Supergirl drops onto the balcony, carefully setting Kieran on her feet. She stays close, not because she wants to- she would much rather be flying away already, would much rather have her heart rate return to normal and leave the voice that’s shouting at her to love, love, you must love her behind -but because Kieran’s hands are still gripping onto her shoulders as if she is the only thing keeping her standing.
“You’re okay,” Supergirl says softly. Her heart flutters like a busy hummingbird. She’s the woman of steel, yet in this moment she feels so, very vulnerable, like she’s letting herself be molten with every second she keeps Kieran in her arms, every second she lets herself remember how she looked strewn across the ground in Lillian’s bunker.
Kieran puffs out a single breath. Supergirl can hear their hearts beating together in quick drums- lub-dub, lub-dub, love-her, love-her. She tilts her chin down, just the slightest bit, and below the dust and the Kryptonite and gunpowder she inhales the jasmine scent of Kieran’s shampoo.
“I’m okay,” Kieran says. Her hands spread out so that her nails are no longer digging into Supergirl’s impervious skin. “I’m okay.”
She takes a step back, but her body must not be used to the solid ground after so much time in the air. She covers merely an inch of space before she starts swaying and loses her footing.
Supergirl has no choice but to tuck her hands around Kieran’s waist to steady her.
Kieran looks up at her with a shocked blink of her long-lashed lids. Her complexion is still pallid from the stressful events of the past hour (has it really only been an hour?), but her cheeks glow with the first sign of returning color- an adorable dusting of pink. The diamonds on her ears glint under the moonlight, but the emeralds of her eyes, deep and dark and dangerously demure, are the most precious, expensive thing she carries on herself.
Lena keeps close, only tilting her head so that she can nod at the director. The long expanse of her neck puts on a show right under Kara’s nose, arching proudly, showing off its freckles and the strong muscles that lead from her collarbone and up to behind her ear.
“Closer this time,” the director instructs.
Lena smirks, fingers slowly trailing back to Kara’s shoulder. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Alex predicted this outcome from the very start- that Kara would be incapable of separating her feelings from her character’s, that she’d take on their traumas as her own. And you’re not short on traumas yourself, she’d said, eyebrows raised in effect.
Supergirl’s the one in love with Kieran, that is a fact that can’t be refuted, is in the script itself- but sometimes it feels like Kara is in love with Lena . In those seconds after the director yells cut, when Lena’s touch lingers and a leftover tension sings between them, Kara’s not entirely sure who they are exactly- Supergirl or Kara, Kieran or Lena, acting or being.
They repeat the scene two more times, Lena getting closer each time, handsier each time, palm spreading over the crest on her suit so that Kieran can feel the drumbeat of Supergirl’s heart.
It’s Kieran’s soft Irish tilt when she insists that she’s okay, but Lena’s eyes dazzling up at her. It’s Kieran’s dress, perfectly modest except for the way it stops mid thigh, but Lena’s curves underneath, supple and sweet. It’s Supergirl’s mind screaming that she loves her, but Kara’s heart racing in her chest.
The director yells cut and the crew starts bringing in the wires so Kara can do her stunts. Lena smiles at her, squeezing at her bicep through the padding. “You were really good.”
Kara grins. She can't wait to see how they look on the screen. “You were amazing.”
Lena squeezes Kara’s arm again in thanks, lashes fluttering. Supergirl, Kara, Kieran, Lena- they all blur together into one giant, spiralling tornado.
“I’m heading out. See you tomorrow night for the big scene?”
The big scene. Right.
Just like that, the butterflies in Kara’s stomach become something else entirely. Lena’s eyes dart between hers, reading her like a book.
“We can meet up earlier to rehearse,” she says. “There are a few things I want to get your input on.”
“Not too early, please.”
Lena rolls her eyes, leaning on Kara as she takes off her heels, one at a time. “Fine, sleeping beauty. I’ll come by around noon.”
“Can’t wait,” Kara chirps, watching her walk away.
Lena has a spare key to Kara’s apartment that she uses whenever Kara’s too tired to get up and open the door herself, so it really shouldn't be a surprise when Kara walks through the front door, glad to finally be alone, only to find her co-star on her couch.
Lena cranes her neck around with a grin that quickly falls at what she sees. “You’re hurt! What happened?”
“Stupid stunt,” Kara says. She uses the arm that’s not in a sling to tame some of her errant hairs, but gives up trying when they bounce back. She slumps against the door with a sigh.
“You need to sleep.” Lena’s suddenly in front of her, warm hand on Kara’s cheek. “Did you eat anything?”
“No food.”. It sounds suspiciously close to a whine, but Kara doesn’t care enough at the moment to be embarrassed by it. “Sleep.”
“Okay, come on.”
Lena helps her into the bedroom. She’s being so kind, so nice, she even takes her shoes off and tucks her in.
“Are you on pain drugs or just woozy?” Lena asks. It’s a word they took to after the director used it to describe a scene. Woozy. It was midnight and they got a case of the giggles and could barely get through any of the takes.
“If drugs are bad for you, why do they feel so good?”
Lena chuckles. Her hand is on Kara’s cheek again, and it’s warm, so warm, Kara wants to sleep in it. “Sleep tight.”
“Drugs are cool,” Kara mumbles.
Kara dreams of it. Their big scene. Their giant, all encompassing scene. It starts where they left off. Supergirl just saved Kieran from her mother’s evil grasp, flew with her held tightly to her chest across the world- but there’s something wrong, something different.
Kieran’s different. Her ears aren't studded with a single diamond, the other one lost when she was pushed over in the fight. Instead, they’re studded all the way down the lobe. Her mouth is sticky with chapstick instead of her usual red lipstick, and her lashes are mascara-free but still long as she blinks up at her.
It’s not Kieran. It’s Lena.
“We shouldn’t do this,” Supergirl says. Her hand is on Lena’s waist, fingers exploring the waistband of her jeans, the material a stark contrast to Kieran’s expensive dresses. “I love Kieran.”
Lena tilts her head, hand smoothing over Supergirl’s family crest. “But I am Kieran.”
“What about Kara?”
Lena smiles demurely, the edge of her lip coming closer towards Kara’s thumb. “What about her?”
Kara wakes up just as their lips touch. Her heart squeezes with an unprecedented hurt. It was just a dream , but Lena’s words echo in her mind for the rest of the day.
What about her?
Their filming schedule is altered to accommodate her injury and the kissing scene is postponed as a result. Kara can’t stop thinking about it. She’s stopped falling asleep in their trailer because she’s afraid that Lena will catch her saying her name- either one of her names -in her dreams.
“Stop looking so sad,” Lena scolds. She’s squiggling on Kara’s cast, a mess of circles and lines, while they watch Kara’s stunt double fly in front of a blue screen and land on the ground fist-first.
“I can do that,” Kara mutters.
“Probably not better than her, though.” Lena winces at Kara’s affronted look. “What? She’s an American Ninja Warrior. I mean, look at her.”
“Okay, keep it in your pants,” Kara grumbles. “I could be an American Ninja.”
“Sure you can,” Lena says appeasingly.
“What’re you drawing, anyway?”
“It’s the chemical structure for Kryptonite.”
Like it’s normal to know such a thing.
“This cast’s my Kryptonite,” Kara moans.
Lena tucks her Sharpie behind Kara’s ear. “You’re the opposite of my Kryptonite. You’re my sunlight.”
She kisses Kara’s cheek before bounding away to start filming her scene. Kara runs a finger over the drawing on her cast and considers, for a strange moment, tattooing it on her arm when she takes it off.
Kara is a serial crusher. During her first year of college she crushed on five different people simultaneously. She juggled them like a professional clown. Her dating life, though, is constricted to short lived experiences, mostly because the flame extinguished very quickly once the chase was over.
This, though, isn’t a crush, Kara doesn’t think. Everything is amplified by a dozen. A touch feels like a forest fire and a mindless string of words like a stab to the chest. She stays up thinking about Lena, writing about Lena, thinking about- about kissing Lena. Kara doesn’t think she can separate herself from Supergirl any more, and maybe that’s fine, maybe that’s okay. The kissing scene will be that much more real. Supergirl loves Kieran and Kara loves Lena and it’s made it easier to act like it, to act as if Supergirl doesn’t kiss Kieran she’ll die because if Kara doesn’t kiss Lena she’ll die.
God, Kara never realized how dramatic it is to be in love.
It’s always easier in the morning, though, after she’s tortured herself with a long night of overthinking. Easier to look at herself in the mirror and think: It’s okay, you’re not going to die over this. It’s just a crush.
It’s easier not to think about it when she’s actually with Lena, because Lena makes everything easy.
“What’re you reading?” Kara asks. Lena let herself into the apartment while Kara was sleeping again, so when Kara speaks her voice comes out gruff. She pads into the kitchen for a drink of water, only to realize that there’s a fresh pot of tea waiting for her on the stove. She pours herself a mug and smiles into it as Lena replies, voice carrying over from her couch.
“There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? Interesting analogy, isn’t it? I think that’s why I like our job so much.”
“I’ve never kissed anyone before,” Kara blurts.
Lena blinks, once, twice, thrice. When she speaks her voice is the highest Kara’s ever heard it. “What? You’ve never kissed anyone? You? ”
Kara presses the heel of her palm to her forehead. “No, I’ve kissed before, I just meant- I never really got into it. Like how we’re supposed to, for our scene. Like, kiss kiss. I’ve kissed before.”
Lena closes her book. “Okay. Do you maybe want to sit?”
“That’s a good idea,” Kara says. She feels loopy. Like she could keel over at any second. Like all the blood in her body is rushing to her cheeks.
“I think what you’re saying is you’ve never made out before?”
Kara covers her face. She’s probably having a mini stroke. Not probably. Definitely. “I have, I just never enjoyed it. I think I’m traumatized.”
The couch dips as Lena sits next to her. She uncovers Kara’s face and holds Kara’s hand in hers. “Was it in a movie theater?”
Kara nods wordlessly.
“Did he use too much tongue and taste like Doritos?”
“How did you know?” Kara croaks.
“God, I’m so sorry.” Lena pulls her into a hug, little giggles muffled against her shoulder.
“You’re laughing at me.”
“I’m not,” Lena says, still giggling. “I’m not! Sorry. You don’t have to worry, I don’t taste like Doritos, okay? I don’t even like Doritos.”
Kara flops onto her back. “That’s not what I’m worried about.”
Lena follows, straddling Kara’s lap and obscuring her view of the ceiling. “Sorry, I’m done. I’m glad you told me. Okay, stop.” Lena drags Kara’s hand away from her face, pinning it to her side. Kara’s other hand is useless in the cast. She reluctantly meets Lena’s eyes. “Can we be adults about this?”
“I’m older than you.”
Lena rolls her eyes. “A month doesn’t count.” She covers Kara’s mouth before she can protest. “We can practice, if you’re comfortable with that.”
“Practice,” Kara repeats, muffled by Lena’s palm.
“First off, are we calm?”
“I think I’m having a heat stroke.”
Lena, nettled, moves to get up, but Kara stops her before she can get too far. “Okay, okay, I’m calm.”
“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, you know.” At Kara’s perplexed expression, Lena elaborates. “We can use your stunt double for the scene. No one will be able to tell, and I don’t mind. Jessie’s actually kind of nice--”
“No.” Kara’s grip becomes determined. She holds eye contact with Lena for the first time since this conversation started. “I need to do the scene justice. And um,” Kara stops, suddenly keenly aware of their position and flustered under Lena’s focused attention. “Supergirl needs to be the one to kiss Kieran, it’s only right. For the characters.”
“I agree,” Lena says. She puts her hand on Kara’s sternum, as if trying to calm her heart rate. “For the characters, and… for us.”
For us. What does that mean?
Kara wraps her fingers around Lena’s wrist to keep her hand in place. It feels like Lena’s holding onto Kara’s heart, like it’s reaching for her with every frantic beat.
“I think it would be good to practice, but only if you’re comfortable with that too.”
“I’m always comfortable with you,” Lena says.
Kara feels sheepish all of a sudden. There’s no reason to be this nervous around Lena- except that she’s in love with her and they’re going to kiss .
“I’m sorry if I made this awkward.”
Lena pinches Kara’s chin between forefinger and thumb and speaks like her word is fact. “You didn’t. We’ll practice, and you’ll be great, and you’ll do the scene justice. But not today. I think you might actually have a nervous breakdown if I spring this on you.”
Kara doesn’t disagree.
“How about this?” Lena traces a finger along Kara’s jutting collarbone, gathering her thoughts. “I’ll take you out for dinner- or it doesn’t have to be dinner, if you want to avoid food all together. We’ll get hot cocoa from Noonan’s afterwards. It’ll be comfy and cozy and I'll taste like your favorite drink and then we’ll practice, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Kara echoes softly, cheeks flushing at the mere idea of it. Lena’s mouth, tasting like her favorite drink. “Then we’ll practice. Yes. Sounds good.”
Lena bends over her, hand curling into the fabric of her shirt for balance. “I’ll pick you up at eight,” she murmurs, so close Kara can admire her long, fluttering lashes. She presses their cheeks together, what Kara thinks was supposed to be a goodbye kiss, but stays close for a moment too long, their shared heat wrapping all around them. Her perfume is different from what she wears when she’s Kieran, more flowers rather than smoke.
Then she pulls back and is out the door before Kara can process any of it.
Heat stroke. Heat stroke heat stroke heat stroke.
“How are we feeling?” is the first thing Lena asks when Kara gets in the car for their date, her voice taking on this new timber, as if she’s speaking for Kara and no one else. We, like they’re a unit, like they’re in this together.
It’s a colder night than usual, a flurry of snow falling like a spur-of-the-moment decision. Lena looks beautiful, dressed in a leather jacket and a red scarf. Kara can’t help noticing her pink lipgloss, and then noticing again, and again, and again, a little tingle in her dead cold toes each time.
She doesn’t realize where they’re headed until they’re already there. She rounds the car to meet Lena at the front.
“No,” she says emphatically.
“Yes.” Lena grins. “It’ll be fun. You’ll make new memories.”
Lena advocates strongly for A Quiet Place Two, but ultimately concedes to Kara’s preference- a rerun of 10 things I hate about you. She makes such a big deal of not ordering nachos at the stand that it makes Kara’s ears flame.
They sit at the far back. There’s an arm separating their two chairs and Lena leans on it the whole time, shoulder touching Kara’s and temple nudging hers each time she laughs.
They leave the theater with the intention of getting hot cocoa. Kara tucks her fingers into the sleeves of her sweater, warming them with the fabric. It means their hands stop touching with every step, but that might be for the best, because now Kara’s mind is wandering to mouths that taste like her favorite drink, and the fear of falling even deeper in love, and final scenes and falling out of touch and never being enough.
Lena stops their progress with a gentle touch to her elbow. “Are you cold?”
“Yeah,” Kara says, shivering. “This stupid sweater is doing nothing for me.”
“Oh, I think it's doing a lot of things for you.” Again with that just for you voice and conspiratorial smile. Lena takes off her scarf, swings it around Kara’s neck, and pulls her closer. “How are we feeling?”
At some point they started speaking in whispers. Lena sets her hand on the back of Kara’s neck, thumbing her cheek softly. “Do you maybe want to…”
Kara nods. She doesn’t think she’s ever wanted anything more.
“I want this to be good for you,” Lena says.
Kara feels the distinct urge to look away. She thinks whatever of her feelings she managed to hide from Lena must be displayed openly on her face, but she doesn’t care to hide them. Her heart is swelling to twice its size in her chest, using the extra space to keep this vision of Lena- flowing hair, soft voice, softer hands -safe inside.
“It’s already good,” Kara whispers. It comes out shaky, and low, so low because she’s so aware of just how close they are. Lena leans in and Kara closes her eyes because she can’t bear to see it. Her lips find the corner of Lena’s mouth. Lena moves so that she’s kissing the groove below Kara’s bottom lip. Then Kara finds her mouth, in the complete darkness of her closed lids.
They’re supposed to be practicing for the scene, but there’s no words exchanged, nothing to make it seem like this is anything but two women kissing each other and kissing and kissing and kissing. Kara’s heart is thundering, lightning and hurricanes and floods. Her hands are in Lena’s hair, and she’s pushing forward into the kiss, pushing and pushing until Lena’s back is against a wall and Kara’s pretty much holding her up. Her wrist has been throbbing with a gentle ache ever since she took the cast off but in the moment Kara forgets all about it. She wants to be near Lena, inside her, around her, all of it.
Lena pulls away. Her voice is breathy and her eyes are the darkest Kara’s ever seen them. Her pink lipstick is smudged all over her top lip. She looks over-kissed and beautiful.
“I think we should stop.” Lena’s hands curl into her collar, keeping her close, but Kara isn’t trying to get away, doesn’t ever want to be away. “I’ll drive you home. We’ll practice for the scene tomorrow, okay?”
She must tell, Kara thinks. She must see it plain and clear, just how far and deep Kara is. Her chest suddenly goes from feeling so full to hollow. Of course, of course Lena would want to stop.
Their eyes lock, Lena’s darting between the two of hers. Kara gathers herself together and squeezes Lena’s hands. “Okay. Let’s go.”
Lena drives her home. For a dazed moment, Kara considers leaning over the center console and kissing her goodbye. She wishes she could- she wishes this was a real date, that they were starting something new, something permanent, something just for the two of them and not for the whole world to see.
But they aren’t. They aren’t and the next time Kara won't lose herself in it like she did just now.
Kara half expects that Lena won’t show up, that she’ll decide it’s better to kiss Jessie after all, but Lena is nothing if not dedicated and Kara was a fool to doubt that.
They practice in Kara’s living room this time. They move the coffee table away from the couch, Kara only using her good hand to carry her side of the furniture at Lena’s worried insistence, then stand facing each other in the middle of the room.
“Okay, so, we just dropped on the balcony,” Lena says, guiding Kara’s arms around herself. “I’m looking up at you like this, and you tilt your head down…”
Kara complies, eyes darting down to Lena’s lips.
“And now… you kiss me.”
Kara does. There’s a gentle pop when Lena pulls away. Kara follows, reluctant to cut contact, but catches herself in time.
“Okay, good,” Lena whispers. Her fingers tremble and she soothes them with Kara’s shoulder. “Don’t pull away too far. Do it again, and pull me closer.”
“Like this?” Kara asks.
“Yeah,” Lena says against her lips breathily. “Maybe lift me up a little, can you do that?”
There’s a soft moan when Kara complies, an opening for Kara’s tongue to introduce itself.
“Good. Good.” Lena laughs, touching her mouth as she steps back. “That’s how Supergirl would be. Confident, experienced. Nothing like yesterday.”
“Right,” Kara says, more bitter than she intends. She fails to notice the teasing, happy glint in Lena’s eyes, or the confusion that flashes after her response.
“I think we’re ready,” Lena says, pressing a quick kiss to the corner of Kara’s lips before she leaves. Kara considers it a happy accident.
It’s less magical in front of the cameras. There are around 10 people in the room, and Kara’s very focused on her movements- pull Lena in close, kiss her just so, lift her the slightest bit, then pull back to look in her eyes.
It feels awkward and clunky and she’s in her head because there is a different kind of tension than usual in the air between them. When before there was no clear distinction between Kieran and Supergirl, Lena and Kara, now there is a boundary being drawn between takes, and it’s offsetting.
“This is not working,” the director says, toppling his headphones over in his frustration. “This is the most important scene in the movie. We altered the entire schedule for it and we only have this one day to get it right. So you two take five, do whatever you need to do, and when you come back, get it done. ”
Lena walks away without a word. Kara mutters an assent and scurries after her, tripping over her cape in her haste.
Kara knows exactly what’s wrong. It’s been a week since the kiss outside the movie theater and they still haven’t gone back to normal. Kara’s chest widens with it, and the idea of ending this beautiful journey together with this chasm between them fills it with dread. She messed up.
“I’m making you uncomfortable,” Kara says worriedly, watching as Lena sits on the uncomfortable couch in their trailer and kneads at her temple.
“It’s not your fault,” Lena says, interrupting before Kara can ramble on. “I’m the one being unprofessional. It’s hard kissing the person who just rejected you. I just need a moment, alright?”
Kara hesitates. The last thing she wants is to make the woman that means the most to her uncomfortable, but her curiosity is piqued by Lena’s phrasing. “Wait… what do you mean rejected you?”
“I don’t know what I was thinking.” Lena seems to be talking to herself moreso than to Kara. “Asking you out on a date right before our final scene. I couldn’t have waited a couple weeks, or better yet, never done it at all!”
“Wait,” Kara says, urgently now. “What date?”
“You obviously don't feel the same way, and that’s fine. We just need to film this one scene and then- and then we never have to talk about it again.”
“Wait. Kara stomps her foot, a nervous sort of energy thrumming under her skin and begging to be released. “I want to talk about it. That day at the theater, was that a real date?”
Lena stops fiddling with the furniture. “What did you think it was?” she asks cautiously.
“I thought we were just practicing for our scene!”
“Oh my god.” Lena looks horrified. “You had no idea.”
There’s a sharp knock on their trailer door, and an assistant pops her head in. “We need you back. Now.”
They trail after her, dragging their feet. “This is so embarrassing,” Lena says out of the corner of her mouth.
“I totally wanted it to be a date,” Kara interrupts, wincing at her own eager volume.
Lena stops walking. “You did?”
“Um, guys?” their assistant waves for them to hurry.
They start walking again, now only a couple feet away from the set.
“And how do you feel now?” Lena asks tentatively.
Kara doesn’t care if their assistant hears them anymore. She doesn’t care if anyone hears. “I’ve only wanted you more since.”
Lena grins. Before she can return the sentiment, they’re back on set and being directed to their positions.
Supergirl, in all her steely glory, seems flustered. She steadies Kieran with shaky hands, her heart pumping lightning instead of blood.
“I’m okay,” Kieran tells her, sensing her unease, but Supergirl can’t believe it. She holds Kieran closer, speaking around the thickness in her throat.
Her voice is a croaky mess. “I could’ve lost you.”
Supergirl hears the breath catching in Kieran’s chest. She looks up at her from under long, dark lashes, her green eyes sparkling with tears. Supergirl catches one with her thumb, swiping across her cheek in a tender caress.
“You’re okay,” she whispers softly, for once abandoning the bravado that comes with putting on the cape and letting herself be molten by the warmth of Kieran’s mouth.
Kara pulls back breathlessly, spit-streaked lips finally taking in air.
“Go out on a date with me, for real this time?” she asks, before the director has even called for them to cut.
Lena fits her thumb to the hollow of Kara’s neck, sultry eyes tracing every detail of her undoing. Her answer is in her smile.