you make me forget how to breathe… in a good way
Oblivious. Kara had heard the word thrown her way a thousand times, heard it whispered about her a thousand more and she could be. Like everyone else, she could be. But most of the time it wasn’t obliviousness so much as it was complete and total denial of fact.
The point being, sometimes, like everyone had sometimes, Kara didn’t see things right in front of her. And sometimes the things in front of her were all she could see. Like Lena. Like Lena and the way that Kara had been slowly falling in love with her since the second they met.
Slowly falling. Quickly crashing.
She hadn’t been oblivious to her feelings. She knew very well that every new day spent with Lena was another day she couldn’t backtrack, another memory she couldn’t forget, another fact or tic or anything about Lena that she’d never be able to erase.
She wasn’t oblivious to her sweaty palms, or elevated heart rate, or the way her cheeks hurt when Lena walked into the room from a smile too wide and skin too warm. She wasn’t oblivious to how giddy it made her to see Lena slot into the gaps of her life like she was always meant to be there.
She knew why hearing Lena’s laugh took her breath away, why watching her joke with their friends at Game Night made her feel like jelly in the sun, why she always shared her food with Lena without so much as a second thought (even her favourites, even when Alex eyed her strangely).
She knew why seeing Lena in her clothes made her feel like she was on fire. She knew why it made her feel envious, why she suddenly wished her veins were cotton and her skin silk just so she could wrap herself so wholly around Lena’s body. She knew why it made her feel gentle in a world that had always made her feel like she was a little too rough.
She knew Lena liked wearing them too. She wasn’t blind to the fact. It was written all over her face when she snuggled into worn necklines, and gripped tightly at slightly too long sleeves. Lena relaxed into Kara’s clothes in a way that she never replicated anywhere else.
It was beautiful. She was beautiful.
So Kara wasn’t oblivious. Just a little… scared of the truth.
“Why is your apartment always so freezing?” Lena bemoans, dropping her finally finished takeout container to the coffee table in front of them.
“To give you a good excuse to steal my sweatshirts.”
“I’d steal them anyway.” Kara was counting on that. The note she’d slipped into the pocket of Lena’s favourite hoodie was counting on that. Lena snuggles deeper into the jumper and deeper into Kara’s side on the couch. “They’re softer than anything I own.”
“That’s because you wear everything like once.” It was one of the only things that Kara didn’t like about Lena – the fact that she could wear an outfit that made Kara want to swallow her own tongue and then never gift her with it’s presence ever again. It was incredibly rude. “I’ve cultivated that softness through years of carefully curated wear and tear.”
Lena eyes her amusedly, “I didn’t realise it was such an exact science.”
“I take it very seriously, Lena.”
“I’m sure you do, darling.” The answer is teasing but the way Lena brushes the hair from Kara’s eyes is nothing but tender. She leans into the touch, forgets that she’s probably not supposed to, that it wouldn’t be a totally platonic manoeuvre but it would probably be more abnormal if she didn’t, if she stopped reacting to everything Lena did like a moth to a flame.
Lena runs her thumb along Kara’s cheekbone before pulling away to grab a blanket from the arm of the couch and throw it over their legs, “What’re we watching tonight then?”
They watch a documentary about whales that Lena had been talking about for weeks, or, Lena watches and adds little bits of information and endears herself just that little bit more to Kara.
Kara mostly watches her.
Lena leaves with the insistence that she’s taken up enough of Kara’s time and that her apartment would probably like to see her face for a couple of hours at least. Kara relents after a while and smiles when Lena presses her jumper back into her arms with a joking keep it warm for me.
The note’s gone by the time it’s back in her arms.
Lena doesn’t say anything about it as she brushes a kiss to Kara’s cheek and disappears. Kara tells herself not to think about what that means.
It could have dropped out. She might not have seen it. It was possible the note was tucked into the couch, or sitting inside her wardrobe or lingering somewhere on the floor, blown by the open window and maybe it was just the universe’s way of telling her that those feelings should stay tucked, locked, lost.
Or maybe the universe was telling her to be bolder.
you’re the smartest person i’ve ever met.
your mind astounds me.
like ‘ugh your mind’ but in more of a pulizter prize winning journalist way.
you make me bad at words.
Kara rewrites it six times before she realises it’s never going to feel quite right. She was never going to be able to summarise years of feelings into a few sentences. The things she could say about Lena could fill a book if she could ever quite figure out how to say them, which she’s not sure she can.
When Kara first landed on Earth she spent years pouring over dictionaries trying to make sure she knew every word there was, trying to prove she was human, that she could fit.
In the end, knowing so much only ever made her stick out more, but she still kept consuming, still kept making sure she understood every word she was told, every word she read in every book she could get her hands on – no matter how irrelevant.
Kara knew how to say thousands of things, she knew all the right words, but she couldn’t figure out the sentences. She couldn’t figure out how to fit all her feelings into a phrase, all her emotions into a single metaphor. She didn’t know if it was even possible to contain her feelings in language.
At some point or another the feeling in her chest had become wordless, the voice is her head an eerily calm silence, the swirling in her stomach a still but never ceasing river.
How do you tell someone you love them when you can’t even describe it?
She’s doesn’t really mean for Lena to read this one. Not this version.
She doesn’t really mean to end up on a date with Lena. Not one that isn’t actually a date. It just so happened to be incredibly date adjacent, and Alex had called it a date (even if J’onn had tried to calm her by calling it undercover recon), and Kara kept wishing it really was a date.
She’s not sure how they get elected to scope out the amusement park. Well, that’s not entirely true. She knows Lena got picked because she was the only one with the knowledge of how to disarm the weapon they were looking for and Kara was picked because… well because she’s a super-powered alien with the gift of invulnerability.
It’s more like she’s not sure why Alex let it happen.
She thought the panicked eye signals she was blatantly handing out would save her but instead Alex had smirked and said what a great idea she thought it was and now she was walking into an amusement park with Lena, wondering if she was thinking about holding her hand because it was good for the cover or because she’s been thinking about holding Lena’s hand for months.
(Make that years).
Then she just stops. Wondering, thinking, second-guessing.
She doesn’t grab it quite as smoothly as she might like. Her fingertips hit wrist first. She almost pulls away at the chill, like cool clay beneath a warm touch. She’s afraid she’ll put something out of place, afraid she’ll ruin something almost ready, almost cooked, almost perfect.
(But there was no almost perfect about Lena).
Kara gently drags her fingers down until she can encircle Lena’s hand with her own. There’s no accident in the movement, no room for apologies and excuses.
She finds herself reaching for some though when Lena stops. Not a slight pause. A full stop in real life. Followed by an ellipsis in which she stares at their hands blankly… her feet still, her chest somehow stiller and her eyes locked the stillest of them all.
The returning grip tightens around Kara’s when she tries to pull away.
Soft but calloused. The result of years of complex work with her hands, gentle soldering burns and vague chemical splashes in direct opposition to attentive care and a far too expensive moisturiser that Kara only knows the price of because she tried to replace some she dropped once (she had gasped at the price but Lena had laughed like the loss was nothing major).
She hopes her palms aren’t as sweaty as they feel.
“Head to the Haunted House. We’re picking up a lot of radiation in the area – it has to be where they are.” Alex’s voice trickles down the comms, unknowing of the voice already rampaging in Kara’s head. The one that’s settled on a mix of finally and don’t mess this up.
Kara groans, her voice bordering a whine as she asks, “Why is it always the Haunted House? Why can’t it be on the Tilt-A-Whirl or the Bumper Cars?”
“Supergirl is afraid of a Haunted House?” Lena teases, though her tone holds a bevy of curiosity.
“Officially Supergirl is afraid of nothing but Kara Danvers once got a bag thrown over her head in high school by some bullies at the Midvale Annual Haunted House Fair and now they just make me feel confined. A little like I’m back in…”
“The Phantom Zone,” Lena completes. No question in her tone. Just a familiar kind of knowing. She’d always known so much about Kara; always known just the way to read her, even when the secret lay between them. “You’re not alone this time though. I’ll be right next to you, holding your hand.”
“Won’t you need both hands to disarm the weapon?”
“I’m Lena Luthor. I can save the world with one hand,” Lena says it with such joking confidence and Kara can’t help but take a moment just to take her in. She doesn’t doubt the statement. She doesn’t doubt Lena. She loves the way she holds herself, even if sometimes it was just a shield. She loves the warmth that she so often tries to play off but never hides from Kara. She loves how much she cares.
Lena shivers, “What I haven’t quite figured out how to beat is the cold.”
The temperature hadn’t seemed so bad when they’d left. It took a dive somewhere between Lena insisting on buying her ticket and Kara saying she had to try cotton candy before they got too caught up in the actual mission that brought them here.
Lena’s jumper seemed flimsy in comparison to the coat wrapped around Kara’s body and Kara doesn’t hesitate to release her hand and slip it from her shoulders (she doesn’t spare a thought to the ink soaked paper sitting in the pocket).
There’s a small sound of protest as their hands break before Lena realises what’s happening, “Kara I can’t take your coat from you.”
Kara scoffs, drapes it over Lena’s shoulders challengingly anyway, “Lena, I’m an alien. Just wear it.”
Lena sighs but slips her arms in. “Thank you, Kara,” she says and Kara’s thinks it’s thanks enough that she retakes her hand, rubbing her thumb soothingly along the back of it.
“Cold defeated, now onto the bad guys.”
“Well you’re ridiculously pretty.” It’s not really a comeback but it makes Lena’s jaw clicks shut, igniting a blush across her cheeks. Kara doesn’t get a chance to comment on how it only makes her prettier, how it only makes her eyes a little greener, her pale skin a little more flawless, her shy smile a little fuller before Lena pulls them where they’re supposed to be going.
Kara follows but all she’s really thinking is Lena looks lovely in her coat. Cosy and soft and Kara’s. (If only she was Kara’s).
it scares me how much i trust you
if you said jump, i wouldn’t ask how high
i’d already be in the stratosphere
The two of them stand silently. Staring. Alex had called it formulating but Kara had stopped trying to think of a plan around five minutes ago. She already had the perfect one.
“Let’s just call Lena.” They were at her lab anyway. It’d become one of their unofficial official bases these days to the point that it was where Kara and Alex had found themselves before they could even really discuss the best course of action for their current situation.
That current situation being the young alien sitting in the decontamination pod in front of them. She couldn’t be older than her late teens. She couldn’t have been anything other than scared after Kara and Alex found her in the aftermath of a, currently unrelated, crime, tied up by six men that they had to fight off just to get the ropes off her wrists. Kara could still see the burns.
“We can’t call Lena every time we have a problem without an immediate solution.”
“Counterpoint - we absolutely can because she is the immediate solution.” The problem would already be halfway fixed if they had called her the first time Kara suggested it. “She’s probably bored and hoping we’ll call to distract her anyway.”
“Kara she has a business to run. She doesn’t have time to be bored.”
Kara scoffs, “You haven’t heard some of the meetings she sits in.”
Kara knows Alex wants to argue. She’s sure she almost does before the alien in front of them makes a distressed sound, followed by a sequence of words in a language that flies over their heads.
Instead she sighs. “Fine, call your girlfriend.”
“She’s not my-“ Kara starts.
Alex is already speaking over her, “She should be. Not my fault you’re too afraid to ask her out.”
“I’m not… afraid. I’m just cautious, and careful and doing recon before rushing head first into something potentially dangerous.” It wasn’t fear. It wasn’t. It was Kara trying to be sensible for once and respectful of boundaries that so many people hadn’t been respectful of for her. She didn’t want to ruin the support system Lena had built. She didn’t want to lose her support system of Lena.
“You hate recon.”
“I’d also hate crashing and burning in front of the woman I’ve been in love with for four years.”
“See you’re saying all these words and all I’m hearing is that you’re a scaredy-cat,” Alex antagonises.
“Your girlfriend, yeah. Tell her to be quick.”
Kara glares but her fingers are pressing her speed dial anyway. The call picks up on the first ring. “Hey, Lena. We need your help with something at your lab if you’re not too-“
“Not busy. Well, I am, but it’s boring so I’ll be there in like twenty minutes.” Kara sticks her tongue out victoriously at Alex even if she can’t hear what’s happening on the end of the line. Alex sticks her middle finger up in return. Checks out as a response.
Lena gets there in fifteen and then it’s the three of them. Standing. Staring.
“So she’s…” Lena trails off.
Alex picks it up with, “an alien.”
“Yes, I can see that, Alex. There’s a horn sticking out of her blue head.” Kara laughs at the quip until Alex flings a scowl in her direction and she’s fumbles it into an incredibly fake sounding cough. Lena winks over Alex’s head so swiftly that Kara has to stifle the second bout.
She likes their banter. The ease in which it flowed. The familiarity of it, the unabashed snark and the constant teasing – almost like siblings. She was glad Lena had something so normal and she was glad it was with Alex. No one knew how to be a better sibling than Alex.
Kara takes pity on the silence, “We don’t know the species. She doesn’t speak any earthen languages and she’s not on the database at the fortress. Alex tried to test her DNA to pinpoint a vague location or similar species but it doesn’t match anything we’ve seen before. We were hoping you could-“
There’s a brief gurgle sound. That’s not what makes the words catch in Kara’s mouth. No. That would be down to the spew of purple, sizzling vomit that the girl emits from her mouth before she manages to clap her hands over it. Vomit that goes all over Kara. And Lena.
“Any chance you know if that’s dangerous or not?” Lena says, calm as ever. Alex shakes her head, looking as alarmed as she was amused. “Didn’t think so.” Lena tugs Kara towards the secondary decontamination chamber immediately, starts pulling off her own clothes the moment they’re stood outside the door. Kara spins around startled.
“What are you doing?!”
“Following safety procedures,” Lena says simply. Kara’s still not looking. She won’t look. She’s not, under any circumstances, going to look.
She feels hands start grabbing her suit, hears Lena muttering about an opening. She squeaks embarrassingly. Kara didn’t even think she could take the suit off without putting her glasses back on but then Lena definitely comes into contact with bare skin. A higher pitched squeaked ekes its way out of her throat. She jumps about three feet in the air.
She’s still not looking.
Lena huffs, laughter mixed with exasperation. “Kara you need to take it off.” Kara would argue but she’s right. She was always right. But Kara was still doing it by herself.
She’s still not looking.
Except she’s going to have to turn around at some point.
Lena’s in a bra and pants when that some point comes. Well fitted, black lace hugs her curves like they were made specifically to sit on her body. They probably were. They’re gorgeous. Maybe she should say they’re nice, maybe she should laugh it all off but all she can really do is stare at the pale expanse of Lena’s chest, a shade lighter than the complexion of her face.
In her defence, Lena doesn’t say much either for a while. Wordlessly she pulls Kara into the chamber, pushing some buttons that Kara doesn’t understand until some sort of spray starts spurting onto their skin. Kara instinctively moves closer, shielding Lena’s body.
“You’re very sweet, Kara. But blocking me right now isn’t the help you think it is.” Lena’s words are paired with a light touch to her spine. It’s probably intended to be soothing. It doesn’t quite hit the mark but this time Kara manages not to jump, instead shifting out of Lena’s way.
“Sorry. Habit. Usually it’s bullets being sprayed your way.”
“Not for a while now,” Lena points out. Kara imagines her keeping a tally in her office. 34 days since the last attempted assassination. She should get one too, maybe she’d finally be less on edge any time she heard a vague disturbance in that area of the city.
“No. It’s been great actually.”
“Less time worrying about me means more time for the rest of National City’s citizens.”
“Unfortunately it doesn’t turn off quite so easily. I still tune into your heartbeat like four times a day to check,” the laughter Kara attempts to inject into the tone falls flat against the curiosity on Lena’s face. She shouldn’t have admitted that. She should not have admitted that.
“You can pick out my heartbeat?” Lena asks quietly.
“Heartbeats are like fingerprints. It’s more subtle, the differences, but you can hear them if you listen really closely. Yours is always a tick too fast.” Kara doesn’t tell her that it takes months to figure it out.
Hearing heartbeats was easy, isolating them from others took little time at all if you were standing within a group of people. But truly learning a heartbeat? Figuring out how to find it across the city? It took hours of careful study.
(Kara only knew three off by heart. Two of them were family members).
“Can you hear it now?” Kara zones in unthinkingly. It’s hammering. She nods, reaching out a hand to soothe Lena, tell her they’ll be fine thanks to her quick thinking. Her heartbeat quickens at the touch and Kara pull back just as sharply.
“I can stop,” Kara rushes to fix it. “I mean, I can try to stop. I never wanted to invade your privacy and I’ve never listened in to anything intimate or-“ Lena blushes as she holds her hand up. The prettiest red light Kara’s ever seen. She stops before she can make it any worse. Intimate. Anything intimate. Why did she say that? Why was she so dumb?
“You don’t have to stop, Kara. It’s nice knowing you’re looking out for me.”
“I promised I’d always have your back, Lena. I meant that. Even if we got lost for a second.” Even when they got lost for a second. Kara never stopped listening, never stopped watching, never stopped caring. She hadn’t even tried. She knew they’d get back to this.
The chamber clicks, a disembodied voice that sounded a little like an automated Lena, says something about them being clear but Kara completely loses the sound in the sea of Lena’s eyes.
Lena’s gaze flicks away, “Looks like we’re free to go.”
Lena moves and Kara moves faster, rushes to be ahead of her towards the newly implemented locker room to stop herself from having any more chances to watch Lena without getting caught. She needed the consequences to keep her in check.
“Shit,” Lena says. Kara hums questioningly. “I used my spare clothes last week and forgot to replace them.” Kara remembers that day. She found Lena asleep in the lab with her chest dipped in the remains of her dinner. She’d looked adorable. She looked even more so when she woke up to excitedly tell Kara she’d solved the problem in her software she’d been looking at for weeks.
Kara had convinced her into new clothes so they could put some food into her stomach instead of onto the ends of her hair. Blueberry pancakes had never looked so delicate.
Kara pulls a second pair of sweatpants and a tee from her own locker, slipping a note into the trouser pockets before she extends them towards Lena, refusing to look her way, “Here.”
“Thanks, Kara.” Kara tucks her head safely back into her locker when the clothes are pulled from her grasp so Lena can put them on. She figures if she lessens the amount of time she actually sees it, her brain might follow course and lessen the amount of time the ghost of the image lingers in her mind. It won’t work; it’ll haunt her for months. She still has to try.
Kara counts to ten twice, puts on her secondary suit, counts to ten again and then turns.
The slightly-too long-for-Lena sweatpants have been rolled up at the ankles and something about it makes Kara’s chest ache. It makes her look small, gentle, vulnerable in familiarly unfamiliar way.
The t-shirt is a little too tight to her chest and Kara can already feel herself being haunted by what she knows is underneath. The smattering of freckles decorating her chest, leading underneath sheer material that left very little to the imagination. She’d seen too much. It didn’t feel like enough.
“Let’s go see if we can find out more about this sick alien than shall we?” Lena asks, grimacing slightly. “Maybe from a further distance this time.”
Alex is smirking into her tablet when they come back, “have fun, you two?”
“I don’t know how you avoided the splash zone but I hate you,” Kara says. Lena hums in agreement before she starts talking about a prototype she’d left half finished that could help them. Could being a word that definitely should have been would.
The language translator has them talking to the alien in no time. It feels effortless – the three of them working as a team, like they should’ve been doing it from the very beginning.
Kara couldn’t imagine losing it again.
She hoped she never had to.
you always speak in justs
but there’s never been anything just about you, lena
you’ve always been more
It’s Lena’s favourite word - just.
She helps Kara clean up after Game Night every time when everyone else stumbles out either drunk on alcohol or the power of actually winning against their superior tag team for once. She always tells her she’s just being a good friend, just doing her part after Kara was such an amazing host, just hoping to spend five more minutes with her (that last one was Kara’s addition).
Ideas and inventions always just came to her with a dismissive wave of her hand. It’s a half truth. The idea just comes to Lena quickly. Her brain constantly working in overdrive and constantly delivering the goods but the actual doesn’t come as easily as the theoretical.
She doesn’t just thrown some stuff together and creating a working portal gun, or an anti-kryptonite suit, or reverse engineer alien tech she’s never seen before. She just doesn’t sleep or eat or take basic care of herself for a few days and then walks back into the group looking like a goddess and acting like Kara hadn’t received a three am message that simply read how many grapes = meal?
She was just trying her best, just lucky to be amazing at Monopoly, just putting everyone before herself time and again.
And then, there was just a small accident at her lab but Kara didn’t need to worry because it was just a scratch but if she had time could she maybe just swing by with a new shirt.
Kara flies over immediately.
She finds Lena with a needle in her hand and thread in her mouth as she stitches up a wound in her arm. She looks so calm, it makes Kara feel anything but as she eyes the blood soaked into the sleeve of Lena’s torn shirt, the smaller cuts lining her face, the glass littering the floor around her stool.
“What happened?” Kara asks, as calmly as she can after she broke the sound barrier flying there and almost ripped the door from the hinges when it started being a jerk and not opening on her first, perhaps overly aggressive attempt.
“Just a small accident,” Lena says. There was that word again. Kara looks around at the mess; she can’t quite imagine what big would be. She pulls a stool towards Lena and sits down, plucking the needle from Lena’s hand and continuing her, admittedly impressive work.
“Kara, I can-“
Kara cuts in, “I’m doing it. Just tell me what happened.”
Lena settles into letting Kara work, keeping a watchful eye as she finally takes pity with an answer, “I was testing a new weapon for Alex. It’s a little sensitive. I may have nodded off for a moment or two and soldered the wrong wire; setting it off and well… the result was a little explosive.”
“You work too hard,” Kara chastises.
“I just want to do my part. And Alex needed better equipment, she runs into superpowered fights with only a pistol way too often.” She wasn’t wrong.
“You can’t help everyone else if you’re dead.” Kara wasn’t either.
“Kara I got a little bit of glass in my arm, it’s no big deal.”
“It’s big deal to me, Lena,” Kara snipes, cutting off the thread in the same second and pressing a bandage over the top. Lena’s shoulders deflate from her defensive position. Kara wonders if she realises it’s her default stance, that she’s always slightly on edge. She wonders how you help someone who grew up always having to be ready for a fight understand that she was safe with you.
Lena’s eyes flicker up to hers, “You’re right, I’m sorry. If it’d been you hurt in any way, I would’ve freaked out too.”
“I just… I need you to know that you’re more than your ideas, Lena. You’re more than what you have to offer. You’d be special even if you never made anything ever again. You’d probably be incredibly bored but I’d still think you were wonderful.”
“What if all I did was sit around eating kale all day in my pyjamas?” Lena tests.
“I’m not sure I’d wholly agree with your choices but I’d sit right beside you and cheer you on.”
Lena gives her a soft smile, running her finger across her new bandage absentmindedly, “Where’d you learn to stitch people up anyway?”
“Back when Alex was training to be a doctor instead of hiding her proclivity for government espionage, she was always practising on some fruit or another in her apartment. I used to watch her all the time, being so delicate and careful. I couldn’t imagine my own hands managing to do something so precise.
“I tried to make her favourite omelette one day to thank her for letting me stay and picked up an egg, only for it to crack the second I touched it. I cried, like sob cried. Alex just cleaned it up, sat me down at her table, handed me a needle and thread and told me to sew up the banana in front of me.
“I’ve only intentionally broken eggs since.” Sometimes Kara wondered how she hadn’t seen how much Alex was hurting then, how the constant repetition was more of a nervous tick than practise. An obsession she was trying to use to replace the partying and always failing.
Sometimes she thought about how alike Lena and Alex were - always putting other people first, always losing themselves to something bigger. She loved them both for their hearts and hated what it did to them all the same. But they were getting better. Kara would keep it that way.
“It’s hard to imagine you as anything other than gentle,” Lena says, running her fingers along Kara’s knuckles even as her hands start to clean up the stray glass on the table.
“You watch me punch bad guys all the time.”
“You’ve always been gentle with me though. Sometimes it feels like you’re not even touching me, it’s like you hover an inch above the skin.”
“Sometimes I’m not,” Kara admits. Sometimes she’d let herself get close, close enough to feel someone’s body heat on her palm but not enough to know the feel of their skin. She lead with hovering hands, comforted with the ghost of her fingertips, kissed with air and not lips.
“You can touch me harder, you know.” Kara’s head snaps to Lena. There’s a teasing smile printed onto her face. “I won’t break as easily as an egg.”
Kara grabs a broom from near Lena’s station, sweeps the glass by their feet into a perfect pile, “You wouldn’t be cleaned up as easily either.”
“How about, I promise to be more careful around explosive equipment, and you promise that when you’re touching me, you’re really touching me?”
Kara drops the broom into its designated space, drops herself into the seat beside Lena’s and drops her hand to cover hers. She leaves it for a beat. Then she lets more of her weight rest on Lena’s skin. Lena looks down at the sensation, grinning widely. Kara can feel the goosebumps underneath her fingertips, the tiny hairs tickling her palm almost imperceptibly.
She pulls away, grabs something from her bag, “Here, I brought you this.”
Kara hands Lena a t-shirt, followed by her old Mathletes jacket. Her name is boldly emblazoned on the back, the old school mascot sitting proudly on the left breast pocket guarding the note beneath.
It’s the closest to a letterman jacket Kara ever managed to get after being told partaking in sports would’ve been unfair given her… athletic advantage.
She personally thought it was pretty unfair that she learned most Earth level math before she was five but it was nice to be a part of something so she hadn’t thought to bring that argument to anyone’s attention (she’s sure the Danvers had caught on anyway considering her team never lost a competition).
“Are you going to ask me to go steady?” Lena jokes.
“I’ve seen you eyeing that bad boy in my closet for a while now, Miss Luthor. I know you’ve been itching to try it on, taste a piece of the Midvale Mathlete champion lifestyle.” Lena slips the jacket on. It fits her in a way it hadn’t fit Kara in a long time, not since before she built up so much muscle.
“What do you think? Would you pick me for the team?” She strikes a pose, Kara laughs as she frees Lena’s hair from underneath the collar.
“Are you kidding? I’d always pick you. Now, let’s go grab some post explosion burgers – I have it on good authority that the waffle fries are back at Big Belly.”
Lena moans ludicrously. “Why aren’t we already there?” She jumps up. Kara follows with similar enthusiasm, chuckling all the while.
They spend the night with Lena timing how fast Kara can eat a burger and Kara discovering Lena is a champion at catching food in her mouth.
It feels good.
Being with Lena always felt good.
i want to watch the wrinkles mark your face and know every laugh that put them there
i want to be what put them there
i want. i want. i want
i don’t remember the last thing i wanted that wasn’t you.
The motel was the best place to go. It was off the grid, the exact kind of place no one would expect to find Lena Luthor, and Kara was very much uninterested in finding out exactly what the plan was if they did manage to find her. She thinks it probably started with mur and ended with der.
This time it had started with a threat at Lena to stop making pro-alien technology. The threat had doubled in aggression when Lena started handing it out for free in retaliation. That’s when the stalking had started and the assassination attempts (and right when Kara had just started marking the lack of assassinations on her fridge whiteboard – it was solidly back at zero).
That’s when Kara insisted Lena needed to rest and left Alex and J’onn to keep digging up information, leaving with Lena to be her own personal security detail.
It had seemed like a good idea, it still was a good idea, but Kara also felt like it was a terrible idea because there had only been one room. One room with one bed. One bed that they’d both insisted the other had until they’d ended up in it together… staring at the ceiling and not one another.
Maybe there was something about the vague neon light pouring through the thin curtains and the stillness of being encased by the unknown that makes Kara feel pensive. Maybe there was something about her perpetual to fill the silence. Maybe she was a masochist.
For whatever reason she rolls to face Lena’s profile, “What do you want? From life?”
“A few more stalkers so I can start calling them a cult and pretending I’m the reincarnation of some vaguely unknown god,” Lena quips, the same way she always does at first when Kara asks questions like these. It’s not her worst line of defence. It makes Kara smile at least.
She schools her features even if Lena can’t really see them. “I’m serious, Lena.”
“I am too.” Kara eyes her in the darkness until she sighs. “A family. I’ve achieved a lot in my life. I’ve created incredible things, helped more people than I ever thought, bought a lot of things I didn’t need. None of it really filled the void. It was just like cramming anything in and hoping it would take the shape of the hole in my chest but it all just falls back out eventually and I’m empty again.”
Kara’s heart shivers, like someone plunged it into icy waters. “That’s really how you feel?”
“Not when I’m with you,” Lena confesses.
“I make you feel whole? That’s so embarrassing for you,” Kara attempts to joke in spite of feeling like she might cry. Lena pushes vaguely at her face in retaliation. She gasps when she hits her mark and Kara realises it’s because she actually is crying. Lena’s hand is more careful as she wipes tears away.
“You don’t have to apologise for crying, Kara.”
“You know you have a family right? We’re not traditional by any means but you have us. Me, Alex, the rest of our whacky band of friends – we’re all your family. If you want us, that is, because we definitely want you.”
“You want me? That’s so embarrassing for you,” Lena mimics. Kara lets out a watery chuckle. Feeling emboldened she presses her forehead to Lena’s. It’s easier in the dark, easier in this weird liminal space between today and tomorrow that doesn’t quite exist, isn’t quite tangible, isn’t bogged down by the usual consequences of the light.
“What about you, Kara? What do you want?”
“I don’t really know. For the longest time I just wanted to use my powers to help people and I did that. I do that. Even if every time I do something good something worse happens.”
“You’re helping to keep balance. As Supergirl and as Kara Danvers. That’s no small task. Imagine what the city would be like if you sat back and did nothing.”
“What if my existence is what causes the bad things?” Kara ponders. She wasn’t the first person to ask the question; even CatCo had printed an article examining it when Supergirl first started appearing in National City, followed by a slew of so-called supervillains.
“You’ve been watching too many conspiracy theories about the superhero paradox. Good and bad have been in opposition since the beginning of time - it’s just heightened now with the presence of aliens, and metahumans, and the occasional actual living god.
“You’re not the reason bad people exist, Kara. You might partially to blame for them wearing spandex whilst doing bad things but they would’ve done bad things anyway. At least now they have some flavour.”
“You’re good at talking about feelings when you’re not putting them all into boxes.”
“Kelly has me trying this new thing. She calls it therapy,” Lena says, purposely pronouncing the word incorrectly, exaggerating it a little too much and she was cute when she was being a dork.
“How’s it going?” Kara asks earnestly. She thinks it’ll be good for Lena; to have someone slightly less biased to talk to, someone who hadn’t lied to her all that time. She thinks maybe she should give it a try too, talk about things she buried long ago for fear of hurting the people around her.
Maybe therapy would help her say things to Lena instead of writing them down.
“I’m openly telling you about it so I think pretty well, but that probably has a little to do with the fact that you’re easy to talk to. You have one of those faces.” Lena pairs her words with a stroke of her thumb across Kara’s brow. Kara wiggles them under the touch.
“It’s the eyes isn’t it? They’re very trustworthy.”
“Or they’re just so pretty that people forget they’re supposed to have walls.”
Kara holds her breath, “Are you people?”
“You’re beautiful, Kara,” Lena says without preamble, without pause. A statement of fact that’s more charming than any compliment Kara has ever received. “You have to know that.”
Kara shrugs, the sheets rustling under her, “It’s nice to hear sometimes.”
“I’ll put it on my weekly schedule.”
“I was thinking daily.”
Lena laughs, “I can do that. Now go to sleep so we can catch this guy and go back to sleeping in beds without the world’s itchiest sheets.” Kara hadn’t even really noticed, too enamoured with being in Lena’s orbit but she nods into the darkness anyway until Lena takes her cue to turn over to sleep.
Kara lies, staring at the back of her head for longer than she’d like, or ever admit to, before sleep takes her too.
She wakes up wrapped around Lena with the smell of her shampoo filling her nose. She listens to the rhythmic pattern of Lena’s breathing for a moment before tightening her hold and slipping back into her dreams – they’re all a little quiet, like they know the real world is offering enough.
She wakes up again colder than she’s remembered feeling for a long time, to the sounds of water running in the bathroom, the slight creaks of Lena’s feet on the floor, and then the click of the door.
Lena emerges with wet hair, thankfully (or not thankfully depending on how Kara looked at it) clothed in jeans and Kara’s jacket. She looks-
“Beautiful.” It takes Kara a second to realise it’s not her who said it but Lena. Her face heats. “That’s my agreed quota for the day met. You need to work for anything more.”
They catch the guy by lunch time. Kara clotheslines him when he makes a play for Lena and keeps him down with a boot to the chest until Alex appears with power containment cuffs.
Lena calls her hot then. Not loud enough that a human would hear it. Not loud enough that she thinks Lena even really meant to say it but it sets her face on fire anyway, it paints a grin onto her face that she can’t get rid of for the rest of the day.
And Rao what a good day.
i love you. i’m in love with you.
“Why are you doing this?” Lena barges into Kara’s office and suddenly everything she’s done for the past week runs on a loop in her head trying to figure out what could cause this reaction. Her brain halts abruptly when Lena spreads the notes in front of her. She doesn’t throw them, doesn’t careless toss, but carefully lays them one by one between them.
Kara’s glad she’d hidden in her office today instead of sitting in the bullpen.
But being in private doesn’t stop her from feeling hot seeing them all at once, like she could feel her collar tightening against her throat, like someone had sucked all the air out of the room at once. She wouldn’t be entirely surprised if she actually had.
Kara hangs her head, “I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable? I can stop. I’ll stop.”
“I don’t—“ Lena drops into the seat on the opposite side of the desk. “I don’t want you to stop.”
“I just want to know why.”
“I think the last note pretty much said it.” And yet Kara still couldn’t say it out loud. Her hand hadn’t stopped shaking as she traced the words out. She’d written it, screwed the paper up and written it again seven times, making stupid excuses with each one – the letters didn’t look right, it wasn’t exactly in the centre of the paper, the paper was already slightly creased.
Eventually she’d just written it in block capitals and shoved it into her NCU jumper. She knew it was only a matter of time before Lena found it. It was Lena’s favourite jumper to steal after all. But she hadn’t even seen her take it and now… now she knew.
Lena drops into the chair opposite her, “You’ve been writing these for weeks. Why did you just… tell me?
“Technically I did tell you,” Kara argues weakly. Lena brings her defends down with a single look. “I didn’t want to overwhelm you.
“I see the way you make yourself smaller for other people, Lena, how you fit yourself into the boxes they’ve created. You’re proud, and confident, and brilliant but you have a tendency to forget those things to try and make other people happy, like that’ll finally fix the sins of your family, the sins you read into your past. Like it’ll make you happy in turn.
“I didn’t want to attack you with a love confession out of nowhere and scare you, or make you feel like you had to love me too. I thought the notes might ease you into it. I thought they might ease me into it a little bit too.
“It’s hard. Ignoring every voice in my head that says there’s a reason I didn’t tell you how I feel is hard but I don’t want to lose anymore time to fear. So I finally wrote what I really meant all this time which is that I’m in love with you. I’ve fallen and walked and leaped into love with you and I don’t know how to get back out.”
Lena watches her silently as she speaks, taking it in, waiting for Kara to finish her thankfully eloquent ramble. There’s a beat of silence when she’s done, like Lena’s making sure that’s it, like she’s letting Kara take a second to just breathe. Lena doesn’t look like she’s breathing much either.
“I don’t want you to,” Lena says. Kara’s world shatters. “Get back out, that is. I’m sorry, that was a terrible way to phrase that. Maybe I should’ve written this down.”
Lena laughs awkwardly, rubbing the back of her neck. It’s a very Kara-like gesture; something picked up and mimicked, an homage, a love letter to their time spent together. “I don’t want you to stop loving me because then it would be really hard continuing to be so in love with you.”
“Yeah?” Kara asks inarticulately.
“Yeah,” Lena confirms.
The desk still sits steadily between them. Kara doesn’t bother to round it. She just hooks her hand under one edge and pushes it carelessly to the side, taking a single step forward into Lena’s space, as she follows by scrambling up from her chair until it tips backwards behind her.
Neither of them flinch at the sound.
Kara presses her forehead to rest gently against Lena’s, relishes in the slight height difference that Lena’s flat ankle boots allow them. Closes her eyes and breathes in the moment. Lifts her hands to map the shape of Lena’s face that her eyes can no longer see.
Lena desperately grasps at her wrists. Tight. Needy. Nervous.
“I’ve thought about my shade of red on your lips for years. When you first started wearing it as Supergirl I kept thinking what it would be like if it were really mine, if it were really a memory left behind from my lips to yours."
It would be a lie for Kara to say she hadn’t had the exact same thought when she’d first seen herself in the mirror. It wasn’t the colour she’d pick for herself usually. A little too bold. A little too vibrant. Maybe that’s why it was programmed into the new suit change – no one would suspect meek Kara Danvers under the rouge.
But then all she saw was Lena. All she thought about when she looked at it was Lena. She supposed that part wasn’t too different to usual.
“Maybe you should’ve been writing the love notes.”
“Maybe you-“ Kara bridges the final gap and kisses her. Lena isn’t wearing lipstick that day. There’s no layer between Kara’s lips and hers but Kara feels the stain of her mouth with every slight part of lips before they press back in. Lena prints herself onto Kara’s mouth with ease and Kara paints her essence right back with the deep, slow dance of her tongue.
Kara pulls away. Lena continues to press chaste kisses to across her cheeks, along her jaw and the crease of the smile that spills onto her face until she’s smiling too much to continue either.
“You look really good in this jumper by the way,” Kara says, dipping her hands into the kangaroo pocket and tugging Lena until their hips bump. There’s no real heat behind the movement. Kara watches Lena’s dimples deepen in her cheeks.
“Good because I’m going to continue to steal it.”
Kara laughs. “You could just have it.”
“But then it wouldn’t smell like you and that’s always the best part.”
“I love you,” Kara says. Lena gasps a little too harshly for a woman who already knew that fact.
“Sorry it—it feels a little crazy hearing you say it so plainly. I love you too.” Yeah, okay, Kara understood it. She definitely understood it. She felt a little like TV static.
Kara kisses her chastely. “I have a deadline but dinner at mine later?”
“I’ll come straight from the office.”
“Good,” Kara presses the word onto Lena’s mouth. “Okay you need to go or I’m never going to be able to get this article done.” Her grip tightens in spite of her words.
Lena laughs, gently extracts herself. “Later, Miss Danvers. I’ll bring dessert.”
“What does that mean?” Lena winks, steps out of the office. Kara follows her as far as the doorway. “Lena, what does that mean?!” She winces at the curious passers by; lifting her hand in an awkward wave that she hopes is the correct amount of awkward for this. “Hi, George. How’re the kids?”
She doesn’t really listen to his answer.
She had better things to think about and she wasn’t too oblivious to know it was something good.
“Lena, just try it. For me.” She still looks like she’s going to say no. Kara pouts, “Please.”
“Fine,” Lena sighs but she takes the proffered glasses and slips them onto her face, tapping the side of the frames gently like she’d watched Kara do so many times.
Kara grins as the suit materialises onto her form. She can understand why Lena always watches her so intently when it happens.
It’s kind of hot to watch it map the shape of her body, spill onto her curves and hug every inch, edging up towards, but not daring to touch, the smooth expanse of her neck. Kara had very much dared to touch it last night. She was thoroughly enjoying the fireworks of colour she’d left behind.
“Look in the pocket,” Kara insists and Lena’s exasperated smile turns soft as she dips her hand in and finds a piece of paper. It turns exasperated again when she reads what it says.
Your ass looks Super.
“You’re super annoying,” Lena says but Kara can see the laughter in her eyes.
Kara grins victoriously, “You’re super in love with me anyway.”
“Yeah. I am.”