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i don't know how to dance so slow (to keep up with you)

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Lena wakes to a cold foggy morning and complete silence. 

She's taken all the blankets in her sleep again—she lies under a veritable nest of flannels and fluffy throws, surrounded by an obscene number of pillows, sunk into decadent plushness. The mattress creaks slightly as she begins to move, and the blankets crackle with static as she drags them with her out of the bed.  

Only the smell of freshly brewed coffee coming from downstairs would be tempting enough for her to brave the cold. Lena shivers as she gingerly plucks an errant flannel and a pair of sleep shorts from the floor on her way out of the cozy loft.  

The fog is thick, wild and beautiful, diffusing the morning light into a soft grey through the large windows. On clear, sunny days, Lena might see a lone figure on horseback out in the fields, probably wearing blue, but today, not even the snow-capped mountains are visible—Lena can hardly even make out the shape of the deck out front. 

It's all blessedly quiet, as if the fog has muted the world in velvet, leaving only the soft drips of coffee percolating and the muted creaks of the floorboards under Lena's bare feet. 

Lena's almost finished with her second cup for the day, busying herself with cutting some fruit for breakfast, when she hears the tell-tale creaking of the back door. She doesn't turn; she merely listens for the soft click of the lock, the thudding of boots being discarded haphazardly at the foyer, and the padding of socked feet coming her way.  

It takes precisely nineteen steps from the door to the kitchen counter; Lena counts each and every one before tender, strong hands find their home at her waist, and a warm body steps close, right at her back. A deep, satisfied sigh tickles at the hairs on the back of her neck, and she leans back, hearing an appreciative hum in response.  

“Morning,” Lena greets, reaching back with a strawberry—the mouth that catches it nips playfully at her fingertips before biting into the fruit, and Lena's touch lingers on soft lips. “How was your ride?” 

“Good,” Kara breathes, voice still gravelly and rich this early in the morning. “I was hoping to make it back before you woke up—wanted to bring you breakfast in bed.” 

“Oh? What's the occasion?” 

She feels strong shoulder shrug behind her. “Do I need an occasion? Anyway—it's too late now.” 

Lena laughs, removing the stem of another strawberry and bringing it to Kara's lips. “By all means, don't let me stop you. I'm quite happy to go back to bed.” 

“Nuh-uh,” Kara quips, smacking her lips and pressing them against Lena's neck in soft, breathy kisses. “Want you right here.” 

The knife and cutting board are immediately forgotten as Kara's hands gently pull at Lena's waist, spinning her in place to face her, and just like that, their lips meet before their eyes do, soft and tender. Lena's hands are still stick with fruit, and Kara still smells like the outdoors—pine, a little sweat, and that indescribable crispness of the morning air.  

It's heaven, Lena thinks, between kisses, as Kara lifts her onto the counter, slotting herself between her legs as if she belongs there—she might as well—hands burning onto her skin with their warmth. Kara's calloused fingers dance under her open flannel, charting across her abdomen, over her ribs, under the soft swell of her breasts, and Lena gasps softly into their kisses as her own fingers grasp at the hastily done braid wound at the base of Kara's neck. 

It's heaven, the way Kara plays with the waistband of her sleep shorts, the way her lips nip playfully at the sensitive skin of her thighs as she gently rolls the shorts down Lena's pale legs. It's heaven to have her tongue between her legs, to have her sigh and moan with the way Lena writhes under her touch; to have Kara hold her hips steady as she sinks into Lena with her fingers; to hear her whisper sweet nothings as Lena gasps out her release.  

It's heaven to taste herself on Kara's lips. 


Ten Years Ago  

It all started because Clark Kent was a whopping twenty minutes late. Twenty whole minutes, and when he finally showed up, he wasn't alone. 

“I need you to understand,” Lena breathes out, feeling the flush on her chest and cheeks return with a vengeance as she tumbles into the stall after the blonde that had tagged along with her brother's pet reporter. “I never do this.” 

This refers to fucking a stranger in a club bathroom (particularly while her brother is ostensibly meeting with said stranger's cousin, but Lena chooses not to think about that).  

“Neither do I,” the blonde—Kara, Lena has to remind herself—gasps when Lena goes straight for the fly of her rumpled slacks and cups her through what seem to be boxer briefs. She's wet, and Lena feels heady as she rubs her experimentally over the fabric, liking the way the other woman groans and thuds against the stall, eyes practically rolling into the back of her head.  

Lena never does this. 

She's panting in Kara's ears not five minutes later, biting at her own wrist to stop the whimpers the blonde pulls out of her with every stroke of her fingers. Lena's dress is pulled up to her waist; she's got a leg hiked up around Kara's hip, and one Louboutin hangs precariously from her foot as Kara drives into her, using her hips for added pressure. 

This was unplanned. A product of a few too many vodka sodas, dazzling blue eyes, and a little bit of rebellion. Lena didn’t want to accompany Lex; Kara had not wanted to tag along with Clark, but right here, right now, they're both glad things worked out that way.  

It's a little less unplanned to share a cab with Kara to her brand-new apartment. It's almost pre-meditated, really, for Lena to stretch herself out onto her massive bed, bracketed by toned arms and strong thighs, to be kissed within an inch of her life.  

One-night stands shouldn't feel this good, so safe, so warm. It shouldn't feel like coming home, staring at a stranger's eyes while they're inside you, Lena thinks, as Kara coaxes orgasm after interminable orgasm out of her. 

The morning after, of course, is quite different.  

For one, it's painfully awkward—but that is almost a comfort. Lena expects awkwardness, knows how to deal with it. 

What is unexpected is giving Kara her card—her shiny, newly embossed business card, with gleaming letters that say Lena Luthor, Research & Development, LuthorCorp and her phone number at the bottom. 

Kara stands awkwardly at her door, clutching her ratty messenger bag, wrinkled blazer thrown over her shoulder, and stares at the card like it might explode. Lena's practically vibrating.  

"Here,” she says quickly, practically shoving the card into Kara's chest. “If you ever find yourself in Metropolis again.” 

She's so flustered, she misses Kara's grin when she closes the door.  


Now  

The voice comes from deeper in the stables, almost drowned out by the happy neighing of a couple of horses at the end. “Are you OK over there?” 

Lena laughs, rolling up her sleeves before lifting the bale Kara left behind. “Of course,” she quips. “This ain't my first rodeo, Danvers.” 

She hears the peal of Kara's laughter further down at the stables—it always ends with a little snort. The horses perk up when they see her, ears flicking in her direction and noses bumping at their grates, sniffing the air.  

Lena drops the hay bale at Kara's feet with a huff, then stretches her back, feeling the satisfying pop of her vertebrae as she does. Kara lets out a little chuckle, looking at Lena like she's thoroughly amused, and Lena raises a questioning brow.  

“What?” 

“Nothing,” Kara says, but she's grinning like a fool. “Just thinking of Lena Luthor, big shot CEO, lifting a hay bale, stepping on horse shit.” 

Lena's gaze immediately drops to her boots—she's been deceived, and Kara chortles at the glare she receives for the lie. “Very funny, Danvers.” 

“I'm sorry,” Kara quips, not sounding sorry in the slightest. “It's just a funny image to me. What would your board think if they saw you right now? If they knew this is what you're up to, six weeks out of the year, every year?” 

“They'd probably think I'm crazy,” Lena ponders, rolling her sleeves back down. “I'd be inclined to agree.” 


Eight Years Ago  

Lena can't breathe. 

She's trying, she really is. But she's practically folded in half, legs up in the air and over a strong set of shoulders, and her hands hold on to a headboard that would probably be waking up the neighbors—if there were any—with the way it rhythmically knocks against the wall. 

Familiar hands hold fast onto her thighs, and hips drive into Lena with devastating precision. She's full, so full, and every time Kara pulls out she's close to seeing white with the way the blonde angles herself just right before sinking back in, but— 

Breathe, baby.”  

Lena does, then, in a ragged gasp that stutters out into a needy whimper when Kara's hands find their way under her and lift. Her lower body isn't even touching the mattress now, and yet, Kara's pace is uninterrupted, punishing and relentless, and it's perfect.  

K- kara , Kara, oh God, fuck —” 

“I am,” Kara replies cheekily, shifting the angle of her hips just so . Lena would ordinarily roll her eyes at the quip, but at the moment, her eyes are rolling to the back of her head for very different reasons. Kara's hand drops down to rub fast circles over her clit, and almost instantaneously, Lena's seeing stars. 

Her body goes taut, toes curling and hands gripping the slats on her headboard for dear life as Kara fucks her through release, tenderly shifting her rhythm as Lena comes down from her high, sinking softly in and pulling nearly all the way out through her aftershocks.  

Lena lies, spent and sweaty, staring at the wood beams across the ceiling, but not really seeing. She vaguely hears Kara's groan as she unbuckles the harness, then the thud of the toy dropping to the floor. The mattress sinks as Kara wriggles her way under the blankets, plastering her body against Lena's.  

It is way too hot with her there. It's perfect.  

“This isn't exactly how I expected to spend my sabbatical.” Lena ponders aloud. Kara giggles, brushing her nose against the skin of her neck.  

“Welcome to Midvale Ranch Bed and Breakfast,” she quips playfully. “At your service, ma’am.” 

Lena laughs, throwing a pillow at Kara's head. She misses, horribly, and Kara just tightens her arms around her waist, sighing into her back. “When do you go back to Metropolis?” 

“When do you go back to Metropolis? Didn't you have another interview at the Planet ?” 

Kara tenses, slightly, but it's impossible to miss. “I don't.” She says, and her voice is small. “I'm not even sure I'd want it, if I did.” 

Lena bites at her lip. The silence that descends is uncomfortable, fraught with words they'll never, ever say. She turns to face Kara, strokes her cheeks tenderly—the smile she gets doesn't quite reach Kara's eyes. 

“Well,” she continues, ignoring the subject completely for both their sakes'. “I still have six weeks.” 


Now  

“I'm just saying,” Kara insists from her side of the bed, facing the wall. “You could stay a little longer, just this time.” 

Lena doesn’t mean for the sigh she releases to sound petulant, but that's always a risk. Especially with how often they've revisited the topic over the years—they've danced around it, they’ve tackled it head on, and over time, they learned it is best not to mess with what works.  

“You know I can't, Kara. I have a company to run, I can't just stay.” 

Six uninterrupted weeks a year, only in the off-season. That's the deal—that's what works for them, what has always worked. Neither of them can commit to anything more than these interludes—and they're precious, so precious to Lena. 

“I just—” 

Kara .” 

The blankets shift, and Kara's sigh is quiet and resigned. She doesn't speak again for the rest of the night. 


Four Years Ago  

They're giggling like teenagers—it feels like they are always giggling like teenagers, when they're alone, but especially like this, running down rolling hills in the fading sunlight of the late afternoon. The breeze is cool, but the sun is still warm, and Kara's eyes glimmer in the light. Lena can't look away. 

The horses (Dancer and Prancer, so-named by Kara, of course) pay them little mind, grazing happily under the big tree at the foot of the hill. The air is crisp and clean—it fills Lena's lungs differently than the Metropolis smog, like it cleanses her from the inside out.  

She's stolen Kara's denim jacket and her hat, but Kara herself doesn't seem to mind in the slightest. If anything, her gaze grows tender when she looks at Lena, when they entwine their hands and frolic—they're frolicking; if only Lena's stepmother could see her now.  

Kara suddenly tugs at Lena's arm, and it's easy to let herself be pulled into an embrace. Everything is easy, with Kara. Her arms wind around Lena's waist, pulling her tight, tight, tight, and Lena can just close her eyes and lose herself in this warmth, if she wants to. 

“Dance with me?” 

Lena looks up, and laughs when Kara looks completely serious. “Here?” she asks, a little breathless after their run, gesturing to the fields, the mountains, the everything and the nothingness that surrounds them in this pink sunset. “There's not even any music.” 

“Doesn't matter,” Kara replies with a beaming grin, already starting to move in place, hands steady at Lena's waist. Lena couldn't stop her smile if she tried, so she loops her arms over Kara's shoulders and lets herself be swayed gently in Kara's embrace, in a soft, rhythmless lull. 

The sun continues to set behind the mountains, and the light slowly changes from pinks and oranges to different hues of blue. The cold begins to set, and as Lena shivers, Kara merely pulls her closer to her chest—Lena can hear Kara's heart in her chest, booming and steady, beating rapidly beneath her ribcage. 

“Lena?” 

“Hm?” 

Kara sounds nervous, which is... different. Save that first meeting in Metropolis, Lena has never known Kara to be nervous about anything—she is a serene, firm presence, comforting in her steadiness. The change in tone is enough for Lena to crane her neck to see her, raising a questioning brow when Kara licks her lips anxiously.  

“I'm just,” she begins, before faltering for a moment. She swallows dryly, as if steeling herself. “I'm really happy you're here.” 

Lena grins, dropping a kiss to the corner of Kara's mouth. “I'm happy to be here,” she says, meaning every word.  

Kara's smile tugs a little wider. “There's... there's something I wanted to tell you. You make me happy, Lena, and I... well, I—” 

She's interrupted by the shrill ringing of Lena's cellphone—there's only one number that isn't silenced during her six weeks here. Lena groans audibly as she reaches into the back pocket of her jeans. 

“Jeez, how do you even have service up here?” Kara laughs, sounding a little hysterical. Lena rolls her eyes affectionately, shushing her softly with a finger to her lips as she answers. 

Her mother's voice at the other end shatters absolutely everything. 

“Lena?” Kara asks, voice low, laced with worry at the sudden change in Lena's expression. Lena's hands are shaking—her entire body tenses, and for a few moments after she hangs up, it's like she cannot speak; her mouth moves, but no words come out.  

“Lena, what happened? Is everything OK?” 

She shakes her head, not entirely sure she heard what she just heard. “It's Lex,” she finally breathes out, not quite believing what she's saying. “I have to go back. He's been arrested.” 


Now  

Lena's last day at Midvale is unlike any of the other last days she's spent there before. She's a little sore from the previous night, which isn't exactly a surprise, nor is it unwelcome. But Kara isn't there. 

During the weeks she spends at the ranch, Kara always goes for her usual morning ride—except on her last day. On Lena’s last morning, Kara clings to her for as long as humanly possible, stretching her body over Lena's and showering her with lazy kisses and sweet whispers. They usually don't leave the bed until noon, or when Lena's hired car is already idling in the long driveway.  

There's coffee brewing downstairs, and Lena wonders for a moment if Kara simply forgot today was her last day. Unlikely, but it is the explanation she clings to, at least until she makes her way down, fully dressed, to see Kara staring at the snow-capped mountains, still in her pajamas, coffee mug in hand.  

“Hey,” Kara greets her, without turning around. She's looking at Lena's reflection on the window, and their gazes meet hesitantly through the glass. 

“Good morning.” Lena says, unsure. Kara still doesn't turn—she merely sips at her mug, looking over the golden fields and mountains as far as the eye can see.  

“I, uh...” Kara begins, then clears her throat as Lena helps herself to some coffee. She shifts her gaze away from the windows to stare resolutely down at her own cup. “I have to go into town today—I won't be able to see you off.” 

Lena stops to sip at her coffee. She can't taste it. “That's alright,” she says, and it feels like an empty lie, even though she doesn't mean it as one. “When do you have to go?” 

Kara swallows, setting her cup down on the side table. “Uh, now, actually. I probably won't be back by the time you have to leave.” 

“Oh.” Lena says. She doesn't want to pry. “Is everything alright?” 

Kara finally turns, and her eyes are slightly puffy and red. She doesn't sound like she's been crying—but Lena realizes that in the ten years she's known her, she's never actually seen Kara cry.  

“Yeah,” Kara says, and that sounds like the worst lie Lena has ever heard. She steps closer to Lena, tentative and timid and so obviously sad, and drops a chaste kiss right at the corner of Lena's lips. “Everything's fine. I'll be seeing you.” 

Lena wants to say something, but words simply don't come to her—her mouth opens and closes almost immediately after. All she can do is give Kara a little smile—it doesn't reach her eyes and doesn't earn another in response.  

Kara steps away, making her way upstairs. “Have a good flight back, Lena.” 


Lena tells her driver to come two hours later than usual, but Kara still isn't back by the time the sleek black Range Rover pulls into the winding driveway of Midvale Ranch. She lingers, making a show of thinking she forgot something inside and looking for it, growing antsy and uneasy by the second.  

She's finally out of excuses twenty minutes later. She thanks her driver for his patience, and makes to get in the car, and that's when she sees it: 

A truck, speeding down the driveway, kicking up dust on its wake. Lena's heart swells for a moment, and she steps away from the car to get a closer look as the rusted truck turns into the space next to the Range Rover.  

Nothing could have prepared her to see Clark Kent step out. 

“Ms. Luthor?? What on earth are you doing here?” 

His eyes bug out from behind his squared frames, and he looks as surprised to see her as she is to see him. Lena falters; words lodge in her throat again—she doesn't have an explanation to his question, so she stalls.  

“Mr. Kent. I—I didn't expect to see you here. I was just leaving.” 

He closes the door to his truck, brows still raised in confusion. He looks her up and down, seemingly to take in her car and work attire (she was planning on going straight to L-Corp once she arrived in Metropolis), and put his hands at his waist, looking pensive.  

“Well, golly, this is certainly uh, a coincidence. Are you the buyer?” 

Lena blinks. “The buyer?” 

He gestures at the house behind her with his chin, as if it were obvious. “My aunt and cousin own this ranch--I'm helping with a potential buyer today. Is that you?” He seems bewildered by his own question—not as much as Lena is by the news. 

She's shaken to her core—Lena can't help but turn around, looking at the main house, old but well-cared for, well-loved. She's lost count of the times she's seen Kara walking around with a toolbelt, fixing little odds and ends with the same love and care one would give to a beloved family pet. 

“Kara's selling Midvale?” she whispers to herself, unable to believe what she's hearing, what she's saying. The ranch means the world to Kara—it's her life. “She didn't say anything.” 

Clark hears it, and looks even more puzzled, seeming to realize Lena is not, in fact, the buyer. “She didn't say...? Wait. Ms. Luthor, if you're not the buyer—how do you know Kara?” 

Lena doesn't hear him. She's thinking of the large, log-cabin-like main house, of the loft where she and Kara spend their evenings wrapped around each other, of the sprawling fields where they ride on horseback until the sun sets behind the snowy peaks. She's reliving lazy Sunday mornings and peaceful evenings by the fire, nights of tenderness and passion, slow-dancing under the stars and waking to foggy grey mornings to do it all over again. 

She's barely aware of the tears in pooling at her eyes until Kent's voice begins to drone through the fog in her brain.  

“Why is she selling?” she asks abruptly, maybe sounding a little hysterical, if the way Kent takes a step back is any indication. 

He blows a puff of air through his teeth, then shrugs unhappily. “The place just doesn't make any money—hasn't for years.” 

Lena feels like she might pass out—she sways on her feet, unable to quite process what she's hearing. 

“Ms. Luthor? Are you alright?” 

Lena has to physically shake herself back to the present—Kent looks at her, worried and understandably confused, but Lena ignores him completely.  

“I'm sorry, Mr. Kent, I've got to go.” 

She doesn't hear whatever he says next—Lena merely steps into her car and slams the door closer, leaving her driver scrambling to get back to his seat and start the car again. They speed off and away, leaving a puzzled Clark Kent in a cloud of dust. 

Lena’s on her phone before Midvale Ranch disappears from the rearview mirrors.  

“Jess? Call my accountants. I want a meeting first thing when I land.” 


Later, in Metropolis  

“Don't try to change my mind.” Lena says tersely, tired after almost twenty-two hours of meetings and arguments. Even the muted shuffle of papers on her desk is enough to worsen her headache—she's had enough of people calling her crazy.  

“I'm not,” Sam says, though her tone says otherwise. “I'm just here to make sure you're not on drugs, or something.” 

Lena snaps her head up to glare at her CFO, who’s leaning against the doorframe of her office, hands in her pockets and brow quirked, looking... amused. Sam raises her hands at Lena's withering stare, conceding defeat.  

“Hey, ya can't blame me for checking in on you. A ranch in Nowhere, Montana, Lena? Really? I'm all for diversifying, but you have to admit—” 

“Sam.” Lena says, tossing the last stack of papers with a defeated sigh. “I'm leaving L-Corp.” 

Samantha stutters to stop, her words evaporating into the air mid-sentence as her eyes widen. “See, that doesn't help me think you're no t on drugs right now.” 

“I'm not... giving up the company—I still own it. I'm just... I don’t want to be CEO anymore, Sam.” 

To Lena's surprise, Sam grins. “You never wanted to be CEO, Lena.” She steps forward with a knowing look, tilting her head so she can look at Lena more closely. “Before you tell me all about this incredible promotion I better be getting... does this ranch have anything to do with your yearly mini sabbatical?” 

Yes, Lena wants to say, seeing Kara's dazzling smile and glimmering eyes in her mind. Yes.  

Lena feels her cheeks flush, but more surprisingly, she feels her eyes sting with tears. She tries to speak, but immediately knows that if she tries, all she'll accomplish is a sob, and so she nods instead, biting at her lip and taking deep, settling breaths. 

“Wow.” Sam says with evident awe in her voice. “Jesus, Lena, that's. That's love.” 

Lena can only nod, and nod, and nod, losing the battle against her tears as Sam pulls her into a tight hug, letting her sob against her suit with a bewildered little laugh.  

“I'll be damned,” Sam quips, still holding tight. “Lena Luthor, go get your girl.” 


There And Back Again  

It takes a week for everything to be finalized, and yet another week for the media circus to die down once it is announced the Lena is stepping down from L-Corp. It had all been incredibly stressful and draining, of course, but somehow, Lena muddled through those two weeks with a strength she never knew she had.  

Once it's all said and done, she feels free and untethered... at least until she's speeding down the dirt road leading to Midvale Ranch with a death grip on the steering wheel. 

She's never driven herself there before, but it feels important to do so now, for a reason she can't name. 

She hasn't heard from Kara since she left Lena in her kitchen. Her accountants and Kara's mother had finalized everything, and Lena was now the proud owner of a ranch she had massively overpaid for, with one bewildering condition she had insisted upon, much to the puzzlement of Eliza (a woman Lena has never actually met in person) and all of her accountants:                  

Everything must be kept exactly as it is.  

She barely registers the beautiful scenery as she drives. Once that familiar sloped roof is in view at the end of that interminable driveway, Lena's throat goes dry and her knuckles go white on the wheel. She slows down as a familiar figure sits hunched over in a rocking chair, braided hair slung over her shoulder and hat propped neatly on her lap. 

Kara doesn't even look up as Lena shuts off the car right in front of her. Lena can only hear her own blood thudding in her ears, until she opens the door and is greeted with the chirping of birds and the slow creak of Kara's chair. 

She shuffles over the gravel, kicking up a little dust. Kara has something else on her lap—a recent edition of the Planet, with Lena's face on the front page, a little crumpled.  

“Hey,” Lena says, struggling to breathe, despite the crisp mountain air she loves so much. 

Kara looks up, then—her eyes are just as red as Lena's, with dark circles under them, but she's smiling— really smiling, ear to ear, with that crinkle to her eyes that just douses Lena's heart with inexplicable fondness and warmth.  

“Hey, yourself.” Kara replies softly. She raises the crumpled newspaper to Lena, and her smile doesn't waver. “I see you're going through a career change.” 

Lena laughs, letting the tears fall from her eyes. The relief she feels at Kara's playful tone cannot be described—it's like she melts into a puddle, as if her body had been held up by sheer tension, and now? Poof. That tension is gone.  

Kara stands, and she looks so desperately happy, but she shifts her weight from foot to foot, wringing her hat in her hands, deeply unsure. “Lena, I—” 

“I'm extending my sabbatical,” Lena interrupts her, before she's unable to form coherent sentences. “Indefinitely.” 

Kara blinks, then opens her mouth, only to close it again. Her smile tugs wider, and she tosses her hat back onto her chair to step closer to Lena. “Well... that's good to hear. Are you sure this is what you want?” 

“I'm sure,” Lena says—she can't believe she's gone years without feeling the warm weight of Kara's hands on her hips, as if they didn't belong there. She can't believe it's taken her a decade to see what was right in front of her this entire time. “But if you aren't—well. If you aren't, it's never too late for me to go back.” 

“Nuh-uh,” Kara shakes her head, leaning closer—Lena's already standing on her tiptoes, wrapping her arms around her neck. “Want you right here.”