“Stop getting crumbs all over my bed.” Lena reprimanded as she walked into the room, kicking off her heels in the vague direction of her closet before she flopped onto the available space beside the blonde.
“I’m sick.” Kara defended as she continued to work her way steadily through a high pile of cookies.
“Solar flared does not equal sick.” Lena replied, her voice muffled by the pillow she had face-planted into. “If you were sick,” Lena continued, lifting her head to arch a formidable eyebrow at the other woman, “I would not be letting you eat cookies.”
Kara gasped, pulling the cookie plate tight to her chest and curling around it protectively, “That would make me sick and miserable, that’s just cruel!”
“Well, I am a Luthor.” Lena acknowledged dryly before turning onto her side to face Kara, supporting her head with the palm of her hand on a bent elbow.
“You don’t say?” Kara said, her expression twisting to one of exaggerated surprise, “Now it all makes sense… how could I have missed this?”
“You do have a tendency towards obliviousness.” Lena commented thoughtfully.
“Pfft… no, I don’t.” Kara huffed, rolling her eyes, “Why would you think that?” Kara questioned, glancing curiously over to the raven-haired woman who’s expression had suddenly gone carefully blank.
“No reason.” Lena said softly, and if Kara had been paying closer attention she might have picked up on the melancholic tone to her voice. “I should… uh… get changed and start on dinner.” Lena declared, shuffling to the edge of the bed and getting quickly to her feet.
“Come back…” Kara whined, making grabby hands after her best friend. “I’ve been so lonely…”
“You’ve spent one day in my very expensive bed with silk sheets and unlimited netflix, prime and disney.” Lena shot back with a faux glare.
“So…” Kara pouted before adding earnestly, “I missed you.”
Lena paused in her rummaging through of her wardrobe, “I missed you, too.”
“Then come back to your crumb covered bed and tell me about your day.”
“Wow, you know, you should have gone into sales. That was a masterful pitch, would you be interested in a job in L-Corp’s marketing department?” Lena teased, disappearing into the bathroom momentarily with a pair of sweatpants and Kara’s NCU sweater to change into.
“We can cuddle.” Kara called out hopefully.
The bathroom door opened; Lena was now dressed far more comfortably and looking so much softer . “And what about dinner?” Lena queried, crossing her arms as she leant against the doorway.
Kara’s breath faltered at the sight of her best friend without her armour, before she raised her eyebrows hopefully, “We can order in? Eat in bed?”
Kara blinked innocently as she pointed out, “Your bed already has crumbs in it.”
Lena shook her head and laughed, a sound which had Kara’s heart picking up in pace. “Okay, you win this one.”
Kara was grinning so widely and arm pumping so excitedly that she didn’t think to correct Lena’s comment, not that she realised that it required correction. If Kara had been of the mind to keep track, she would have known that there hadn’t been a single time where she hadn’t won.
Lena always gave in to Kara, not that Kara noticed.
Even if she did, it was highly unlikely that she would have figured out the real reason why that was.
It had become a thing.
Finding Kara in her bed, well… more specifically her apartment. She had given Kara access, in much the same way she had given her access to her office… like it was no big deal when it was actually the very opposite.
Kara had come over for a film night which had transitioned from Kara's apartment to Lena's once they realised that films were much better viewed on a ridiculously large television screen.
It was Kara's decision to take the elevator up rather than fly in via the balcony that prompted it all really.
It was halfway through the two-dimensional love interest's monologue that Lena couldn't help but ask, "How come you took the lift?"
"Huh?" Kara hummed, her attention split between the mediocre movie and the considerably large bowl of popcorn in her lap (the popcorn the more primary focus over the film).
Lena shifted out from under Kara's arm - causing the blonde to immediately pout - so that she could turn to face Kara's profile directly. "Why didn't you fly up?" Lena questioned.
Kara blinked once, mildly taken aback, before equally moving so that she was facing Lena head on, "Would you rather I flew in?"
"That wasn't what I said." Lena huffed, resting her elbow on the back of the sofa and then her head on her hand.
"I know." Kara replied simply, her gaze soft yet scrutinising.
Lena knew what Kara was getting at.
Knew that she had not reacted well to the discovery that her best friend and Supergirl was one and the same. She had reacted with anger, to hide the hurt and betrayal the revelation had caused. She had not been kind to Kara Danvers and she had been downright cruel to Supergirl.
She hadn't done anything drastic or particularly Luthor-esque but she had inflicted damage, a lot of damage.
Lena wouldn't claim sole credit for it though, not that Kara would let her even if she wanted to. Kara had thrown the first punch, drawn first blood, with her lies and manipulations, neither of them would deny that. But it was Kara who had desperately tried to stitch the cuts shut, ice the bruises and whisper soothing words whilst Lena continued to throw punch after punch, dead set on inflicting more pain.
Stopping had been easy.
Lena reached a point where she just had nothing left to give.
It was the rebuilding that was hard.
And Kara - sweet, generous Kara who constantly strived to be better - was the one that laid brick after brick at the start when Lena had no energy left. Kara was the one that kept the bridge between them standing when Lena had screamed for it to be burnt down.
The bridge between them now was strong and sturdy but it wasn't without its weak spots.
No bridge is.
Supergirl (with all the lies and dark memories attached to her) was the strained joint hidden away from sight.
Kara no longer hid Supergirl but she definitely didn't go out of her way to remind Lena of her. Lena now heard the Supergirl stories, assisted Supergirl against her recurrent monsters of the week, listened to Kara speak of Krypton and growing up on a planet not her own.
Kara's time in the suit when interacting with Lena was as minimal as possible.
The Supergirl stories spoken of but not elaborated.
She explained her powers but didn't show them off.
Where the option was available - Kara Danvers or Supergirl - when it came to interacting with Lena, Kara Danvers always won out.
So… when it came to taking the lift or flying into Lena's apartment… the lift was the obvious choice.
"I want you to be comfortable here." Lena revealed; that simple statement serving as a soothing balm over their shared injury.
Kara smiled warmly at that - not her big toothy grin filled with sunshine but her small, soft smile that emanated sincerity.
"I am comfortable here." Kara reassured, reaching out for Lena's hand, accidentally knocking the bowl of popcorn in her lap and sending kernels across the upholstery.
Kara winced but Lena merely laughed taking a firmer hold of Kara's hand to prevent her from rushing to clear it all up.
"I want you to feel like you can be you here. Like if you were at home." Lena asserted earning her wide, awestruck blue eyes that made her feel ten feet tall. "I want you…" Lena began, blushing at her own emphasis and what it revealed. She cleared her throat and rushed over the last secret between them. "I want you to feel like you're at home here."
"I do feel like that…" Kara replied, squeezing their joined hands and causing Lena's heart to flutter under the affection.
"Good." Lena declared with a firm nod. "The balcony door has been coded to your fingerprint as has the elevator, if you ever… if you ever need someplace to go… you can come here and get crumbs all over my sofa."
Kara swallowed thickly, ducking her head suddenly shy, "Are you sure?"
"About the home thing? Absolutely certain." Lena announced clear and determined; Kara immediately perking up to reveal shiny blue eyes. "About the crumbs? I can learn to live with it or at least build a very good hand vacuum for you to use."
"Thanks, Lena." Kara breathed out, equal parts disbelief and earnest.
"Just returning the favour." Lena commented with a shrug.
"What favour?" Kara inquired, brow immediately furrowing in confusion.
"You gave me a safe place…" Lena began, shifting back to her previous position, tugging Kara's arm securely back around her shoulders, her heart skipping a beat at how Kara's breath faltered at their sudden closeness. "Only fair I give you one in return."
Lena didn't mind crumbs.
She had grown up with them. In all their various forms.
She appreciated crumbs for what they were, just cause they were small, mere leftovers of a greater chunk, did not diminish their taste. Just because they were forgotten, left behind without thought, did not mean they were of less value than if the original and complete had been given solely to her.
Lena had to believe that crumbs were just as good and of worth as the whole because crumbs were all she really knew from the moment she stepped foot into the Luthor household.
Crumbs of affection.
Crumbs of love.
Crumbs of pride.
Never the whole. Never the sole focus.
Just minute leftovers that Lena received by accident.
Praise for Lex accidentally falling on her as collateral.
Confidence in her inventions translating to confidence in her.
A fond remark after one too many glasses of wine.
Compliments for her looks, never her heart, never for her...
Touch for someone else's pleasure, never for affection, never for love…
Never for her...
Lena was used to crumbs, she liked crumbs as she knew that they were infinitely better than nothing.
She especially loved the crumbs Kara left strewn behind in her wake. Small signs that she had been there, physical representations that she had left something for Lena… had given something to Lena...
Just this once, though - if she was being totally honest with herself - she wished for more than crumbs when it came to Kara.
Lena, though, didn't know how to ask for it.
She had tried and tried and tried…
She had flirted.
Tried to show it with actions.
Either Lena didn't know how to ask ( burnt far too many times by harsh refusals that the words now stuck in her throat like blades yet to be unsheathed ) or she had asked but Kara was far too kind/subtle to bluntly reject her.
Lena had grown used to getting home after a long day to find Kara already there waiting for her more often than not. It had developed over the course of months, starting with Kara tentatively letting herself in when Lena was running fifteen minutes late, to coming over when she had a bad day without notice and culminating in waiting out her solar flare in the safety/comfort of Lena's apartment.
Lena loved that Kara felt at home. Loved that the first thing she saw most mornings was Kara, either from waking up side-by-side after falling asleep in Lena's bed whilst watching random documentaries on Netflix, or to find Kara letting herself in with cups of coffee and pastries for breakfast.
Lena loved that Kara left crumbs behind… she just wished… wished that Kara didn't leave, that she had the whole thing, not just crumbs.
It was a random Tuesday.
It had started like any other, Lena had woken up, showered and strolled out to the kitchen just as Kara landed on the balcony, waving two Noonan to-go cups. Lena had cooked up a hearty breakfast for the two of them as they discussed their day ahead, Lena promising to finish work at a reasonable hour so they could have most of the evening together.
After breakfast, Kara supersped the dishes clean before Lena pressed a fond farewell kiss to Kara's cheek - as had become custom between them - and headed out the door. Work passed with the usual mix of monotony with flairs of potential catastrophe that required her to step in. Supergirl was saving the day over lunch so Lena ended up spending it in her lab tinkering away and then, before long, it was time to head home.
On the drive back, Lena mentally picked out the bottle of wine she would share with Kara, and the cosy pajamas she would change into which always increased the likelihood of Kara cuddling close to her on the sofa or the bed.
Lena knew what to expect from a normal Tuesday and what she found when she came home was anything but normal.
The lights being out was the first thing. Usually, the penthouse would be lit up like a Christmas tree, Kara tending to forget to turn out the lights as she made her way through the various rooms. This time, however, the main lights were off, the only illumination coming from twinkling candles set resplendently on the dining room table.
The next thing was the complete lack of familiar takeaway smells that would always envelop her the second she walked through the door. This Tuesday, however, she was met with the smell and heat that only came with extended cooking.
The last thing - but by far the most important as it took up nearly all of Lena’s attention to the eclipse of everything else - that fully reinforced to Lena that today was unlike any other was Kara herself.
Lena's best friend had not changed out of her work attire into baggy sweatpants and worn sweatshirts as she often did.
No, this time Kara had dressed up rather than down.
She was wearing a pressed dark blue shirt that Lena had never seen before complemented by burgundy trousers. Golden locks had also been carefully pinned up into an elegant style.
It wasn't just Kara's physical appearance that had changed; her very demeanour contrasted greatly to her standard temperament. She was fidgeting, hands moving quickly between playing with the buttons on her shirt to adjusting her hair clip - no glasses present for her to reach for.
"What… what is all this?" Lena breathed in astonishment, handbag slipping off her shoulder and falling heavily to the ground as she looked between her best friend and the immaculately laid table.
"I… uh… well… it's dinner." Kara stammered.
"Did I miss a special occasion?” Lena asked in a rush, fear grabbing hold of her at the mere thought that she had overlooked something so incredibly significant to the single most important person in her life. “It’s not your birthday is it? I'm sure it's not your birthday, I have a whole thing planned-"
"No, no, no, don't panic.” Kara rushed to reassure, stepping quickly forward, hands waving back and forth as if to physically sweep away Lena’s anxiety. “It's not a special occasion…” Kara winced quickly before muttering under her breath, “at least not yet… but hopefully."
"Kara?" Lena prompted, throat feeling tight as she tried to rein in the hopeful butterflies that were attempting to take flight in her stomach.
A candlelit dinner and Kara dressed up like that…
It was hard not to hope, to interpret, to assume…
But Lena knew better; her eager fingers repeatedly slapped away by someone else over the years whenever they reached for something that was never destined to be hers.
"I…”, Kara began, before dropping her head and taking a deep breath.
When she looked up again there was a steely determination there that meant she was resolved. Was ready to step into the fight. It was a look Lena had seen on both Kara Danvers and Supergirl’s faces countless times because it was so purely Kara Zor-El and everything she embodied that seeped effortlessly into both of her personas.
Lena adored that look.
“I love my life.” Kara declared, as she reached out for Lena’s hands with her own. “My life with you. My life here with you. I love waking up to you, and coming here when I've had a bad day and feeling like I have a home with you." Kara clarified, causing Lena’s cheeks to blush a fervent red which successfully bolstered Kara’s confidence even further - so much so that the blonde shifted her left hand to tenderly cup Lena’s cheek.
"And I am so unbelievably grateful for it all and… it is so much more than I ever thought I would get or be worthy of and if…” Kara swallowed thickly, blue eyes becoming pained and hesitant as she contemplated potential outcomes. “If this is it… if this is all we'll ever be, I need you to know that it… It is so precious to me.” Kara whispered earnestly, thumb stroking across Lena’s jaw so tenderly. “That this - me and you right now - means more to me than anything else in this world or any other. It's just… it's just… I owe it to me and to you to ask if… if we could have more…"
"More?" Lena murmured, her entire body, mind and soul shutting down from sheer shock.
"Yeah… more…" Kara replied, voice cracking with fragile hope. "More of me and you. More than just friends. More than… than…"
"Crumbs.” Lena supplied without thinking, blinking rapidly to dispel the tears building in her eyes. “More than crumbs."
For a few seconds, Kara’s expression was lined, creased with confusion and concern when-
Understanding and realisation blossomed like the first flower of spring.
Blue eyes lighting up, skin smoothing out and frown reversing into a hopeful smile.
There is nothing more beautiful in all of existence than the sight of another person truly understanding you. Understanding you in a way that you believed no one ever would.
"Yeah, more than crumbs…" Kara beamed letting out a watery chuckle before grimacing as she glanced over her shoulder towards the kitchen that looked like a full fledged disaster zone. "Though, on that topic, you should know I did make a mess of the kitchen. A more-than-crumbs mess…"
"Perfect." Lena grinned, her smile wider than it had ever been, as she wrapped her arms around a surprised yet delighted kryptonian.
"Perfect?" Kara inquired, raising an eyebrow as Lena leaned forward brushing her nose against Kara’s jaw in a slow teasing manner that made Kara’s breath hitch.
"Mmmhmm… Perfect.” Lena hummed, pressing a kiss to Kara’s jaw, then her cheek, moving steadily across. “Mess it all up, mess everything up,” Lena ordered between kisses that advanced towards Kara’s lips and had the hero’s breath quickening rapidly, “leave more than crumbs behind. Just be here, be here all the time."
"Lena, I lo-" Kara began but Lena had finally reached her destination.
Lips pressed against Kara’s preventing the rest of her revelation, though Lena could physically feel the final syllables against her lips. Felt them brought to life by the movement of Kara's tongue against her own.
"I love you so much." Lena exhaled, desperate to share her last secret as soon as their lips separated.
Kara laughed joyfully, burying her heated face in the space between Lena’s neck and shoulder. "You stole my line.” Kara grumbled, kissing a trail from Lena’s neck back towards her lips, leaving the youngest Luthor giggling and needy, fingers digging into the back of Kara’s ironed shirt creating endless creases.
Just before reconnecting their lips, Kara pulled back, adoring blue eyes sweeping over Lena’s flushed features.
Lena wanted to yank her forward, wanted to demand more but she also wanted to give more in return.
She wanted Kara to have all of her, not just crumbs.
So she waited. (Impatiently).
Waited as Kara admired her, love emanating in every flicker of her blue eyes.
“I love you, Lena Luthor." Kara declared.