a million thoughts a minute to a screeching halt. She blinked down at Lena, her pulse hammering in her teeth. How could she be so turned on but  terrified  out of her mind?  

Lena slid out from under her. 

Kara shut her eyes. She sighed. “Lena. Wait.” 

Lena did up her blouse. She was red all over, her eyes watery. She looked  mortified.  Kara  nearly cried  staring  at her.  “Need I remind you this entire thing was  your  idea?” Lena half-laughed the question. 

Kara groaned, “I know.” 

Lena dabbed the smudge of lipstick at the corner of her own mouth. “Then why do I feel like a college boy pressuring his high school girlfriend into sex?” 

Kara scooted closer. “You’re not pressuring me. You’ve been  so  patient. Incredibly patient. I doubt anyone gets second, third, fourth chances with you.” 

Lena worried her bottom lip. “I really want this to work, Kara,” she murmured. “I’m scared we’ve gone too far to turn back now.” 

Kara swallowed hard. “I’m scared of that, too.” Lena got up then. Just like that, the night was over when it had barely begun. “Where are you going?” 

“I’m going to take a shower. To cool off,” she said pointedly and disappeared into the bathroom. 

Kara sank into the couch. She listened to the crank of the shower dial, the water bursting from the head. She’d rebuffed Lena twice now. She hadn’t meant to, of course, but she’d hurt Lena nonetheless. What was worse, she was sure Lena wasn’t the problem. 

Well, mostly sure. 

In a blink, her fist connected to the bathroom door. The door opened moments later to Lena in a white, silk robe, steam billowing out around her. Kara tried to ignore the huge swath of pale, freckled skin exposed at Lena’s chest. 

“Can I watch you?” 

Lena clutched the doorframe, her brows shooting up. “You want to watch me shower?” 

“Is that weird?” 

“Weird is certainly a word for it.” She pushed the door open further and turned away. 

Kara followed her inside and shut the door again. She flipped the lid on the toilet adjacent to the walk-in shower and sat. Lena knelt before her and made quick work of her shoelaces. Kara picked up her feet. “What are you doing?” 

Lena slid off her wingtip shoe and set it aside. “This isn’t a Gentleman’s Club, Kara. You’re not going to sit out here and watch me bathe.” 

Kara let Lena divest her of her other shoe, and her socks, and finally, her glasses. Then Lena turned away, her back to Kara, and dropped her robe to her feet. Kara had not ever seen so much of Lena’s skin that it left her momentarily shell-shocked as Lena opened the door of her shower and disappeared beyond the fogged glass. 

“Are you coming?” Lena called out to her. 

Kara stood slowly from the toilet. All her clothes on, she stepped into the clouds of steam and the spray of scalding water. Then, she saw Lena. All of Lena. Water spilling down her pale body like crystals and diamonds and glitter. She should not know that her best friend had three stark freckles dotting her ribs. She should not know that her nipples were a dusty pink. She should not know she had a tattoo of a small crane where her thigh connected to her hip. 

But now, she did. 

Lena met her eyes. Kara thought she looked  amused . “Pass me the shampoo?” 

“Oh, yeah.” Kara handed her the bottle from the shelf overhead. Lena squeezed it into her hand and worked a lather through her dark hair. 

“Lena —” Kara’s throat constricted around her words. “Those daydreams did not do you justice. You are  so —” She couldn’t find the words. “I know I’m a Pulitzer-winning writer, but I’m seriously drawing a blank here.” 

Lena smiled coyly at her through the curtain of water. “I showed you mine. You show me yours?” 

Kara fidgeted with the top button of her shirt. It was only fair. She hadn’t worn her supersuit tonight. She’d thought they might have gone much further than they actually had. And now she thanked her lucky stars she’d left it at home. There were few things sexier than watching someone try to peel a wet supersuit from their body. 

Kara undid the buttons, more focused on the movement of her own fingers than Lena’s stare upon her, and pulled the material from her skin. Lena’s eyes raked down her body, her breath hitching. Emboldened, Kara shucked off her pants too, then her bra and underwear along with them. Lena stepped in toward her, and Kara stood positively still as one manicured hand slid down her shoulder. “And I thought Supergirl padded her suit all this time.” 

“You thought I  what ?” 

“God, you’re built like a statue. That mild-mannered reporter thing was a great disguise. Had I known you were this—” She waved her hands. “—chiseled—well, I might have realized sooner our friendship plan was due for an upgrade.” 

“What? Lena! You’re being so corny,” Kara laughed, her ears hot. “You’re just trying to flatter me now.” 

“So what if I am?” Lena murmured, catching a wet, blonde tendril of Kara’s hair. “I just needed you to see I’m not some twelve-armed sludge monster underneath my twill blazers and pencil skirts.” She touched a hand to Kara’s cheek. “You have nothing to fear, Girl of Steel.” 

Kara realized she was calm—calmer than she’d been these past few weeks. It felt  good  actually, to bare herself to Lena. After maneuvering through the minefield of lies and secrets between them, Kara was relieved to be able to stand here naked with her, with nowhere to hide. They’d come from hell up to the skies. 

Kara realized, too, that she hadn’t made Lena feel as safe and amazing as she herself felt now. “Hey, I’m sorry if through this whole...thing...we’ve been doing, if I made you feel you weren’t special or—or desirable—or—” Her eyes swept down Lena’s body. “Rao, you really are so beautiful, Lena.” 

“You’re easy on the eyes, too,” Lena admitted with a slow smile. 

“I can’t believe you thought I padded my suit.” 

 

*** 

 

“Does Eliza know?” Lena asked. She peeled her eyes away from the country road to glance over at Kara. 

“Know what?” Kara had dozed off more than a few times on their long drive out to Midvale. Kelly and James had insisted they all take one car (or really, why didn’t Kara simply  fly  there), but Kara would never have passed up the opportunity to belt out showtunes on the open road. The first two hours had been dedicated to educating Lena in all things Broadway. She’d run through the entire repertoire of songs of which she knew the lyrics. She’d sung her throat hoarse, then fell asleep three hours into the ride. 

“About us?” 

Kara swung her feet down from the dash and sat up in the passenger seat. “Oh. I haven’t...told anyone...actually....” She frowned. “Have you?” 

“No,” Lena said. Kara couldn’t decipher her tone. Granted, her eyes were hidden behind her sunglasses. “I wanted to be sure first.” 

“Yeah, me too.” 

It was another hour before they pulled up Eliza’s driveway. James’s SUV was parked in the back along with Nia’s sedan. Kelly had given them all stern instructions to hide their cars behind the house and duck into the front cellar, from where, once they’d all gathered, they’d burst out and surprise Alex parading gifts and birthday streamers. 

In hindsight, finding people in your cellar when all you wanted was firewood could shave serious years off a person’s life. Eliza came out of the house to greet them all once she heard them shout “Surprise!” followed by Alex’s string of loud profanities. 

Kara had never known Lena to be shy. In fact, Lena took charge when it came to networking and mingling. She was always the one to introduce Kara to people, or people to Kara. Kara hardly ever returned the favor—because she was more shy, and because Lena, despite being newer to the city, seemed to already know everyone. It was therefore shocking, and endearing, to find Lena hiding herself behind Kara. 

Eliza had never formally met Lena—not as Kara’s best friend—and certainly not as Kara’s, well, more than best friend. Kara supposed it wasn’t  really  a great time to introduce Lena to her adoptive mom, all things considered, but she would never have asked her to turn down Kelly’s invitation. 

Eliza’s eyes lit up. “You must be Lena,” she said, practically beaming with warmth. She pushed through everyone else to envelope Lena in a hug. Lena hesitated only a moment before she relaxed into her arms. Eliza drew back, still smiling. “It’s so nice to finally meet you. I feel like you’re all Kara ever talks about when I visit her in the city.” 

“Really?” Lena said, a curious pitch to her voice. Kara avoided her knowing glance. 

“Yes, really,” Eliza said with hard nod. She ushered Lena into the house with a hand to her back. “She brags about you  constantly . If you’re looking for a publicist, you needn’t look any further.” Lena’s laughter disappeared into the house, drowned out by the festive music blaring from the radio. 

The day went smoothly from there. Kara managed to let her guard down after the last couple of game nights had been tense. It had felt like everyone  knew  she and Lena were dating in secret. Today, however, Alex was the center of attention, and Kara wouldn’t let her paranoia spoil the fun. 

In fact, she’d forgotten all about her worries until Lena shoved her into her childhood bedroom and drew the door shut. “Lena, what are you—” The room was a perfectly-preserved time capsule of the girl she was in high school, broadcasting her strange fixation with horses and *NSYNC. 

“We tried it your way. The couch isn’t doing it for us, and, you know, this sort of thing is traditionally done in a bed.” 

“Eliza is in the next room!” Kara squealed. “Everyone will wonder where we went!” 

“I’m only joking.” Lena fiddled with the stiff collar of Kara’s shirt. “I just want to kiss you, Kara,” she whispered. 

And how could Kara deny such a simple, earnest request? 

She drew Lena closer by her waist. The room was dark, save the twilight that had doused the room in pinks and purples. Lena pushed up onto her toes and kissed her. It was a slow, quiet kiss. It felt less fraught than their other kisses had been. It felt meaningful, even, as if to divulge some secret meant for Kara alone. 

When they broke apart, Kara stared at her dreamily. “I’ve never had a girl in my room before.” 

Lena laughed. “Really? A jock like you?” 

“Okay, first of all, I’m not a  jock . I  told  you that Eliza and Jeremiah forbade me from playing tackle football because I didn’t know my own strength and I kept hurting the other players.” 

Laughter erupted just beyond the door. Kara could hear Brainy loudly debating the merits of the Twilight movie franchise. Lena reached for the doorknob. “We should head back out there. Looks like we’re missing an important discussion.” 

Kara caught her wrist. “Wait.” 

Lena glanced back at her, looking just as shocked as Kara must have seemed. Kara drew her in again by her wrist and kissed her harder than Lena had kissed her, a little more insistent. She pushed her back against the door. She deepened the kiss with a bold sweep of her tongue. Lena groaned against her mouth. She untucked Kara’s shirt from her chinos, cold hands sliding against her stomach. Kara tensed beneath her scouring fingertips. As she sucked at the delicate skin in the crook of her neck, she snapped the closure of Lena’s slacks and yanked down the fly. Lena guided Kara’s hand down the front of her pants. Her hips stuttered against the door when Kara cupped her through her underwear. 

“Carry me to the bed,” she whispered, gasping. 

Kara hoisted her off her feet and carried her to the twin bed in the middle of the room which was hardly big enough for her, and certainly not big enough for the two of them together. She laid her down among her old stuffed animals and galaxy bedspread. Lena’s black hair spilled across the pillow, eyes bright though night had fallen upon the room. Kara held herself above her, savoring the press of Lena’s hips against the inside of her thighs. The very sight of her felt surreal. Lena Luthor, breathless beneath her, in her childhood bed, her friends and family in the next room over. It was all bizarre enough for Kara to forget the strangeness of kissing Lena in the first place. 

It felt like they were starting over. And maybe that’s what they’d needed all along. A hard reset. 

“I love you, Lena,” Kara murmured. She had meant it differently than all the times she’d said it before, but it hardly seemed a revelation. Though it had been difficult—terrifying—to tread these unknown waters with Lena, she had always known she loved her. The feelings were not new. Just different. Stronger. 

It didn’t seem groundbreaking news to Lena either, for she didn’t hesitate to answer, “I love you too, Kara.” 

Kara had not meant her first time with Lena to be so rushed—desperate to finish before someone came looking for them—and cramped—pressed for space in a tiny bed they shared with a horde of stuffed animals. But it had colored the experience with fits of aching, noiseless laughter as they tried to get off as quickly and quietly as possible, keeping on as many clothes as they could. Kara had imagined rose petals on white sheets, National City’s lights glittering beyond the glass of Lena’s wall-to-wall balcony. 

This was better. 

Twenty minutes later, they stumbled out of the room. Lena made a last minute adjustment to Kara’s hair, which had gotten tucked into her shirt collar. 

There  you two are.”  

They sprung apart. Eliza appeared clutching a steaming pot-roast between her oven mitts. 

Kara adjusted her glasses. The sweat had yet to cool on her back. “Oh, yeah, sorry. I was showing Lena my old Midvale High yearbooks.” 

“With the door closed?” Alex asked from behind her mother, brow cocked. 

Lena swooped in with the save. “I had a bit of a headache from the long car ride here, so I asked her if we could shut the door to keep the noise out.” And before Eliza could fuss over her, she said, “I’m feeling a lot better.” Kara couldn’t help but read into Lena’s words and prayed her face didn’t look as hot as it felt. 

“Well, good,” Eliza sighed her relief. “You’re just in time for dinner and presents.” 

Alex looked accusingly between Eliza and Kelly. “Uh, what, no?  No.  I told you no presents! ”  She bickered with her mom all the way into the dining room, leaving Lena and Kara lingering alone in the hall. 

Lena laughed, reached down, and zipped up Kara’s fly.