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24 minutes

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“Darling, I have exactly 24 minutes until my next meeting.”

Speaking to the empty air, Lena raises the glass of water to her forehead, presses it against her temple and sighs. It’s cold, beady with condensation from the ice cubes clinking softly within, but the throb behind her right eye only lessens momentarily. Then, after one too short, blessedly numb moments it resumes, stronger than before. 

The cause of her incipient migraine is today’s mess. 

Which isn’t different from the one she dealt with yesterday. And the day before. And the week before that. Feels like all she’s done since coming to National City is extinguishing the fires her brother’s left behind after he, oh so conveniently, shipped himself off into well-funded exile. 

To put it simply, Lex ran, but of course she’s not allowed to use that word. Orderly retreat and regrouping are more to Lillian’s taste.

Yet, no matter her step-mother’s high amount of talking about the situation, it falls to Lena to fix things. She’s the one that has to sit inside a court of law while Lex is tried in absentia for tax evasion and fraud, the one who endures Lillian’s cutting comments when she doesn’t speak out to defend him at press conferences. Who gets attacked by the press anyway, for the unforgivable sin of being born with the wrong last name.

The above considered, she’s doing an admirable job of managing. On her worst days, when she’s just so fucking tired and cranky and she’d like nothing more than to let the family name burn once and for all while she stares at the flames from a safe distance. she feels ugly too, which adds insult to injury, really. 

Lena tells herself that her ass must have doubled in size by now from all the sitting down and the stress-eating, and that there’s no way short of surgery to get rid of the bags that have appeared under her eyes. It’s only a matter of time before some upstart journalist notices too, and suggests she starts hitting the gym or get a botox lift. Perhaps, they’ll say she should do both.

What’s worse, the problems keep on popping up, an endless game of Whack-A-Mole with the company at stake. The most recent one being Morgan Edge, who apparently owns a substantial amount of Luthor Corp’s stock. Lena’s spent weeks sweet-talking him into a deal; she’s offered valuable research, patents, future dividends. The only thing Morgan will accept is money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that he wants now, and that Lena doesn’t have.

“23 minutes, sweetheart.” She wanders to the nearest office window and watches her words fog up the pane. Then, she has to shut her eyes. Under blazing mid-morning light the city shines chrome and glass; beautiful, but too bright for her headache to sustain. “Will soon be 22 if you don’t hurry up.”

Silence.

Lena’s shoulders sag a little. 

"Guess I'm going to use the vibrator I keep in my office for emergencies then." Eyes still closed, Lena turns toward her desk. Palms with one hand and places her thumb on the scanning device tucked under the lip of the table. The bottom drawer opens with an acknowledging beep. "A pity, because your fingers and your tongue are so much better." 

Kara might have bumbled her way through things the first few times, but she's such a diligent— 

Something swooshes right outside, a shadow blocks the searing sunlight and boots thud down on bare concrete, louder than is necessary. The window slides open, and a cool breeze coming from the harbor whispers tales of salt and open waters across the back of Lena’s neck.

God.

“You called?”

The evident smirk in Kara’s tone tells her she’s said that last bit out loud. 

Lena dry swallows.

“You’re late.” She diverts, wishing she’d sound steadier. A bit of water splashes on her hand and she has to set her glass down.

“Or right on time, depending.” A slender hand appears in her field of vision, fingers pointing at the vibrator that peeks out of the drawer. “Please, don’t stop on my account.”

Lena snorts, tries to dissemble. She knows it’s no use. Kara never makes a big deal out of it, but being able to tune in on the tiniest of sounds from hundreds of miles away means she can hear her heart tick up, count each frenzied beat. Maybe she even listens in sometimes, just to make sure Lena’s alright — a possibility that’s both oddly invasive and strangely comforting.

Come to think of it, Kara can probably smell her too, right about now, and that thought sends her heart racing even faster than before. 

But somehow physics-defying, it constricts too, as do her airways when she finally allows herself to turn and gets her first good look at Kara.

And yeah, there’s the lingering buzz of having a superhero at her beck and call, but also a jolt of fear, squeezing around her heart colder than ice, and burning twice as much. Kara’s suit is stained in places, ripped in others. The edge of her cloak is… vitrified, indicating that she's flown through or over a great wave of heat and she has a singed, frazzled look about her. Like she should still be burning, or spitting ash at the very least.

“There was a fire.” Kara takes her hands gently, cradles them as though the wrong kind of touch — too much pressure, or a sudden squeeze — may break Lena in half. Holds both of them flat to her chest guessing that Lena needs to touch her, needs to make sure, beyond what her eyes are trying to tell her, that Kara’s fine, and whole, and nothing bad happened to her. There’s a grimace on the hero’s face, a smudge of the same fear Lena’s feeling that Kara is quick to wipe away and then:

“I guess you’re not entirely wrong. I am two minutes late, but the fire didn’t want to be put out.” 

“I don’t care that you’re late.” Lena chews on her bottom lip until it hurts, until she tastes lipstick on her tongue. Her voice is small, but somehow it fills the office like she’s shouting, and her worry bounces off the walls. She winces, stomach twisting.

In shameful, odd juxtaposition her panties are still damp, stuck to her labia, but she doesn’t care about that either. She needs to know there are no actual burns under the greasy residue of the fire, even though it’s not possible for a simple fire to hurt Kara. Lena just— 

And to think she was so preoccupied with Edge while this was happening. She wants to kick herself. Cry in relief. Wants to—

Hey ." Kara grips her hands a little tighter and it grounds her. "I'm fine, see?" She lets go of Lena long enough to tug at a hidden zipper and the suit opens at the front. On unbroken skin, freckled and tanned by hours spent in the sun. 

"I'm fine, and so is everyone at the site." A touch of pride enters Kara's voice and Lena presses closer. Presses cool lips to Kara's forehead in reward, and it doesn’t matter that she comes away tasting of ash too. 

"My hero." She whispers against the curve of Kara’s jaw and means it in every way possible. Kara sighs, nuzzles into her hair the way she does when they are unbound after a shower, or simply when Lena asks her to undo her ponytail for her as part of the wind down process after a long day. She breathes in, deeply. Breathes out. Her shoulders untighten and she pulls Lena closer so that their foreheads rest together. 

And it’s for moments such as this that Lena is still fighting. One swipe of her credit card can take her hundreds of thousands of miles away from here. From a family that never really wanted her, from a legacy she hates. Have Jess make a phone call and she could fall asleep on a private jet to wake up in Aruba — she has enough funds to her name she could vanish with ease.

But that means leaving Kara behind, and Lena isn’t willing to do that. Can’t in all conscience ask Kara to follow either; there’s people counting on her here, and she’s making a difference. They both are, through different means, although it’s hard to remind herself of that sometimes. 

“You’re doing the thing."

Lena blinks.

"What thing?"

"The thing. " Kara's eyes had fluttered shut but now the open, piercing blue. Intent, staring right at the thoughts Lena wishes to conceal. "The frowny thing you do when something sits heavy on your mind."

"Am not!"

"Are too."

Lena pulls back, but Kara's hand curls around the back of her neck and stops her before she can go very far.

Kara's other hand reaches for her face, a single finger tracing the stress lines on her forehead. 

"Are too," she repeats softly, stroking along the tense line of Lena’s jaw, back and forth, and it’s tempting to just… curl into her solid frame, forget about the day she’s having, the several hours of meetings still left in it. 

But they have—

“16 minutes, now, Lee.” God , it makes her so weak when Kara calls her that, with the soft curl to her mouth, the spark of mirth in her eyes that tell Lena she knows exactly what she’s doing. “I’m okay with just holding you, for the record.” The hand at the back of her neck rubs lower, Kara’s thumb digs into her collarbone and knotted muscles loosen. “But you’re still so tense…” Her touch gentles, and her words are exhales that tickle what few strands of hair have escaped the confines of Lena’s severe hairdo. “Tell me what will help.” 

Their gazes flick to the vibrator in the half-open drawer, and Kara’s hand dips lower again. It stops one short trip from Lena’s ass, and barely on the right side of decorum.

“!6 minutes, uh?” Lena toys with the open zipper of Kara’s supersuit, tugs at it absently and slips a hand beneath the polymer. Kara’s skin is cool from her flight here and Lena’s fingers hedge forward, tracing the corner of her collarbone. At the contact of skin on skin, flesh that is impervious to most things —  cold included — pebbles with goosebumps. “Think that’s enough time for you to make me come?”

“Think you can keep quiet?” 

She should hire a contractor to soundproof the office, shouldn’t she?

Without any warning, Kara moves. She’s a blur, faster than Lena’s all too human eyes can follow, yet controlled. Like a gust of wind that decided to squeeze itself inside a teacup. Kara is purely kinetic, and Lena’s lifted up by the back of her thighs —- her own legs rise with Kara’s momentum to wrap around her narrow hips, and they’re flush to one another. 

It’s always been this easy between them, natural and — sure — the sex was hesitant at first, as they learned what made the other tick, but it’s been so good right from the start. The best Lena’s ever had, honestly, even if she doesn’t like comparing. Maybe because they can laugh about it too when things don’t go quite the way they expected, but Kara’s not laughing now. Kara’s kissing her, and all Lena can do is cling to her shoulders like a love-dazed koala, hang on tight through a trajectory that leads them to an office couch that’s seen its fair share of things. 

A lot of which are definitely not safe for work.

A few paces from the cream-colored cushions Kara sets her down, but before Lena can ask what she has in mind, she’s spun around, the room a blur. A hand splays between her shoulder blades, pushing firmly down, and her hands automatically shoot forward to lessen the inevitable tumble. Her palms slap the back of the couch and she instinctively grabs it, gasping when her skirt is rucked up and out of the way, biting the inside of her cheek as her panties follow the same fate.

“Kara, where—”

But she doesn’t get to finish the question.

The vibrator she keeps in the office for… emergencies is small and unobtrusive. Should someone come across the innocuous-looking device, they wouldn’t know what it is unless they closely inspected it. In the quiet of her office though, the muted buzz can distinctly be heard, rising until the vibrator is on the most powerful setting. 

Then, Kara’s hand reaches down to spread her thighs further apart, places the vibrator against her mound and every last light inside of Lena’s brain winks out. 

It’s bliss. It’s agony. It’s heat. A spark of static down her spine. There’s no doubt in Lena’s mind that, if Kara had placed the vibrator a little higher, she'd have been sent over by the direct stimulation. As it is, she’s staring at the edge of her release, not quite there yet, but close enough that the line is blurring. Close enough that the vibrations rocketing through her hurt just as much as they are pleasant.

Thankfully, Kara seems determined to use the little time they have up to the last second. The vibrator first nudges at her opening, not quite slipping in, then moves away in a massaging motion. It’d be the wrong shape to fit comfortably inside her, anyhow, but the pressure of it makes Lena want to grind back. She does, and when a mark is sucked at her clavicle — Kara undid the first two buttons of her shirt without her noticing — a moan spills out of her.

She’s not loud, not really, but Kara huffs in silent laughter against her neck.

“You’re supposed to keep quiet.”

“Well,” Lena counters more than a little ragged, “you’re not helping.” Another kiss, without the sting of an accompanying mark, lands on her heated skin. Higher, near her pulse point. Then another, climbing still, right under her ear. Nope, Kara’s not making it easy at all.

“Want me to stop?”

“Don’t, please.” The vibrator slides forward, and she’s so wet there is almost zero friction. The contact with her clit is searing, too much to bear. Lena’s hips jerk away from the device, then back, her body caught between too much and not enough.

“Good, ‘cause we’re down to 8 minutes now.” 

How?  

How do they still have time? 

Logically, Lena knows they just got started, but her whole body hums, feels as though Kara’s been teasing her for hours.

The vibrator is held to her clit for an entire eternal minute — not that she’s counting in her head — and Lena begins to see the other side of her release. Rather, she has to close her eyes against the hurricane of sensation whipping through her, but the absence of light doesn’t exclude color at all. When Kara positions the device a certain way, Lena sees flashes of it, bright against the backdrop of her eyelids. When the vibrator falls away, the conflagrations turn to white. In those moments she can’t breathe, only will herself to climax, but it doesn’t come.

“5 minutes.” Kara announces, tongue slick against her earlobe. Her free hand isn’t idle either. She’s undone all of Lena’s buttons, snuck it under her bra, and is circling a nipple with her thumb. For someone who can’t scar, the pads of her fingers are surprisingly rough, and when she captures the stiffened peak, pinching and twisting at it, Lena’s eyes snap open. A wave of dizziness washes over her, and she sways in place; only Kara’s arm, tight around her midriff, keeps her upright.

“So close.” Kara murmurs in her hair, and Lena’s hips twitch in agreement. “2 minutes, babe. Think you can make it?”

“I—” Another moan builds at the back of her throat, cutting her off. “Kara, I can’t— can’t—” This is going to be a loud one, Lena can tell because it’s painful how her lungs try to constrict to keep it in. Jess, whose desk is right outside, will definitely hear.  

“One.”

Lena doesn’t know whether Kara means a minute or a second, but she’s so close it makes no difference. The world tilts and warm lips capture her own, the fingers that had been tormenting her nipple tangling in her hair instead. In milliseconds her ponytail’s a goner, dark hair spilling across her face and Kara’s, and Lena’s sure they both inhale at least a few. But Kara only blows a few strands out of her way, then kisses her again, the wet drag of her mouth swallowing up all of Lena’s sounds.

Below, the hand controlling the vibrator trembles too, and as Lena comes, back hitting the couch, some of the gasps she hears are from Kara.

***

“I really enjoyed that, darling, but I’m so late now.” Okay, she’s being a bit dramatic. Ten minutes is nothing. A bathroom break. Done in a sneeze. But in Lena Luthor’s carefully planned workdays, ten minutes are a big deal. And today, these are ten minutes she can ill afford to lose, no matter how much she wanted them, how badly her tired mind needed the reprieve. She’s alerted Jess to the small hitch in the schedule, and her next meeting has been moved forward accordingly, but that means that the one after that will also need to be pushed back, and the next as well. Her days are puzzles, each event slotted into the ones surrounding it to create a perfect picture. Remove or misplace one, and the pieces turn to dominoes. Lena can only stare at the landslide with her mind’s eyes and grit her teeth.

“You’re doing the thing again.” Kara, sprawled out across the couch like it’s hers, brings a finger to her forehead and makes a circling motion. “Wanna talk about it?”

“No time.” Kara must be the stillest thing inside the building, Lena thinks. She knows that her call to Jess has everybody rushing, and she’s too. Flitting from a corner of the office to the other. Straightening her blouse. Redoing her makeup. Trying to completely wipe the well-fucked, hooded look off her face.

“Lee, stop .” And she has to because, all of a sudden Kara’s blocking the path to the closet where she’s positive there’s a blouse that isn’t sweated through. “Please.” 

“Can’t.” She tries to sidestep, and Kara matches stride for stride, until they appear to be rehearsing some sort of overly complicated pas de deux . “No time.”

“You can make time.” Lena attempts to walk around Kara again, and Kara just… she lifts her up and fireman-carries her back to the couch, sitting her down. “You don’t sleep enough, you barely eat, and all we do together lately is quickies.” There is no trace of accusation in Kara’s voice; she’s listing only facts. “Saving the company is killing you, Lee. I’m just worried.”

“I—” Lena wipes a hand over her eyes. Kara isn’t wrong. She’s exhausted all the time, food tastes bland and she’s had to set alarms to remind herself to eat. And sleep… well, Lena tosses and turns, mostly, which has led her to spend the night on the couch when Kara’s at her place, worried that she’d wake her otherwise. 

Bruised eyes flick to the window. Kara left it open just a crack, and a whiff of the ocean reaches her nose, beckoning. “I could take the rest of today off, I suppose.”

Kara’s face lights up, and Lena raises a finger to stall her before she can get any ideas. “Just today.”

“And tonight.” Kara sets her jaw, determined.

“And tonight.” 

It’s always been hard to tell her no, to resist the sad puppy-eyes Kara directed her way the few times Lena’s put her foot down. Today, tired as she is, she doesn’t even try. And seeing Kara’s thousand watts smile break through the concern to brighten the patrician planes of her face, makes Lena happy to have so easily caved.

“Since that’s settled,” Kara unclasps her cape and wraps it tight around Lena’s shoulders evidently meaning to fly her out the way she came. “I know a place.”  

And it’s only hours later, as they watch sunset paint the city red from atop the hills around it, a plaid blanket spread over the grass, crumbs of a tart cheese they picked up on the way stuck to their lips, that Kara’s phone lights up, attracting Lena’s attention.

They’ve been lazing around, stomachs full of good food, heads clouded (at least in her case) by Lena’s favorite rosé, and the phone must have tumbled out of Kara’s pocket without her realizing.

Lena doesn’t mean to spy, but the message notification takes up most of the screen, and the text’s right there for her to read.

“Thank you,” it says, and the sender is Jess. “For taking care of her.”

Pretending she saw nothing, she cuddles up to Kara, eyes drifting shut as soon as strong arms wind around her. And if the thought of running off to Aruba still exists, somewhere at the back of her mind, Lena knows she never will.

Sticking around to save the family company is perhaps not worth it, but sticking around for the people who care about her is