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the heiress, the girl of steel, and the man who fell to earth

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Mon El looks surprised to see Lena on his doorstep, which makes sense. It is, after all, past ten o’clock at night, but Lena hasn’t been keeping anything close to regular person hours, and it was somewhere between her fourth and fifth espresso of the night and a text message from Kara that she had allowed her promise to talk to Mon El to consume her and compel her to action.

So, here she is, standing in Mon El’s doorway, fiddling at the straps of her bag while Mon El blinks back at her in confusion.

“Hey,” she manages, eyes flitting around before she forces herself to look straight at him.

And then, he does something unexpected—he pulls her into a hug, smiling broadly on the word “Lena!”

Lena stiffens at the sudden contact, breath hitched in her throat, because this is not the reaction she had been expecting. She had fully worked herself up to ply him, to treat him gingerly, to brace herself for a cold shoulder at least, but here he is, hugging her with such warmth like she is the one who’d had her heart broken, reminding her yet again that he is her family, but he is nothing like Lex.

A strangled laugh gurgles past Lena’s lips and she allows herself to sink into his embrace, arms hinging upwards at the elbows to grip onto his shoulders at a somewhat awkward angle, but she doesn’t care. She buries her head into his shoulder, fingers curling into the fabric of his sweater. Feels herself being lifted off the ground slightly before she’s set back down and steps back. She feels the hot flush that surely blotches her cheeks and sniffs her nose quickly.

“Sorry,” Mon El says hurriedly, scratching at the back of his neck. “I know I should have asked but I just—I missed you.”

Lena shakes her head vigorously. “It’s more than okay, Mon El. I…I wasn’t expecting it, is all.” She huffs out a breath, smoothes down her blouse before looking back up at him. “Can I come in?”

“Of course.” He steps aside and Lena passes him into the apartment, which is now considerably more furnished. It’s simple, and tidy, which comes as a bit of a surprise to Lena. While they were living together, she’d gotten somewhat annoyed at him on more than a few occasions for leaving his things wherever he happened to set them down only to promptly forget about them.

“I like what you’ve done with the place,” she comments, looking around as she sets her handbag down on the kitchen counter. “It’s very…clean. I’d been expecting more of a pigsty, if I’m honest,” she teases, and Mon El shrugs, tucking his hands beneath his arms.

“Cleaning keeps me busy. I can’t do much at the moment besides sit around and wait, so.” He purses his lips together, and Lena can tell he’s not trying to sound too hopeful, but it doesn’t work very well. “How is it going? Are you getting anywhere with the portal?”

Lena gives him what she hopes is a reassuring smile, places a hand on his forearm. “We’ll get there. Winn and I won’t give up until we get it, I promise.” She says firmly. Doesn’t mention the fact that all the simulations they’ve been running end up in a critical overload at best, and at worst, a nuclear explosion. The algorithm is flawed at a base level, and Lena is afraid she is going to have to start all over again—but that’s not what she is here for.

Mon El gives her small but kind smile, laying his hand over hers. “I know you will. Just—make sure you’re looking after yourself, okay? You look…” his eyes rake over her person—her messy bun, her un-made face, her skewed glasses over her tired eyes— “you’ve looked better,” he states plainly.

“Thanks,” Lena returns dryly, tucking a loose wisp of hair behind her ear.

“So,” Mon El breaks the somewhat awkward silence that had settled around them, “you’ve finally decided to stop avoiding me?”

Lena balks, clears her throat. “Avoiding you? I wasn’t—me? That’s not—” she stammers evasively, but Mon El just raises an eyebrow and she sighs, slumping in resignation. “Okay. Maybe I’ve been avoiding you just the tiniest bit. Maybe the Daxamite portal has provided the perfect distraction. Maybe I feel terrible about everything that happened and…can we talk? Can we just talk?”

Mon El leans back on the counter, a somewhat amused expression playing on his face at Lena’s rambling. “Please. Take a seat, before you hurt yourself.”

Lena huffs out a lungful of air, and Mon El bumps her lightly as he leads her to the couch, offering her one end of a red throw blanket, which Lena accepts and pulls over her lap, tucking the edges in under her.

“So,” Mon El says as he settles himself under the other half of the blanket. “You and Kara, huh?”

“Yes,” Lena affirms with a formal sort of nod. “Me and Kara. Or, Kara and I, I should say,” she amends, and she is powerless against the stupid smile that pulls her lips higher on her cheeks at the way it sounds to hear someone else putting her and Kara’s names together like they mean something important.

The sound of Mon El chuckling has Lena snapping her eyes up from the blanket.

“Rao, Lena. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before. Look at you, you’re practically radiating. I suppose I was blinded by my own Kara-vision, wasn't I?” he muses.

Lena breathes a short, pained laugh. “She does have that effect on people, I suppose.”

“And us lowly peasants are simply powerless to resist,” he says theatrically, and his levity encourages a genuine laugh from Lena, her shoulders loosening as she reaches out to put her hands on top of his, and his fingers close around her own.

“Mon El…” she begins, her voice sombre, and his smile slips into a more serious expression to match it. “I’m sorry for taking Kara away like I did. I knew how you felt and I just…it just happened. I can’t help how I feel. I tried to ignore my heart, believe me, I really did. Honestly, I had signed myself up for a life of pining, and that would have been just fine, I would have been happy for you—”

“Lena, Lena, Lena,” Mon El says hurriedly, breaking Lena’s rant by shifting closer and holding more tightly onto her hands. “Stop. Just stop.”  Lena swallows, forcing herself to take a few breaths before she meets his eyes.

“See, I’ve been thinking,” he says, “and I think that’s what upset me most about this whole thing. The fact that you let me believe that everything was fine while you were hurting so deeply inside. I felt like I was this self-centred jackass because I should have known better and seen my friend was upset and that the girl I wanted to be with, well, she wanted to be with someone else. That’s the kind of person I was on Daxam, and that’s exactly who I don’t want to be on earth.”

“You’re not a self-centred jackass,” Lena insists hurriedly. “You were only following your heart, and I’m just too good at hiding my feelings. Or maybe I’m not good enough at it, if you want to look at it that way,” she adds with a slight frown that has Mon El shaking his head.

“I’m not mad at you for falling for Kara,” he says. He gently draws his hands back, clasping them behind his head as he fixes Lena with a look. “I am mad at you though.”

“Oh?” Lena asks, eyebrows arching towards her hairline.

“Yeah, you heard me right. I’m mad at the fact that you were so ready to give up on something that would make you happy,” he says, and he is gentle in his accusation and pokes lightly at Lena’s ribs, making her squirm a bit. “I mean, seriously Lena? Ever since I got here, you’ve encouraged me to fight for the things I want. You’ve told me that every day, I can choose to do things that will bring me closer to being the person I want to be and to having the life I want to have. Why don’t those lessons apply to you, hm? Why aren’t you allowed to want things? Why aren’t you allowed to fight for those things?”

Lena stares down at the blanket, playing with a loose thread. Her thoughts immediately turn to Lex, as they often do, to him flinging his arm around her shoulders on her graduation day, telling her she could have everything she’s ever wanted, and she’s going to do great things for the Luthor name. She’d smiled and believed him, completely oblivious to the dirt and blood she’d spend most of her adult life trying to expunge from the very same name she had once wanted to elevate.

“The only person who has ever told me I should fight for what I want, went insane and is now in prison. I can’t—I won’t be like that,” she says tightly, balling the blanket up in her fingers.

Mon El sighs and takes her hands in his, gently easing the blanket from her grip. “Don’t look to Lex for permission, or to anyone else for that matter,” he says. “The only person who can give you permission to be happy, is yourself.”

Heat prickles behind Lena’s eyes and she quickly rubs at them to plug the impending leak. “Gosh, Mon El, have you been mainlining Oprah or something?” she jokes weakly.

Mon El chuckles and shifts closer to her, easily drawing her under his arm. “Oprah Winfrey is a visionary of earth’s people. Also I don’t know how to change the channel on my TV, please help me.” A wet laugh bubbles past Lena’s lips at that, and she sighs into his shoulder, curling her knees up towards her chest.

“I know she wouldn’t have been happy with me,” Mon El says quietly, his voice more serious now. “I may have had my Kara goggles on, but I’m not blind. I’ve seen the way she looks at you. Like I only wish she would have looked at me.”

“Mon El…”

“It’s okay, Lena. I have my people to think about now,” Mon El presses on. “When they get here, they’ll need someone to lead them. They’ll need their prince.”

“I thought you didn’t want to be the prince.”

Mon El shrugs. “I didn’t. But some things are bigger than ourselves. Watching Kara be a hero and fighting alongside her taught me that. Watching how you run L-Corp and how you care so deeply about people, even me, an alien who tried to kill you upon first meeting you, taught me that too.”

“Well look at you,” Lena hums, a small smile on her face. “All ready to take responsibility.”

Mon El barks a short laugh. “As ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.” He sighs and squeezes Lena close to him. “I just want us to be friends again, okay? All of us. I need you, and Kara both, and I like to think you need me too. In a way, we balance out each other’s particular breed of crazy.”

Lena chuckles for a moment, then it tapers off and her eyes go wide. “What did you just say?”

“That we’re all crazy?”

“No, no,” Lena says, straightening up from him as she shakes her head vigorously, her mind running at lightening speed. “Balance…that’s it. Mon El, you’re a genius!” She exclaims, grabs Mon El’s face and presses a kiss to his cheek before she stands abruptly.

“Uh, thanks? Lena, what’s going on?”

“I can’t believe I didn’t see this myself,” Lena says, shaking her head as she strides over to pick up her bag and begins pacing back and forth. “All this time, I was so focused on giving the portal more power, but of course it was overloading, I just needed to increase the anion input without overloading the energy output, all while maintaining the element’s synthesis rate as a constant. Balance, not power!” She speaks hurriedly, the excitement bubbling in her chest almost causing her to trip over her words, and meets Mon El’s bewildered look with a broad grin.

“Um…yay science?” Mon El says with a weak grin, and Lena just laughs.

“I have to go. Thank you, Mon El. You’ll be with your people again soon. I…” she falters slightly, twists at the strap of her bag. “I’m glad I haven’t lost you.”

Mon El shakes his head, an amused smile on his lips. “Oh, Lena. You’re going to have to try a lot harder than that to get rid of me.”

 

 

**

 

“Lena, you’re a genius.”

Winn grins at Lena over his shoulder while she watches the monitor intently, waiting for the seemingly inevitable critical error message…but it doesn’t come. Instead, the simulation with Lena’s revised algorithm indicates that the impossible is now possible: the key to trans-matter technology has been unlocked.

“It’s going to work,” she breathes, equal parts awe struck and exhausted from endless nights at work.

Winn beams and spins around in his chair. “Hell yeah it is! Now we just have to build the thing,” he announces happily. “Hey, if you could teleport anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?” he asks, his voice dipping in and out as he completes a few dizzying revolutions.

Lena smiles quietly to herself, clutching her tablet close to her as a new sense of relief uncurls in her chest. If she could teleport anywhere right now, it would be to her own bed, completely wrapped up in Kara Danvers, where she could touch her face and feel her arms wrapped around her while they passed lazy, long overdue kisses back and forth, with little regard to the world outside, if only for one night.

And while Lena can’t teleport, Kara can definitely fly, which is pretty much the next best thing.

 

**

 

Lena strides purposefully down the halls of the DEO, eyes fixed firmly on her tablet, when she is stopped in her tracks by something very tall, and very solid. She lets out a small surprised squeak and finds herself face-to-face with Alex Danvers, who looks down a straight-line nose at her with critical brown eyes.

“A-agent Danvers!” Lena stammers, then clears her throat as she recovers from her shock and reassembles herself into what she hopes is stoic composure.

The corner of Alex’s lips twitch upwards into an amused smirk. “Lena, please. I think we’ve known each other long enough to be past the formalities by now. Besides, we’re practically family now, aren’t we?”

Lena eyes Alex warily, getting the sense that there are covert implications behind her words and tight-lipped grin. Lena is well aware that Kara tells Alex everything, so she must be aware of their recent transition from friends to…more than friends, but apart from that, she’s not sure how much Alex knows.

She manages to keep her face from flushing with a short nod, and busies her hands with straightening out her blouse. “Very well then, Alex. What can I do for you?” she asks calmly.

“More like what can I do for you?” Alex grins. “With the Daxamites arriving any day now, I feel it’s appropriate that you know how to defend yourself in the event that they turn out to be less than friendly—yes, I know, you trust Mon El and, by extension, his people implicitly for whatever reason, like you were separated at birth or something,” Alex interrupts when Lena opens her mouth to protest, raising a silencing hand. “But regardless of that, being a part of Kara’s life comes with its own set of risks. I’d feel better, and I’m sure Kara would too, if you learned a few things from me,” she says, her tone gentler now, almost…caring?

Lena arches her eyebrow uncertainly, but the bundle of clothes Alex thrusts towards her seems to indicate that she doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

That’s how Lena finds herself in one of the DEO’s training rooms, dressed in a black DEO issued t-shirt and sweatpants that are a little too long on her, rolled up at the ankles. Alex stands across from her, fitted out with boxing gloves, pads and a wicked grin that tells Lena she’s going to enjoy whatever she has in store for her.

“Okay, Luthor. Show me what you’ve got,” Alex prompts, tossing the mitts over to Lena.

Lena paces slowly around the perimeter of the ring in the middle of the room, eying Alex as she slips her hands into the gloves.

“I’m not completely helpless, you know. Lex taught me how to box, and I took self defence classes during boarding school.”

Alex snorts. “Yes, well, you’re not at the academy anymore,” she drawls. “This is the real world. Put ‘em up!”

Lena rolls her eyes and assumes a fighting stance, shoulders squared, right foot slightly forward. Alex holds her pads up and instructs her to perform a combination, which Lena has  to reach back into her memory to remember, but she manages confidently enough anyway.

“Not bad,” Alex hums as Lena finishes the combination with a jab. “But don’t drop your elbow like that, keep your guard up. And is that really the hardest you can hit?”

After warming up a bit on the pads, Alex takes her over to a punching bag, where she demonstrates how to punch hard, fast, and accurately, correcting her form with firm taps to her arms and legs, shifting them into position. Lena takes her instruction on easily—she’s always been a quick learner—and more than that, she wants to impress Alex, or at least, meet her expectations.

They move back to the ring in the middle of the room, where Alex puts the pads back on and puts Lena through more combinations of punches, dodging and weaving. And it’s going well, until—

“So, are you my sister’s girlfriend or what?” Alex asks pointedly between swings.

Lena chokes on her own spit and fails to duck under Alex’s swipe, causing the pad to catch her in the side of the head.

“Focus, Luthor!” Alex chastises, clicking her tongue.

Lena scowls and puts some extra power behind the next combination, which, infuriatingly, only seems to please the eldest Danvers.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Alex reiterates, eyebrows arched expectantly.

Lena puffs out a breath that blows the loose strands of hair out of her eyes, tripping only slightly over her own feet as she mirrors Alex’s side steps.

“I don’t know how to,” she huffs, words punctuated by jabs and crosses. “Saying she’s my girlfriend—that’s just a title, that doesn’t feel like enough. Kara…Kara is everything to me.” Lena lets out a grunt as she finishes the combination with a powerful uppercut. The significance of what she’s said doesn’t hit her until the words are out and Alex is staring back at her with a peculiar expression. Lena straightens up, takes a few steps back, chest heaving as she wipes the sweat off her brow with her forearm. “She’s…she’s my everything,” she repeats, and the truth rings absolute in her own ears.

There’s a long moment during which Alex just watches her before nodding slowly. “Good answer.”

Alex slips her pads off, which Lena takes as a sign to shuck her own gloves and collapse to the floor, body trembling with exertion as she flops down onto her back. Alex’s head appears in her vision over her, her auburn hair eclipsing the lamplight from above.

“She’s everything to me, too,” Alex says.

“I know,” Lena pants, eyes fluttering shut as she swallows between heavy breaths.

“So you understand that I will end you if you ever hurt her. Right?”

There it is.

Lena cracks one eye open and nods, solemn. “I’d expect nothing less, Agent Danvers.”

“Good. We have an understanding, then.” Alex folds her arms while Lena catches her breath for a moment longer, then she grins. “Did you think we were finished?”

“Aren’t we?”

Alex cackles and shakes her head. “Keep dreaming, Luthor. Come on. Up you get.”

Lena whimpers, but eventually accepts Alex’s proffered arm, allowing herself to be pulled back to her feet. Alex keeps her in her grasp when she’s back up, gripping her elbow to keep her in her personal space.

“I’m glad it’s you, Lena,” she says, a curt smile cracking through. “For a second there, I was worried Mon El would be the one. I mean, he’s a nice guy and all, but—I don’t know. My sister senses just tell me he’s not right for her. But you…you make each other better. You bring her peace. Just—keep her happy, okay?”

Lena regards Alex for a moment, feels how much she cares for her sister, how much it means for her to put taking care of Kara’s happiness in her hands.

“I will, Alex,” she promises. “For as long as she’ll let me, I will.”

Lena feels Alex searching her eyes for even a trace of insincerity, and she must turn up empty, because she nods slowly. “Good,” she murmurs, and then Lena’s whole world disappears from beneath her feet when they are swept out from under her, and she finds herself blinking up at the ceiling as her lungs are rudely and abruptly emptied of breath.

“Rule number one, Luthor. Keep your guard up,” Alex smirks from above her, offering her arm out again. Lena scowls indignantly and chooses instead to push herself up from the floor. “You learn fast,” Alex chuckles, nodding approvingly. “Now. Let’s learn some takedowns.”

Lena spends a significant portion of the next twenty minutes flat on her ass as Alex ‘helpfully’ demonstrates how to use an opponent’s own body weight against them in a confrontation. Despite the padded floor, Lena is aching all over. Though, in a way, it feels good—good to use her body like this after spending nights on end spent hunched over a computer. It feels good to sweat and feel her lungs expanding and contracting, good to feel her muscles aching with effort. In fact, it’s even kind of…fun.

Lena gasps for breath between giggles as she and Alex end up locked in a tangle of arms, both trying to get a leg in between the other’s in an attempt to destabilise the other.

“I definitely did not teach you this technique!” Alex laughs in protest as Lena manages to pin her arms to her sides in an improvised bear hug.

“Aw, hey guys, where was my invitation?”

Lena snaps her head up at the sound of Kara’s voice floating in like sunlight through an open window, and the sight of her makes her mouth go dry and saps the already minimal amount of strength from her muscles.

Because Kara is wearing tights that make her butt look like a perfectly ripe peach and a tank top that leaves her arms and shoulders out on full display, and no matter how many times Lena is embraced by them, held by them, lifted and carried around by them, the sheer sight of those tight, rippling anacondas leaves her completely unable to function. In fact, knowing exactly what those arms are capable of might have made it even worse—

And she’s on the ground again.

Lena groans and pushes herself up from the mat just in time to see Alex saunter over to her sister sporting a wide grin.

“She’s all yours, sis,” Alex says, patting Kara on the arm. “Lena, show her what you’ve learned.”

Lena groans, scrubbing the back of her neck. It’s slick with sweat. “You do know she’s Supergirl, right?”

Alex rolls her eyes and accesses a control panel on the side of the wall that makes the lamps overhead glow green, and Lena catches Kara grimace with discomfort.

“That should level the playing field…somewhat. Make me proud.” Alex flashes Lena a parting grin before leaving her and Kara alone in the green room.

Lena casts a critical eye up towards the glowing lamps, then down at Kara, who clenches and unclenches her fists experimentally, shakes her arms out and hops from one foot to another, like she’s settling into her own body.

“Are those what I think they are?” Lena asks.

“Kryptonite emitters,” Kara answers as she approaches the raised platform in the middle of the room. “Not enough to hurt me, aside from a bit of a headache, but enough to weaken me. But don’t worry. I could still totally bench press you,” Kara smirks, resting her elbows on the platform, one of her hands wandering over to toy with Lena’s shoelaces.

“I don’t—that’s not…I’m not worried about that,” Lena insists stubbornly, nudging Kara’s fiddling hand off of her shoe with a flick of her toe.

“Sure you’re not,” Kara chuckles and pushes herself up onto the platform. Lena allows Kara to pull her to her feet, paying little attention to how loudly her muscles scream in protest and ache with fatigue. “So. Why don’t you show me what Alex stole you away to teach you? Go on, hit me,” Kara says, tapping her shoulder indicatively.

Lena shakes her head. “I’m not going to hit you, Kara.” 

“Oh come on. Just think of all the times I’ve driven you crazy, annoyed you, gotten you to fly against your will, said mean things about kale—oof!” Kara gasps as Lena catches her with a right cross to the shoulder. “Good…that’s good, Lena,” Kara wheezes, and it’s oddly satisfying, to see Supergirl take a couple steps back as a result of her own strength. “I almost felt that,” Kara teases, recovering with a grin.

“Gosh, Kara, you’re like a wall,” Lena rolls her eyes, shaking out her now aching hand.

Kara simply shrugs with a chuckle. “What else did you learn?”

Lena bites her lip and shifts herself towards Kara. “Alex did show me this one move. You just put your hands here, and I go here…” Lena explains, moving to grip Kara’s arms, “and then I do this and—whoa!” Lena moves to sweep Kara’s legs out from under her, and it would have been a perfect execution, had she not tumbled down with her, and she winds Kara when she lands on top of her with a thud.

“Nice move, Lena,” Kara winces, “except for one thing.”

Lena lifts her head from where it had dropped nose-first into Kara’s chest, taking a moment to admire the woman beneath her—the halo of blonde hair splayed out on the mat, the pretty flush dusting her cheeks, the plush lips curling up into a grin that makes her heartbeat thrum in her chest.

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

Kara’s sapphire eyes flash as she beams up at her. “I’ve got you in my clutches now.”

Lena lets out a delighted squeal as Kara’s arms wrap around her and she squeezes her tightly against her, laughing as she rolls them onto their sides and squeezes tighter still.

“Maybe that was my plan all along,” Lena murmurs and nuzzles into Kara’s neck.

It gradually occurs to her that, for once, Kara isn’t holding back—she is holding her with all her strength—and Lena lets her, and clutches her back just as tight. Their embrace quickly changes from slightly silly to more serious. Lena digs her nails into the flesh of Kara’s shoulders—Kara hisses at the sensation, quickly assures her it’s fine, and Lena wants to kiss her so desperately but when she pulls her head back she can’t see past the grimace that twists Kara’s lips and furrows her brow. Lena sighs, and it’s a sharp, shuddering thing, and slowly relaxes her hands.

“Let go, Kara,” she says softly, running a gentle hand through Kara’s hair.

“I don’t want to.” Kara stubbornly maintains her grip, and her brow furrows deeper. Lena exhales slowly and continues carding her fingers through Kara’s blonde tresses, for just a few moments longer, until Kara makes a small noise of discomfort.

“Kara. The Kryptonite. It’s hurting you.” 

Kara sighs exasperation and loosens her grip, avoiding Lena’s eyes when she pulls back to look at her. Lena presses a soft kiss to her forehead before she eases herself from Kara’s arms, rolls to the edge of the platform and hops down. When Lena turns the Kryptonite emitters off, Kara lets out a sigh of relief and pushes herself up into a sitting position, her legs dangling off the edge.

The top of the platform comes to just under Lena’s ribcage, and Lena fits herself between Kara’s knees, tipping her chin up to look at Kara as she hangs her head. “You okay?” she asks.

Kara draws in a shaky breath and shakes her head. “I’m sorry. I just…forgot myself for a second there. That felt…really good, to hold you like that. Even if it hurt,” she confesses.

Lena bites her lip. “Don’t be sorry, Kara. This…” she traces her fingertips up Kara’s arms, stopping at her biceps where she grips them firmly. “This is a part of you. So it’s a part of us, and I—I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean that.”

Lena tilts her head up and catches a glimpse of Kara’s throat bobbing as she swallows and nods. Kara’s hands come up under her her arms and Lena is lifted up off the ground. She winds her arms around Kara’s neck once she is brought level with her, while Kara’s arms wrap securely around her waist, holding her close. They’re nose to nose, sharing air, and Lena kisses her slowly, sweetly, tenderly.

Lena pulls back slightly to look down at the ground, almost a metre below her dangling feet, and a smile quirks her lips.

“Besides. How many other people can say their girlfriend can lift them up like gravity means nothing?”

Kara’s grin lights up her face, and Lena can feel it against her lips as she presses them back together.

And sure, ‘girlfriend’ is just a title, but boy does it feel pretty damn good to say it.

 

**

 

The wind is insistent, and carries a crisp chill that makes Lena pull her coat tighter around her. DEO agents surround her, all on guard with an anticipatory tension that hangs thick in the air. The portal to bring the Daxamites to Earth looms large before them, an impressive circular structure that casts a shadow over the DEO camp that has been set up a short distance away. Lena runs some final checks on the algorithm, mostly out of needing something to occupy her mind—she is confident this will work, a thought that instills a buzzing excitement in her belly.

“I still don’t know why you had to have it built in your own backyard.”

Kara appears by her side, mouth set in a firm line as she looks up at the metallic structure with a wary frown.

Lena chuckles softly, gives a small shrug. She casts her eye back to the oak tree in her backyard that can be seen off in the distance. The same oak tree Mon El crashed into all those months ago before subsequently irrevocably changing her life.

“It felt right to be here. Call me theatrical, but this is where it all started.”

“Always so dramatic, Lena,” Kara murmurs with an affectionate sort of smile.

“Also,” Lena adds, tapping a final note on her tablet before tucking it away, “My property is completely secure, protected from satellite imaging and surveillance thanks to dear old Lex, and, most importantly, miles away from any civilian dwellings. It makes sense.”

“Logical too,” Kara hums, tipping her head lightly. She huffs a sigh and shakes her limbs out, fingers twisting into her cape in that agitated way Lena has come to recognise all too well.  “All this waiting around has me on edge. How long until we do this thing?”

Lena glances over to where Winn is buzzing around his workstation, getting everything in order with that chaotic energy that seems to fuel him.

“Not long,” Lena answers. “Winn will give us the go ahead and then…we’ll be welcoming Mon El’s family, if all goes according to plan.” Kara’s face is difficult to read as she gives a curt nod, but softens when Lena reaches for her, interlocking their fingers. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Kara nods, trying for a smile. “I just…don’t know what to expect. Mon El was one of them, but a whole ship? They’re a stubborn people, Lena. This might not be as easy as we hope.”

“Mon El is their prince, Kara. I trust we can follow his lead,” Lena says, giving Kara’s hand an assuring squeeze. “Besides, whatever comes through that portal will be no match against a prince, the Girl of Steel, and a genius,” she adds with a grin.

Kara breathes a laugh, and slips her arm behind Lena’s back, drawing her close. “If you say so. Wait, so who is the genius?” she teases, nose crinkling adorably as Lena shoots her a glare.

“Definitely not you,” Lena mutters, easing up as Kara presses her lips to her forehead. She sighs and leans into Kara’s side, listening to the rhythm of her breathing.

Crunching footfalls announce Mon El’s presence shortly before he is at Lena’s other side, puffing out a breath as his eyes are similarly transfixed on the portal.

“Excited, Mon El?” Lena asks.

“Yeah,” Mon El nods, rubbing at his arms. “Nervous, too. Kinda scared. Is that normal?”

“Nervous to have your people teleported through an untested portal after you thought your whole planet had been destroyed?” Kara deadpans, giving Mon El a sideways look that cracks into a smile. “I think nerves are appropriate for the situation.”

Mon El swallows. “Thanks, Kara. Very helpful,” he says uncertainly.

Lena sighs and loops her free arm around Mon El’s waist, pulling her into her other side. She feels the tension leave his back as he places his arm around her shoulder, dropping his head down to rest against hers as they gaze at the now dormant portal across the field. As the three of them stand there in silence, Lena finds that she is instilled with an undeniable sense of calm: she is not afraid—not of failure, nor of whatever comes through that portal. Not with these two by her side.

She isn’t given much time to settle into the feeling, however, as Winn is calling them over and telling them it’s time.

 

No number of times Lena had run the simulation could have prepared her for the feeling of watching the portal whirring to life—for the energy that crackles in the air around them as a brilliant purple ball of light brews in the centre and then expands to fill the metal frame.

Lena barely hears Winn’s cry’s of “it’s working!” over the portal’s electric hum. The air is completely still, like everyone is holding their breath, their eyes completely focused ahead. DEO agents grip their weapons. Mon El grinds his teeth. Kara clutches tightly to Lena’s hand.

For perhaps the longest minute in Lena’s life, everything was still.

And then, the roar of a spaceship’s thrusters fills their ears, and Lena’s eyes bulge as a behemoth of a spaceship bursts forth from the portal and crawls across the sky towards them, slow and imposing. It comes to a halt right overhead, thrusting them in shadow and whipping the air around them, making Lena’s eyes water.

“That is one big ship,” Winn breathes.

Kara steps in front of Lena but maintains her hold on her hand, though the tension in her legs suggests she is torn between staying on the ground and shooting up into the sky towards the ship. Luckily, she doesn’t have to leave, as there is a green shimmering light and the next thing they know, a small group of people have materialised before them.

The DEO agents tense up, following Alex’s lead as she points her favourite gun at them. There are what appear to be six guards, all shining metal and helmets and staff-like weapons which they hold up in response. There is another figure there, a young girl with dark brown hair, wearing an elegant dress and a wary expression as her eyes wander over their faces before lighting up with recognition when she sees Mon El.

“Mon El!” she cries.

“Damara!” Mon El exclaims, and despite J’onn’s protests, he breaks rank and sprints over to the girl, picking her up and twirling her around in a hug.

Lena feels Kara tense up, her breath catching as she watches Mon El being reunited with his cousin. Lena touches her shoulder gently and Kara glances over her shoulder with a bittersweet sort of smile and gives her a nod to assure that she’s okay.

Lena turns her attention back to Mon El, who has now set Damara down and is facing the guards with a firm look.

“Stand down,” he commands, and Lena is almost taken aback by the authoritative weight in his voice. This is certainly a different man to the one who almost walked out of a restaurant when they only had Pepsi instead of Coke.

The guards lower their weapons and bend at the waist in reverent bows, and when Mon El looks back over his shoulder it’s with a wide grin.

“It’s okay! You can put the guns down!”

Alex looks uncertain for a moment, before she sighs and lowers her gun, instructing the other agents to follow suit.

There’s silence for a moment, and then, another flash of green, and another figure appears in front of Mon El.

It’s a woman, tall and slender, in a form-fitting dress and a crown perched on her head. A foreboding smirk curls her lips as she looks at Mon El, an almost predatory hunger in her eyes.

“Hello, Mon El. Mother’s home.”

Mon El cringes and looks back at Lena over his shoulder.

“Oh Rao,” he groans, a pained expression on his face. “Can we send them back?”