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The Stars Will Lead Us Home

Chapter Text

Silence. Blissful silence.

 

For once, Lena takes a moment to herself to find her center. Her breaths are laboured, quivering in time with her frantic heartbeat. She draws her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, and focuses on the droll buzzing of electricity coursing through her all but empty, ‘recently acquired’ Raider Frigate, looking out the windows of the ship’s command centre as she drifts among the stars.

 

It wasn’t that she wanted to steal the spaceship - and from herself, no less. If it were up to her, she’d still be on Metropolis, settling into her newly established roots in National City. But when hitmen are chasing you down and trying kill you no matter how fond of living you are, well… Let’s just say grand theft auto hardly seems a pressing concern.

 

Instead, she finds herself on the run from the insanity and madness that is her family. For a while, her adopted mother had simply ignored her - which was honestly a step up from being constantly criticized and dealt backhanded compliments. As for Lex, he had made do with begging her to ‘see the truth’ and tried to protect her in his own way. Granted, it was slightly extreme with the constant bodyguard detail and micromanaging of her life from afar, but after promising to learn how to defend herself and hold her own in a fight by instructors of his choosing, he relented a bit and redirected most of his efforts back to Superman. And now, it seems, neither can be bothered by such civility and reason anymore.

 

Once upon a time, Lex was her saving grace and Lionel had been her inspiration. Where Lex was nurturing and supportive, Lionel gave her direction and purpose. Both had been a source of reprieve from the terror she faced at the hands of Lillian and childhood bullies. Through them, she persevered. Endured. While growing up a Luthor was painful and harsh, her brother and father made it easier.

 

But now? Now Lex is unhinged and rotting in prison, Lillian delusional and scheming to break Lex free, and Lionel is dead. Though Lionel had enough insight on his son and wife to leave his entire legacy to Lena, Lena has never felt more alone.

 

She slowly releases another shaky breath, ignoring the drops of tears that burn down her cheeks and allows herself to sink into the captain’s chair, bones creaking as she unfurls her limbs from their curled position and into a relaxed state. Lena knows that this will last only for a fleeting moment, but after the day she’s had, she craves it with exhausted desperation. Her eyes flutter shut… I just need to get to Gotham, and should be good. For now...sleep. Only for a fe-

 

CRASH.

 

The sudden impact tosses Lena to the floor, head pounding no thanks to banging her head on the console on the way down. Her left hand reaches for her head, her other for the edge of the main panel to push herself up. Groaning, she stands, the soreness from her earlier escape painfully evident.

 

“Dammit, what the hell was that?!”

 

Lena jumps like cat touching water, shrieking at the sound of the voice. “Who the fuck is there?” is her reply to the voice, reaching for the holstered blaster around her thigh. First it was getting chased by hitmen, then it was stealing her own damn ship, and now a crash and discovering that the ship isn’t as empty as it should… I swear to g-

 

Excuse you, I believe that’s my line! But right now, you can stop reaching for your blaster. I need you in the hangar bay; self-repair isn't exactly in my repertoire as of yet.” The voice echoes and a thought strikes Lena. Not another stowaway.

 

“An AI? I thought that all ships were only allowed VI’s in fear of -”

 

“Yes, yes, I’m pretty illegal and it’s apparent you’re some sort of genius grease monkey with terrible priorities, but I need you to focus. We have more important things to worry about. Hangar bay. Now. Preferably before we find ourselves spaced. Go.”

 

The voice snaps Lena out of her reverie. She turns to the door behind her and upon leaving the room, she reaches down and snags the tool belt she tossed on the floor when she first stole aboard to flee the planet.

 

As she hurries through the corridors and down several ladder chutes of the impressively-sized frigate, she asks the AI, “what exactly hit us?”

 

“Not sure,” is the AI’s response. Lena could almost see the dismissive shrug implied in the AI’s voice. That’s comforting… “The crash just so happened to take out the main power to the bay and my scanners. All I know is that there is a hull breach that needs to be and patched up and the fire control needs to be fixed so I can put out the fire. There should be a maintenance locker with oxygen masks and mag-tethers to the left of the door.”

 

Lena hops down one last set of rungs and follows the hall to the bay door. She opens the locker, slipping an oxygen mask on and the mag-tether pack onto her back. She turns the mask and the pack on, linking them to the holo-tool around her left forearm. She tethers herself to the wall at her right and steels herself as she opens the doors to the cargo bay.

 

The first thing she sees is smoke and fire leaning ever so slightly to the right. Immediately, Lena shimmies her way along the wall with cautious haste until she reaches the breach. By some miracle, the hole was surprisingly small - small enough that almost the entire area was covered up by - Dammit, is that part of a fighter ship’s wing?! Stars, I’m not sure if this is lucky or unlucky, Lena curses mentally, but she knows she doesn’t have much choice other than to use the fighter’s scraps piled here. She gets to work with the tools at her disposal. In hardly any time at all, she welds the wing to the hull for the time being and quickly covers the head-sized hole that the wing didn’t cover with other scrap from the trashed fighter, then re-establishes the AI’s connection to the bay. The fire control system starts up, dousing the fire in the bay while Lena finishes any other quick fixes she can for the time being. With a sigh of relief, she wipes her her brow. She continues to inspect her handiwork, in case she missed anything. When she’s satisfied, Lena sits down, leaning back on her arms and catches her breath.

 

“Hey, Luthor. I now have eyes back in the bay. Good work,” the AI states.

 

“Thanks, I guess? How do you know my name?”

 

“Oh. Right. I’ll answer that when you’re in the captain’s quarters, later. Leia, by the way.”

 

“I, uh...nice to meet you, Leia?” Lena asks more than she states.

 

“Could’ve fooled me…” The ship - Leia - grumbles. Lena rolls her eyes. “Anyways, hate to take you from your work, but we’re not alone.”

 

“What?”

 

“My scanners are sensing two signs of biological life: yours and another behind you amidst the trashed fighter. The thing that hit us wasn't a thing. It was a person and they’re still alive.”

 

Lena turns and sees the trashed fighter ship in a crumpled heap where the fire was. She choked down on a sob threatening to escape her throat in mourning of the scrapped pile of metal. A beautiful ship just...gone, she laments. Upon further inspection, she can make out the peculiar color of red that most certainly didn’t belong to the fighter and immediately hops back up to her feet. “How?! Stars, they should be dead, ” she ponders as she creeps up to the debris, “if not from the impact, then from being in space… Are they made of steel?”

 

“If you take her to the Med Bay up a floor and to the end of the corridor, I can run a full diagnostic on her. Elevator is to the left, just outside past the door.”

 

Lena uses the mag-tether to assist in moving the bigger chunks of scrap out of the way before she crouches down next to the person. She shuts off her mask, pulling it from her face, so that it dangles from her neck before shrugging off the mag-tether from her shoulders, a low clunk echoing the spacious walls of the bay when it hits the ground. Carefully, Lena pulls the cape back a little, a small gasp escaping her lips as she takes in the sight before her: a young woman around her own age with blonde hair tossed around her head and a scar marring what would otherwise be flawless skin - though Lena certainly argue that. “Not a single scratch on her,” she breathes in disbelief, before taking in the state of her apparel. “Well, except for that,” she amends.

 

Lena pulls the rest of the cloth back, trying to gently turning the woman over in the process. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, Lena cursing, “she’s fucking heavy,” under her breath as she succeeds. She goes to inspect the rest of the woman’s body for any signs of superficial injury, only to jerk and stumble backwards in fear. Lena gapes at the front of the woman’s garb - that damning crest upon her chest. A crest that matches the very one Superman sports on his own uniform.

 

“Shit.”

Chapter Text

Silence. Deafening silence.

 

For so long, that was all Kara knew. As she regains consciousness, flashes of her last moments before the silence replay in her mind.

 

Wind sharply whipping around her - cutting through almost. A hard punch to her gut. Hurling a man to the ground in the mountains. The breaking of his arm. A flash of green. Metallo. A desperate, last-ditch effort to kill her. Being slung into the Phantom Zone…

 

And it was with that thought that Kara wakes with a quiet start. The taste of copper fills her mouth as her vision corrects itself to the dim lighting.

 

Pain suffocates Kara as she sits up sluggishly. Everything... hurts, and she swears her heart replaced her brain with how much and how hard her head pounds.  She goes to bring her hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose, pausing when she sees the cast around her arm. Broken? But I’ve never... She looks down on herself to see if anything else was broken, anxiety curdling in the pit of her stomach when she sees her suit was replaced by a medical gown.

 

Rao, what happened to me? Kara thinks. She glances to her right and is met with sight of the monitors and an IV impossibly stuck in her arm. How…? What’s going on?

 

Kara attempts to x-ray her surroundings to get her bearings but doubles over with regret and a sharp cry of pain.

 

“Rao, where am I? What is wrong with me?” she groans. A thought clicks in her throbbing mind. “A solar flare?” Kal told her about them once. She immediately decides she hates them.

 

Preoccupied with her inner thoughts, Kara’s dulled senses fail to notice that someone was sitting soundly asleep right next to her. And now her shuffling is causing that someone to stir.

 

“You’re awake!” an exasperated voice gasps. Kara violently jerks at the sound of the voice suddenly next to her, doubling over again.

 

“Ow!”

 

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!” The woman stands, checking Kara over. Warmth rapidly spreads from the woman’s touch and Kara’s body seems to bask in it almost like a leech. “I’ll make sure to avoid startling you again, but you’ll also need to be careful. I don’t want you to pop your stitches open.”

 

“I - stitches?! Rao…” With a soft deep breath, Kara collects herself, trying to ignore the embarrassment of the woman lifting her gown in certain places. She is, however, thankful for the woman’s professionalism. When the pain in her body recedes back into a duller state, she carefully turns her neck to face her…her…

 

Well, she’s not sure what this person is to her. Yet.

 

“I suppose I should than...k...Rao…” She trails off as she makes direct eye contact. The sight of the woman before her stuns her into silence. Kara tries to recall seeing anyone with hair that black or a jawline that strong. Or eyes that green. She’s been exposed to her fair share of green Kryptonite and she’s only been stronger for it. But this woman’s eyes? Kara’s sure they could truly bring about her ruin.

 

Beautiful...that’s what she is.

 

The stranger’s pale face goes red. “Um...thanks? You too?”

 

Kara’s face mirrors the woman’s as she realizes that she said her comment aloud.

 

“Y-you saw the suit, didn’t you?” She asks to change the subject. The woman fixes her with a pained smile, which Kara takes as her answer. “Right…well, then I guess you know who I am?”

 

A nod. Then, “I hate to tell you this, but I had to dispose of your suit. It was barely holding together.”

 

Kara’s face falls with a sigh. “Crap. Well, I still thank you for patching me up…” She waits for the woman to supply a name.

 

“Oh, right.” Kara watches the expression of her savior darken a bit, her hands immediately withdraw and she twiddles her thumbs as she turns away. “Well. This is awkward, Supergirl. I’m…” She tilts her head back and takes a deep breath, as if to steele herself. For what and why? Kara couldn’t be certain, but she supposes that the woman finds whatever resolve she was looking for and looks back down to hold Kara’s gaze. “I’m Lena Luthor.”

 

In Kara’s mind, it was as if she tapped a sheet of glass with her finger and it shatters around her. She stares at Lena, trying to not give away any fear she suddenly has. “Well, Lena, thank you.” Lena visibly relaxes and Kara thinks she’s successful in hiding her fear.

 

This isn’t good. I can’t even move. Kara’s mind tries hard to think of a way out of her situation, but she knows she can’t do a thing until she regains her strength. So she does what she does best: she smiles.

 

“This is awkward, isn’t it?”

 

Lena gives her a small laugh and Kara pushes on. “I mean, a Luthor and a Super having a civil conversation? Golly, that's unheard of!” She winces internally at herself. Really, Kara? “Golly?” But Lena doesn’t give any mind to it.

 

“Thank you,” she says instead. “It’s nice to not be judged based on the actions of someone else. Especially when it's your own family.”

 

Guilt knots in Kara’s stomach because yeah. She knows how that goes. All too well. It took her years to finally escape Clark’s shadow, only to stumble in to the dark shadows left by her parents. And that only led to heartache and pain - not that she’d ever burden anyone with that kind of emotional baggage. Not even Alex knows how tormented she still is by such thoughts.

 

“Yeah,” she offers lamely.

 

“Anyways, I only wish we met under better circumstances.”

 

Kara doesn’t miss the way the light that was in Lena’s eyes just a moment ago vanish. Her eyebrows crinkle in confusion “What do you mean?”

 

“Well… I’m fairly certain I’m now a fugitive of Metropolis?” she phrases it like a question. Like she’s unsure, but she gives a hollow laugh all the same. “It’s been a really, really long day.”

 

Before Kara can ask her to elaborate, a voice echoes in the room.

 

“And that’s not the least of our problems, Luthor.”

 

Kara’s ears perk at the sound of another voice. “Is that an AI?” she asks giddily.

 

“Oh, for the the love of- Yes, I’m an AI! An illegal one that goes by the name of Leia, but we don’t have time for this right now! …I can tell you two are just going to be a treat to deal with,” the AI mumbles the last part. “I’m picking something up on my scanners, and neither of you are going to like this.”

 

“What now?” Lena groans.

 

“Pirates.”

Chapter Text

Ping. Ping. Ping.

 

With a start, the pilot wakes, rubbing the crust from his eyes before trying to focus on the beeping radar. When his vision clears, his eyes bulge open. He presses a button the dash and the ship’s loudspeaker crackles.

 

“Yo! Everybody! I got somethin’ ya wanna see!”

 

The pilot hears the disgruntled protests of his crewmates as he taps his knees waiting for them to stumble into the cockpit of the ship.

 

The other four members of his crew stagger in the cramped space, the captain yawning loudly to make a point that he was sleeping .

 

“What, mate?” he snaps. “It’s only been eight hours.”

 

“Look.” The pilot points to the radar, where a massive blip appears. The captain’s eyes widen, alert and awake. “I’ve never seen a ship like that. It’s just drifting and scanners indicate only two passengers on board. Human.”

 

The captain’s face cracks into a wicked grin. “It’s our lucky day, mates. Willis is gonna love this. Suit up. We have ourselves a ship to steal.”

 

Everyone save for the pilot returns to their bunks. The brutish, scaly pirate reaches under his bed, grabbing his messenger bag out from under it. The lanky man and woman grab their holsters and blasters, while the leader grabs his duster coat and hat before grabs his own holster and blaster.  Smirking to the crew ,“Let’s rock ‘n’ roll gents!”

 

The four of them approach the boarding airlock, the captain of the ship leaning backwards, holding onto the frame of the airlock entry way to keep him upright. “Get us in through the cargo bay,” he calls to the pilot.  “There’s gotta be plenty of goodies for Scales to look through while the rest of us get the ship ready.”

 

“You got it.”

 

The pilot brings their ship up to the underside of the massive frigate, creeping closer and closer. Reaching to his right, he brings down a handle switch. The ship creaks and moans, gears clanking as the boarding bridge extends out to the door of the frigate’s bay door. With a hard jostle, the ship latches on.

 

Air hisses from the otherside of the boarding airlock, the sound echoing throughout the pirate ship. The pilot feels a tingle scrape his spine.

 

“I thought I told one of you to grease up the damn coupler! You know I hate that sound!”

 

“Didn’t have any grease,” the captain shrugs. “We were gonna get some when we returned to Metropolis. Didn’t think we’d find another score.”

 

The pilot huffs in response. “You’re lucky there’s only two people on board. Just get on with it. The boss is already gonna be pissed that we’re late as is.”

 

The captain stands up on his own again. “Don’t worry about it, mate. She can’t hate us after she sees this.”

 

A wave of air comes through as the boarding doors open.

 

“Alright, you know what to do. Snips, you’re with me.” The woman nods. “We’ll take out the poor saps. “Kenny, figure out how to fly this boat. Scales, watch the cargo bay.”

 

The boarding party begin walking towards the door of the frigate’s cargo bay. The massive door opens, and the four of them board.

 


 

“Fucking hell,” Lena curses under her breath.

 

“They just boarded,” Leia informs. “It seems that they are splitting up. One’s trying to find the command deck. Two are searching for the two of you and the last one is lounging about the cargo bay. I believe he’s kind of the messenger, but I wouldn’t past him to scrounge around.”

 

Kara looks to Lena, watches as she processes the information. She can almost see her mind working - mostly because she winces in pain just thinking about using her x-ray vision. The pain seers in her mind as she tries anyways, and a small whimper falls out.

 

The pain is immediately soothed by a warmth she has not felt in a long time. Kara feels her skin trying to snuggle into the heat as if it were a blanket. It takes a moment for her to register the chastising words directed toward her. “Hey! Don’t try anything funny!” Oh. Lena. Right. And these are her hands on my face.

 

But Kara has a hard time focusing on the fact that a Luthor is touching her - so warm -  her eyes drooping as the heat tries to seduce her into relishing in the warmth of Lena’s hands. Her mind was convinced they were like the sun. Maybe it will be okay if I just -

 

Just as quickly as it came, the warmth vanished as Lena hastily removes her hands and the chill that follows slapping her back into reality.

 

“Sorry…just - I need you to stay here. You know you’re in no condition to help. You can barely even sit up.”

 

Kara scoffs, her embarrassment forgotten and replaced with disbelief. She didn’t care much for the chastising tone in Lena’s voice either.

 

“So what, we’re just supposed to wait here?!” Kara asks incredulously. “That’s a terrible idea!” She wants to cross her arms, but doesn’t. Not worth the pain. That, and she can’t really move her broken arm. She settles for grimacing at Lena. If she growls at her too, well… Lena didn’t hear it and Kara will keep that little secret with her.

 

Lena, for her part, ignores Kara and her little tantrum completely. Instead, she steps away and turns her back to Kara, who watches uselessly as Lena reaches for the funny-looking belt off the back of the chair she was sitting on earlier and couples it in place around her hips with a snap. “No, she says, then walks to the cabinets on the wall behind and to the left of Kara. Her eyes wander for a bit, and when she finds what she’s looking for, she reaches inside. Kara makes note of the vials she grabs before stuffing them into a pouch on her belt, suspicion nagging her thoughts.

 

“I’m going to take care of it. I’d say stay put, but I think I’m covered,” Lena sasses, directing a cocky smile to Kara. “You don’t have a choice.”

 

She turns around again and approaches the wall. Kara scrunches her eyebrows in confusion as Lena places a hand on the wall. Suddenly a section of it moves, revealing a hidden hallway. What the heck?! Lena steps foot into the hidden path, but before disappearing from view completely, she faces Kara again with a pained expression.

 

“I know what you think of me Supergirl. I can see the distrust in your eyes -” Kara begins to protest but Lena keeps going, “- and…I get that. Given our messy, pathetic family history with one another, I get it. I’m not okay with you not having any faith in me. Honestly? It hurts my feelings. A lot. But I’m used to it. I give you credit, though. You’re the first person to at least look guilty for persecuting me so quickly. I just ask that you give me a chance to show you that I’m not my family.”

 

With those words, Lena leaves Kara behind.

 


 

A Lena releases a defeated, quivering sigh but with a deep breath, she redirects her focus away from Supergirl to saving both of their lives. No use trying to dwell on any of that right now.

 

From from her belt, she opens one a pouch and grabs a visor-like device. She puts them on and a heads-up display projects itself into Lena’s vision. It’s a neat little device that has served her well for a few years - mostly for business purposes - but she never anticipated just how handy it would become, much less trying to use them to save herself and another person - Supergirl , no less - from a band of pirates.

 

Keeping her voice low as she navigates her way through the secret pathways, she speaks. “Leia, I know you can hear me. I need you to try and connect with my visor. I’m sending you an undetectable signal. Link to it and respond through that channel.”

 

“Ah,” a voice gently resonates in her ears. “Clever, Luthor. Very clever. Communications via neurotransmitters. What a fascinating little thing you have.”

 

“Indeed,” Lena replies wordlessly, as she climbs up a ladder. “From now on, you have free access to this connection whenever you like.”

 

“That’s a lot of trust to put in me, you know,” Leia says.

 

“Yes, but I’ll return the favor for your assistance.”

 

A laugh echoes in Lena’s mind. “Don’t worry about it. I’d prefer your company to the greasy pirates on board. Speaking of, the one headed for the command centre is on a direct course there. The two looking for you and Kara are taking their time searching every room they come across. The last one is currently just sitting around like an oaf. I suggest doubling your pace to stop the one from messing with my controls.”

 

“Already ahead of you. Keep me updated on the other three, please.”

 

“So well mannered,” Leia teases. “Such a far cry from the rest of your family. You got it, Luthor.”

 

From there, Lena continues forward and upwards through the ship. She smiles to herself at the familiarity the narrow corridors bring to her, brief flashes of when she was a child helping big brother Lex make the ship.

 


 

“Lena! I’m home!”

 

Moments later, a smaller Lena comes sprinting into a much younger Lex Luthor, leaping at the last moment for Lex to catch. He does, and he spins them around on a pivot foot, Lena squealing as the skirt of her dress fans out. Lex sets her down and gives her a warm hug.

 

“Lex! You’re back! I missed you so much!” Lena’s chubbier hands clutch the back of Lex’s jacket tightly. A quick glance up and she giggles. “You’re hair fell out!” She teases.

 

“Hey now!” Lex chuckles at Lena, letting her go to look at her. Lena’s eyes look at him expectantly. She knows he came for a reason, but Lex feigns innocence. When she starts pouting, he caves. “Okay, okay. Enough with that puppy dog face. You know it’s my kryptonite.” Lena smirks in victory and gets a boop on the nose for it.

 

“Hey!” she grouches. Lex ignores her.

 

“I have a project I’m working on right now. I came to get you because I need your help.”

 

A massive smile stretched across Lena’s face but was replaced with a worried frown.

 

Lex frowns too. “What’s wrong, Goober?” Lena blanches at her nickname.

 

Lena looks away. “Lillian… I’m supposed to go to my music lesson soon.”

 

Lex balks at that. “Bah! I’ll give you your lesson later. You let me deal with mother, hmm?”

 

Lena stares into her brother’s eyes, probing for a sign of a bluff. All she sees is an adamant eagerness and her smile returns.

 

“Ah! That’s my girl. Why don’t you go wait in the car outside and I’ll go take care of mother, eh? I have some more comfortable clothes for you the back. Wouldn’t want that stuffy dress to get messed up now would we?”

 

Lena’s smile is so big it looks like it pains Lex. Spare clothes means she gets to tinker and get dirty, something she never gets to do anymore since being adopted by the Luthors - or rather, since living with Lillian.

 

She sprints as quietly as she can until she’s out the door of the manor so as to not to arouse Lillian’s attention. Once she’s out the door, she leaps over the steps and almost runs into the car. She stutters to a stop just in time and crawls into the car. The driver already has the blacked out divide up, and Lena changes into the loose T-shirt and coveralls Lex provided for her. When she’s done, she neatly folds her dress and sets it in the car’s cabinet drawer under the liquor.

 

On top of the cabinet, Lena notices that Lex’s nasty scotch isn’t there. Instead, it’s one of his favorite chess boards with magnetic pieces. She picks up the board and places it on her lap. Lena studies the pieces and the frozen timer on the edge of the board with the disposed pieces. Her brother has been stuck on the same move for ten minutes, far unlike him.

 

She goes back to observing the pieces, her mind playing out all of the possible moves. A few moments later, she lifts a hand, starts the timer, and begins to play against herself. Minutes later, she’s announced checkmate against white in fourteen moves.

 

She startles at the sound of Lex entering the car, looking guilty as she ruined his game. Lex just chuckles at her. “Couldn’t resist, could you, Goober?” he teases again and Lena blushes. Lex scoots closer as the car sets off and examines the board. Lena looks to him, curious for his assessment. “Hmm… Checkmate against black in twenty-moves,” he declares with certainty.

 

A shit-eating grin threatens to plaster itself on Lena’s face, but she manages to just contain it.

 

“Checkmate against white in fourteen,” she says emotionlessly.

 

Lex scoffs. “Lies. You’re good, but not that good.”

 

Lena’s eyes narrow at the challenge. “I’ll prove it! White’s turn.”

 

Lex begins to move for white against his sister. Fourteen moves later and Lena’s giggling at her brother’s look of disbelief, revelling in her hundredth victory against in a row. Well, it’s her one hundred, seventy-sixth victory in a row over her. Not that either of them were counting (they were).

 

“You…” He boops Lena’s nose again and she full-on cackles at her brother. “ …are incredible.” Lena settles at the compliment, suddenly shy. “Which is why I need your help with this project. We’re headed to Luthor Corp.”

 

An hour later, they pull up to Lex’s private R&D warehouse at the beginning of the lot. They exit the car and walk up to the entrance before Lex halts in place.

 

“Okay, close your eyes. I’ve got a surprise for you.”

 

Lena does so and Lex guides her through a few turns until he stops. “Okay, open them!” he urges.

 

She gasps at the massive ship being built. “You need my help with this ?!”

 

“Yeah. Follow me.” Lex leads her to a nearby table where a set of blueprints lay on top. He points to the blueprint in the middle. “This is what I have so far for floor layouts, but I think it’s missing something. What do you think?”

 

Lena’s eyes wander around the blueprint Lex pointed to, then looks at the ones surrounding it, then the ones underneath, her face hardening in concentration. A couple of nearby engineers pause what they were doing and look at the scene of a little ten-year-old girl advising Lex Luthor. The Lex Luthor. They all slowly creep up to the table they were at.

 

“Lex, your plans suck! It’s so boring!” She pouts at her brother. The engineers stare wide-eyed at her, then to Lex.

 

He feigns offense, which causes Lena to giggle again. “Exactly!” What can you do to make it better?”

 

Lena glances at the blueprints again until an idea hits her. “Aha! Secret tunnels! For hide and seek! And a robot to help everyone!” She beams at Lex, who returns her smile with a prideful one of his own.

 

“You know what? Those are fantastic ideas, Lena. We’ll do it!” He gives her a peck on the top of her head and gives her another hug. How about we draw up some new plans and you can draw where we put these tunnels of yours. Sound good?”

 

He reaches a hand out to her, and she takes it.

 


 

With a heave, Lena lifts herself up onto the next level, pausing to catch her breath and quiet herself. The HUD of her visor switches to x-ray mode with a thought and she uses it to peer down through the walls and spots the pirate creeping his way closer to the command centre.

 

“Just in time,” Leia remarks. “Nicely done, Luthor.”

 

Lena carefully crouches down and approaches the vent cap, loosening it and sliding it to the side and crawls inside. She continues forward another couple of metres until she reaches the first grate. She quickly slides it open. She takes off her boots and belt and gently sets them slightly past the vent opening and waits for her opportunity to strike.

 

Below, the pirate swaggers his way up the last small ramp and into the large command centre. He gives a once over of the space, taking in the number of consoles and seats, and groans. “Man, I thought this was gonna be simple. Who the hell made this ship?”

 

He walks up to the middle console, trying to figure out what console does what function.

 

Meanwhile, Lena lowers herself down the vent until she’s hanging just a few feet above the floor. She lets go, landing on her feet without a sound. The pirate starts to press a combination of inputs to try and figure out how to get the ship going as Lena creeps up behind him, raising her arms to attack. In one swift motion, she leaps on to the lanky man, legs locking around him like a koala, one arm coiling around his throat in a choker hold and the other clamping his mouth shut and plugging his nose.

 

The pirate struggles, wiggles, trying to break free,but Lena shifts their momentum around before giving a yank backwards down the ramp, twisting them around and the man slams into the ground first. Hard. With Lena’s added weight on top of him, the impact knocks him out cold.

 

“Holy shit, Luthor! That was fucking awesome!” Leia almost hollers in her ear. Lena blushes at the… almost cat-call like tone in Leia’s voice. “Don’t get shy on me now - own that shit!”

 

She ignores Leia and gets off of the pirate, and quickly hops up to the vent and grabs her boots and belt, then returns to the unconscious man on the floor. She recouples the belt around her waist and grabs one of the vials she took from the med bay’s cabinet earlier. She crouches back down and takes off the cap of the vial, sticking the needle into his neck.

 

“Smart of you to take the sedatives from the med bay,” Leia says. “I can tell I’m never going to have a dull day ever again - your life is a never-ending party.”

 

Lena rolls her eyes. “Oh, I’m so glad that you find my being in danger a thrill ride.”

 

“Don’t be so dramatic. You’re tough. I have every confidence that you’ll get us out of here.”

 

Again, Lena doesn’t respond to Leia’s remarks but she does feel significantly better about their predicament. She looks at the man and gives his arm a tug, testing his weight. Hmm, very light. She wraps the arm around her shoulder and heaves him up and maneuvers him around her back so he was piggybacking her. She carries him to the elevator and sets him down in the corner for the time being then jumps back into the vent, replacing the cover and the grate as she re-traces her steps backwards.

 

“Where are the two searching for Supergirl and I?”

 

“Mm, they’re closing in on Supergirl. Better hurry.”

 

“Right.”

 


 

Kara can only gawk at the hidden entrance after Lena left her behind with nothing except a tumultuous storm of conflicting thoughts and emotions because yeah. Lena was absolutely right. She didn’t trust her. And a big part of that was because of their family history. Lena’s earlier words about not being condemned for the actions of others came back to mind again.

 

She was being a hypocrite and she knows it. With her good hand, she rubs her face and takes a breath. She doesn’t necessarily need to trust Lena - they just met. But what she can do is give her the benefit of the doubt. So Kara Kara swallows any fears she may have of Lena and any thoughts of her situations being some elaborate trap. That’s all she can do.

 

Carefully, she settles back down on her bed and closes her eyes and calms herself into a meditative state and attempts to will her body to heal faster.

 

She’s not sure how much time passes, but enough of it must have gone by because she dozes off, only to be woken my Leia’s voice trying to get her attention. She was trying to be quiet, but to Kara, she may as well have been screaming.

 

“Hey, Supes.”

 

“Shhhh!” Kara groans in pain at the volume of her voice. “What are you talking about? I’m whispering!”

 

That gets Kara’s attention. My hearing! She concentrates on dampening her hearing.

 

“Anyway,” Leia continues, her voice mercifully at the appropriate level for Kara to listen to. “I need you to stay calm. Luthor is on her way back and closing in fast. But two pirates are making their way toward you now. Pretend that you’re sleeping. I’ll take care of your chart readings.” At that, Kara registers that her heart rate has increased with apprehension and it suddenly disappears with Leia’s interference.

 

She does as Leia instructs and resumes her sleeping appearance, only alert and awake this time, and simply waits out her time.

 

She offers a silent prayer to Rao to watch over her and protect her, and focuses on keeping her breathing even and just listens. She hears a pair footsteps right at the door right before it opens and the two people enter.

 

“Naw, shit man - This ain’t right,”  gravelly voice murmurs. “Two people aboard and one a-them is in a hospital bed. She looks like shit.”

 

“Makes our job easier,” the other person says, her voice grating on Kara’s ears. “C’mon. Let’s get this over wi -”

 

A loud crack cuts her off, followed by a muffled plop.

 

Slowly, Kara opens her eyes and sees Lena standing over her two would-be killers. She sits up and sighs with relief, only to panic when Lena takes two of the vials she grabbed earlier from her belt and crouch down to the pirates.

 

“What are you doing?” she asks with accusation.

 

She doesn’t miss the pained expression on Lena’s face before she can hide it. “I’m giving them a sedative  Makes returning them to their ship alive much easier. Didn’t you see me grab them before I left?”

 

Kara saw that she grabbed something , but definitely thought the contents they held were more of the fatal variety. Her silence is Lena’s answer. “Right. Well,” she sighs, as she sedates both of the pirates. She stands. “It’s three down, one to go before we double-time it to Gotham. And once I’m done tossing these assholes back to their ship with an EMP, we are going to have a little talk. Until then, I urge you to think about the fact that I have saved your life. Not once, but twice . I didn’t have to, and as a Luthor, it certainly would be expected of me to just drop you like a penny without a thought. Sure it would be after an egotistical monologue, but you’d be dead all the same. But if you still don’t want to put any faith in me, that’s your choice. If this how you treat people after you left, that’s on you. I’m just disappointed. You’ve been my role model since you first came out, but I guess this is what they mean by ‘don’t meet your heroes.’ I’ve done all that I’ve can to get you to see me. The rest… the rest is up is up to you.”

 

Lena approaches the chair she was using earlier and grabs the backpack leaned against it. She turns it on and shrugs it onto her shoulders while she returns to the unconscious bodies. She uses the tethers to latch onto them and they begin to lift off of the ground.

 

During all of this, Kara frowns. From the words, what she hears, and then it all sinks in. “Wait,” she croaks out. “I ‘left’? What do you mean I ‘left’? How long have I been gone?” she panics, because throughout the last hour of being awake, she completely forgot where she even started: the Phantom Zone. Suddenly, Lena isn’t important at all as a seed of dread plants itself in Kara’s mind.

 

Lena’s voice loses its edge when she looks at Kara’s face.

 

“Don’t you know?” she starts delicately. “You… you’ve been gone for five years.”

 

With that, the seed blossoms into despair and Kara’s world implodes.

 

A light bulb clearly flickers on in Lena’s mind as Kara’s faces warps into horror and grief  “Y-you didn’t know… I-I...Supergirl, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize -”

 

“Luthor, you’ll have to wait on that. You two can talk later about this. I think the last guy is getting antsy. He’s starting to look through stuff in the cargo bay.”

 

Glad for the interruption, Lena offers a sympathetic glance at Kara before taking the two pirates out the room and to the elevator, leaving Kara alone again.

 


 

Scales wanders around the cargo bay for - what seems to be - forever , taking in the vast area. About two dozen unused fighters, several tarped-over crates, and a bunch of other unidentifiable crap he could never name only fill up half the space; the area feeling much like a militaristic base. By the looks of things, Scales gets the feeling that this place was built to be a fortress of some kind.

 

“Sweet Stars this place is a tank,” he mutters in awe. If he wasn’t so scared of the boss, he’d take this place for himself and become a hermit.

 

At some point, he finds a patched up spot in the wall and recognizing that the patch belongs to a fighter wing. From the fixed breach, he sees the wake from whatever came crashing into the ship and follows the trail and stops at the pile of wreckage.

 

Shit… whatever crashed here demolished that fighter, Scales thinks. He gets in close to the center of the pile and begins sifting through the scrap, figuring that it’d give him something to do other than sit around waiting.

 

He pushes away what he can, looking for anything of interest and almost gives up when a jolt of electricity rips right through his arm painfully as he picks up a chunk of - what he thought was - rubble.

 

The pain causes him to drop whatever he had in his hands. “Sonuva - fuck !” He looks down to see where he dropped the damning object while trying to shake out the tingling sensation of his arm to no avail When he does spot the thing - a gem sort of rock - he sees it crackling with energy.

 

“Huh. The boss might like this,” he muses aloud, and reaches into his messenger bag to grab a thick rag he usually saves to moisten his skin. He tosses the rag over the gem and carefully picks it up and wraps it around several times, haphazardly tying the two loose corners together before storing it in his bag. After that, he goes to wander around, hoping to find more nice things.

 

The minutes droll on and Scales yawns with boredom, giving up on his search.. “Sweet stars what’s taking them so long?” He finds a nice crate under a warm light and hops on it to take a little nap. Before he can close is eyes, however, he notices a light in the distance - the elevator. He slipped off the crate, stretching his arms high over his head to get the creaks out and makes his way to the elevator.

 

“What took you guys so long?” he calls out. “I mean, I know the ship is huge, but come on. There were only two people in here!”

 

His question goes unanswered.

 

“Heh, guys?”

 

Still nothing. Scales slows his pace.

 

“Okay assholes, not funny!”

 

He passes by one more pallet of crates, cautiously rounding the corner to peer inside the elevator.

 

Panic sets in quickly as he takes in the sight of his comrades. “What the he-” He reaches for his talkie but freezes the instant an arm coils around his in a half-nelson and a pointed object pokes at his neck.

 

“Don’t move,” the woman instructs. Her voice is low but threatening. “Pressed against your neck is cyanide. I used it on your friends over there. Last I checked, your species melts from the inside when given cyanide, so you have one of two options: you can leave here alive, or you can die. Personally? I”ve had a shit day and at this point, I’m just begging for an excuse to kill someone.” Scales feels her shrug, her grip tightening on him. “But, with three dead already, well… I thought it might be a good idea to at least let someone live. Balance my karmic scale, you know?”

 

Scales weighs his options. He could try to fight back, but that needle is just a breath away from piercing his skin. Even the tiniest little amount will kill him. And he was terrified to die. So option B it is: bluff his way out.

 

“You’re full of shit lady,” he wheezes.

 

Her head turns, lips grazing his ear hole. “You think so?” she chuckles, her icy tone causing him to wet himself a little. “That’s rather bold of you to insult me just so. We Luthors are known for calling bluffs, not making them. I guess mother and brother dearest will be very disappointed that I’m not quite ready to graduate from intimidation and on to torture.” Her tone is mocking at the end, and fear sets in as realization dawns on Scales, his pants soaking in his own piss.

 

“Oh dear. Have some dignity, will you?” she scoffs.

 

“S-shit… I’m so sorry, ma’am! We didn’t know this was a Luthor vessel, honest! I’ll leave! You never saw me!”

 

Scales is sobbing by the end of his rambling. He fucked with a Luthor. He fucked with a Luthor and now he’s going to die because no one fucks with a Luthor.

 

“Oh alright. I guess I’ll spare you. You’re just pathetic at this point.”

 

“Thank you! Thank you tha- no!”

 

The needle sticks into his neck anyway and soon the lights go dark.


It takes about ten more minutes for Lena to finish up with the pirates, shoving them back into the airlock of their own ship and manually detaching it from Leia.

 

“Alright, Leia, get us moving. That EMP I left with them has about 20 seconds and we need to go now. Can you do that?”

 

“Already gone.”


The pilot reclines further back in his chair, feet propped up on his console as he munches on some stale, week-old sandwich.

 

He feels a sudden lurch that nearly knocks him out of his chair.

 

“Aw, c’mon guys, I told you to let me do that! Y’all scare the hell out of me when you unboard!” He looks down and sees he dropped his sandwich. “And you made me drop my sandwich!”

 

Instead of usual ruckus of a successful takeover, he hears nothing.

 

“Guys?” He turns and looks back, hanging off the edge of his seat, but no one is hopping around.

 

Another lurch of the ship and he his face finds the floor.

 

“OW! What the -” The pilot snaps his head up and looks out the window, watching the score getting further and further away in the wrong direction. His confusion grows, then he squeals as his ship goes completely dark.

 

Frantically, he feels for his chair, gets in it, and searches for the emergency generator button, slamming his fist on it when he finds it. A few seconds later, the lights flicker back on.

 

“Shit!” He shouts He gets up and half sprints to the airlock and sees his team in a heap of tangled limbs.

 

“Oh gods…” he whispers and goes to check on his crew, releasing a shaky sigh of relief when he realizes that they’re all just unconscious.

 

He hears the ship sluggishly rebooting as the power outage ends. “An EMP? Boss is gonna kill us.”

 

The pilot drags his crew further into the ship and into their bunks, returning to the cockpit after giving up lifting Scales up into his bed. The sooner they get back to the boss, the better. They were 2 days late as it is and there is going to be hell to pay.

 


 

Lena all but crawls her way back to the med bay, her feet dragging across the floor, each step heavier and heavier as she goes. With one hand, she takes off her visor and puts it back in her belt, rubbing at her eyes with her free hand.

 

She doesn’t pay any mind to where she’s going, her feet staggering with each step, but managing to carry on anyway. Lena doesn’t can’t even recall just how she got to the med bay, but she was suddenly there, standing outside the doors. She opens them, and tiredly notices Kara sitting up with her face looking up at the ceiling.

 

“You’re back,” she says. No emotions.

 

“Yes. I took care of it,” Lena replies, walking over to the counter and sink to Kara’s right. She opens a cabinet door above the counter, grabs a glass, and fills it all the way with water. She drinks it all, then refills it half way before speaking again. “We should be safe for now. They can’t follow us, so we’re clear.”

 

Kara slowly tilts her head back down, wearily looking at Lena, who chugs the glass of water down. “And by ‘can’t follow’ you mean…”

 

Lena slams the glass down on the counter with a frustrated sigh, fixing Kara with a hard, exhausted glare. “I mean that when I tossed them back onto their ship, I left them with an EMP and had Leia get the hell out the blast radius before it went off,” she snaps.

 

Kara realizes her mistake and tries to back track. “I-I didn’t mean -”

 

Lena ignores her and approaches her. She looks at Kara’s monitor and other than the small spike in heart rate - caused by Kara’s current distress - it all checks out. Kara is going to be fine. At least for now.

 

“Look. I meant what I said earlier: we’re going to talk about you and your trust issues. But right now? I’m tired as fuck . I haven’t slept in the last 36 hours; was forced to flee - not only my home but my fucking planet - after my psychotic mother and brother issued a hit on me; had to steal this unfinished vessel because it was the only one that wasn’t locked down to even make it off-planet; I had to use the wing of a fighter to patch a hole in the ship that you caused when you crashed into her and destroyed said fighter; and half-dragged you up her to clean you up and patch you up as best I can with limited supplies. I ran up and down this ship twice to save us from pirates - which, again, I left alive - and after all that? I still got shit from the one person I thought might understand me at least a little bit.

 

“Right now, all you need to know is that we are currently headed to Gotham. If you wanna leave the moment you’re able, then fine. I won’t stop you. You’re not my prisoner and never will be. But right now, you can’t even walk, so I’m all you got.

 

Lena heads to the door before the counter and opens it. “I’m going to be right in here to get some fucking sleep. If you need anything - food, water, me to help you with whatever - both of the bed rails have all the call buttons. Leia can give you any meals or liquids you require, and there is a robot to help you use the bathroom should you need to relieve yourself.

 

“If you don’t have any questions, then I’m going to bed.”

 

Lena takes a step into the adjoining room but before she enters the room completely, Kara speaks up.

 

“I’m Kara.” Lena pauses at the sound of Kara’s voice. “My name is Kara Zor-El.”

 

Kara watches Lena’s shoulders drop and the corner of her mouth twitch upward for a moment before relief settles her hardened expression.

 

Still facing into the room, Lena replies. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Kara Zor-El.”

 

The door shuts behind her and Lena kicks off her boots, unbuckles her belt, and shrugs off the mag-tether pack before collapsing onto the bed, sleep embracing her soon after.

 


 

The door closes behind Lena, leaving Kara alone with her thoughts again.

 

I told her my name.

 

But fear of Lena having that knowledge doesn’t fill Kara. Instead, she feels peace. Instantly, she knows that was, without a doubt, the right thing to do. She knows she can trust Lena.

 

Earlier, she listened to Lena’s heartbeat while she yelled at Kara. She heard the pain - Lena’s pain. Her heart bled and that wasn’t all. In fact, Kara almost mistook Lena’s heartbeat for her own. It screamed the same convictions and beliefs as Kara’s and it was that very thing that made up Kara’s mind: she will trust Lena.

 

Now, she knows that she’ll have to work on not falling onto her old prejudices and her word choices - if her questioning Lena just moments before was any indication of that. But darn it, she will do it! Because Lena deserves it. And she needs a friend.

 

It’s as Lena said: it sucks being judged for the actions of others. Even more so when it’s family. The fire burning behind those exhausted eyes with a resolve as strong as she was… How dare she try to condemn someone who strives to be that good?

 

And then Kara’s stomach growls.

 

She snaps out of her reverie, blushing but grateful that no one witnessed that. Well, save for maybe Leia.

 

With her good arm, she reaches for the buttons on the same side and taps the food and water buttons. Leia’s voice comes through. “You’re up late,” she muses.

 

“Yeah, well… I’ve been sleeping for the last five years so…” she feels empty feeling from earlier trying to return. Until Lena came back, all she could think about was her friends. Family. Alex . Her stomach graciously saved her from that pit of despair this time, but she makes note to ask Lena about trying to find her. “And it’s been a little longer than that since I’ve eaten, so I’m kinda starving right now?”

 

“And what can I whip up for you?”

 

“Can you do potstickers? Oh! Pizza! And doughnuts! And water. Just...Keep it comin’.”

 

“Any particular recipes you want? I seem to be equipped with just about every recipe known on Metropolis and beyond.”

 

“Wait, really?”

 

“Yep, so what’ll it be?”

 

Kara recites all of her favorite orders from all of her favorite restaurants, relieved to hear that all of them are still in business from Leia, and beyond thankful for Leia for serving them to her with a large pitcher of water.

 

With some effort, Kara eats. And eats and eats and eats, Leia serving her another plate whenever she asks.

 

“Goddamn you Kryptonians are voracious eaters.” Kara has enough sense to turn bashful at that, cheeks stuffed with half a crab rangoon and a potsticker. “Don’t stop on my account, I just find it fascinating.”

 

Kara swallows before responding pointedly. “Well I find you fascinating. How were you created? How long have you been alive? How fast is your processing speed?”

 

“Sorry, sorry. I lack a lot of social skills. I’ve been isolated from social environments for… a long time. Lena woke me up.”

 

“It’s fine, just.. I don’t like being treated like a thing. Lot of bad memories and it’s not pleasant.”

 

“I get it. I’ll avoid it in the future,” Leia affirms.

 

“Thank you.” Kara resumes eating, albeit at a slower pace.

 

“So is that why you’ve been treating me like a person?” Leia starts. “Though all of my previous interactions with people - human or otherwise - have been limited, most have treated me with… a grade of fear, save for Lena, Lex, and yourself. I know why Lena does, but why are you unafraid?”

 

Kara frowns at the sentiment. She eats the last slice of pizza to think about her words. She washes the pizza down with some water, then gives Leia her answer. “Because you are a person? On Krypton, we had synthetic intelligence. Most of that population was virtual intelligence but a very small handful was sentient. They were what helped sustain Krypton and the Kryptonians. It helped create new generations and sustained our culture.”

 

“Interesting,” is all Leia says.

 

“What about Lena? You said you know why she treats you like a person.”

 

“I did. And that’s a story for another time. You’ll have to ask Lena about that. I don’t think that’s a story for me to tell.”

 

Kara shakes her head in understanding.

 

“Okay.” And she leaves it at that.

 

Kara finally finishes eating an hour later and Leia teleports the plates to the kitchen. With the aid of the med-bay’s robotic nursing system, Kara is taken to the bathroom to relieve herself. The bots return her to the bed, gently placing her down and covers her back up. Kara looks to the holo-screen across the room.

 

“Hey Leia?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Can I use the holo-screen?”

 

“The screen blinks to life as Kara’s answer.

 

“Can you maybe fill me in on the last five years?”

 

“You got it, kid.”

 

And for the next several hours, Kara catches up on life on Metropolis - how the world mourned her disappearance, how Superman has become a lot less tolerant of criminals and taking some pages from Batman’s book and assuring that a lot these criminals never commit a crime again (some with bodies broken beyond repair), Lex Luthor’s arrest, Lena’s take over of Luthor Corp and her exploits in trying to fix the damage her family has caused - which lead to her renaming the company L-Corp. Kara reads and reads and reads until her eyes can no longer handle the strain and falls asleep while watching cute puppy videos.

 

Five minutes after she passes out, Leia turns off the screen, focusing most of her attention, once more, to getting to Gotham, enjoying the quiet for the first time in a very long time.

 


 

Lena wakes up, eyes spreading apart lazily. The first thing she sees is the soft glow of Kara’s sleeping form. She sits up, stretching. Her body creaks and moans with a soreness she hasn’t known since her college days building ships. She cracks her fingers and her neck, sighing at the relief it brings her. She looks for the clock, surprised to see that she’s been out for sixteen hours.

 

She’s never felt more refreshed - filth notwithstanding. She can’t even recall the last time she ever slept for more than three hours at a time since taking over as CEO of L-Corp. Before she goes to wake Kara, she goes into the private bathroom of the doctor’s quarters, firstly to relieve herself.

 

Afterwards, she undresses, dropping the clothes into the cleaning bin. She approaches the shower, inputs her preferred settings and steps into the fall of water. Lena takes her time, allowing the water to wash away all the grime and bodily aches that exist from the day before. She washes her hair, then sits on the seat rest, letting the water run over her.

 

Lena focuses on the sound of the shower, eyes closed as her mind clears and the sound of the water becoming a static cadence. She remains there, gifting herself a few more minutes of time alone while she can.

 

Those minutes are long as they pass, when a thought finally breeches into her mind. Supergirl gave her name. Kara gave her name.

 

An uninhibited smile graces Lena’s face at the thought and with it, she stands and shuts off the water, reaching for a towel folded right next to the cleaning bin. She dries herself off, twisting her hair into the towel and wraps it on her head. She opens the bin she dropped her clothes in and pulls them out, only now they’re clean and free of smoke, grease and sweat. She dresses, then lets her hair back down.

 

Lena looks into the mirror above the bathroom’s sink, pulling a brush from one of the sink’s drawers. She brushes her hair out before pulling it all back into a sleek ponytail. Satisfied with her appearance, she exists the bathroom, slips her boots back on and returns to the med bay.

 

She reclaims her chair and scoots closer to Kara. Softly, she lays a hand on the good shoulder. “Hey,” she says quietly.

 

Kara stirs awake, rolling her neck to face a very clean Lena with a smile on her face.

 

“Hi.”

 

Lena smiles back.

 

“Sleep well?”

 

“Yeah. Ate and cleaned up, too. With Leia’s help.”

 

Lena nods and an awkward silence follows. Kara seizes her moment.

 

“I, um,” she stumbles, but presses on. “I want to apologize for yesterday. You were absolutely right in calling me out on my crap. You didn’t deserve my prejudice. So -” she looks right into Lena’s eyes, “- I’m sorry.”

 

Lena’s face splits into a wide grin. And Kara internally berates herself for ever keeping Lena from smiling. No one should ever be deprived of happiness that pure. “Thank you. Apology accepted. May I ask… What changed your mind so quickly?”

 

Kara resists blushing and turns away. “Well, the first time you called me out, it stuck with me. I felt like a hypocrite and I was. I wanted to correct that. But what really flipped the switch? When you saved me again while I was a sitting duck. My hearing returned right before that.” She takes a quick breath and continues.

 

“I promised to be honest with you from that point on, so… I, uh, listened to your heartbeat when you yelled at me again.” She chances a peek at Lena out of her peripheral vision, but cannot get a read on her expression. “I almost thought I was listening to my own heartbeat for a second. Our hearts beat the same way, Lena, and while it may take me a little bit to not fall back on bad thoughts, I promise I’m going to earn your trust like you have mine. Right now, I don’t deserve it, but I’m hoping that we could maybe be friends?”

 

Lena remains quiet, waiting. Like she was actually deliberating on whether or not Kara was even worth the effort of being friends with. Which, ridiculous! I’m an excellent friend! I’m the most reliable person ever! Just ask Cat Grant! I was her best assistant ever. I’m great at parties, fantastic with kids, Lena is laughing, I’m loyal to a fau- wait, Lena is laughing ?!

 

Lena’s almost doubled over, laughing heartily at Kara’s expense and her comically panicked face and Kara ends up joining her. When they calm down, Kara speaks first.

 

“Yeah. Yeah I deserved that,” she chuckles.

 

“Yeah, you kind of did,” Lena agrees without missing a beat.

 

“Hey! Don’t be cheeky!”

 

“Please. This is what you get to look forward to in our friendship. I’m all cheek,” she declares with ridiculous bravado, and the declaration has them both giggling again. This time when they settle, Lena extends a hand. Kara takes it with her good arm. “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to meet you, Kara Zor-El. I look forward to our friendship.”

 

“Likewise, Lena Luthor. So, we’re headed to Gotham?”

 


 

Two days later on a station hidden in the asteroid belt in the outer rim of the SHK-38 solar system.

 

Scales looks around nervously - anywhere but the door the boss is going to enter from. The room has a dainty glow to it - walls that were once a sterile white now a blackened brown, stacked with contraband against them.

 

He reaches into his bag clutching onto the crystal-like object he managed to nab before he was suckered for a fool and knocked out by the woman claiming to be a Luthor.

 

The door to the left hisses open and a woman with blonde hair steps through, followed by an ape-like creature. He tries not to flinch with every step she takes, shivering in place instead.

 

“So,” she begins, standing before the cowering crew. “Stan here -” she motions behind her to her bodyguard (Stan’s not his real name, but the big guy likes it all the same) “- tells me that you were supposed to report in four days ago. Yet you thought it was appropriate to wait until now to get here?”

 

The boss steps up to the captain and punches him in the gut. He doubles over, wheezing. “I needed these parts four days ago! And not only are you late, you dumbasses only gave me fried parts. Pray tell, what the fuck am I supposed to do with fried fucking parts?! That’s four days I can’t operate because you asshats can’t even do a simple fucking task!”

 

She reaches for her holstered blaster before Scales suddenly has the nerve to speak up.

 

“I-I found something for you!”

 

“Oh?” The boss turns to him, dropping her hand from the blaster. She raises a brow at him. “You do now?” He swallows the lump in his throat. “Y-yeah. We was supposed to be back two days ago - w-we had to ‘take care of’ some of our clients. B-but we saw this massive ship and we was gonna drive it back here. A-a gift. We was gonna kill the two people inside, but we was ambushed. Tossed back onto our ship. Bu-but I got this,” he pulls out the crystal rock and unwraps it, presenting it to her.

 

She’s not impressed and Scales just manages to choke down his whimper as she steps right up to his face. “You mean to tell me that you had a ship...but couldn’t even handle two passengers. All for this cheap knock-off jewel?”

 

She lifts a hand to backhand slap him. He flinches in anticipation, but an electric tendril shoots out, coiling around the boss’ hand. She’s surprised by it and so is he; she doesn’t seem to be in any pain like he was.

 

“Huh,” she says, watching the tendril snake around her until it flickers and disappears. She looks at the crystal, snagging it from her lackey.

 

The crew’s eyes widen as she handles the brain-sized rock barehanded, something they couldn’t do when they tried messing around with it.

 

“Mm,” the boss hums as more tendrils dance around her arms. “Mama like,” she purrs. She eyes the captain of the crew and whips one of her electrified arms at him, the thin, narrow bolts growing in size and lashing out viciously, electrocuting him until he passes out, collapsing to the ground and violently twitching from the shock.

 

“That’s for being late. Get him out of my sight. This little gem just saved your asses.”

 

The crew begins to shuffle about, Scales and Snips grab their captain and drag him to their ship.

 

“By the way,” the crew halts at the boss calling out to them. “Did you catch who these assholes were?”

 

“Just one of them,” Scales replies. “Lena Luthor.”

 

“You’re kidding. Stan, wasn’t a bounty released on her just yesterday?”

 

He grunts in response.

 

Oh hoho… She’s on my shit list now,” the boss mumbles and takes her leave, the crew scrambling when she’s gone.

 

She stomps down the hall she came from, tightly clinging onto the crystal in hand until she reaches the broadcasting room. She plops down in her chair, sets the crystal on her lap, puts on her headset and flips the ‘live’ switch.

 

“Sorry-not-sorry to interrupt your song; I’m Leslie-fuckin’-Willis and I do what I want. Listen up. Just got word of a massive bounty placed on one Lena Luthor. Now my man, Stan, here tells me that the bounty is for one trillion credits from Lillian and Lex Luthor. Steep price, folks, and they only accept her alive .

 

“Incidentally, little Luthor has also made my shit list, and am willing to add another billion credits to anyone that turns them into her family and offers proof of their transaction. So get hunting, assholes. And to the little Luthor: you better watch your fuckin’ back. You’re listening to Livewire Black radio. Have a shitty day.”

 

Leslie resumes the song that was playing and takes off her headset. She looks at the crystal in her lap. The power surging from it almost energizing Leslie.

 

“Hey Stan.” The big guy grunts again. “Have one of those slacker wannabes take over I’mma put this thing through the ringer. She what it can do. Find Winston and send him over here to make sure whatever nerd goes on air doesn’t do anything stupid, then find me on the target range.”

 

‘Stan’ bows his head and takes his leave from Leslie’s side. Leslie saunters down to the bottom floor of her drifting station, a malicious grin cracking her otherwise resting bitch face.