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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Chapter Text

The slat-thin ray of early morning sunlight that found its way in through the small gap in the curtains made Lena roll over to stop its slow march upward towards her face, not quite ready to wake up yet. A little later, the soft sound of ruffling pages brought a sleepy smile to her face and she reached out an upturned palm, feeling Fi’s hand fit perfectly in it a few moments later. For a moment, it was almost too easy to convince herself that they were back home in Ireland in their cozy little house instead of the guestroom of Kara’s apartment.

“Good morning, my treasure,” Lena mumbled groggily. She gave Fi’s hand a gentle but clumsy squeeze. She rolled onto her side, blinking as that ray of sunlight she had tried so hard to avoid, poked her in the eyes. She drew the paisley sheets up to her chin, not at all surprised to see Fi sitting with a book open in her lap. “Such an early riser. Are you sure you’re not part robot?”

Noo ,” Fi said, giggling. She shook her head emphatically from side to side and slid down to hug Lena, clinging to her side, disappearing completely under the blankets before she let her head poke out like a groundhog that had just seen its shadow. “Do you think Kara’s up yet?” she asked in a voice that very much wanted to be a polite whisper but came out just a tad louder than that.

Lena blinked some of the sleep from her eyes, looking around for a clock when she heard Kara answer from the other room.

“I’m up! I’ve been up for a while… Packing,” she said and there was a loud thump that Lena guessed was her setting a very heavy suitcase down followed by the sound of footsteps approaching. There was a very light knock on the half-open door before Kara stepped inside. She was still in her pajamas, hair done up in a messy bun that looked on the verge of coming undone. She looked at Lena and they both shared a shy smile before Kara turned her attention towards Fi. “How did you sleep, Fi?”

“Like this,” Fi said and spread out an arm so that it hung over the edge of the bed, eyes closed tight while she made exaggerated snoring noises that quickly turned into a fit of giggles. 

"What a coincidence," Kara said. "That's exactly how I slept.”

Fi beamed and buried her face against Lena’s side before looking inquisitively at Kara. “What were you packing?”

“My suitcase,” Kara said. “I haven’t been on a vacation in a long time and I never know what to pack…”

“Do you even need to pack one?” Lena teased. She sat up, resting against the headboard while she rubbed some sleep from her eyes. “We’ll only be gone a couple of days and if you really wanted to, you could just fly back and pick it up?”

“That’s not the same,” Kara said and fixed Lena with a sagely patient smile. “But I probably did overpack… I’ll give it another go after breakfast.”

“I can help you pack,” Fi offered. She clambered over Lena and hopped down onto the floor. She grinned up at Kara, absolutely thrumming with the kind of energy that Lena couldn’t help but envy so early in the morning.

“I would love your help,” Kara said. She grinned at Fi, scrunching up her nose as she did. “But how about breakfast first? How do you like your eggs?”

Fi pondered the question for a moment before answering. “All mixed up,” she said and made a vigorous mixing motion with her hand before she held out her arms to Kara expectantly. Not missing a beat, Kara lifted Fi and spun her around once before rising a few inches off the ground while Fi shrieked with laughter.

“She likes them scrambled,” Lena said, pretty sure that Kara could suss out what Fi meant without a translation but didn’t see the harm in making sure. She slid out of bed and ran a hand through her very messy hair and smiled up at Fi who was peering down at her, waving like she was perched atop a parade float.

“I am very good at mixing,” Kara assured Fi as she floated back down to the floor. “Do you want to help me crack the eggs?” 

Fi nodded and looked at Lena over top of Kara’s left shoulder. “Can I?” she asked.

“Of course you can, love.” Lena leaned forward and planted a kiss on the crown of Fi’s head, having to get up on her tiptoes to do it. "We can all help."

Both Lena and Fi were used to navigating a kitchen that any realtor worth their salt would classify as cozy which made Kara’s worried apologies about having to maneuver around one another as they made breakfast all the more amusing.

“Ours isn’t much bigger,” Lena said. She set down the knife she had been slicing a grapefruit with and pointed where Kara’s fridge stood. “Your fridge might even be a little bigger,” Lena said and held up her hands to roughly measure. “I’d try and find some pictures of it on my phone but you can see it for yourself soon enough.” She laughed nervously and picked up the knife again, cutting off a smaller section of grapefruit for Fi. “I should have cleaned up a little better before we left,” she said, trying to remember the state she had left their house before the two had set off for National City.

“You definitely don’t have to tidy up for me,” Kara assured her. She handed Fi another egg with all the delicateness of a surgeon’s assistant. “One more, I think,” she told Fi.

“One more,” Fi repeated, taking the egg from Kara carefully and tapping it gently against the countertop several times before prising it apart carefully over the large mixing bowl that Fi had already cracked nearly a dozen eggs into.

“No shells,” Kara said, sounding very impressed as she leaned closer to the bowl, inspecting it. “Not even a little bit.” She let out a low whistle and wrapped Fi up in a one-armed hug. “You’ll have to give Alex some advice on how to crack eggs because she does it on the edge of the bowl and there’s always a little bit of shell when she makes eggs,” she said in a low whisper as if there was someone else there that might overhear her.

“She's an excellent helper," Lena said and smiled when she saw Fi use the cape clipped to her pajamas to hide her face shyly behind it. "I simply don't know what I would do without her," she said and could only hope that Fi would someday understand just how true that really was and saw from the way that Kara was looking back at her that she understood.

“I have been looking for a designated baking assistant,” Kara said and shook her head sadly as if the search thus far had been a particularly exhausting one. “If you were interested…”

“Baking assistant?” Fi peeked out from behind her cape for a moment before letting it flutter behind her again. She shook her head, looking unsure. “What does a baking assistant do?”

“Well,” Kara said, grabbing a wooden spoon from a drawer and holding it out to Fi. “Mixing, for one. Measuring.” She began to tick them off on her fingers, holding up both her thumb and index finger. “And tasting, of course.”

“I can do that!” Fi crowed, looking from Kara to Lena and back again.

“Is that a yes, then?” Kara asked and crossed her fingers, pretending to look away as if she couldn’t bear the suspense of not knowing.

“Yes!” Fi said giggling and once again reached around to hide behind her cape, fresh laughter pouring out from behind it like water from a spring. 

"I already got the okay from Andrea about taking some time off," Kara said, heaping another large spoonful of scrambled eggs onto her plate before dousing it liberally with pepper. "I think she's in Japan ironing out a merger. When I texted her last night that I would be taking some personal time, she texted me right away." She caught Lena’s eye and exchanged a wry smile. 

 Kara reached for her phone, tapped the screen a few times. She sent me back this and cleared her throat before reading the very brief text she had woken up to. “ Such a nice change of pace for you to give me advance notice before you disappear, Kara. See you when you get back.” 

Lena smirked and a bite of egg wiggled off her fork as she tried to stop herself from laughing. She set her fork down with a clatter and nodded. “Some things never change,” Lena said and passed Fi a napkin just as she bit into a piece of toast that she had slathered liberally in strawberry jam.

“No,” Kara said and exchanged a shy smile with Lena. Lots of things had changed in the ten years since they had last seen one another but not everything, at least, not the things that mattered most. “Some things never change…” Never will change, she thought.

“Are you going to fly us back?” Fi asked. She had taken a few dainty nibbles of her toast, jam smeared on one corner of her mouth that she dabbed away carefully with the napkin Lena had handed her.

“I could ,” Kara said and looked sideways at Lena, not wanting to commit to anything without Lena signing off first. “But I could also sit next to you on the plane.”

“Just like this?” Fi said and pointed to where Lena sat on her right while Kara sat to her immediate left.

“If you don’t mind giving me the window seat,” Kara said, eyes wide as if she couldn’t quite believe that Fi could be that generous.

“I don’t mind,” Fi said sweetly.

“Well…” Lena said and glanced sideways at Kara, nibbling on a piece of bacon that she finished off in two dainty bites before she elaborated on her idea. “I was thinking about that and I wanted to see Sam again before we left… even if we are coming right back. If she’s really left my lab intact then I think we could travel a different way…”

“What way?” Fi asked, leaning close, elbows propped up on the table.

“It’s a surprise, my treasure,” Lena said and turned an imaginary key in front of her mouth, locking it as well as tossing it over her back for good measure.

Oh ,” Kara said, eyes shining, just a little slower on the draw, and nodded. “That would be even faster…”

“Faster than what?” Fi asked.

“Faster than a speeding bullet,” Lena said and turned another imaginary key on the other side of her mouth before she pressed a kiss to Fi’s temple. “How about a hint?” she offered.

“Yes, please. A good one.”

“A good one,” Lena agreed, nodding as she tapped her index finger against her chin. “I have one,” she said and chuckled when Fi sat up straighter in her seat, staring up at Lena unblinkingly. “The hint is,” Lena said, enunciating each word carefully, adding the proper mystique. “Narnia.”

“That is a good one,” Kara murmured and understood just how dangerous Fi’s puppy-dog eyes really were when she looked at Kara with them on at full blast. “Oh Rao, Lena how do you not just spoil her to pieces?”

“It’s very difficult,” Lena said and made a show of covering her eyes with her hand, peeking out through a small crack at Fi who looked to be very deep in thought, turning over Lena’s hint in her mind, brow furrowed in concentration. “Something that you’ll have to get used to,” she warned, lips turned up in a shy smile.

“Yeah, I will,” Kara said, her voice quavering just a touch, enough for Lena to notice and reach over and give her hand a very firm squeeze as if she somehow knew that Kara needed the reassurance that this was all indeed real.

“Narnia,” Fi said out loud, clearly speaking to herself as she tried to decipher Lena’s clue, head tilted up, the furrow in her brow deepening.

“Why don’t you ponder over that while you help Kara pack, love,” Lena suggested. "I'll clean up the kitchen while you do. After that we can go see Aunt Sam and say hello… and goodbye. For a few days at least."

“Are you sure?” Kara asked, still holding onto Lena’s hand, not wanting to let go until she absolutely had to. “I could have it done a lot faster,” she offered.

“Very sure,” Lena said laughing. “I can handle a few dishes while you two pack.” She pushed her chair back and stood up, beginning to gather up the dishes. There was the clink of plates shifting against one another as Lena stacked them up three-high, gathering their utensils in one fist like a bouquet.

"We won't take long," Kara said and stood up as well. "Will we, Fi?"

"Nope!" Fi shimmied out of her chair without pushing it back and took two great galloping leaps towards Kara who caught her on the second leap and carried her into the living room just fast enough to ruffle the cape clipped to the back of Fi's pajamas on a wing and a prayer.

Just like the first time that Lena had laid eyes on L-Corp again after so many years, Sam was waiting for her outside of the building. She was dressed smartly in a suit that didn’t look like it offered her much protection from the shockingly cold wind judging from how she had taken refuge behind a pillar near the entrance, but she still came over when she spotted Lena’s rental car pull up.

“You know that traditionally we’re the ones that are supposed to wait to see the CEO. Not the other way around,” Lena said as she stepped out of the car, pulling Sam into a hug before she could do the same. 

“And wait longer to have to see the little munchkin again? Not a chance.” Sam grinned and watched as Fi hopped out of the backseat, landing with all the grace and showmanship of a gymnast who had just finished up a very difficult routine. “Hi again,” Sam said, bending down as she had the first time she had met Fi so that they were eye-level.

“Hi again,” Fi parroted back happily.

“I heard from your mom that you’re going on a little trip. All of you together,” she said and her gaze flicked over to Kara, her warm smile morphing somewhat into a grin that made Lena think that Sam had most likely already worked out some or all of the gaps that Lena hadn’t had the opportunity to share with her yet about how things had progressed between Kara and her.

"Yeah," Fi said without a hint of shyness, eyes twinkling as she pointed to the much smaller suitcase that Kara had clutched in one hand. "But we'll be back soon.”

“Well, I’m very happy to hear that because I happen to know a bakery in the city that has the absolute best cookies I have ever had and it would be a shame if I didn’t get to take you and your mom. And Kara, of course,” she added, her smile once again morphing ever so slightly into a smirk.

“Well, now we have to come back,” Lena teased as if they had only been on the fence about returning instead of fully committed.

“Yes, you do,” Sam said. She looked as if she might continue speaking but after bracing herself against a particularly strong, particularly cold breeze she made a face as if there was someone she could blame for the weather being so cold and walked back towards the entrance to the building, urging them to follow after her.

“Do you have a wardrobe in your office?” Fi asked Sam when they all squeezed into an elevator together. 

“A wardrobe?”

“We’re actually going down ,” Lena said and jabbed the button that would take them down to the floor her lab was on and was struck with the strangest feeling of deja vu as they began to descend. “To my old lab,” she said, answering the question that she was sure Fi wanted to ask before she could even ask it. “It’s probably all dusty.” She wrinkled her nose and made a face, pretending to dust some invisible dust off of Fi’s cape that got Fi to laugh and bury her face against Lena’s side, holding onto her tight.

When the elevator doors slid open soundlessly Lena expected to see every piece of lab equipment shrouded in white sheets and those sheets covered in a thick layer of dust which made it all the more shocking when the lights flickered on and Lena found herself staring at her lab exactly as she remembered it. So much so that Lena had to resist the urge to rub her eyes, as if doing so might dispel what she was half-convinced to be a mirage. 

"I don't understand," Lena said, looking over at Kara who looked just as surprised as her.

“You really think I’d just seal your lab up like the Cask of Amontillado and call it good?” Sam tutted and reached for the bank of switches that operated the lights and flicked a few more on, illuminating a few of the darker corners of the lab, those too just as spotless, looking more like Lena had just stepped out for the day rather than the decade. “I have a cleaning crew come down here once a month to do battle with the dust bunnies. Just keeping the lighthouse,” she said and gave Lena a shy shrug of her shoulders. “And it’s a good thing that I did…”

“Very brave of them,” Lena replied, glancing back at Sam to offer her an appreciative smile, all while keeping a close eye on Fi as she began to venture out on her own, knowing all too well that Fi’s shyness around people did not extend to unfamiliar places which was exactly why Lena had lost her on Halloween. The memory of that night brought with it a revenant of the fear she had felt when Fi had seemingly vanished. It crept over her like a looming shadow that was banished the instant she saw FI come to a skittering halt and caper back towards her, perhaps sensing Lena’s unease.

“The floors are slippery, so be careful,” Lena warned and grinned to herself, remembering all the times she had been dangerously close to a painful tumble herself. How she somehow navigated her lab, oftentimes in a sleep-deprived state in heels was just one of the many things that she couldn’t quite understand how she had done it now that that part of her life seemed so distant it felt like a dream of a dream.

“Yes,” Kara agreed, sliding one of her feet along the very freshly polished floor. “But if the unthinkable happens, I’ll catch you,” Kara said and as if to prove that she could, she sped over to Fi in an instant and scooped her up in a hug. “Just in the nick of time,” she said and wiped imaginary sweat from her brow.

Fi giggled and nodded in agreement, looking over at Lena. “I’ll be careful,” she said and she wriggled one arm free to offer Lena her outstretched pinky finger. “I promise.”

“I will too,” Lena said in a low clandestine whisper and winked at Fi before entwining her pinky with Fi's. “If you want to look around with Kara and Sam while I get the surprise ready,” Lena suggested.

“What things?” Fi asked, her head swiveling to look first at Lena, then Kara, and finally Sam, not picky about who answered the question, just as long as somebody did.

“Secret things,” Lena said and exaggeratedly pursed her lips, giving the same kind of nonanswer she gave when Fi tried to suss out her Christmas presents by prodding at them gently, oftentimes looking at them from every imaginable angle, as if that might result in new insights. “Give me just ten minutes, love.”

“I’ll give you as many minutes as you need,” FI said sweetly although she did swivel her head around, using the extra height from Kara holding her to look around the lab, perhaps looking for a wardrobe.

“Let’s start with ten,” Lena said with a laugh and kissed Fi on the cheek.

“I bet your mom doesn’t have a lab this big back home,” Kara said, walking towards one of the lab’s workstations with Sam walking in sync beside her. “Or maybe she does,” Kara amended, glancing over her shoulder in an attempt to catch Lena’s eye.

“No,” Lena said with a laugh, spying what she was looking for stashed underneath one of the worktables pressed against the far wall of the lab. You really didn’t touch anything, did you?

She bent down, careful not to bang her head as she edged the heavy box out from under the table, impressed that even that was devoid of any sign of dust. There was no sign of a visible hinge but there was a small indent near the top that Lena pressed her thumb against, hoping the biometric lock was still in working order.

She was just about to call Kara over to brute force it open when there was an audible clicking noise and the lid swung open revealing the box’s meager contents. She reached inside and plucked the watch from inside, brushing the pad of her thumb over the face of the watch.

She stood up, bringing the watch over to her old worktable, her thumb looking for the hidden release on the back, and found it on her third pass. She pressed hard and prised the back panel off, doing a spot check of the intricate wiring looking for any signs of damage. Once she was satisfied that the transmatter portal watch was still in working order she pocketed it instead of putting it on.

Didn’t even need the full ten minutes , Lena thought as she nudged the box back under the desk with her foot.

“Mom?” Fi called, her voice echoing off the lab walls, doubling up on itself.

“Yes, my treasure?” She turned around and saw Fi on her tiptoes looking at one of her lab stations where several beakers were arranged in neat evenly-spaced racks beside rows of glittering pipettes that were spaced far more neatly than they had ever been when Lena had used the lab.

“Did you work here all alone?” Fi asked, raising her voice just enough to cause another echo, making it sound like there was a chorus of Fi’s asking her the same question all at once.

“I did ,” Lena answered and saw the polite surprise on Fi’s face as she looked at both Kara and Sam as if she had heard something she couldn’t believe without more tangible proof. “Sometimes I sat right here,” Lena said, scooping Fi up, feeling more than a little envious at how effortlessly Kara could do so and set Fi gently down on one of the chairs pushed in neatly around the edge of the table.

“Right here?” Fi asked and patted the chair.

Lena nodded. “And sometimes I worked over there and over there too.” She pointed to opposite corners of the lab, grin widening.

“Because you wanted to help people,” Fi said proudly, looking up at Lena and exuding so much affection that Lena couldn’t help but feel a bit unworthy of it.

“Yes,” Lena and Kara said together in such perfect unison that Sam began to chuckle.

“Sometimes I would start working in the evening and not finish until the next morning,” Lena said, recalling all the nights she had spent working down in her lab instead of returning to her penthouse, sometimes unsure if she stayed because she found it so easy to get absorbed in her work or simply because she had no desire to return to an empty penthouse. 

“Didn’t you have a bedtime?” Fi asked, confused, a delicate crease in her brow starting to form.

“She certainly should have,” Sam muttered, looking sideways at Lena.

“Sam’s right,” Lena agreed, hanging her head with a bit of theatricality to show Fi that she truly was remorseful. “I should have had a bedtime. And before you ask, yes, you still need a bedtime. We can discuss an extension…” Lena cleared her throat and produced her phone, navigating to the calendar and then to June of the next year.  She showed it to Fi and pointed to the first Saturday of that month. “Your birthday,” she said.

“My birthday!” Fi cheered. “Can Kara come to my birthday?” she asked Lena but looked at Kara when she did.

“I couldn’t keep her away if I wanted to, my treasure.”

“No,” Kara said sadly, shaking her head. “You couldn’t.”

“And Grandma and Aunt Sam, too?”

“I’ll clear my schedule right now,” Sam said and made a sweeping gesture with both arms to show that Fi’s birthday would take precedence over any previous engagement she had already scheduled.

“We’ll make a guest list,” Lena said, sure that the number of people that Fi would want to invite would only increase shortly. “But back to that surprise,” Lena reminded her before Fi could return to rattling off more names.

“Where is it?” Fi asked.

“Hold out your hand and close your eyes tight,” Lena instructed and waited until Fi had done both before she reached into her pocket and retrieved the watch. She pressed the watch into Fi’s hand. “Now you can open them.”

“A watch?” Fi prodded it with her other hand before lifting it delicately, turning it over in her hand and holding it by one of the straps.

“A very special watch,” Lena said and smiled when Fi immediately cradled it all the more carefully after she said that. “It’s not a pair of ruby slippers or a magic wardrobe, love, but this can take us home... It can take us anywhere we want to go.”

“Anywhere?” Fi asked, looking up at Lena without a hint of disbelief on her face, more than happy to take Lena at her word, more than happy to believe that there was indeed magic in the world.

Almost anywhere,” Lena revised and brushed a hand through Fi’s hair before swiveling the chair she was sitting in so that she was facing the center of the lab. “Why don’t you press this button?” Lena suggested and tapped it featherlight to show Fi which one to press.

“This button?”

Lena nodded and watched as Fi pressed her thumb against the small silver button. The sudden appearance of the shimmering portal in the center of the lab made Fi rear back in surprise. Not that she was in danger of falling, Lena had suspected such a reaction and wrapped one arm around her shoulders.

“What is it?” Fi asked, looking up at Lena for a moment before she returned to staring at the portal.

“It’s a portal,” Lena said, and knowing that alone wouldn’t be enough of an explanation, decided to describe it the same way Fi had described how it felt to fly on an airplane for the very first time. “It’s like magic,” Lena said in a voice just above a whisper. “We’ll step through it and when we step out the other side… we’ll be back home.”

“It is magic,” Fi said and hopped off the chair, throwing her arms out to steady herself when she landed, doing a graceful kind of pirouette, nearly wrapping herself up in her cape.

“We’ll be back in a few days, Sam,” Lena murmured, trying to hide the fact that she had begun to blush. All three of us…

“Sure beats ten years,” Sam joked, pulling in Lena for a hug. “I’m buying you dinner when you get back and I’m buying the munchkin as many cookies as she can eat.”

“First time we see each other in years and you immediately start flexing your salary,” Lena teased, glancing over at Fi who had dragged Kara closer to the portal, walking around it and examining it from every angle imaginable while still keeping a bit of distance between her and the portal.

“You two look good together,” Sam whispered, pulling Lena closer, lips so close that they were almost pressed against Lena’s ear. “But then again, you always did,” she said with a shrug as she pulled away reluctantly from the hug.

“Maybe,” Lena said modestly and stole a glance over at Kara, not the least bit surprised to see her looking back at her. “Definitely,” she amended and gave Sam’s arm a little tug, pulling her along in her wake as she stepped closer to where Kara and Fi were standing.

“Ready to go, my treasure?”

“Go?” Fi asked and shuffled a few steps back and pointed to the portal, suddenly looking uneasy. Still gripping tight to Kara’s hand she motioned Lena to come closer and Lena obliged, getting down on one knee and turning her head just enough so that Fi could lean in close.

“Will it be scary?” she asked in a whisper meant only for Lena.

“No, my treasure,” Lena soothed. She sandwiched Fi’s hand in both of her own and pressed a kiss to Fi’s temple. “You know why?”


Still holding onto Fi’s hand, Lena leaned close to Fi’s ear and whispered, “Because I’ll be with you, love. And…” She looked up at Kara who was still holding tight onto Fi’s other hand, suitcase in the other, not wanting to assume, not wanting to burden Kara with something she might not want, and most importantly, not wanting to promise Fi something that wasn’t hers to promise.

“And I’ll be with you too,” Kara said softly. “I won’t let go of your hand until you tell me to.” She swung Fi’s arm and held on tight, still smiling. “All of us together.”

“Then…” Fi said carefully, looking from one to the other. “I’m ready to go,” she said and let go of Lena’s hand briefly to wave goodbye to Sam.

Sam waved back with gusto, smiling. “Have fun, Munchkin.”

“I will!” Fi flashed Sam a toothy grin before turning her attention to the portal. “Ready,” she repeated, not looking up at Lena this time.

“Count of three?” Kara suggested and gave Fi’s arm another little swing. “Want to count us down, Fi?”

“Yes!” Fi chirped and Lena saw the last residue of unease on Fi’s face disappear when she smiled up at the both of them.

“Whenever you’re ready, love.”

When Kara stepped through the portal, there was a very brief moment where she feared something might have gone wrong. She had expected the three of them to step out in front of a quaint cottage bathed in warm afternoon sunlight. She ended up only being half-right. There was a cottage and while it was maybe a tiny bit too big to be considered quaint, Kara thought it was close enough. But there was very little sunlight to speak of. A very thin band of orange-red sunlight was visible on the horizon, the sun almost completely set, the sky around it a beautiful purplish hue.

“Time difference,” Lena said, perhaps seeing the confusion on Kara’s face. “And that’s our—”

“Our house!” Fi grinned up at her. “Do you like it?”

“I absolutely adore it,” Kara gushed. To her, the cottage looked as if it had been plucked from the pages of some dusty well-worn picture book, the kind you might stumble across deep in a sunkissed bit of meadow deep in some sheltered woods. She spotted a chimney perched atop the slanted roof and it was all too easy for her to imagine smoke chuffing from it when the weather turned a bit colder, the warm glow from the fireplace reflecting in the bay window. There was a thin, almost spindly walkway that led to the sturdy oak front door.

“You haven’t seen the inside yet,” Lena said, laughing. “Or have you?” She cocked her head and looked at Kara sideways.

“No! I want it to be a surprise,” Kara said, scandalized at the mere thought she might actually try and sneak a peek before she had been given the tour. “I’m ready to be given the full tour.”

“That won’t take long,” Lena warned, gesturing needlessly to the cottage. “It’s even smaller inside.”

“It’s perfect,” Kara scolded and gave Fi’s hand a gentle squeeze, hoping that she might provide the appropriate backup.

“Yeah,” Fi chirped and tugged on Lena’s hand. “It’s perfect.”

“Oh, is that how it’s going to be from now on?” Lena asked, swinging Fi’s arm up as the three of them set off towards the house. “Outvoted and overruled?”

For as small as the cottage was, Kara insisted on exploring each room thoroughly, taking in every detail, wanting to memorize each one, to savor it the same way she would a good meal. Asking nearly as many questions as Fi did when Kara had given the tour of her apartment.

She had oohed and aahed over some of Lena’s decorating touches throughout the house. She had done two circuits around the small wooden table in the kitchen, eyes drawn to the two chairs pushed up close to one another, one Fi’s, the other Lena’s. In the living room, she had marveled at the record player sitting by the window and thumbed very quickly through the sizable stack of records in the cabinet beside it.

“And this must be your room,” Kara said when Fi led her by the hand down a short hallway and stopped in front of a door covered in overlapping drawings, a silvery doorknob just barely visible underneath a sheaf of overlapping drawings.

“Yes,” Fi said, suddenly retreating to partially conceal herself behind Lena, peering out from behind her at Kara. “I drew all these too,” she said and pointed back towards the kitchen where the fridge was similarly covered from top to bottom in Fi’s artwork.

“I don’t know how I could ever pick a favorite.” Kara shook her head, peeking underneath a few of the drawings to get a better look at those hiding underneath, and the radiant smile on her face only deepened when she saw just how many drawings there were of Fi and Lena together. “I love them all.”

“Me too,” Fi admitted shyly and after glancing up at Lena she returned to Kara’s side. She rubbed at her chin, pondering over something before she very shyly pointed out a drawing of her and Lena sitting together on the brown leather couch in the living room, a book open between them, a thin squiggly line drawn in purple across the front of it in place of a title.

Before Kara could get a closer look at it, Fi flipped it up carefully to reveal a picture of Supergirl flying above a city, several skyscrapers drawn in a variety of colors while a bright yellow sun occupied one corner of the page.

“That’s me!” Kara said and leaned in closer. “And you even got my hair right…” She floated up just high enough into the air, arms stretched out in front of her  to better emulate the way that FI had drawn her in the picture. “And I didn’t even pose for it. Next time though,” she promised and put her feet back down on solid ground and held her arms out to Fi who leaped into them without an iota of hesitation. “Maybe an action pose?”

Fi seemed delighted at the prospect, the corners of her mouth curled upward into a rapturous grin that Kara fully believed to be contagious. “We can draw together,” she suggested and twisted around in Kara’s arms to reach for the doorknob and pushed open the door just hard enough for it to swing open to reveal Fi’s bedroom.

“There’s a switch on the wall,” Lena said and snaked a hand past Kara to nudge the light switch on the wall, bathing the room in warm light from a fixture in the center of the room.

The walls had been painted a delicate sky blue, a task that Kara was sure Lena had done on her own while the ceiling had been painted a slightly darker shade. Surrounding the ceiling light were a number of glow-in-the-dark stars that still retained at least some of their luminescence. Tucked away in one corner of the room was a desk where a mishmash of books was stacked pell-mell in uneven towers while an enormous box of crayons occupied another corner, acting as a paperweight for a thick stack of drawing paper.

Fi’s bed was nestled under the window where outside the moon was just beginning to rise higher in a sky utterly devoid of clouds. The bed itself was large, even larger than Kara’s bed back home which left plenty of room for a number of stuffed animals to occupy one side of the bed while still leaving plenty of room for Fi to curl up unimpeded. 

“This is even nicer than my room,” Kara gushed and felt herself melt when Fi wrapped her arms more securely around her neck. “I love it.”

“Haven’t you said that about every room,” Lena teased, giving her a playful bump with her shoulder.

“I have ,” Kara admitted without a hint of guilt in her confession. “And I’ve loved each one.”

Lena’s smile deepened and she nodded. “Fair enough.” She glanced at the clock hanging on the far wall and squinted. “I know it’s late here but it’s just about lunchtime back in National City. I should be able to throw together something simple and then we can settle in for the night… day,” she corrected and shook her head. “I just hope this doesn’t mess up your sleeping schedule too much, my treasure. Or mine,” she added and made soft snoring noises that made Fi grin against Kara’s shoulder.

They ate a hastily prepared lunch of spaghetti bolognese by candlelight squeezed in close together around the kitchen table while a silvery crescent moon rose higher into a cloudless sky, visible through a window over the kitchen sink.

For dessert, Lena sliced up an apple and dusted the segments with cinnamon and Fi generously offered up some of her leftover Halloween candy that she had brought along with her and the three ate that crowded together on the couch while Lena brought out a couple of photo albums that had been stashed in the same cabinet that the record player sat on. While Kara flipped through them with Lena sitting next to her and Fi in her lap, Kara paused now and again when she happened across a photo that caught her eye. There was almost always a story to accompany it, some recollections fuzzier than others that Lena was more than happy to share and sometimes Fi remembered better than Lena, taking over storytelling duties while Kara hung on her every word.

There had been a third photo album that Kara had spotted after thumbing through the second one in its entirety but before she had even been able to stand up off the couch to go grab it, Lena had waved her off, smiling.

“That one’s empty, I’m afraid.” Lena’s grin widened when she saw the look of surprise on Kara’s face. “But considering everything that’s happened lately… I think I’ll need to buy a few more albums.”

“To start,” Kara suggested and when Lena nodded shyly in agreement, Kara felt her stomach do a nervous backflip, wishing that Lena could hear just how fast she made her heart beat just as easily as she could hear Lena’s. 

About the time that Lena noticed the first streaks of dawn brightening the sky like exploratory brushstrokes of a painter, she saw that Fi had begun to droop. Not at all surprising considering how animatedly she had chatted while the three had spent the night watching TV, drawing, and playing chess with Fi and Kara playing together against Lena, strategizing in very loud whispers while Lena pretended not to hear.

“I resign, my treasure,” Lena said softly, offering Fi her hand and smiling when she saw Fi’s shoulders slump and then jump up again, startled awake.

“You resign?” Fi asked sleepily, eyes half-closed, head still resting against Kara’s shoulder.

“Yes,” Lena said. She took Fi’s hand and instead of shaking it planted a kiss on the back of her hand and stood up, scooping Fi up in her arms.

“I’m not sleepy,” Fi murmured against Lena’s shoulder but nestled her head more securely against her a second later. “Maybe I’m a little sleepy…”

“I bet you have some very sweet dreams waiting for you," Lena promised. "And tomorrow... lots of new adventures." She padded with Fi down the hall leading to her bedroom, a journey she had taken countless times. The only difference was that this time, she heard Kara rise from her spot on the couch and follow behind her soundlessly in her wake.

Once she had Fi tucked into bed, Lena pulled the comforter up around her and pulled the curtain on her window completely closed, hoping that Fi would be able to sleep soundly even if some faint sunlight filtered in. "Good night, my treasure," Lena whispered and brushed a hand gently over her forehead, leaning down to let Fi clumsily loop an arm around her neck and pull her into a sleepy hug. "See you in the morning."

"See you in the morning," Fi repeated sleepily. She seemed to find her second (or maybe her third) wind and unlooped her arm from around Lena and looked over at Kara who was standing beside Lena, holding Fi's cape draped over one of her arms. "Good night, Kara. I hope you have sweet dreams too."

"I know I will," Kara said softly and after the briefest of hesitations, she leaned over and hugged Fi very gently. "Tomorrow I'll read you two stories if you want."

"Yeah." Fi's face lit up brilliantly before her eyes fluttered closed and then open again, smiling at the both of them. "I can't wait..." Turning on her side, she gave her comforter a weak tug, pulling it up to her chin while Lena slipped out of the room, deftly avoiding banging her shin against Fi's dresser on the way out.

"You must be tired too," Kara said, once the two had returned to the living room.

"Oh, I think I'm good for another hour," Lena said and glanced out the window, the first rays of early morning sun starting to peek out over the horizon. She was sure that Fi would be up before either of them and she'd have to chug along on whatever sleep she was able to get before trying to force her body's clock to acclimate to the change before doing it all over again, part of her wondering if she still had it in her while another part knew that she would find a way, she always had before.

"Another game?" Kara asked, holding up one of the wooden pawns, rolling it in her palm. "Or did you want to do something else?"

"Something else," Lena said, tilting her head at an angle and looking at Kara, grinning when she saw her cheeks start to turn red. She crossed the living room to where the record player sat and lifted the cover soundlessly. The cabinet door was still slightly ajar and when she bent down to look through her burgeoning collection she found what she was looking for. Slipping the record from its sleeve, she flipped it over and onto the platter. She pressed the On button and heard the faint whirring sounds as the record began to spin, the needle skittering across the surface for just an instant before it settled into the groove.

"I'm not much of a slow dancer," Lena warned as the first notes of the Peggy Lee record began to play. "But I guess you don't have to worry if I step on your feet," she joked.

"No," Kara agreed and floated over to her, closing the distance between them before floating back down. "I'm not either, but I'm more than willing to practice."

"Normally," Lena said as she looped an arm around Kara's waist, a swarm of butterflies swirling and diving in her stomach as Kara did the same. "I'm a very fast learner, but dancing is an entirely different beast."

"Just means we have to practice a lot." Kara shrugged, clearly unbothered at the prospect. "I'm free for..." Her brow furrowed in mock concentration as she pulled Lena closer. "Oh, the rest of my life."

"Is that so?" Lena whispered, tears pricking at the corner of her eyes as Peggy Lee began to croon, her voice dripping like honey, the pleasant crackle making the music sound that much more real.

"Yeah," Kara murmured, swaying with Lena, her hands draped over her waist. "So, absolutely no rush..."

"Funny coincidence," Lena replied, pressing a kiss to the corner of Kara's mouth. "I am too... And I don't think Fi would ever forgive me if I let you go..."

"So, you're kind of stuck with me," Kara said, a shy, triumphant smile creeping across her face.

"And I wouldn't forgive myself either," Lena whispered against the shell of Kara's ear. "I'm kind of good at that..."

Kara let out a watery chuckle, resting her head against Lena's shoulder. "Yeah, you are."

For a time they continued dancing, sunlight streaming in through the window, chasing away some of the chill that had begun to seep in through the walls of the cottage. As the song neared its end, Lena pulled Kara into a tight embrace, no longer dancing, no longer swaying.

"Tighter," Kara whispered, nuzzling against Lena's shoulder.

Lena pulled her into a tighter embrace, more than happy to oblige.