The lab is cool and silent. The only noise is the whir of machines running algorithms filling the large room. It's late, the sun has long since set over National City, the city lights blink high above. A raven haired woman is hunched over a lab table. The dark solitary air of the night gives her the peace to work unencumbered and undetected in her search to make wrongs right.
At one time, Lena Luthor would have enjoyed the peace, the silence and the stark neutrality that being in a lab gave her. But now, it held no comfort. Every faint mechanical hum or new announcements from the computer communicating to her that there was no activity to be found, riling her further. Driving her closer to her anger in her search for Lex who had vanished right after she had pulled Kara from the VR. They had found Brainy bleeding on the floor of the DEO, a pained explanation that Lex had escaped Leviathan. It had been a month since Lex had disappeared and taken Leviathan with him.
Now, she was scrambling searching for any sign, any clue, that could lead her to him. To stop him before he did any more damage or caused any further harm to innocent people. Lena had lost count of how long she had been writing algorithms for different cyphers that they had used as children, she had racked through every memory she had to find something, any small detail that could illuminate a trail. She was determined to prove her worth. She had broken down all her walls to regain Kara's tentative trust and now she was desperate to rebuild their relationship. Desperate to go back to the relationship like it had been of daily lunches or even a late night text checking in making sure they were both okay. It had been months but she was determined to have any relationship with Kara she could and to get back to the easy trusting way they used to be.
Hence why she was in her lab well past midnight running protocols and algorithms, something Kara had told her was highly unnecessary, because they could do it from the DEO. Only for Lena to remind her that Lex owned the DEO and that her lab was the safest place for it.
They had rebuilt the DEO a few weeks after Lex had left using it as a guise to the public that everything was fine. That it had been a freak gas explosion rather than a terraforming god.
After stabilising Brainy, Lena had taken her place in charge of LuthorCorp and the DEO, after all Lex was nowhere to be found so it fell to her as an equal partner. With her control in place, she renamed LuthorCorp and reinstated Alex as the DEO's Director. Desperate for them to gain the control over Lex they could under the pretence that everything was normal. And only using the Tower when necessary.
Lena had been deeply engrossed in a coded algorithm when it happened. The faint hum of processors is broken by a noise similar to water being sucked down a drain. Wind fills the lab as paper is blown violently across the room. Her hair whipping around her face. Lena turns wide eyed to find the long dormant portal that had lain in her lab for four years now activated. The same portal she created following the schematics Rhea had shown her prior to the Daxamite invasion. Kara had destroyed the main portal she had built with Rhea but the small prototype she had constructed herself had remained dormant ever since the dispersal of Lead into the atmosphere. Lena had asked Supergirl to destroy the prototype, just in case. it wasn't meant to be used, it was meant to be broken. Now it served as a reminder of her mistake.
Lena staggers back as she tries to process the whirring portal. It's unstable, she realises as the light flashes sharply, almost spluttering. The blue haze flickering in and out as it gains momentum.
She reacts quickly, desperate to shut it down before anything comes through. Racing to the panel frantically keying in countermeasures but the user on the other side, whoever they are, is faster. Outpacing her before she can even put up a firewall. Lena curses under her breath as the portal stabilizes for a moment, catching sight of the shadow of a figure on the other side. She changes strategy rapidly imputing the familiar kill code. She's on the verge of sending it when the portal shuts down. Her heavy breathing and racing heart filling her ears as relief washes through her.
It takes several moments before she registers the small sniffles that make her look around.
"M-Mommy?" A child's voice warbles, searching. "J-Jeju?" The voice cries out, and Lena stares wide eyed at the small child now standing in front of the portal behind the benches in the centre of the lab staring pleadingly at the portal, wishing it to reopen.
Someone had sent their child alone through the portal. A small blonde haired child bundled in a thick jacket was now standing in Lena Luthor's lab. Lena takes a hesitant step closer and the child turns to flinch back in surprise.
"Hi there," Lena greeted softly, stepping closer to the toddler and kneeling down to her height. Questions burn through Lena's mind: Who was she? Where had she come from? Who were her parents? How was she going to get back to where she had come from? The child turns, her lower lip trembling at the sight. Tears streaking her soft face.
"Mommy!" The girl cries as she runs across the floor, her small arms wrapping around Lena's neck before Lena can react causing her to rock back onto her heels at the force of the small body that burrows against her neck, ignoring as Lena stiffens in response. Lena pulls away, a frown etching over her features as she takes in watery green eyes.
"N-no," Lena stumbles with a shake of her head. "I'm not-"
The child suddenly, instinctually tightens her grip, pushing her little feet against the ground in a clear and silent demand for movement. Lena nods and without thinking, stands lifting the child into her arms. Propping the child on her hip like the women she's seen on those shows that Kara made her watch do. Lena stands trying the console again before she realises she needs both hands.
"Just give me a second," Lena pleads, setting her down, and the toddler stays close. "I'm going to try and get you back to your mommy, I promise," Lena tries to console. The little girl sniffles again staring wide green eyes up at Lena. The trembling lip and tears stained cheek are etched with a familiar frown.
"You are my Mommy." She says as though there was no mistake in this fact. Lena's heart quickens at the certainty of that statement. She is unnerved by the trusting eyes that stare up expectantly at her. Expectant of what Lena has no idea.
"N-No, sweetie, I'm not your Mommy but I'm going to get you back to her," Lena tries to reason. "Why don't we get that jacket off, huh?" Lena suggests gently and the little girl's hand is already reaching for her zipper. Lena watches as she fights with the zipper before she rubs frustratedly at her face, smearing blood across her cheek. Lena's jaw drops as she notices the blood staining the front of the child's thick jacket.
Lena curses under her breath and moves in closer as the little girl stares wide eyed up at her. Lena helps the best she can before it's off the small girl and Lena quickly deposits it on the surface as she checks her for injuries, she can do that Lena thinks, she can tell if a human even a small one has sustained any injuries. Lena's heart is hammering, she doesn't know how to look after a child, Let alone a toddler who appeared through a presumably broken portal calling her mommy. The little girl happily stands for her inspection and Lena marginally relaxes as she sees she's free of injuries.
"I'm fine," Lena reassures herself. She can do this, she can get this child back to her home.
"Mommy, you ok, you ok, Mommy," The toddler says, her voice high pitched at the end like a question, stepping close and Lena nods.
"I'm, ugh, I'm fine." Lena says, trying to keep her voice from shaking.
"No hurt, Mommy?"
"N-no, I- I'm fine, just…" Lena takes a step back and tries to school her features as green eyes stare intently up at her. "Why don't you just wait here ok? I'm going to try and get you back," Lena explains, but the child moves in close and takes Lena's hand.
"I stay with you, Mommy. I help you, Mommy," the girl offers, waiting for Lena to move. Taking a steadying breath Lena moves across to the control panel and tries not to flinch as the child presses her body close, a small fist gripping her jeans, unwilling to stray too far from her, and quietly peers up on her toes trying to see what she's doing.
"What are you doing?" The small voice asks from beside her.
"I'm trying to reconfigure the portal's interface so I can find out exactly where it opened up from," She explains offhandedly. Lena barely feels the grip on her jeans loosen as she taps furiously on the control panel to find the input coordinates but there is no evidence of anything being input into the machine. In fact, there's barely evidence left that the portal had even opened. Whoever sent their child through had also scrubbed them from the system. As if it never happened.
"What does this do Mommy?" the small voice asks and Lena turns to see the little girl pointing to her lab table where her protocols on the tablet have been led.
"It's looking for someone," Lena says purposefully ignoring the fact she was being repeatedly referred to as 'Mommy'. The child must be disoriented from the portal, Lena justifies. Lena spends nearly ten minutes trying to find any evidence of where the little girl came from. Eventually, she sighs, abandoning her search Lena turns back to the girl who is looking around the lab with toddler-like curiosity.
Crouching down to the small girl's height, she asks. "Can you tell me your name?"
The little girl giggles at the question, rocking back on her heels, "You know my name, Mommy."
Lena feels her heart miss a beat at the green eyes staring back at her, "Sweetie I'm not-" The tightening of her chest makes her think about the delusion this child must have to think she could ever be a mother. Be anything more than the CEO of L-Corp or a Luthor but she can't bring herself to correct the child and decides the easiest way to get information would be to just play along.
"Well I've forgotten," Lena teases, scrunching her nose.
"Mommy, stop being silly," She giggles and Lena plasters a grin over her face.
"Nope, I've completely forgotten," Lena's heart is now racing. "Who is this human?" Lena asks and tries to ignore the nausea rising in her stomach. Thinking This girl thinks I really am her mother.
"Mommy, it's me, it's Ellie," The little girl giggles holding Lena tightly.
"Oh, of course, it is," Lena lies and she stands. She has to do something. She watches as Ellie yawns widely.
"I want to go home, Mommy." She whines, rubbing tired eyes.
"I, um, I don't know," Lena stammers, she can't take this girl home. Lena turns back to the portal hammering the keyboard trying to troubleshoot the problem and return Ellie to where she belongs. Lena sighs heavily, her hopes destroyed, turning to look down at the little girl with tired green eyes that look back up at her with unconditional trust. Trust similar to that of which she was working to regain from Kara and the rest of the Superfriends. Picking up her phone she dials the only number she knows that can help.
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