Actions

Work Header

not like the other moms

Chapter Text

"I think a sibling will be good for Lex."

Lillian had to put up that front. Had to make it seem like she didn't want the child. But once she laid eyes on her… Lillian was no fool. She had done her research. Lionel was no better to his Irish mistress than he was to her. And Lillian had no doubt that poor woman would feel awful if she knew Lionel was married.

So no, she had no problems with this traumatized four year old.

But. She did throw a bit of a wrench in Lillian's plans to divorce Lionel.

 

Time drug by. Lena grew, more quickly than Lillian was expecting. The girl was precocious, brilliant, sharp and soft all at once. Lillian was completely enthralled. She was all the best parts of Lex with none of his concerning tendencies towards malice. None of his obsessions.

It was months before Lena woke up with her first nightmare, screaming, and Lillian jerked awake. Lionel snored away, predictably, but Lillian was on her feet in an instant, running down the long hall to burst into Lena's room. Lillian held her and smoothed back her hair and got her a glass of water and dried her tears. Lillian rocked her back to sleep.

She looked down at the sleeping child in her arms. She was far too aware that there were things in the world and in this family that she couldn’t protect Lena from. Lena had grown on her far more quickly than she was expecting.

 

Lillian took Lena to her first chess tournament when she was six. Lena had been besting a supercomputer for a year now, and was entirely too bored. Lillian pitched the idea half-heartedly at dinner, like she didn't quite care but she would be interested to add more honor to the Luthor name. Lex's eyes lit, a little savagely, and Lillian reflected he was far too like his father, far too soon.

Lionel nodded. "It'd be good to get her out and about. We can get a servant and the chauffeur to take her."

"No," Lillian said, almost too quickly, and Lionel looked at her in surprise. "I looked one up last week, and it requires a parent or guardian be present." She shrugged, off-handed. "It's in Coast City. I thought I'd check up on our beach house there, enjoy a long weekend. There's no need to take the chauffeur from you and Lex."

Lex shrugged, looking disaffected. "Take 'em down, Ace," he told Lena, and she grinned with all the confidence that only a six year old super-genius can have.

Lionel looked much the same. "Be back for the charity gala on Wednesday, then," was all he said. "I'll expect a trophy on your return."

"Of course," Lillian said. She glanced over at Lena, who was beaming. Lillian winked, feeling her heart grow three sizes when Lena giggled and blinked deliberately in return.

 

The jet touched down in Coast City on Friday afternoon, and Lena and Lillian hit the town in matching sunglasses. "Alright," Lillian said, spreading out the map in the backseat of the cab--she made sure they took a cab, telling Lena that women always needed to know how to get around anywhere they went without a man's help-- "Where shall we go first on our adventure?"

Lena thrust her nose close to the map, squinting and searching until she found the circles she had carefully marked with Lillian on the plane. She was squinting just enough that Lillian realized with a jolt Lena would probably need glasses, and soon. Lena pointed at the amusement park, and Lena smiled. Oh, this child had her heart.

 

 

In between Lillian cheering embarrassingly loudly at the quiet stuffy chess tournaments and getting victory ice cream while they sat on the beach, Lena and Lillian learned life skills together that weren't for the rich. Stolen weekends were spent giggling while watching reality tv and cooking shows and blast pop music at the beach house. Lillian encouraged Lena to go out and have fun. Lena introduced Lillian to the concept of a selfie and they made silly faces at the camera, Lena incapable of making a normal one, and Lillian loved it.

Lillian picked Lena up from school once a week when she could, and it was always Lena's favorite kind of day. Lillian was in an old fixed-up car that screams old money but oh was it beautiful, and Lena's delighted smile when she got in the front seat always washed away whatever kind of day Lillian was having. Lena showed off her shop skills Lex taught her and Lillian was a little worried that's not the only thing Lex taught her, but she was always proud anyway.

 

Lillian stayed with Lionel for Lena, once Lex moved out a few short years after Lena moved in. Lillian was wary of Lex by this point, wary of his wiliness and his bursts of rage, wary of his unfeeling lack of compassion, and he doesn't need her. But Lena… Lena was her light.

 

"Lena, there is nothing that could make me not love you. Nothing."

Lena was a gangly teenager, in ripped old jeans she hides here at the Coast City beach house, and she'd just crushed another chess tournament, but she's crying. Lillian rubbed her back, covered by an MIT hoodie she also would never wear in the Luthor Manor, and Lillian was starting to panic. Did she kill someone? Wreck their life?

"Please," Lillian said, panicking in full. "Please, whatever it is, just--"

"I'm gay."

Oh.

Oh.

Lillian breathed a huge sigh of relief. Not sick. Not joining Lex. "Oh thank the lord," she said, and Lena recoiled.

"Thank the lord? I tell you I'm gay and your reaction is to thank the lord you don't believe in?"

Lillian was completely nonplussed. "What would you like my reaction to be?"

"I thought it would be--I don't know!" Lena looked every inch the teenager she was, her long hair blowing in the night wind, her fingers still a little sticky with ice cream and a smudge of chocolate by her lower lip. Lillian reached out to wipe it away, automatic and gentle, and Lena relaxed just a little.

"Lena," Lillian said gently. "Why would your being gay upset me?"

Lena huffed, still looking scared. "You've heard what Lex and Lionel say about gay people."

"Yes," Lillian said calmly. "But they're them. Am I them?" Lena shook her head, looking partly chastised. "Lena, my darling," Lillian said, reaching for Lena's sugar-sticky hands, hands that might belong to a fifteen-year-old but had far more age and wisdom, "I love you, as you are. You are still the light of my life. Being gay doesn't change that."

Lena's face crumpled, and Lillian pulled her closer.

"And if you want me to go to a Proud Parade, I will," Lillian said after several minutes, once Lena had calmed marginally.

"It's Pride," Lena groaned into her chest. "Please don't ever say that again. Ever."

"I'll still go," Lillian promised, smiling even though Lena couldn't see her face. "I'll start doing my research too. I won't embarrass you with any incorrect terminology. If you need to have a sex talk, just give me a week to prepare, you shouldn't have to go to a clinic or something when I'm right here--"

"Oh my god!" Lena exclaimed, pulling away forcefully and shaking her head, but she was grinning. "I'm fifteen, just because I've known I'm gay for a little while does not mean I'm having sex with anyone!"

Lillian shrugged diplomatically. "I just want to know you're safe, whatever you're doing."

Lena softened. "Okay," she said. "I'll come to you for the sex talk." Lillian beamed, feeling disproportionately proud about the victory, and Lena made an ick face again. "Just, let's just get it over with okay. Next chess tournament?" Lillian nodded, and Lena looked grossed out. "We're never talking about this again outside of that appointed time, though, to be clear."

"Scouts' honor," Lillian promised, trying not to laugh. "Wait, the gay thing, or the sex thing?"

"The sex thing! Obviously!"

"Had to check," Lillian said, holding her hands up.

"Mooooommm," Lena groaned, and Lillian laughed for real. Lena only ever called her mom when they were really caught up in a moment. Lillian encouraged the distinction in titles. She didn't want Lena forgetting her real mother. That was why she dug up photos and decorated the beach house with them, why she found out what she could about Lena's mother and shared it with her. Lena deserved all that and more.

Lillian's laughter died after a long minute, Lena still grinning against her will, that reluctant smile of hers that was one of Lillian's favorites. Make her smile. That was always the easiest attainable goal she had regarding Lena. Lena knew what she needed better than Lillian. She was always provided for. Lillian fumbled her way around in the dark of the uncharted waters of parenting a child that wasn't technically hers, but that was always the unquenchable lighthouse on the horizon, guiding her way forwards. Lena's laughter always her compass.

"Lena," Lillian said slowly, "I mean it when I say I'll accept and love you as you are. I'll never ask you to change. I'll do whatever you need, be here for you always, but sweetie, you know I can't make it s--"

"I'm not telling Lex and Lionel," Lena said, nodding heavily. "Ever. I just wanted you to know."

Lillian smiled softly. "Thank you for telling me," she whispered. "My grown up girl," she said. "I'm sorry you have to hide this. But I'll do whatever I can."

Lena smiled sadly, leaning into her heavily. "Thanks," she whispered, and Lillian squeezed her tight.

Lillian smiled for real as a wondrous thought occurred to her. "This means I don't have to worry about any more crazy men in the family!"

Lena's laugh echoed down the beach until she cried.

Lillian smiled and watched her as Lena rolled on her back in the sand, doing her best to memorize the moment. She collected these times, held the moments when Lena could act her age without restraint, held them close to her chest like precious pearls. Her most precious possession.

 

Lionel dies not two weeks after that conversation, and Lillian stood stoic next to Lena, who cried, holding her hand.

Lillian could only summon one emotion, and that was protectiveness over Lena. She glanced at Lex dispassionately, who was staring at the casket with clenched fists, and felt nearly nothing. She was horrified at herself for that, but he was someone different after all these years. Lex had moved out years ago, and was concerning Lillian with every other sentence out of his mouth to boot.

Lena on her other side stood stock still, tears leaking steadily out of her eyes. Lillian squeezed her hand and looked at the casket and felt empty again.

Good riddance of him.

Not that she'd ever tell Lena, who loved him, in a way.

 

Lena was a nervous but confident sixteen year old headed to MIT, laughing at Lillian still not being any better at cooking despite the decade of cooking shows they had watched in their Coast City beach house. This was their last time in their hideaway the rest of the family never uses before Lillian drove Lena to college tomorrow, and it felt like a stronger kind of love than ever before when Lillian came down the stairs to see her making pancakes for the both of them.

Lillian pushed at Lena with her elbow over pancakes at the table. "You're going to college. We're not keeping track of you so closely. You should let loose, date a girl, take a class in the humanities."

Lena widened her eyes mockingly, her dimples giving her away as she smiled. "Ooh, scandalous," she teased. "I could even take painting."

"Let's not get carried away," Lillian joked, laughing, and Lena grinned. Lena poked at her pancakes, though, and Lillian frowned. "What is it?"

Lena shrugged, shaking her head, and Lillian waited. Lena finally sighed, putting her fork down and her head in her hands. "And if I'm afraid to date a girl?"

Lillian put her fork down too, nonplussed. "Why would you be afraid?"

"Haven't you ever liked someone so much you're afraid of them? Like, they're out of your league?"

"No," Lillian said honestly. "Truthfully, I never did much dating. You know my marriage was practically arranged."

"You've never liked someone?" Lena pried. "Like, really liked someone?" Lillian stopped to think, the last time she'd genuinely felt romantic attraction… well, shit. She was coming up empty. Lena softened, looking at her with something like pity for the first time Lillian had ever known her. "Well," Lena said, thankfully skipping over that topic, "It's scary, okay? And it's doubly scary when it's also a girl, and there are a lot of people out there that don't like it when two girls date, and there are also a lot of people out there who don’t to date a sixteen year old in college."

"Hey," Lillian said automatically, putting a hand on Lena's arm. "You don't have to date if you don't want to, whether it's due to timing or anything else. But don't you dare let what other people think scare you out of it. You are a catch, Lena Luthor. You don't need anyone to tell you that."

Lena gave her a half smile, lopsided. "And if I'm still just…" she gave half a shrug, which Lillian had come to realize was her sign for what Lena had told her was called getting past internalized homophobia.

"Did you know that many other species have homosexual relationships?" Lillian asked matter-of-factly, trying to drown Lena's fears in facts. It had always worked before. Lena raised an eyebrow. "Penguins," Lillian started, and Lena bit back a smile. "Cats," Lillian continued, and Lena suppressed a giggle.

"Okay," Lena said. "I see what you're trying to do, and you're really bad at it, but I appreciate it."

"I thought I was doing well," Lillian said petulantly, as Lena picked up her fork, still giggling. "Made you laugh, anyway." Lena looked up at her, an echo of the shy little girl that came to her a dozen years ago, and Lillian winked. Lena smiled that brilliant smile she so rarely let out, and Lillian's heart squeezed. She was really going to miss this girl. Her other half.

 

 

Lena came home for a gala. It was fall break, and she had two days off of class, and she let Lillian bribe her into coming to Coast City for a charity event. Lillian drove and picked her up at the airport late Friday afternoon--Lena had insisted she was flying commercial this time, like a normal college student--in the old car she used to pick Lena up from school in, and went in and waited at the baggage claim, like a normal mom.

Lena emerged into the terminal soon enough, and Lillian felt her chest squeeze in affection. Lena's hair was messy, headphones slung around her neck and skinny jeans and a hoodie, and she looked comfortable in her sneakers, and Lillian's heart sang at the ease on her face. Lena broke into a huge smile at the sight of Lillian, picking up her pace until she reached Lena and slid into a hug readily.

Lillian pulled back, smoothing down Lena's hair with a smile. "You ready?" she asked.

Lena beamed. "Let's go."

They drove around the city in the early evening, Lena's hair longer than Lillian remembered, and got fast food, grinning at each other like they were indulging in some dirty secret. Lena picked up her duffel out of the trunk when they reached their beach house, grinning as Lillian commented how independent she was becoming. Lena was nearly seventeen, and she was growing into her body, her face maturing and her shoulders settling more confidently. They curled into the couch while Lena talked Lillian's ear off over a cooking show all about college and how amazing it was. She got lost down a rabbit hole of celestial bodies and how beautiful they were, and Lillian sat back and watched her gesture excitedly, completely unable to follow but loving watching Lena glow.

 

"You could have warned me," Lena huffed, sliding up to stand next to Lillian at a high top table.

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Lillian said innocently, looking down at her daughter. Lena was positively stunning in a red dress, her hair styled elegantly and her makeup perfect, the result of their Saturday on the town.

"Jack Spheer?" Lena said pointedly.

"Darling, the poor boy can't help it he's in love with you," Lillian said, and Lena huffed again.

"Jack's very nice," Lena said. "I really like him, actually. I just don't like him like that, which you well know."

"I didn't say anything to Jack," Lillian said, and Lena snorted.

"That's sort of the problem. You not objecting seems like encouragement."

"Do you want me to warn him off?"

"No, you'll scare him." Lena stirred her drink--a virgin mojito, Lillian had gotten it for her and Lena had rolled her eyes but accepted it. "I think I'm gonna tell him I'm gay, actually."

Lillian considered this. "Just make sure he won't hurt you is all I ask," she said, and Lena pressed her shoulder into Lillian's.

"He's a good guy," Lena said. "I trust him."

"Okay," Lillian said. "And if he isn't, I'll have him killed."

"Mother!" Lena burst out laughing, and Lillian's chest warmed as she laughed with her. Oh, she had missed this girl. Missed her quirks, missed the way she was open with Lillian, missed the way she wasn't scared of her. Missed her wit at these parties, the way she lit up the room for Lillian. Missed her daughter.

She saw Lena off at the airport with a fake, dramatic show of tears that had Lena laughing, just like when she dropped her off at college. Lena shut the door of the car and blew a kiss through the window, laughing even more when Lillian made a show of catching it and pressing it to her chest. Lillian drove off and pushed away a real tear miserably, chuckling at herself.

 

 

Lena was an elegant almost-graduate, and she was refusing to do any travel around the world Lillian came with her, and Lillian looked at this light of her life and thought that her heart might just burst. This girl was all she needed.

They went tto remote locations and big shopping centers and globetrotted in general, leaving gigantic tips and donating to orphanages and every other charity they could find, everywhere they went. They booked out presidential suites and Lena giggled and on her twenty first birthday, spent in Dubai, Lillian gave her a formal lesson in holding her alcohol and not being obsessed by it the way Lionel had been.

Lena went back to MIT after a summer of travel, a healthy tan on her skin, new laugh lines around her eyes, glowing with the excitement of her impending Masters' program.

 

Lena and Lillian had just hiked up a volcano in New Zealand to celebrate Lena finishing her masters and becoming Luthor Corp's new Assistant Chief of R&D, spent six nights camping under the stars, and Lillian was the happiest she's ever been. They'd been coordinating their workout schedules for the last six months to make sure they could do this, and it had been the most beautiful week of Lillian's life, talking under the stars every night about the deepest of things and laughing themselves silly during their day hikes about anything and everything. Lena had taken up photography, and had taught Lillian the principles in between capturing breathtaking images of the scenery. They had the most beautiful photos the most silly selfies and everything in between and Lillian's heart was so full, full, wonderful.

They stopped in a diner before heading back to their hotel, filthy and grimy and smelling horrible, and the waitress chuckled at the sight of them grinning apologetically but promising a large tip. They were basking in the glow of a successful trip when someone asked to turn on the tv in the corner. And it's Lex.

Lex, going crazy.

The trip was over.

 

Lillian was interrogated, as was Lena. Lillian's heart ached at the concept of yet another thing she couldn't protect Lena from, but Lena was a woman now, and fully capable of handling herself. Lena had listened intently to her father and his lawyers since she was four. Lena had minored in business. Lena would be fine.

The agent that interrogate them both shook his head. "Are the two of you trying to cover something else? You'll both incriminate Lex to no end but defend each other, and you have a suspiciously perfect alibi?"

"Perhaps he went crazy when he knew both of us were too remote to even hear about him, much less stop him," Lillian snapped, and the agent shrugged.

"Same thing your daughter said."

"Then it should say something we both came to that conclusion while you interrogated us separately."

In the end, only after several more go-rounds, and because there was literally no evidence on either of them, they were let free.

With their assets frozen.

Lena tugged her mud-stained fleece tighter, neither of them having had the chance to do much more than change their under layers and shower. She smiled wryly at Lillian. "Good thing a woman knows how to get around without a man, right?"

And she burst into tears.

"Oh honey," Lillian murmured, and pulledher twenty-two year old not-quite-daughter to her. Right there on the street in front of the FBI building, a million cars and passersby, the pair of them still somewhat dirty, in full view of over a dozen cameras.

Lionel would be furious.

Lillian held Lena tighter, the pair of them defiant.

 

Lillian talked Lena through the takeover. She was always in the back of Lena's ear, but firmly stepped down from all her positions at Luthor Corp when Lena was tapped to take over. Lena was always on the verge of panicking, but Lillian refused to be there, stubbornly believing in her daughter. "You'll win them over as yourself," Lillian insisted. "And I won't have someone accusing you of corruption keeping me in there. I'm still your biggest supporter."

She did wonderfully.

 

Lillian was on the phone with her daughter, enjoying the sound of her voice as she sat on the deck of their Coast City beach house. "What's with the smile in your voice?" Lillian finally asked. "I haven't heard you this happy since New Zealand."

"I sort of… met someone," Lena admitted, her voice nervous over the phone.

"Oh?" Lillian glanced down to find she was literally at the edge of her seat. "Like a girl someone?"

"Maybe," Lena admitted, shy. Lillian waited, and Lena sighed, long-suffering, down the line. "It's not like that, okay. At least, not yet. But I really like her. I like being around her."

"Do I know this her?" Lillian asked.

"You might, actually," Lena said. "She's the reporter that's been covering me."

"Covering you or covering you?" Lillian asked, unable to help herself, and Lena groaned.

"That doesn't even make sense," she said over Lillian's chuckles. "I know you were trying to make a dirty joke, but it didn't even work."

"I'll have to try again," Lillian promised, smiling big at Lena's dramatic groans. "But she's the reporter? The one who gave you a fair shake on the alien detection device?"

"Yeah," Lena said, sounding a little distracted now. "I actually scrapped that. She brought up some good points while interviewing me. So, her article is moot now, but," she rustled some papers on the other side of the line, and Lillian guessed she was finding the article again. "We'll end up in the right spot."

"I'm sure you will," Lillian promised.

"Thanks," Lena said softly, and Lillian was reminded with a pang that her brother was in prison, that Lena had been so close to his madness for so long, that Lillian couldn’t protect her from traumas past. "I'm visiting you next week," Lillian announced abruptly.

"What's the occasion? You were just here two weeks ago," Lena said, sounding more amused than anything.

"Do I need an excuse to see my daughter?"

"Never," Lena promised, instantly, and Lillian smiled. She might check up on this reporter Lena liked so much. She might visit Lex in prison, just to be sure he was still there. She might see National City, and see if there were somewhere closer she could hang out, just so seeing Lena wasn't such a hassle. Lena was chattering away on the line, telling Lillian not to dare call a car, Lena would pick her up, CEO high-flying status be damned, and how'd they go get fast food. Lillian felt warmth expand in her chest. They'd take silly pictures the way they always did, and all the damage men had inflicted upon their past would be forgotten for a little while.

But the important thing, what was always the important thing, was making sure that her girl was okay.

 

Chapter Text

Lillian arrived in National City to a Lena looking more elegant and grown-up than she ever had. Like she wasn't even someone Lillian could pretend was a child all grown-up, she just was. It suited her.

Lena was glancing down at her phone, texting with one hand while she adjusted the sunglasses on top of her head with the other, and she was dressed in dark colors of business wear, and she was the most beautiful woman in the terminal by miles. Lillian moved towards her, happy for the moment to watch Lena unobserved.

Lena glanced up after a long moment, clicking her phone off, and her eyes found Lillian. She broke into a smile, striding towards her and sweeping her up in a hug.

 

"So who's this reporter?" Lillian asked, buckling herself in as Lena navigated them smoothly out of the airport.

Lena bit her lip. "She works for CatCo."

"Kara Danvers. I read. She's just starting out."

"Anything else you dug up that you'd like to share?" Lena asked, her voice amused.

"She looks wonderful in pastel," Lillian said, winking when Lena glanced over, and Lena burst into laughter, her face slightly pink. "Something you seem to agree on," Lillian said wisely.

"Oh my god," Lena said, and Lillian felt her heart thud strongly. Lena sounding her age was something she'd never grow tired of. "She is a friend, Mom."

"That's not what you said on the phone last week," Lillian said nonchalantly, breezing past the way she loved it when Lena called her mom.

"That is exactly what I said on the phone last week. That it isn't anything. And it won't be."

"Then why are you blushing?" Lillian asked, and Lena's jaw tightened, the edges of a smile still playing on her lips. Lena's phone buzzed in the cupholder, and Lillian motioned towards it questioningly. Lena nodded. "Speak of the devil," Lillian said, delighted. "It's from one Kara Danvers."

"What does it say?" Lena asked, voice even.

"She's asking you if you're still on for dinner this evening," Lillian read off, feeling a giddy kind of joy at her daughter's blush. "Lena, you said it wasn't anything, but are you sure--"

"We have dinner sometimes. As friends!" Lena said, reaching out blindly to yank the phone back. Lena tucked it under her thigh, eyes still on the road. "She likes to eat. A lot."

"Mmkay," Lillian said, facing the road again, trying hard not to smirk. "You should go to dinner with her, though. You never know what could happen."

"I'm not going to dinner with her when you're in town," Lena said, the reply easy, a duh in her voice. "I like her, but I can see her anytime."

"So you do like her!"

"Not like that," Lena groaned, and Lillian smiled.

"Whatever you say, dear." She examined her nails idly. "You should invite her over tonight. Show off your cooking show skills."

"You'd want to meet her?" Lena asked quietly, hesitant and shy again.

"Of course," Lillian said immediately. "Whether or not I should be teasing you about your huge crush on this reporter, she seems to be important to you as a person, not just a potential love interest. I'd love to get to know her."

Lena focused on the road for a second. She pulled up to a red light and looked over at Lillian. "You won't tease her," Lena said carefully.

Lillian smiled a tight smile, trying not to get too happy and freak Lena out. "Scout's honor," she promised, winking.

"You won't tease me in front of her."

"Not too badly," Lillian promised. "But what's a meet-the-parents dinner without some humiliation?"

"I wouldn't know," Lena said, easing the car forward as the light turned green. "The last time I had someone over for dinner, Dad and Lex almost made Jack Spheer cry. I'm pretty sure he did cry, actually, in the bathroom before dessert."

Lillian snorted inelegantly. "He was always a little fragile," Lillian said, still trying not to laugh at the thought of a thirteen-year-old Jack Spheer sniffling in the bathroom.

"Mom," Lena said sternly.

"He recovered," Lillian said, brushing it away. "It's nothing like when I met Lionel's parents." She nearly shivered at the memory even now. "But I'll be nice to Kara, I promise."

Lena considered it for a long moment. "Okay," she finally said softly. "I'll ask her."

 

 

Lena: So, about dinner.
Kara: ??? We can reschedule if you're busy!
Lena: No, it's not that. My mother's in town.
Kara: Oh! You should spend time with your mom!
Lena: She felt bad about imposing on our plans. Any chance you'd like to come over and have dinner with both of us instead? I promise she's nothing like Lex.
Kara: Of course!!! I can't wait. I'd love to meet her. Can I bring anything?
Lena: Alcohol.

 

Lillian tried to pretend she wasn't reading over Lena's shoulder as Lena bit her lip and stared at her phone, waiting for Kara's replies to come in.

"Honestly, Mother, she won't reply any faster with you pacing."

"You're the one chewing half your face off in anxiety." Lena stuck her tongue out, very maturely. "You really like this girl, don't you?" she asked softly.

Lena shrugged, trying and failing to look indifferent. "She's… different," Lena admitted, and there was a quiet kind of wonder in her voice. "Even everyone else who was in our circles, they looked at me differently because I was a Luthor. But something about her…." Lena frowned, like she didn't have the words. "It's like she gets it."

"Gets what?" Lillian pressed.

"I don't know. The way I am, maybe? I've just never felt like I had to explain myself to her. Like maybe she's felt all the same things I've felt that no one else has understood." Lena shook her head. "It's ridiculous, but I sometimes feel like Kara's had a whole past, just like mine, that she's never shared with anyone. That that's why she gets me."

Lillian watched her daughter puzzle it through. She laid a hand on her knee. "Anything's possible," she said softly, and Lena squeezed her hand.

"Come on," Lena said, standing. "She's in for dinner. I'd better get cooking." She paused, her hair halfway down and her shoes already toed off. She pointed a stern finger at Lillian. "I don't want you anywhere near my kitchen for this meal. You can handle the salad, if you think you can manage it."

Lillian raised her hands in surrender. "Yes, ma'am."

When Kara's knock sounded on the door an hour later, Lillian had Lena laughing as she stirred a large pot--an alarmingly full, alarmingly large pot--of stew, giggling about the time she came home with her first tattoo and freaked Lillian out.

Lillian opened the door to a face full of blonde curls, and Kara Danvers smiled brightly at her.

"Hi!" she said, extending her hand immediately. "You must be Lena's mom!"

"I must be," Lillian agreed, taking her hand and finding her grip to be firm--very firm. She winced slightly, and Kara flinched in sympathy, loosening her grip immediately.

"Sorry!" she apologized quickly. "I, uh, work out a lot."

"Don't worry about it," Lillian soothed, and Kara's glance skipped over to Lena.

"I brought alcohol, as promised," Kara said, holding up a bottle, and Lena grinned over at her. "I got your favorite, since you're cooking dinner." Kara set the bottle on the counter as she navigated Lena's space with a cautious ease, one that said she was comfortable around Lena but hadn't been here before. "You have a beautiful apartment," Kara added, halfway to breathless, and Lena smiled.

"Thank you," she said. "Kara, this is Lillian, by the way, my adoptive mother."

"Oh!" Kara said, eyes snapping back to Lillian. Her smile got a notch brighter, if that was possible. "I didn't realize you were adopted. I am too!"

Lillian's eyes narrowed as Kara's eyes slid back to Lena, and Lena's lips parted, still mindlessly stirring as she examined Kara with a slight smile. "How about that," she murmured, and Kara pinked.

Lillian bit down on a grin. Oh, this was going to be fun. "So, Kara," Lillian said, sitting down at the table. "Tell me about yourself."

Kara, as it turned out, was all sorts of lovely. She shook her head as Lillian praised her articles, smiling and blushing slightly. "Did you read up?" Lena asked incredulously, eyeing her and leaning forward. Lena, casual in her blouse from earlier but unbuttoned one or two more so it was looser, with loose blue jeans instead of a tight skirt and barefooted. Lena, comfortable in front of someone. Lena, interrogating her to make sure she didn't embarrass her in front of her new friend.

Yes, Lillian was having an excellent night. "I am a Luthor, dear," Lillian said with a wink, and Lena slumped dramatically in her chair, rolling her eyes.

Kara chuckled at Lena's reaction, whatever nerves she had washed away as Lena groaned, "Ignore her, she's actually harmless."

"I am not," Lillian said, aghast.

Lena narrowed her eyes. "Summer of 2000. Spider. Upstairs bathroom. Which one of us screamed and called for the six-year-old to come get it out?"

Lillian sniffed, surprised Lena would bring that up, but not really. "I maintain it was an excellent chance for you to hone your skills."

"Six. Years. Old," Lena repeated, deadpan. She rolled her eyes towards Kara. "I'm sure she actually considered leaving nice little comments on all your articles instead of whatever menacing thing you were expecting."

"I did not consider that," Lillian said disdainfully. "I actually did it."

Lena suppressed a laugh, not quite successfully. "See?" she told Kara, who was watching the interaction with wide eyes, and Kara's expression softened into a smile. "This one's defective. Not a Luthor at all."

"If I'm not a Luthor, you're not a Luthor," Lillian shot back. "Maybe the girls don't count."

Lena chuckled, nodding into her wineglass. "Maybe," she muttered, taking a sip. "We don't require a chauffeur to get around, right?" she shot a wry look at Lillian, her eyes a little sad with the memory, and Lillian smiled softly.

"Well," Kara said, reaching forward for her--seventh? No wonder Lena made so much--bowl of soup. "Here's to not living up to family standards, then." She raised her soup bowl in a mock-toast. "Cheers. By the way Lena, this is delicious, where'd you get it?"

"I made it," Lena said, sounding mock-offended, and Kara shot her an eye-rolling grin that had Lena pushing down another laugh, entirely charmed.

Lillian was more distracted by her first comment. "I'm sorry, Kara, I don't mean to pry, but, you--"

"Oh, it's nothing," Kara said, waving her hand. "I was just, um," she shook her head, trying to smile away the problem, not meeting Lena's gaze either, which was now narrowed in curiosity. "It's nothing," Kara insisted.

Lena glanced at Lillian, looking unsure. "Kara, is everything alright?"

"Yep!" Kara said breezily, the slow motion of her spoon in the soup giving her away. She shook her head. "It's stupid. I shouldn't have said anything." She looked up, smile in place, eyes suspiciously bright.

Lena glanced at Lillian again. Lillian sat back, a strange sort of calm overtaking her. "You know," Lillian said conversationally, twirling the stem of her wineglass in her hand idly, "My parents all but forced me into my first date with Lionel." Lena's gaze snapped to her. "They kept telling me how wonderful he was, how wonderful his family was, how brilliant he was, how well we'd match."

Kara's eyes were fixed on her, a sorrowful sort of fear in them. "You never told me," Lena said softly, reaching for her hand, and Lillian rolled her eyes gently, squeezing Lena's fingers. "I knew about the marriage, but the…"

"It was common, in our circles," Lillian said, shrugging. "Lionel was never violent with me, never really forced me to do anything. I got lucky, really. My parents left us well enough alone after maybe a decade. They passed not long before you arrived, actually," she said, squeezing Lena's hand.

Lena frowned. "You never--"

"You were four, Lena," Lillian said, shaking her head. "You had your own mother's death on your mind, and my parents' deaths wasn't a tragedy by any means." Lillian didn't mention that their deaths were what she considered the green light to start the divorce process. Lena's arrival put a halt to her plans. She didn't need Lena knowing that, wondering how bad the marriage truly was, and taking on that burden. That had been Lillian's choice, and she didn't regret a moment of it.

"Still," Lena said softly, and Lillian smiled. She really, really loved this girl.

"My parents," Lillian said slowly, and she turned her head to look at Kara, who faced the table now but lifted her head to meet Lillian's eyes, "Were deeply flawed individuals. Redeemable?" She tilted her head. "Perhaps. But they never did redeem themselves."

Kara's lips twisted as she examined Lillian thoughtfully. "I've learned a lot about my parents in the last year," she admitted. "Both sets of them. And none of them were anywhere near as perfect as I thought." She dropped her spoon against the side of her bowl with a clatter. "I miss the days when I thought I had perfect parents. Now even the memory of the ones that are gone is," she gestured uselessly. "It's tarnished."

"Kara," Lena said softly, releasing Lillian's hand to reach for Kara's.

"I'm alright," Kara insisted, though her eyes were red. She let Lena take her hand and squeeze. "I mean really, no matter what they did or didn't do, they still loved me. They still tried to do what was best, in their own way." Kara shook her head, looking disgusted for a second, before she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, like she was forcibly pushing the memories back. She opened her eyes and took another breath, squeezing Lena's hand and disentangling their fingers. "But, if you and Lena have been together since she was six at least, I'm sure you have all the fun stories."

"Since she was four," Lillian amended, smiling gently at Kara, letting her shift the mood.

"No," Lena said flatly.

"I'm pretty sure I know how old you were when you came to us," Lillian said, and Lena kicked her under the table, lightly.

"You know what I meant."

"I'm sure I didn't, dear. Kara, did you know what she meant?"

Kara shook her head, lips pursed together in mock-concentration. "She probably meant she was four and a half." Kara took a big bite of soup and propped an elbow on the table, planting her chin in her palm and smiling endearingly at the pair of them. "So, what'd she do?"

"I'm not sitting here for this," Lena declared, scooting her chair back and gathering up the miraculously-empty pot from the center of the table.

"What?" Kara laughed, reaching out for her waist, but Lena danced out of reach. "You have to be here! Moms embarrassing you in front of you friends is like a rite of passage! I've had two different moms do it to me, plus Cat, plus Alex! You can't skip out now."

"Cat?" Lena asked, depositing the pot in the sink and hovering back over, looking curious. "You mean Cat Grant, media mogul, would-be-multi-millionaire-if-she-settled-down-with-her-investments, married four times Cat Grant?"

"Yeah," Kara said, grinning slightly, eyebrows raised as she took in Lena's shock. "Also who I was a personal assistant for for like three years?"

"Oh my god," Lena breathed, sitting down in her chair, heavy with shock. "You're Kiera."

Kara flushed and ducked her head. "Yeah, I, uh, I made it pretty hard for you to get a couple meetings with her, huh?"

Lena's shock turned into a glare. She turned to Lillian. "This is the woman who single-handedly gave Jess a near-mental breakdown." Kara winced.

"Sorry about that," she said apologetically. "Cat was dealing with some sleazebags on the board trying to do a corporate takeover and really could not take a meeting. There may have been some corporate espionage involved that Cat definitely does not know about--nor should that leave this room," Kara added, her eyes going wide at her slip.

"I don't know," Lena said, swirling her wineglass thoughtfully. "Only if you tell me who the espionage was against."

Kara sighed, looking martyred. "You promise not to tell?" she asked warily.

Lena held up her pinky. "Pinky promise."

Kara rolled her eyes with a grin, locking her pinky with Lena's. "James and Winn and I sort of accidentally spied on the guy who got locked up. That's how we figured out who to look into aboveground."

"James, your ex and the senior art manager, and Winn who was in love with you for two years but now is basically your little brother, that James and Winn?" Lillian suppressed a chuckle, enjoying the play of both their expressions as they steadily forgot more and more about her.

Kara winced slightly. "When you put it like that, I sound pretty bad, but yeah."

"Corporate espionage," Lena repeated.

"Only a tiny bit! Lucy helped us legally tackle the problem. Without the, uh, espionage."

"Lucy?"

"Lane."

"As in Lois Lane?"

"The one and only," Kara said, adjusting her glasses with a grin.

"Huh." Lena sat back. "How many semi-famous people do you know?"

"Are you counting yourself?" Kara asked, and Lena made a face. Kara grinned. "Uh, a few." Lena narrowed her eyes. Kara shrugged. "I was the personal assistant to Cat Grant."

"I should hire you," Lena muttered. "You nearly made my assistant cry while simultaneously making one of the worst fiascos CatCo's ever seen go away without a hitch."

"It was definitely not hitch-free, and I'm still really sorry about that," Kara defended herself. "Please don't tell Jess it was me, she scares me."

"Kara, you're the one who made her cry."

"I didn't mean to!" Kara said, covering her face with her hands. "What did I even say?"

Lena gestured vaguely, like she was trying to remember. "It was more of the cherry-on-top of an awful week, if you know what I mean. I wasn’t in a particularly good mood, and it was still her first month or something."

"Oof. Sounds like my every other week with Cat," Kara said, sounding sympathetic. "But please, can we not tell her it was me? I'm trying to bribe my way into friendship with her and this would be a serious setback."

Lena chuckled. "We'll see," she said, getting out of her chair again.

"Based on what?" Kara asked, twisting around in her chair to watch Lena.

"I don't know," Lena said airily. "We'll see how I'm feeling at the end of dessert, shall we?"

Lillian raised an eyebrow, impressed. "I guess that means I'm supposed to behave," she said dryly, and Kara almost startled, like she'd forgotten Lillian was present. Like Lena made the world fade away. Oh, Lillian was going to make sure things happened between them.

"No, please," Kara said, half-laughing. "Please, I really want to hear Little Lena stories."

"I'm sure something can be arranged," Lena said airily, moving to fill the pot with water. Kara hastily got up and started clearing the rest of the dishes. Lena's eyes followed her around the room. "In what circumstance did Cat tell embarrassing stories about you anyway?"

"Please don't ask about the time Eliza visited CatCo," Kara muttered. "I can't relive that again." Lena's eyes lit with delight, but just then, Kara's phone rang. "Sorry," Kara said, looking deeply apologetic as she checked the phone screen, looking frantic. "It's my sister, it's uh--"

"No, go," Lena said, waving her off. Kara shot them one more apologetic glance as she stepped several feet away.

"Alex?" There was a garbled sound on the other end. "You didn't--didn't J'onn specifically say not to--I told you not tonight--why was he near the--yes, ugh, yes, it's fine, ok. Now?" There was an exclamation on the other end, and Kara sighed. "Ok. I'm on my way." Kara hung up, her jaw clenched. "I am so sorry," she said. "There's a bit of an emergency, Winn was being dumb and if I don't go now, we don't really know--"

"Is everything alright?" Lena asked, and Kara nodded, across the room and sliding her arms into her coat already.

"Oh yeah, I just, I definitely need to go, I am so so sorry to skip, but I do genuinely have to run--Lillian, it was so wonderful to meet you, I hope we can do this again sometime. Lena thank you so much for dinner it was amazing, I really have to go--bye!" And she was out the door.

"I forgot to tell you," Lena said, taking a deep breath and staring at the door, looking a little forlorn in Kara's sudden absence. "She does that sometimes."

 

 

Lillian received an email from one Kara Danvers a couple days later, after she had left National City. It was a short reply to one of the comments she had left on an article, a thank you so much! It was lovely meeting you, I'm so sorry I had to run.

Lillian replied back with her phone number and a call me anytime if you need anything. I'm glad Lena has such a good friend in you.

Lena didn't know. Lillian intended to keep it like that for a little while.

 

"Lillian Luthor speaking."

"Hi, it's Kara Danvers."

Lillian broke out into a smile. "Hi, Kara," she said warmly. "How can I help you?"

"Hi," Kara said. She sounded sheepish and a little nervous. "I'm so sorry to bother you, but I just had this quick question and it's a little ridiculous but I thought you could answer--"

"Anything, Kara."

Kara let out a deep breath on the other end. "Do you have any ideas for Lena's birthday?"

Lillian blinked in surprise. "She told you her birthday?"

"Not exactly." Kara's reply sounded frustrated and a little petulant. "Mine was a couple months ago and she went overboard, but she wouldn't give me anything for hers, so I did some digging. Anyway, I know she doesn’t want anything but I thought we could at least go out or something."

"She'd like that," Lillian told her. "Make it small. Just the two of you, even."

"You think?"

"She loves fast food," Lillian revealed. "We never really had it in the Luthor household. It still feels like a secret indulgence every time, for both of us. She'd love it if you took her out."

"Fast food is my specialty," Kara promised. "We can even do a drive thru or go at midnight or something."

"That would be wonderful," Lillian promised. "I have some appointments I can't miss and I'd prefer she wasn't alone again, so thank you, Kara."

Kara chuckled on the other end of the line. "She's been there for me through more than she should have to. Fast food on her birthday is the least I can do."

"Well, if you're looking for something else, I hear the carnival's coming to town soon…"

"Oh yeah?"

 

 

Lillian waited by her phone.

Midnight ticked by.

It was close to three am and Lillian was yawning when Lena finally called.

"I knew you'd be up," Lena said happily into the phone. "Fast food at midnight is very Kara, but her choosing to do that on my birthday had your fingerprints all over it."

"Are you calling to reprimand me?" Lillian asked, deeply amused, her chest expanding with warmth at the happiness in Lena's voice.

"I thought about it, but no," Lena said, the distant sounds of her getting into bed accompanying her words. "I called to tell you about it, actually."

"Go on then," Lillian encouraged her, settling into her own bed. "Gush."

Lena did. "She dragged me out of my office at eleven thirty. I mean, she brought me lunch with a happy birthday cupcake from that bakery across town and texted me happy birthday with like a million exclamation points and emojis this morning, but I thought that was it. That was more than enough. But then she just showed up all late at night and threw some jeans at me and said to come on, and it was like…" Lena made a sound that was half-sigh, half-squeal, and Lillian laughed at her elation, joy seeping through the phone line. "Mom, it was magic. It was that thing in movies that you always think is so dumb, but we talked for hours about the littlest things and I don't think either of us checked our phones once the whole time, I just--" Lena tried find the words, "I've never felt so… so paid attention to. So, so cherished, I guess."

Lillian's heart was actually going to burst. This was like fanfiction. Better. "Lena, that's wonderful."

"Anyway, she hugged me goodnight and it was just, it was so amazing, Mom."

 

 

Lillian was staring. Next to her, Alex Danvers, Kara's sister, took a long sip of her wine with the same exasperated blankness on her face.

"Have they always been like this?" Lillian asked in a hushed voice, and Alex nodded.

 

 

 

"You didn't tell me you were dead-set on seducing her, Lena."

"I am not," Lena hissed, horrified at Jack's choice in words. Lillian, on the other hand, was delighted as Lena's oldest friend grilled her about her love life at his own unveiling event.

"She's hanging off your every word. She's practically drooling."

"Enough," Lena insisted, and Jack snapped his mouth shut as Kara walked back towards them. Lillian bit back a laugh, smiling at Kara, whose face was set as she approached their little group again. "What did that man need?" Lena asked, gravitating towards her unconsciously, and Lillian exchanged a wry look with Jack.

"I can't say," Kara said, looking regretful, her tone apologetic. "But I, um," she shot a glance at Lillian and looked back at Lena before examining Jack thoughtfully, "I have to go. I'll catch up with you all later?"

"Oh, yeah," Lena said hastily, looking surprised. "Of course. Thanks for coming." Kara flashed a smile at her, her face becoming minutely stiffer as she reached to shake Jack's hand again.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Spheer," she said, and Jack nodded politely, his face tightening for a moment as she squeezed his hand. With a quick one-armed hug for Lillian and a wave for Lena, she was gone.

"That was odd," Jack remarked, watching her retreat, and Lena elbowed him.

"Leave her alone."

 

Lillian walked into Lena's office two days later to see Kara headed out, head down and looking preoccupied. "Kara!" Kara's head snapped up, and she smiled weakly at Lillian, gave a half-hearted wave, and kept walking.

"What was that about?" Lillian asked, dropping her purse on Lena's couch. Lena looked up, her eyes lost in thought, and Lillian clarified, "Kara."

"Ah." Lena sat down heavily in her chair. "She's found something." Lillian sat down across from her. Lena put her head in her hands. Took a deep breath. Two. Her voice came out strangled and muffled. "She thinks Jack's killed people. She showed me the video. The nano swarm around the city, the killings, they were him, they were him--" Lena's voice cut off with a strangled sob, and Lillian rushed towards her. Lena dropped her forehead to Lillian's shoulder. "She asked me not to go near him, but I can't, I can't do nothing, I can't stay away, this can't be him--"

"I know, I know," Lillian soothed, her mind swirling. Not like Lex again, not again, not again. "We'll get to the bottom of this." And she held her daughter until they were ready to take the next steps.

 

When Lena went to confront Jack at his warehouse, Lillian was her backup. It was Lillian who called Supergirl, Lillian who stepped in front of her after Beth threw a punch and Lena knocked her down, heart swelling in pride and body thrumming in anger, Lillian who helped a gasping Supergirl keep the nanobots occupied with some very creative uses of a fire extinguisher and an improvised flamethrower.

"You'll kill him," Beth gasped from the floor, while Jack pleaded with her to end it, to shut down mainframe. "The override will kill him, the nanobots have merged with him."

Supergirl was barely holding them off, she maybe had another twelve seconds. "Fly in an evasive pattern, not a teasing pattern!" Lillian snapped towards the ceiling, and Supergirl glanced down in surprise. She changed her flight pattern immediately, and the bots raced after her, but she had another minute. "Lena," Lillian said sharply, kicking Beth in the ribs, and Beth wheezed inconsequentially. "Take down the mainframe piece by piece. We'll hold them off."

"Will that work?" Lena cried, already typing rapidly.

"We have to try," Lillian shot back, racing towards the chemicals on the far wall with the intent of making a small bomb. Several off the nanobots dropped from the sky a few moments later.

"It wasn't me!" Supergirl yelled, nearly caught by now. "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it!" A couple dozen more dropped, and Jack gasped in small relief, still on his knees.

Lena doubled over the keys, her fingers flying faster, and Lillian began to mix chemicals in earnest. She had been a chemistry minor, after all. Lillian chucked a beaker about to blow towards where the swarm was headed, and it blew off with a satisfying bang. The bots scattered in confusion, and then they started dropping by the dozen. Lena's face was set into a deep frown of concentration as her fingers flew across the keyboard, and Lillian's attention was drawn to a stirring Beth. Lillian punched her down again.

Supergirl let out a cry as she was trapped in earnest, pinned on top of a podium. Lillian stared for a moment, but Lena shook her head. "I think I can-- got it!"

The bots clattered to the floor, completely deactivated. Jack let out a gasp and toppled forward, and Lillian and Lena both raced for him. Lena turned him over gently, and his eyes found her face, his hand seeking hers.

"Jack, you're gonna be fine," Lena promised, her voice thick and strangled. She looked at Lillian desperately, and Lillian nodded, smoothing back Jack's hair. "Just fine," Lena continued, rambling now. "I'm so sorry I didn't see it before, but Jack, I think we did it, I know you were innocent, I'm so sorry--"

"Lena," he coughed, his body rattling, interrupting her. "I'll be alright." He squeezed her hand weakly. "Thanks to you."

 

Lena wouldn’t see Kara.

"Don't be ridiculous," Lillian told her, shooing her out of the chair by Jack's hospital bed. "The poor girl is desperate to see you."

"I can't," Lena said, shaking her head.

"Why?" Jack asked, his voice still weak.

"Embarrassed?" Lillian guessed shrewdly. "You think you should have seen it or something?"

"Lena, the whole point is that no one would see it," Jack said, coughing lightly at the end.

Lena shot him a glare with no heat. "Don't think I won't stop coming to see you on all my lunch breaks, Spheer."

"I wish you'd see her instead," Jack shot back petulantly, sitting up a little straighter. "You have a company to run and a girl to woo. It's been three days, Lena. Stop thinking about your pride and think about how much you miss her."

"I am not wooing her," Lena sputtered, incredulous, and Jack and Lillian both laughed.

"Sure you aren't," Lillian said. "But in the meantime, go tell your friend thank you."

"I already did," Lena sniffed, and Lillian narrowed her eyes.

"Buying out a local flower shop doesn't count."

"She seems to think it does," Lena said disdainfully.

"Who seems to think what?" Lena whirled around, her lips parted as she saw Kara hovering awkwardly in the door.

"How much of that did you hear?" Lena asked, and Kara shrugged.

"Something about a flower shop?" Kara took a hesitant step into the room, proffering a bouquet of her own. "Speaking of, I got you these." Lena blushed, and Kara chuckled awkwardly, stepping past Lena to move towards Jack. Lena's cheeks were definitely on fire now, and Lillian and Jack were both holding back the giggles at the misunderstanding that seemed to have flown over Kara's head.

"What a gentleman," Jack teased, and Kara ducked her head, chuckling. "Thank you," Jack added sincerely, reaching for the flowers, smiling as he examined them. "And I'm glad you stopped by. I'm told I owe you a debt of thanks for more than just the flowers. It was your intrepid reporting that uncovered my dark side even I didn't know about."

Kara shuffled her feet. "Do you remember anything?" She asked, looking awkward at her own question, but Jack didn't take any offense.

"Bits and pieces," he said slowly. "I imagine more will come back eventually. I'm more frustrated that I didn't just not make it work, though, I made it evil."

"Jack," Lena said softly at the foot of the bed, "No."

Jack waved a hand. "I'll make my peace with it. I know it was taken over. But," he took a deep, cleansing breath and let it out. "Thank you, Kara Danvers. I can't thank you enough for bringing the monstrosity that lurked in the dark to light."

Kara watched him seriously, sincerely, for several long moments before smiling gently, sadly. "We all need help sometimes. I'm glad I could help you. And I'm sorry for assuming you were guilty at first."

"That's alright," Jack chuckled. "I would have too. And you did more than help," Jack promised, and he reached out to take Kara's hand. He squeezed weakly. "Your courage saved us all."

Kara squeezed back, careful and gentle. "Don't give up on healing people, okay?" She smiled. "We need more people like you." She let Jack's hand go, backing out slowly, eyes still on him. Her gaze darted to Lena, shy, before she shook her head minutely and turned to walk out the door. She paused at the doorframe, fingers tapping thoughtfully. She turned back after a moment, smiling at Jack, a little brighter. "You ever need anything investigated, call me," she told him, and Jack grinned.

"I just might," he said. "Lena can give you my number, Ms. Danvers."

"Oh please, it's just Kara."

"Kara," he said, smiling. "Then it's Jack to you."

Kara smiled once more at him, that face-scrunching smile that lit her up, and Lillian glanced at Lena, who was watching Kara quietly. "Jack," Kara said, and tapped the doorframe once more. "I have to go, but I'm glad you're doing better."

Kara slipped out the doorway backwards with one last poorly-disguised glance at Lena. They all watched her through the window, Kara's hand going to rub the back of her head as she walked down the hall, head down.

"Lena," Jack said delicately, and Lena looked at him. "I am honest-to-god going to explode. That was painful. That is the best woman you will ever meet in your life, she's completely gone for you and it's awkward for no fucking reason, get your fucking act together and go talk to her."

Lena's mouth opened. Closed. She looked at Lillian, and Lillian looked back at her. Lillian tilted her head as if to say what are you waiting for?

Lena took a breath. She batted a hand against Jack's calf under the blanket. And she ran out the door.

 

"Kara!"

Kara spun on her heel as Lena's voice chased after her. Kara watched in slight disbelief as Lena Luthor ran down the hall towards her. Well, more like a dignified jog that she made look elegant and refined while still hasty, but still. In the crowded hallway, she would have made Queen Clarisse proud.

Kara swung back around awkwardly as Lena got close, setting a much slower pace, feeling nothing but uncertainty. Lena hadn't reached out, hadn't said anything since their awkward please don't go see him, he's the one killing people chat, and then Kara knew Lena had definitely gone to see him. And then she had filled Kara's apartment with flowers. One card had been delivered with the massive order, Lena's elegant hand scripting out two words: Thank you.

But there hadn't been anything. Maybe the flowers were a gentle goodbye? But why was Lena chasing her down now? Kara hadn't meant to run into her at the hospital--well, okay, that was a total lie, she definitely had.

"Kara," Lena repeated, reaching her side, a little short on breath, and Kara glanced towards her. Lena seemed to be searching for words, and Kara waited as they kept walking. "I'm sorry," Lena said after a moment, and Kara watched their shoes  move against the floor. "I'm sorry," Lena repeated, "For not reaching out, for not telling you what happened, for not telling you that you helped." She reached out and caught Kara's arm, and Kara let herself be spun to face Lena, still facing the floor. "You did help," Lena promised, ducking to meet Kara's eyes, and Kara picked her head up. "Immensely," Lena added.

"I'm still sorry," Kara said, not sure what she was sorry for, scuffing her feet against the floor.

"For what?" Lena asked, like she was reading her thoughts. "I'm the one who should be sorry. I kicked you out and went radio silent on you when you brought a genuine issue to my attention."

"No, it wasn't like that," Kara said, shaking her head, but Lena was smiling.

"It could have been--would have been a lot worse if you weren't there," Lena said. "Doing your job. Like you were supposed to. Even when I'm basically the one that got you fired last time."

Kara frowned. "The alien registry article? No, Lena, you gave me an idea. I'm the one that ran with it."

"Still," Lena insisted. "I still feel bad."

"Well," Kara ventured, taking a slow step forward as she pivoted, feeling the need for motion. "You don't have to feel bad anymore."

"What do you mean?" Lena asked, falling into step beside her and walking a little closer.

"I sort of… got my job back," Kara said, smiling.

"What?" Lena yelped in excitement, and Kara grinned. "Kara, that's amazing!" Lena exclaimed, and before she knew it, Kara was being pulled in for a hug. "Congratulations," Lena said, letting her go and smiling hugely. "You deserve it."

"Thanks," Kara said, grinning bashfully under Lena's attention. "Speaking of thank you's, it seems someone couldn’t find an office to find flowers to send this time."

"Really?" Lena's lips pursed in mock thought. "How incompetent of them."

"Honestly," Kara huffed, stomach flipping in joy at the fake frown on Lena's face. "I've been giving them out to all my neighbors instead of coworkers this time. It's gotten me a couple casseroles from the old ladies on the second floor, though."

Lena laughed, bright and loud in the hospital corridor. "Well then I guess I should say you're welcome instead of I'm sorry."

Kara glanced at her, feeling shy again. "You didn't have to, you know."

"Yeah," Lena said, just as soft as the first time she said those words. "I did."

Kara felt a blush rising on her neck. "You should, uh," she said, rubbing at her neck with a sleeve pulled over her fingers, and Lena's eyes lingered on her hand, "You should get back to them."

Lena bit her lip, looking halfway regretful but still smiling. "Yeah, I guess I should." Lena was still watching her as they walked. "But we should have dinner tonight."

"Yeah?" Kara asked, feeling her stomach flip. "Will your mom be there?"

"If you want her to be," Lena said, smiling. "But I'll be the one cooking no matter what."

"Will Jack be there?"

"Are you trying to find all the embarrassing stories about me?" Lena asked, looking bemused, and Kara felt warm all over.

"Maybe," Kara said, holding up her hands and grinning. "Maybe I just like the people in your life."

Lena smiled widely. "Alright, Ms. Danvers. I'll cook, we can bring it over and eat it here, if you like. Jack won't be discharged for another couple days."

Kara felt a steady warmth seeping through her at the prospect, a lightness at Lena's renewed attentions. "Sounds perfect," she promised. "I'll come over after work and help?"

Lena snorted. "If by help, you mean bring dessert and eat half of it and talk to me while I cook, then yeah, you can come over and help."

"Hey!" Kara protested, laughing with her. "I'm not that bad!"

Lena was chuckling shamelessly. "Yes, you are, and it's wonderful." Lena pulled her into another hug, wonderful and tight and warm. "But I'll see you tonight."

 

Lena answered the door that night with an apron and a smile. She pulled the door open for Kara, eyes watching her with something Kara couldn't put her finger on. Something had changed, Kara thought. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she and Lena were closer. Some barrier had fallen in the space between the hospital visit and now. Maybe it was Lena realizing she really did want Kara in her life after those few days of absence, or that she really could trust Kara after everything with Jack.

Either way, Kara would take it.

"What've you brought me, Ms. Danvers?" Lena asked, closing the door behind her and leading the way to the island counter.

Kara dropped her spoils on the surface and spread her hands on either side of it, looking Lena in the eye. "Cherry pie with a side of chocolate cake."

Lena forcibly bit down on a laugh. "You know Jack's not eating that much, right? I know you can put away a lot, but do those flavors even go together?"

"I dare you to try a bite of both at the same time," Kara said, not breaking eye contact, and Lena straightened, spine stiffening.

"At the same time?" she asked, and Kara grinned. "Give me the forks."

Lena turned to open the silverware drawer, pulling out two forks with a flourish while Kara pulled the lids off the containers. They each took a careful half-bite off both, balanced precariously on their forks. "No, wait," Lena said, "We have to do this shot style, here, interlocking the elbows--" Kara giggled and twined her arm through Lena's and looped it back to her own mouth, eyes on her fork. "Ready?" Lena asked, and Kara nodded. "Drink," Lena commanded, and Kara tried hard not to laugh as they both took the bite.

"Whoa," Kara said, eyes widening, and Lena giggled, hand over her mouth as she pulled her arm out of Kara's. "That's--"

"Actually not bad," Lena said thoughtfully, and Kara stared incredulously.

"Freaking incredible, I think you mean," Kara corrected her, and Lena's smile widened.

"Tolerable," She corrected.

"Amazing."

"Manageable."

"Wondrous."

"Acceptable."

Kara glared. "Don't diss my invention, Luthor. Not all of us have seventeen patents, but we make do."

Lena spluttered. "I do not have seventeen patents!"

"No?" Kara asked, pulling out her phone. "Hey Siri--"

"That's enough of that," Lena said hastily, swiping the phone out of her hand. "Sit. I haven't even started dinner beyond basic prep."

Kara chuckled and sat, picking up her abandoned fork and pulling the cake and pie towards her. "Are you still not allowing me to help cook?" she asked, taking another bite of both and moaning at the taste. Lena paused for a moment. "What?" Kara asked.

"You should cut pieces out of those," Lena said, pulling a plate out. "Or cut half off of each. Make it less obvious you were snacking when we get there."

"I'm not snacking," Kara sniffed disdainfully. "I'm pregaming."

Lena rolled her eyes and held up her hands. "My bad. And no. You are not allowed to help. I'm not even sure you can hold a conversation right now with that deadly combo in front of you."

"I am perfectly capable of multitasking," Kara informed her, taking the proffered knife and slicing each dessert in half, transferring them to her plate. "Just because I haven't proved myself to you yet doesn't mean that I can't."

Lena's laugh lit up the kitchen, and continued to until they left, boxing up the food to take to the hospital. "How'd you get here, anyway?" Lena asked, sliding out of the driver's seat as they arrived at the hospital. "You live on like the opposite end of town."

"National City has great public transportation," Kara said breezily, pulling the containers into her arms. "And I love walking."

"Ugh," Lena said, faking a shiver. "I could do without parking, but I don't think I'd do well on buses. I always take the wrong one."

"Rich people problems," Kara said, mock-disdainfully, rolling her eyes as they stepped into the elevator. "Does your butt hurt sometimes too?" Lena looked at her in question. "When you sit on your wallet," Kara clarified, grinning. "Because your wallet is too fat."

Lena burst out laughing. "Not in the twenty-first century, it doesn't. Everything's digital."

Kara laughed as well. She was still chuckling when they arrived at Jack's hospital room. Jack brightened as they walked in, breaking off whatever he was saying to Lillian. "The merry band arrives!" Jack said cheerily. "Welcome back to my mancave."

Lena rolled her eyes. "As if your mancave would ever exist not smelling of expensive cologne."

"At least it's expensive, love," Jack said, winking, and Lena snorted, moving to kiss Lillian's cheek. "What have you brought us?" Jack asked. "Anything has to be better than hospital food."

"Preach," Kara muttered, depositing the boxes on the table.

Jack raised his eyebrows interestedly. "You've spent time in the hospital, Ms. Danvers?" Kara eyed him warily, and Jack amended, "Kara."

"Not me personally," she said, pulling a chair towards her. "But a number of visits. A particularly memorable one my sophomore year of high school." She shivered at the memory. "I sort of… broke my boyfriend's nose. Twice."

"What?" Lena spluttered, looking half-delighted at this information. The other half of her expression was something Kara couldn't pin down, but Lillian and Jack both had a knowing expression that also meant nothing to Kara. "Yeah, I'm definitely going to need that full story," Lena told her, pulling the lids off the food and handing out forks.

Kara chuckled awkwardly. "Alex probably remembers more of it," she said, flashing a smile at Jack's appreciative moan as he dug into the food. "I've definitely repressed the memory."

"I'll call Alex," Lena promised. "But in the meantime, I need more details than that."

"Wrong angle?" Kara tried, shrugging, wincing at the memory even now. Alex had looked briefly ill when they had come helplessly into her room, blood streaming out Johnny's nose and Kara close to tears. Alex had been studying for med school by that point, and had had plenty of lessons from Jeremiah besides on things she might need to know living with Kara. Apparently, resetting a nose was one of them. Alex had stoically reset his nose before driving them to the hospital, Eliza out of the house at the time.

Johnny had looked at her with these puppy dog eyes, promising he was fine, there was a vague memory of him asking for another kiss as he sat down on the hospital bed before being wheeled in, and Kara being so stressed that she heard another crack when she relented and kissed him again. It had maybe caused a small amount of hyperventilation.

Johnny hadn't lasted long after a couple shared hospital meals and a nose splint. Kara still felt wracked with guilt every time she looked at him, and he was way too gone on her to work out their problems like adults. 

Lillian was looking at her now with a gentle kind of pity, and Kara flushed under the attention, ducking her head away from Lena and Jack's matching delighted grins and Lillian's acceptance. "Alex reset it," Kara muttered. "It broke again when we made it to the hospital, because, uh," Nope. Not sharing the second part. "Reasons," Kara finished lamely, and looked up to see Lena's grin.

"Reasons," Lena echoed, and oh, despite the topic being bad, Kara liked when Lena used that tone. "Okay," Lena said, still fighting a laugh for Kara's sake. "Could happen to anyone, I guess."

No, it couldn't, Kara thought, but didn't say anything. "Yep," she squeaked.

"We all have skeletons in our closet," Lillian said calmly, and Kara looked at her gratefully. "I seem to remember a certain thirteen-year-old crying at our dinner table once."

Jack flushed. "I thought we agreed not to talk about that," he said stiffly. "It was traumatic."

"You get over trauma by facing it," Lena said idly, zeroed in on him now, playing with her container of food.

"That seems like bullshit," Jack said grumpily, and Lena shrugged.

"Go to a shrink then."

Jack glared. "Fine. I very much did cry, but it was in the bathroom before dessert, not in front of the men of the Luthor household, thank you very much. They made fun of my hair and my huge crush on Lena and told me I'd never be worthy of her."

Lena snorted again, and Kara watched, spellbound. "That's all they said? They were worse every Tuesday night."

"Learning you'll never be enough for Lena is a hard thing to come to terms with," Jack shot back. "They broke my heart that night!"

"You got over it," Lena pointed out. "Enough to ask me out every time you saw me from when we were sixteen until I told you I was gay."

She's gay.

The information splashed over Kara like a shock of warm water, entirely welcome, for some reason, but leaving her incredibly aware of nothing but the fact. Lillian was watching her with a little smile that said she knew entirely too much, and Lena was determinedly not looking at her. Kara ducked her head and poked at her own dish, trying not to show that a whole new world of thoughts were screaming for attention in her mind.

"It still sucked," Jack was saying, looking marginally good-natured about the recollection by now.

Lena rolled her eyes. "I'm so sorry."

"I'll get over it," he said, grinning. "But you know what would help me get over it faster? If Lillian told the story of--"

"Nope," Lena cut him off. "I will take this dinner and I will leave. I think it's time for someone else's embarrassing stories right now. Kara?"

"What?" Kara said, jerking her head up. "No way. I literally just told one."

"But you tell stories better than anyone here," Lena said, and her eyes widened a fraction, and damn she was good at this. "You're a reporter at a national news organization." Lillian chuckled and Jack grinned deviously as Lena began to work her magic. "Every time you tell a story, you practice your craft. Plus," Lena said, picking at her dish and flicking an eyebrow up in an unfairly seductive gesture, "You did mention a story about Eliza visiting CatCo I've been dying to hear for forever…"

Kara glared. "Do not make me relive that. Do not."

Lena looked at her fully, and Kara resisted a shiver. Something had just changed. Right there. In the last minute. She still felt warm and secure, but there was something else, too. An edge. And she liked it. "Please?" Lena tried.

Kara closed her eyes. Fuck, this was what love felt like, wasn't it? She'd do anything Lena asked, with Lena's oldest friend and her mom right there.

Kara sighed. "This does not leave this room," she said warningly, and Jack cheered while Lena and Lillian exchanged matching grins. Kara groaned, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Okay, so it was like maybe a year before I got promoted to reporter. Eliza my adoptive mom was coming in for a visit, and she like, she came up just to see the floor to pick me up for lunch, we were going out, and it was like…" Kara shivered as the memory of Cat biting at the end of her sunglasses as she shook Eliza's hand with a contemplative look came back over her, Cat's oh yes, Kara has been just wonderful, with a side glance at Kara as she intentionally pronounced her name correctly.

"It was like," Jack prompted. "Wait, Cat as in Cat Grant?" He realized abruptly.

"I was her personal assistant for three years," Kara told him, and Jack gaped. Kara smiled wryly. "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably true. But she's more than what they say. I learned so much from her. But her meeting my adoptive mother?" Kara shivered. "I specifically told Eliza to come at a time when she wouldn’t meet Cat, but Cat came back from an appointment early and ran into her. The look she gave her…" Kara shook her head. "I thought Cat was going to flay me alive for inviting my mom to work, but she just gave this devilish grin and started singing my praises. Loudly," Kara added. "I think half the floor heard and stopped and stared. It was even worse."

"Ohh," Lena said sympathetically, trying not to laugh. "That is even worse."

"Eliza didn’t really know what to do. I couldn’t just say that she wasn't my mom or anything, you know, I was so panicked. It only lasted maybe half a minute before thankfully I got a phone call, but it was…" Kara shivered. "One of the most harrowing experiences of my life. The looks Cat gave me that whole week afterwards…"

"Looks like what?" Jack asked.

Kara shrugged, uncomfortable. "The same sort of looks she gave me that month surrounding when I dated her son. I could never figure it out--"

"You dated Cat Grant's son?" Lena and Jack spluttered in unison, voices raised, and Kara flinched.

"Let the girl breathe," Lillian commanded, and Lena and Jack both sat back, chastised.

Kara groaned. "I was really probably not supposed to let that slip," she said, pinching the bridge of her nose again. "Not Carter, if that's what you're thinking. I babysat him a couple times though, he crushed me in Settlers of Catan."

"Nuh uh," Lena said, completely enthralled. "Go back to the part where you dated your boss's son." Kara eyed her warily, and Lena softened. "Kara, we all know what it's like to have our names dragged through the mud, or personally, be the half-blood child of a tycoon. Cat's secrets are safe with us. Promise."

"Scout's honor," Jack said solemnly, winking at Kara, eyes sparkling kindly, and Lillian nodded, looking more reassuring than ever.

Kara sighed. "Adam. He's her older son. She's only got the two." Kara tilted her head. "As far as I know. But that's not important. Long story short, Adam came to town, and I met him without realizing he was her son at first, and then I sort of got caught in the middle of them and got to know him, but we broke up when I got kidnapped and realized I didn't have the space in my life for someone right then--what?" They were all staring at her, open-mouthed. "What'd I say?"

"You got kidnapped?" Lillian asked, alarmed.

"Oh," Kara said, chuckling. "Yeah. By Bizarro. Did you guys see the news when Bizarro came up? She was like that alternate m--alternate Supergirl clone gone wrong thing? Really said, actually. It was just this misunderstanding. I was totally fine." She waved her hand to prove it was nothing.

Lena's lips were parted in shock. "What do you mean it's fine?" she all but hissed. "How'd you get out?"

"Alex is FBI," Kara said, raising an eyebrow. "She made sure I can take care of myself. And she showed up with a whole team. Honestly, it was less than twenty minutes."

"Are you okay?" Jack asked. "I mean, like--"

"I'm fine," Kara promised. "It was like, over a year ago anyway."

"Is there anything else entirely shocking you'd like to tell us about?" Lena asked, eyes still glued to Kara. "Any other kidnappings or scandalous affairs? Secret missions you've accompanied your sister on, perhaps? Other planets you've visited?" Kara felt her jaw tighten and she faced her food again. It was a joke, don't answer those seriously, don't, don't, don't, don't don't don't do not do not--

"None off the top of my head," Kara joked weakly. "I'd love to go to Mars, though." She wiggled her eyebrows enticingly. "I'm sitting in a room with two of the biggest tech moguls in the world, though. If anyone other than NASA could make that happen, it's you two. Any plans?"

Jack laughed. "I like you, Kara Danvers. If I ever make a space program, I'll make sure you're on my cosmonaut list."

Lena rolled her eyes. "Try me again in twenty years."

Kara pulled out her phone, scrolling through her calendar. "In twenty years it'll be…. Let's see, twenty-forty? Twenty-thirty-eight? Hmm… New appointment… ask… Lena…about…space travel." Kara looked up with a triumphant grin to see Lena roll her eyes fondly. The warm, laughing conversation continued with Jack and Lillian exchanging quiet glances.

And so the night passed.

 

Chapter Text

Lillian rang the doorbell on a Saturday afternoon of her next visit only to have it answered by Kara.

"Lillian!" Kara said brightly, opening the door wider and hugging her warmly, sliding her bag out of her hand smoothly. "It's so good to see you."

"You too, Kara," Lillian returned sincerely, not missing the way Kara trotted off to deposit her bag in Lena's guest bedroom without instruction. She raised an eyebrow at Lena, who shrugged in a I don't really know what to make of it either type of way.

"You're early," was all Lena said out loud her tone warm and a happy kind of surprised, moving to wrap her arms around Lillian, squeezing tight on her tiptoes.

"I am," Lillian agreed. "My meetings finished early and I had my flight moved. I can go if you need…"

Lena rolled her eyes. "You're not going anywhere. Sit, I'll get you a drink."

"So, Lillian," Kara said, walking back in to flop dramatically on the couch, her eyes widening momentarily as the springs creaked. She covered smoothly. "Please tell me you know how to beat your daughter at chess."

Lillian let out a bark of laughter, accepting a glass of wine from Lena as she sat down in Lena's favorite chair and Lena said nothing. "Lena was besting supercomputers in chess by the time she was five. I may have taught her, but never assume I could beat her. The last time she lost, she was four."

Kara's lips twisted to the side in displeasure. "All streaks can be broken."

Lillian bit back a smile at the petulant look. "Keep trying, dear. I can give you the strategy books she devoured as a child on my next visit if you like, but unless you dedicate countless hours with her as your tutor, I'm afraid you'll spend the rest of your life losing to her."

Kara's eyes cut to Lena, who was perched on the arm of Lillian's chair, elegant but pressing warmly into Lillian's side. Kara quirked a smile. "I think I'll suffer, then. I might surprise her someday, though."

"You always do," Lena smiled.

Lillian fought a sigh and resigned to text Jack. She couldn’t believe they weren't engaged already.

"So," Kara said, focusing on the previously abandoned chess board on the coffee table. She made a move that seemed halfway between haphazard and previously calculated, and Lena leaned forward to examine it as Kara sat back. "Any special occasion for visiting this time, or you just couldn't stay away from my charms?"

Kara winked, and Lillian smiled back at her, enjoying Kara's ease in her presence. Lena hummed as she took out Kara's rook, leaning back and clearly enjoying the dismay crossing Kara's face. "Flirting with my mother, Danvers? That's more of your sister-in-law's style, isn't it?"

Kara bit her lip distractedly as she toyed with her queen, and only addressed part of Lena's callout. "They're not married yet. Three and a half more weeks."

"Coming up, though, isn't it?" Lillian asked, rolling the stem of her wineglass. "How's the planning coming along?"

Kara moved her queen and winced as she did it, like she knew Lena was going to murder her for the mistake, but focused back on Lillian, one eye still on the chessboard as Lena leaned forward. "They're still trying to find the perfect venue, but nearly everything else is coming along really well. I'd say they're 80% of the way done."

"They move fast," Lillian commented, impressed. "How big is the wedding?"

"The 'biggest, gayest wedding National City has ever seen,'" Kara said, holding up air quotes and grinning. "Probably not the biggest, but certainly the biggest gay one. And yeah, the lesbian U-Haul jokes really make themselves some days when it comes to Alex and Maggie. It's made the planning super fun--seriously?"

"You knew I was going to do it as soon as you made that move, you can't even blame me for that," Lena shot back, completely unaffected by Kara's moan as she captured her queen. "Check, by the way." Kara groaned. She moved her bishop in to protect her king, and Lena promptly took that out of the way too. "Checkmate," Lena announced triumphantly.

Kara closed her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose in defeat. Lena giggled, standing and scratching the back of Kara's head on her way to the kitchen to refill her glass. Kara laid down on the couch, hands pressed to the side of her head. "I can't believe I didn't see that," she muttered.

Lena laughed again, returning and tapping at her feet. Kara lifted her legs without opening her eyes, and Lena sat down, Kara's legs following to prop on her lap. Lena patted her shins. "I'm sure you'll see your next defeat coming," she promised, her tone sweet and laced with an evil kind of victory that was about as evil as Lena ever got.

Kara opened her eyes to narrow them in a glare at Lena, who smiled serenely back. Kara closed them again, leaning back against the pillows. "This daughter of yours is a real monster, Lillian," Kara groaned. "Absolute terror."

Lena glanced at Lillian quickly, afraid of the words triggering the bad memories that Lillian associated with the children she had raised being world-dominators--but Lillian hadn't felt anything other than warmth at the words. Something about the way Kara had phrased it, the love with which she had said it, had washed away all the fear. Lillian chuckled dryly in reply. "Evil to her core," she agreed, and Kara opened her eyes to grin over at Lillian, who winked.

Predictably Kara's phone rang. She scrambled to answer it with a rushed sorry, just a sec, sorry, yanking her feet off Lena's lap and jumping off the couch to answer. "Alex? What's up? …there's a what?" she sighed. "And you need… okay, okay, yeah. Two seconds." Kara turned back around, entirely apologetic. "I'm so sorry. I have--"

"By all means," Lena said, waving an airy hand, her back to Kara. Lillian could see the hurt in her eyes though. The continual letdown, the only real downside that came with being friends with Kara, came with caring about her. The way Kara kept leaving. She always came back, but that didn't mean she hadn't left in the first place. And that Lena was never told why.

Kara winced, like she knew it was hurting and she hated it. "I'm sorry," Kara repeated. "I'll be back for dinner, if you want me? I can bring something--"

Lillian cut in smoothly, sensing Lena was going to make a choked affirmation only to hurt herself more without processing her own emotions. "Kara dear, I'm so sorry, but Lena and I have some business-related things to catch up on I don't think you want to be here for. Raincheck?"

Kara's mouth pulled down at the corners, upset but understanding, and Lillian was glad Lena wasn't looking at her, was spinning a white knight chess piece in her fingers instead. "Of course," Kara said, her answer prim and polite and practiced and sincere, and honestly, Lillian didn't understand her but she knew there was something else going on here. "Of course. Have a lovely evening. I'll text you?" Her voice tinged up in question, and she looked at Lena hopefully as she picked up her jacket off the couch, jammed her feet into her shoes.

Lena's expression was flawlessly forgiving and gave no hint of displeasure. "Of course," she said smoothly.

"Okay," Kara said, still looking upset. "I'll see you, then." She flashed a smile at Lillian and bent down to press a kiss to Lena's hair--Lillian felt her eyes go wide--and she was gone.

Lillian waited until the door had closed before she looked at Lena carefully, like making sure she wasn't spooking at a hurt animal. Lena looked up at her, closed her eyes, and shook her head. "Every time," Lena muttered bitterly, picking up her wineglass and draining it in one. She stood up and stalked to the kitchen, setting her glass down in the sink, gripping the counter and breathing heavily. "I shouldn't be this upset."

"You're allowed to be," Lillian said gently. "I would be."

"You would?" Lena's voice was fragile, and Lillian was smacked in the face, again, with the fact that Lena had never really dated, not really.

"I would," Lillian promised.

Lena took a shaky breath. "She doesn't do this every time. She's always sad to go. But she does go. And it seems like every time we're on the verge, like we're getting closer, she goes. She pulls back. Like she wants the same thing I do but she won't let herself have it. And if she would just talk to me--"

Lena cut herself off. Lillian watched her, heart breaking for her. "Lena," she whispered. "Come here."

Lena turned to her with tear-filled eyes, her twenty-six-year-old CEO daughter, the most elegant and graceful and wonderful woman in the world, crying over her crush. Lillian opened her arms, and Lena huffed, half a laugh that didn't quite get there. Lena sat down carefully in her lap and Lillian wrapped her arms around her. "Let it out," Lillian instructed gently. "I'm told it's healthy."

That one got Lena to laugh. As did Lillian over dinner, when they ordered a pizza and sat watching Netflix, curled together on the couch, thoughts of a certain heartbreaker in pastel far away. Lillian pushed down her quiet fury at Kara for the night. She worked doubly hard to push it down when Lena bit her lip at Kara's apology text.

Lena answered the text without letting a minute go by. Lillian resolved to talk to Kara.

 

Lillian was fairly positive she wasn't supposed to do this. But several fathers in the tv shows or movies Lena had watched with her on Netflix had intimidated the young men their daughters had gone out with, so Lillian figured she was on steady footing.

Lillian stayed with Kara for a moment in the restaurant when they had brunch the next day and Lena went off to the office to pick up a few things. "Kara," she started with calmly, and Kara looked up at her, eyes bright and trusting, and Lillian hated to do this to this girl who she loved too, but Lena came first. Lena would always come first.

"What's up?" Kara asked, rubbing her napkin against a spot in the table.

"I wanted to talk to you about something," Lillian started. She had no idea how to do this without scaring the pants off Kara, something she knew Lena wouldn’t appreciate. She knew Lena wouldn't appreciate this at all, actually, but Lillian didn't care. Not after she had cried in her arms the other night. "About a habit of yours, actually." Kara raised her eyebrows in question. "The way you often have to leave abruptly," Lillian clarified, and Kara's expression shifted minutely, alarm in her eyes.

"My family has… special needs," Kara said evasively.

"I had no idea," Lillian said, not entirely surprised. "And by my guess, neither does Lena." Kara's jaw clenched, and Lillian softened slightly. "Kara," she said quietly, and Kara looked her in the eyes, defensive and apologetic and upset all at once. "You don't owe people the minute details of your life, or the big ones, for that matter. But I think it would be extremely beneficial to any relationships you are trying to uphold that you give them a peek behind the curtain every now and again." Lillian leaned closer, evasive language dropped. "If you're going to be in my daughter's life, something I think we both want very much, then I ask that you be honest enough with her to not leave her wondering if you really do want to be in it."

Kara spluttered. "Of course I do!"

"I don't doubt that," Lillian said calmly. "I don't doubt you. I never have. But Lena's been abandoned and betrayed and tossed aside by many people, and I'm telling you now that you need to show her you won't do that if you expect to maintain what you have." Lillian picked up her purse and stood. "A show of honesty, no matter how small, would go a long way to securing that." She paused after taking a step out, considering. "And we never had this conversation."

 

Kara was more nervous than Lena had ever seen her.

Lena let her into the apartment the afternoon after they had had lunch, and Kara paced right past her, wringing her hands and already talking. "Okay so I have to tell you something, and I understand any way you react, and if you want me to leave, I totally will. But despite all the people telling me not to tell anyone, I've owed you this truth for a really long time and it's way past due but I always just thought you of all people had enough on your plate without this of all things--"

"Kara," Lena said, projecting a false calm forcibly.

Kara took a deep breath as Lena closed the door carefully behind her. "Sorry."

"What's going on?"

Kara bit her lip, hands shoved deep in her pockets, swaying side to side on her feet, her face miserable and nervous in equal measure. "I trust you," Kara said. "Please know that. This was never about not trusting you."

"Kara, we've been friends for over a year, what's going on?"

Kara took one more deep breath and pulled her hands out of her pockets. She hung her head for a moment, her hands moving at the top button of her shirt. Lena frowned, Kara wasn't--oh.

"I'm Supergirl."

Lena stepped closer in a trance, reaching out. Her hands pulled away Kara's glasses, pulled down her pony tail. Kara watched her silently. Lena's fingers found the top of the crest on the suit, traced along an inch of the edge in wonder. "Of course," she breathed. Kara frowned. "I should have seen it," Lena murmured, eyes tracking upwards. She touched the scar on Kara's forehead, and Kara's eyes lightened with understanding. Lena didn't have the same relationship with Supergirl, but she'd been there often enough.

"I'm sorry," Kara whispered. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, I'm sorry about all the times I ran out--oh."

Lena's arms had wrapped around her, tight, and was hanging on for dear life. "Thank you," Lena said into her shoulder. Kara's arms wrapped around her slowly, hesitantly, like she wasn't sure it was a trap or not. "Thank you, for all the times you ran out. To save people. To keep us safe. For all the times you saved me. Jack, all of us. Thank you."

Kara tightened her hold and slowly let Lena take a little more of the weight off her shoulders.

 

Lillian noticed something was lighter this time. Lillian walked in the door the evening after she had had a little chat with Kara, hearing Lena tell her to just keep stirring and don't you dare burn it, smiling wide and uninhibited when she saw Lillian. "Hey! I'm trying to teach Kara to make pizza, but I made the mistake of trying homemade marinara with her, hope you weren't too hungry."

"It was just a couple meetings, I think I'll survive," Lillian said, pulling off her coat. "Besides, I have every faith in Kara."

Kara looked over at her with a small smile. One that was reserved, like she wasn't sure where she stood with Lillian now. But the light in her eyes when she looked at Lena was freer than Lillian had ever seen it. "Thanks," Kara said softly. She nudged Lena with her hip. "See, someone trusts me."

Lena raised an eyebrow, full of unsaid things that Kara seemed to understand. Kara rolled her eyes, blushing slightly. Lena smiled and pushed her back with her hip. Interesting.

Interesting enough that after another forty-five minutes of easy banter and Lillian sharing about her day, the two of them giggling at unexplained things like when Lena tasted the marinara and declared it to be super, Kara leaned over the counter towards Lillian when Lena went to the bathroom. "I, uh, Lena and I had a chat."

Lillian raised an eyebrow. "And how did it go?"

"I told her the things I felt like I couldn’t earlier. I had wanted to tell her for a long time, really, I guess I just needed the push to remind me it was going to be better this way. And it is. It brought us closer and I'm not hiding anymore, and things are so much better." Kara cocked her head, listening for something Lillian couldn't hear. "And I wanted to say thank you, for that."

"I'm glad it all worked out," Lillian said sincerely.

Lena walked back in the room just as Kara's phone rang. Kara picked it up with a glare at the offending device the usual garble on the other side, and Kara looked apologetically at Lena, but Lena smiled without a trace of the hurt that usually plagued her. "Back in twenty?" Kara tried. "Quick holdup."

"Drive safe," Lena said with a secret smile, and Kara rolled her eyes to fight a laugh. "The pizza will be out of the oven by then, go."

"Thanks," Kara said, so softly and so clearly meant for only Lena that Lillian almost wished she hadn't heard it. And without grabbing her coat, Kara was gone.

Lillian raised an eyebrow at Lena, who was watching the door with an expression that hid absolutely nothing. Lena quirked a smile at her. "We had a chat," Lena said simply. "I hope she's able to let you in on it someday, but it's not all up to her. But I really appreciate knowing."

"As long as you're happy," Lillian said, resigning herself to the darkness, happily, so long as Lena could live in the light. "As long as you trust her."

"More than anyone," Lena said quietly, shaking her head. "I never thought I'd get so lucky."

Lillian pushed down the voice in her head begging Lena to ask Kara out. Lena would get there on her own in the next--hmm, Lillian would give it two weeks--or else Lillian would have a chat with her next.

Kara blew back in with a hug that swept Lena off her feet with a laugh, windswept hair, crooked glasses, and an exclamation of delight at the pizza coming out of the oven. Well, the four pizzas. Kara was only marginally upset that they had cleaned the kitchen without her.

Lillian pushed the mental deadline to ten days. Someone who wanted to clean the mess she had helped make needed to be taken off the market yesterday.

 

 

Chapter Text

Lillian was trying very, very hard to be good.

"Being good means not setting up your daughter and her best friend on a date without their permission," Lillian chanted to herself. "It means keeping your mouth shut." Her phone rang, and she picked up with a steadying breath, swiping on Lena's silly selfie of a contact photo. "Hello, dear."

"You knew," came the accusatory greeting through the phone. Lillian paused in hesitation. Lena sounded like she was smiling, like she was breathless.

"Is this what I think it is?"

"You knew Kara was going to ask me out," Lena clarified, and Lillian breathed a sigh of relief.

"Oh, hallelujah. Finally."

"Finally?"

"Finally," Lillian confirmed. "I'm so proud of her. What'd she say?"

"She asked if I wanted to go to the carnival on Saturday. And she was so nervous the whole time, I was so confused, but then she coughed several times and said as a date."

"Mm," Lillian said noncommittally. "And you said yes?"

"Obviously," Lena huffed.

"Obviously," Lillian mocked, and if her daughter's glare could be heard through the phone, it would.

 

 

 

The carnival started out awkward. There was no other way to put it.

Lena didn't mind. She was too busy trying not to laugh.

Kara had specifically insisted on informal clothing ("if you show up wearing a blazer I will send you back to change, Lena, I mean it--") and was wearing jeans and a t shirt herself. She looked comfortable, casual, her hair in a slightly messy ponytail, and she kept fiddling with her glasses and she was adorable.

"Stop staring at me."

Lena grinned at her. "You're the one who asked me out. Didn't you want me to?"

Kara huffed, still walking through the crowded carnival, slipping through the people easily and looking around intently, not looking at Lena. "You're still staring," she mumbled, barely audible over the noise.

Lena laughed for real. "Fine, I'll stop staring."

"Thank you."

"You just look so cute," Lena explained, and watched the back of Kara's neck turn red. "I can't help it."

"Yeah, well," Kara said, gesturing futilely. "You look amazing and you don't see me staring like a creep."

"I'm not sure which part of that to be most offended by," Lena said, suppressing a smile as Kara's nerves worked against her.

Kara groaned and stopped dead, spinning to face Lena. "Sorry. I'm nervous."

"I can tell," Lena said, smiling up at her. The late afternoon sunlight was making Kara's hair glow gold and red she'd never seen anything more beautiful. Kara bit her lip, looking apologetic. "Darling," Lena said softly, taking pity on her, "It's just me. Breathe."

Kara took a rather forced deep breath, shoulders going up and down comically. Lena tried really, really hard not to laugh at her. Kara took another deep breath, then another, then another. She twisted her lips in a thoughtful expression at Lena, then took her glasses off, stepping closer slipping them in Lena's jacket pocket, not wearing one of her own. "That's better," she said, her voice quiet in the surprising intimacy of the moment, the carnival swirling around them. "You know all of me. I shouldn’t be hiding with you."

Lena tilted her head. "I didn't think you were hiding with me. From the crowd, maybe."

Kara shrugged. "It's crowded. I can be a Zor-El and not a Danvers right now. I might leave the cape at home, though." She glanced up at Lena to wink, and Lena felt a flush of warmth.

"I'll have you know I quite like the cape," Lena told her. "And the glasses. But this middle ground might just be my favorite version of you." Kara looked at her, a question in her eyes. "Because it's the truest," Lena clarified. "You're not hiding at all."

Kara's megawatt grin was nearly too wide for her face. She suppressed it after a moment, pressing her lips together. "Stop saying perfect things right now," she mumbled. "I have a plan for this evening to be the stereotypical first date and if you keep doing that I'm going to ruin it and kiss you early."

Lena felt her heart leap. "I don't object to that," she pointed out quickly.

Kara quirked an eyebrow, nerves bleeding away. "Let the anticipation build."

Lena rolled her eyes to fight the disappointment and let Kara lead her away without protest.

Kara did kiss her that night. On the ferris wheel, after Lena raised a teasing eyebrow and asked if this was a Love Simon reenactment and--oh. Kara was kissing her. It wasn't fireworks or the world shifting, but it was warm and full of love and Lena didn't want it to end. She chased Kara's lips and kissed her again, and again, and again. Each moment felt better than the last.

Moments like Kara leaning across the picnic table, ignoring the funnel cake and the french fries and the cheeseburger and kissing Lena right there, in front of everyone. Moments like Kara holding her hand on the way to the parking lot and slipping her in between cars, laughing and pressing Lena up against the tailgate of her car, kissing her soundly again. Like Lena's phone vibrating with a call from work and firmly pressing ignore, Kara's eyebrows raising appreciatively and kissing her again, just for that.

Lena could get used to this, she thought as Kara drove them out with one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding Lena's. Kara hissed out an expletive and yanked her hand from Lena's to just barely make their turn at one point, and Lena's laugh filled the car as Kara turned red. She could really, really get used to each moment being better than the last.

 

 

Lillian was up waiting.

She checked the ringer on her phone to make sure it was up loud for the fifteenth time and huffed, swirling her wineglass in her fingers impatiently. It was Saturday night, and nearly midnight. Their date should be over by now. And she was guessing Kara was going to be a gentleman and drop Lena off, not stay the night. Not yet.

The news wasn't distracting enough. Blueprints Lena had sent over of the latest medical equipment L-Corp was fidgeting with just looked like Lena's childhood drawings to her mind at this point. And Lillian knew, she knew, she shouldn't be so worked up over her daughter's romance (or lack thereof), but she had a good feeling about Kara. Lena had dated several different girls in college, usually for about a week each, called her every time, but there was always this nervousness, this cautiousness, this I-don't-know-ness. Even that girl she saw for a whole month and a half during her Masters program, she always hesitated before talking about her. So now, Lillian was trying very hard not to jump the gun here, but she caught herself playing with the words Kara Luthor and Lena Danvers the other day, trying to decide which one sounded better.

(She was partial to Kara Luthor. She'd be an excellent asset to the family.)

(Not that Lillian wouldn't change her own damn name to Lillian Danvers if Lena decided to ditch the Luthor title altogether. She'd be sad, but it'd drown in the happiness of Lena finding happiness.)

(Actually, she--)

The phone rang, startling her out of her thoughts. Lillian jumped so badly she sloshed some of her wine onto her lap. Cursing, she picked it up and answered it blindly, only for it to be a telemarketer.

"What? No, I don't want--you shouldn't even have this number--I'm hanging up now," she snapped, "Have a nice night." The phone promptly rang again, and still despairing at the stain on her silk pajama pants, she answered this one too with a harsh "What?"

"Not the tone I was expecting," Lena's coolly amused voice drifted down the line.

Lillian let out her breath in a whoosh. "I'm sorry, darling, the telemarketers and the wine spills are at it again."

Lena chuckled sympathetically, "You poor thing."

"I think I'll survive," Lillian said dryly. "And what could be the reason for this late night call?"

"I had a date," Lena said, her voice lilting up melodiously. "With Kara."

"I know," Lillian imitated her tone, her heart singing. Lena had never, ever sounded this happy after a date. "How'd it go?"

"Hmm," Lena said, and there was the running of a faucet in the background. Lillian could nearly hear her smiling. Lena finally just sighed happily down the line, and there was a rustle and a muffled scream, like Lena had shrieked into the pillow happily like a twelve-year-old. There was a beeping from the phone, and Lillian obeyed the command to switch to FaceTime. Lena's happy face appeared on the screen, hair splayed out on the bed beneath her, cheeks flushed and looking younger and happier than she had since New Zealand.

One of Lena's hands covered her mouth absently, fingers tugging against her lower lip, and she smiled, her face radiant in its slightly-blurry connection. "Mom, it was amazing. I've never felt like this about anyone. She's so stupidly cute and she trusts me, and it's like, it's like nothing I've ever felt before. Like, like think of how much you love me, and then add romance." Lena made a face at her own comparison. "Ew. But you get the point, right?"

Lillian laughed, endeared by her highly-educated and brilliant daughter fumbling her words like a teenager again. "Yes, dear, I get the point. So it went that well?"

Lena nodded, her eyes a little distant. "She's so perfect. She was so nervous, and I was too but it was so funny, it was all I could do to not laugh at her. She loosened up after a while and we had that, that you know--" Lena bit her lip. "You remember that Hallmark movie we watched once in the beach house?" Lillian nodded. "It was like that. The perfect Hallmark first date. And then we couldn't stop laughing, we were just so happy, and it was just," Lena sighed happily, in perfect bliss. "So perfect."

 

 

Lillian enjoyed another month of phone calls after dates, the calls becoming more sporadic as Lena settled happily into her relationship. Lillian breathed easy. She could trust Kara not to hurt Lena.

 

 

"Hi," Lena said, pulling the door open with a breathless smile, and Kara felt the same.

"Hi."

"Get in here," Lena said, and reached out and yanked her inside. Kara's smile expanded as Lena shut the door behind her, pulling her to the couch and pushing her down. Lena's knees landed on either side of Kara's hips, her hands framing Kara's face. She paused for a moment. "Is this okay?"

Kara reached up and pulled Lena down closer to her. "I haven't seen you in days, this is very much more than okay." Lena smiled, relieved, and let Kara tug her down, but pulled back a moment before they touched. "What?" Kara asked, sitting up slightly.

"Lillian's coming with dinner when her meeting ends, we don't know when it will. You'll hear her coming?"

"Babe, I'm Supergirl. Relax. I got this." Lena rolled her eyes with an indulgent smile and let herself be pulled down. 

 

 

Lillian had been visiting for a few days, taking some meetings and the like. One of them ended early and she headed back to Lena's place with some takeout dinner, when she made her fatal mistake.

She forgot to knock.

She had a key! She lived here when she was visiting. She didn't need to knock. She knew Kara was there and Lena was home. Lena had texted her to come in whenever with the dinner--it was impossible to surprise Kara somehow, she had a nose like a bloodhound for food, often smelled takeout from down the hall.

Lillian walked in the door, half-looking at her phone and calling out "I brought Chinese, and yes, I made sure to get everything--oh. Oh my." She had looked up from her phone, and the two of them were sitting up hastily on the couch, half of Lena's lipstick on Kara's face, the pair of them both burning red. Kara's collar was disheveled and her shirt an extra few buttons undone and Lena's own lipstick appeared to be on her neck. Hair was staticky and a couch cushion was a suspiciously far distance away.

"Lillian!" Kara looked like a deer in the headlights, attempting to fix her hair and sneaking glances at Lena with growing horror.

Lena's foot jerked out and kicked Kara in the knee. Kara glanced at her and nodded. "I'm going to the bathroom."

Lena stood abruptly, following her. "Me too."

Lillian watched them go, Lena shoving at Kara's back and Lena's bedroom door shutting behind them both, entirely too amused, especially when she heard Kara's half-sheepish half-indignant I was distracted! echo from the bathroom.

 

 

They'd been dating for eight months, and Kara still ran out every now and again. They were more committed than ever, the pair of them still stupid cute, and that was the only thing that still bothered Lillian. Kara had hung out with Jack as the girlfriend, her cheeks in the photo from the night flaming red with embarrassment from Jack's gentle ribbing but her smile huge and genuine. The photo from the night Lena had met Alex as the girlfriend looked similar.

Lillian watched with narrowed eyes as Kara's phone buzzed. Kara glanced at a text, and pursed her lips, frowning. They were at a fancy dinner in a downtown restaurant, the three of them dressed up, a fourth chair conspicuously empty of Alex, Kara's sister having planned to be there but called away after the appetizers with a back off glare at Kara and a murmured I got this, stay.

Lena touched her arm quietly, and Kara's shoulders relaxed minutely under her touch, instantly, and oh, if Lillian wasn't already planning a wedding she certainly was now. "Do you need to take it?" Lena asked, and Kara frowned at her phone again.

"Alex didn't want me to, but--" Kara bit her lip, looking frustrated, before forcibly clearing her frown into a convincing smile. "Where were we? Lillian, you were mentioning you're getting published again? That's amazing!"

Lillian smiled warmly at Kara's genuine excitement for her, but then glanced at Lena. Lena's smile was lukewarm and concerned. "Kara," she said gently. Kara looked at her, a resignation in her eyes. "Ten minutes," Lena suggested quietly, and Kara deflated. "Twenty," Lena pushed. "We're alright. Go make sure."

"Alex said--"

"I know you trust your sister," Lena said softly. "But the situation could very well have changed. It could even be two minutes. Just go."

Kara closed her eyes for just a moment, her jaw tight, before she nodded and leaned over to kiss the corner of Lena's mouth. "I'll be back as soon as I can. I'm so sorry."

"Don't apologize," Lena told her, her eyes gentle and genuine. "Go be a hero." Kara rolled her eyes fondly and stood, dropping her napkin on her chair and hurrying out of the restaurant. Lena picked up her silverware and began eating again, her face a calm mask with just a hint of concern underneath.

"Lena," Lillian said, and Lena shook her head.

"I can't tell you," she said, staring at her plate. She looked up to meet Lillian's eyes, but the pleading that used to be there for understanding was gone. She repeated her usual lines, rote. "I'm so sorry, I want to, believe me, I do. But," she took a breath, "It's not my secret. People's safeties are on the line."

Lillian pursed her lips. "You aren't bothered by it anymore?" she checked in again.

Lena smiled. "I worry for her occasionally. When the situation is serious. But she's always back quickly, and it's always work no one else can do. She needs to go. So no, I don't mind." Lena chuckled briefly, poking at her dish, and Lillian wondered what kind of my family has special needs situation would warrant Lena's worry. "I actually think she's starting to mind more. Calls don't always come in at convenient times. She only minds when she has to leave things that are important." Lena bit her lip. "Like tonight."

"Why was tonight important?" Lillian asked, and Lena gave her a wry look.

"Mother. When was the last time we had a night out, and you were here, and she didn't have to leave? And Alex was here?" Lena shook her head. "She'll be disappointed."

Lillian watched as Lena continued to eat, not particularly upset by her girlfriend's sudden absence. But Lillian wasn't sure she could go on much longer without fully understanding what was going on.

 

 

"Kara, I'm not saying anything!"

"You didn't have to! I know!"

"No, honey, I promise you, you don't."

Lillian swung open her bedroom door, silk monogrammed pajamas, to see Lena in an old t-shirt for a tech conference and Supergirl pajama shorts, hair unbrushed, facing down a fully dressed Kara. Kara's cheeks were flushed and her eyes red-rimmed. Lena looked less bothered, but her fingers still twisted around the coffee cup she was holding like she wasn't happy. Kara sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose and wincing, giving a grimace rather than a smile to Lillian in greeting. A full box of donuts sat ignored on the table, a sure sign something was wrong.

"Am I interrupting?" Lillian asked, moving slowly towards the coffee maker. "I can go back to bed and put on noise cancelling headphones."

Lena snorted. "Don't be ridiculous, Mother," she said, her tone fond and rolling her eyes. "You weren't interrupting."

"Morning, Lillian," Kara said, smiling tightly, her arms crossed over her chest.

"Morning, dears," Lillian said, swirling her coffee before taking a sip. "Can I help with anything, or should I make myself scarce?"

Kara's jaw was tight enough that she looked like she'd prefer the second option, but Lena smiled normally. "You're obviously welcome to stay."

Kara deflated slightly, and Lillian raised an eyebrow at her, daring her. Kara took a deep breath. "Actually, Lillian, if you don't mind, Lena and I just need to finish this conversation." Kara looked directly at Lena as she said it, and Lena bristled. Lillian smiled, impressed.

"Fine," Lena said, rising smoothly, her messy bun tilting on the side of her head. She padded barefoot to her bedroom door, Kara following and shooting an apologetic glance at Lillian, who just smiled. She hadn't seen them fight before and she was eager to see how they worked it out. That was important in relationships. Or so she had read.

 

 

"Why are you so--"

"Why are you so worked up over this?" Lena cut her off, rounding on her. "I have told you, it's fine. Or do you not believe me when I say that I mean that? You're constantly trying to apologize for something that's not your fault. You are doing good, Kara. Let me be supportive."

"This isn't about you!" Kara stood her ground. "This is about me! Being honest and living my life! The way I want to!"

"And the way you want to includes telling my mother."

"Lena, she's a part of our lives."

Lena raised a dangerous eyebrow, the effect of it no less powerful because she was in Supergirl pajama shorts and barefoot. "She raised me, Kara. I am well aware."

Kara took a deep breath, eyeing the ceiling. "Do you not want me to tell her or something?"

"Frankly, no."

Kara frowned. "Okay. Why?"

"Okay as in you won't or okay as in you understand but you'll do it anyway?"

"Okay as in please talk to me, because you're not talking to me right now."

Lena's fight didn't exactly bleed out of her, but she looked partially resigned. "Point," she muttered. "But why do you want to tell her?"

Kara recoiled slightly. "You're telling me that me running out all the damn time for reasons she doesn't know why is fun for you? I hate the look she gives me every time. It's so curious, it's so questioning. Like she thinks I'm good enough for you all the time and then I have to run and she's never, she's never mean about it, she's always so kind, and it's even worse, she thinks something is wrong or something is wrong with me, I don't know, it's, it's--" Kara let out a frustrated sigh. "I'm really, really done with having to lie to her. She's been so good to me, and she's in our lives. In yours." Kara stepped forward, crossing the divide between them to hold Lena's hands in hers, and Lena took a sharp inhale, "I'd like to not have secrets from your family if and when your family becomes mine."

Lena took another deep breath, a slight redness to her eyes. "My family is dangerous, Kara."

"Babe," Kara said softly, with a small smirk, gentle and reassuring somehow. "I'm Supergirl."

"My brother nearly killed Superman," Lena whispered. "And you want to tell his mother who you are, let his sister into your life after he nearly ended your cousin and took out dozens of innocent lives in the process--"

"Lena," Kara cut her off, looking concerned. "Where is this coming from? You have always been only a force for good in my life. We have been together and I have known your mother for months. I call on you both for help, or do you not remember BioMax? Lex is not the product of your mother's rearing. You are. The two of you are nothing but good." Lena took a deep, shuddering breath, and Kara was alarmed to see tears forming in her eyes. "Lena, what are you really worried about if you tell her?"

"The more people you tell, the more people could give it away to him," Lena whispered. "If the worst were to happen and he were to get out somehow, and he knows who knows, he could torture them, he could use them to hurt you or the other way around, there are just so many worst case scenarios that are completely plausible with Lex, Kara, you don't know how he works, I didn't even, but I've been reading his journals and he's a legitimate psychopath and I'm just getting more and more scared and Kara, the less people that know, the better. For your sake, for everyone's."

Kara took a deep, thoughtful breath, taking it all in. "Can I hold you?" she asked quietly. Lena was shaking. Lena nodded, and Kara took another step forward, letting go of Lena's hands to hold her whole body tightly. "Okay, first of all, you, deep breaths," Kara said, nearly stern, and Lena began to breathe deeply. "Second, no more bedtime reading of psycho prisoner's journals." Lena coughed out a laugh, and Kara smiled into her hair. "Third, I would be deeply surprised if Lex hasn't found out my identity already."

"What do you mean?" Lena asked, her voice rising sharply, pushing back against Kara's chest to pull away.

Kara raised an eyebrow. "He wouldn't be the first villain to find it out. He did enough digging into my cousin. Not to mention all the security cameras around these days. Lucy was telling me just last week about the stack of NDAs she had to have regular building security in CatCo and L-Corp alone sign. I'm faster than a speeding bullet, but someone's been putting higher and better resolution cameras on the market."

Lena's face flushed. "Lord and Edge did it first."

Kara laughed. "I meant smartphones. I've been caught plenty. And it's not that I'm not careful, but it's harder to hide in a world like this. And that's okay, for the most part. Most people are good. They don't mind keeping my secret with me, even if they don't know all of it."

"Most people are good," Lena echoed in a small voice, and Kara tugged her back into a hug.

"Most," she agreed. "And most people will be in danger if he gets out. But we can double the security. We can put him in solitary. We can do anything you want to make you feel safer. If it matters. You know the Justice Department still has sectors that are doing everything they can to put the death penalty on the table for him."

Lena shivered, and Kara rubbed her back soothingly. "Kara, it's got me so messed up," she admitted quietly. "I didn't think about it for so long, and now everything else in my life is finally stable enough and I have time and space to process, it's messing me up. I'm freaking out on you, I all of the sudden don't want you to be honest with the other most important person in my life, I'm not sleeping the same, I can't, I can't--"

"Shh," Kara whispered, holding her tighter and rocking side to side. "Shh, deep breaths. It's okay."

Tears pressed into Kara's shirt, one after another. "I don't know what to do," Lena mumbled into her shirt, broken. "I've always known what to do and I don't now and that scares me more than anything."

Kara pressed a kiss to her temple. "How do you feel about therapy?"

 

 

Lillian pulled up the car outside an upscale building. "So," she said into the quiet of the car. "Therapy."

Lena closed her eyes, looking as young as she had that night on the beach when she told Lillian she was gay, despite her flawless business attire now. "Yep," she said, her voice cracking. "Breaking all the Luthor rules."

"Fuck them," Lillian said firmly, and Lena's eyes shot open in surprise, breaking into a surprised laugh. "Lena, I started going to therapy last year. I'm proud of you for doing this."

Lena frowned. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Lillian shrugged. "I guess I still wanted you to think of me as unshakable."

Lena smiled gently, and there was her adult daughter. "I would have thought of you as smart. Smarter than me, anyway, for thinking I had to figure this out on my own." She exhaled, reaching for Lillian's hand, hers clammy. "Thank god for Kara," she muttered, and Lillian privately agreed.

"Is this what you were arguing about this morning?" Lillian asked. "Fast turnaround."

"No," Lena said slowly. "We'll tell you about that. Just… not yet. I'm not ready, but I want to be. And she is. When she was asking me why, I may have admitted I've been a little messed up lately. And she suggested therapy." Lena gave a wry smile before facing the building in anticipation. "She also suggested I go today in case I chicken out, because she knows me."

"You found a top-level therapist with an opening this afternoon?" Lillian smiled. "Money?" she guessed.

"Actually, she's James' sister's coworker. Second-best in National City, only after Kelly, but apparently that'd be a conflict of interest." Lena took a deep breath. "Just tell me," she said, her voice small, and took another breath, "Tell me it isn't scary."

Lillian felt her heart squeeze. "Oh, honey," she said, squeezing Lena's hand. "It's plenty scary, but there's nothing to be scared of, if that makes sense."

Lena looked strangely reassured. "It does." Another breath, then two, then three. "Okay." She looked at Lillian. "You'll be outside?"

She was so very young, sometimes. Younger than she ever was at age four. "The whole time," Lillian promised, and Lena's small smile of relief was enough for her to open the car door and walk towards the building.

 

 

Lillian's next visit was a month later, and Lena was eight sessions into therapy and looked much less tense than she had.

"It's not a fix-all," Lena said sitting at the table with her usual grace as they sat down to dinner. "But it's cleared up many of my emotional problems that an outside observer could easily say 'well, duh' to, and given me a lot of coping methods to fix plenty more problems on my own."

Kara laughed, scooting in Lena's chair and pausing to kiss her cheek. "Sometimes your supergenius vocabulary really blows me away, you know?" Lena rolled her eyes. "And your bravery," Kara added quietly, and Lena's cheeks pinked as she reached for Kara's hand, pressing a kiss to her knuckles. And Lillian wasn't really a prude or anything like that, but she all of the sudden felt like she was intruding on them, a feeling they worked hard to make sure she never felt. She focused on her stew, the same stew Lena had first made when Lillian met Kara. What a difference a year could make.

"Speaking of bravery," Lena said hesitantly, and Lillian glanced up to see Lena looking at Kara with a question in her eyes.

"What?" Kara asked, and Lena looked at her a little more meaningfully. "Now?" Kara asked, half-incredulous, her voice rising in pitch, and Lena gave a shrug and an eyebrow raise like why not? "Yeah, okay," Kara muttered, and shook her head slightly.

"We have something to tell you," Lena said, and Lillian felt her heart balloon in anticipation. Lena reached over to hold Kara's hand, glancing at her again in adoration, and it was so obvious. "It's not something many people know right now, but you're important to us, we wanted you to know because it obviously affects you--"

"You're getting married!" Lillian cried, completely unable to contain herself, her spoon dropping and clapping her hands in delight. "Oh, this is wonderful!"

Really, this was the best possible thing that could have happened. She'd been waiting for this for forever, they'd been dating for nine months and Lillian knew the internet said lesbians usually move slower than straight couples, but honestly, this was getting ridiculous, they already acted like they were married. She already had a color scheme in mind and several venues who were aware of who she was and how much she'd pay to get them in whenever she wanted. She couldn't wait to start planning and--and Lena and Kara were both staring at her, mouths slightly open and most definitely not looking like two newly-engaged people.

Dammit.

A little longer, Lillian resigned herself.

"Uh, no," Kara coughed, and Lena bit down on a smile. Kara shook off several other things she was going to say. "It's actually not of the marital nature, but it is important."

Lillian didn't really see how something could be as important as Lena being happy with Kara for the rest of forever, but she recovered gracefully. "Of course. My apologies. Please, continue."

"Right," Kara said, still looking a little thrown off guard. "Well, I didn't exactly get the chance to plan this, but, uh," she glanced at Lena in an obvious cry for help.

Lena just giggled. "All yours, babe."

Kara rolled her eyes, not really annoyed but put at ease by Lena's ease. She focused on Lillian again, and all at once, something about her gaze was… different. More intense. More confident. Lillian had seen flashes of her brazenness before, in flashes of her eyes whenever she ran off and far more often in fiery strokes of her pen, but that wasn't really the Kara she had come to know in person. Kara reached up and took off her glasses, pulled the rubberband out of her ponytail. Her hair flowed down around her shoulders in a way that was strangely familiar.

Kara stood, scooting her chair back. "There's something I've been wanting to tell you for a while," she said, reaching up to the top button of her shirt. Her shoulders were thrown back farther than they usually were. Kara unbuttoned that button, reached for the second, and Lillian's immediate panicked thought was she was abused in her first home and she's about to share the story and show me the scars.

But… no. Abuse scars wouldn't be deep blue fabric stretching across her chest, underneath her shirt. Kara hit the fifth button and stopped after that, pulling open the sides of the shirt to reveal the crest in its full glory. She lifted her feet from the ground, remaining the same height but hovering softly, and she gave a nervous smile to Lillian, who all of the sudden understood why Lena never minded anymore when she had to run.

She cocked her head to the side, a slight gesture of nonchalance. "I'm Supergirl."

 

Chapter Text

It was a month after that when Kara touched down on Lillian's balcony in Metropolis, a soft landing as requested. They'd had many talks since Kara had revealed herself as Supergirl, satisfying Lillian's scientific curiosity and Lillian putting the pieces together and a lot of reassuring Kara that she really was okay with this and she trusted her and held no evil intentions the same as her son (not that Kara needed that last one).

"Supergirl," Lillian said with no surprise, tilting her wineglass. "To what do I owe this lovely surprise?"

Kara rolled her eyes. "I texted you like ten minutes ago and you told me you were unlocking the balcony door for me."

"Oh, let me have my fun," Lillian said, and Kara smiled crookedly.

"You sound exactly like Lena."

"You mean she sounds like me," Lillian corrected, and Kara chuckled, scuffing her boots on the floor. Her eyes widened as she looked at them, and Lillian saw her subtly plant her foot over where she had presumably scuffed the stain off the floor.

"Darling, you know I don't have Lena's vast wealth, but I'm certainly comfortable. It's quite alright if you made a mark on the floor."

Kara pinked. "Sorry," she whispered, and Lillian smiled.

"It's quite alright," she repeated. "Have a seat. Wine?" Kara shook her head, sitting primly on the edge of the couch, fingers twisting together while Lillian refilled her own glass. "You're nervous," Lillian noted, not quite an accusation but close.

"I am," Kara admitted, no hesitation.

Lillian sat down on the couch opposite her, smiling as she leaned an arm on the back of it. "Care to tell me why?"

"Rao, you're so much like her in the mannerisms sometimes it's spooky," Kara said. Lillian raised an eyebrow, and Kara smiled embarrassedly for a moment. "The way you're sitting on the couch now is exactly how she sits when we're in her office. The way you raise an eyebrow is what I like to call her Level One intimidation tactics. Still very gentle," Kara clarified. "Usually only used on family and friends, not the board. She's way tougher on them."

Lillian chuckled, enjoying Kara's flushed cheeks. "You love her a lot," Lillian said quietly, and Kara nodded, ducking her head.

"I really, really do," Kara confided. "Which is why I came here."

Lillian raised an eyebrow again. "Is this what I think it is?"

"Most likely," Kara confirmed. "Though I can never quite tell what you're thinking."

Lillian was delighted. "Can you tell what Lena's thinking?"

"Not really," Kara shrugged. "I can usually tell what she's feeling fairly well, but that brilliant mind of hers always surprises me in the best ways."

"Then this better be what I think it is," Lillian said, setting down her wineglass, and Kara gave her a nervous smile.

"I came to ask your permission," Kara said slowly, then blinked. "Not that I need it! Not that I don't want it, of course, but not that she needs it if she doesn’t want, but I think we all know the answer but the point is that I love and respect you enough to want your blessing, if you would," Kara took a deep breath, then sat up straighter. "If you would give me your blessing to marry your daughter."

Lillian's smile split the room.

 

 

"Darling, I'm just saying--"

"And you only ever call me darling when you're about to break bad news or I've done something that you think should have been videotaped."

There was a pause. "I still think a Supergirl is secretly a puppy montage is a good idea." Kara's laughter, bright and happy, filled the apartment as they stepped in, and Lena's already huge smile got even huger as she saw Lillian in the apartment. "Mom!" Lena dropped her grocery bags, and Kara lunged forwards to catch them before they hit the floor as Lena ran towards Lillian to hug her fiercely.

"Oh, hello my dear," Lillian murmured. She pulled back, Lena still holding her arms and beaming. "Well then, let's see it." Lena blushed and proffered her left hand as Kara dropped the bags on the counter, grinning. A dimly sparkling band of deep silver sat on Lena's ring finger, and Lillian smiled at how comfortably it rested there, though a little confused at the lack of flair of it all.

"Lab-safe version," Kara clarified, coming up behind Lena to hug Lillian tightly. "And Supergirl-activity safe, too. It has a feature that camouflages itself when I put on the suit, even though it's still there. I can still feel the weight, though no one can sense it, for safety. We haven't picked out the pretty ones quite yet, these are the everyday ones."

"That's brilliant," Lillian said genuinely. "What's it made of?"

"A special alloy that our friend from the 31st century modified for me," Kara said modestly, and pulled hers off to hand to Lillian. Lillian nearly dropped it, and Kara grinned, her hand securely under Lillian's to ensure the ring didn't drag her down the floor, Lena chuckling and leaning back into Kara's shoulder. "Sorry, I just wanted to see how you'd react."

"This must weight a hundred pounds," Lillian muttered, handing it back to Kara as quickly as possible.

"Twenty-four," Kara corrected, smiling gently.

"What's the significance of that?" Lillian asked, eyeing the ring as Kara slipped it effortlessly onto her finger, Kryptonian physique making it weigh nothing.

"It means I can just barely feel it on my finger, for one," Kara said, twisting it around. "The weight of a normal human ring, on me. It's very comforting. And twenty-four is the number of years I spent alone. But not anymore."

Lena's smile was appallingly sappy, especially for a CEO, but Lillian was happy for her. She deserved this. More than deserved it. "I thought you were twenty-eight?" Lillian asked in confusion.

"Oh," Kara said, her hand having unconsciously found its way onto Lena's hip. "Right. You don't know about the Phantom Zone."

"Okay, now you're just making words up."

 

 

Lillian took the front seat planning the wedding. Well, she tried to. There was a fierce competition.

Alex and her wife Maggie were also gunning to plan at least part of the wedding, as was Kara's foster mother Eliza, who was wonderful. Lillian and Eliza had an absolutely incredible brunch with Lena and Kara both steadily turning redder and redder under the influence of compliments and embarrassments, Lena not drinking in solidarity of alien alcohol being unavailable at that establishment for Kara, but both looking like they desperately wanted a drink. It went a little too well.

But in the end, it was Lena and Kara themselves who won in the ceremony planning. They took plenty of suggestions, but between Kara's superspeed and enthusiasm and Lena's absolutely chilling efficiency and both of their business connections, the two of them were better and faster at planning than anyone else was. There were so few decisions they even initially disagreed on, it was sickening. Neither of them had particular designs for the wedding, something Lillian suspected was a side effect of neither of them growing up thinking they'd ever find someone to marry, but they were mostly agreeable with the suggestions. For whatever reason, it was planned in a flash.

(An expression Kara always giggled or rolled her eyes at when someone used it, for some reason unfathomable to Lillian, though it made Lena smile.)

There was, however, one disagreement that nearly ended the engagement before it began.

 

"Lena, no, we cannot."

"I don’t see why not," Lena was saying, seemingly impervious to Kara's distress, still typing away on her laptop and leaning in to focus on the screen. "I know it's a little old-fashioned, but still, there's nothing wrong with the idea. I thought you liked them. They're cute."

"That's beside the point. We can't do it for us."

That got Lena to look up, pulling off her blue light glasses curiously. "What's this about?"

Kara planted her feet and crossed her arms stubbornly. "We're not doing it."

"I don't see what the huge problem is," Lena said, standing as well to face Kara before hopping up on the kitchen counter, leaning on the heels of her hands towards Kara, frowning. "It's just a wedding announcement. We even know a newspaper to put it in," she added, raising a gently teasing eyebrow, but Kara didn't soften at her joke.

Kara shook her head, biting her lip. "We can't."

Lena's frown deepened. "Do you not want people knowing about us?"

"What? No, no, of course I do."

"Then I don't understand what this is about," Lena said, visibly trying to not get frustrated at Kara's refusal to communicate. "Darling, I can't make it better if I don't know what's wrong."

Kara sighed, groaning, and let her hands drift to her hips, closing her eyes tight and facing the ceiling. "I…" she finally mumbled, then trailed off. Lena waited, patience waning and unease growing quickly. "I don't really want to tell you. Can you trust me?"

Lena paused, her breath caught in her chest. Kara didn't trust her. Because of her Luthor name or the crimes of her brother or something else, who knew what. Who knew why they had gotten this far without it coming up before. But she knew it. "Fine," she said, a stone sinking in her stomach and her tone abruptly cold. "Fine," she hopped off the counter, fists clenching before she forcibly unclenched them. "If you don't know what's wrong enough about us for you to tell me, your fiancee, about why you don’t want people knowing about us, then maybe you should just go."

"What?" Kara blinked in her sudden shift, arms falling from her hips and an expression of alarm crossing her face.

"You heard me," Lena said, a shake in her voice. "We haven't closed the deal on the loft we were planning on yet, maybe that's a good thing--"

"Lena, what are you talking about?"

"Just go," Lena said, voice cold and breaking. "Just, just, I get it, you don't want this, just take what's yours and get out."

"What?" Kara hissed, the blood draining from her face, stepping closer, and Lena nearly held a hand up at her before realizing that was a thin line she didn't want to cross.

Lena turned away from her and faced the counter, hands gripping it, breathing heavily, head swirling and world crumbling all at once. "Take what's yours," she repeated in a clenched voice, nearly detached, teeth gritting, numb and cold seeping through her chest. "And get out."

Lena closed her eyes, tears already threatening. She screwed her eyes shut, the new reality closing in, its arms around her waist, tight--

No. Those were Kara's arms. A squeak of surprise came out of Lena's mouth as she was swept off the ground all at once and tossed unceremoniously over Kara's shoulder. "What are you--" Kara yanked open the door, strode out of it, and Lena yelped "Kara!"

"What?" Kara asked, her tone half-innocent, calculated.

"Put me down!" Kara maneuvered her effortlessly until Lena was in her usual damsel-in-distress position in Kara's arms, Kara's hands nearly-possessive under her knees, on her shoulder. "What the hell?" Lena demanded, and Kara shrugged, taking Lena up and down an inch with her, and met her eyes deliberately.

"You said to take what's mine," Kara said simply, and there was something warm combating the cold in Lena's chest, taking the numbness away. "And I'm not just gonna leave you behind."

"But--but you--"

"Had a dumb moment, that I don't want to explain to anyone, but because it's you, my fiancee," Kara emphasized with a slight smile that Lena felt her mouth mimic instinctually, "I would be happy to talk through my worries with you." Kara tilted her head slightly, waiting. "Okay?"

"Okay," Lena breathed.

 

"I had a fight with Kara yesterday," Lena told Lillian the next day in her office. "I told her to take what's hers and leave the house."

"Oh my god," Lillian said, sounding close to tears at the potential breakup of her OTP. "What did she do?"

Lena smirked at her mother. "She picked me up and left."

Lillian breathed a sigh of relief before bursting into laughter. "Oh, that is bold. I do love her."

"Yeah," Lena sighed happily into her glass.

"What was the fight about?"

"Letting people know publicly we're getting married," Lena said, swirling her glass. "I wanted to, but she wouldn't tell me why she didn't." Lena shrugged unhappily. "I'm not pleased with it, but I understand her reasoning. She's been to a superhero wedding that was crashed by Nazis from another world. Advertising your private life when you're a public figure, especially one with superpowers…" Lena bit her lip. "Turns out it's not a good idea. She said it's not a problem that people know that we're married, but giving people a date to crash…" Lena sucked in air through her teeth. "She doesn't want to put all of us in danger like that. So," she took a deep breath, "It'll be on the quieter side. We might put a notice in the paper afterwards."

Lillian reached out and took her hand. "A quiet wedding sounds lovely."

 

 

The wedding went smashingly.

 

 

"Do you ever just want to do something ridiculous?"

Lena traced over Kara's jaw with a finger, amused. "What, like get married and take a honeymoon to Cancun?"

Kara rolled her eyes, biting back a hopelessly endeared grin in the Cancun morning sunshine streaming over their king-sized hotel suite bed. "Like just be ridiculous," Kara clarified.

Lena considered it for a minute, trying to put thought into it, but it was hard when Kara was less than a foot away, the pair of them still lying in bed at nearly noon, the remains of a room service breakfast not too far away, with the waves crashing nearby and everything perfect. "I don't know," she said slowly. "I think that I think different things are ridiculous than normal people."

"What things classify as ridiculous?"

"Board members trying to mutiny," Lena said, three-quarters serious, and Kara huffed. "Once I considered Lex ever doing anything seriously violent or messed up ridiculous as well, so I don't really play around with the word ridiculous anymore."

Kara's hand cupped the back of her neck, blue eyes a little darker, more thoughtful. "Do you want to?"

"I think I'd like to reclaim a lot of things that once brought me joy or peace. The concept of Ridiculous could easily be one of them."

"It's settled then," Kara said, and sat abruptly upright. She turned to look at Lena, who was watching her new wife with deep amusement and love. "We are reclaiming Ridiculous."

 

Ridiculous, Lena soon learned, was a lot of Kara's ideas. Starting with a prank-call to Lillian.

"Lena?" Lillian asked on the first ring.

"Uh, no," Kara said, her voice purposely made deeper. "Ma'am, is your refrigerator running?"

"Kara? Are you drunk? Can you even get drunk? Wait, is this a code for you being in danger?"

Kara sighed. "No, we're fine," she said in her regular voice. "But how'd you know it was me? I used the hotel phone!"

"Cancun area code," Lillian said over the line, and Lena's giggles that had been threatening to burst this entire time finally did. "Hello, dears. Having fun on the honeymoon?"

"Well we were," Kara groused, "Before someone had to be way too good at everything."

"My apologies," Lillian said, chuckling. "Why were you trying to prank call me?"

"We're reclaiming Ridiculous," Kara announced. "To bring more joy into our lives."

There was a pause. "That sounds wonderful," Lillian said warmly. "Let me know if I can assist in any way. And Kara?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm so unspeakably glad you married my daughter."

Kara's blush went to the roots of her hair and Lena just had to kiss her.

 

Ridiculous was a Spider-Man kiss, Kara coming back from her first superhero emergency the first night they were in their new loft after the honeymoon, knocking on the window and beckoning Lena outside, floating upside down to connect their lips in a gentle, almost foreign-feeling kiss that Lena giggled against.

Ridiculous was Kara compiling a list of pick-up lines in her free time that she'd whip out whenever there was a dull moment or Lena was stressed, piling on cheesy compliment after compliment until Lena smiled. (it was less ridiculous when Kara brushed kisses against her knuckles before telling Lena so quietly and sincerely that she loved her and trusted her and believed in her--but that was beside the point)

Ridiculous was a series of increasingly goofy hats and reindeer ears during the entire month of December that Kara wore, a different one each day.

"You're ridiculous," Lena laughed, coming home one night to see Kara in an elf hat decorated with pink sparkles and complete with the fake ears.

Kara broke away from cooking dinner with a beam, zooming over to Lena's side so fast her hat fell to the floor, wrapping Lena up in her arms to spin her around the kitchen. "And you said ridiculous like it was a good thing," she said softly, grinning fiercely. "Babe, we did it. We reclaimed Ridiculous."

 

Chapter Text

"Okay, so it's a hackathon."

Lena stopped dead, affronted, hand over her heart and face pulled into the most adorable frown Kara was having serious trouble not laughing at. "It is not," Lena countered, a pout to her voice. "A hackathon is an event with horrific hygienic practices and one that lets all the coders and such not bother to continue their progress apace afterwards. This is a launch event. My program coders are coming over to spend the first twenty-four hours of this project together and get an excellent beginning on this project together, which as you very well know is perhaps the single most important thing I have attempted thus far."

Kara bit her lip as she closed the fridge on their new batch of groceries, deciding which part of that schpeel to go after carefully. "Not a hackathon," she conceded, and Lena smiled approvingly. "But you are going to invite a half-dozen coders over here to hack out the beginning of your big sustainable energy project."

"Correct," Lena said. "Why am I hearing a but in your tone?"

"Why don't you have the engineers over too? They're half of it, right? You gotta build the thing and all that."

Lena's mouth twisted like she was nervous. "I was worried that'd be too many people for the space. It'd made twelve of my top brains at L-Corp coming into our home for twenty-four full hours at least, I didn't want anyone to burn a wire and make it smell like burning copper for the next week in here, especially with your supersenses and all that."

Kara smiled at her concern, feeling her heart melt into even more mush at this wonderful woman that was her wife. "Babe," she said, taking Lena's hand gently, "Not to poke at a sore point while you're being all sweet and all, but you have burnt so many wires in this massive loft already." Lena opened her mouth, affronted again, and Kara silenced her imminent protest with a kiss. "I love you," she said, pressing her forehead to Lena's. "Would it help to have them here too?"

Lena hesitated, then admitted a soft "Yeah."

"Then get them over here," Kara said. "If you want them. I understand you were looking out for me, and I love you so much and thank you for thinking of me always, you know it means the world to me. But this is the biggest thing, like, ever, and we've already talked about me staying at Alex and Maggie's for the night so if I need to run out for Supergirl emergencies I can. Lillian will be here intermittently and on call for any engineering-related emergencies and help me cook enough food for all of you for the first twenty-four hours, and, yes," she said, seeing Lena opening her mouth, "I am fully prepared for it to be a few more days, food and sleeping arrangements and all, if you guys get on a roll, which you most likely will--oh."

Lena's lips pressed firmly into her jaw, barely an inch from her ear, and Lena smiled into her skin. "Have I told you lately that you're absolutely perfect? And that I'm gonna make up to you tenfold for you being so unbelievably accommodating?"

Kara felt a shiver go down her spine as Lena's whispered words trickled into her ear. "Oh," she mumbled. "Okay." Excellent job, Zor-El. A full year and two months being married and she was still struck dumb and breathless anytime Lena felt like making her speechless. Which was, you know, every other day and twice a day on weekends.

Lena pulled back deliciously slowly and smiled Kara's favorite smile, that one that started out as a seductive smirk but got too big for her face as she couldn't hold in her happiness. The one that started out dirty and ended up innocent and pure because her life was just that happy and full. The one that made Kara know she was doing a good job making Lena happy.

 

Lena had her office (Kara graciously called it her home office, it was really her cluttered workshop and Kara wouldn't have it any other way, it added character to the house) all set up for the engineers. Kara had moved the kitchen table in there too, under Lena's direction, protecting it with the thick pad it came with and throwing a lab-safe fireproof tablecloth over it all. The dining room table was extended with the leaves it came with inserted into the middle (they loved that dining room table), and the coffee table's surface raised with a makeshift platform. Several extra rolling chairs were brought in from L-Corp and every even halfway-available electrical outlet was cleared for computer chargers and soldering irons. Lena had tidied her workshop and made sure they had buckets full of any of the hardware raw materials they might need, carried in by a Kara who rolled her eyes fondly at her wife's over-ecstatic gratefulness. (She did not roll her eyes at the way Lena thanked her for it later.) All three guest bedrooms were ready made with a few extra air mattresses brought in. The fridge was stuffed full.

Kara had a duffel already at Maggie and Alex's, who were semi-excited about the sleepover and more on board with the concept of helping facilitate the kick-start of sustainable energy that would be free for the entire world if Lena's team could get it right.

Lillian showed up the morning of the not-hackathon, her smile somewhere between as excited as Kara's and excited as Lena's (so a medium high level of excited). "I'm so excited for you, dear," she said, hugging Lena with one arm and reaching out for Kara with the other.

"Thanks," Lena said, beaming still too big for her face. "You're sure you're alright staying in a hotel?"

Lillian waved her off. "I can always have Supergirl fly me home if I don't like what the five-star hotel has to offer," she said, and Kara giggled as Lena rolled her eyes. "Now," she said, backing away and shrugging off her coat. She faced Kara with a serious expression. "Are we ready for this?"

Kara squared her shoulders. "Let's get cooking."

"Kara."

"She set me up perfectly!"

 

Kara and Lillian cooked for nearly two hours--a full gourmet lunch of protein and the best fruits and vegetables that Lena swore were good for the brain. For that reason she had also stocked the kitchen with a variety of nuts and dark chocolate and made sure they had more coffee than a local roastery.

The engineers and coders started arriving around noon, all of them wearing loose sweaters and jeans and carrying backpacks filled with computers and notes and sweatpants. Kara just hoped at least some of them had toothpaste or soap in there. Now she understood why Lena had also made sure they had extra soap in the guest bathrooms. She was pretty sure they were going to break a zoning law or something with all these people in here.

Whatever. Her wife was Lena Luthor. They'd be fine.

(Kara loved being a trophy wife, despite Lena's constant hatred of the term when applied to her. They'd had many mock-fights about it that ended in Kara's but I want to be your trophy wife! And Lena's exasperated eyerolls that made Kara completely lose it laughing.)

Kara and Lillian laid out the food on the dining room table and everyone sat down, half the engineers young kids barely out of college looking awed at the prospect of a home cooked meal. After profuse thanks to the chefs and some nervous glances at Lena, they all dug in, Kara and Lillian watching bemusedly from the kitchen, still cooking. Kara kept an ear tuned in to the conversation as the talk steered into the engineering. She wasn't sure if she'd expected a more formal lead in, but one of the older engineers, an Indian woman named Namrata whose citizenship naturalization ceremony Lena had proudly attended not six months ago, raised a toast to the Luthor-Danvers for allowing them in their home to "kick off the most wonderful project Lena's come up with yet. This is an auspicious start."

There was a cheer from the assorted engineers, all holding up their kale smoothies and orange juices (honestly, what the hell was Kara's life, she loved it) and then one of the younger guys, Julio something, leaned in. "I actually had an idea last night I wanted to throw out to you all before we begin--" and just like that, they were off. Three laptops opened immediately and the coders began to eat over them, Lena pulling out one of her large moving whiteboards and taking down some ideas they wanted to accomplish and how in between bites of her fish omelet (disgusting, Kara had said, and Lena had only laughed and said that while she agreed she had to kick-start her brain and this was the fastest way to do it).

And so it went. Kara and Lillian cleaned up and kept cooking, putting snacks and meals in the fridge and on the counter for the next few days, Kara only running out for a quick alien-related mugging that took half an hour, quirking a wink at Lena when she returned. Lena smiled, her shoulders half an inch more relaxed as she kept talking through an initial problem with one of the engineers sketching up schematics.

"You know," Lillian commented, pulling out the sixth tray of cookies in a half hour as Kara retied her apron after getting back, "I have to say this is not what I thought I'd be called in for when Lena married a--who she married."

Kara chuckled at her near slip. "Let's hope you don't ever have to be called in for that."

Lillian hummed. "I don’t just hope for her sake, you know," she said softly. "I love you, too, dear."

Kara paused in her haphazard pulling on of a cooking mitt, trying to keep appearances just in case a coder saw her reach into the oven with her bare hands, a lump in her throat all of the sudden. She looked up at Lillian, who was smiling warmly at her, cooking forgotten for the moment. "I know," she whispered, and smiled, watery but real. "Thank you. It means a lot, because I love you too."

Lillian's smile got bigger, and Kara couldn't help but chuckle at the resemblance to Lena's mannerisms. "I also have to say," Lillian continued, reaching for a spatula, "That I didn't expect this when Lena stepped up as CEO, either."

"Yeah," Kara said fondly. She pulled down her glasses for a moment to glance at Lena through the wall separating them. "She leads from up front, huh?" Lillian smiled. "It's quite admirable," Kara said matter-of-factly. "I'm constantly in awe of her."

"You and me both," Lillian said, handing her a cookie and holding up one herself for a cookie-cheers. "Though she does have an amazing support system helping her up in you." Kara blushed. "Here's to the amazing woman we love."

Kara tapped her cookie and cursed as the still-melty thing immediately broke in half, using a little bit of superspeed to catch the falling half. She shrugged at Lillian's laugh and shoved it in her mouth happily. Coders kept coding. Engineers kept engineering.

They set dinner out on the kitchen counter with a stack of plates next to it so people could serve themselves--that didn't exactly work. One engineer picked up the entire dish of mac and cheese without realizing it, still absorbed completely in some half-finished schematics, and the rest of them just shrugged and picked up forks and followed him back, one grabbing a dish of chicken and pouring some gravy haphazardly before chasing after them, all of them still talking about the design capabilities and what materials to use. Kara burst into giggles with Lillian as the coders took from the remaining dishes without being any the wiser.

Lena raised an eyebrow as she approached them in the kitchen last, ready to move from the engineers' question and into the coders'. Kara, completely overcome with the giggles, just waved her hand and shook her head in a not important gesture, but made a mental note to keep track of all the absentminded stuff the not-hackathoners did while they were here so she could tell Lena later. Lena shrugged and pressed a kiss to Kara's cheek, holding her steady with a hand cupping her other cheek.

"Thanks for dinner," she murmured. "And lunch. And the snacks."

"Anytime," Kara said, still grinning. "I have to admit that I've eaten a fair amount, though."

Lena smiled. "Of course you have. Don't worry about it. There's more than enough. You getting out of here soon?"

"Yeah," Kara said, entranced for a moment by the way the golden kitchen lights hit Lena's hair when her ponytail was a little messed up instead of the pristineness it was at lunch. "Sorry. Yeah, we're gonna clean up and then go in just a bit." Lena nodded. "Okay, so there's a whole ton of dishes in the fridge and the freezer that are pre-cooked, everything can be warmed up in the oven or the microwave, obviously eat whatever you want, takeout menus have been moved from the drawer under the sink to taped to the fridge, and everything snack-y is on the counters. Paper plates are on the counters, too, and just, like, don't let them touch the dishes, I'm worried one of them will get a good idea and just drop the plate. I'm happy to clean up anything but the broken dishes I will not be pleased about it, got it?"

Lena made a mock-salute, struggling to hold back a smile. "Yes, ma'am. I'd be offended as of an hour ago, but I saw a cookie literally fall out of one of the coder's mouths when he got an idea a little while back and you're totally right." She tilted her head. "I don't think he noticed it was sitting on his lap for another half an hour, actually."

Kara giggled again, eyes roving the space full of brilliant minds not focused on cleanliness, and Lillian rolled her eyes by the sink as she heard. "Seems about right." She eyed Lena. "You're okay if I leave?"

The plate Lena had been holding had mysteriously migrated to the kitchen counter and her hands latched on to Kara's hips, pressing her against the counter she was leaning on. "Of course I'll be okay," Lena said, her eyes just a little bit like a puppy's, "But I'll certainly miss you while you're gone."

Kara's smile softened around the edges, shifting from laughing to that sappy look she always got when Lena said something emotional, which was several times a day once they got married. "Not as much as I'll miss you," she murmured back, sensing at the corner of her eyes that Lillian had turned away to give them their privacy and to hide a smile. "Don't worry, babe. You won't even know I’m gone."

Lena bit her lip, one more anxiety to settle. "Text me when you go out and get back in?" Her fingers crept over the top of Kara's jeans, settled on the skin just under her shirt, warm presses smoothing out her nervous energy. "I know you'll be safe, but while I'm not seeing you--"

Kara leaned forward and kissed her, holding Lena steady with hands cupping her face intently, and felt Lena's entire body melt and relax. "Every time," Kara promised. "You want a one-sentence summary each time I get back?"

Lena made an uhhhh sound like Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect. "Just in case someone picks up my phone and reads a just kicked alien ass and realizes who you are, better not. Though if you're up for the creative challenge…"

Lena's eyes glinted, and Kara straightened in the challenge, hands slipping down to Lena's waist. "Done. I am a journalist, you know."

Lena laughed, full-on, and Kara grinned. "Okay, I look forward to it," Lena said. "Stay safe, kick ass, I love you."

Kara kissed her once more. "Break barriers, solve problems, I love you too. And I'll be back to check on you in the morning."

"Can't wait for you to see what we've come up with," Lena said, smiling, and with a last kiss pressed to her temple, released Kara to scoop up her plate again and rejoin her team.

Kara turned to Lillian at a quiet scoff. "What?"

"You two act like you weren't married five years ago already."

"I didn't even know her five years ago!"

Lillian laughed softly. "Exactly. That's how disgustingly cute the two of you are."

 

It was Day Four of the not-hackathon, and Kara had just permanently opened all the windows in the loft, thanking the easy fall breeze for keeping her home from smelling that bad. Burning wires were not the worst of it. On Day Three Lena had instituted mandatory showers for those who hadn't taken them already (looking at you, young engineers, not the older ones), but despite the febreeze cans Lillian had emptied, there was something about how often the microwave was being used and the gallons of coffee consumed, there was a lingering aroma that Kara didn't particularly like.

Lena made a semi-disgusted face when Kara described it to her in one of her few lucid breaks. Her eyes were actually clear instead of swimming with equations as she made a new pot of coffee for everyone in the morning when Kara dropped by before work.

"You sure the windows will work?" she asked, poking at the coffeemaker. "Instead of just making everyone cold?"

"It's not that cold," Kara sniffed. "Besides, cold is good for your focus, right?"

"True," Lena mused. "Fresh air is too, and we have plenty of blankets. Good points." Kara bit back a smile at Lena agreeing to her bullshit point. It was probably actually true, and Kara had totally guessed. "Hey," Lena said, focusing on her again with startling clarity. "What day is it?"

"Tuesday?"

Lena nodded, glancing at the coffeemaker in the relative quiet of the morning. She glanced at the coders in the living room, four of them going strong as they simultaneously sipped coffee and typed, and the other two passed out on the couch, laptops on their chests as they snoozed. Kara glanced through the wall at the engineers, two of them working steadily and cursing as sparks flew, the other four passed out on various air mattresses.

"And I haven't seen you in how long?" Lena asked, and there was a sudden emphasis in her voice that Kara felt down her toes. Lena took another glance around then bit her lip decisively and reached towards Kara. She hooked her fingers in Kara's belt and tugged her around, towards the front door. "Come on," she muttered, and Kara followed all too willingly, gasping as Lena led them into the hall and abruptly pressed Kara against the wall, kissing her with no hello and no warning.

"I should host hackathons for you more often," Kara gasped when Lena finally leaned back. "If it gives you ideas like this." Lena mmed without much thought, leaning in again to press her lips against Kara's jawline, trailing down the side of her neck. Damp hair pressed against her chin. "Did you just shower?" Kara asked, thoroughly distracted, and Lena didn't respond. "No offense, but I didn't expect you to smell this good."

Lena chuckled into her collarbone, the vibration nearly ruining Kara, and more of her weight leaned into Kara. Kara circled her arms around Lena's back, pulling her closer to support her exhaustion as Lena's head came to drop heavily on her shoulder. Kara leaned in closer to drop a deliberate kiss to Lena's shoulder, pulling aside the neck of her shirt slowly. "Were you planning on taking me right here in the hallway?" Lena asked dryly, and Kara pulled back, raising an eyebrow.

"You started it. I thought you were going to ravish me. Don't blame me for going along with it."

"Yeah, going along with it--holy shit."

"What?" Kara asked, alarmed at the change in her tone.

Lena pulled back, hands tapping at Kara's biceps, eyes feverish once more with what Kara immediately recognized as a coding idea, and she groaned. Lena smiled. "Going along with it. You just gave me an idea." She darted forward and pressed one solid, fleeting kiss to the side of Kara's mouth, too distracted to do anything else. "Have a good day at work, love you!"

Kara thumped her head back against the wall. Lena had to be kidding.

Of course she wasn't.

 

Kara checked back in that evening and found their loft smelling marginally better, the cookies entirely gone, and all the coders shouting incomprehensible things (at their computers and not each other, she was halfway sure) in an upset tone around the dining room table.

"Hey," Kara said softly, pressing a kiss to Lena's temple, and Lena's hand drifted across the back of her neck at the action, distracted but appreciative. "Can I make you all anything?"

Lena focused on her for a nanosecond. "Do we have the stuff for more cookies? And something healthier, like salads?"

Kara stole a kiss, lightning quick, and was rewarded with Lena's faint-but-fond smile. "Coming right up. Salads first." She glanced at the table of coders, most of whom looked totally absorbed. "Hey, guys."

Two of them heard and waved at her distractedly, and Namrata, the older Indian woman, managed a smile. Kara chuckled and checked to make sure the engineers hadn't burnt anything else major before moving to the kitchen, keeping a curious ear on the conversation. They all seemed to be frustrated at some long sequence of code, which wasn't working for a reason unfathomable. Lena was rubbing at her temples as Kara threw the cookies in the oven and the salad assortment on the counter.

"Mandatory dinner break," Kara announced, breaking their focus. "Everyone go wash your faces, too, then come back to the code."

There was a general grumbling and a grateful look from Namrata as they stood, and Kara stepped behind Lena's chair to gently push her hands away from her head and rub her temples for her. Lena sighed gratefully and sank deeper into her chair. "You're heavensent, Mrs. Luthor-Danvers," Lena moaned.

"So I've been told," Kara shot back, and Lena smiled faintly. "What do you think this problem is?"

Lena groaned. "My best guess is missing semi-colons on the end of a few lines. If we can't figure it out in the next hour I'm considering sending them all home."

"Want me to take a look?"

Lena's eyes opened. "Can you code and I missed this?"

"I've picked up a few things from you over the years, you know," Kara said, and Lena made a go for it gesture. "Go get some food," Kara said, pulling Lena up from her chair and pushing her towards the kitchen. Lena acquiesced with minimal protest and Kara sat down in her vacant seat, pulling the laptop towards her. "Missing semicolon," Kara muttered to herself. "Let's do this." And with the assist of a little speed reading she had learned from Barry, Kara sped through the very-impressive thousands of lines of code, looking for irregularities. Within two minutes, she had found one missing little curlicue. "Hey Lena," Kara said, leaning back and pointing at the screen. "Would this help?"

Lena set her plate and fork down and rounded the counter to look at the line of code in question over Kara's shoulder, her jaw dropping in astonishment, and Kara bit back a giggle at the dumbstruck look on her face. "That fucker," Lena hissed, and punched the semicolon key with a vengeance. Lena struck another key as the other coders drifted over, and the program began to run. Or at least what Kara assumed was a preliminary version of what it was supposed to do. The assembled coders let out a ragged cheer, and Lena let out a relieved sigh for just a moment.

Then she turned to Kara, wonder and a fiercer kind of love than usual in her eyes. "You," she said with clear emphasis, "Kara Danvers, are my hero." Kara blushed, holding up her hands helplessly, and Lena shook her head, smiling at her wife. "Get over here," Lena murmured, and with a couple nearly-forceful fingers tilting Kara's chin upwards, Lena kissed her deeply, in front of all her coders and everyone. She smiled into Kara's cheek, still bending over to reach her, and laughed breathlessly. "I love you so much," Lena said. "Now pretty please get out of my chair so I can keep coding."

Kara laughed and got out of her chair. "Don't forget to eat, love," she said, but it was too late. Lena already was lost to the world of coding for another few hours at the least. Kara put the salad in the fridge.

 

Lillian laughed with Kara and Maggie and Alex over dinner at the missing semicolon story, volunteering to make the next grocery run tomorrow while Kara was at work. She also made them all laugh with the story of Lena having fallen asleep in the same armchair as Namrata, with Julio using her leg for a pillow without realizing it as he typed on relentlessly. They all went and saw a movie together that evening, Maggie and Alex crying with laughter at Lillian's disgusted glance thrown at the concessions stand.

 

Lena kicked out the coders and engineers at sunset on Day Six. "Go home to your families," she instructed them, holding open the door. "I don't want to see any of you in for work tomorrow. Take a long weekend, take a walk, get some real sleep, and we'll have a debrief on Monday morning before settling in to fine tune this mess we've created. We did some incredible work, everyone, I'm proud of us. Thank you all for your hard work and your time."

The engineers all high-fived and fist-bumped her on the way out, two of the younger ones stopping by the kitchen to hug Kara first and thank her for the food. The coders all had bloodshot eyes and a slightly dead look. Namrata gave them both hugs as she exited last, thanking them warmly for opening their home "to our little ragamuffin clan."

Kara laughed and Lena just about collapsed against the door as she shut it behind the last of them. Lena pointed a stern finger at Kara. "You do not clean any of this up," she said firmly, despite her obvious exhaustion.

"How much sleep did you get in the last week?" Kara asked critically.

"Remember the last time you asked me that?" Kara nodded. "I haven't slept since then."

"Lena! That was Tuesday!"

"I dozed for about fifteen minutes a few times," Lena amended, and Kara opened her mouth, horrified, but Lena held out her arms pathetically, and Kara shook her head and zoomed over to catch up her wife and pull her feet off the floor. Lena rolled her head into Kara's shoulder. "We got the basics done," she said, satisfied and smiling. "But I mean it," she mumbled into Kara's shirt. "Don't you dare clean. You cooked and cleaned all week, you aren't the maid."

"Superspeed," Kara sing-songed softly, floating them towards the bedroom to give Lena the smoothest ride possible. "I can finish in three minutes."

"Kara," Lena groaned, sounding genuinely upset. "You are not a hired maid or a housekeeper. You are my wife, and I intend to treat you as such. Would you please let me have the therapeutic satisfaction of cleaning up my own mess?"

Kara set Lena carefully down on their bed, pulling the sheets up to her chin gently. "I'll make you a deal," she whispered, smoothing back Lena's hair and pulling it from its messy bun. "If you stay home from work tomorrow and sleep in, I'll let you clean it all up."

Lena frowned sleepily, eyes already closed. "Deal," she grumbled.

"Good," Kara murmured, and bent to kiss her temple. "Now sleep, my genius, world-saving wife."

Lena nodded, and Kara turned off the lights, made to back away, but Lena's hand shot out, grabbing onto her wrist. "Stay with me," Lena whispered, words slurred with sleep. Kara climbed in the bed, slacks and all, and pulled her close. Lena was asleep before she had readjusted the covers over them both.

 

Lena woke alone.

There was a note on the bedside table, the way there always was when Kara was gone before she woke up. Morning, Brilliant. I didn't clean, as promised, but I did get rid of the stuff that wasn't salvageable in the fridge because the smell was getting to me. I recommend starting a load of laundry first :) Love you, SLEEP IN FOR FUCK'S SAKE, love you some more.

Lena laughed at her wife's more forceful side, glanced at the sunrise outside, figured she had slept for about thirteen hours, and fell back asleep for another four.

 

Kara: awake yet sleepyhead?

Lena: I did the math and I slept for seventeen hours

Kara: GOOD

Lena: Have I told you lately you're too good for me?

Kara: LIES

Lena: Stop yelling it's early

Kara: NO

Kara: Sorry. The all caps just sticks on the keyboard

Lena: Don’t you type for a living?

Kara: I'm a trophy wife for a living ;)

Lena: How dare you degrade yourself like that, I'M the trophy wife in this relationship

Kara: Now you're saying I'm not trophy-worthy?

Lena: Stop with your seductive mind games,

Lena: you're already in my bed for the rest of forever and you're not getting out of it, babe.

Kara: I don’t know what to say next but I'm smiling really hard at work right now and trying not to swoon.

Lena: Then I'd say we made a good choice when we got married.

Kara: damn straight.

Lena: Except that we're not straight.

Kara: listen I love you so much ok

Lena: <3 <3 <3

 

Lena chuckled at her phone, heart swelling predictably, its thump thump a little louder in her chest as she smiled at the screen. Making her wife swoon was something of a pastime she had now, and could you blame her? Some people did drugs. She did love. One was more cost-efficient.

Then she glanced at the mess that was the kitchen alone. Maybe she should have had Kara clean with superspeed. Then she shook her head. She valued her wife too much to take advantage of her powers like that, like she married her for convenience. She was going to put work into keeping their home a home. That wasn't a one-spouse delegation, especially when neither of them was a stay-at-home mom. That was on both of them, and Kara had done way more than her fair share in the past week. Lena would take on this task with gusto. She would conquer it with dignity. She would--

Really, really need her Taylor Swift playlist to make it through this. Plus a nap in the middle.

But six loads of laundry later the guest rooms and bathrooms were replenished with newly-fresh linens, cleaned up, the whole loft vacuumed or swept, and the kitchen sparkling once more. Lena groaned as she collapsed on the couch just as the front door opened, and she shot up into a sitting position to see Kara walk in.

"Hey stranger," Lena greeted, falling back down. "Get over here."

Kara giggled, toeing off shoes and shucking her jacket, dropping her purse on the newly-clean dining room table. "It smells great in here," Kara confided, approaching the couch. "What magic did you employ for that?"

"Trader Joe's lotion on my hands frequently as I cleaned," Lena let on. "And that multi-surface Windex." Kara giggled again, and Lena made a grabby hands motion at her. "Please get over here now," Lena said, and Kara's giggles only intensified as she picked her feet up off the floor and hovered over Lena until weight gently settled down on top of her, warm and reassuring and welcome. "Thank you," Lena sighed, wrapping her arms around Kara and breathing in her scent. "And welcome home."

"If only they knew the billionaire CEO spent the entire day cleaning," Kara mumbled through her giggles, and Lena rolled her eyes, jabbing Kara in the ribs. "Right, sorry, sorry, millionaire. Have I told you yet today I'm proud of you for giving enough away to lose your billionaire status? Because that should be something I tell you daily. Especially for the orphanage for aliens you funded. That's still my favorite."

"Thank you," Lena said, still warm at the knowledge of the safety she helped create. "Though feeding you is quite the financial endeavor, I think a few hundred million should keep that stomach of yours happy and full for the rest of our lives." Kara chuckled into her collarbone, long past being embarrassed about her appetite when it was Lena doing the teasing. "Lillian get back fine?" Lena confirmed.

Kara mhmed. "Her flight left Thursday morning and touched down in time for a late lunch. I think she texted you but figured you wouldn’t be looking at anything on your phone for a while."

"Yeah, sorry," Lena said.

"Hey," Kara said, raising herself up and propping her elbows on either side of Lena's head, ponytail hanging down to tickle the side of Lena's face, and Lena smiled with a roll of her eyes, "Do not apologize. This was the most incredible and fun start to a world-changing invention, and you all got the worst of it done in one week. That's amazing, and that's all thanks to you."

"Thanks," Lena said, smiling softly. "Though it wasn't all thanks to me. Large thanks goes to Lillian." She raised an eyebrow deliberately at Kara. "And to you. For opening your home. In fact, I believe I mentioned something about thanking you tenfold for this?"

A line of red was creeping up Kara's neck, and her breathing had shallowed noticeably, but then she narrowed her eyes and examined Lena's face. "You did," she agreed. "But you still look like you need another seventeen hours' sleep before you go about thanking me in any capacity."

Lena groaned. "You're going to deny us that pleasure?"

"For eighteen hours, yeah I am, while you're too exhausted to see straight. I can't believe you cleaned this all today, to be honest. You need a decent meal and another hot shower and a more than full nights' sleep and you can thank me all day tomorrow."

Lena pursed her lips. "Don't you think I'll sleep all the better with a clean conscience that I've at least made a down payment on my debt? So my wife knows I intend to pay her what was promised in full?"

Kara bit her own lip, swayed by her well-put argument as always. "Well, when you put it like that… I'm sure something can be arranged."

Lena grinned wolfishly, and it was Kara's turn to roll her eyes. "Oh!" Lena said, sitting up and pushing Kara up with her. "While you're here, can I get you to take the extra parts from the engineering out to the car?" Kara chuckled, settling beside her so they were side by side on the couch. "Yes. You take a nap."

Lena's eyes narrowed. "I will make dinner."

"You just cleaned all day, you're not making dinner, too."

"You cooked all week," Lena shot back. "We went over this, you're not the maid, you're my wife--"

"And you're mine," Kara retaliated, raising an eyebrow.

Lena sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. "If these are the only fights we have," she muttered wryly, "I think we're gonna be okay."

Kara smiled faintly, glancing around the room, destroyed and put back together by two people who were now rich enough to hire anyone to do it, but did it themselves every time, because process was important to them. "Yeah," she murmured, and slung an arm around Lena's shoulders, pulling her in closer, and Lena rested her head on Kara's shoulder. "I think we are." She paused. "We'll cook dinner together and I'll take the stuff out tomorrow morning."

Lena nodded into her shoulder. "You're my favorite."

"I would hope so. That was in your wedding vows." Lena's laughter erupted unexpectedly into Kara's shoulder, and Kara pulled her tighter.