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no grave can hold my body down

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The trees and bushes all blurred together as she ran past them to try to escape the people chasing her. She could hear the arrows whistling past her, most of them far too close to comfort. A few of them had already been left small scrapes on her arms and legs, even though she wasn’t really sure how that was possible. As far as Kara was aware, there was no Kryptonite depot in this specific region of the Amazon, so how had they gotten it? Judging by the lack of nausea and the slight burn of the wounds, the Kryptonite in whatever poison this specific tribe of indigenous people used was in no way concentrated.

A coincidence then... maybe.

These days she didn't really believe in coincidences anymore.

She had been so careful to remain undetected while entering the cave, the possibility of the group of hunters just doing a random check-up seemed slim.

Lost in thought as she was, Kara didn't realize that she started to slow considerably. The cuts on her arms and legs were slowly but surely slowing her down, leading to even more scratches. She needed to get away as quickly as possible.

The shouting behind her was getting louder and more urgent, but she couldn’t make out what exactly they were saying. She didn’t understand their language on a good day, much less while she running for her life. It didn't take long for her to find out what the hunters were shouting about, though.

Just up ahead the trees and bushes lead into a clearing with, and Kara couldn’t believe her luck, a giant waterfall. The kryptonite must’ve drained her more than she realized if she hadn’t heard the roaring of the water up until now.

With her escape route in sight, she gritted her teeth and put on one last burst of speed, ran at full speed towards the edge, and jumped off into the air.

 


 

Kara had never had this much trouble with figuring out a clue before. She had been stretched out on her couch, surrounded by pictures upon pictures of cave walls and articles she was hoping would help her solve this mystery when Alex had barged into her apartment.

“Kara! Come on, stop whining, it’s Saturday- Sister Night,” Alex yelled from the kitchen. “I bought three different flavors of ice cream, brownies, popcorn, and 5 pizzas. What do you wanna start with?”

“I’m not whining, Alex,” Kara replied, sitting up to glare at her sister. ”Pizza, please.”

“Sure you are, you baby. All you do is whine about this stupid clue and how you haven’t figured it out yet.”

Kara just continued to glare at her sister as Alex made her way over from the kitchen into the living room to take a seat on the couch.

She would never admit it, but Alex had a point. She had been obsessed with the engravings she found in the cave in the Amazon. That was weeks ago though, and she still hadn’t learned anything that could lead her to her next clue.

“Well, then just help me figure it out. The sooner I know what to do and where to go next, the sooner we can start actually eating the pizza.”

Alex shot Kara her trademarked unimpressed look and grabbed for the nearest picture to study it for a moment.

“What have you found out so far?”

“Nothing, really,” Kara answered with a shrug. “The engravings are faded, so I can’t be positive that this is all there is to it. I reached out to my contacts and colleagues, but they are just as clueless.”

It was more than frustrating that her extensive network of contacts hadn’t been able to help her, that her own knowledge was failing her spectacularly. Kara had spent most of her free time since her trip researching in the library or on the internet.

“What about Cat, have you asked her?” Alex asked, the frown on her face deepening the longer she stared. “She might be able to help, it’s scary how much that woman knows.”

Kara had, in fact, tried to contact her mentor before remembering that Ms. Grant was off in a yurt somewhere, digging for who knows what.

“I need to figure this out as soon as possible, who knows what she will do if I don’t stop her. I don’t have the time to try to locate Cat on the off chance that she knows something.”

Alex didn’t seem to have a response to that, instead, she started tilting her head and turning the picture around, looking at it from different angles.

“Hmm.”

“What? What did you see?” Kara asked frantically, her eyes jumping from Alex’s face to the picture and back again.

“Nothing, I don’t see anything but lines grouped together, but I think I know someone who might be able to help.”

“Who? Why don’t I know them, and why have you never mentioned them before?”

Alex looked up, only to see that Kara has that certain glint in her eyes, the one she got when she’s hopeful. Her sister must be really desperate for new hints.

“Kara, calm down. I met her when I was doing my semester abroad. She’s crazy smart, like child prodigy levels of intelligence. Anyway, she used to be into this sort of stuff, said it relaxed her or something.”

Kara was almost jumping up and down on the couch by the time Alex had finished her sentence, too giddy to even try to contain her excitement.

“So? What’s her name?”

“Lena Luthor.”

 


 

Finding information on Lena Luthor wasn’t hard. Within the first five minutes of her google session, Kara found out that Lena Luthor had two bachelor's degrees from Trinity College Dublin, three masters from Oxford University and two PhDs from MIT. It seemed like Alex hadn’t been lying when she had called the woman as a genius. The internet also told her that Doctor Luthor was still living and working in Boston. Her main focus was cancer research, but she did teach a few STEM classes to upperclassmen each semester.

Kara was by no means an expert when it came to bioengineering or coding, but she still tried to read and understand as much of the woman’s published articles as possible. Admittedly, she didn’t understand much, but it was more than clear that the woman was highly intelligent.

Which was why Kara had booked her plane tickets to Boston immediately after, with her plane leaving that Monday at noon.

While it was one thing to spontaneously book plane tickets to Boston and fly across the country because this woman might possibly be able to help. It was a whole different thing to stand in front of her, or rather in front of her open office door.

Still, Kara was in no way prepared for Lena Luthor. Not for a minute did she expect the woman to look like a supermodel, for some reason she had expected a mousy librarian type woman. Not that her looks mattered much, Kara was there on a mission.  

She took a fortifying breath before loudly clearing her throat, causing the woman to look up from the book she had been reading.

“Hi,” Kara said breathlessly, mentally berating herself for behaving like a college student who had a crush on a professor. For God’s sake, she was the professor most of the student body at NCU had crushes on, why was she behaving like this?

“Hello, can I help you, Ms...?” The brunette asked, shutting the book in her lap, giving Kara her full attention. Her green eyes stared at Kara intently, almost causing the blonde to forget why she was in here in the first place.

“Kara Danvers.”

“Well, Ms. Danvers, how can I help you?”

“Oh, I’m not a student, if that’s what you were thinking. I’m professor Kara Danvers from National City University,” Kara said quickly, taking a step into the small office after Lena gestures for her to come in and sit down.

“Danvers... that sounds familiar,” she mused, with a charming accent, that Kara thinks might be a London accent. 

“You probably won’t remember her, but my sister is Alexandra Danvers. She said she met you while she studied at Oxford for a semester?” Kara explained hesitantly, hoping that the woman in front of her will remember Alex.

Lena hummed after a few moments that felt like an eternity to Kara. She didn’t know what it was about the brunette, but Kara hadn’t felt this nervous and self-conscious in years.

“Yes, I do remember her. Tall brunette, short-ish hair, very sarcastic, right?” There was a smile playing at the corner of her lips as if she was remembering the good old days.

“Yeah, that sounds about right. She mentioned that you might be able to help me solve a... puzzle, so to speak.”

Lena leaned in closer, obviously intrigued by what Kara was saying, “What kind of puzzle warrants a flight from National City to Boston? Not exactly a short plane ride.”

Kara could feel herself blush under Lena’s close scrutiny and at being called out for her impulsiveness. Maybe she should have called instead of just showing up in a stranger’s office. Oh well, she was there now, might as well keep going.

“It’s sort of a long story, but I was hoping you could help me identify what these markings mean,” she explained, fumbling with her leather satchel to get the envelope with the pictures out. “I found them in a cave in the Amazon, when I was- doesn’t matter what I was doing. I found them and I need to know what they mean.” 

 


 

Lena resisted the temptation to look at the pictures the blonde had slid in front of her; instead, she focused on Kara Danvers’ face. She knew the name Kara Danvers sounded familiar, and not because of the relation to one Alexandra Danvers. No, the name was familiar because Kara Danvers was practically a celebrity in academia. Kara Danvers- the archaeologist, the adventurer, the womanizer, the nutjob.

Oh yes, Lena had heard of her. And she didn’t want to associate with her, not if she could avoid it. There was something else, a vague memory that told her to stay away from the woman, that she was trouble.

“Professor Danvers, I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but I, unlike you, don’t believe in the occult or in aliens, for that matter. I’m a respected scientist in my fields, and I’m not planning on changing that anytime soon. So, please take your pictures and kindly leave my office.”

“But I- you- I- what?” The blonde stammered, until Lena raised her hand to stop her.

“I’m an incredibly busy woman, professor, please don’t waste any more of my time,” she said before the woman opposite her could start to stammer again.

“Sorry to disturb you, doctor Luthor,” the blonde said sullenly on her way to the door.

Just as Lena thought she was finally rid of Kara Danvers, she turned around, “You know what? That was rude, I know I probably should have called ahead but, this is a matter of life and death, so forgive my barging in here unannounced,” she said indignantly. “I’m staying at the Marriott in Cambridge until Thursday, if you ever feel like actually listening to what I have to say, instead of jumping to conclusions due to preconceived notions. Have a good day.” The door slammed shut behind the blonde, leaving Lena in silence.

Half an hour after Kara Danvers had left her tiny office, Lena came to the conclusions that she had been too harsh and that she was a hypocrite. How many times had she been judged based on what other people said about her, on her age, her appearance? And she had gone right ahead and done the same to the blonde.

Well, what’s done was done.

 


 

It was on Wednesday afternoon, just as Lena started to pack up for the day and head to the lab, that someone knocked on her office door.

“Come in,” she said loud enough to be heard through the door. Her office hours were long since over, not that her students seemed to care about that. It wasn’t a student that had knocked though, it was her colleague Jack Spheer.

“Hey, Lena. I’m heading to the grand Amphi, do you want to come with?”

”The grand Amphi?” She questioned while stuffing a few stray papers into her handbag.

“Yeah, apparently this hotshot lecturer is giving a talk about... I don’t even know what it’s about. Henry in the lab mentioned she’s hot, though.” He shot her a crooked smile, the one that usually got him whatever he wanted from her.

“I need to go to the lab, I think-“ she said before Jack interrupts her with a loud theatrical groan.

”No, no, no, no, Lena. What you need to do is get out of here and get laid. You haven’t gotten any action since that blonde…Olivia, was it? And that was months ago.”

“So what? Not everything is about sex.”

Lena didn’t know why she even bothered, life is all about sex for Jack. It’s basically all he talked about, that, and Lena’s lack of sexual encounters. As predicted, he shot her an unimpressed look and shook his head, “And that’s where you’re wrong. You’re a hot genius in her mid-twenties, you should be having mind-blowing sex at least once every single day. Not sit in this dusty shoebox or in the lab and work all day.”

“You know what, I take offense to that, but I’ll go with you because it will be fun to see you get shot down,” she said sweetly.  

Regret and a feeling of unease, she couldn’t quite explain, settled in her stomach as soon as they left her office and made their way across the campus

The amphitheater was nearly at full capacity when they got there. Lena was just about to turn around and head out of the room when Jack grabbed her right hand and tucked her towards the front rows.

“The first row is reserved for faculty, come on,” he said and tucked at her hand again, that time more insistently.

The room was filled to the brim with eager faced students, none of whom look familiar to Lena. A handful of people wore t-shirts that said X never, ever marks the spot, needless to say, she didn’t get the reference. She felt like she was missing something important, never had she seen students as well as faculty this excited for a guest lecturer.

She didn’t even have enough time to turn to the person sitting next to her, a chemistry professor she had seen around the labs, and ask who the keynote speaker was before the lights dim and the dean stepped onto the stage.

“Dear students and members of staff, I know you are all excited, so I’ll try to make it as quick as possible,” she said with a characteristically warm smile. “As you may or may not know, this event only came together this Monday when I found today’s guest wandering around campus,” she continued cheerfully. Meanwhile, that feeling of unease Lena had felt since leaving the office turned into dread.

“Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Doctor Kara Danvers to the stage and MIT!” The room erupted into thunderous applause and whistles, while Lena barely had enough presence of mind to clap slowly.

Oh god, please don’t tell me I’m sitting in the first row for Kara Danvers’ lecture.

Kara Danvers entered the stage with a peppy little jump, a big smile, and plenty of waves. She seemed incredibly at ease in the spotlight, which surprised Lena immensely after the blonde’s awkward behavior in her office on Monday.

“Hi everyone, thank you so much for showing up on such short notice. I didn’t really have too much time to prepare anything for you, so I’m a bit unprepared,” she said with a crooked smile. Apparently completely unbothered by the fact that she had just admitted to not being prepared in front of a room of about 800 students.

“I don’t know how most of your professors teach you, but I usually try to make my lectures as entertaining as possible,” she continued and walked towards the very front of the stage. “I know history and archaeology can be boring-“ someone in the crowd booed loudly, interrupting the blonde. Not that she seemed bothered by it.

“Listen, I agree with you, I think history and archaeology are awesome! But for some reason, not everybody agrees with that. Anyway, where was I? Right, I am going to make the next 90 minutes super fun, who’s with me?” She asked the crowd like she’s the lead singer of some pop band at a concert. When the audience actually started whooping and cheering, Lena shook her head, but couldn’t suppress a small smile. Not once had she seen a history professor this enthusiastic and motivated, and that’s saying something, all things considered.

The first 30 minutes Kara talked about herself, how she fell in love with history and after that with archaeology. She also told entertaining anecdotes of some of her digs in Egypt and Jordan, making the audience laugh and gasp more than once. Even Lena found herself chuckling along once or twice, loath as she was to admit it.

Then she held a talk about the ethical issues that excavations raise since they’re a destructive process, and how the advancement of 3D technology might change excavations in the near future. The last 15 or so minutes were reserved for audience questions, a shocking amount of which are incredibly private. After one question about a rumor about Professor Danvers getting involved with one of her students, the dean stepped on to the stage with a stern reminder that, ”this event is hosted by MIT, you are representing not only yourself but this world-class institution, I expect you to behave accordingly.”

The rest of the questions are much more appropriate given the setting, and Lena found herself observing the blonde closely.

She hadn't noticed on Monday, but Kara Danvers looked to be in incredible shape. Her loose white blouse tucked into the waistband of tan chinos, somewhat hid what Lena was sure was an athletic body, judging by how energetically the professor jumps around for almost the entire duration of the event without being winded or needing a break.

An hour and a half pass without Lena taking much notice, too engrossed in all that is Kara Danvers and hating herself a little bit for it.

”Well, folks, that's all I have for you today. I hope you had as much fun as I did, if you have any more questions, feel free to come and ask me. And remember, if you want to be a good archeologist, you gotta get out of the library!”

Most of the audience,including Dean Michaels, said the last part in chorus with Kara, Lena wondered how they knew which words to say until she remembered that she had seen that phrase on a t-shirt earlier.

 


 

For some unexplainable reason, instead of leaving as fast as possible, Lena decided to stay. She decided to stay despite not knowing anyone besides Jack. Never one to insert herself into a random conversation, she stayed close to the refreshments table and observe. She was having a great time watching Jack charm the pants off every single person he talked to, making people fall for him left and right, until someone walked up to her.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Kara commented casually while grabbing for a donut with rainbow sprinkles.

“Yes, me either, but my colleague can be very persuasive,” she said with a tight smile that’s almost a grimace. She didn’t want to be rude, or even more rude than she was on Monday, but she also didn’t see the point in lying.

“Well, did you like it, even though you didn’t want to be here?” Okay, so maybe she wasn’t as subtle as she thought and the blonde had seen right through her

“It was surprisingly entertaining for an archaeology lecture, I’ll give you that.”

“Thank you, that means a lot coming from you since you're one of the authorities when it comes to archaeology,” the blonde said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

She was about to make a snarky comment of her own when Jack wrapped his arm around her shoulders, “Lena, who’s your stunning friend?” he asked, and she barely stopped herself from rolling her eyes at his antics.

The arm around her shoulders is heavy, she nearly shrugged him off, but then she noticed the way Kara stares at their closeness. Jack must have noticed it too, based on the mischevious smile he suddenly sported.

“Professor Danvers, meet Jack Spheer, my research assistant,” she said, knowing how much Jack hated being called a research assistant.

True to form, he protested, “We are partners, actually. Lena here just likes to feel important.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Jack,” Kara said pleasantly and shook his hand so firmly that he winced.

“The pleasure is all mine,” he answered, kissing Kara’s hand before letting it go. If it were a socially acceptable response, Lena would give him a whack to the back of his head. Instead, she settled for covertly ramming her elbow into his side. Kara, for her part, seems unimpressed by him, much to Lena’s delight. It was a rare thing indeed that someone resisted Jack’s charm. He was tall, dark, and handsome with a London accent as the cherry on top. And definitely not used to a beautiful woman rejecting him.

“Right... I was actually hoping to talk to Doctor Luthor about... a sensitive matter; if you could excuse us for a moment?”

Never one to miss a social cue, Jack took his leave, but not before whispering ‘You always let her call you Doctor Luthor? Kinky, Lena, kinky’ in Lena’s ear. This time she actually did hit him- hard.

Turning back to the blonde, she smiled tightly, embarrassed by what Jack had said. She hoped the other woman hadn’t heard.

Silence settled around them, heavy and uncomfortable, as they stand there, Kara watching Jack leave with a furrowed brow.

Feeling fed up, Lena broke the silence, “You wanted to talk?”

“Oh, yes. Well, I wanted to apologize, actually, for my behavior on Monday. I’m really passionate about my job, and it is really important that I figure out what this all means, so when you didn’t want to help I kind of... you know. So, all I wanted to say was, I’m sorry.”

For some reason, Lena found the rambling quite endearing. The way Kara Danvers so obviously felt bad about her behavior, if the way she kept wringing her hands and couldn’t quite meet Lena’s eyes, was any indication.

“It’s me who should apologize, I all but kicked you out of my office, I was raised better than that, so I’m sorry, too,” Lena said, a small smile playing at her lips. “Would you still like me to take a look at those pictures?”

“Yes! Yes, I would appreciate it immensely, if you could take a look at them, I have them right here!”  She grabbed for something in the satchel that’s hanging off her right shoulder, the one she must have grabbed after getting off stage. With a triumphant Aha, she pulled a thick manila folder out and handed Lena a package of approximately ten A4 pictures. The brunette started studying the pictures immediately, her mind whirring with all the possible meanings of the strange symbols.

“Where exactly did you say the cave was?” she asked without looking up, her fingers were tracing the fine barely-there lines. The whole situation reminded her of her childhood, looking at riddles from hundreds of years ago, trying to understand what hundreds of people before her hadn’t been able to do.

“In the Amazon, close to the Bolivian border, why? Have you figured something out?” The excitement in Kara’s voice was as clear as day, but Lena was too busy thinking to notice. Something seemed familiar about the markings, she says as much after looking through all the pictures.

“Professor Danvers, how old do you think those markings are?”

“I didn’t have a lot of time to look at them, but my guess is 5000 years, give or take a few hundred years,” she answered with a seemingly casual shrug, but the way she’s biting her thumbnail belied her nervousness. Lena only hummed in response, but then looked up.

“And tell me, have you ever seen any similar markings in South America? No matter how old the site.” The tilt of her head and the raised eyebrow are a killer combination, she knew. But out of all the reaction they had brought forth, Kara Danvers’ was her absolute favorite. The blonde blushed a bright red all the way from her hairline down to her neck, her mouth comically wide open.

Lena couldn’t quite hide her chuckle, desperately wishing that she could take a picture.

Finally, Kara managed to close her mouth and shake her head no.

“That’s what I thought. Would you mind terribly leaving the pictures with me until tomorrow? We can meet at my office before you leave for the airport.” She didn’t want to tell the hopeful blonde, but she had a hunch as to what the symbols were, she needed to confirm it though, and she would need the pictures for that.

“Yeah, no, worries. I have them on my laptop, so that’s no problem. I don’t need to be at the airport before 6pm, would lunchtime work for you?”

“Sounds good to me, Professor Danvers. See you tomorrow at lunch.”

Lena smiled at her one last time and then left. She knew Jack will probably pout and complain about it the next time they see each other, but she didn’t care. He usually forgives her if she buys him lunch at one of the more expensive restaurants downtown. Right now, there were other, more important, things on her mind, like solving the puzzle she’s been presented and her conflicting feelings towards the blonde.

It was going to be a long night.

 


 

Kara spent the night tossing and turning, too excited by the prospect of finally having a breakthrough. She hadn’t expected to run into Lena Luthor again, especially not at the impromptu talk she had held. It was a total coincidence that she had run into the dean and that the dean was a bit of a fan of Kara’s. Up until she had spotted Lena in the audience, she had been cursing Doctor Michaels for talking her into doing this stupid event. Public speaking was the worst, even when she had time to mentally prepare and had her index cards. Without any of those? She was lucky that all went well, and she didn’t have a panic attack on stage. At least all the anxiety was worth it, she had the chance to apologize to Lena, and she had even gotten her to look at the pictures! There really couldn’t have been a better outcome for her evening.

Much like three days ago, Kara took a deep calming breath before knocking on the door. Once more she wasn’t prepared for the sight that greeted her. Lena was sat in her off chair, leaned back, and animatedly talking on the phone with someone. Surrounded by, and Kara really couldn’t think of a different way of describing it, a complete and utter mess. There were papers upon papers strewn across every available flat surface, the desk, the small coffee table, the couch, the bureau close to the big bookshelf by the window- they were everywhere, she could even spy some on the floor.

“Listen, I have to hang up- yes, she’s here. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it. Talk to you soon, bye.” Lena turned to Kara, who was still standing in the doorway taking the woman, and the mess that was her office, in. Despite the mess that surrounded her, Lena looked absolutely radiant. She was still wearing yesterday’s clothes, with her hair up in a messy bun that’s threatening to fall apart, but that didn’t take away from her beauty.

“Hey,” Kara said lamely with a small wave of her hand.

“Please come in, sit,” she gestured to one of the chairs in front of her desk, only to realize that there was a veritable mountain of books on it. “Just a sec, I’ll just put those...” she looked around the room, her eyes settling on one of the few spots free of any paper, and carried, what must be a stack of seven giant books, to her chosen spot. Kara would be lying if she said she wasn’t impressed by how easy Lena made it look.

“Okay, let’s jump right in, shall we?”

Kara settled into the uncomfortable guest chair and nodded.

“Right, so, you know how I said the markings look familiar? That’s because I’ve seen them before, back home. Home being Ireland, in this case,” Lena rambled, barely taking a breath in between sentences. “Anyway, I’m about 95% sure that this is Ogham, also known as primitive Irish.”

It took Kara a second to understand that this is the discovery she had been looking for for weeks. Instead of getting her hopes up, though, she waited for Lena to finish with her explanation.

“I couldn’t place it at first because who would think of primitive Irish when looking at pictures taken in a cave in the Amazon, right?” Lena said before she searched for something on her desk, and Kara started to wonder just how much coffee the brunette had consumed in the last few hours. The way Lena’s eyes kept flitting around the room, the speed at which she was talking, and the way she couldn’t seem to sit still were clear indicators that she was pumped up on caffeine. With Lena still trying to find whatever she was looking for. Kara sneaked a peek into her trash can only to find it almost overflowing with styrofoam coffee cups. Judging by the smell, they were still relatively fresh, confirming her suspicions about Lena’s recent caffeine intake. 

Lena abandoned her search a short while later, focusing on Kara again, suddenly looking incredibly serious. “I tried to do some research on the location and possible meanings of the inscriptions, but couldn’t find anything. Not that I’m surprised, there are only a handful of people able to decipher it, especially when it’s over 5000 years old. That’s the bad news.”

The way she said it prompted Kara to ask, “And the good news?”

Lena leaned over her desk, closer to Kara, “The good news, Professor Danvers, is that you came to the right person. I know one of the handful of people.”

“What? How? How do you have connections to historians that neither I nor my contacts have? You’re a bioengineer!” She was a bit miffed at the revelation.

“We all have our hobbies,” she said vaguely, now much calmer than a minute before. “There is one last thing, more bad news, I’m afraid.”

“What is it? Please don’t tell me your contact is an old white misogynistic man who won’t work with women.”

“What? No, that’s not it. The problem is that she’s a professor in Dublin, so I hope you’re ok with long plane rides.”

 

Kara was more than okay with long plane rides, admittedly, going to Ireland didn’t really fit into her plans, but over the years she had learned to take opportunities when they presented themselves.  She needed to know what the engravings meant, and if her only way of figuring that out meant booking a very last minute flight to  Dublin, then so be it.  Kara was willing to do a great many things to solve this puzzle, what she wasn't willing to do was fly to Ireland alone.

"What do you mean I should pack my bags?" Lena had asked scandalized.

"You're coming with me, obviously."

"Oh, I am, am I? And how do you propose I do that? It's the middle of the semester, I can't just up and leave! I have classes to teach, papers to grade, and not to mention, research to conduct!" The brunette had exclaimed loudly, running her hands through her hair.

"I'm sure you can find someone willing to teach your classes for you, as for grading the papers, that's what TAs are for. I don't see what's stopping you from going, I'm sure your boyfriend can survive without you for a week," Kara had answered, and she had meant to sound teasing when talking about Jack. Instead, it sounded... jealous. Which was ridiculous, because she definitely wasn't jealous.

"What are you even talking about? I don't have a boy- oh my god, are you talking about Jack?" She had said, her eyes wide from surprise.

"Of course, I'm talking about you and Jack, who else would I be talking about? I don't care whether or not you and Jack are a couple or not, what I care about is finally understanding what this means, and you're the key to that. So, please, stop arguing and come with me, I swear you will be back in a week."

It had taken at least another half an hour to convince Lena to come with her, but she had managed to convince the stubborn brunette in the end.

Hours later, after they had been to Lena's apartment so that she could take a shower and pack a small suitcase, they sat next to each other, waiting for boarding to start.

"I still can't believe I let you talk me into this madness," Lena said once again, she had taken to muttering it every ten minutes or so.

"Come on, it'll be fun! When was the last time you got out of your lab, anyway?"

Lena ignored the jab and asked a question of her own, "Why do you need me to come with you, again? I'm a great many things, an archeologist, I am not."

"And yet we're only here because you figured it out. I can't just show up at a stranger's door and ask for their help," Kara answered while thumbing through the book she had brought.

"It didn't seem to bother you when you did that to me," Lena grumbled, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Kara thought she looked like a toddler that wasn't getting the toy she had asked for.

"That was different."

"How exactly was that different?"

"You know Alex," Kara shrugged, returning to her book. 

Before Lena could answer, a tired sounding woman announced that their plane was ready.

Their six-hour plane ride was quiet, which was mostly due to Lena falling asleep as soon as they were in the air. She had grabbed Kara's hand almost as soon as they had settled into their seats. "Sorry, I get really anxious before and during take-off," she had mumbled.

Kara hadn't minded, not even when Lena started to squeeze her hand, but that was probably due to her being an alien. Lena had a surprisingly strong grip for a human.

While Lena caught up on some much-needed rest, Kara busied herself with research. It wasn't anything she hadn't gone through, in fact, she had been going through it for nearly a year. Ever since she, and Sam had found that stupid burial site in the Amazon. Once this was all over, she would never set foot into that godforsaken forest again.

The plane was already descending when Lena started to stir, neither of them mentioned that they were still holding hands or that Lena had been drooling onto Kara's shoulder for the duration of their journey.

"Did you get any sleep?"

"I dozed for a bit, yeah. How did you sleep?" Kara whispered, not wanting to wake the rest of the passengers. Booking a last-minute flight had meant not having a huge choice which flight to take. So, they had ended up taking a red-eye from Logan International to Dublin, which meant arriving at the buttcrack of dawn. On the brightside it also meant that they could take a taxi directly to Trinity College, where their contact taught.

Kara had tried to get as much information out of Lena as possible, but the brunette was oddly reticent.

"My pillow was a bit bony, but otherwise it was good, thanks," she mumbled, her voice still rough from sleep. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure. What do you want to know?"

"What exactly did Alex tell you about me?"

"Nothing, really. She told me about this genius she met while she was in Oxford, and that you might be able to help." Kara answered truthfully. Alex had been about as forthcoming about Lena Luthor as Lena was about her contact. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm a bit desperate; so, I just trusted her and flew to Boston. I did wonder though, have you two ever... you know?"

"Are you asking if I had sex with your sister? While she was in Oxford?" Lena didn't just sound shocked, she sounded downright disgusted, and Kara felt anger rising in her chest.

"I never would have expected you to be a homophobe, maybe you were right, you should have stayed at MIT," Kara spat at her.

"A homophobe? What are you talking about? Kara, your sister and I met when I was 14!"

Everything around her stopped for a moment and all she could think was, "What?"

"I met Alex when I was 14, and she was what? 19? 20? So, no. Alex and I have never slept together, nor will we ever sleep together, but not because I'm a- a homophobe. Because Alex is like a sister to me," Lena explained calmly, but Kara could still hear the exasperation in her voice. To be fair, Kara deserved it for jumping to conclusions and going off like that.

"Sorry." She bit her lip and shot Lena an apologetic look.

"Stop pouting, I accept your apology. Didn't you at least google me before knocking on my door?"

"I did! MIT's website didn't mention how old you were when you got your degrees, though," she said, suddenly feeling incredibly stupid. "How were you in your junior year at Oxford University at 14?"

"I'm very smart," she said casually, somehow managing it without sounding pretentious. Kara shot her a look that clearly said tell me more, so Lena elaborated. "I wasn't actually in my junior year when Alex and I met."

"What a relief, you were a sophomore at 14," Kara interrupted sarcastically.

"Stop sassing around, or you'll have to google. As I was saying, I wasn't in my third year of undergrad, I was actually in my second year of my first masters."

"How is that even possible?" Kara felt bad for asking when she saw how uncomfortable Lena looked talking about her academic career.

"As I said, I'm really smart, and my mother encouraged me to pursue my interest in academia. Anything else you’d like to know?" And that was that. Lena had made clear that she was done talking about it, and Kara didn't want to push any more than she already had.

 


 

Their landing was smooth, and Lena was incredibly grateful for it. She hated flying, but take-off and landing were the worst part. Kara and her conversation earlier had left them in awkward silence, neither of them sure what to talk about now.

She hadn't meant to be rude to Kara, but talking about her academic accomplishments always made her feel awkward. People always looked at her differently once they found out she was profoundly gifted. God, how she hated the term.

Once they disembarked the plane and went through customs, Kara started to act weird. The blonde had been very calm and collected throughout their journey, but suddenly she was hyper-aware of their surroundings and kept glaring at the people that passed them.

"What's the matter with you?" Lena asked after Kara had glared particularly hard at a passerby.

"Something feels off," Kara answered, turning around to glare some more at the same man as before.

"Well, stop glaring. People are starting to look at us, they'll probably call security on us if you keep it up."

Kara continued to turn around every few steps, checking for god knows what behind them, but at least she stopped glaring at random strangers. She could've sworn that she had heard Kara growl once or twice on their walk to the car rental desk, and frankly, she was annoyed.

"Kara, stop growling at people," she whispered harshly but quietly, not wanting to draw any more attention to them.

"I can't help it! It's instinctual!" the blonde exclaimed.

"What are you, a dog? Jesus Christ."

They finally reached the bright orange car rental space, and Lena let out a relieved breath when she saw that the area was empty. Hopefully, Kara would stop her antics now. Instead of relaxing, as she had hoped, Kara tensed even further. This time though, before Lena could say anything about the blonde's behavior, she was roughly yanked behind a column. So roughly that she feared her arm had detached from her body. There was a loud crash followed by absolute silence. Lena tried to move to see what had happened but found that she couldn't, not with Kara pressing her into the column, acting as some sort of full-body shield. Lena's breathing was ragged, her body's reaction to the sudden spike of adrenaline.

"Come out and play, little girl, your lovely companion doessssn't have to get hurt," a male voice with a lisp said.

"I'd really rather not!" Kara said, her head turned to the side, so she didn't scream her answer into Lena's ear. Their eyes locked for a moment, and Lena mouthed I'm okay at the blonde. It seemed to assuage Kara’s fears because a moment after, the vise-like grip around her torso loosened a fraction. Breathing was easier now, but Lena had felt safer with Kara pressed so closely.

"Come out, come out wherever you are," the voice taunted. And much to Lena's shock, Kara actually took two steps to the side and turned to their attacker.

"There you are, and what a lovely specimen." Even in her current state of panic, she was disgusted by his words. Who talked to women like that? Whoever he was, he seemed to have serious issues.

Kara ignored his comment.

"How did you find us? Who send you?" Her voice was like steel- hard and unyielding.

"You know the anssswer to both quessstionsss, Kryptonian. Her majesty, Reign hasss sssent me to kill you and your human."

Her human? What was that supposed to mean?

Before she had any more time to think about their attacker's weird comment, another loud crash sounded, followed by low grunting and was sounded like a fistfight.

She inched towards the edge of the column, trying to see what was going on.

Kara and the car rental guy were wrestling on the floor, surrounded by the remnants of the attendant's desk and the fallen vending machine, that must have been the second crash she had heard.

"Give up, Kryptonian. You can't win this fight," he hissed as he pulled Kara roughly to her feet only to take her into a chokehold the woman couldn't get out of.

Deciding that enough was enough, Lena looked around the room for anything that might act as a weapon. The bright red of a fire extinguisher caught her eye. Sneaking across the room was surprisingly easy, their assailant too busy taunting Kara to notice Lena.

"Any lassst wordsss?" He hissed, and Lena snuck closer- fire extinguisher in her hands, ready to strike.

"Yeah, you need to pay more attention," Kara choked out, and Lena took that as her cue. She brought the metal container down as hard as possible, hitting the guy right on top of his head. Everything stood still for a moment or two, and then he crumpled to the ground.

Oh god, had she just killed a man?

She was distantly aware of letting her improvised weapon go and the loud metallic crash that followed, but she didn't pay much attention. Everything felt... muted.

Kara was in front of her, talking about... Lena wasn't sure. She couldn't make out the words.

Her legs were threatening to give out underneath her, and Kara seemed to notice because she grabbed Lena's elbows and gently guided her down to the floor. Kara kneeling in front of her.

"Lena, breathe," Kara said, her voice still sounded muffled to Lena's ears, but she felt the blonde's fingers gently massage her scalp. She didn't know how long they sat like that, Lena taking ragged breath after ragged breath, knees pulled up to her chest with her head resting on them. Kara kept whispering soothing words into her ear. It wasn’t particularly comfortable sitting on the floor like that, but she didn’t particularly care at the moment.

"Oh my god, I just killed someone," she whispered horrified, voicing the sentence that had swirled in her head for a while now.

Kara only hummed in response.

"How are you so calm about this?!" Lena knew she sounded hysterical, but in her opinion, the situation warranted it.

"Lena, you didn't kill anyone." Kara's voice was still maddeningly calm.

"I think you'll find I did. He's right there!"

Kara looked where Lena's finger was pointing and shook her head.

"You really didn't kill him."

"Kara, I whacked him with a 30-pound fire extinguisher, I'm pretty sure he's dead."

"It's cute that you think that you could kill an Anunnake, but I promise you that you can't. All you did was distract him long enough for me to kick him in the balls," Kara said with a cheeky grin.

"An Anu- what?" Lena asked, eyes jumping between Kara and the unconscious man on the ground.

"Long story and you wouldn't believe, even if I told you.”

“What?”

“We’ll talk about it later. Now, get up. He won't stay like this for long, and he's going to be super pissed when he does."

Kara got up first, holding her hand out for Lena to hold onto. Together they picked up their forgotten bags and left the crime scene, but not before Kara rummaged through the debris of the desk. She skipped triumphantly towards Lena, car keys jingling in her hand.

What the hell had she gotten involved in?