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it trembles, but never fades away

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The credits are still rolling, seemingly endlessly, across the TV screen.
And Lena holds Kara’s hand, as they walk together through Kara’s darkened apartment. Kara can hear a sharp inhale as Lena knocks her hip against the corner of the kitchen counter, hard, rather than lose contact with her skin. And so Kara holds on tighter.
With her spare hand, she flicks on her bedroom light, and immediately dims it, bathing the room in a soft, almost golden, light. And only then does she turn to look at Lena.
Her breath is snatched, protesting, from her chest. Because Lena is beautiful. More than beautiful. Stunning, quietly stunning, makeup cried from her face, hair down, slightly tangled by Kara’s fingers as she’d comforted Lena.
Lena’s eyes are trained on the carpet.
“Are you okay?” Kara murmurs.
She reaches out, curling a finger under Lena’s chin and gently, gently, gently, directs Lena’s eyes to meet her own.
They’re still reddened. But dry now. Lena nods, furiously. Kara smooths her hand through Lena’s soft hair.

And Kara has ended wars, brought armies to their knees.
But the hardest challenge she has ever faced?
Resisting the overwhelming urge to press a kiss to Lena’s forehead.
Or to her cheek.
Kara wants to know, desperately, if she could still taste the tang of tears across her soft skin. If she could even feel the rough sting of the salt against her lips.
Kara would like, she thinks, to kiss Lena.
But she can’t, not now not now not now not now.
Not when Lena is scared and still a little unsteady. Not when Lena is looking up at her with those big green eyes, as though Kara had just given her then entire universe by just asking her if she would like to sleep over.
Lena, apparently, would like to sleep over.
Lena Luthor is going to stay the night.
And so instead of pressing a kiss against Lena’s skin, she inhales, sharply.
“I’m going to find you something to sleep in, darling.”
The pet name comes easy, sliding from her tongue. And Kara untangles her hand from around Lena’s, and she watches as Lena’s shoulders sag. She crosses her arms, protectively, over her chest. Hugging herself, tighter, closer.
Kara wonders if Lena finds that comforting.
She wonders how many nights Lena has had to hold herself, hold herself together. Wonders how many nights Lena has cried, alone.
Maybe she doesn’t want to know, not really.
Because Lena stays exactly where Kara left her, hovering nervously in the doorway of the room. Her eyes follow Kara. Her eyes follow Kara as she flits, from closet to drawers to bathroom and back again, bare feet pattering softly against the well-worn floorboards.
She returns to Lena’s side a moment later with an armful of her softest sleepwear, which she presses to Lena’s chest.

“The bathroom is through there, if you want to get changed?”
Lena smiles gratefully, taking the clothes, but doesn’t say anything.
Kara’s heart just hammers, hammers, hammers in her thin ribcage.
“Are you sure about this Lena?”
“I want to stay. If you’ll let me?”
“Of course, anything you want.”
“I’ll…I’ll just get changed.”
Kara just nods, and Lena crosses the bedroom and doesn’t quite close the bathroom door behind herself. A stream of light trickles out across the floorboards. Kara strips, quickly, down to just the cute panties Alex bought her last christmas and skin and skin and skin, and changes into the softest, softest, softest thing she can find. An off-the-shoulder tshirt, translucent with age, and tiny fleece shorts. They smell of fabric softener, and Kara’s own skin. And then Kara sits on the corner of her double bed and watches that thin strip of brighter light pour across her bedroom floor. Watches it change, shifting, as Lena moves around the bathroom.

“Hey” Lena murmurs when she finally appears. Her hair is down, pouring down her back, curling at the ends, curling under her chin to frame her face.
Prettily delicate.
It snatches away Kara’s breath, just how pretty Lena is, in the dimmed lights of her bedroom.
Lena, nervously self-conscious, in Kara’s clothes. Kara’s sleep shirt has long sleeves, which Lena has already tugged down over her hands, and Kara’s shorts. Too tight, too small, clinging to Lena’s curves.
Kara had never really thought about Lena’s body before.
Lena’s body.
Curving, pouring, into Kara’s clothes.
She’s thought about Lena’s body, in a soft, abstract way. Of course. Lena is beautiful, Lena is beautiful as an objective fact, and as a constant, nagging feeling at the back of her mind. Of course she’s thought about Lena’s body.
Maybe she’d just never though that Lena could look like this.
Lena’s thighs are white. So white. So pale.
God, her skin looks soft.
Kara’s breath catches, too fast, against the back of her throat. Her eyes skim over Lena, as Lena walks towards her.
Soft, soft thighs. Hips. Lena, Lena has hips. Of course Lena has hips. But. Hips. And. And the outline of Lena’s breasts, heavy against the thin fabric of Kara’s sleep shirt.
She’s.
She’s not.
Wear. Wearing.
Lena.
Lena’s not.
Wearing.
A bra.

“Oh.”
“Is this okay?” Lena’s looking down at herself. Uncertain.
Kara can’t help herself.
She reaches out, nervous palm against Lena’s waistline.
Lena’s body, she realises, is all smooth, soft lines. The kind of curves that would be intoxicating, if Kara liked girls Like That.
Kara doesn’t.
Like girls Like That.
Her hand collides with the curve of Lena’s waist.
She can feel Lena’s blood, rushing, under her skin. Hear it strumming through her veins. Lena steps closer to her, touching Kara’s shoulders gently. She stands between her legs, as Kara sits on the bed, and plays with the neckline of her shirt. Running it softly between her fingers. Running her fingertips along Kara’s collarbones, just ghosting over her skin. And then she steps closer still.
Until Kara’s face, her cheek, is pressed against Lena’s chest.
Kara wraps her arms, more solidly, around Lena’s waist, her hands fisting the soft, soft, soft material of Lena’s shirt as she breathes in the scent of Lena’s skin mixing with her own fabric softener.
She listens to Lena breathing, and thinks about never letting go.

“I didn’t know this would feel…this much. I never thought that I needed to be…touched.” Lena breathes, against Kara’s scalp.
“What do you think now?” Kara asks, quietly. Her lips move against Lena’s soft shirt. Lena squirms a little.
And then Lena is moving in her arms, moving towards the bed, and Kara is scrambling to stand. Scrambling to give Lena more space. Watching from under her eyelashes, shyly, as Lena pulls away, pulls back the corner of the covers, and slips under the sheets.
“I think I like it. I think I like, I don’t know, being like this. With you.”
She lays down, in Kara’s bed. Her dark, dark hair haloes around her face, curling over the pillow. Lena is beautiful. And Kara doesn’t think she’s ever seen anything so vulnerable before. As Lena looks across the bed at her, and then away again. Across the white wasteland of gently rumpled fabric. Duvet twisted into delicate mountain ranges as it covers Lena’s body.

Lena rolls onto her side, and looks at Kara. Who still stands, hesitant, beside the bed. Lena’s green eyes sweep over her figure, and she takes her bottom lip between her teeth.
“Are you having second thoughts about taking me to bed?” whispers Lena.
Kara has to concentrate on breathing, and not cracking the floorboards below her feet.
“I’m not, not…bed…I’m not.”
“I know Kara, I’m only teasing.”
There’s something perhaps a little sad painted across Lena’s face as she tries, heroically, at a smile. She pats the clean, straight sheets beside her.
“Are you coming to bed?”
Kara nods, too quickly, too eagerly. She turns, and turns the lights off, pouring dark ink across her bedroom floor.
She realises that she can no longer see colour. No longer see the blush flitting across Lena’s cheeks, nor the rivers of delicate blue flowing through Lena’s green eyes.
But she can hear Lena breathing. Can hear the twin-beat of Lena’s heart, hear that muscle in Lena’s chest contract, expand, force blood around her body. Kara can hear Lena’s pulse.
She can hear Lena’s rushing blood.
She takes a moment to register that Lena is soft, safe under her own duvet.
And then, she slips into bed beside Lena.