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You, Me And The In Betweens

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Kara notices Lena.  

Not that everyone doesn't notice Lena. She's noticeable. She turns heads. She couldn't walk from here to the door in a tight dress and not garner at least five separate stares. Some subtle. Some not. All threatening to activate Kara’s heat vision impetuously. Like some reflex of hers that she never knew she had until the temptation is  right  there. Just outside of her reach. Because Kara notices Lena, she’s been noticing her since the moment that she saw her. Which isn't a problem in itself. Because Lena is a noticeable person, objectively, with absolutely no bias included. The problem is, Kara doesn't know how to  stop.  

It starts like this.  

It’s a normal night in. A Thursday because their work schedules are so unpredictable the majority of the time that they've learned to just make time when they can. Whether that be a three-minute flyby in the middle of the afternoon, a mid-morning coffee run, a ten o’clock stroll through the park because  I'm literally bulletproof Lena, what could really happen?  Or an impromptu movie night. A simple evening in where they bicker over which cheesy rom-com that they’ve both seen a hundred times to load up on Netflix and then subsequently ignore in favor of just catching each other up. Lena griping about a business meeting gone wrong, Kara griping about how many red marks Snapper casually drew onto her latest rough draft or an unruly off-worlder that has no consideration of her personal time. The usual. 

So, Kara makes the popcorn, digs the ice cream out of the freezer because  variety is important.  And Lena kicks her heels off, hogging the remote once she’s changed into a comfy sweater that is too large for her frame and wrapped herself in a blanket. Inevitably, she'll fall asleep, grumbling halfhearted protests when Kara switches off the television and urges her to bed. Inevitably she’ll gravitate toward her warmth in the middle of the night, snuggling up to her like a koala and Kara will press a kiss to her forehead. Listen to her sigh happily in her sleep as the world goes on around them. She’ll spin the mantra in her head like a muscle memory reflex that  that’s what friends are for  and wonder for the nth time who she’s really trying to convince. Then she’ll do it again the next time, and the next because she has no self-control when it comes to Lena. Because she notices her. Especially when she isn’t trying to be noticed. 

Like right now, for example. Right now, when Kara  should  be focused on gathering the snacks for this very important friendship event. She  should  be making sure that her microwave doesn’t burn the popcorn as it has the tendency to do because Kara is prone to just pressing a random button and using her superhearing to determine when to take it out because looking at the directions is just too sensible a thing to do. She  should  be providing her input on what movie to watch, should be paying attention to whatever it is that Lena is saying right now. That’s what normal best friends do. Instead, she finds herself so mesmerized by the way her lips move, focused solely on the pink hue still clinging to the skin where the rest of her lipstick has been wiped away that she doesn’t hear a word that she’s saying. 

She’s devoid of makeup, hair down in soft waves framing the sharp angle of her jaw in a beautiful contrast. The sweater is a light gray, covering part of her hands, the yoga pants she’s wearing hug her in all the right ways. Her green eyes twinkle hypnotically underneath the fairy lights and Kara’s throat runs dry at the sight. She balls her fists up absent-mindedly on the countertop, ends up taking a bit of it with her, though she isn’t concerned about that right now. All she’s concerned about at present are pretty green eyes, perfectly soft, kissable lips. An abundance of pale skin just begging for attention underneath strands of cotton. Thoughts of dragging her tongue across it and learning all sorts of ways to make Lena tremble –  

Wait, no.  Bad  idea. Definitely goes against best friend code. 

She shakes her head trying to clear the thoughts away and Lena looks at her strangely. Finally catching up to the fact that Kara hasn’t heard a single word that she’s said. But instead of being frustrated by it, her face morphs into one of concern. “Kara, are you all right?” Her eyebrows furrow, her lips hold the tiniest pout like she’s trying to decipher something. Kara forces a light chuckle. 

“Yeah,” She starts, grimacing at the squeak in her voice, “Yes, I’m fine. Been a long day is all.” 

Lena looks at her curiously, seemingly gauging her response to determine if it’s an honest one. Kara feels her cheeks start to warm under the scrutiny. She ducks her head shyly, trying to escape knowing green eyes. Sometimes she thinks Lena can read her mind. Lena with her superior intellect and analyzation skills. Sometimes she thinks that the scientist in her lights up with the prospect of new information and is eager to discover it. But sometimes, she thinks that Lena tampers down that urge on purpose. Whether out of fear of being wrong, lack of reciprocation or any of the other million factors that Kara could dream up. Kara thinks that Lena knows she’s lying. She thinks that Lena knows why she blushes ten shades of red when the other woman pays her any type of flirtatious compliment. She thinks Lena knows why her jaw hits the floor every time she sees her dressed up for some charity gala or another. She’s almost certain that Lena knows but is explicitly refusing to do anything about it. And since Lena is refusing, Kara is definitely refusing. So, they just get stuck in this cycle where no one is saying it, but the others are thinking it. And Kara can’t stop noticing her when she isn’t expecting to be noticed and it’s all just a vicious cycle of noticing and thinking and wondering – but never actually getting anything done. 

“Kara, darling. The popcorn.” Lena says suddenly, pointing in the direction of the microwave and creating a new setting for the panic mode currently overtaking Kara’s brain. 

She whirs around so quickly that her hair flies out behind her reminiscent of her cape. The few crumbled pieces of countertop in her hands fall unceremoniously to the floor in her haste to salvage the snack, but she arrives too late. She mashes a series of buttons on the microwave trying to get it to stop, sees Lena out of the corner of her eye with her mouth open in protest and her hand in the air following suit, because that method really isn’t going to work. But Kara is still trying to think of a way to safely abort this conversation and a snack time tragedy, and Lena is still looking quite mesmerizing in an oversized sweater; she  really  needs to get a handle on this.  

Finally, after a few milliseconds or years, she thinks to wrench open the microwave door. By some farfetched miracle, she manages to not disintegrate it along with her counter and her dignity. The popcorn however, was not as fortunate.  

The smell assaults her nose full force the instant that the door is opened. She had managed to block it out a bit in her panic but now it makes itself known very obviously, mingling in a very unappealing way with the vanilla candle that she has burning on the kitchen island. She pulls her shirt up to cover her nose, pinching the fabric into her skin and she’s vaguely aware of Lena moving about her living room to open the windows.  

She almost thinks that it’s an omen of sorts. The way that some catastrophe or another always seems to befall them when they’re just trying to enjoy each other’s company. Be it during afternoon flybys, or occasional lunches, or mid-morning coffee runs, there is always  something.  Some force of nature or power of the universe that just petulantly stomps its foot any time that Kara tries to simply just exist in the presence of someone that she can’t stop noticing.  

She turns back around slowly then. Expecting...well. She isn’t quite sure what it is that she expects. Some joke about her culinary attempts maybe? Lena also holding her shirt over her nose? She doesn’t know. But what she comes to find, when she can finally entice her eyes to venture above floor level, is Lena just standing in the middle of her living room. Arms casually folded across her chest, looking completely unbothered by the smoke wafting through the air and Kara’s lack of know-how with basic kitchen appliances. Instead, she’s just offering a small smile, hands still half covered by too long sleeves. “So,” She starts, eyebrows raising, “Ice cream then?” 

And then it just goes like that.  

Another evening on the couch, movie playing in the background that neither one of them are watching. The smell of burnt popcorn being slowly overpowered by the same candle on the island and expensive perfume. Fairy lights twinkling, reflecting into warm green eyes. Hands half covered by a sweater and pink lips curled into a smile, hidden behind a wine glass. And Kara is just grateful for the in betweens. 

Life is categorized into the smallest of moments. Some that to others may seem inconsequential. The world continues to move on, time continues to pass. People stay. People leave. And still, life just keeps going. Sometimes passing by in flashes, moving too fast even for her, which truly is a feat. They get buried in work. They cancel lunches, they set rain checks and cancel those too. But like the world and the passage of time, they just keep going. Turning their friendship into a series of in betweens. In between meetings. In between deadlines. In between thwarted corporate espionage and alien brawls. They find in between moments, however few they may seem, and they capitalize on them. Kara found out rather early in their friendship that the best chance that she has of actually seeing Lena is to just do it. Just drop in randomly, squeeze an in between moment on a Tuesday afternoon.  

She often finds herself drawn here. When the world finally starts to slow down and everything doesn’t seem so loud. She gets pulled toward Lena like gravity, without ever even trying, her heart floats and her body follows. She latches onto the sound of her heartbeat and the pull just takes over. Propelling her forward before she realizes it, but she doesn’t mind. Lena doesn’t either. Always accepting impromptu visits with a beaming smile and making the executive decision that everything else can wait just a few more minutes. 

Her balcony door is open, almost by invitation. The weather is a bit warmer today, just on the side of reasonable as long as the wind isn’t blowing, but she still has on a white turtleneck sweater all the same. She’s sat behind her desk, staring intently at her computer screen and Kara just hovers over the balcony for a moment. Just to take her in, to see her briefly before she knows that she’s watching.  

Her hair is up in a tight bun, her posture straight but not quite rigid. The sunlight glints off the bracelet on her left arm, projecting a slight kaleidoscope of color that wouldn’t be as obvious to the human eye. Her legs are crossed at the ankles. She’s absently chewing on a pen. And Kara has always loved lots of things about this world. She loves the way that dew clings to the grass in the morning. Loves the sight of the ocean and the feeling she gets floating through the clouds. She loves the smell of freshly baked cookies in December, the sight of holiday lights in the dark. She loves the autumn leaves on the trees below her. The orange and purple and gold that spans the full length of the city. But more than any of those things, though she'd never say it out loud, she loves the sight of Lena Luthor when she doesn’t think that anyone is looking. 

She lands with a soft thud of boots on the balcony. Not loud enough to be disruptive but loud enough to announce herself without the woman jumping out of her skin. Her cape billows out behind her as she approaches the door and Lena pivots right as she lets herself in. Bright smile in place. Green eyes lighting up at the sight of her and dimples on display. She places the pen that she hadn’t realized she was holding down on the desk and rises to greet her. A soft  Kara  falling from painted lips as her arms circle around the kryptonian’s neck. She can still feel the smile against her skin as her own arms wind around Lena’s waist. A quiet sigh escaping just at the feeling of the woman in her arms before she knows it’s happening. It's almost like falling into bed after a long day of work. Finally feeling at peace after everything gets hectic. It’s nice. It’s always so nice the way that it stretches on too long to be friendly. The way she’s enveloped by the scent of her perfume. And the way she feels safe in the presence of this human, even if she is nearly indestructible.  

“I didn’t know you’d be dropping by.” She says in a pleased tone when they finally part, putting a borderline respectable distance between themselves. 

Neither did she, really. “Yeah, well. I missed you.” She says simply, with a shrug as if that’s explanation all on its own. Lena accepts it easily.  

“I missed you too.” 

For a few seconds, they just stare. Just enjoy the feeling of being in each other’s orbits again. But then Lena looks away, directing her attention back to her desk and folding her arms somewhat protectively. As if there is something inside of her mind that she doesn’t want Kara to see. There is a faint shade of pink dusting her cheekbones and Kara smiles, deciding to give her an out. “You hungry?” 

She nearly walks right out Lena’s office door after her affirmative answer, far too preoccupied with rattling off restaurant choices, but she is stopped by a gentle hand on her arm and a pointed look directed at her wardrobe. “Maybe meet me out front instead? Unless you want dozens of paparazzi photos on the internet by morning, of course.” Her smirk is teasing, her eyes mischievous and Kara’s stupid heart flutters as she lets out a nervous laugh and concedes to her point. 

“Right. I’ll just, um -” She gestures vaguely toward the balcony door before shooting enthusiastic finger guns in the CEO’s direction. The laughter that follows is melodic. Carefree and grounding, something that the youngest Luthor will only let slip in the company of a select few people. And not for the first time, Kara feels absolutely privileged to be one of them. 

“Give me five minutes.” Lena assures her, walking back to her desk and settling back into her seat. 

Kara knows it will be more like fifteen, but she doesn’t correct her. She simply nods and exits the same way that she came in.  

It’s a nice feeling, having nowhere to be. It’s something that she rarely ever gets to experience between both of her jobs, so she has grown to appreciate it when the opportunity presents itself. It’s rare that she gets to slow down enough just to enjoy nature. To people watch and wave at the gentleman stationed behind the coffee cart outside of L-Corp. To greet the various dogs that walk by with their owners, to exchange a few pleasantries with the staff that she has become more familiar with.  

The fifteen minutes, now sixteen, she notes when looking down at her watch, pass fairly quickly. She took a seat on one of the benches outside to wait and she hears her before she sees her, having closed her eyes after checking the time. She would recognize that particular click of heels anywhere, that familiar heartbeat that she’s come to know as well as her own.  

“I see you’ve made yourself at home.” She comments, the Irish lilt slipping out underneath her obvious amusement and Kara can hear her smile before she sees it too. 

“Well, I am pretty weak from starvation right now.” She quips, tilting her head back slightly and cracking one eye open just in time to see the other woman roll hers.  

Lena swats at her shoulder with the hand she placed delicately on the back of the bench. “Dramatic. You act as if half of my fortune doesn’t go toward funding your bottomless kryptonian stomach.” She feigns annoyance at it but Kara knows that she isn’t.  

“Well, it has been hours since I’ve eaten last, I think it may be having an effect on my memory.” 

“Oh, just come  on.”  Lena moves around to stand in front of her and reaches down for her hands to pull her up, somehow managing to stay upright despite the stilettos and Kara thinks it might be a superpower too. 

They fall into step easily, drifting into normal conversation as if it hasn’t been weeks since they’ve seen each other last. Sometimes it seems like every interaction just picks up right where the last left off, no matter how much time has passed. The backs of their hands brush occasionally as they walk, and Kara is itching to just pull Lena’s hand into hers. To be brave, to take the initiative for once. But she’s far too intimidated by what it will all mean, far too enamored by the way that Lena looks against the autumn leaves. Captivated by the way her hair takes on an almost auburn hue out in the sunlight, how many colors are actually in her eyes, the sound of her voice when she talks about quantum entanglement. So, Kara doesn’t hold her hand no matter how badly she wants to. She just takes her in, just enjoys her presence. Puts her hands in her pockets instead.  

They find themselves in one of their usual lunchtime hangouts. The kind of place they frequent enough not to need the menu because the order is almost always the same. They’re well known here, one of the waitresses greeting them upon arrival and telling them to grab a seat anywhere. She expects that the easy recognition has more to do with Lena’s presence than her own. It’s hard to miss Lena Luthor whose definition of casual wear translates to nothing less than designer jeans and sweaters that cost more than Kara’s rent.  

They settle into their regular booth, one in the back away from most of the prying eyes. Lena shrugs out of her coat and lays it gingerly in the seat beside her. “So, what monstrosity do you plan on ordering today?”  

Kara claps a hand over her heart in mock offense. “I will have you know that this place has the best pizza burger in the city, thank you very much.” 

Lena wrinkles her nose, mentally calculating the calories in her head. “That sounds revolting darling.” She shakes her head. “And why on earth would someone slather marinara sauce on a burger?” 

“Uh, because it’s delicious.” Kara responds incredulously as if it is the obvious answer. “You need to expand your horizons, Lena. Seriously.” 

It’s an innocent comment. Solely pertaining to the food and nothing else, but something about the eyebrow raise that she receives in return says that it was received in a much less benign context. “Is that so?”  

Her features contort into something flirtatious, playful. Green eyes twinkling with mirth and Kara doesn’t have to see her face to know that she is blushing several shades of red just from the sound of her voice dropping down an octave. She tugs awkwardly at the collar of her shirt and looks away, trying to regain some semblance of composure and Lena just chuckles lovingly at her. “You’re adorable.” 

She tries to rationalize this sometimes. Tells herself that this is just who Lena is. Flirtatious by nature, oozing charm by default. But other times she wonders. She notices the way that Lena looks at her like she’s the only one in the room even when they’re surrounded by their friends. She notices the smile that seems to only be reserved for her and she wonders how much of it stems from who she is as a person. If it even does at all.  

When she finally gets the courage to meet Lena’s eyes again, her face is neutral. The haughty look is gone and replaced by her usual relaxed demeanor. Kara breathes a little easier knowing that she doesn’t have to face it. She knows that in the long run, her cowardice will get her nowhere. At some point she will have to be brave and confront this fluctuating sort of energy that exists between them. But she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to do it today.  

The waitress comes by to take their order, Kara fulfilling her promise of ordering the ‘best pizza burger in the city’ and Lena ordering a salad and lemon water. Something that Kara really wants to comment on, but refrains to avoid a repeat, the embarrassment still burning in soft embers under her skin.  

“So, what is the mysterious CEO of L-Corp up to these days?” Kara asks, fiddling mindlessly with the wrapped silverware on her side of the table.  

“Mysterious, hmm? I thought reading the tabloids beneath you Kara.” She teases. 

“Well, how else am I supposed to get my information? It’s not like I can get an interview with you anymore.” She intends it as a joke. There is no malice behind the words. She understands how busy Lena’s life is. Her own mirrors it the majority of the time. But the woman across from her frowns anyway. 

“I’m sorry about that. I know I have to keep cancelling on you.” She looks sincerely downtrodden by the idea and Kara rushes to reassure her. 

“Hey, no. It’s okay. I know that you’re busy.” She reaches a hand across the table to rest on Lena’s arm. “And I’ve had to cancel on you too.” 

“Yeah, once.” She laughs, slinking back against the seat. “The other five times it was definitely me.” 

“Well, now you’re making it up to me. Food is the best form of apology.” She says with a sharp nod, bringing her hand back to rest it in her lap.  

She realizes her mistake immediately. Almost the second that the words leave her mouth and she thinks that she really should have learned her lesson the first time. Really should pick up a book on things that humans could turn into innuendos, she’s sure that one exists. As long as people like Lena Luthor inhabit the planet, someone has to have thought of this idea at some point or another and marketed it to unfortunate souls who always seem to find themselves on the other end of this. But as it stands, the words are already out and Lena just can’t resist. 

“I can think of others.” She says in  that  voice. That same voice that always reduces Kara’s insides to lava, wiping away all higher brain function in favor of just playing the words on repeat in her head just to see the damage that they can do. If she possessed the ability to form coherent thoughts, she wouldn’t be able to rationalize this. She couldn’t possibly justify it because people do not just speak to their friends in  that  voice. There is no fucking way this is a  that’s what friends are for  thing and every single person in her life wants her to realize that, but she is scarcely capable to do anything except breathe right now and even that has its challenges. 

And Lena doesn’t laugh this time. She just watches her carefully, a near seductive expression on her face that is in no way appropriate for lunch at a very public restaurant. An expression that does bring one actual thought into her head, though it isn’t any more useful. It makes Kara want to rush across the table and fly her out of here. Fly her literally anywhere but here and kiss that look off her face. A thought that only intensifies as her teeth bite down softly into her bottom lip. 

She’s doing it on purpose. She has to be. There is literally no other reason that she would look at Kara like that and say something that in any other voice would be harmless. Something that could be delivered as a joke, or an offhanded comment, but is still indescribably  more.  With Lena there is always something more.  

She can’t say for certain how long it lasts. The trance like state that the woman has put her in with just five little words in a voice like morphine, but she feels a mixture of relief and devastation when it is finally broken. The waitress coming up to the table carrying the tray full of food, placing the drinks down first. They both seem to jump apart at the interruption, Lena pressing back further into her seat and Kara’s eyes snapping to anywhere else before zoning in on her drink. She takes a swig so large that it’s almost rude, has the brief thought that Nia would find this hilarious if she were here right now. She would absolutely make some horrible joke about it, comment on how thirsty Kara is and try to hide her grin behind her own glass and it would absolutely  not  be helpful in the slightest. The mere image of Nia that she’s conjuring in her head right now is not helpful in the slightest. 

She clears her throat awkwardly when her food is placed in front of her, relying solely on Lena to extend the required pleasantries, which she does with ease as if she didn’t singlehandedly cause Kara’s brain to reboot sometime within the last half hour.  

“So, I was thinking,” Lena starts, opening the packet of salad dressing. “L-Corp is hosting a charity gala this weekend. And you know how pretentious these things can be, but would you like to go with me?” 

Kara blinks slowly at her, still recovering and trying to wrap her mind around the abrupt change in subject.  

“I know you may be bored out of your mind half the evening, but I’ll order all your favorites for the buffet since food is the best form of apology.” And then she winks. Fucking  winks.  “What do you think?” 

She thinks it’s astounding, the way that Lena is able to switch gears so quickly. She thinks that seeing her in whatever low-cut, poor excuse for suitable coverage designer dress she chooses might make her combust. She thinks that seeing anyone draping themselves all over her as they are prone to do will actually activate her heat vision for real and her secret identity will be front page news by the following morning. So, what she should really do is decline. Come up with some reason or another, some flimsy excuse to say no. But -  

“Okay.” Her voice comes out a bit hoarse despite chugging half her drink and the unnecessary throat clearing. She tries again. “I mean yes. I would love to go with you. How could I say no to all my favorite foods?”  And you.  She really means.  How could I say no to you?  

A genuine smile appears on Lena’s face then. Not tinged with anything underlying, no leftover remnants of some sultry remark. Just pure happiness at Kara’s agreement and it makes her relax again. 

“I’m afraid there will be no pizza burgers included though.” She informs her with faux regret, pointing daintily with her fork at the pepperoni that threatens to fall back to the plate when Kara takes a bite of the burger. “That is far too messy to have around tuxedos.” 

Kara thinks about it for a moment as she chews. “Fine. On one condition.” An intrigued eyebrow quirks. “You have to try it now.” 

“Absolutely not.” Lena counters immediately. Shaking her head vehemently like Kara is asking her to go on a suicide mission.  

“Those are my terms. Try it now or I’m sneaking one in.” 

“You wouldn’t.” 

She sounds absolutely scandalized. Her face hardening into something of an assertive CEO stare, but Kara somehow manages to hold her ground under the scrutiny.  

Defeat isn’t something that Lena Luthor accepts easily. She will fight to the death if she has to, bend any rule, pull out any wild card that she has available. But for some reason, she doesn’t. She just looks at the scene in front of her, bright eyes narrowing and darting between Kara and the aforementioned item like it’s something of a challenge.  

“I’ll even cut it for you.” Kara offers after a beat. Lena scoffs. 

“Please.” She rolls her eyes. “Even I’m not that posh.” 

“Debatable.” Her nose crinkles when she grins, and Lena still softens slightly even with the mild, yet harmless, insult.  

She’s staring at it like it’s a science project. As if she’s trying to find the best course of action to test her new hypothesis and Kara thinks it’s adorable. The little crinkle on her forehead, the look of pure focus in her eyes, the way her head tilts slightly. And though she could really stare at her forever like this, taking in all the colors of her eyes and the cute pursing of her lips, she decides to have mercy on her.  

She raises her plate, coming slightly out of her seat to reach across the table and Lena’s immediate instinct is to move away. But she quells it, only jerking back for a fraction of a second before leaning back up with her eyes focused. She lets Kara hold the plate, if only so that she doesn’t have to herself. She has a look in her eyes that says she’s rethinking her stance on cutting it rather than risk spilling something onto her very white, very expensive sweater. But Lena is nothing if not determined. She reaches for it slowly, picking it up in a decidedly ‘posh’ way despite her earlier claims, but she follows through. Taking the most diminutive bite that she can out of the side of it and Kara stifles a laugh.  

She settles back into her seat and looks on intently. Seeing the way that Lena reluctantly chews it at first and watching the expressions pass over her face as she gets the full experience of the flavor palate. First, her initial apprehension, her preparation to wrinkle her nose and tell Kara she is never doing anything like this again. Then comes the surprise, which appears to be pleasant at first glance. Her eyebrows furrow in concentration, but there is no accompanying glare. And then finally.  Finally.  Right as she swallows, sweet, blessed...defeat. 

Kara shoots a fist in the air in victory, whooping out a  yes  in her not-very-inside voice. Lena does her best to give a bored, unimpressed look. But she fails, looking somewhat sheepish and disappointed to have been wrong. 

“I hate you.” She grumbles, wiping at the corner of her mouth with her napkin and glaring at Kara in an almost true Luthor-like fashion. But then she folds. Exhaling, shoulders slumping, and asking in a small yet still overtly unimpressed voice. “Can you cut it in half?” 

She shoves her salad to the side at Kara’s affirmative answer. Cursing under her breath about calorie intake and not having a super human metabolism. And Kara just lovingly shakes her head, willfully cutting the monstrosity turned acceptable meal in half and sliding her plate to the middle.  

If her friends could see her now, they would never believe it. But she finds that there are no lines that she wouldn’t cross where Lena is involved. And even if it is the best pizza burger in National City, she thinks that it tastes even better with the side of victory and Lena’s contented but slightly angry sigh from the other side of the table. 

She’s swamped for the remainder of the week. They hadn’t discussed the details of the gala over their impromptu lunch so they exchange a few sporadic text messages in between board meetings and extra-terrestrial battles. Mostly consisting of meeting place and time, Lena insisting that she will pick Kara up, Kara insisting that she can literally fly so the extra effort, while appreciated, is unnecessary. And while that is mostly true, her primary motivation doesn’t exactly stem from being eco-friendly. More of a need to keep her hands to herself and behave in a platonic fashion. Something that she knows would be quite challenging when not in a public setting. So, she had immediately shot down the idea of being in any type of private space with Lena who will no doubt be dressed in something that will put Kara’s jaw on the floor. No backseats of town cars, no elevators, and absolutely neither of their apartments. All of those things spell a recipe for disaster and Kara is perfectly content in her borderline denial, so she decides to meet her there.  

Lena was due to give a speech at eight o'clock sharp. Nothing particularly anxiety inducing that she would have to give a few practice runs of before feeling confident enough to stand in front of a crowd. Kara had offered to be her mock audience anyway because as Lena’s best friend, it is her duty to ensure that she is comfortable and prepared, but her concerns were waved off. Lena assured her that it wasn’t a big deal, just a few words and she would be off to mingle so Kara had all but put the thought out of her head. Until at least eight o clock had come and gone and she was still nowhere near the place where the gala was being held. Instead, she was involved in an all-out brawl downtown, checking her watch in between punches and growing more irritated by the second over her tardiness.  

She knows that Lena won't mind. She knows that she will understand because she always does, but it still gets under her skin to have to break her promises. She asked Alex to send a text on her behalf, giving a vague rundown of the situation along with an ETA and Alex had even confirmed Lena’s endless understanding over the comms, but she still hadn’t felt much better about it. So now that she is officially forty-five minutes late and just rushing through her apartment window at the highest acceptable speed to avoid the glass shattering, her patience has completely disappeared.  

She breezes through her apartment in a whirlwind, not even bothering to touch the ground as she sheds the suit off in haste and rushes to the shower. She hooks her phone to the Bluetooth speaker in the bathroom and dials her sister’s number before turning the knobs and rushing under the spray. 

“Didn’t you just leave?”  Alex says in lieu of greeting when she picks up on the third ring. 

“Yes, but I just got home and I have no idea what I’m even wearing.” She rushes out, squirting a dollop of shampoo into her palm and running it vigorously through her hair. 

Kara .” She can hear the disappointment come through the line as clearly as she could if her sister was standing on the other side of the curtain . “You mean to tell me that you’ve known about this all week and you haven't even chosen an outfit yet?”  

“I haven’t known about it  all  week.” She protests, moving on to the conditioner. “Just since Tuesday.” 

“It’s Saturday, Kara. You’ve had five days to sort this out.”  

“Well!” She huffs, cursing when her bodywash slips from her hand and hits the tile. “I’ve been...busy.” 

“Busy.”  Alex scoffs. “ You have not been that busy that you couldn’t take ten minutes to look through your wardrobe and find something suitable to woo your best friend.”  

“Alexxxx.” She whines, turning under the spray to rinse the suds and conditioner out thoroughly. “This is serious, okay. I need your help. You can tease me about Lena later.” 

“I’m just saying, I wouldn’t have to tease you if you would just make a move on her like I have been telling you to do. For three years.”  

“Well Alex, I can’t ‘make a move’ until I have at least gotten dressed, can I?” 

“Did you hear what you just asked me?”  

Her response comes out as somewhat of a growl. An audible representation of the swell of emotion that rises, because  yes,  she heard what she just asked her. And  yes,  she can acknowledge that it wasn’t the best way to phrase the question. But she quite literally doesn't have the time to delve into an entire debate on it right now, something that Alex mercifully picks up on and changes course.  

“Okay, are you thinking dress or suit?”   

“Honestly,” She huffs, shutting off the water and pulling back the curtain. “I really don’t know.” 

It’s true that Kara has always been hopeless in this department. She’s an adult. She’s capable of dressing herself for work or in just every day casual wear. But if there is any type of formality involved, or a woman who she is prone to losing her train of thought around, she all but catapults back to infancy and has to call in reinforcements.  

She’s towel drying her hair by the time Alex finishes mulling it over, having taken full advantage of her superspeed to get this done as quickly as possible.  “I say suit.”  She pauses, putting her hand over the speaker of her phone and giving a muffled order of  put him in interrogation three  to someone in the background.  “Yeah, definitely suit. The navy one. Leave a few buttons undone on the shirt and wear your hair down.”  

Kara bites her lip, wiping the fog from the mirror and considering the suggestion. “Are you sure?” She asks, still a bit hesitantly despite Alex’s advice never steering her wrong in the past. 

“Oh, I’m sure.”  She laughs, mostly to herself. “ Lena loves your arms in a suit.”  

“She does not!” Kara pulls a disbelieving face. The idea is absurd. Lena doesn’t have some kind of fixation with her arms. Surely, she would have noticed that by now. But still, she considers it, holding her left arm up in the mirror and subtly flexing before she realizes what she’s doing.  

Trust me. She does.”  Her sister replies certainly. “ Look Kara, I have to go. Just do what I said. You’ll be fine. And for the love of God, just kiss her already.”  

“I’m not just gonna  kiss  her, Alex.” She says incredulously, dropping her arm back to her side and staring at the speaker as if it has personally offended her.  

“Do what I said, Kara.”  She repeats, her steps quickening in the background as she moves into a brisk walk toward the interrogation room . “Love you!”  She sing-songs, hanging up before Kara can reply.  

She sighs heavily, bracing her palms on the sink and giving herself a mental pep talk. She’s done this before. She’s been to these galas; she’s watched Lena schmooze with the city’s elite wearing a perfectly professional mask despite her underlying discomfort. She’s seen Lena in various states of dress that have threatened her sanity. This experience is not new. It should not be cause for anxiety, but for some reason it is every time. And the fact that she’s already so incredibly late is not helping matters any.  

As if just remembering this small detail, she reaches for her phone, firing off a quick text to the woman in question to let her know she’ll be on her way shortly. To her surprise, Lena’s response comes through almost instantly, a single red heart that somehow soothes her nerves and leaves her buzzing with anticipation all at once.  

She breezes, quite literally, through the remainder of her routine. Applying light make up, spinning around rapidly to dry her hair. The latter makes her bathroom look somewhat like a tornado hit it, but that is a problem for later. She rushes to her bedroom, pulling the suit that Alex mentioned off the rack and eyeing it curiously. It really is a good idea, she supposes. And it will give her some insight into her sister’s comment about Lena’s infatuation with her arms. She still thinks it’s ridiculous, but she must admit that her curiosity has now been piqued by the idea.  

She dresses quickly before she can talk herself out if it, pairing the suit with a simple white button down, top few buttons undone as requested. She gives herself a final once over in the mirror, nodding once in approval and checks her watch again. 9:03. Could be worse. Could absolutely be better, so rather than doing what she should do and taking a cab, she takes flight out of the window without giving it a second thought.  

It’s cold out tonight, even though she can’t really feel it. She can tell by how crisp the air is. She flies high above the clouds, cautious about being seen even under the cover of nightfall. Something about flying has always made her feel like she’s being cradled by the atmosphere. Despite how high up she is, there’s a safety in it. A certain type of freedom that comes with the ability to defy gravity, one that she could never condense into just words. But she feels true peace here. She feels at home here, and few other places can rival that. Although, there is one that can. 

She touches down in a nearby alley, fluffing her windblown hair into something more presentable and readjusting her clothes so that she doesn’t look like she just jolted through the air at top speed. The security guards at the door recognize her, though she still mentions to them that she is Lena’s very late plus one anyway and they shake their heads with soft smiles when they permit her entrance.  

She’s pleased to find that despite being over an hour late, the event is still mostly in full swing. All of the required steps have been concluded, all of the gratuitous speeches by the various attendees are now in the past and she’s marginally grateful that she missed that part. She’s never minded listening to Lena, but the others usually threaten to put her to sleep, leaving her to her own devices in order to distract herself. Which is typically including, but not limited to, listening to the sounds of the city, fiddling with her phone, making corny jokes to the woman who is often sitting beside her and shushing her when she can no longer contain her laughter at an acceptable level. She does have an image to uphold after all. But tonight, she is free to just, be. Just exist in this space for a little while, even if black tie events aren’t normally her idea of a good time.  

She looks around the room, peering around the various guests in attendance, but she doesn’t see her at first. A small seed of disappointment plants itself in her chest, the apology already set on the tip of her tongue for as soon as she entered, but she still has to hold onto it for a few minutes more at the very least it seems. She spots the buffet table across the dining hall, pleased to see that it still looks mostly intact and her stomach rumbles almost on instinct.  

It’s all she can do not to float herself there, but she manages to walk at a reasonable pace. Exchanging brief hellos with the few people she passes who actually seem interested in speaking with her, recognizing her as a member of the press despite her lack of identification. It used to bother her, the prospect of being in the public eye in this persona. But now she wonders if people actually wonder less about her this way. Something about hiding in plain sight does have its perks. The more frequently a person is seen, the less likely it is for others to ever expect anything else of them.  

She reaches the table, pulling one of the fine china plates from its place at the end and she shakes her head fondly, leave it to Lena and her PR team to break out the expensive gear for any and all occasions. It’s not like she expects paper plates, but something more along the lines of reasonably priced cutlery wouldn’t be completely scandalous. Though she thinks even that may look out of place somewhere like this. 

The venue itself isn’t that large, not in comparison to some of the others, but it’s still a reasonable size to accommodate the hundred or so people in attendance, if one is counting the wait staff. It also isn’t overly decorated. It’s more subtle. More polished and refined than perhaps any other event of this magnitude might be. Though Kara’s idea of parties mostly consists of some type of streamers and confetti being involved in one capacity or another.  

Lena always describes these events as pretentious and maybe they are. Despite the lack of glass sculptures and expensive paintings this time around, it still caters to a particular group of people. The kind that one would likely never find in some hole in the wall diner, except the host herself. Kara thinks it might be the people in general that makes everything look so... expensive.  While the decorations are light, the chandeliers are small and the large windows on all sides of the room give an astounding view of the night sky despite being ground level, none of these things really make this place what it is. There is enough floor space for dancing without continuously worrying about bumping into another couple if a step gets missed, it’s all white tablecloths and fine china and sparkling jewelry standing out against designer suits and dresses, but it still has more to do with the people in attendance than anything. The way they stand regally tall, all of them with perfect postures and even laugh in an elegant way. The way that the room is permeated with the scents of expensive perfume and the leftover hint of cigar smoke on the coats by the door, that is what keeps the illusion intact. 

She can’t help but to feel slightly out of place among them. She knows that some of them look down their noses at her and it’s never a pleasant feeling. But she does try to push it away, piling her plate with an acceptable amount of finger foods, noticing that there is indeed a tray of potstickers that she knows Lena ordered specifically for her and it makes her smile. They can sneer if they want to, she decides. And she can stand here in her average navy suit with a label that she can’t remember, stuff her face in a less than elegant way, and still be Lena’s favorite person in attendance at the end of the night. She finds a space against the wall to lean against, popping one of the best foods in existence into her mouth with a satisfied smile to prove it.  

Her eyes scan the crowd again, seeking her out before she can even think to do so and she actually does find her this time. Standing in the opposite corner of the room, wrapped up in conversation with a man that Kara has never seen before and looking...yep, looking exactly how Kara expected and her throat promptly goes dry at the sight of her.  

Her dress is simple, unlike some of the other things that Kara has seen her in over the years. It’s floor length and burgundy, the color complimenting her pale skin in the loveliest way. Her hair is down, flowing in soft waves down her back, but when she moves Kara can still see the expanse of skin there. The entire back of the dress is open, the front of it still putting her assets proudly on display and Kara feels the plate crack slightly in her hand.  

She’s laughing at something the man says, a polite sound that to the hero quietly watching indicates that whatever just came out of his mouth wasn’t remotely funny and she feels a small wave of triumph. Not very many people can pull a genuine laugh out of the Luthor woman, one that shows her dimples and turns her cheeks a pretty shade of pink, but Kara can. She can do so effortlessly and it makes her proud. Taking in his features though, he appears to think that he has done the same. He looks pleased with himself, his eyes occasionally traveling below her neckline and something in Kara fumes at it.  

He asks her to dance then, and she seems reluctant but she agrees. Taking his hand lightly and allowing him to lead her to the middle of the floor. Her dress ripples as she walks, sashaying along with each step, taking on a slightly metallic look when the light hits it just right. And Kara is mesmerized, regardless of circumstance. She’s mesmerized by the simple sight of Lena Luthor in a floor length dress gliding effortlessly across the room.  

Lena doesn’t know that she’s here yet. She hasn’t quite managed a glance in her direction and Kara thought it rude to interrupt, just in case the exchange was business related. She knows that there are some aspects of Lena’s job that she can’t avoid, though she loathes them. So, her plan is to simply wait her turn. Stand off to the side, blend into the shadows with the plate of food that she suddenly isn’t all that interested in anymore and wait until she’s free. It’s a reasonable plan. She’s fairly comfortable with it even if she feels a spark of jealousy flaring inside her when she sees this unknown man’s hand land on the bare skin of her back.  

Lena isn’t an object, she knows that, rationally. Lena isn’t hers; she knows that too. But for some reason, some terribly obvious, yet still irrational reason, she can’t convince her heartbeat of that. Not if the way it speeds up when his hand drops lower is any indication. It’s still at a socially acceptable place, she can see it every few turns, not that she is particularly tuned in to a random man’s hand placement on her best friends overly perfect body because that would be ridiculous. She just has very good vision and she notices things that other people don’t. Like if people across the street put an obscene about of ketchup on their hot dogs. Or maybe a stray soccer ball from a pick-up game at the park is veering dangerously close to a small toddler after a kick goes a bit awry. Or when some unknown human places his hand a little bit closer to her waistline, close enough that it’s  almost –   

Nope. She can’t do this.  

She doesn’t care who he is. She doesn’t care how rich he is or what kind of investments he can offer Lena or her company. She’s a billionaire. She’ll be fine.  

She drops her plate on the buffet table rather roughly, not sparing one iota of concern if it managed to make the landing in one piece. Lena actually looks visibly uncomfortable now, teetering right on the edge of correcting him herself. Perhaps delivering a carefully worded threat and a reminder of his manners. But the opportunity never quite presents itself.  

He’s facing away from Kara when she approaches, but Lena sees her. Her face lighting up in a way that clearly shows that Kara made the right call, and she’s desperately hoping that she’s managed to contain the pent-up possessiveness that she feels, along with the smug satisfaction at being the company of choice.  

She taps him on the shoulder, a bit roughly she will admit. It will probably bruise by morning, but it gets his attention. He startles a bit, stopping the dance but not removing his hands immediately, much to her frustration. She still plasters on her best smile anyway, hoping it doesn’t come out as a grimace but honestly, she will sleep just fine either way as long as he gets his hands off of her. “May I cut in?” 

He looks confused at first. A bit put off by the strange request from a woman that he does not know. But despite the completely innocent tone that the request had been delivered in, something in her stance screams dominance. She’s channeling the polite, mild-mannered version of herself and the superhero all at once. Lena looks onto the exchange with mild amusement, green eyes darting back and forth for a brief moment before she steps back enough to give him the message.  

To his credit, he knows when to back away. At least now that his hands are free. He gives a slight nod to Kara and bids goodnight to Lena, walking away with his dignity still intact despite the obvious dismissal. And while that was the intended goal, the leaving part anyway, dignity was not her concern, it brings her to her next dilemma. Now that the crisis has been averted and the threat neutralized, something she is again realizing a few seconds too late, she has no idea where to actually put her hands. 

If there is a proper protocol for running some smarmy man wearing too much cologne away from your best friend, she has never been made aware of it. She briefly wonders if someone had thought that up too. Perhaps they have a line of “How-To” books. Perhaps she should write a line of “How-To” books should she ever make it out of this situation alive. Which is questionable and not really something that she has time to make a plan for at this current moment. So, she just stands a bit awkwardly, ducking her chin and fiddling with her glasses out of habit. Luckily for her, Lena seems to have it figured out. A pale hand reaches out for her own, squeezing it slightly in reassurance before guiding it to her waist. And with the confirmation, Kara chances a look up to see a warm smile across her face. Crinkling her eyes slightly in the corners displaying her dimples. And she finds that figuring out what to do from there really isn’t very hard at all.  

Lena’s arms wind around her neck, her posture relaxes into something so unlike what it was before. Lena who is used to waltzes and all other things that Lillian is sure to have paid an obscene amount of money for gives up all attempts at doing so, knowing that the kryptonian isn’t quite as well versed in ballroom dancing, so she is perfectly content to slow down to her pace instead. Kara’s hands rest respectively on her waist as they begin swaying along to the music and she must say that she is mildly surprised at how natural this feels. Unfortunately for her, her mouth doesn’t quite get the message and her tendency to ramble decides to rear its head. 

“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything important. You just looked kind of uncomfortable and he was getting a little handsy with you so I thought that I would come save you.” She says it quietly, only audible to Lena’s ears despite the soft quality of the music. Then after a beat, she realizes exactly how that must sound, promptly flushes and then backpedals. “I mean, not to imply that you needed saving or – or that you would prefer my hands on you – “And  Rao  that was not much better and she really should stop talking now. “I just wanted to give you an out and I thought you may feel safer with – well. Me.” She finishes the excuse with an awkward smile, face likely an even deeper shade of crimson. Lena raises an eyebrow at first, clearly amused by the ramble. But then she laughs. Sweet and melodic. In a way that makes Kara’s heart do a slight backflip in her chest before settling into a contented rhythm.  

“My hero.” It’s almost  that  voice again, but it’s still a bit too light for that. Tinged with a smile and a pretty sparkle in her eyes. It gives her the confidence to keep going, traveling on to a safer, but still a bit risqué for her current frame of mind, subject. 

“You look beautiful, by the way. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times already. But you do.” 

Despite the truth of that statement, despite the fact that she hears something like it all the time, she still blushes. A slight tinge spreading prettily across her cheeks and she ducks her head shyly, sparing a small  thank you.  

Something interesting happens then. Up until this point, the woman had been solely focused on Kara’s face. She hadn’t bothered to notice anything that she was wearing seemingly in favor of staring into her eyes. Now though, in the aftermath of a compliment that she hears on a regular basis but somehow seems different coming from Kara’s mouth, she’s paying attention. A particular amount of attention actually. To her bicep. In a suit. Like Alex said. And that – that really is very...well...interesting. And maybe her journalist brain should come up with a more compelling descriptor but she honestly just has nothing. And her sister is going to be insufferable about this.  

She notices the way that Lena’s eyes widen slightly at first, as if seeing Kara for the first time entirely. They’re pressed closely enough that she isn’t able to get a very good look at the entirety of her outfit, but she can see enough. Her eyes wander from her bicep to her collar, to the loosened buttons and the bronze skin on display and she gulps a little. Similar to the way that Kara’s own mouth dried out upon finally seeing her from across the room. Unlike her, Lena tries to hide her reaction, tearing her eyes away suddenly and looking back at her face with a shy little smile. “You look rather handsome, yourself you know.” And something about the way that she says it, the way that she seems to press closer into Kara on impulse and the slightly breathy tone in which it is delivered does things to her. Very inappropriate for public things, and  Rao  why does this keep happening? 

The song changes then, drifting into a vaguely familiar melody and she almost lets her go. Now that her initial purpose has been completed, there really is no legitimate reason to stay, aside from how desperately she wants to – even if that is a really very terrible, awful idea. So, she prepares, reluctantly, to step away. Maybe ask Lena if she’s eaten, watch her exchange a few more pleasantries with the next person who seeks out her attention. But Lena doesn’t seem to be on board with the plan. She feels Kara’s grip loosen so she tightens hers, whispering out “I like this song,” in a surprisingly vulnerable tone and  oh.  Okay then. 

She’s almost eye level in her heels, but Kara does still have to look down just a bit when checking that she heard her correctly. She looks mildly embarrassed over the revelation, a bit hesitant that Kara will want to step away and resume a more platonic distance. But Kara just smiles, says  me too , and the rest of the world kind of fades away after that.  

And it’s true that Kara has loved many things in this lifetime. She loves the smell of the air after it rains. The feeling she gets in the mornings when she realizes she has the day off. She likes painting in spring when the world comes to life, bursting with color and excitement. She loves laying in the grass during summer, feeling the soil beneath her feet. She loves the smell of pumpkin everything in fall, and the way the snow mutes the rest of the world in winter. But she loves this song. She doesn’t know what it is, couldn’t tell anyone if she were ever asked. She just loves this song, because it brought her this.  

Lena tucks her face into Kara’s neck, dark hair tickling the exposed skin under the collar. And Kara feels completely enveloped in her, surrounded by the scent of her perfume and the slightly rapid beat of her heart despite the slow tempo of the music. She runs her own hands across the soft skin of her back, daring to touch in a way that she has never felt bold enough to do. She feels the sharp intake of breath, feels the way that Lena’s fingers flex and she would think that she’s done something wrong if it weren’t for the way that she melts into her.  

Maybe doing this here isn’t the best idea that she’s ever had. Something about the moment feels charged in a way that it never has before. It feels like a precursor for something, some step into the unknown and it’s probably best to embark on such a journey outside of the public eye. But Kara feels frozen, wrapped up in the gentle sway of their bodies that follows no particular beat at all. And Lena doesn’t seem too concerned with the idea either. 

Maybe clearer heads will prevail in the morning, once the photos of this hit the front pages. Perhaps Kara will think it through when she is getting the dressing down of a lifetime by her boss who will no doubt tell her something along the lines of ‘You are not supposed to canoodle with your sources at public events Danvers, does journalistic integrity mean anything to you?’ And maybe Lena will think better of it when she’s accosted outside of her building by a sea of paparazzi demanding to know who her new ‘mystery woman’ is if they’re unable to get a clear shot of Kara’s face. Maybe tomorrow it will matter. Maybe it won't. But what matters right now is the feeling of Lena’s dazzling smile against her neck as Kara hums along with the music that she doesn’t quite know.  

As someone who has actually spent a good portion of her life just suspended in time, she never thought that the experience would be one that she would wish for again. But the puffs of air against the already overheated skin of her neck are telling her otherwise. The way that Lena’s body becomes pliant in her arms when she wraps her arms entirely around her waist until it resembles more of a hug that a dance is telling her otherwise. And she thinks if she were to ever become stuck in any moment ever again, this would be the moment of her choosing.  

She feels an almost primal urge to tilt her head back and kiss her. Her sister’s voice ringing through her ears, providing the solution that she had adamantly disagreed with an hour prior, but now seems like the best choice to her fogged brain. It would be so easy, she thinks. To just slightly pull back enough to prompt Lena to tilt her head in question. And while she has denied such things before, has come up with excuse after excuse to justify Lena’s persistent flirting as something harmless, she really isn’t quite sure now. Not with the way that she’s deliberately pressing into her, the way that she sometimes has in the past when wrapped in her arms after some attack or another, once the initial shock wore off and the feeling of safety set in. And maybe some would say that she has a hero complex for this, but she’s always loved that she has the ability to make people feel safe in the face of chaos. She loves that she can make Lena feel safe in those moments, those close calls that make her hold her breath and brace for the inevitable, only to be averted at the last moment. Residual only in the form of memories in the occasional nightmare. But Lena, she’s noticed, sometimes exhibits those same characteristics after any average day. When Kara walks into her office unannounced and she visibly deflates upon the realization that it’s her and she can drop the mask for a while. When she’s out in a setting that she isn’t quite used to and she’s feeling awkward and Kara plants herself next to her side. And when she’s somewhere like this. Somewhere that her appearance matters and everything she says or does matters, threatening to be splattered across some gossip column or another so she feels that everything has to be absolutely perfect to avoid another scandal. But then Kara comes along and allows her to just be. Allows her to breathe and be herself in a way that she so rarely gets the opportunity to do. Kara doesn’t just make her feel safe when she’s falling from a high rise. She makes her feel save everywhere. And that’s one of her favorite feelings.  

The song is over before she even notices, too wrapped up in her own thoughts and the desire to do something that she’s been longing to do for years, front and center in her mind. She may have even missed the ending if not for the tiny sigh of discontentment from the woman in her arms when it switches to something slightly more upbeat. And Kara almost thinks that the universe did that on purpose.  

Lena pulls away finally, the disappointment in doing so heavy in her eyes, but there’s something else there too. Kara sees it. Just for a fraction of a moment, she sees the way that green eyes dart down to her lips as if she’s thinking the same thing. And she almost throws caution to the wind then. She almost does it, come what may. But Lena moves first, one of those looks taking over. One of those  looks  that makes Kara a little weak in the knees every time. “You were right about one more thing you know.” She says, gaze flitting back up to Kara’s eyes. Pale hands press into her shoulders, thumbs skimming across the sides of her neck as the other woman leans forward one last time to whisper in her ear. “I do much prefer your hands on me.” 

Then she pulls back, a mischievous expression on her face, a playful glint in her eyes in the aftermath of such a profound moment. Kara’s lips part in surprise at the revelation and Lena just smiles wider, as if she didn’t just speak a sentence that successfully reduced Kara’s brain capacity to that of dial up internet.  

Then she presses a single kiss to her cheek, much too close to the corner of her mouth to be considered anything within the realm of platonic and steps away. Dress flowing out elegantly behind her as she goes, leaving a superhero in disguise completely dumbstruck in the middle of the floor. 

In retrospect, she thinks, she really shouldn’t be surprised. Lena has already proven to have a penchant in catching her off guard, like she truly enjoys the sport of turning Kara’s brain to mush whenever the opportunity presents itself. She’s somewhat proud to say that she did make it through the remainder of the night without any major incident, camera flashes and paparazzi photos of her ‘heart eyes' as Alex calls them notwithstanding. The point is, she lived. She managed to pull herself together enough eventually to actually eat the food that Lena so thoughtfully put on the menu just for her. She managed to see her safely home without doing anything reckless like professing her undying love on the flight over and pinning her to the first horizontal surface that she came across. So, she can be proud of herself. She can treat herself to three dozen donuts as a consolation prize and try to shove the exchange out of her head for three whole weeks. During which time there were various lunch dates, a Thanksgiving dinner where Lena wore yet another dress that hugged her in  all  the right ways and she only managed to break two wine glasses in response. But the main point in all of this, a very large contributing factor to her steadily wavering self-control, is that she never actually got her  alone.   

After the night of the gala where she just barely managed to pull herself together long enough to drop her off, there were always public spaces. Restaurants, city sidewalks, a room filled with the rest of her family. And sure, with the right motivation, she could have made any of those settings work but she will admit that it was nice to have the pressure off, even for a little while. 

So of course, as these things always seem to go, she invites Lena over for another movie night. She does it in the middle of one of those very public lunches and Lena agrees easily, saying she has some time this weekend and that’s the end of it. Plan made, excitement bubbling. Until right in the middle of her morning routine the day of when she finally allows herself to really think about it. Picking up her phone as it chimes from her bathroom counter with a  can’t wait to see you later  text from her. There was a winking emoji at the end. A fucking  winking  emoji. And that’s when it hits her. On a Friday morning in December. With her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth and a toothpaste stain on her shirt. She’s going to see Lena. 

Alone.  

Cue panic. 

The fact that she makes it through the day after that epiphany is astonishing. Really. If she takes nothing else from this day, she can at least celebrate the fact that she didn’t hyperventilate once. She also managed to put out two fires. Write three whole sentences of her article, and get through an entire conversation with her sister without having any type of nervous breakdown. And even if Alex asks her four times in four minutes why she keeps pacing the floor like that, she manages to evade it every time. Finally rushing off to an imaginary emergency to avoid the impending interrogation.  

This is ridiculous, she thinks finally. Around four in the afternoon when it starts snowing. It's ridiculous that she didn’t bother to check the weather forecast despite the anomaly ice storms that they’ve had. It's ridiculous that she’s behaving like this is some life-or-death mission that she’s about to embark on when it’s just a  movie.  With Lena. Followed by a sleepover. With Lena. Both of these things being perfectly normal events that she has had years to get used to. She’s literally a superhero. She’s literally saved the planet on multiple occasions and lived to tell the tale. It’s just a movie. With a girl. Who happens to be her best friend. Who she happens to be in love with. Things like this happen every day and it’s  fine.  She is a fully functioning and capable adult; she will be  fine.  

She’s still repeating that when the knock sounds at her door. She can hear the heartbeat fluttering in her chest, the jingle of her keys shifting around in her purse, see the way that she’s nervously wringing her hands on the other side of the door. And Kara can relate. In her head, she’s running through every nervous tick she’s ever had from infancy to adulthood. But it’s fine. She’s fine. Everything is fine. 

She opens the door to find a much more composed Lena on the other side. Having likely adopted a more relaxed stance the moment she heard the chain slide. Still looking absolutely stunning despite being dressed down in a form fitting black sweater and dark jeans, snow still clinging to her heeled boots and melting into the fabric of her coat.  

Kara isn’t proud to admit it, but she stares. Unabashedly. For at minimum thirty seconds before she regains the ability to speak. Or move. Or breathe. But it’s fine. Because Lena is still smiling like she’s happy to see her despite her being rendered mute. And Kara suddenly wishes that she had the forethought to throw on something besides leggings and the first sweatshirt that she could find. But now she's committed so she just has to make her voice and appendages work.  

“Lena.” Is the first thing she says. A bit breathlessly, like she just finished a sprint and she’s trying to breathe normally again. And it’s so strange what this human does to her simply by existing. By turning up at her doorstep looking like this and smiling and breathing and just – yeah. This is hard. But worth it.  

She pulls Lena in for a hug, trying to curb her enthusiasm to something resembling acceptable, but failing. And that’s okay too, because Lena hugs her back just as tightly. Just a beat too long as if she doesn’t want to pull back either and yeah. She missed her.  

“Are you going to invite me in or are we just going to hug in the doorway all evening?” She asks, a lovely lilt to the words spoken into Kara’s neck.  

“Depends.” Kara shrugs, still wrapped around her shamelessly. “Did you bring food?” 

She knows that she did. She can smell it coming from the bag currently dangling from her forearm, pressing heat into her back. Her stomach growls on cue to fully punctuate her question and Lena laughs. “Am I getting one upped by pasta from Lorenzo's?” 

“You got Lorenzo's?” Kara asks excitedly, pulling back just enough to see Lena’s face. 

“I suppose that’s a yes then.” She sighs dramatically, extracting herself from Kara’s arms and holding up the bag as proof.  

It’s all she can do to contain her squeal of delight, but she’s still practically buzzing with energy when she takes the bag gratefully from Lena’s now outstretched hand and moves toward the kitchen. “I cannot be blamed for this okay.” She defends as Lena closes the door behind them and shrugs off her coat. “This pasta is like one of  the  best things that I have ever had in my mouth.” 

She doesn’t think much of it. Is far too busy with her task of pulling the containers out of the bag to really consider the words that came out of her mouth. And Lena’s response is so low that even  she  almost doesn’t hear it, low enough that she almost thinks that she imagines it. Her mind absolutely has to be playing tricks on her because she  knows  that she did not just say –  

“So how was your day?” Lena asks nonchalantly. Kara catches the dimpled smile on her face when she peeks over her shoulder, looking oh so innocent but alluring all at once and she nearly drops the silverware that she just pulled from the drawer. 

“Fine.” She says, higher than normal and then clears her throat to recover. “Nothing too interesting. Snapper yelled at me. Two minor apartment fires, no biggie.” She waves her hand absently, doling out the food onto plates. “How was yours?” 

Lena shakes her head at the way she downplays it, having occasionally chastised her for not giving herself enough credit. “Oh, you know. A few meetings. Minor stock crisis and putting a few misogynistic imbeciles in their place. No biggie.” She finishes with a tiny shrug, leaning to rest her forearms on the kitchen island, hands clasped and looking at Kara with twinkling eyes. Her heart stutters at the sight and she rolls her eyes. 

“Touché.” 

For all of her anxiety leading up to this night, things are still almost surprisingly easy. Lena has always slotted into her life perfectly. Carving out a space for herself that seems so effortless and natural that Kara almost doesn’t remember what it feels like before she met her.  

They take their respective plates and settle on the sofa. Arms brushing occasionally, shy smiles accompanying it. The silence is comfortable. Like coming home after a long time away, the simple peace of being somewhere familiar again and suddenly everything feels whole.  

“You put your tree up, I see.” Lena observes, eyeing the Christmas tree by the window. Studying it carefully and Kara looks surprised. 

“Of course!” She says through a mouthful of pasta, momentarily forgetting her table manners in favor of defending the holiday tradition. “I always put it up the second that it’s socially acceptable. Unlike someone else I know.” She gives a pointed look to the dark-haired woman on the other side of the sofa. 

Lena looks affronted. “Well, some of us have very demanding jobs and don’t possess super speed.” 

“I do not use super speed to put up my Christmas tree.” Kara defends, shaking her head. “That’s cheating. Ruins the magic.” She says it as if it’s obvious. Leaving out the part about how she used to try to do exactly that before Eliza broke her from the habit. 

“Well. Why would I bother putting one up when I can just come look at yours?” She shrugs, taking a bite. 

Kara has a thought then. A troublesome, yet wonderful thought born from a completely rational solution about what it would be like to have Lena here more. To have her here always. Put up a tree with her. Drink hot chocolate on Christmas morning and kiss the whipped cream from her face. She shoves it away quickly, locking it into a little box inside her head because now is not the time for all of  that.  

“Wow, it’s really coming down out there.” The other woman says when she gets no response, turning her gaze toward the window to watch the snow fall.  

The windows are frosted. Fogged from the cold but the world is still covered in a blanket of white. Lena discards her plate on the coffee table, standing up to get a better look. She pads across the room, comes to rest by the tree, leaning against the brick with her arms folded and Kara has the sudden urge to turn the lights off. She’s up in a flash, flipping the switch in the kitchen before moving to the living room lamps. The room is bathed in darkness save from the lights on the tree and Lena looks at her curiously, a bit startled by the abruptness of it all. 

“So you can see it better.” She explains simply, successfully managing to keep her voice even. Lena seems pleased by it, turning back to watch contentedly and Kara comes to stand beside her.  

It covers the tops of cars parked along the street. Dusting along the sidewalks and building a light sheen on the roads. Everything feels quiet, like the rest of the world stopped too just to take in this moment. Just to exist in this space where they can appreciate the magic, the beauty of the simple things.  

All she can hear are the sound of the snowflakes, the sound of Lena breathing and the slow thump of her heart that speeds up slightly when Kara drapes her arm across her shoulders. “Can we just watch this for a while?” Lena asks quietly, voice holding a faraway quality all of the sudden that Kara knows not to push on. So, just like that, the food is forgotten. The movie is forgotten. Because Kara has always been powerless when it comes to her. Ready to give her anything she asks for in a moment's notice.  

She chews her bottom lip as if she expects Kara to say no, fingers flexing where they grip onto her biceps like she’s trying to hold herself together. The lights from the tree cling to the strands of her hair, turning it into an array of color. They dance across her face. Reds and blues and purples flash, and she’s the most gorgeous thing that Kara has ever seen. Standing by a frosted window and watching the snow fall, all of those colors reflecting in pale green eyes, lighting them up in something that would almost resemble childlike wonder if she didn’t look so contemplative. 

Something about it, the combination of all of it makes Kara feel bold. Makes her ache to touch in a way that she never has. So, she comes to stand behind her instead. Lena’s breath stutters when Kara’s arms wind around her waist, coming to rest just under hers and she rests her chin on her shoulder. “We can do whatever you want.” 

She somehow feels like she’s opened the floor to a whole world of things, like anything is possible from here and she means it wholeheartedly. It seems like so much more than just an agreement to watch the snow and Lena feels it too. Relaxing into her arms and letting her know she’s done something right. 

Lena Luthor is not unlike her. She has her own burdens. Weighted down by the sins of her family. With sometimes insurmountable expectations that she can do anything, will do anything. Her life isn’t her own the majority of the time. Someone always expects something. Often more than she can give and Kara knows that its draining. There’s always someone to disappoint when the world expects you to do no wrong, and face dire consequences when you fail. Sometimes the crown is heavy. Sometimes the world is heavy. And sometimes they both need to put it down for a while. Just exist together in the in betweens. 

“Lex taught me how to make snow angels.” She tells her, eyes still trained ahead. “I wasn’t very good at it. I always messed them up when I was finished because I would stumble every time.” Kara chuckles. “So eventually he just started picking me up. And he would tell me how great it looked. Then Lillian would come to yell at us for wasting our time on childish nonsense. But it was fun anyway.” 

Kara conjures the image in her mind of a four-year-old Lena, dressed in some overly expensive, overly puffy jacket with rosy cheeks and snow in her hair. It brings a smile to her face, despite the fact that the memory of such a thing is tainted. “Well, I bet,” She moves her hands up to rest over Lena’s, slipping her fingers into the spaces between them. “That you were adorable. And that you made the best snow angels.” 

“Oh, do you?” Lena asks, nose crinkling when she smiles. 

“Yup. And I’ll have you know that am the undefeated champion in every Danvers family snow angel competition so I know what I’m talking about.” 

“You can fly, darling.”  

“Well, yeah but my opinion still matters. And I say that you made perfect snow angels. You will not change my mind.” She says resolutely. Another thought comes to her then, and she shares it tentatively. “We could go try it now if you want?” 

She poses it as a question, just so she can tell her that the option is on the table if she wants to take it. And she considers it for a moment, Kara can tell, just looking at her reflection in the glass. But then she shakes her head. “Maybe next time.” 

Kara accepts this easily, perfectly content to remain here for as long as she likes. Truthfully, she isn’t in much hurry to let her go, so she just pulls her tighter. Nuzzles into her neck in a decidedly Un-platonic fashion. Just like it’s something she’s always done. Like in another life, this is all commonplace. They meet, they fall in love. They build this life with each other and they grow old together. And then they do it again. Waking up one day in a new life, finding each other over and over. And Kara can’t say many things with certainty, but she can say that she would find her. In any life, in any world she would find her and she would love her just the same.  

It takes her a moment to realize it. Acknowledge it as being something she never actually  has  done before. It takes Lena shivering slightly in her arms before her brain catches up, but even then, she misses the point entirely. “Are you cold?” She asks, voice laced with concern and eyebrows furrowed. “I can get some blankets and we can lay in here if you want.” 

Lena looks as if she wants to protest for a moment, like there’s something else that she wants to say. But it doesn’t last long. Her agreement comes quickly and Kara is happy to oblige. “You can go get changed and I'll set up.” She assures her, already releasing her after one final squeeze and setting about clearing the plates from the coffee table.  

Lena disappears from view as Kara moves through the kitchen, still not bothering with the lights. She rinses the plates, puts the leftovers in the fridge because  of course  Lena buys extra portions just for her. She smiles fondly at the thought, deciding that she can do better than just a few blankets on the sofa. She does want to give a proper holiday experience after all, so she sets about rearranging the living room instead. 

She removes all the cushions from both the sofa and loveseat, arranging them on the floor. She pulls every throw pillow she owns together, adding them to the pile and topping it all with one of her softest blankets. She pulls the furniture to the side, creating an open space in the middle of her living room. By the tree and with a perfect view of the largest window.  

Overall, she is very pleased with herself, brushing her hands together in a job well done fashion by the time that Lena emerges from the bedroom. She’s wearing a pair of Kara’s leggings and her favorite sweatshirt. The one that she’s had since college. The same one that Alex has tried to lift from her multiple times without success, and Lena is currently looking pretty smug about it. A small satisfied smile on her face, a dare in her eyes as if baiting her to protest to it, but she doesn’t. Not remotely. In fact, she may just let her keep it and deal with her sister’s outrage over such a thing because seeing Lena in her clothes has always done something to her. Lots of somethings that she isn’t really in a hurry to voice but she definitely feels it.  

“I hope you don’t mind.” She pulls at the shoulder, pinching the fabric between her thumb and forefinger and looking at Kara intently.  

She shakes her head when words fail her. She doesn’t mind. Not remotely. In fact, she prefers it and – yeah. Alex is definitely going to be mad about this but she can’t be blamed. Not when she’s standing there looking like that. 

“What’s all this?” She asks amusedly, gesturing to the pile of pillows and blankets on the floor of her living room. 

It seems the space has done some good. Given her the opportunity to tuck her earlier vulnerabilities away in favor of bringing back her flirtatious and playful side. Though Kara can see that she’s still touched by the gesture. 

“Um. Blanket nest?” At Lena’s raised eyebrow she continues. “Danvers family tradition. Alex and I used to camp out in front of the tree like this when we were younger sometimes. Drink hot chocolate. Speculate on what the gifts were. Typical teenager shenanigans.” 

And  Rao  she does not know what it is about this woman that increases her tendency to ramble tenfold and say things like  shenanigans  in an actual, serious sentence. But Lena just nods as if she understands. Like she’s happy to be included in some silly tradition of hers. 

“Well, let’s see what  shenanigans  we can get ourselves into then shall we?” 

And Kara is grateful for the dark. Grateful that she can’t see how that statement affected her. Grateful for the snow and Christmas trees and all things in between that brought Lena into her life at all and somehow convinced her to stay. 

Lena walks into the living room, inspecting the mess of blankets and pillows with a slight tilt of her head as if deciding the best way to settle herself in for optimal comfort; as if her choice is a very important one. Choice made, she slips in on the right, shifting around until she’s settled, pulling a blanket up to her waist and patting the spot beside her. “You coming?” She asks, looking up at Kara expectantly. Kara who hasn’t quite realized that she’s standing there, unmoving.  

“Yes.” She croaks out, ineloquently. Cursing herself for how obviously something like this affects her. The endearing sight of Lena Luthor laid comfortably on her side amongst a sea of blankets. Happily taking part in a childish tradition. It’s all Kara can do to keep a human pace. 

They've cuddled before. Lots of times. On the sofa, in Kara’s bed. But this seems different somehow. Cuddling to go to sleep or cuddling when watching a movie seems decidedly less intimate than cuddling just to watch the snow. It seems more significant, more terrifying. Just  more.  Enough so that when she finally does lay down beside her, she settles onto her back at first, fists clenching at her sides in an effort to keep her hands to herself until Lena takes the lead on this because she has no idea what she’s doing. 

Lena however, seems amused by it. Seems to take great pleasure in calling her out for her awkward behavior. “Now you don’t look very comfortable.” She observes, in  that  fucking voice again and Kara is going to die. She’s just going to die. And it’s fine. She can accept that.  

She knows that Lena does this on purpose, can see the Cheshire grin even through the dark when she turns her head to look at her. Everything about her is just so...seductive. Enchanting. Like all of her greatest temptations wrapped into a green-eyed, dark-haired package, and she doesn’t quite know what to do with that. But it seems that Lena does. She reaches for Kara’s hand, slipping her fingers into her clenched fist to loosen it. Once successful, she pulls her arm up and around her own shoulders, settling her head onto Kara’s chest. And it’s unfair, she thinks, that while she’s always been able to hear Lena’s heartbeat, Lena can now hear hers. Thundering away in her chest because she has absolutely no restraint whatsoever and it’s insistent on giving her away. 

She does her best to calm it down. Taking a few measured breaths and relaxing against the pillows, running her fingers along Lena’s arm in a featherlight, aimless pattern. She hears a sigh of contentment escape, knows that green eyes are still fixated on the snow outside. Lena’s hand comes to rest on her stomach, short nails lightly scratching along and she can still feel it perfectly even through the fabric of the sweatshirt. Wishes she could feel it on her bare skin and she swallows thickly, trying to relax.  

It comes easier after a while, the room lulled into a comfortable silence. Twinkling lights and falling snow and the peace that comes along with all of those things. She feels safe here. She feels like she can just be herself, feels like she can say or do anything and it will come without judgement. And despite how much Lena may rile her up on occasion, she can still bask in the comfort of all of it too. The sense of fulfillment that comes with being accepted just how she is, with no expectations. 

“Somehow I doubt that this is a typical Danvers family tradition.” She says after a while, voice rumbling softly against Kara’s chest. “No hot chocolate. No speculating on what presents are under the tree.” She parrots the list back to her, smiling into the fabric of her sweatshirt. 

“I can make you some if you want.” Kara offers. Reluctant to leave but willing. The distance may help her collect herself, if only for the time that she’s away.  

“No. Thank you though. I’m quite comfortable like this.” And really, how is she expected to live when Lena keeps saying things like that to her.  

“I suppose I make a pretty good pillow.” She jokes, deflecting. 

A soft laugh sounds in response. “Well, that.” She snuggles closer, planting herself more firmly against Kara’s side. “And I really do prefer your hands on me.” 

As if it didn’t cause Kara enough emotional and physical distress to hear it the first time, she has to say it  again.  Laying on her chest with her hand on her stomach looking so absolutely perfect there that it is nearly unbearable. She feels the way Kara tenses, she has to. There is no way that she misses it with how close they are pressed together, with almost every inch of their bodies touching, breath mingling in the air. 

She looks up at her then, leaning up just enough, pressing into her stomach for leverage. Her hair falls in a soft curtain around her face and she’s looking at Kara intently, searching for...something. Some type of reaction that isn’t the panicked look that she’s certain that she’s sporting right now. It’s amazing to her that Lena can be so calm after saying something like that, uptick in her heartbeat aside, she looks entirely composed. Hopeful even and Kara just can’t make her mouth work. Or her brain. Or any part of her body. She just lays frozen. Looking down at mesmerizing green eyes and soft lips, wanting oh so much to reach out and touch but she  can’t.   

She sees the flash of disappointment cross her face, settling into some deep resignation and Kara thinks that it may have been there for a while. Maybe every time that Lena tried to venture into the unknown, tried to push, tried to test her boundaries just to see if she would cave. And Kara decides that she hates that look. She hates being the cause of something so detrimental, knowing that she can fix it. Knowing that she can change everything if she could just say  something.  But Lena puts her head back down before it can come out, still laying against her chest but scooting slightly away as if trying to distance herself from the rejection that Kara’s silence brings. She looks back toward the window, saying something that sounds like, “I love this view.” Changing the subject, taking it back somewhere more familiar, back in this comfort zone that Kara has been leaning into like a crutch for years when she really just wants to hit the ground running. And she just can’t take it anymore. So rather than coming up with some response pertaining to the weather or Christmas lights or whatever it is that has captured Lena’s attention as she tries to cover up the feeling of being rejected for what may be the thousandth time, Kara says what she actually means instead. 

“I love you.” 

She blurts it, really. There’s no lead up at all, just words that have been caught in her throat for three years minimum finally deciding for her that they are tired of lying dormant and waiting on her to get her shit together. So, they just spill out, breaking free, hitting the ground running because she’s been refusing to all this time, and she lets out a breath behind them. Something like crashing through the surface of a wave, the feeling of relief to know that you’ve survived and will live to tell the tale. And she could backtrack right now, explain it away as something platonic. Slap a safe label on it and go on with her life. But she wants Christmas morning. She wants to drink hot chocolate by a fire, wants to see the way that Lena looks with childlike wonder at something as simple as falling snow and Christmas lights. She wants to hold her hand, she wants to kiss her, she wants to do everything that she has been pushing out of her head all this time. She wants  more.   

Lena doesn’t move at first. She doesn’t breathe. Doesn’t even acknowledge that she heard her at all, but her heart does. Her fragile, skeptical, shattered too many times heart speeds up in this dire, aching hope that it heard her correctly and it can finally break free too. But she’s afraid, having dropped so many hints and tried so many times to get Kara to notice. To hear everything that she wasn’t saying underneath of what she was and Kara hates that she ever made her feel that way. Hates that she ever had to doubt it for a moment. So, when she probes for it after nearly sixty seconds of agonizing silence, when she finally manages to make her voice work, all that comes out is a weak, “What did you say?” And Kara never wants her to doubt anything ever again. 

She reaches with her free hand to cup her face, slightly trembling when she brackets her chin and gently tilts her head up to look her in the eye. She runs her thumb over her bottom lip and repeats it. “I said I love you, Lena.” A pause. A moment that stretches on forever. That obscenely perfect moment where she watches her eyes widen in surprise, then happiness, then  love.  So much love and she has no idea why she ever waited this long to say it. “I’m in love with you and I should have told you that years ago.” 

She’s had so many chances. So many wasted opportunities and almosts and in betweens, but it’s finally out there. After years of silence, she has finally tossed it out into the universe. And she can’t put into words the peace she feels in this moment. The sense of belonging and home that she feels at finally telling this wonderful human how she feels about her. And it almost doesn’t matter that Lena isn’t saying anything. That she’s now the one who has been rendered speechless because Kara doesn’t have to hear it back. She sees it, she feels it. Has felt it for so long even if she didn’t know its name and she’s home now. After millions of miles and decades and seas of stars, she’s home now. And Lena is still looking at her that way, and she has never been happier to have ended up on this planet. Until at least, in lieu of answer, Lena tilts her head back and kisses her and her entire world lights up all at once. 

Lena kisses methodically. With explicit purpose and intent, the same extraordinary amount of focus that she pours into all aspects of her life. The hand on Kara’s stomach comes up to rest against her neck, thumb brushing against her jaw and Lena pushes herself closer again. Molding against Kara’s side as she sets fire to all rational thought inside her head at once and leads with feeling instead. Forgets anything else in the world exists outside of them and this. She pries Kara’s lips open with her tongue, running it along the seam until she gets what she wants. A sigh escapes from the back of her throat, one of her legs comes to rest on Kara’s thighs, pressing slightly in between them and Kara pulls her closer. Tightening her grip around the other woman's shoulders as much as she can with still measured strength and Lena melts into her. Intertwining with all that she is, falling into a space that only she is intended to occupy. 

She tastes like the wine she had with dinner. Expensive, extravagant, succulent and sweet. And Kara needs more of her. Needs to brand this into her memory so that she never forgets what this feels like, she needs more. She needs everything and she has no idea how to articulate that, but Lena seems to hear it all the same. She moves completely over until she’s straddling her, weight settling completely on top of her as she drapes herself across Kara’s chest, knees bracketing her hips and licking hotly into her mouth. Kissing her with fervor, with the desperate intensity of someone who has waited far too long for this and she can’t even imagine pulling back now.  

Kara’s hands wander, following the curve of her spine, splaying over her back and Lena shivers under her touch. It’s mesmerizing, the effect that something so minimal can have. The way that Lena seems to arch into her even with the lightest of touches and Kara longs to see what other reactions she can pull out of her if she dares to try. 

One of her hands finds its way to her hair and Lena whimpers when it makes contact with the base of her skull and tugs softly at it. Fingers running gently through the strands while she pulls her sweater up enough to expose her lower back. Her skin is cool to the touch, goosebumps rising when Kara makes contact and Lena moans softly into her mouth. The sound traveling directly between her legs and she wants to hear it again. And again.  

Lena rests on her elbows, one hand still cradling Kara’s jaw as she lets her take the lead. She kisses her filthily, having lost any concept of a timid quality roughly thirty seconds in. She kisses her like she can’t get enough of her either, grinding down into her and Kara gasps into her mouth. Tightening the hand in her hair just enough to urge her head up.  

Her eyes flutter open. Dark and glossy and beautiful. Full of desire and  need.  Bottom lip swollen and she looks so devastatingly gorgeous right now that Kara honestly just wants to stare. So, she does, for a moment. Trying to commit it to memory. Lena in a dark room, wearing her favorite gray sweatshirt with her cheeks flushed and breath shallow. Lena backlit by snow flurries dancing under streetlights. Lena resting comfortably on top of her with her hair slightly tangled from Kara’s fingers. And then she moves the hand in her hair around to cup her face allowing the tendrils to fall. Running her thumb along her cheek, just watching. Cataloging. Then, she can’t take it anymore. 

Kara kisses down the sharp line of her jaw, moving toward her neck and Lena tilts her head to give her better access. Her eyes flutter closed again and she lets out another soft moan when Kara reaches her pulse point, sucking a bruise into the skin, a muffled, “You’re so beautiful,” spilling out between her teeth. Lena reacts visibly to it, arching into her further, left hand curling into a fist beside Kara’s head.  

She moves both hands to the small of her back, mapping out the skin, feeling the softness beneath her fingers. Dips further under the fabric, running blunt nails up her spine as her lips find the freckle on Lena’s throat. And Kara can’t fathom how she’s made it so long without this, can’t believe how much time that she’s wasted not seeing her like this. Touching her like this. She trembles in her arms, chin resting on the crown of Kara’s head as she lavishes her neck. And Kara still wants more. She wants to see her, truly see her, exposed, uninhibited and writhing under her touch. “Can I take this off?” She asks finally, tugging on the hem of the sweatshirt and Lena vigorously nods her head, already scrambling to sit upright enough to fulfill her request.  

Lena straddles her fully, pressing into her in just the right way. Just enough to give Kara a taste of what comes next. She bites down on her lip when she lifts her arms, allowing Kara to pull the sweatshirt over her head and toss it carelessly to the side when she takes in the sight in front of her.  

She isn’t wearing anything underneath it. She’s completely exposed and breathtakingly perfect. She’s half hidden by shadows, illuminated only by the colorful lights in the background but Kara sees her clearly. The dips of her collarbone, the freckles dotting along her skin, the curve of her breasts and the soft, subtle swell of her stomach. There are still slight indents in her skin from the bra she discarded before stealing the sweatshirt, and somehow it makes her even more perfect. It makes her real, makes all of Kara’s fantasies unfold before her eyes in brilliant crystalline clarity. 

She sits up slowly, still coming to terms with it. Her hands fall to Lena’s hips to steady her as the motion shifts her slightly backward, moving down to cup her ass once she’s fully upright. The cushions shift underneath her, pulling her closer to the floor but it’s the last thing on her mind. The thought barely registers before she’s on her again, pressing open mouthed kisses along her collarbone, Lena’s hands wandering into her hair. “Rao, Lena.” She says between kisses, encompassed in absolute wonder because how is she real? How is this unfathomably gorgeous human draped across her lap on top of some misshapen mountain of pillows and nearly on the verge of coming undone from her touch? 

It’s absolutely maddening how responsive she is. The sounds that she makes, every breathy cry and whimper sounding like victory to her ears. She loves that she can make her feel this way, have her grind down into her lap when she moves down her sternum. Have her cry out her name when she takes a nipple in her mouth, sucking lightly on the stiff peak and rolling the other between her fingers. “Oh God,  Kara.”  She breathes, arching into her, nails digging into her shoulders through her shirt and this is all too much for her. The way she feels, the way she sounds. It’s too much and not enough all at once. 

Kara wants to touch her everywhere. Wants to learn every part of her and worship it all. She wants to leave marks on her body that she can feel forever, brand her skin with the utter devotion that she feels when she looks at her. She wants to lay with her, completely bare and give herself over, knowing that she’ll never want anyone else again. She can’t even imagine a future without this, without her. She hasn’t been able to for a long time and she wants nothing more than to show her that. So, she hooks her hand around the backs of her thighs, hoisting her up slightly and flips them over with ease. She lays her down gently, ensuring that she’s comfortable, one hand settling on the small of her back and the other behind her knee. 

Lena lets out a sound of approval when her back hits the cushions. She grasps at Kara’s sweatshirt, trying without success to pull it over her head, huffing in frustration when she can’t get her hands to stop shaking long enough to cooperate. But Kara gives her what she wants, shoving the hindering fabric from her body. Pulling her bra off immediately after so that she can feel her, skin on skin for the first time. 

She’s settled down lower, Lena’s thighs parted around her ribcage, center pressing into the hard plains of her stomach. And Kara groans at the dampness she already feels there through the fabric of her pants. She curses under her breath, unable to resist the urge to press her body into her and Lena moans. A high pitched, beautiful sound and she grips at her shoulders.  

Kara’s focus goes back to her chest, her infatuation with it already building and she knows this is going to spiral into a full-blown obsession. The stiffened peaks just begging for attention and she latches on. Lightly sucking and Lena lets out a whispered  fuck , but Kara hears it loud and clear. Her hips rock up into her stomach, seeking any kind of relief that she’s permitted. And it’s obvious at this point where all of this is going. She hasn’t been asked to stop, has only received wordless encouragements and immediate agreement with anything that she does. But she wants to ask, wants to be considerate and clear. “Tell me what you want, Lena.” 

She needs to hear her say it, and Lena who has been significantly limited in her ability to speak coherently for the past several minutes suddenly regains her ability to form actual sentences, which is actually impressive. “God,  fuck.  You can do whatever you want to me.” She says, voice needy and yearning, hips jumping up to punctuate the message. “Please.  Please,  just make me come.” 

It's all she needs to hear. Words slamming into her with an unbelievable force and shooting directly between her own legs. Lena’s skin is flushed, breaking into a light sheen of sweat. Her chest is heaving, she’s clawing at Kara’s back and it’s perfect. Everything about her is so unbelievably perfect. She comes up to capture her lips again, assuring her, “I’ll give you anything you want baby.” And Lena moans sweetly into her mouth, squirming slightly underneath her when one of Kara’s hands snakes between them and comes to rest on her cloth covered center. She presses in gently with the heel of her palm and Lena bites down on her lower lip, crying out into her mouth and wrapping her legs around Kara’s waist. “Kara  please.”  She begs and Kara can’t deny her.  

She pulls back, looking into darkened eyes. Just taking her in while her hands slip under her waistband, thumbs caressing over her hipbones, moving to the crease of her thighs. She looks enchanting like this. Hair splayed out behind her, inky black against the light shade of the blanket. Body trembling with anticipation when Kara moves to pull the fabric down. Thumbs hooking into the waistband of her pants and underwear and Lena raises her hips eagerly to help her get them off. 

They’re moving fast, she knows it. It’s the first thought in her head when the fabric is bunched around her knees and Kara sits up to rid her of it completely. She knows they’re moving fast. She had always imagined that she would take her on a few dates first if she ever managed to work up the nerve and actually  speak.  But the thought disappears the moment she sees Lena spread out beneath her. Glistening thighs and absolutely  soaked  already, nearly begging for Kara to taste her. 

She licks a strip up her thigh immediately, the sweet, heavy flavor of her settling onto her tongue and Lena hisses when she gets close to her throbbing center. Her heart is pounding a mile a minute. Her eyes intently focused on Kara, heavy lidded with arousal. Knuckles white from gripping the blankets beside her and Kara can’t wait any longer. She hooks her arms around Lena’s thighs, hands pressing her hips down into the pillows, and she presses forward to taste her fully for the first time. Tongue swirling around her clit before sucking it into her mouth and the sound that Lena makes is one that she will never get out of her head. 

One hand grips at Kara’s hair, her breath shuttering and a wanton moan escaping her lips. Her hips buck reflexively, trying to get as close to her as she possibly can. She pulls her free hand to her mouth, biting down on the back of it to muffle the downright sinful sounds that Kara is pulling from her, an action that the kryptonian discourages immediately, reaching up to gently pull her hand away and lacing their fingers. Giving a clear instruction of  let me hear you baby  before returning to the task at hand.  

Lena tastes exquisite, phenomenal – all of the pleasant descriptor words in the English language combined and she would really be content to stay here indefinitely. Flicking her tongue over Lena’s swollen clit, pulling it into her mouth, feeling her pliant and borderline delirious beneath her with a hand tightening in her hair. Hearing her say “ God Kara  – you feel so fucking good,” In  that voice.  The same one that’s been haunting her for years and now she never wants to hear anything else. 

She dips her tongue lower, teasing at her entrance before slipping inside and Lena cries out. Arching into her and chanting a chorus of  fuck  over and over again. Trying to pull Kara deeper when she presses her thumb over her clit, rubbing in tight circles.  

She feels her start to tighten around her and suddenly she wants to feel more. Wants to hear Lena scream her name and clench around her fingers, grind down into her tongue when she comes undone completely. So, she switches places, moving back up to take her clit into her mouth and resting her fingers just outside of her entrance. Glancing back up to her to seek permission. Gaining it in the form of  yesgodplease .  

She presses inside her, two fingers deep to the knuckle and Lena’s head lolls back, hand pressing into the back of Kara’s head, fingers pulling and flexing at her scalp. She presses into that spot inside her, stilling her fingers almost completely before speeding them up into a vibration. Earning herself the loudest cry yet, immediately followed by “Don’t stop, ffuck, Kara  please don’t fucking stop.”  And she speeds her tongue too. Pressing down on the bundle of nerves in her mouth and she listens to her scream. Thighs shaking violently around her head, rushing out  I’m gonna come  in a single breath, the last word barely out of her mouth before she’s pulsing around her fingers. A sweet, salty rush coming up into her mouth as her clit twitches under her tongue. 

It seems to last forever. Dragging on into a never-ending wave of pleasure that she can’t stop. She knows the neighbors hear her. There’s no fucking way that they can’t but Kara doesn’t care. Doesn’t care about anything besides fucking her within an inch of her life until she can’t take it anymore.  

But she wants more than anything to kiss her. To feel the press of her lips and the taste of wine on her tongue. So as soon as her grip loosens in her hair, as soon as the pulse around her fingers reduces into a soft flutter, she moves to do just that. Kissing her way back up Lena’s body and capturing her lips, her hand still shaking at the nape of Kara’s neck. 

Lena moans at the taste of herself and it’s already addicting, being with her like this. She can say with all certainty that she will never tire of it. Never grow used to the feeling of making Lena come, watching the way her lips fall open into a silent scream when she presses a third finger inside her, starting an agonizingly slow pace because she wants to see every second of it.  

She moves back to her neck, tasting the leftover hints of perfume on her skin, sucking on her pulse point. She’s giving the guarantee that high end concealer will be needed, but there is no objection to it. There are only pale thighs wrapping around her waist, a voice whispering her name over and over, and shaking hands that try to grip at her shoulders but are redirected almost immediately. Kara grasps them both, pinning them over top of Lena’s head earning a very loud sound of approval.  

She doesn’t know where the bravado comes from but it’s clear that it’s received well and maybe that’s what does it. Maybe it’s the sound she makes when Kara whispers filthy things in her ear, swirling her tongue around the lobe and telling her how pretty she looks when she’s being fucked like this. Maybe it’s the rush of heat that spills out of her when she’s being held down, completely at the mercy of someone else. Maybe it’s the blind trust that she offers when she allows Kara to take the lead, never once seeming hesitant or unsure despite the fact that such a thing could be dangerous. She just lets her do whatever she wants as promised, hands clenching around Kara’s palm and expletives spilling out of her throat in intervals, varying in pitch.  

It builds faster this time, despite the slow, torturous nature of it. She isn’t trying to race to the finish line, she wants to take her time with this but Lena is already tightening around her fingers. Cries picking up in intensity despite trying to hold herself back in an effort to fulfill the unspoken request. And Kara loves her for that. But there will be time for that later, there will be other moments like this. Moments that she can push Lena right to the edge and then pull her back slowly. There will be time to learn all the places that will drive her out of her mind, make her beg for mercy and sob out a release into Kara’s shoulder. So, she lets it go this time, giving the assurance of “You can come for me, baby. I wanna feel you.” Because there will be later, and she has so many plans for later.  

It seems to be all the encouragement she needs and Kara comes back up to kiss her, slow and deep, capturing the cries on her tongue and speeding her fingers. Her eyes are squeezed shut, creases visible and she jerks up into Kara’s hand. Wordlessly begging for it harder. Faster. Deeper, anything that can make her come and Kara is happy to comply, thrusting in faster, pressing  just  right into that spot that makes her gasp into her mouth and her thighs clamp around her. Tightly enough that it pulls Kara all the way down. Clenching so hard that movement is nearly impossible and it’s  perfect.  

She fucks her through the aftershocks, until her body stills and her breathing slows. And this is so not how she pictured this night going, would never have even allowed the thought to come into her head. But somehow, she’s here, with Lena lying contently underneath her, blissed and thoroughly spent and it successfully shoots to the top of the list of all the things that Kara has ever loved in this world. Taking the number one spot with a smug satisfaction. 

Green eyes blink open again when Kara releases her hands, reaching to brush dampened hair back from her temple. They’re still lidded and warm. And filled with so much love that Kara feels that her chest could burst open from the sight of it. And something about the moment makes her feel shy. Makes her shed the confident persona and drift back into something truer to character. Her cheeks redden under Lena’s gaze, but she still can’t help but to say “Hi beautiful.” Just to watch her face light up.  

Lena kisses her softly this time. Slow and decadent like she wants to savor this moment, and Kara wholeheartedly relates. There’s really nowhere else in the world that she’d rather be right now, nothing else that she would rather see and the feeling is strange. New but entirely welcome.  

She flexes the feeling back into her fingers, bringing her arms to rest around Kara’s back, nails dragging gently against the curve of her spine and now she’s the one threatening to come undone at such a simple gesture. It never has taken much of anything when it comes to Lena. Sometimes just a single look from her will set Kara’s entire body on edge but this is different. This is real. This is Lena slipping under the waistband of her pants, squeezing and whispering “Take these off” into her mouth in  that  fucking voice and Kara is helpless to it. Utterly and completely useless when Lena speaks to her that way, so she gives her what she wants. She sits up enough to pull them down, not offering any argument when Lena flips them and lays Kara flat on her back so that she can strip her the rest of the way bare. And then there she is. Lena, who is by far the most beautiful creature that Kara has ever seen on this world or any other, looking at her like she single handedly hung the stars. Like she has never seen anything better in all her years of existence and Kara flushes again under the blatant stare of approval when Lena traces over her abs.  

“God how are you even real?” She says breathlessly, mostly to herself as she scans over Kara’s body. Such a thing might make her uncomfortable if it were anyone else. But she’s happy to indulge Lena. Lena who is looking at her that way. Lena who was screaming out her name not even five minutes ago. Lena who she loves in a way that she has never loved anyone.  

She settles down on top of her to continue her admiration, straddling her thigh and Kara’s breath hitches at the evidence of Lena’s arousal on her skin. A soft moan escaping her mouth when Lena’s thigh presses into her center and the other woman looks up at her in surprise at first, something that melts into sheer satisfaction after a moment, knowing that she’s the cause of such a thing.  

She presses her lips to Kara’s neck, tracing her tongue along the tendons and dragging her hand painfully slow up her ribcage until it settles over her breast. She breathes out her name as her fingers circle around her nipple, her hands threading through soft strands of dark hair. She seems intent to work her up, not having any desire to skip the fun part despite the fact that Kara is nearly coming out of her skin already.  

She takes her time in her descent down Kara’s body. Paying a fair bit of attention to her chest, taking a hardened nipple in her mouth and swirling her tongue and Kara grits her teeth to control her shout. Something she’s immediately scolded for, a silky voice telling her “I want to hear you too.” And she lets her inhibitions go after that.  

She’s soaking into the blankets she knows, one of her couch throws that she will never look at the same way again without remembering this in vivid detail. Lena’s thigh continues to press and she doesn’t tamper the urge to grind into it as she sucks on her breast, releasing it with a pop before switching sides.  

Lena is gentle, taking her time to savor. To commit to memory much the same way that Kara did with her. Her tongue traces along Kara’s abs, all the defining muscles until they’re quivering under the surface and Kara can hardly think straight anymore. The only thought in her head, the only word she is able to articulate is  Lena.  Over and over until her throat is hoarse from overuse and her voice sounds so incredibly desperate that she almost doesn’t recognize herself.  

“Tell me what you need from me, love.” Lena commands softly, voice husky and low as she presses her lips to the apex of her thighs and  Rao  she might actually explode if she keeps talking to her like that. 

As it is, she still isn’t able to articulate it. She can’t make her mouth form the words, too caught up in the feeling of Lena’s soft lips on her skin, her voice, her  everything.  She opens her mouth but the words wont form, a desperate moan falls out in place of them when Lena inches down lower, drawing closer to Kara’s aching clit and she almost thinks that she’s going to pass out. All she can manage, all her voice can produce is just one word, one single word that she hopes can convey it all. “Pl-please.” Her voice shakes and her thighs tremble. And Lena finally gives in, pressing her mouth lower and finally licking a stripe up Kara’s center. Then her vision goes white.  

Lena is thorough, attentive. Completely tuned in to everything that makes Kara’s senses go haywire so that she can do them over and over again. She sucks lightly on her clit, tongue flicking roughly over it and her nails drag down the backs of her thighs. Kara fists a hand in her hair, careful not to pull too hard, always cautious of her own strength but the things that Lena is doing to her with her tongue right now are absolutely sinful. Barely a minute in and she already knows that she’s going to come harder than she ever has in her life despite how much she has to hold herself back.  

Her hips jerk and Lena presses her down. More for show than anything, but Kara latches onto the reminder. Grinding gently on her tongue, trying to keep her movements measured but the way that Lena is working her over is not boding well for rational thought. She’s moaning into Kara’s folds, taking her enthusiastically and putting great focus into pulling her completely apart. Her thighs shake violently around Lena’s head, her back arches and she cries out a rendition of her name into the ceiling.  

She feels herself building, cresting. Feels the pressure in the bottom of her stomach and white-hot fire shooting through her veins. And when her peak finally hits, her hands fly to the cushions on either side of her, ripping them almost instantly upon contact. She vaguely hears the tearing fabric over the rush of blood in her ears but she can’t bring herself to care because it just keeps coming. Clit twitching in Lena’s mouth, a rush spilling out onto her tongue and she devours it greedily. Content to stay just as she is until the moment has passed and probably even longer, but Kara doesn’t know that she could do this twice without setting off her heat vision and burning the building down. It’s not an explanation she cares to delve into.  

Once her breathing tapers off into something resembling normal, she reaches for Lena again, running her fingers through her hair. “Come 'ere.” It comes out as more of a slur than anything, voice still not working properly but Lena follows. Pressing a parting kiss and moving back up her body. Settling down beside her this time and Kara turns to face her.  

Her chin is slick, eyes bright. Only the faintest hint of color still staining her lips from the makeup she never removed and she’s smiling. Dimples showing, eyes crinkling in the corners, looking so thoroughly and blissfully happy that Kara can’t help but to mirror it before slinging an arm around her waist and pulling her close. 

Lena’s head settles under her chin and Kara presses a kiss into her hair. She molds into her like she was always meant to be there. Like she’s been waiting forever for this and has finally been permitted to take the spot that Kara reserved for her a long time ago.  

They lay bare against each other, limbs intertwined and skin cooling from the slight chill in the air. Kara draws patterns on her back, mapping over the freckles that she finds and Lena just pulls her closer. The silence between them is comfortable. A mutual understanding having been reached without the need to voice it at all.  

There will be Christmas mornings now. There will be dates and stolen kisses and holding hands while dashing through the rain. There will be every romantic cliché in existence. There will be teasing from their friends, blushes and secret smiles. And there will be love. There will be so much love.  

As if pulling the thought right out of her head, Lena finally decides to speak. Voice a steady rumble against Kara’s chest, a familiar lilt and lips curling into a smile against her skin. “In case it wasn’t obvious, I love you too.”  

Kara laughs. A pure embodiment of joy and love and all things in between. She pulls her head back and Lena peers up at her through long, dark lashes. “Well,” Kara says, pretending to think it over, “I’m not sure if it came off clear enough the first time. Perhaps you should show me again.” 

Lena smiles then. Mischievous and wicked, a sharp contrast to twinkling lights from the tree and the snowy December night. And Kara thinks that maybe having to explain a spontaneous building fire may not be so bad after all.