It's a Tuesday when she gets given the first one. An innocuous Tuesday in the middle of April, the sun is shining behind a light coverage of fluffy clouds and Kara is on her fourth sticky bun while Lena explains the latest project R&D is working on that she's incredibly excited about. Everything is normal and the warmth radiating not only from the sun through the windows but from Kara herself makes her brain a little hazy and her palms a little warm. And then - god she loves this woman with every fibre of her being - Kara slides something across the table,
"Here! I made this for you."
It's an origami heart folded from the scrap of the receipt that Kara had taken straight from Lena's hands before she could pay because - let me take care of you, Lena - had melted her to the core and how could she say no when those eyes begged her like that?
Lena feels her breath catch and suddenly it's a little difficult to breathe and she pulls on her collar a bit because she can't be about to cry over a paper,
"For me?" She chokes out, her voice just barely sounding normal.
Kara hums around her last bite of food in her mouth, blonde curls bobbing with the nod of her head. Kara straightens up in her seat, head cocked to one side and Lena smiles before Kara even says anything because she recognizes that look and knows now what it means.
"Go get them Supergirl." Her voice is low and full of affection and if her eyes sting with unshed tears after Kara places a tender kiss on her forehead despite the rush she's in, that's nobody's business but her own.
Small folded pieces of paper begin to gather in her wallet. There’s swans, cute puppy faces with tiny noses drawn on them, various sized stars because - get it Lena? Alex says you’re a gold star, and I just think it’s great that she likes you enough to call you one and maybe she let that slide because the blush that crawled up her neck was embarrassing enough - there’s fish, frogs even a dinosaur.
But mostly there’s hearts.
She tries not to read too much into it.
When she’s having a particularly rough day she’ll reach into her wallet and pull one out and run her nail around the edges, hold it in her palm while investors attempt to mansplain her own company to her during meetings. She’ll rub one between her thumb and forefinger while she watches Supergirl battle with National City’s newest threat but without fail she hides it before Kara inevitably ends up on her balcony in need of an extra long hug. At night sometimes she’ll lay on her back in the dark and play with that very first heart Kara gave her at Noonan’s that day.
Eventually she needs to find somewhere else to put them and she knows this, but the thought of not having them with her makes her a little sad, and yes she knows it’s ridiculous to get so attached to a piece of paper, but they’re pieces of paper that Kara gave to her. That Kara folded and put energy and effort, even a small amount, into and gave to her. She carries too many of them now, and after an almost completely embarrassing moment where an avalanche of them almost falls out as she attempts to pay for lunch she knows it’s time to store them somewhere else because she absolutely refuses to throw them away.
Kara folds her another heart that day except this time she places a small, light kiss onto it before handing it over and Lena about feels her heart throw itself around her ribcage in response. She knows Kara can tell because her face crinkles adorably in concern,
“Lena are you alright? You’re heart went all-” she gestures vaguely between them, hand flapping a bit wildly.
“Mhmm, yes I’m fine, I just remembered something I have to do when I get back to work.”
Her voice sounds normal and she’s proud of that. Especially when Kara smiles again, the lie easily believed.
They’re at an old diner and Lena is usually weary about new places because not everywhere would be so welcoming and accepting of a Luthor in their establishment. Yet, no one here seems to care very much about her, that she's there eating and laughing with her friends. Her neck doesn’t prickle with the feeling of being watched. She isn’t being stared at, at least not until Kara makes her laugh so hard that water comes out her nose and it only makes Kara, Kelly and Alex laugh even harder as she scrambles to wipe off her face.
There’s no paparazzi outside waiting for her and it feels amazing and she’s laughing and happy and if Kara never moved her arm from where she slung it around Lena’s shoulders and pulled her close she wouldn’t complain.
They share a milkshake and it seems entirely juvenile to share a single milkshake with two straws, but Kara insisted she try it. She tries not to think about how Kelly and Alex do the same with their own milkshake across the table.
The waitress comes back over and places the check down at the edge of the table, she’s young and so happy that her smile is infectious and Lena can’t help but smile back.
“How do you keep her fed?” She jokes while Kara signs the receipt.
“It's a full time job honestly.”
“Lena…” Kara pouts as she hands over the signed copy, “Why are you picking on me, I just bought you lunch?”
Kara slouches in her seat a bit in order to be at the perfect height to tuck her head against Lena’s chest, just under her chin.
“Darling, you know I only do it out of complete adoration and love.”
The waitress laughs as she rips off the bottom copy and sets it back down, “You guys are super cute together, I hope you all have an awesome day.”
Kara is too busy ripping the receipt in half to notice how red Lena’s face gets, is too busy folding her paper to notice the way Kelly and Alex look at her with those looks. Too busy to notice the way Lena glares and mouths for them to say not a word when Alex looks like she’s about to say something smart if the smirk she’s sporting is anything to go by.
Only then does Alex look down at Kara and question what she’s doing.
Kara sits back up rather suddenly and Lena is so conditioned to this, so used to being given those small papers that she doesn’t even think twice when Kara says, ‘this is for you,’ to hold out her hand in delight…
Only to be severely disappointed when Kara slides it across the table to Alex. Immediately Lena redirects her hand to her own napkin, hoping to play it off.
“Kara this is literally a piece of paper that just says, ‘You suck.’”
“Well you do.” She sticks out her tongue in a display that is so Kara that Lena’s heart aches a bit just watching her, and not for the first time, Lena is struck by the urge to kiss her best friend. She watches in slight horror as Alex crumples up the paper, before tossing it and hitting Kara between the eyes, sticking her tongue out to her younger sister who only laughs in delight - and gosh isn’t she beautiful when she does that?
Kara turns to Lena then, as if sensing that Lena was thinking of her, “This one is for you.”
Her voice is so soft, and her eyes so shy as she places a kiss on another one of her gifts before gently placing it into Lena’s waiting palm.
And just like usual Lena feels something in her throat, feels the sting behind her eyes when she replies just as softly, “I love it, thank you, Kara.”
That’s when something possesses her, something chaotic and untamed and it makes her lean forward to press a small kiss to the corner of Kara’s lips, too close for friends, but not entirely damning. Sure Lena had kissed her cheek before, but something about this seemed entirely too intimate, entirely too built up to be anything other than more.
A cough from across the table interrupts them, followed swiftly by a small groan of pain and when she glances back up Alex is rubbing her side and Kelly looks entirely too apologetic.
Kara is still looking at her tenderly when Lena notices she left a lipstick stain on her.
She laughs a little breathlessly as she reaches up to rub it off with her thumb, “Sorry darling, I left a mark on you.”
She cradles the heart gently in her hand as she rides back to work. Stares at it as she twirls a pen in her hands during a conference call. Clutches it tenderly to her chest at night in her bed while her mind races with thoughts of what could be.
Her solution to the ever growing problem is a mason jar. It’s small enough to fit comfortably on her nightstand, plus it’s clear. She likes being able to see her collection of gifts without having to shake them out.
Though admittedly she does that often, just to gaze at the small creations and admire them.
She keeps one in her wallet so that she has one close by at all times for when she desperately needs a small comfort. She keeps one in her top desk drawer at L-Corp, sticks one to the fridge with a small magnet next to a drawing Ruby made for her years ago at this point. She even tapes one to the mirror in the bathroom, likes to look at it while she brushes her teeth because it makes it her smile and makes her excited to face another day because she’ll more than likely see Kara today.
It becomes apparent very quickly that a different storage container was a wise investment because the gifts start to come more often, not just from receipts, but from candy wrappers or corners of old expense reports.
One day during lunch in Lena’s office, Kara pulls out a small pink foil wrapped chocolate from her pocket and Lena scrunches her nose a bit.
“Isn’t that from Valentines day?”
“Yep.” Kara pops the chocolate in her mouth with zero qualms.
“It’s almost Halloween, Kara.”
Kara laughs while she folds the small wrapper, “Chocolate doesn't go bad, like ever, Lena.”
“I don’t think-” Her sentence is cut short when a small pink heart gets deposited into the palm that she hadn't even consciously opened.
“Oh wait!” Kara lifts Lena's hand to mouth, planting a sweet little kiss to the heart that sits there, “I almost forgot about the kiss!”
Lena feels her brain come to a screeching stop. Surely there was a better way for Kara to kiss the paper, surely she didn’t have to practically kiss Lena’s palm to do it. But she did. She did and Lena can’t quite form a sentence right now because now she knows what Kara’s lips feel like somewhere that isn’t her cheek or her forehead and they’re soft and warm and she might really cry this time in front of Kara- and god wouldn’t that be embarrassing?
No worries Kara, I’m only crying because every time you give me a scrap of paper as a gift I feel so loved and I hate that I’ve gotten so attached to such an inconsequential thing as paper but I can’t help but treasure each and every one of them, but that’s just the kicker isn’t it?
They’re not Inconsequential. Not to me.
For the next couple days Lena acquires red, pink and white folded hearts. As Halloween rolls in she gets various Starburst wrappers, purple foil wrappers, orange wrappers. She treasures them just as much.
And if she goes home and adds them to her jar and shakes it so the colored ones are dispersed between the plain white or off white receipts because she likes the way they look all mixed together, that’s her business.
Winter had well and truly moved into National City the day it all comes crashing down around her. Kara had solar flared and instead of spending the next couple days stuck in the DEO or alone in her apartment, Lena offers up her own apartment for Kara to recover in, and she may just be a little bit nervous, because yes they’ve had sleepovers before but Lena has never had someone in her own space for multiple days in a row. She loves Kara, is in love with Kara, but what if Kara can’t stand being locked in an apartment with her, what if this is the things that finally pushes her away and-
“Lena, I think the chicken is done.”
Lena’s head snaps to the stove where it does indeed look done. A nice extra crispy - read extra burnt - chicken lays in the pan in front of her. Lena downs the rest of her wine glass,
“Well shit... How many potstickers should I order?”
They’re sitting on the floor with their takeout containers on the coffee table, blankets in a small nest form around them, their bodies pressed together from knee to thigh to shoulders. It’s cozy and Lena feels the haze settle over her that usually comes from being so close to Kara.
The wine probably doesn’t help very much either.
They’re watching the Wizard of Oz because Kara begged to, had brought out the puppy dog eyes and Lena could hardly say no to Kara normally but when she pulled that face Lena could practically feel herself turn to a puddle. So they’re watching The Wizard of Oz, and even though Lena doesn’t love musicals, she loves Kara enough to watch them, to let her sing along to all the songs and say all the lines along with the characters with a big smile stretching across her face. It’s worth it when Kara leans into Lena and stays there, pressed against her.
When her arm circles around Lena’s waist and pulls even that much closer.
She only moves when her phone starts to ring, the Imperial March from Star Wars ringing loudly. A practical joke Kara had done as Alex’s ringtone on Lena’s phone. She only kept it because it made Kara laugh every time, just like now.
She answers, and before she can say anything Alex speaks,
“Is Kara laughing at my ringtone again?”
Lena nodded, before realizing Alex couldn’t actually see her, but she can't help but be distracted by the way Kara’s nose scrunched in laughter, the way her eyes crinkled and her teeth showed through her smile. The slope of her neck and the way it arched as she tilted her head back against the couch.
“ Eugh, you’re disgusting.” Alex said.
Lena scoffs, “I didn’t even do anything?” But even as she says it, she knows it’s not true.
“I can feel you pining all the way over here. Stop staring at her and tell her to plug her phone in, it’s dead and our mom wants to call her.”
Lena felt her heart stop. Kara, Supergirl really, had super hearing and here Alex was spilling secrets that weren't’ hers to share. As if Kara could hear the inner turmoil in Lena she stopped laughing abruptly and turned to Lena with her eyebrows scrunched in worry.
“Solar Flare, Lena. I wouldn’t do that to you.”
A testament to how well the Danvers sisters knew her.
She breathed out deeply, just barely resisting the urge to hit her forehead with her palm, “Uh, Alex says to plug in your phone, it’s dead-”
“You can use my charger, the nightstand on the right.”
“Thanks,” Kara planted a swift kiss to her forehead before standing and Lena knew Alex could tell by the way she snickered over the line.
“Hook, Line and sinker, Luthor.”
“Listen Danvers, I have your girlfriend on Speed dial, I could very easily call her and tell her-”
The soft calling of her name makes Lena turn towards the hallway that leads to her bedroom. There, in her comfiest clothes and somehow still breathtakingly beautiful, stood Kara with a very familiar mason jar in hand.
Lena felt her stomach drop, felt her hands get clammy, literally felt the blood drain from her face.
“Alex, I have to go.”
“Wait, wait, wait, please finish your vague and-”
“I will later, bye Alex.” She ended the call, setting her phone down next to her before standing slowly, hands wringing each other in front of her.
“Kara, I-” Her voice broke, and oh she felt the now much more familiar beginnings of tears behind her eyes. The lump that refused to go down no matter how much she swallowed. This was it, this was the end for them. There was simply no reason anyone who wasn’t in love with their best friend would keep something like that.
“You kept them?” Kara’s voice sounded just as wrecked as hers, broken and oh god Kara was already crying.
There was no use lying now, if she was going to lose Kara either way, she’d do it in a blaze of glory, go down with the whole truth laid bare for Kara to see because she was oh so tired of holding this in. Of pretending that every time they touched didn’t set her alight. Of pretending that when they shared the same bed during sleepovers, she didn’t spend hours upon hours just gazing at Kara’s face, memorizing the lines and contours.
“Of course I did. I- I love them. I love when you give them to me.”
“Why? Why do you keep them?” Kara moved ever so closer, slowly as if scared that Lena would run away, and maybe she would, she wasn’t even sure herself.
“I saw the one on your fridge too, next to Ruby’s drawing,” Kara stepped closer and Lena felt something in her break, and her shoulders heaved with a deep breath and she shut her eyes tightly against the onslaught of tears.
“Why do you keep them Lena?”
Kara was in front of her now, voice soft and hand even softer as she lifted her chin.
“Why are you crying Lena?”
Lena laughs wetly, the sound a little pitiful around her tears, “Because I love you Kara Zor-El and I’m so scared.”
She’s not expecting the kiss when it happens, isn’t expecting the way Kara’s hand slides up the side of her face and into the waves that her hair fell into after her shower. Isn’t prepared for Kara’s other hand to wrap itself tightly around her waist rendering her useless and all she can do is hold on for dear life to the side of Kara’s face, wrap one arm around strong shoulders as the blonde stands a bit taller, pulling Lena up with her and Lena has to stand on her tiptoes to reach still.
As far as first kisses go, it’s a little messy and wet from Lena’s tears and their teeth clack together a few times and despite the solar flare Kara holds her tight tight tight and gosh who needs to breathe when they could be doing this?
She does, is the answer.
So she pulls away with a gasp, resting their foreheads together because being any farther than this from Kara physically pains her.
“Can I tell you a secret?”
The words are whispered against Lena’s mouth and it takes every ounce of self control for her to not lean forward and claim them again in another bruising kiss.
“I love you too, Lena. Every part of you.”
And, Oh, oh, oh.
Suddenly everything is Kara. She can only taste Kara, can only smell the literal sunshine that seems to pour off of her, can feel only her everywhere as her hands wander her body and lips explore her shoulders and neck and face. Can only see Kara when she opens her eyes and watches Kara leave small red marks along her collar bones.
Kara surges back up to Lena’s lips and tangles a hand in her dark hair, moving her head and angling her, directing the kiss with a confidence that she usually only associates with her Supergirl persona. Kara’s other hand fits itself against her thigh, encourages her to wrap it around her waist. And this is entirely new and different and delicious and between gasping breaths she urges Kara to the bedroom,
“Please, please, please.”
Even without her powers Kara is strong, and lifts Lena with no problem and later Lena will have to really look into how that affects her, because holyshitholyshitholyshit .
Kara’s hands are soft and strong and delicate as she divests Lena of her clothes. Kara’s hands are eager and brave and unyielding in their pursuit of Lena’s pleasure. Impatient, really when they can’t even wait for her underwear to come off before they’re chasing that precipice, undeterred by their limited movement.
Not that she’s complaining considering they did their job very well.
Lena’s mouth is confident and aching to help Kara the same way she had helped her. Relentless in her pursuit until Kara physically pulls her up to claim her mouth again, both of them moaning at the feel of their hips slotting together in the process.
Kara’s thighs grip around Lena’s suddenly and the world goes spinning for a quick second, and suddenly Kara is the one above her, and her leg is thrown over a shoulder and Lena can’t think , can’t focus on anything except where their bodies touch and cling to each other. Can’t do anything but gasp and moan, pushing her head back into the pillows when Kara hits a particularly good rhythm and her lips find Lena’s pulse and bite down there. Kara shudders above her when Lena’s nails dig in and leave angry red marks as she reaches her climax and later she’ll tease Kara for it, but now she leaves small kisses along Kara’s jawline as her body tenses, as the hand gripping Lena’s thigh tightens and her own shout gets muffled into the crook of Lena’s neck.
Kara moves her arms to rest on either side of Lena’s head to keep from putting all her weight down, but god, Lena wants her closer. Wraps her arms around Kara’s shoulders and pulls down, her thighs bracketing Kara’s.
“ Oof, Lena, I’m heavy.”
Lena shakes her head, “I don’t care, I like it.”
The weight is comforting and she can feel Kara against every inch of her and it’s lovely and if she could stay here forever if she would, covered in warmth personified.
Kara nuzzles her neck, “I love you, Lena Luthor.”
Lena sighs, the fog of sleep overcoming her, “I love you, Kara Zor-El.”
The sun is bright, which is odd considering she always closes her blinds at night. She stretches her arms above her head and feels her body stretch deliciously and suddenly she remembers the night before. Abruptly she sits up taking the sheets with her. She’s almost convinced last night was a very vivid dream. Her bed is cold on one side, and a cursory glance around the room shows only her clothes on the floor. She scrubs her hands over her face and walks to the bathroom.
Her breath catches.
A simple sticky note on her mirror, good morning, beautiful, written in Kara’s messy script. On the counter sits a folded NCU hoodie, and Lena quickly pulls it on, loving the way it nearly engulfs her. She grabs the sticky note and pads quietly into the hallway where she hears a quiet humming coming from the other end. Stepping into the main room nearly steals her breath away. There’s a chain of folded swans hanging from the island in her kitchen, dozens of hearts taped the fridge and cabinets and walls. A paper bouquet sits in an empty vase and in the middle of it all is a pantsless Kara, bopping her head and hips to a song she hums quietly, a stack of pancakes and coffee set on the island behind her.
Lena’s heart swells at the sight and god if she didn’t think she was in love before, the way the sun bounces off her messy, curly hair, the way she dances in a manner that borders on awkward and clumsy, the way her uncovered legs look against the backdrop of her kitchen would convince her of it.
Kara turns and jumps when she sees Lena standing there, her eyes wide with surprise before a pout overtakes her face.
“ Lena , you weren’t supposed to wake up yet, I was going to bring you breakfast in bed.”
Lena puts the sticky note she carried from the bathroom into the pocket of her - Kara’s - hoodie.
“How long did it take you to do all this?”
Lena walks slowly to her, eyes running over all the beautiful pieces of Kara Danvers that hang in her apartment.
“Do you really want to know?” Kara’s hand hooks around Lena’s waist and pulls her close, presses feather light kisses across her forehead, down the bridge of her nose and across her cheekbones before placing one on her lips with an exaggerated, mwah!
Lena can’t help the smile and honest to god giggle that escapes her.
“Hmmm, I suppose not. Where’d you get all the paper, then?”
Kara grimaces a bit, “About that, you’re going to need to buy more paper for your printer?”
Lena can only laugh and pull Kara in for another kiss, this one soft and tender but still just as passionate because she can do that now , and it’s a beautiful and lovely feeling to be free to express her love for her best friend this way.
The hearts stay up for weeks, and even when Lena takes them down she keeps them in a shoe box in her closet, reluctant to let them go, because even if they’re just folded pieces of paper, they’re pieces of Kara that she gave to Lena and how could she not love and adore and cherish them to bits the way she does the person?