The first time Kara spends the night is a bit of an accident. She’s waiting on the couch while Lena fixes them a drink, and Lena returns to find her head draped over the backrest, mouth gaping open and glasses askew, completely conked out.
Between the options of getting her to her apartment with a forklift and waking her up, Lena decides to let it lie. In the case of a midnight emergency, she has a secret backup super suit in the office anyway.
She gently picks the glasses off Kara’s face and grabs a pillow from the bedroom. She tucks it beneath Kara’s head, and Kara turns her face into it and gives it a good sniff. With dawning horror, Lena realizes she forgot to change the pillowcase.
Trying to wrest a very soft and teareable item from a slumbering Kryptoinian’s grip is a lost cause, and Lena can do nothing but watch, mortified, as Kara makes a face in her sleep and drags the possibly very stinky pillow from underneath her head to hold it in her arms, and lets out a relieved little sigh.
Lena is ready to turn away and nurse her embarrassment in private when she hears a strange noise, a sort of soft, interrupted breathing. Does Kara snore? Oh, Lena is going to use this.
She turns halfway in Kara’s direction, closing her eyes and concentrating on the sound. It’s quiet and regular with a distinct rise and fall, a low frequency warbling, and it has a strangely soothing quality to it; the more Lena listens, the more she wants to hear, almost like a—
—a purr. Kara, on her couch, clutching Lena’s used pillow to her chest, purring.
Lena flees to her office, filled with a sudden inexplicable energy, face flaming with something that feels, unfortunately, like more than embarrassment.
The second time Kara spends the night is a bit more intentional.
“Never ever ever?” Kara asks in horror.
“Well, unless you count boarding school."
"Obviously I don’t! Mandatory sleep arrangements are not a sleepover, Lena!"
And so Kara shows up Friday evening at Lena’s apartment, equipped with snacks, board games, and two sleeping bags.
They camp out on the living room floor after many harrowing but obligatory sleepover activities as per Kara’s direction. Kara snuggles into her sleeping bag until only her head is visible, and barely that in its entirety. She smiles at Lena. Over the hum of the fridge and the occasional traffic outside, Lena can hear her start to purr.
Lena wants to ask, wants to reach, wants to touch, but Kara closes her eyes and is out like a light, rolling onto her side, her back to Lena, even as the purring continues.
Lena wonders what it would be like to feel it, to simply reach out and press her hand to Kara’s back, let those powerful vibrations travel up her arm, sense the corporeal manifestation of Kara’s contentment and comfort and ease.
Fuck. How invasive would that be? Lena’s in her own little sleeping bag, Kara in hers, a clear delineation between them. Kara had rolled onto her side, showing Lena her back. She trusts Lena enough to fall asleep in her presence, to—to purr about it.
Lena turns over, curling her hand to her chest, and allows that addictive, peaceful sound to lull her to sleep.
The seventh time Kara spends the night, Lena just invites her to bed.
"Come on,” she says. “My couch is sick of you. Give the poor thing some space."
Kara doesn’t always seem entirely at ease in her body, but she sprawls all over Lena’s mattress, linking her arms behind her head, filling Lena’s space with her presence as naturally as if this bed has always been hers. Lena watches her from the corner of her eye as she wriggles a little in the sheets, hugging her pillow in one arm, luxuriating in the simple comfort. She’s magnetic.
Lena debates her options before picking her satin pyjama set and climbing in beside her.
Kara immediately flops onto her side, head propped on her arm, grinning. “Fancy seeing you here.”
Lena has left barely an inch between her body and the edge of the bed. She touches it, a reassurance, a promise. “Oh?” she asks. “Come here often, then?”
Kara leans closer. “I wish,” she says, voice low.
Lena stares at her for a fraction too long, laughs awkwardly to compensate, turns away to turn off the light. “Goodnight, you flirt.”
Kara reaches out and squeezes Lena’s hand in the dark. “Goodnight, Lena.”
They fall asleep on opposite sides of the bed. Lena knows this for certain; she checked. She can remember touching the edge of the bed just before falling asleep. But she wakes up—she wakes up with her arm wound around Kara’s belly, Kara’s butt tucked into her groin, Kara’s body vibrating palpably against her own.
Sleep foggy and enamored, Lena reaches an unthinking hand to press directly over Kara’s purring chest.
“Hey,” a muggy voice greets her. Kara turns over onto her back, shoots her a blurry smile.
“Shit.” Lena tries to snatch away her hand only for Kara to grab her arm, keeping her hand against Kara’s chest. The vibrations intensify. “Sorry,” Lena mutters, eyes fixed on her own hand.
Kara grips tighter. “You like it?” she asks, her voice sleep-rough.
Lena swallows. Nods. Denial would be absurd at this point.
“It’s for you,” Kara rasps.
Lena feels her heart in her throat. Her eyes find Kara’s.
“I like your bed,” Kara says, words plain and eyes intense. “I like you.”
Kara’s purring swells and dips with her breath, loud in Lena’s ears, tangible against her skin. Lena puts her weight on the palm braced on Kara’s chest; Kara strains upward in an impressive show of core strength. They meet somewhere in the middle.
Kara kisses sweet and simple, a little sluggish with sleep, still gripping Lena’s forearm. The purring deepens, a low, insistent hum between them; a reassurance, a confession, a gift. Lena turns her head away, overwhelmed. Takes the hand off too.
“What?” Kara sits up further, hand sliding up to grip Lena’s wrist, thumb against her palm. The purring quiets. “What’s wrong?”
I just feel really loved right now, is a thought Lena could never verbally express in a million years.
“Gosh, Lena, are you crying?” Kara digs her thumb into the heel of Lena’s palm. “I’m that bad, huh?”
“The worst,” Lena agrees. Sniffs.
Kara smiles. “Okay. Let me try again? I’m a very good student.”
Lena wipes a knuckle under her eye. “A real teacher’s cat,” she says.
Kara doesn’t dignify that with a laugh, but she does dignify it with another kiss. Lena slumps forward into her until Kara’s back flops back on the bed and her arms come around Lena, physically cocooned within every tactile expression of Kara’s affection.
Lena has no particular physiological mechanism to showcase her appreciation, so she pours it into the kiss instead.