Actions

Work Header

i'm searching for something (that i can't reach)

Work Text:

A three panel moodboard. The first panel is of Kara in a sweater and glasses looking to her right at the second panel, which is of Lena in a high ponytail with dark eye makeup looking back at Kara. The third panel is underneath and of a purple-tinted arcade nook with box machine game systems and 'heaven is a place on earth' written in cursive neon lights on the wall.

The night is balmy and swollen with the sound of music and laughter, the streets dappled with the light of flashing neon signs as Kara makes her way down the block, shoulders jumping anxiously up towards her ears with each loud shout or rev of a car engine. She's not exactly sure where she's going or what she's hoping to find, but something in her wants to believe that she'll know when she's found it.

"Could you please stop it?" she hears distantly. The voice is lightly accented, dismissive, and just barely on this side of polite. "I’m just trying to have some fun, okay?"

"Lena, come on!"

"I'm still walking, Mike."

Kara turns and spots a beautiful woman in a stylish, purple jacket over a low-cut, black jumpsuit. She's briskly crossing the street with a smarmy-looking guy on her heels, and the dangling jewelry dripping from her ears are bits of starlight sparkling against the dark of her softly curled hair.

"We've only got a couple hours," he whines. "We should, uh"—his eyes drop to the woman's— Lena's ass and stay there—"use it."

Lena furrows her brow, discomfort and disbelief in equal parts pulling tight on her face. She adds an extra hop to her step to pull ahead of Mike, then smiles, dimples flashing like even his persistence can't bring her down.

"I am using it," Lena says, right before she disappears into a nightclub marked as M’gann’s by the blinking neon sign above the door. Mike follows, still hot on her tail.

Kara blinks and feels a stirring in her belly, like Lena is somehow the person talking on the other end of her cup on a string, like she's tugging at the line and Kara has no choice but to follow.

Inexplicably drawn, she takes one step, then another and another, until she's cautiously stepping through the door.

---

It's noisy and humid and loud past the threshold and Kara freezes for a solid three beats before she manages to suck in a breath of muggy, recycled air and force herself to move again.

She nervously touches her glasses as she eases past groups of people and dancing couples, thankful that her lenses haven't fogged up as she casts her eyes around the room, looking for…

Looking for…

Disappointment twists her lips dramatically downwards when she can't spot a single blip of purple shoulder pad in the sea of people. Another blip catches her attention, though, and she turns to find a little arcade nook just off to the side.

She spots Space Invaders and fishes out a coin, slotting it inside and smiling when the game trills a starting sound and the pixelated rocket ship at the bottom of the screen starts responding to the joystick.

A few seconds into shooting pellets at little UFOs, she notices a presence next to her. A male presence, judging from the cologne.

She does her best to ignore the boy next to her, but eventually he speaks.

"Hey," he says, "you're good at this."

Kara graces his comment with a hum of acknowledgment, but otherwise gives him no more reason to engage.

"It's, uh, got different levels," he continues, and Kara wonders why he thinks she doesn't know that.

"I'm Winn," Winn says, sticking his hand out for a shake, though Kara's hands are clearly occupied.

She looks down at his outstretched hand, then back at the monitor.

"...Kara," she eventually divulges.

Winn starts to say something else, but she gets hit by a stray enemy projectile and the game toots a disappointing jingle before flashing an unfriendly GAME OVER at her.

She huffs in frustration and Winn pipes up again.

"You wanna play Top Speed?"

Kara glances over at the game he's gesturing at. A racing game. She watches the demo with growing trepidation as the race car on-screen zooms along a curving track. The car hits a building and flips, as does Kara's stomach, and she has to look away.

"No, thank you," she mumbles, fidgeting with her glasses and blinking hard to clear the afterimage. "Um, sorry, I need to go clear my head."

"Oh, yeah, okay! I'll see you around?"

Kara musters the energy for a brief upward twitch of her lips and a noncommittal noise, then hurries away. Away from Winn, and away from crashing cars.

---

She's sitting at an empty booth and feeling a lot better as she sips at a tall glass of root beer when Lena suddenly and unexpectedly plops down next to her. She smells like heaven.

"Go along with whatever I say," she says, without preamble.

"I'm sorry?" Kara asks, half-gargle as she answers with her mouth still filled with soda.

"Whatever I say, go along with it," Lena repeats, and there's a tight edge of desperation in her voice, noticeable enough that Kara wants to ask her what's wrong, wants to see if she can do something to fix whatever's causing her such distress.

Mike approaches the table a few seconds later, and the tense set of Lena's shoulders and the clench of her jaw are a clear enough indicator that he's the source of her discomfort.

"Okay, now you're just being a pest," Lena says, eyes narrowed, chin tilted up.

Mike's face pinches like he's constipated.

"Two hours and thirty-five," he whines. "There's not much time left."

"Yes, and I'm spending it how I want to," Lena says, slinging her arm over the back of the booth. It means her forearm drapes over Kara's right shoulder and the gentle press of it has Kara reeling. It's close but not close enough, enough but not quite enough. She wishes the layers of fabric between them would just evaporate, leaving them skin to skin so Kara can feel what fire is.

"But last week—"

"Last week was last week." Lena cuts him off before he can go any further. "I need to catch up with my friend here, okay? She's sick."

Mike glances at her and Kara struggles not to fidget with her glasses, tries to twist her face into a solemn expression, like she actually is sick.

"Like, six-months-to-live sick," Lena continues, arm finding its way around Kara's shoulders, and Kara feels a sunrise in her chest.

A gorgeously, wonderfully '80s themed Supercorp. Lena is in a purple jacket looking annoyed as she cuts Mike off, arm around Kara's shoulders. Kara sits next to her, looking flushed in a blue sweater. They're both in front of a super '80s purple, blue, and pink wallpaper.

It fills her up with warmth, and light, and a little bit of magic, which is why she blurts, "Five, actually," before falling silent again.

Lena looks over at her and her pretty gray-blue, gray-green eyes widen, then soften, like she's been surprised but in a good way, like she's smiling but can't let on.

Kara nods the slightest bit and watches Lena sink white teeth into red lip before turning her attention back to Mike.

"I have to catch up with her, all right?" she repeats, but it's softer this time, and Mike, thankfully, relents.

"Okay," he acquiesces. Then, to Kara, "I'm sorry you're sick."

Kara bobs her head mutely, and he stares at Lena for a beat longer before disappearing into the crowd.

Lena removes her arm once he’s gone and tips her head back into the prettiest laugh Kara's ever seen or heard, which almost makes up for the fact that the sun sets without the weight of her arm over Kara's shoulders. A captivating freckle on her neck also captures her attention until Lena reins in her delighted laughter.

"I'm sorry for killing you. The whole 'six months to live' thing?" she says on the tail end of a chuckle, then pauses. "Sorry, five," she amends, and this time when she smiles with her eyes again, it reaches her mouth too. "Five was a good touch."

Kara grins, blood beginning to creep to her cheeks. She has to look away from Lena's smiling mouth.

Lena leans away slightly to stick her hand out for a shake. "I'm Lena," she says.

Kara bites back the I know begging to free-fall from the tip of her tongue.

"Kara," she says, slipping her hand into Lena's and feeling her whole world collapse and rebuild itself around this one point of sustained, undistilled contact.

"Kiera?" Lena asks, leaning in to put her ear closer to Kara's mouth. It's close enough Kara can count the piercings there: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Close enough to close the distance and kiss the shell of her ear if she were different, or bolder. Close enough to get another waft of her sweet, light perfume.

She smells the way sunlight feels.

"Um, Kara," Kara repeats, blinking hard. She's not sure if the dizziness she feels is from Lena's perfume, or their close proximity, or the fact that Lena's still grasping at her hand with a surprisingly firm grip.

"...Kara," Lena says. A smirk tugs the corner of her lips distractingly upwards and Kara feels herself catching on the hook of her upturned mouth, splitting open from the way her voice cuts through the noise of the bar to curl up in her ears.

Lena releases her hand, finally, but keeps her eyes fixed on Kara.

"Do you want another drink?" she asks, but doesn’t wait for Kara to answer as her smirk blossoms into a smile. "Let's get you another drink!"

She stands up as Kara finds her tongue and sputters out a half-hearted denial.

"No, I— It—"

"Come on!" Lena urges, holding out her hand, a gleam in her sparkling eyes. "Or do I have to pull your leash…?"

Kara inexplicably thinks woof and blushes hard enough that the lower part of her glasses fog up. She reaches out to take Lena's hand and let her tug her to her feet and over to the bar.

---

"Jack and Coke, times two," Lena tells the bartender.

"Oh no, mine was just a root beer," Kara protests.

"Times two," Lena says firmly, then turns on her barstool to look at her as the bartender scoots around preparing their drinks.

Kara sits still for as long as she can, eyes bouncing from Lena's pretty face to literally anywhere else before quietly asking, "What are you doing?"

"I'm…" Lena props her chin in her hand, "regarding you."

Kara laughs nervously, reaching up to fiddle with her glasses. "I feel like I'm being analyzed."

Lena leans in. "Well, I was wondering… why the glasses?"

Kara stops mid-fidget, then drops her hand down to her lap. "Uh…"

"I like them! They really suit you," Lena says. "But do you need them?"

Kara feels her heartbeat tick up. Lena likes her glasses.

"They're not prescription," she shyly admits.

"I figured!" Lena says, relaxing into her seat and smiling to herself pleased as punch, like she's just solved some grand mystery.

The corners of Kara's lips twitch up of their own accord, as if pulled by the same strings attached to Lena's mouth. "I wore them in school, so I guess it's a comfort thing now?"

Lena's still smiling as she nods along to what Kara says and tucks a gentle wave of hair behind her ear. "I thought it was maybe a fashion statement," she says, "but then the rest of your outfit is so not."

Kara looks down at her striped sweater and khaki shorts, brows pinching. What's wrong with her outfit?

“Oh, sorry! Please don’t take that the wrong way. I think it’s refreshing!” Lena tilts her chin in the direction of everyone on the dance floor. “I mean everyone else is dressed like they think they should be dressed, based off of a movie they’ve seen maybe once in their lifetime.”

Kara casts her eyes over the crowd, and truthfully, doesn’t know what she’s looking for. Everyone else honestly just looks like they know what they’re doing.

There’s movement by Kara’s eye and Kara almost flinches before she realizes it’s Lena fingering the wire of her glasses. She can feel the heat emanating from Lena’s palm as she strokes at the metal and lifts her glasses ever-so-slightly off her nose.

“I like these, though,” Lena says, voice low, eyes intent. “They make you feel… authentically you.”

Kara isn’t too sure what she means, but she likes the way it makes her feel to have Lena so close, to have all of her attention on her and nice things coming out of her mouth.

The bartender sets their drinks down on the bar and Kara feels it like physical loss when Lena pulls her hand away from her glasses to grab her drink.

“Cheers!” Lena says, raising her glass towards Kara.

Kara taps her glass to Lena’s with a clink, and takes her first ever sip of alcohol. She almost chokes as the whiskey burns like liquid flame down her throat, but the sweet and cold Coke soothes her throat almost-simultaneously.

Lena laughs and Kara notices the double dimple flashing in her cheek. “Never had alcohol before?” Lena asks, sipping at her drink again.

“No, no it’s— It’s just been a while,” Kara lies.

Lena gives her a knowing look and Kara knows she’s been caught. Lena doesn’t press her on it, though, and instead asks, “Do you live nearby?”

Kara opens and closes her mouth uncertainly before bringing her drink up to her mouth to buy some time.

“A tourist?” Lena tries again.

“Um.”

“We’ll go with tourist,” Lena says easily, giving her the out. “First time?”

Kara nods, and in the next moment Lena is smiling wide, quickly tossing back the rest of her drink, and pulling her to the dance floor.

---

Being on the dance floor is so much worse than being on the sidelines. It's extra loud, extra sweaty, extra hot, and she extra wants to not be here right now.

But as she looks for an escape route, drowning in the crowd, Lena's voice carries over the din.

"Just follow me!" she says, shoulders shimmying up and down, and Kara has no choice but to cling to her voice like a lifeline and obey.

She twitches one shoulder up, then drops it down and lifts the other, again and again as Lena does her own shoulder movements and bobs her head encouragingly.

The next move is like a cross-body pecking motion with the hands, something Kara thinks she manages to replicate decently too, but then as she watches Lena to figure out what to do afterwards, Lena wraps her long fingers around her wrist to pull her closer and it's like she slips underwater again.

Not in a bad way.

Lena is so, so beautiful. Her cheeks are flushed and rosy. Her eyes bright and pupils record-round. Her teeth once again sinking into the plush red of her lower lip as she looks and looks and looks at Kara while she dances. Regarding her.

It feels like time slows in a bubble around them and Kara’s shoulders slowly stop shimmying the more she gets caught up in staring at Lena, watching as she tosses her hair and runs her hands down the curves of her body and drops until her head is level with the zipper of Kara’s shorts.

An unfamiliar-familiar heat prickles in her belly and she tears her eyes away from the way Lena looks, staring up at her with her pupils so big she feels like she's being swallowed.

It's a mistake to look away from Lena, her lifeline in the overwhelming sea of people. The bubble collapses and suddenly it seems like everyone is watching them dance together, watching Lena dance on her, and Kara feels like she's drowning.

She breaks away, gasping for breath until she finds the side exit and stumbles out into the empty alley in the rain.

---

It's so much quieter outside, the air temperate but far less stifling, and with the added blessing of no judgmental eyes staring at her.

Kara carefully sticks her leg out from under the tin awning to feel the droplets hit her shin, marveling at the long-forgotten sensation of cool rain sliding down her skin.

The quiet is briefly punctured as Lena slips out of the side door after her. Noise spills into the stillness like another tall glass of root beer before the door slams shut and the silence settles again as foam, soft and dampening.

Lena spots her and jogs over, attempting to pull her cropped jacket up over her hair to block the rain.

“Hey, why’d you run away?” she asks, smiling wide and pretty, dimples flashing like stars.

Kara has to look away.

“Sorry…” she mumbles. “I’m just— I’m not very good at dancing.”

Lena giggles and nudges their shoulders together. “Can I tell you a secret?”

Kara looks over at her and bobs her head, curious.

“I’m not very good either,” she admits, and Kara blinks in surprise. She’d thought Lena had been amazing.

“And I’m sorry I pushed you into it. It’s just… Saturday nights once a week is barely any time at all. I get impatient,” Lena finishes with an apologetic shrug.

Kara chews at her lip, then blurts, “They were also staring. At us. Two girls, dancing together.”

Lena’s brow knits in confusion, then she laughs. “Oh, don’t worry about that! People are way less uptight now.”

Kara twists her mouth and rubs at her arm anxiously, but nods.

Lena ducks her head to catch her eye. “Besides,” she says, hands coming up to rest on her hips, “if they were staring, it’s because I. Am. Hot.” She punctuates each syllable with a sway of her hips and finishes with another toss of her hair and an arch of her brow.

A nervous laugh bubbles out of Kara before she can help it, eyes catching on hips, brow, and lips before finally bouncing up to appropriately meet Lena’s.

Something flickers in Lena’s eyes, pupils full enough Kara can barely find the blue-green of them in the dark. She licks out at her lips and Kara finds her gaze drifting there again as she wonders what it’d be like to—

“This is a party town, you know? Everything’s up for grabs,” Lena says lowly, and Kara watches her say it, all red mouth and white teeth and pink tongue. She doesn’t sound like she’s talking about the town. “Midnight’s only two hours away.”

“Oh… that’s not very long at all,” Kara mumbles, neck heating up more the longer she stares at Lena’s mouth.

“It’s not. So… why waste it all here in this alley?” Lena says. Her hand slides up the inside of Kara’s thigh, warm against her night-cooled skin, and Kara’s breath hitches so hard it feels like a convulsion. Lena bites her lip, thumb rubbing little circles that have Kara struggling to think.

“Go to bed with me?” Lena asks quietly.

Kara flushes so hard her face feels like a teapot about to scream. She works her jaw, heart pounding, pushing her glasses up her nose and trying not to focus on the thumb still stroking against the skin of her thigh.

“I’ve never done that before,” Kara whispers.

Lena’s dimples wink at her again and Kara feels an intense urge to nuzzle at her cheek.

“All the more reason to do it then, right?” Lena asks, and she looks so beautiful and so earnest in the wavering glow of wet neon that Kara wants… Kara wants—

Um,” she finally manages to grit out, stepping out of Lena’s reach. “Thank you, but I’m sorry. I can’t.”

“It’s okay,” Lena says lightly, nodding, but her hands are twisting in her lap and Kara feels it like a knife twisting in her gut.

But Lena doesn’t understand. Not really. And it feels like the worst thing in the world that she doesn’t so she tries to explain.

“You don’t understand,” she says, because Lena doesn’t. “I just can’t, I’m sorry.”

“Really, it’s fine!” Lena says, hands twisting harder. “It’s okay!”

“No—” Kara squeezes her eyes shut, feeling frustrated. It’s not what Lena thinks. “It’s—” she clenches her jaw and reopens her eyes. “I’m engaged.”

A long pause.

“Oh,” Lena says, hands still, face unreadable.

“His name’s James,” Kara offers up.

“And is James… here?” Lena asks carefully.

Kara shakes her head.

“Elsewhere?”

Kara nods.

“Ah. I see,” Lena says, and there’s a flat tone to her voice that Kara finds she really doesn’t like, but she also can’t think of anything to say to make it better. She’s ruined everything.

“I should go,” Kara says quietly, brushing past a quiet Lena and hoping in some small part that Lena will call out and stop her. There’s a rising sense of loss festering in her chest the further her steps take her away from Lena. She stops just under an arrow-shaped neon light and blinks up at the blatantly obvious sign.

“Oh, crap.”

She whirls around to tell Lena that she’s changed her mind, to tell her that she wants to grab the town by her full hips and kiss her, but the alley is empty.

Kara's alone.

---

One Week Later

Kara steps through the door of M'gann's and feels a wave of déjà vu come over her as she scans the crowd searching for Lena, hoping for a second chance. She carefully moves further into the bar, dragging her eyes over the mass of writhing bodies gathered on the dance floor and hoping to spot even the barest hint of something familiar.

Halfway through the room, she glances over at the bar and spots someone with sleek black hair in a high ponytail. She comes to a stop, that something from last week stirring to life in her stomach again as she watches the bartender place a drink—a Jack and Coke—in front of her.

The woman reaches for her drink and turns ever-so-slightly to the side to face the man sitting next to her. With that sharp jaw and those flashing piercings, it's undoubtably Lena. And though nothing could have possibly alerted her to Kara's presence, she turns her head just a bit further and their eyes meet.

Lena's eyes widen almost imperceptibly before her face smooths out again, a pond undisturbed.

Kara stands frozen in the middle of the crowded room, staring helplessly as Lena lifts the drink to her mouth, full lips pressing soft as a kiss against glass, and takes a sip.

She doesn't look away and it feels like a challenge, a test.

Kara feels her neck burn and wets her own lips, swallowing against a suddenly dry throat. She wants to meet the challenge. A corner of her mouth jerks up into a faint excuse for a smile, an acknowledgment of sorts, and after a pause Lena smiles back.

The man next to Lena pulls her attention away and the fragile moment between them wobbles like raw egg yolk.

---

They dance together. Lena and the man from the bar.

Kara knows nothing about dancing but she knows that he sucks at it. It looks wrong for him to be jerking his body next to Lena's, with his too-loud movements.

But even with him ruining the atmosphere, Kara stays nearby to watch because it almost feels as if… it almost feels as if even with the distance between them, even with all the words—both spoken and unspoken—hanging on a tenuous thread between them, that Lena is dancing for her. Kara's gaze is riveted to Lena, living for every breathtaking moment Lena catches her eye and bites her lip and swivels her hips.

Her throat dries up again and she eventually tears her eyes away from Lena's swaying hips to get her own Jack and Coke. Something sweet and cold to quench the burning ache in her lower belly.

---

Kara sits at a booth across from the one Lena's occupying, absently playing with the condensation on the side of her drink and waiting.

Lena's playing a game with her, smiling a secret smile not meant for the man sitting next to her as she strokes a long finger along her own glass with her eyes on Kara's fingers. She picks her drink up and lifts it to her lips, arching an eyebrow until Kara quickly follows along and takes a sip at the same time.

Like this, Kara can pretend like Lena's mouth is just on the other side of her glass, can let her lips linger and pretend for a moment that she feels a hint of warmth from the other side.

She sets her glass back on the table when Lena does and waits as Lena acknowledges the man next to her. He immediately continues his monologue without even taking a breath.

Lena catches her eye and rolls her own, then taps the side of her drink and lifts it to her mouth again. Kara follows along, an eager puppet responding to the way Lena tugs her strings, desperate to show her she's willing this time.

It's not just a sip, and Kara drinks until Lena pulls the glass away from her mouth and graces her with a pleased smirk. It quickly turns into a stifled laugh when the aftertaste of the rum kicks Kara in the back of the throat, when the fumes steal up into her nose and behind her eyes and she shudders and coughs.

When her eyes stop watering and it doesn't feel like the ghost of the rum is haunting her anymore, Lena mouths sorry with an apologetic look on her face.

Kara shakes her head, mouths back it's okay, because it is. She'd follow her anywhere.

The man finally comes up for air and Lena says something to him before scooting out of her booth and slipping into the bathroom. She doesn't look over at Kara, but the order is implicit.

She follows.

---

Lena's standing in front of the mirror fixing her dark lipstick when Kara practically trips inside. A toilet flushes and they stand in awkward silence as the girl washes her hands and exits, leaving them alone together in the weak fluorescent light of the bathroom, music muted behind the door.

Kara looks at her, bumping her glasses up and tugging at the sleeves of her jean jacket. Lena meets her eyes in the mirror.

"I…" Kara starts, inching closer. "I don't know how to do this."

Lena arches a shapely brow but doesn't say anything, so Kara tries again.

"I don't know what I'm doing. This isn't—" she pauses to suck in a steadying breath and Lena turns to face her.

"Can you please… Can you please just make this easy for me? Please?" Kara asks, eyes dropping to the floor, voice soft and plaintive.

Lena takes a step and the bathroom is small enough that that one step puts her within arms reach. She tilts her head, ducks a little to find Kara's eyes, and gently cups her cheek, thumb stroking at it like she'd stroked her thigh last week.

"You wanna get in my car?" she asks.

Kara sighs, relieved, and lets her eyes slip closed as she leans into Lena's hand.

"Yes, please."

---

Her relief is short-lived once she remembers that being in a car means it moves. To distract herself from the rising anxiety in her gut, she asks, “So how long have you been here?” as she grips white-knuckled at the grab handle.

“Me? Couple of months. Plan is long enough to enjoy myself,” Lena says, tapping her hands against the steering wheel. “Guess I’m a tourist like you.” She shoots her a smile, but notices her death-grip and gently squeezes her thigh. “Oh, hey… You okay?”

Kara breathes deep, then nods.

Three things happen next: A horn honks loudly from directly in front of them, Lena curses and veers off the road, and Kara screams.

When they finally come to a stop, Kara can taste salty sea air on her tongue as she gasps for breath and tries not to think about the last time she was in a car.

Lena laughs first, loud and free and almost hysterical. They’re alive. They’re alive and Lena’s laughing because they can’t die, they can’t, not here!

And all at once, Kara can breathe again. She clutches at Lena over the center console and feels her own laughter bursting out of her, mixing with Lena’s over the gentle rumble of the car engine and the sound of crashing waves.

---

It must be the adrenaline, Kara thinks, safely inside Lena’s beach house and watching as Lena steps closer with her eyes dark and searching.

And then she stops thinking at all when Lena surges up to press their lips together because she’s soft and sticky and sweet and it is the absolute best first kiss of her life. Kara cups her face as she eagerly responds, idly wondering if she’s just as soft and sticky and sweet everywhere else before Lena nips at her lower lip and pulls her attention away from that line of thought.

They lose their jackets on the way to the bedroom, probably flung off somewhere in the hallway as they’d refused to stop kissing long enough to take them off normally. Lena pushes her down onto the bed and crawls up over her on all fours. Kara strokes greedily up her arms, marveling at the feeling of the fine hairs brushing under her palms.

The breath gusts right out of her in a startled moan when Lena lays on top of her and rolls their hips together as they kiss, nerve endings firing at every point where she can feel Lena pressed up against her.

With Lena rocking into her, she realizes the insistent, achy throb she’d thought had been in her lower belly has actually been between her legs all along. She bucks up with a groan, hungry for relief, and shudders when she rubs against the firm seam of her shorts.

Lena lets out an answering noise and drags her teeth against Kara’s lip, humping into her again.

Kara grips at her forearms, body hot and thrumming just from the kissing, just from the feeling of Lena’s body pressing her down into the mattress, just from the little sparks of pleasure flashing into existence from the point between her hips.

“You have to— You have to show me,” she gasps, reaching out to grab Lena’s hip, trying not to burn up like a meteor in Lena’s atmosphere.

“Okay,” Lena whispers, and her hand is sliding between their grinding bodies, undoing the button of Kara’s shorts and dragging the zipper down. The weight of her hand so close to the ache between her legs makes Kara squirmy, and the feeling of the zipper slowly coming undone pulls all of her focus to just how badly she’s throbbing.

“So somewhere around here is your clitoris,” Lena says, almost conversationally, “and if I touch you there”—she drags her finger up the seat of her underwear and bumps over something that makes Kara gasp—“I can make you feel so, so good.”

She repeats the motion and Kara arches with a whine.

“Would you like that?” Lena asks, voice so low Kara can feel it where her fingers are.

“Yes,” Kara pants, trying to push up into her hand. “Yes, please.”

“‘Please,’” she repeats delightedly, then kisses the corner of Kara’s mouth and slides her fingers past the waistband of her underwear.

The first direct touch of her fingers has Kara’s back bowing so hard she sandwiches Lena’s arm between their bodies and clicks her teeth together.

“Oh,” she grits out from behind her clenched teeth before slowly relaxing against the mattress again.

Lena giggles and says, “So that’s your clit," then lets out a surprised sound when she dips her hand lower to swipe up through her folds.

“You’re… You’re so wet,” she mumbles, mystified.

Kara isn’t too sure what she means but she hums an affirmative and pushes her hips up, hoping that it’ll encourage Lena to keep doing what she’s doing with her hand.

It works.

Lena swipes low again, then slides her fingers up until they’re pressed to Kara’s clit. She rubs a circle in a motion that is so frictionless and delicious that Kara thinks she actually does understand. Her breath hitch-hitches hard, vision blurring. She clamps one hand around Lena’s forearm and fists the other in the bedsheets, trying to keep herself together, but Lena starts up a steady circular motion that quickly has Kara feeling like she’s fraying and spinning apart.

Her hips feel jumpy, her thighs wobbly, her hands weak. Her breath comes in shaky little pants. There’s something approaching that she can’t put a name to. It just feels like there’s a pool of water in her lower belly and Lena is the one filling it up, drop by drop by drop, with every rub of her fingers against her aching clit.

Lena nuzzles at her cheek and down towards her ear, breath washing hot over the shell of it, and Kara whimpers, jittery. Lena smells so good and feels so soft and her fingers

“Let go,” Lena murmurs, and Kara stiffens with a grunt, taking the final droplet and falling right in after, drenching with ecstasy, crashing like the tide just outside the window.

She comes up breathless, amazed, reborn, glasses foggy from the heat of her face. She squeezes at Lena’s forearm and untwists her hand from the sheets.

"Show me," she says, and Lena pops her head up from where she'd been crooning softly by her ear. She looks debauched even though Kara hasn't touched her yet, lips swollen from kisses, lipstick ruined, face flushed, eyes wide and hazy.

"What?" Lena asks, blinking slow, hips rocking slower.

"Show me how to do that," Kara says. "Show me how to make you feel like I just did."

"Oh," Lena says, licking out at her lips and making them shiny wet. Kara leans up to kiss her impulsively, wanting to taste.

When she pulls away, Lena looks even more dazed.

"Is that okay?" Kara asks.

Lena blinks quickly this time and seems to reanimate. "Yeah, of course, yes! Let me just—" she trails off and pulls her hand out of Kara's underwear, then sits up to reach for her own clothes and strip them off.

Kara does the same without hesitation, keeping her eyes on every bit of pale skin Lena reveals. By the time Lena's naked, Kara is itching to touch her.

Without guidance, Kara pushes Lena back into the sheets and crawls up over her, just like Lena had done to her earlier. It makes Lena squeak and bite her lip hungrily, so Kara thinks she's probably gotten something right.

Lena is absolutely beautiful, absolutely breathtaking at any other time, but she's doubly, triply so now, naked underneath her, eyes heavy-lidded and flush spreading down her chest, enticing freckles dotting her body like splatters of ink off a paintbrush.

She has to kiss them all.

Kara leans in and indulges, sloppily drags her tongue over the freckle on her neck, letting out a quiet, reciprocal moan when she feels the rumble of Lena's against her tongue. She nuzzles at her soft skin, and after a series of wet, open-mouthed kisses to her neck, kisses over her delicate collarbones and moves onto the one on her shoulder. She makes her way down to place a kiss to the freckle at the top of her breast, then presses more tiny kisses to her chest, unable to help herself. She’s just so soft.

Lena responds favorably, arching up into her mouth with a small, contented sigh, so Kara keeps going. She leaves light marks across the pale skin of her breasts, sucking her nipples into her mouth, scraping her teeth curiously against them as they harden for her, and Lena whines, hands flying up to press Kara's head to her chest.

Kara likes that a lot.

She tries more things: laving her tongue across her nipples, biting gently, brushing her thumbs over them, twisting between her thumb and forefinger, all to test out the different noises she can coax from Lena's pretty throat.

She finally pulls away after a particularly throaty groan but keeps scraping her blunt nail gently over her nipple as she notices for the first time that Lena's squeezing her thighs together and fidgeting on the sheets.

Kara reaches down and presses two fingers to the wiry hairs between Lena's legs, surprised when Lena immediately opens her thighs for her.

She still asks, "Should I touch you here?" and her heart thumps heavy as a kickdrum when Lena rolls her hips up into her hand.

"Yes," Lena gasps.

Kara feels light-headed, but slowly and carefully slips her fingers lower, thinking about how much she wants to touch Lena's clit.

Just as she wonders how to find it, she rubs over a swollen little nub and Lena's hips jump. She digs her nails into her back with a whimper and her thighs squeeze shut around Kara's hand.

Oh, found it, Kara thinks.

"Let me touch?" she asks out loud, hand trapped between Lena's soft thighs.

"Sorry," Lena says, unclenching her thighs. "Go ahead. Just sensitive right now."

Kara furrows her brow and keeps her hand still. "Does it hurt?"

Lena huffs out a laugh and drags her down for a kiss, tongue flicking out at Kara's lips, rocking up to push her clit up into Kara's fingers.

"Oh, you're so sweet," Lena says when she pulls away. "No, it doesn't hurt. I'm just really turned on, so please touch me?" She rolls her hips up again and this time it bumps Kara's hand lower and she feels what Lena must have meant when she'd said Kara was wet.

"Okay," Kara says, breathless. She gathers the warm slick between Lena's legs and slides her fingers back up to her clit, the way Lena had done it.

"Okay," she repeats, spreading the wetness over Lena's swollen clit and marveling at how each little brush of her fingers sends Lena into tiny, little convulsions.

She starts rubbing and immediately Lena is sinking her nails back into her skin, hips shuddering up, whimpers sweetly hiccuping in her throat. Kara tucks her face into the side of her neck as best she can with her glasses in the way and closes her eyes, breathing in the scent of her perfume, listening to her helpless moaning, feeling the softness of their bodies pressing together. Intoxicating.

All too soon, Lena's breath starts catching and her thighs tremble so hard that the bed shakes.

Kara lifts her head to watch, forearm starting to burn, wrist aching slightly from the angle, and refusing to let up even the slightest bit.

Lena's brow is furrowed, her eyes squeezed shut, cheeks red, lipstick smeared, sweat beading on her nose, and she's still the most enchanting woman Kara's ever seen.

"Let go," Kara whispers, echoing Lena, and Lena lets out a high whimper and goes stiff underneath her.

Watching Lena experience rapture is almost just as good as experiencing it herself and Kara groans, feeling her own clit throb as Lena's pulses against her fingers.

Kara shifts her hips but otherwise waits patiently until Lena's breathing evens out to ask, "Can I do that again?"

Lena's eyes snap open and her lips part in shock, but she still presses up reflexively into Kara's hand. She shuts her mouth and lifts her legs until her thighs bracket Kara's hips, eyes going half-lidded.

"Yes, please."

---

"You've never slept with a woman?" Lena asks.

Kara lolls her head over to face her, playing with Lena's fingers.

Lena blushes slightly. "I don't mean anything bad about it! That was fucking amazing, but, just…"

Kara grins, pleased. "Yeah. First time with a woman." She pauses. "First time with anyone. Guess you've deflowered me."

Lena laughs. "'Deflowered.' What is this, England?"

Kara laughs too and nudges at her shoulder. "Shut uuup."

"Well… you've had relationships, right?"

Kara shakes her head.

"No? But you have a fiancé?"

Kara wrinkles her nose. "It's complicated."

"Definitely sounds like it."

There's a quiet moment as Kara tries to pluck up the courage to ask something she desperately wants to hear someone else's answer for. Something she desperately wants to hear Lena's answer for.

"When did you know?" she finally asks. "That… you were into girls?"

Lena studies her face, then smiles sadly. “I always knew,” she sighs out, and that settles something in Kara. “I’d always had feelings for girls. Co-workers, friends, a waitress that had served me…”

Kara snorts and Lena rolls her eyes good-naturedly before continuing.

“I’d have crushes on them, so many crushes. But I never acted on them.”

Kara feels her heart ache in sympathy, and she nods to encourage Lena to keep going.

“I was married, for a long time,” Lena says, and she sounds so wistful it doesn’t seem like she’s really here with Kara anymore. “To a man. Jack. I loved him. I really loved him, but he chose not to stick around.”

Lena blinks a couple times and suddenly she’s back with Kara again, eyes tearing up.

“So here I am now, just passing through. Here to have some fun before I go too.”

A tear slips down her cheek and Kara reaches out to tenderly wipe it away.

“I’m just here to have a little fun,” Lena finishes, voice wavering, and she shuts her eyes and covers Kara’s hand with her own to keep it pressed to her cheek.

She eventually checks the clock and turns back with a furrowed brow. “Time’s almost up,” she says.

Kara simply nods, reaching for her hand and bringing it up to her lips. “Let’s just stay here like this then,” she says.

And Lena’s brow smooths as time ticks down.

---

One Week Later

Lena isn’t at M’gann’s.

She isn’t at the Sinclair either, Kara finds, as she flinches away from the cage-fighting and the heavily entangled, mostly naked couple reaching for her. Glass shatters nearby and someone in leather is definitely getting choked out in front of everyone.

Kara can’t breathe.

She stumbles through the crowded hallway, batting away the hands snagging at her jacket and accidentally shoulder checks someone coming the opposite direction. She mumbles an apology to the floor.

“Hey, wait. I know you,” comes a slurred voice.

Kara looks up and is somewhat shocked to find Mike standing in front of her clutching a beer. Well, swaying. He’s glistening with sweat where he’s not covered in dirt and Kara can smell him from where she’s standing. It could also just be the way the muggy hallways of the Sinclair smell.

“Yeah, from M’gann’s,” he muses to himself, taking a swig of his beer. “Lena’s friend.”

Kara blinks, heart lurching at even the sound of her name. “Do you know where to find her?” she asks, hoping she doesn’t sound as desperate as she feels.

Mike looks her up and down and Kara wonders how many of her he’s looking at right now with hard he’s swaying. He snorts. “You too, huh?”

The implications of that hit her like a slap and she takes a step back, face scrunching up. She doesn’t want to be like Mike. She doesn’t want to fall for Lena and be tossed aside for the next person who comes along.

“Look, hey.” Mike looks penitent, or maybe just sympathetic. He rubs the back of his thumb against his dirty, sweaty forehead and it actually reveals a patch of cleaner skin. “Try a different time.”

“What?”

“Try a different time,” Mike repeats. “‘80s, ‘90s, 2002.”

He actually looks like he sobers up for a second when he clears his throat and unslouches and says, “She’s worth it, right?”

Then he burps and shoots a finger gun somewhere to her left before spinning around and staggering off.

---

One Week Later

She tries the ‘80s, first, like Mike suggested.

She finds Winn in the arcade section of M’gann’s playing Pac-Man and they trade pleasantries before Kara moves on.

Lena’s not there.

---

One Week Later

This time, she tries the ‘90s.

She checks M'gann's, but no luck.

She makes her way to Lena's beach house and peers through the windows, knocks on the French double doors, calls for her through the glass.

Lena's not there.

---

One Week Later

She’s in 2002 when she finds Lena, but it takes her a moment to realize she’s actually, really looking at her again.

She and Winn are playing the two-player mode of Dance Dance Revolution, and Lena is doing it in heels. It’s somehow the most Lena thing Kara could ever imagine and she giggles when an image of Lena reclined in her own home in a soft sweater, jeans, and chunky heeled boots pops into her mind.

They clear the round and high five, and that’s when Lena notices her standing there.

“Hi,” Kara breathes.

Lena’s face is stony and unreadable.

“Ladies’ room,” Lena says to Winn, then stalks off.

Kara blinks in confusion, then chases after her.

“Wait. Hey, wait!” she calls. The crowded room and her longer legs help her close the distance and she reaches for Lena’s hand.

Lena whirls on her and Kara lets go.

“What are you doing here?” Lena asks, frowning.

“Looking for you,” Kara says, feeling a little like a lost puppy. “Where did you go?”

Lena huffs a sigh. “I like a change of music.”

Kara laughs in disbelief. “How is this your era?”

Lena frowns harder, and Kara realizes—

“You’re hiding from me.”

Lena sputters. “One, I am not hiding from you. Two, I don’t owe you anything. And three—” she pauses, floundering slightly, “see point two.”

Kara’s heart plummets and Lena turns around and continues on her way.

---

Kara catches up to her again in the bathroom.

Lena is fixing her hair, which is curled again tonight. She looks beautiful as ever so Kara doesn’t really know why she always seems to end up in the bathroom straightening herself up.

“It’s not about owing anybody anything,” she says. “It’s about manners.”

Lena pauses and makes eye contact through the mirror, then keeps fiddling with her perfect hair.

“You don’t know who I am,” Kara says, tone pleading. “You don’t know what this means to me.”

Lena turns to face her, expression annoyed. “This means fun, Kara. Or at least, it’s supposed to.”

Kara flinches.

“This?” Lena gestures between them. “This isn’t fun.”

Kara can feel the half-angry, half-sad tears prickling at her eyes. “So you don’t feel bad,” she checks.

Lena tilts her chin up and doesn’t respond.

Kara nods, heart aching aching aching. “Maybe you should feel bad,” she whispers, refusing to let her tears fall. “Maybe you should feel something.”

She leaves Lena in the bathroom.

---

She isn’t expecting it, she really isn’t, but it still makes hope rear it’s unkillable head when Lena follows her onto the rooftop.

“Hey,” she says quietly, like she’s afraid if she speaks too loud Kara will throw herself off the edge.

She won’t. She’s already punished herself enough in the past forty years.

“I hope you have your pain slider set to zero,” Lena half-jokes, coming off the fire escape and joining her with her legs tucked up into her chest. She looks so small.

Kara turns her attention back to the people down on the street. She shakes her head, then realizes it’s an ambiguous answer to Lena’s question. “Yeah, I think so.”

There’s a silent moment.

“How many of them do you think are dead?” Kara asks, nodding down at everyone below.

“Like, full-timers?” Lena asks, wrapping her arms around her tucked legs. “I don’t know… Eighty, eighty-five percent?”

Kara hums.

“Look… I’m sorry,” Lena says, hands twisting by her ankles.

Kara almost laughs, but she manages to keep it down to a smile. “I’m not gonna jump.”

“I know,” Lena says, sounding relieved, “and I’m sorry. I just—”

She cuts herself off and wrings her hands a little more before continuing. Kara doesn’t prod or hurry her along. She’ll have all the time in the world, pretty soon.

“When I got here…” Lena begins, haltingly, “I told myself I wouldn’t do… feelings.

Kara nods and tries to keep the disappointment off her face.

“You scared me,” Lena says, reaching for her hand and squeezing. “I didn’t want to like anyone.”

Kara bites her lip, can already feel tears prickling behind her eyes again. She can feel where this is going and it’s going to hurt even with her pain slider set to zero.

“So… you’ve just been real fucking inconvenient,” Lena says sincerely, squeezing at her hand again.

Kara blinks, then whips her head to the side to look at Lena. That’s not where she thought this was going.

Lena looks a little shocked at herself too, and she starts babbling. “It’s just— I didn’t know, you know? With how much time there is. And I can’t. I wasn’t prepared for you. Um, for wanting something—”

Kara cups her beautiful blushing face between her hands and kisses her, pouring all of her affection into the kiss.

And when they fall into bed together, she fills her up with more of her affection, again, and again, and again.

---

"It's next week," she shares, afterwards as they’re sitting on the porch listening to the waves. "That I'm getting married."

Lena’s sitting one step above her so their faces can be at the same level and it’s cute. She presses her forehead to Kara’s temple and hums in acknowledgment.

“To nice James?” she asks. “Are you sure you’re still going through with that?”

Kara smiles. “Yeah, I have to.”

She can hear the frown in Lena’s voice when she asks, “‘Have to’?”

“He really is a nice guy,” Kara says, because he is. “I mean, my family doesn’t approve, but they can’t stop us. And I know he's just doing it 'cause he pities me— But that's not fair for me to say—"

"Oh, hey… Hey," Lena says, shushing her soothingly. She wraps an arm around her and presses their temples together.

Kara leans her head into Lena’s, changing the subject. “What did you mean when you said you didn’t know how much time there is?”

Lena goes quiet, but after a moment she says, “They say three months, since it’s spread basically everywhere. But, well, they told me I had three months six months ago, so what do they really know?”

Kara listens quietly, mouth twisting into a frown. “After that, you’ll stay here?”

“Ha, no, gonna move on.”

“What? Why?” Kara asks, genuinely curious. She can’t imagine why anyone would not want to stay, if given the option.

“Jack,” Lena says simply. “He died just two years ago. We had the opportunity to stay here in San Junipero, but he didn’t even consider it. Didn’t even come in for a trial run.”

“That’s… unbelievable,” Kara says. “I didn’t know if I would like it here either, but… I wouldn’t ever have met someone like you if it weren’t for this place.”

Lena bumps her shoulder, giggling. “What do you mean? We could have met outside of here.”

Kara laughs nervously, pushing her glasses up her nose. “Yeah, no. You wouldn’t have liked me.”

“What? Try me.”

“Or, like, you wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with me.”

“Try me,” Lena insists, bumping their shoulders together again and flashing her dimples. “I’m in Metropolis. Where are you?”

Kara bites her lip, tries not to be swayed by her smile, by how much she adores Lena, but it’s no use. “National City.”

Lena hums. “That’s no distance at all.”

“I don’t want you to— I don’t want you to see me,” Kara protests, shrinking in on herself. “I’m scared.”

“And I’m dying,” Lena says quietly, matter-of-factly. Kara looks over at her, traces over the curves of her youthful face with her eyes. There’s a sad, resigned look on her face that Kara wants so badly to kiss away.

“Whatever you are can’t scare me, Kara, so let me come visit. I want to come say hi,” Lena murmurs, and Kara knows she’s already lost.

She couldn’t have denied Lena the world if she'd tried, so she nods.

---

Hello, stupid.

It’s good to see you.

---

"Hey!" Lena shouts behind her.

Kara turns around. “I’ve never been here in the daytime before,” she says, laughing.

Lena has a serious look on her face. “Hey, look. I talked to James.”

Kara bites her lip. “You did?”

“You didn’t tell me you were passing over tomorrow,” Lena says quietly, reaching for her hand.

Kara bobs her head. “Yeah, couple hours after the ceremony." She wiggles her toes in the sand, then mumbles, "I'm sorry I didn't tell y—"

"It's okay," Lena says, pressing her fingers to her lips. She looks like she's thinking hard about something, brow furrowed, chewing at her lip.

"I'm gonna say something crazy," she says, searching Kara's eyes, then she drops to one knee. "Will you marry me instead?"

Kara blinks, thinking that she'd somehow misheard.

Lena keeps going, squeezing at her hand. "I mean, I met James, and he really does seem like a nice guy. But," she pauses and smiles shyly up at Kara and she's absolutely everything," I figured maybe you'd wanna marry someone you've made a connection with?"

Kara falls to her knees in the sand and launches herself into Lena's arms to pepper her face with kisses, her heart filled to bursting.

"Is that a yes?" Lena laughs, squeezing her tight, and Kara just kisses her again and again between giggles.

---

… to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in woe, for richer, for poorer…

---

I do.

---

Kara opens her eyes and she’s back on the beach. The waves crash, the water’s cold, the sand is gritty between her toes.

She’s alive in the best way.

She takes her glasses off and leaves them in the sand.

---

“Hey!” Lena shouts, and when Kara turns, Lena’s hanging out of her car looking absolutely gorgeous in a white tailored suit.

Kara feels the ear-splitting grin stretch across her face, then quickly jogs over to her.

“What? You didn’t dress up to see me?” Lena teases.

Kara chuckles and in the next instant she’s in a tailored suit of her own.

She twirls in place for Lena's appraisal, blushing when Lena bites her lip and tugs her in by the tie for a sloppy kiss.

"Hi, handsome," she purrs, licking her lips, and pleasure signals zing up her brainstem.

"Hi," she mumbles.

Lena kisses her again, then once more until they're both smiling too hard to kiss properly.

"You ready?" Lena asks, nosing at Kara's cheek.

"Mmhm."

---

They drive to the top of a cliff overlooking the beach, cans clanking noisily behind them.

"I love it here," Kara sighs as they sit on the hood of Lena's car and enjoy the view.

Lena snorts. "You've been here before."

"Yeah, but now I live here."

Lena hums and links their fingers together, looking pensive.

Kara turns her head to meet her eyes. She lifts their joined hands and watches Lena's eyelids flutter closed when she presses a kiss to her knuckles, to each of her fingertips, to the inside of her wrist. She lets her lips linger there against her pulse point and hears Lena's breath hitch.

She doesn’t feel like she’s different from the version of herself that had met Lena for the first time so many weeks ago, but she does feel like a better version. A better, braver, more hopeful Kara.

So.

"Stay with me," she breathes. "Please."

Lena opens her eyes and there’s apprehension there, but also a spark of longing that Kara latches onto.

“You had your time with Jack. You lived, you loved, and I know you said he didn’t stay, but he did. Up until two years ago,” Kara says softly. Lena starts to turn her head away but Kara catches her chin and gently encourages her to keep looking into her eyes.

“He’s gone, Lena, and I can’t understand or take away the pain of that, but I’m here with you now. And that’s what I can offer you: the promise that I’ll stay,” Kara says, pressing another lingering kiss to her inner wrist. “If you’ll have me.”

Lena stares at her, lips ever-so-slightly parted, then laughs incredulously. “Who are you exactly,” she says, the corners of her eyes crinkling with her smile, “and what have you done with the shy Kara I used to know?”

Kara shrugs bashfully. “I guess I just feel a little like I’ve been reborn and given a second chance at life.”

She dips forward to part Lena’s lips with her own, then presses their foreheads together. “And… a first chance at love?”

“Kara…” Lena says breathlessly.

“Please, stay with me,” Kara repeats.

Lena takes a shaky breath and Kara squeezes her eyes shut, hoping.

---

“…Okay,” Lena whispers, so quiet Kara almost misses it.

“Okay?” she asks, pulling back to look into her eyes.

“Yeah,” Lena says, eyes watery. “Yeah, okay.”

Kara laughs, incredulously, delightedly, loudly, and pulls Lena into her lap to kiss her silly.

She'd hoped to find something in San Junipero, and she had.

The love of her life. Her wife.

Lena.