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Finn’s powers manifest when he’s a year, just old enough to be starting to walk, holding onto Lena or Kara as support.

And they didn’t know, not really—they knew there was a chance that he’d have powers, that the earth’s yellow sun would strengthen him as much as it did for Kara.  But they also knew that was just as big of a chance that he’d be perfectly ordinary, or that he might have super-speed but not strength, or maybe x-ray vision but not super-hearing, or any sort of combination of Kara’s powers.  Or, on the slimmest of chances, he might have some powers that were entirely unique to him.

But—well.  He’s got super-strength for sure.  Lena learns this the hard way when she’s walking with him, hunched over and letting him hold onto her fingers as he toddles towards Kara, seated on the floor with her arms open, grinning wide.  They’ve been doing this for what’s going on twenty minutes now, starting when Finn pulled himself onto shaky legs and took a few steps forward, one hand on the coffee table, before he fell back to the ground.

Lena’s never thought of herself as over-emotional, never thought she’d be the type of mother that thought everything her child did was on par with the first moon landing, but she’d be hard pressed to say she wasn’t itching to alert the media when she’d watched her son take those few shuffling steps.

So here she is now, grinning even though her back is aching from being bent at the waist like this.  Finn’s laughter more than makes up for it. 

And then—well.  Kara’s grin widens and she says, “Come to Mama!  Just a few more steps!” and Finn lets out a peal of delighted laughter and tightens his grip on Lena’s fingers as he bounces in place, his excitement overtaking his desire to reach Kara’s waiting arms.

Lena hears the break more than she feels it at first.  Hears the crack, the crunch of bone snapping in her son’s small hand.  Kara’s grin slips at the moment of impact, her eyes widen almost comically and Lena’s barely registering her wife getting up from the floor and appearing beside her in an instant, can’t think too much about the wave of nausea that comes over her, the pain that’s radiating out from her right hand.  Finn is still using her for support and Lena knows that if she shakes off his grip—if she even could shake off his grip—he’d fall and cry that awful cry that feels like a hot knife through Lena’s chest whenever she hears it.

She keeps it together long enough for Kara to reach for Finn, for him to drop Lena’s hands in favor of his mama’s arms.  Lena waits, even, to kiss her son’s forehead and murmur weakly, “I am so proud of you!” before she stumbles into the kitchen to retch into the trash.

When she’s emptied her stomach, she takes a look at her aching hand—the fingers Finn was holding onto are bruising already, swollen to high hell.  One’s bent a little more to the left than it normally is.

Lena finds herself hunching over the trash again, heaving violently.  Kara materializes behind her, holding back Lena’s hair and rubbing her back gently.  “Where’s—?” Lena starts, gasping between retches.

Shushing her gently, Kara waits until the newest wave of nausea’s passed before she answers.  “He’s in his room.  I set up the baby gate.” 

Lena nods once, pauses.  “That won’t hold him,” she mumbles, the realization of what’s happened—her son has powers—hitting her all at once now that her hand’s gone numb, now that there’s nothing left for her to retch into the trash.

Kara tilts her head to one side, brows drawing together.  Her nose scrunches up, like she’s trying to keep her glasses from slipping—it’s a habit she has when she’s thinking something over, carries over even behind closed doors, even when Kara’s abandoned her glasses on the nightstand.  She’s quiet for a moment—listening, Lena realizes belatedly—and then she offers Lena a small smile.  “Well,” she raises her eyes to the ceiling, probably getting a visual on their son.  “He doesn’t know it won’t hold him.”

Her smile falters when she looks back to Lena, eyes skipping down to her hand, cradled against her chest.  “Let me see.”  She holds out her own hands, winces in sympathy as she catches sight of the full damage when Lena rests her injured hand in Kara’s.  Sucking in a breath, Kara mutters, “Crap,” on the exhale, gingerly turning her wife’s hand over, trying to get an idea of the full extent of her injury.  “I called Alex already,” Kara informs her.  “She’ll be here in ten.” 

A good call, Lena knows.  How would they explain it at the ER?  Oh, yeah, those—my infant son sort of broke them.  National City was surely one of the more tolerant cities when it came to aliens and metahumans, but that was just it—tolerant, not welcoming.  And Lena refuses to put her family through the media circus that would result if it got out that Lena Luthor—Lena Danvers, legally, though the media’s never been one for legality—is raising an alien child.  Refuses to put that even larger target on her son’s back, refuses to out Kara like that.  Lena wasn’t going to let something as small as broken fingers change any of that.

Regardless of how terrible something as small as broken fingers feels.

After a few beats of silent scrutinizing of Lena’s hand, Kara says, “They’re both broken, but they’re clean breaks.”

Lena allows Kara to coddle her for the few minutes that they wait for Alex, leans into the way that Kara gently manhandles her to the couch, lets her place an icepack on her injured hand and bites back her wince at the sting that comes with it.

Of course, though, she’s married to Supergirl and super-hearing never shuts off, not when it comes to her.  “Oh, Rao,” Kara hisses, pulling back so the ice is just barely touching Lena’s aching hand.  “I’m so sorry, Lena.”

Her eyes have been pretty glued to the purpling mess that is her hand, but Lena looks up now, takes in the guilt seeming to radiate out from Kara, from every pore, her blue eyes dark with it.  It’s then that Lena catches on—catches the tension in Kara’s shoulders, the way she keeps scanning Lena’s face but refuses to make eye contact, keeps flicking her eyes up to look through the floor at Finn.

“Kara.”

“Hm?”  Eyes still glued to the ceiling, the coil of tension through Kara tightens which, quite honestly, Lena wasn’t sure was possible.

“Kara, darling,” Lena leans forward.  “Would you look at me please?”

And then—finally—her wife locks eyes with her, eyebrows drawn together into a heavy line.  There’s guilt and sadness etched into Kara’s face, her eyes wide and wet and there is so very little Lena would do to chase that expression away permanently.

She knows that improbability of that, though.  She makes do with what she can in the moment.

“This,” Lena murmurs, raising her hand, watching as Kara tracks it, “isn’t your fault.  It’s not Finn’s fault.  It’s not my fault.”  She pauses a moment, then adds, “I knew what I was signing up for, love.  A few broken fingers aren’t going to get me to change my mind.”

“I—.”  Kara breaks off when the front door opens, Alex striding in.

“Heard you got quite the bruiser on your hands,” the older woman says, a sly grin working its way onto her face.  When she catches sight of Kara’s face, catches the heavy feeling that seems to be seeping into every corner of their house, her smile fades.  “Alright,” she comes around to Lena’s other side, speaking softly.  “I’ve got her, you check on him,” she nods upstairs, no doubt catching the way Kara habitually looks to the ceiling.

Kara nods sharply, pressing a kiss to Lena’s temple before she tells her sister what the extent of her wife’s injuries are.  She squeezes Lena’s good hand lightly before she turns to leave. 

“We’re finishing this conversation later,” Lena presses gently, looking over her shoulder as Alex guides her towards the living room.

Unease twists, sharp in Lena’s chest, when Kara only offers a weak nod in response before she disappears up the stairs. 

Once Lena’s seated on the couch, Alex turns back to grab the bag she’d abandoned on the coffee table, pulling out a buddy splint and medical tape and, after a moment of hesitation, a small bottle of medication.

“DEO specialty,” she whispers conspiratorially when she hands the bottle to Lena and it’s moments like these that Lena’s all the more pleased that Alex’s warmed to her.  “They’re fast acting if you chew them, which you’re going to want to do because what I’m about to do is going to hurt like a fucker and I know you’ve got a thing about needles.”

Lena does as she’s told, rolling her eyes at Alex’s teasing tone even as she glances up for confirmation when she shakes out two pills into her palm.  At her sister-in-law’s responding nod, Lena gathers her grit and tips them back, biting down and wincing at the bitter flavor. 

“Right,” Alex says belatedly.  “They also taste like shit.”

“Thanks,” Lena grumbles around the chalky pills as she glares up at her, holding out her hand when Alex gestures for it.  Her glare lessens when Alex produces a water bottle from her bag, cracking it open and handing it to Lena without a word.  Once she’s washed the awful taste from her mouth, she adds sincerely, “Thank you.  For coming over.”

“Of course,” Alex responds simply.  She lets the words rest for a minute before she teases, “Kara’d have my head if I made you head to Urgent Care.”

It goes unspoken, but Lena’s sure that Alex’s reasons for coming over so quickly are in line with Kara’s reasons for calling her, for Lena’s reasons in wanting to stay home for this.  Sure that she’s just as aware of the dark cloud looming over their family, more apparent now, even when they’d been so giddy just an hour before.

It’s when Lena’s quite lost in thought that Alex manipulates her index finger back into place.  “Shit,” Lena lets out in a long, slow exhale, jaw clenched.  “Jesus.” 

“But it’s done.  Hold still for a couple more minutes…”

Alex works efficiently, though never without care; her hands are steady as she splints Lena’s fingers, steady even as she says quietly, “We’ve been working on something over at the DEO, a supplement that binds the proteins that react to a yellow sun.  Just in case.”  She looks up at Lena briefly, her gaze kind, understanding.  “You can mix it into his juice.  It’ll dampen his powers until you guys decide he’s old enough to learn to control them.” 

There’s a part of Lena that’s mildly upset that she’s so easily read, but it’s pushed aside by the larger part of her, the part that has her nearly sagging against the couch in relief.  The part that she’s never given a voice to, that came roaring to the surface the moment she’d felt Finn’s grip tighten around her fingers.

Fear—that’s what it is.  The fear that she’d lose out on being involved when Finn’s this little, that she’d be forced onto the sidelines because she can’t hold up to a toddler made of steel.  That her role in his life would be reduced by distance, unavoidable and necessary as it may be.

Alex finishes taping her fingers, securing the splints in place.  “There,” she says, patting Lena’s shoulder after only a slight hesitation.  “Medical crisis handled.”  She’s quick to pack up, abandoning Lena on the couch as she stands, placing her equipment back into her bag.  “I’m going to check in with Kara before I head out.  Give her a heads up on the supplement.” 

Nodding, Lena spots the stuffed tiger that Alex is unsuccessfully trying to hide behind the lip of her bag.  “And spoil Finn, of course,” Lena says drily.  She’s well acquainted with Alex’s habit of showering her son with gifts—it’s welcome, of course, but there is so little that Lena feels comfortable poking fun at when it comes to her wife’s older, very protective sister that she has to take the opportunities when she can.

“Well, yeah,” Alex rolls her eyes.  “I have it on good authority that my little guy started walking today.”  She reaches down into her bag, pokes the head of the animal up over the lip.  “Figured that he needed a new buddy to celebrate.”

With that she’s off and, even without super-hearing, Lena can track her upstairs, hears her excited voice when she reaches Finn’s room.

Lena’s still a little shocked that all it took to reduce her highly trained, highly dangerous secret government agent of a sister-in-law to mush was one flash of Finn’s baby blues.  She gets it, though—the same happened to her, turned her into the world’s biggest pushover the moment she laid eyes on her son. 

There’s not much to do while she waits for Kara to reappear, not much that Lena can do now that her right hand is all but useless and there’s a comfortable haze that’s blurring the world right now, so she settles back against the couch, lolls her head back and closes her eyes.

Exhaustion hits her like a bus, shoulders sagging under the weight of it.  It’s only a little past noon and they’d had plans to go to the farmer’s market, but all Lena wants to do is curl up with her wife and son and fall asleep that way, tucked away with her favorite people. 

There’s a creak from the top of the stairs.  Lena opens her eyes just as Kara reappears, looking just about as tired as Lena feels, and she realizes her plan won’t require a strong argument to convince her wife.

“He was pretty tuckered out,” Kara tells her, rubbing the back of her neck as she makes her way to the couch.  “The second he saw Alex, he demanded she read him a story and then fell right asleep.”

And then, as if summoned, Alex is coming down the stairs, soft smile not quite faded.  “Little man’s still down for the count.”

“You got him into his crib without waking him?” Kara asks, looking entirely impressed.  Lena has to agree—that’s not yet a skill either of them have mastered.

Alex nods.  “Didn’t even notice,” she says, her smile turning smug in an instant.  “I’ve got to head out.  You,” she points at Lena.  “Ice that hand.  You can ditch the splints in three weeks.”  She reaches Kara, still standing beside the couch, leans up to kiss the side of her head.  “And you—keep your wife out of trouble.  I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

Lena waits until the door has closed before reaching back, holding open her good hand.  When Kara grabs it, holds it loosely in her own, Lena squeezes and orders gently, “Come here.  We have a conversation to finish.”

There’s a pause, a moment of hesitation; Lena leans back again just in time to catch the tail end of Kara’s worried expression before she schools her features, offering her a sweet smile in its place.

Kara doesn’t let go of Lena’s hand, opting to float over the back of the couch to reach her seat rather than walk around the couch.  When she’s seated, there’s a beat of silence and Lena’s just opening her mouth to start in on it, about to press and prod as carefully as she can until she gets Kara to come out with it when Kara speaks first.

“I’m so sorry,” she says again, holding up her hand when Lena starts to protest.  “I know—honey, I know what you’re going to say.  But just—I need to just say this.”

Her tone is steady, firm even, but she has a look about her that screams HANDLE WITH CARE, so that’s what Lena does; she nods gently, squeezes Kara’s hand again.  Waits patiently for her wife to gather her thoughts.

“There was a part of me that was hoping he—that Finn wouldn’t manifest powers so that something like, like this wouldn’t happen.”  She picks up Lena’s injured hand with her free one, holds it gingerly.  Her eyes trip to it, stay there for a few silent breaths before she looks back to Lena.  “But I—Rao, I feel so guilty about this Lee, but I’m—the first thing I thought after holy crap our son just broke my wife’s hand was how happy I am that he’s strong.  That he’s like me, that I can—that I won’t have to be so—.”  She breaks off, looking around helplessly as if the walls held the answers.

“Careful?” Lena suggests.  When Kara nods, Lena mirrors her—she’d suspected as much.  Sensed the ever-present trepidation whenever Kara plays with Finn.  And she very much remembers that awful first week after Finn was born, when Kara was too nervous to hold him, too worried she’d break him.  “You don’t have to feel guilty for that, Kara,” she assures.  “You’ve spent so long being careful with us all,” she doesn’t feel the need to specify who she’s speaking of—doesn’t really feel she can, not when Kara’s care is needed by the world at large.  “No one, least of all me, can blame you for wanting this.”

Kara snorts, says with a hard edge, “Wanted it so much I didn’t care what it would mean for you.”

“You are allowed to be selfish,” Lena insists sharply.

“Not when it comes to our son.”

Yes, when it comes to our son.  God knows I’ve been.”

Confusion clouds Kara’s gaze, her stormy expression clearing only to be replaced by one of worry, befuddlement.  Lena takes a breath, gathers the right words to voice these thoughts and then, finally—“I have been so afraid, since the day he came into this world.  Afraid that I would lose him.”  She can feel Kara about to interject, can feel the way the muscles in her arm jump as she leans forward, so Lena rushes to finish her thought.  “I wasn’t afraid of the idea of his powers,” she explains.  “But rather that I’d lose out on being able to be around him safely.  That I would have to keep my distance because our son’s too young to know to control his strength.  And I—I wanted so badly for him to be like you.  But there was a part of me that wanted him to be like me, just as badly.”

Lena.”  

Kara says her name quietly, all exhale as if she’s had the wind knocked out of her and, from the looks of her, it effectively had.  Lena’s made it a point to never regret her words when it comes to Kara, to only say what she means, but she’s very near regretting these words.

Because it’s a weight off her chest, it is, but now she’s given the fear a voice, given it a chance to fill the room, weigh down on her shoulders instead, given it a chance to burden Kara.  And she never wants to burden her wife, not when she carries so much with her already.

The words are said, the fear voiced already.  Lena does what she can to control the damage.  “But the worst happened and now we know,” she says with false cheer, offering as bright of a smile as she can muster.  She knows Kara can see right through her, but the act is less for Kara than it is for Lena herself.  If she acts as if they’re fine, then they are.  Then Lena doesn’t have to think about the dangers for their son that lurk just outside their home, not right now at least.  “And,” she adds, her voice tinged with genuine relief, “Alex mentioned the supplement.  So maybe we can have it both ways.”

Kara nods, offering her own small smile in return.  “She’s bringing some tomorrow for me to test,” she tells Lena.  “If everything goes well, we can start him on it on Monday.” 

A day and a half away.  Lena just has to make it through the rest of the weekend before she can hold her son without worry again—it seems unfairly far away, but thirty-six hours as bargain for the years she’ll get back if this all works?  A trade she would make any day. 

“So,” Kara starts, drawing Lena out of her thoughts.  “I’m guessing we’re skipping the farmer’s market today?”

The tension between them effectively broken, the lingering sadness chased away by the sunny grin Kara aims at her, Lena can’t help but smile back and lean into her wife.  “You would be entirely correct, darling,” she murmurs, delighting in the warmth of Kara’s arms as they wrap around her.

 

(Later, Finn’s sisters will use this story to tease him mercilessly.

“Quit being such a brat, Stella.”

“At least I’m a brat that hasn’t broken Mom’s hand.”

“I was—that’s not—I was a baby!”)

 

 /

 

Really, Lena should have predicted this.  Should have expected it from little Maia, already proving herself the ultimate drama queen at a week old, having picked the moment Lena handed her off to Kara to spit up, nailing the emblem of Kara’s suit squarely, as if to make her opinion on her mother’s absence for the hours before irrevocably known. 

Their daughter has a flair for the dramatic and Lena should have known that her powers would manifest in a manner suiting her behavior.

That said—there’s really no way that Lena would have guessed that the gift of flight would be the first to appear. 

“Mama’s going to be home soon,” Lena coos to her daughter, drawing one finger along the pad of Maia’s foot and grinning when she reflexively kicks her leg, curls her toes.  “Mama’s coming back and she’s bringing Finn,” she draws the same line across the little foot before her, “and she’s bringing my favorite dinner.  All of our favorites, love!”

Maia gurgles in response; Lena takes that as her approval.  She turns away from the crib to fetch one of the swaddling blankets from the chest of drawers along the opposite wall, her grin quieting slightly as she does. 

She loses the smile completely when she turns back and her daughter—her fifteen day old infant, mind you—is not where Lena left her, tucked up comfortably in her crib.  Because this?  Just doesn’t make sense?  How in the fuck does a baby disappear?

Panic rising, Lena crosses the room quickly, blanket still clutched in one hand.  She reaches over the edge of the crib, reaches down and presses her free hand to the mattress, wondering briefly if perhaps Maia just developed invisibility—the idea of it makes her a little dizzy (a baby that sometimes just disappears?  What the hell?), but it’s an idea that’s shot down quickly when Lena feels nothing but quickly fading warmth where Maia had lain. 

Kara’s name is already on the tip of her tongue when Lena looks up.  She battles back the urge to scream it because, well— 

Maia’s hovering about four feet above Lena’s head, eyes closed peacefully.  Practicality wins over instinct in this moment; Lena realizes that if she screams for her wife, there’s a very good chance she’ll startle the baby before Kara can get home to collect her from the rafters, a good chance that Maia will drop and Lena doesn’t trust her very human reflexes to respond fast enough to catch her.

She stays close, though, when she collects her phone from the chair she’d been sitting in earlier.  Human reflexes are better than none, right?

Kara, bless her, picks up on the first ring, already halfway through a sentence.  “—on our way, I promise!  Finn thought ice cream would be a good idea, so we made just a little detour—.”

“Kara,” Lena says very quietly, cutting her off.  Her wife falls silent immediately, breaking only to shush Finn gently when he grabs for her phone.  “I need you to get home very quickly.  Are you able to do that?”  Are you in a place you can fly off from?

I—yeah,” Kara murmurs.  Lena hears some rustling from her end.  “Is this—Finn’s with me?”  What am I walking into?

Finn says something when he hears his name, his voice too far away from the phone for Lena to pick out his words.  “We’re safe,” Lena assures her quickly.  She picks up speed on her next words, though her voice stays low, even.  “Maia can fly.  She’s about two feet out of my reach and asleep.”

Crap.”  Some more rustling.  “Okay, I’ll—baby, just hold tight to me, okay?

Finn’s voice is closer now.  “Are we gonna zoom?

Mhmm, we’re gonna zoom super-fast.  Lena?

“Yes?”  She keeps her eyes glued to Maia, still asleep, still floating above Lena’s head, out of reach, out of the safety Lena can promise if she were holding her.  Her stomach flips at the thought of what could’ve occurred if this hadn’t happened now, when she was right there to notice.

I need to hang up,” Kara tells her.  “But I’ll be there in a couple minutes.  She’s asleep still?"

“She is.”

Kara lets out a breath.  “Okay.  I’ll be there soon.

The phone clicks off but Lena keeps it clutched in her hand, already at peace with potentially losing it in the mad dash to catch Maia, should she fall.

Kara, she knows, flies home as fast as she safely can with Finn—that she’s landing on the balcony and running in just under two minutes after they hang up, but it feels like the longest two minutes of Lena’s life, just standing there, staring up at her child and knowing that no matter how hard she tries, it won’t be enough if things go wrong.

There’s a flutter of movement behind her, but Lena doesn’t turn until she sees Kara out of the corner of her eye, handing Finn off to her before she’s bouncing off the floor lightly.  Lena glances down briefly, just long enough to take in the sweep of her son’s hair, his wide, excited eyes and then she’s turning back to see Kara reaching out, gently pulling their daughter into her arms.

Something like a weight slides off Lena’s chest the moment Maia’s settled in her mother’s arms.  The vise around her heart eases when Kara’s feet have settled on the ground beside her.  It’s not until Kara’s turning to her, looking at her with that deer in the headlights look of hers that Lena can truly appreciate the absurdity of the situation. 

Kara, to her credit, seems only slightly unnerved when Lena’s suddenly laughing.  “Uh—,” she starts.  She gets no further because then Finn’s laughing as well, shrieking in delight along with his mother.  Maia, bless her, sleeps through it all.  Lena’s not sure now why she was so worried about her daughter waking mid-air, though that has little to do with Maia’s sleeping habits and all to do with the fact that she’s in Kara’s arms.

 “At least—,” Lena wheezes, tears gathering in the corners of her eyes.  “At least I haven’t—.”

Glancing down at the baby in her arms, as if she knows why her mother’s in hysterics, Kara’s greeted with Maia’s soft, sleepy attempt at a smile, her little lips curling up.  It’s then that the giggles hit her, too.

That’s how Alex finds them, fifteen minutes later.  She’d been the one that Kara had called on the flight over, sent to collect the family car full of groceries, and she’s the one that drops the bags in the kitchen and follows the rolling laughter up the stairs.

“Well, I can’t say this is the strangest situation I’ve found you guys in,” Alex grins from the doorway.  “But I am surprised, since I heard my favorite girl took a little flight today,” she coos, looking very much like she’d like to take Maia from Kara, but reroutes when she catches sight of the gentle glare Kara levels at her, the minute way her hold on Maia tightens.  “I also heard that my favorite little man got to fly too!”

Finn reaches out for his aunt immediately and Lena gives no protest at the transfer, lets him slip from hanging around her neck to hanging around Alex’s smoothly.  “Mama zoomed so fast, we made the sound wall yell!” he starts, speaking quickly.  His smile dims slightly, his little brows drawing together.  “I wanted to say hi to the birdies but Mama said there was a mermgency so I couldn’t.”  He leans in a bit then, pushing Alex’s hair away from her ear a little clumsily so he can whisper loudly, “I did anyway.” 

“The birdies appreciated that, I’m sure,” Alex murmurs, turning towards the door with one last confused look shot in Kara and Lena’s direction.  “Now, do you know why your moms are acting so silly?”

Finn’s answer is lost to distance as Alex heads back downstairs.  After a few more moments of unrestrained laughter, Kara’s the first to pull herself back together, sucking in a few deep calming breaths and bouncing Maia gently.

“So,” Kara says, raising her voice just enough to be heard over Lena’s continued laughter.  “Is what’s happening here just relief that our daughter didn’t plummet from the ceiling or—?”

“I just—.”  Lena stumbles back, presses a hand to her chest as she leans against the wall nearest the crib.  “This is very us, isn’t it?”

For a moment it looks like Kara wants to protest, but then she looks down at their daughter again and her smile brightens, widens.  “Well, at least you didn’t break anything this time.”  At Lena’s responding glare, she reaches over and raps her knuckles against the wooden rail of Maia’s crib.  “So far,” she tacks on belatedly, her smile twisting apologetically. 

Lena’s glare breaks.  “I can’t say that’s not appropriate, considering I was thinking the same thing.”  She pushes off the wall to come to Kara’s side, hands itching for her daughter now that the hysterics have passed.  “What are we going to do with you, love?” Lena murmurs, brushing her fingertips across Maia’s downy hair.  “Taking flight when I’m not looking.”

“Troublemaker,” Kara tuts.

“Quite like her mother, I think.”  She doesn’t have to look up to know the look Kara’s leveling at her, so Lena quirks an eyebrow, adds, “Don’t look at me like that.  I seem to recall that you have, on more than one occasion, flung yourself off a building to demonstrate your abilities.”

“I—I was an adult when I did that!”

“Makes it even worse, then,” Lena hums, the corner of her mouth twitching up.  “Fully grown woman launching herself off a rooftop.”  She lowers her voice slightly, whispers to Maia, “You may need to teach your mother a thing or two about restraint, hm?”

Kara huffs.  “And to think I picked up your mommy’s favorite ice cream,” she says to Maia, bypassing Lena entirely.  “Only to find her trying to turn you against me!  The nerve.”

Teasing goes out the window when ice cream is on the line, Lena decides as she leans up to press a kiss to the corner of Kara’s mouth.  A blush creeps up her wife’s neck, along her cheekbones and Lena delights in it, presses another kiss just below her ear.  “I’m sorry,” she murmurs to the soft skin she finds there.  “I’ll make it up to you.”

“I—Lena!” Kara sputters.  “Little ears.”

Lena pulls away then, slips Maia from Kara’s arms while she’s still sputtering.  Some unsettled piece of her heart slots back into place at the warm weight of her daughter.  As she turns to collect the swaddling blanket where she’d dropped it, Lena grins cheekily and scoffs, “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, darling.  I was simply thinking that I could be persuaded to share some of my ice cream with you and, frankly, I’m shocked your mind is so easily diverted to the gutter.”

She heads into the hall, towards their room to spread the blanket out on the bed to swaddle Maia, but she manages to hear Kara’s groan of frustration and “—killing me, Lena!” as she goes.

 

(This, too, becomes a story that Maia’s siblings love to use to mock her. 

“Aw, you getting mad, sis?  Gonna go sulk in the rafters?”

“Shut up, Finn, I haven’t done that since I was a kid.” 

“Maybe take a nap and float it off.”

Finn!”

“If you guys fight and break something, I’m ratting you out to Moms.”

BUTT OUT STELLA!”)

 

 /

 

Stella’s three before there’s any hint that she’s not entirely human.  And this time, at least, Lena doesn’t feel guilty at all for not expecting it. 

Stella had come to them when she was all of four hours old, after a series of tragic events that left her in Supergirl’s arms; her father had committed suicide, throwing himself into the bay while she remained strapped into her car seat in his still running vehicle on the pier.  Her mother was found at the address on the man’s license, having died during childbirth.  There was a note, a lost man’s fevered ramblings that wouldn’t become clear until much later.  Kara’d taken one look at the infant in her arms, the little orphan who hadn’t woken once during the whole ordeal, and she’d flown straight to L-Corp before she could make any rash decisions.

It hadn’t mattered much.  Lena was immediately endeared by the tiny baby, already agreeing by the time the little girl had reached out and wrapped her hand around Lena’s index finger.  They had gone home that night and dug out the bassinet that they hadn’t quite had the heart to throw out yet, even though they were ostensibly done having children.

Later, Kara will say it was fate.

So little Stella Danvers joined her family with no expectations of powers, meta or alien.  Sure, she proved to be a highly sensitive little girl, often struggling with sensory overload that was both entirely different and startlingly similar to that of her Kryptonian family members’, but these facts were quickly and easily written off.

And then there’s another attempt on Lena’s life.

It wasn’t uncommon for Lena to bring her children to work with her; with Finn, it was because he was their first baby and being apart from him was difficult for both her and Kara.  Her job simply lent itself better to a child coming along, and the arrangement allowed Kara to see him easily enough at lunch.  Maia was often brought out of habit—Lena had become accustomed to the weight of one of her babies slung across her front and found she cared very little about the opinions of her board members when she walked into meetings with an infant asleep on her chest.

Her elder children had grown out of the habit, quickly grown bored in Lena’s office and began preferring their daycare to quiet afternoons with their mother.  It had smarted, but it was inevitable. 

Stella, however, never grew out of it.  Preferred taking naps in her mother’s lap as Lena conducted meetings or argued in near flawless Mandarin or French or countless other languages with her foreign investors.  And, with as many screaming meltdowns as she had when Lena or Kara had tried to drop her off at daycare, it only made sense for Lena to keep bringing her to work for the time being.  She did always feel more content with Stella around, the little girl’s calm personality acting as a balm when board members were being particularly abrasive. 

The day begins ordinarily—Kara shuffles Maia and Finn out the door, dropping them off at kindergarten and second grade before heading to work.  Lena gets Stella dressed, packs her bag for the day and sets off.  Stella’s always clingy in the morning, so Lena thinks nothing of it when the little girl whines pitifully as Lena buckles her into her car seat.  “I know, love,” she soothes, leaning into the car to kiss her daughter’s forehead.  “But it’s a short trip to Mommy’s office." 

“Bad,” is all Stella mumbles, her brows furrowed.

“Hm?” 

“Bad.”

“I know, but not long.”  She punctuates her sentence with another kiss, this time to Stella’s nose and frowns when it doesn’t result in the giggle it normally does.  “A grumpy goose today, then?”

After a beat of no response, Lena shrugs and goes about packing the car as usual.  Stella stays silent the entire drive, only mutters, “Bad,” again as Lena unbuckles her and settles her on her hip.

“Still?”

“Bad.”

“I’m sure we can rustle up some cookies for you.  Would that make you feel better?”  She’s entirely glad Kara isn’t around to witness this exchange, sure that there’d be a bit of teasing if she were.  Lena likes to put up a tough front, insisting on healthy snacks for their children, but her kids know she’s ultimately a pushover—hence the sweets hidden in nearly every corner of her office.

Stella shakes her head, tucking herself closer to her mother, the heels of her ballet flats digging into Lena’s abdomen and back.  She stays tightly wound the entire walk up to Lena’s office, relaxing her death grip on Lena only slightly when the door closes behind them.

Luckily for them, Lena’s become rather adept at working with a baby on her hip.  She sets her things down and rifles through a couple drawers to produce the pack of Oreo’s she had stashed the day prior.  “Here we are, Stella!”  She offers the package to her daughter, smiling softly as the little girl holds it for her mother to open.  Stella helps herself to two cookies, her pout easing slightly.  “That’s my girl.”

Her morning carries on with ease; Stella refuses to leave her lap, but Lena’s learned to work around a child taking up most of her space.  She takes her nine thirty and eleven AM meetings with a little slip of a thing hanging around her neck, eyebrows raised in challenge when one of the newest investors makes to protest at the extra head at the table.

Morning slips into afternoon quickly enough; Stella’s head lifts off Lena’s shoulder all of two minutes before Kara walks into the office, bringing with her a bright smile and two large bags of takeout for lunch.  “How are you?” Kara greets, leaning over Stella to kiss Lena quickly before she leans down to kiss the top of their daughter’s head.

“Good,” Lena cards her fingers through Stella’s hair.  “This one’s been quite cuddly today.  Hasn’t let go of me for more than the car ride here.  What about you?  Is Snapper still on you about the Monahan fire?”

“Mhmm,” Kara hums in response as she starts unpacking their lunch onto the coffee table.  “I had to wait until he went to his office to yell some more before I could slip out.”

“I could have him fired, you know.  One call to Cat…”

Kara levels her with a look, but doesn’t pause as she makes up a plate of fried rice and orange chicken for Stella.  She passes it to Lena even as she tries to coax Stella off of Lena’s lap.  “Stella-bella, it’s going to be awfully hard for you to eat when you’re acting like a koala.  I’m pretty sure you aren’t a koala baby.”  She swoops in to kiss the side of Stella’s head and adds, “Just our baby.”

Stella doesn’t budge an inch, but she does look up at the sound of Kara’s voice.  “Bad,” she tells her urgently.

Her mothers exchange a look over her head.  This was new, the tone. 

Nightmare? Kara mouths at her, tilting her head to one side. 

Lena shrugs, nods.  Maybe, she mouths back.

“Stella,” Kara leans down to look their daughter in the eye.  “You’re safe here, yeah?  Safe with me and Mommy.”

She gets no response, but Stella also doesn’t feel the need to repeat her ominous proclamation, so with one more look exchanged between Kara and Lena, they set about lunch.  Stella allows Lena to turn her so that she can hold her own plate and Lena doesn’t risk getting orange sauce down her front, but that’s the most separation she allows.

Her mothers eat in relative quiet, though they both find themselves growing increasingly uneasy as Stella gets more and more agitated.  Finally, she abandons her plate halfway through, dropping it to the floor and turning back into Lena, arms and legs wrapping around her.

“Stella!” Kara admonishes, setting her own plate aside to lean down to clean up the mess their daughter’s made.  “That wasn’t nice at all.” 

“Bad,” Stella says again, twisting one hand in Lena’s hair.  “Bad man.”

That’s when Kara freezes, sends a shot of something cold through Lena when she looks up, panic and anger in her eyes.  “Safe room, now” is all she says before she’s in motion, standing and moving to block the door. 

Lena moves at the same time, arms coming around Stella as she stands.  The door bursts open then, three masked men striding in, all heavily armed.  On instinct, Lena drops to the ground, crawls under her desk and tries to pry Stella from her in order to push her behind her.  Stella has other plans, only tightening her grip on her mother.

“We’re here for Luthor,” one of the men rasps, no doubt addressing Kara.  “It’d be a pity for those kids to lose both their mothers.”

Flinching automatically, Lena tries to reign in her own fear, a skill she’s been in possession of since she was very small and, for the first time in her life, finds she can’t.  When Kara snaps, “Don’t ever talk about my children,” Lena starts to panic despite knowing without a doubt that Kara isn’t about to let anything happen to her or Stella, and she begins running a hand up and down Stella’s back as much to soothe her daughter as to soothe herself.

And then there are the tell-tale sounds of bone cracking, metal bending.  The groan and shriek of weapons being torn apart.  The dull thud of a man being thrown across the room.

The fight doesn’t last long—three men are nothing compared to the Girl of Steel, particularly when her family is being threatened.  Even after the obvious sounds of violence end, Lena stays beneath the desk, struggling to regain control her breathing; she remains kneeling, curled around Stella until Kara’s face appears before her.

“Are you guys okay?”  Kara’s breathing heavily, but Lena knows that’s from fear rather than exertion. 

She nods quickly, pausing to glance down, checking Stella over before she looks up and says, “Shaken, but intact.”  Lena reaches out, heartrate calming when Kara folds her hand over Lena’s.

“I—,” Kara starts, breaking off and tilting her head to the side. Her earpiece is probably going off, Lena figures.  “We’re safe,” Kara doesn’t say to her.  “Yeah—yes.  Finn and Maia are—can she?”  Her shoulders slump immediately, like a weight sliding off them.  “I’m—they’re alive,” she says quietly.  “But I need to get Lena and Stella somewhere safer.  Can you take care of everything?”

Whatever Alex answer must be affirmative, because then Kara’s nodding, tapping her earpiece off and turning her attention back to her wife and daughter.   “Maggie’s picking up the kids and Alex is bringing a clean-up crew.”  She tugs on Lena’s hand gently, coaxing her out from under the desk.  “We need to move.”

Lena crawls out slowly, waylaid by the need to keep one hand on Stella’s back to support her.  She has to stop once they’re out, has to sit back and cross her legs and lean against the desk to catch her breath.  Stella’s shaking in her arms; the penny doesn’t drop until Kara reaches for her hand again, holds it between both of hers to still it’s quaking.

When the realization lands, it lands hard.

Kara stiffens when Lena gasps, her grip tightening as she shifts closer.  “What’s wrong?  Are you hurt?” Kara asks, quickly scanning Lena for injuries. 

“Kara,” she breathes, stilling.  She looks up to see her wife’s worry, the strained press of her lips.  “She knew.”

“What?”  Kara’s eyes settle on Stella, still shaking, still clinging to Lena.  “That’s—.”  It looks as though impossible is poised to be the next word out of her mouth, but she must think better of it.  After a moment of hesitation, she reaches out, sets her hand on the back of Stella’s head and murmurs, “Stella, sweetheart, who’s the bad man?” 

Stella turns to face her mother, her eyes dark and wide and wet and she sniffles, rubs her tear streaked cheek on Lena’s shoulder.  “Bad man,” she mumbles.  “Hurt Mommy.”  She sniffles again, looking very near tears again when she adds, “There.”  She drops one arm from around Lena’s neck and points past Kara, points to where Lena can just barely see the boot of one of the men.  Points to where Lena knows Stella can’t see.

Quite frankly, Lena’s entirely grateful Kara didn’t question her further, just took her at her word and turned to Stella because Lena would have no idea how to explain her sudden statement, nor her newfound yet unshakeable belief that their daughter knew what was about to happen.  She’s not sure she could put it to words, not when it was just a gut feeling that Lena couldn’t ignore.  It fits with other little things she’s noticed and catalogued over the course of the three years of Stella’s life; the way Stella always seems to know when she or Kara are about to enter a room, the preemptive flinch before Maia stomps in the front door yelling about her terrible day, the easy way she finds her way into Finn’s room when he’s having another nightmare.  Little things Lena’s written off as her daughter being particularly empathetic.

When Lena looks up again, Kara staring at her with shock written on her face.  “Stella,” she starts slowly.  “How did you know the bad man wanted to hurt Mommy?”

“Feel it,” Stella whimpers.  “See it.  ‘s loud.  Red.”  She pauses, stares up at Kara.  Reaching out, Stella pats Kara’s cheek with her chubby hand.  “Mama cry.”

The words hang in the air; Stella doesn’t wait for a response before she’s turning back, tucking her face into Lena’s neck and entirely missing the look her mothers exchange above her head.  Probably for the best, really, considering the look is a nauseating mix of comprehension and abject terror.

They don’t have much time to break it down, talk it through, not with Stella still clinging to Lena and three would-be assassins sprawled on the carpet of her office and god knows what else coming for them.  “Later,” Lena breathes, gesturing for Kara and flashing her a strained smile when she helps her stand.

Kara nods shortly and, once Lena’s solidly on her feet, she asks, “Would you feel comfortable flying with her?”

Adjusting her hold on Stella, Lena nods in response.  “I’ve got her,” she says quietly before she stops short of stepping into the protective circle of Kara’s arms.  “You’re Kara,” she realizes.

She gets a head tilt, a hurried shove of Kara’s glasses up her nose.  “Yeah?”

“No,” Lena scoffs, reaching out to tug on the sleeve of Kara’s button down.  “You’re Kara.  And Supergirl hasn’t flown in to rescue us.”

“I—,” Kara starts, looking very much like she wants to argue, but it’s true, and it’s the middle of the day, no cover of darkness to get away with flying in her work clothes.  There’s no escaping the logic of Lena’s argument, no way to bend the rules this time.  “We’ll wait for Alex, then,” she settles on finally, crossing the room quickly and opening the door to Lena’s balcony.

They’re sitting in silence in Lena’s panic room when DEO agents storm her office, Alex at the head of the charge.  This is a dance they’ve done before, enough times that the whole of the DEO is in on it; sometimes Kara finds herself in a situation where she can’t be Supergirl, but has to fight like she is anyway.  For secret government agents, they’re quite good at acting, Lena thinks, hearing Alex begin the charade by thanking a nonexistent Supergirl for her work.  She supposes that, in the silence that follows, they’ve set up the hologram of Kara leaping off the balcony and disappearing into the clouds above.

Lena keeps her eyes trained on the security feed projected on the wall across from where she and Kara are seated, watching as Alex’s team makes quick work of cuffing her assassins.  Stella’s stopped shaking finally, though she’s started crying silently, her shoulders moving slightly, in time with the hot tears that are dripping onto Lena’s shoulder.  She’d like nothing more than to be able to soothe her daughter, promise that they’re safe, but she and Kara have had the unfortunate burden of having to teach their children how to behave in panic rooms and that includes silence—Stella’s still young enough that Lena worries that showing her differently would confuse her.  She stays silent, but runs her hand up and down Stella’s back slowly, pushing all of her comfort and promises into the action as best she can. 

Out of the corner of her eye, Lena can see Kara worrying her bottom lip, her gaze heavy and worried as it rests on Stella.  Her attention shifts away a split-second before Lena can hear the panel on the other side, beeping twice when the correct code has been entered.

Alex is the only agent that appears in the doorway, her face pale and drawn.  “We’re all clear out here,” she tells them, gaze skating over the three of them in turn.  “I told Maggie that we’d meet her at the DEO.  You’re all in one piece?”  At the responding nods, Alex sets her hands on her hips, offers a tight smile.  “We should move, then.”

This time, there’s no wait for a response before Alex is turning and disappearing back into Lena’s office.  Kara’s on her feet first, taking a moment to smooth her hands down the front of her slacks before she turns and helps Lena to her feet.  Stella doesn’t budge or even acknowledge the move apart from twisting her hands tighter into the neck of Lena’s dress.  “You’re okay,” she promises as she follows Kara to the door.  “We’re safe, darling.” 

The office is clear when they step out into it, the only evidence of the violence that occurred being the dents on the cabinets along the far wall.  There’s no blood—or, at least, if there had been, it’s been dutifully erased, but Lena brings her hand up to rest on the back of Stella’s head just in case, ready to keep her from looking up and being further traumatized.

Jess steps out of the elevator just as the DEO team reaches it, guns immediately trained on the doors as they slide open.  “Howell’s office had the papers…” Jess trails off as she looks up, zeroes in on the weapons pointed at her.  And, bless her, she calmly turns to face Lena, shutting down her tablet with a tap and asking, “Is everyone alright?”

“We are,” Lena nods.

It’s probably indicative of how many times this has happened, how many close calls they’ve weathered, because Jess knows the protocol; she collects her things from behind her desk and falls into step with Lena quickly, cancelling meetings and informing Lena as she does.  “Through the weekend, Miss Luthor?”  Jess’s tapping on her tablet never ceases, already filling in the answer before Lena can confirm it. 

The elevator ride is silent and Lena spends it splitting her attention between Stella and Kara; the agents that rode down with them step out first, then Alex.  Jess follows, still swiping at the screen in her arms, only the tense line of her shoulders giving away her stress.  Kara drops one hand low on Lena’s back briefly before she steps out in front of her, pausing until Lena’s left the elevator and then resuming her place a half a step behind her.  Their group is halfway to the fleet of dark SUVs the DEO brought with them when Lena makes her decision.  “Jess, please clear my schedule through the end of the month,” Lena requests.

The rest passes in a blur.  Lena’s vision narrows to the Stella, still clinging to her, and to Kara, broadening only when Finn rushes her on the floor of headquarters, Maia just behind him.  They’re noticeably quiet, hugging Lena’s legs and then gently around Stella when Kara helps her kneel.  “Come here, come here,” she murmurs, turning first to kiss Maia, then Finn.  He breaks away first, looking very much like he would like to cry and Lena’s heart drops low, lifts only a little when Finn turns and throws himself into Kara, already waiting with her arms open.

They have been very lucky, Lena knows—the attempts on her life have been few and far between since the kids came along; this was the first in Stella’s lifetime, the first that Maia will remember.  But Finn remembers the one that came before, the one that happened after years of silence, of nothing, the one that caught them unaware.

Lena wants nothing more than to pull all her children into her lap, hide away with them and Kara for as long as it takes until they feel safe again, but then Alex is coming back over and quietly telling them that the medical bay is ready for Stella, so she has to think it’s enough that Kara picks Finn up with ease and cuddles him close.  He’s crying now, big heaving sobs that muffle anything he’s trying to say, but Lena still hears the worst of it, the “—thought they killed you,” that’s wailed into Kara’s shirt. 

That’s what sets Maia off—Maia, who seemed to know something was up, but not that, not something so serious.  She stops in the middle of her sentence, already telling Lena about the science experiment she left halfway through from, and takes a long look at Lena, at Kara.  When her gaze lands on Finn, Lena watches in suspended horror as her daughter’s chin dimples, her little mouth twisting as big, fat tears start rolling down her cheeks.

“Oh no, love,” Lena hushes gently, letting go of Maia in favor of brushing the tears away.  “We’re okay, Maia.  Everyone’s okay.”

“Then why’s Stella going to medical?” Maia manages through her sobs.  “That’s where Mama goes when she’s hurt.”

“I—.”  Lena looks up to catch Kara’s eyes helplessly, finds her looking just as lost.

Kara shuffles over, slips her free arm around Maia and drags her into a hug as well; it seems to help a little, Maia being able to hug at least one of her mothers as tightly as she wants, seems to smooth over the fact that they don’t have an easy answer to her question.  Alex is waiting a respectable distance, letting them have their moment sprawled on the main floor of the DEO; agents scurry around, barely sparing them a glance.  And Stella—little Stella’s barely moved since they arrived, still wrapped around Lena’s torso and quietly crying.  God, Lena dreads trying to pry her off for the exam.

“Okay,” Lena hears Kara murmur.  “Stella needs to get a look over.  Mommy and I need to be with her, so you can come with us or wait with Aunt Maggie.”

Finn’s head pops up off Kara’s shoulder.  “Can we watch Netflix?” he asks, shooting a sly look in Maggie’s direction, tucked off to the side with Alex.

Maggie catches on that the question is more directed at her than to anyone else, and she nods quickly, grinning when Finn starts to smile at her answer.  She breaks away from Alex, crosses the floor and crouches down next to the family.  “We can finish Hook,” she offers, resting her arms on her knees.

That seems to be enough to entice Finn to let go of Kara and reach for Maggie’s hand.  Maia hangs on, though, and Kara runs a hand down her back and asks, “You don’t want to hang out with Aunt Maggie?”

Whatever Maia mumbles in response is too quiet for Lena’s human hearing, but she sees Kara nodding, murmuring something in return.  And then, louder, “Alright birdy, let’s go then.” 

Maia’s quick to let go of her mother, abandoning Kara in favor of attaching herself to Finn’s side as he reaches out for her.  Maggie herds them away quickly, flashing Kara and Lena a reassuring smile before she disappears into one of the break rooms with the kids.

Lena’s busy listening to her son’s voice slowly get drowned out by the renewed hum of the DEO; she doesn’t realize that Kara’s pushed off the floor until she appears in the corner of her eye, offering her hand.

The walk to the med bay is short, seeming shorter due to shock, Lena’s sure.  Alex beats them there and is shooing out the other people by the time Kara leads Lena in.  She’d obviously had the room prepped while they were on their way to the DEO, a fact Lena’s sure of if only because she knows Alex (and recognizes the chairs pulled up against the exam table as the comfortable ones from the lounge two floors up).  Lena’s entirely grateful for the chance to get off her feet—she hardly notices the weight of Stella hanging onto her anymore, but slowly and surely her back is starting to ache.

When the door shuts firmly behind the last of the strangers, Stella finally loosens her hold on Lena.  “Hello little one,” Kara coos when Stella peeks over her Lena’s shoulder, relaxing even more at her mother’s smile and calm tone.  “Aunt Alex’s gotta take a look at you, yeah?”  Stella nods once, but her chin digs into Lena’s shoulder when she shrinks back as Kara reaches for her.

The room stills.  Lena looks back to see the hurt on Kara’s face, the flash of guilt, to catch the way she draws in on herself and drops her hands into her lap.  And, just past her, Alex is looking on with worry, brows knit together in concern.

“I’m going to step out for a minute,” Alex announces quietly, dropping the papers in her hands onto the exam table.  “I’ll be out here,” she nods to the hall beyond the doorway, “whenever you’re ready.”

Lena waits a moment, then another before she speaks, resting one hand lightly on Stella’s back.  “It’s just Mama,” she assures their daughter.  “She’s going to keep you very safe, you know that, love.”

The careful way that Kara reaches out twists Lena’s heart painfully.  She brushes her fingers over Stella’s small fist, still twisting the back of Lena’s dress.  The dress is probably wrinkled beyond salvation and Lena adds it to the increasing list of clothes she’s lost by way of paint covered hands and unfortunate spit up incidents.  “Oh,” Kara says.  “I don’t—.”  The crinkle between her brows has appeared.  “I think she’s trying to protect you.” 

“What?”  Lena glances down, sure that she’s giving herself about twelve chins in the process and not caring in the slightest.  Stella’s tucked her face down again, but she looks up then, as if sensing Lena’s gaze.  Her eyes are still damp, wide and shiny under the fluorescent lights, but Lena recognizes the look she’s throwing at her—she’s seen the same reflected in Kara’s eyes more times than she can count, all stubborn, all feet planted and arms thrown wide.  Stella’s so much like Lena that she sometimes forgets how much of Kara she has as well.  How she takes after her in the infuriating, heart wrenching, heroic ways.  “Oh,” Lena breathes.

It would make sense; it would definitely fit with the tentative hypothesis Lena’s formed about what powers Stella may possess.  It would even explain the increased clinginess she’d exhibited that morning, only a few hours ago though it seemed like years.

Lena’s nothing if not a scientist at heart.  She takes the new information and tests it, brushing her lips over Stella’s forehead and murmuring when she pulls back, “I’m safe, darling.”  She focuses on taking deep even breaths to mimic calm as she continues, “I know there were some bad men, but Mama kept us safe.”

“And you were very brave,” Kara adds, kneeling next to Lena’s chair and smiling up at Stella.  “You helped keep us safe, Stella, and I know today has been very scary, but do you think you can be brave just a little while longer?”

Stella gives no response for a beat and then, slowly, she nods into Lena’s shoulder and relinquishes her hold around her mother’s neck.  And Lena’s in awe, once more, of Kara’s parenting, of her ability to soothe and guide and encourage all at once, a soft smile inching onto her face as Stella pushes up on unsteady legs, one hand pressing down on Lena’s collarbone as the other reaches for Kara.

She’d climb over Lena’s shoulder if allowed, probably giving Lena a black eye in the process, so Lena’s entirely grateful when Kara jumps to her feet and collects Stella before she has the chance to lunge for her.  Her daughter’s weight hadn’t been a burden, or, if it had, it was one that Lena was willing to bear infinitely; that said, she takes a deep breath for the first time today and stretches, quite pleased with the way her joints pop and release.

Their daughter settles against Kara with a content little sigh; whatever contentment she has gives way to a frown when Kara moves towards the exam table and away from lena.

Stella swings her wide eyes to Lena again and Lena sees the wind up, the jutting bottom lip and wobbling chin.  “Hey, hey,” she rushes to say, nodding to Kara as she shuffles her chair until she’s pressed right up against the exam table.  “I’m right here.”  Kara hops up onto the table, scoots over so that her knees are knocking against Lena’s and Stella’s as close as she can be without being in Lena’s lap.  “See?”  Lena reaches out, offers her hand to Stella and smiles when her daughter takes it, wraps her small hand around a few of Lena’s fingers. 

Kara kisses the top of Stella’s head, murmurs something in her native tongue—Lena’s picked up a few things here and there, but some things—like this—are still lost to her.  Stella seems soothed by it, though, her pout easing.

“Are you ready to be brave again?” Lena inquires gently.

Stella looks at her for a very long time, it seems.  Finally, she nods.

 

...

 

Alex delivers the news hours later, once their home has been secured and the kids have passed out in a pile on Kara and Lena’s bed. 

They haven’t even changed yet; Lena’s still in her wrinkled dress, Kara in her slacks and blouse.  There’s a little blood stain on cuff of her pant leg that Lena hasn’t noticed until now, and it takes a fair bit of effort to drag her eyes away from it. 

An empath definitely, telepath maybe, with the potential for more psychic powers to develop as she ages, if the comparison of her brain scans with that of other aliens with similar powers was anything to go off.

From a planet that no one has ever been to, from a species that refuses to interact with the world.

“Quite frankly,” Alex says, “I’m not even sure how Stella’s here, considering all we know about Euphorians are that they have a literal planetary shield to keep anyone from entering or leaving.”

There is a part of Lena that wants to ask questions, wants to press for next steps, battle plans and strategies (is this going to turn into an intergalactic incident?  What are custody laws like for interplanetary relations?  Do they need to be worried about war-mongering childless parents storming their door any day now?).

There is another part, larger and softer and so much louder, that can only remember the very first time she ever clapped eyes on Stella.  She was small even for a newborn (“She can’t be older than a few hours,” Kara had told her, desperately pleading a case she’d already won), but she looked laughably tiny in Kara’s arms, wrapped up neatly in her cape.

Lena will never be able to explain the feeling, not as long as she lives, but here are the best words to try: it was no different than when she’d first seen Finn or Maia, studying them as they were laid on her chest.  There was the same awe, the same pull towards her, the same urge to hold the little infant her wife landed with.

These, Lena thinks, are all the reasons why the improbability of Stella’s existence on Earth is the last thing Lena wants to ponder.

So instead she focuses on that feeling, on the way Stella’s always been so quiet, always observing the world and the people around her so carefully.  The details matter very little, Lena thinks and, judging by the way Kara’s looking up through the ceiling with a soft smile on her face, her wife agrees wholeheartedly.  Stella is theirs, end of story.

 

(Stella, the youngest and arguably weakest of her siblings, rules with an iron fist.  Her moms discourage her from actively reading people’s minds, which she takes into account, but is it really her fault if certain things just—pop up?  Particularly if those certain things act as such good ammo against her siblings.

“Oh shut up Stella, you’ve always been a kiss up.”

“Have not.”

“Have to, Miss I-predicted-an-assassination-attempt!”

“Oh, geez, it’d sure be a shame if Moms found out about your D in math, huh Finn?”

“You’re bluffing, there’s no way you could—shit.  Fucking mind readers, man.”

“That’s what I thought.”)