Lena smiled at her phone as she looked at the picture her mother had just sent. It was of her and Leo in the back of her car both of them sticking their tongues out. She smiled as she read the caption.
We’re going to watch the Olympic swimming trials and you can’t stop us.
She turned to Pradeepa giving her a nod. They gathered their folders and started heading down.
Leo had started preschool at L Corp a month ago and had gone from one morning to four days without distress in the space of three weeks. Lena was sure Mia had been a strong influence in the speed of his acclimatisation to the change, along with his new friends Luca and Yvonne. The four of them forming their own little circle that seemed to do whatever Mia decided she wanted them to. Vasquez was convinced Mia was either going to become President or Miss America on charisma alone.
Even with Leo now in preschool Lena had found herself sticking to the routine and workload she had with him and using the extra time she had now to spend more time in the labs helping the R&D team. Monday and Friday he came up to her office at three and she would take a break to hear about his day before she gave him his tablet and he would sit on her couch and watch cartoons until she finished. Kara picked him up on Tuesday and Thursday taking him to the park then back to the penthouse so Lena could stay until dinner. Kara stayed over those nights, though she also seemed to stay over every other night as well.
On Wednesdays her mother would have Leo for the day. The two of them going on some kind of adventure. Usually to a museum or swimming but today was apparently going to be extra special. Lena smiled thinking about how excited Leo probably was to see actual swimming races. Lillian had been suggesting a few schools that had junior swim teams he could join. Lena found herself tempted considering his continuing love of the sport.
Since Theresa Teschmacher had been arrested and her assets frozen Lena’s fears about Leo’s safety had eased significantly. Supergirl coming out in support of him had gotten most of National City onboard with giving him a clean slate.
Nick was still cautious and they still turned on the field every time Leo was moving in the open but after a whole month without incident Lena was allowing herself a little cautious optimism. They were talking about putting out a video of Leo playing with Supergirl to really start cementing in people’s heads that Leo was not like Lex. Considering how well documented her own friendship with Supergirl was at this point it shouldn’t be hard for people to believe.
Lena stepped out of the elevator Pradeepa walking at her side as she made her way to the podium set up out the front of L Corp. She smiled at the waiting press and put her notes down to begin her presentation.
She had only just finished her opening when it happened.
Her watch started flashing red and a rush of panic filled her. Somewhere overhead a soft boom sounded as Supergirl crashed through the sound barrier and Lena found her legs giving out as she stared unseeing at the crowd in front of her.
“Please be safe,” she begged. “Please be safe.”
A pair of strong hands caught her as she collapsed her eyes on her watch waiting for the lights to change to green. Every flash of red increasing the panic in her as she cried silently begging whoever was listening that Leo would be safe.
Kara dropped into the middle of the street taking in the scene as her feet hit the ground. A large truck had slammed into the car from one side pinning it against a brick wall as a team of mostly amateur assailants fired at the car.
Vasquez was pinned down as several of the assailants kept her in place by the car. She had her armour up but Kara could see parts of it were damaged likely from the initial crash.
The driver had three bullets in him, one in his right arm but was firing back with his left from inside the car. Ivan in the passenger seat was unconscious but alive. The four men in the second car were reloading what appeared to be some form of modified semi automatic weapons as they advanced providing Vasquez with cover. Leo was still in the car and based off the soft hum his field active. He was crying with Lillian on top of him shielding him from the barrage of bullets trying to penetrate the underside of the car.
Kara flew into the attackers barely managing to control her strength as she struck. A few turned at the last second to stare at her in shock as her heat vision melted the weapons in their hands and her fists shattered bone.
She did a final visual check as the security called out their signals.
Kara flew to the car ripping off the doors as the sound of sirens filled the air. Lillian had two bullets in her back the blood soaking through her white suit jacket. Kara quickly moved her aside panicking a little as she prayed Leo was unharmed. He was sobbing in terror and covered in blood but he after a quick check with Xray vision she could see he was unharmed. Kara scooped him up and looked at Lillian.
“Take him to Lena,” she ordered applying pressure to her wounds.
Kara flew away a screaming Leo in her arms and slammed into the ground outside L Corp seconds later absorbing the impact for Leo as she broke the tiles under her feet. Lena was being held upright by Frank her eyes on her watch. She saw Kara and Leo she ran towards them. Kara met her two steps in handing Leo over to Lena as she clung to him holding tight as he sobbed in her arms.
“It’s not his blood,” Kara said.
Lena dropped to her knees kissing Leo’s face over and over crying as she clung to him. Her security rushed in surrounding them. Kara turned and flew back to the car.
Vasquez was on her feet already calling to Lillian’s security. Kara landed on the car and Lillian. She carefully removed her from the wrecked car and launched back into the air. Lillian looked dazed as she blinked at Kara’s face.
“Supergirl?” she whispered.
“Hold on Lillian, we’re almost there,” she said.
Lillian closed her eyes again.
“You came back for me,” Lillian whispered.
“Well you are my future mother-in-law,” she said.
Lillian choked out a laugh.
Kara dropped into the emergency bay of the hospital rushing Lillian in. The staff at this point seemed to know what to expect directing her to put Lillian down on a waiting gurney and bringing over the oxygen. Nurses started applying pressure as calls were made for an OR to be prepped. Kara watched them wheel her away and then looked down at the blood smeared all over her hands and suit. She left flying back to Lena.
Landing at L Corp she saw Lena still surrounded by her security and the journalists standing around with the cameras ready to do updates. She strode forwards and whistled.
“Hey, I’ve got an announcement,” she said.
The cameras all turned to her. She gave them a moment then took a deep breath.
“Today a fourth attempt was made on the life of Leo Luthor, a child!”
She could feel the rage burning through her.
“And I am telling you right now it stops here. This is it. This is me drawing a line in the sand. You will not try again. He is not Lex nor is he destined to become like him. He is four!”
She was breathing heavily.
“Leo is part of my family. I have held him in my arms and sung him to sleep with Kryptonian lullabies. I have wiped the tears from his eyes and fed him from my plate. He is not a threat to me and never was. He is the son of my dearest friends and so is a child of the House of El.”
She looked around making sure every camera got a good look at her face.
“And if anything happens to him I will tear this world apart to get at those responsible. Nothing will keep you safe. There is nowhere far enough, no hole deep enough, nor protection strong enough that I cannot reach you. There is no plea or defence you can give that will save you. In this there will be no mercy, there will be no compassion. You have been warned.”
There was a stunned silence from the journalists as they looked at her.
She turned her cape flicking behind her as Lena’s security immediately parted for her. Lena met her eyes for a moment then Kara picked her and Leo up holding them in her arms for a moment before launching into the air and flying them back to the penthouse.
She touched down slowly lowering Lena’s legs until she could stand. Kara breathed deeply her heart pounding as she held them in her arms. Her family. No one would ever take her family from her again.
Leo lifted his head and his hand touched her face. Kara looked at him and he looked back his forehead crinkled in a frown as he stared at her intently. His fingers touched the scar above her eye.
“Kara,” he whispered.
“Yeah buddy it’s me,” she said with a small smile.
He hugged her and she hugged him back breathing deeply as she held him safe in her arms.
Kara was woken by a small finger gently poking her shoulder repeatedly. She groaned and rolled over. She heard a grunt from Lena and then a hurried apology from Leo as he scrambled out of the bed and headed for the bathroom.
Kara blinked against the morning light and saw Lena. She smiled as Lena groaned and buried her face in the pillow once more.
“Good morning,” Kara whispered.
Lena groaned again and mumbled something that not even super hearing could translate. Leo came racing back.
“Did you wash your hands?” Kara asked.
Leo stopped and ran back to the bathroom. Kara laughed softly and rolled over wrapping herself around Lena and pressing a kiss to her shoulder. Lena sighed snuggling deeper under the blankets.
Leo came charging out of the bathroom and scrambled back onto the bed jumping onto Kara. She faked a pained groan and he giggled.
“Jeju awake?” he asked.
She felt Lena come suddenly very awake under her as the word registered for them both. Kara turned to look at Leo clinging to her back. He grinned at her.
“Yes Unah, I am,” she said smiling back.
Leo jumped up.
“Pancakes?” he asked.
Lena groaned and lifted her head.
“You can’t have pancakes every time Kara comes for a sleepover,” Lena said.
“But today is special,” Leo protested.
“Why is today special?” Kara asked as she felt her smile growing bigger the longer she looked at Leo.
“Because it’s been three months since you started dating so she can move in now.”
Kara and Lena exchanged a look and Lena dropped her head back onto the pillow. Kara laughed and turned back to Leo who was looking very proud of himself for remembering.
“I think your Mama is the one who has to ask me buddy.”
Leo seemed to think about it.
“Mama you should ask Kara to move in,” Leo said.
Lena sighed heavily.
“Coffee,” Lena said. “I need coffee.”
Kara laughed and scooped up Leo flying to the bedroom door with him.
“Come on bud let’s go make some coffee for your poor Mama,” she said. “You know she can’t make decisions before she’d had coffee.”
Leo nodded grinning at Kara as they made their way to the kitchen Kara trying not to smile too much. She gave Leo a kiss on the cheek delighting in his immediate laugh in response. She put on the coffee maker and set Leo on the counter getting out the pancake ingredients.
Ten minutes later she handed Leo a mug of coffee to carry as she walked with a tray piled high with their breakfast. Lena was looking at her phone when they entered and smiled. Leo walked over and held out the coffee. Lena gave him a kiss accepting it.
“Thank you Leo,” she said.
She took a sip and sighed in relief. Kara took the chance to sit on the bed putting down the tray. Leo scrambled up and she handed him a plate with two pancakes covered in fudge.
“Are we having breakfast in bed today?” Lena asked accepting her own plate and the maple syrup.
“Well, we have a little extra time this morning,” Kara said nodding at the time.
Lena looked at her alarm clock and made a pained expression. 6:43. Leo looked at her then Kara and back again.
“Mama,” he prompted.
Lena looked at him then sighed.
“I haven’t even had my breakfast yet,” she said.
Leo sighed clearly over the stalling but nodded and went back to his pancakes. Lena looked at Kara who grinned back.
Lena very slowly ate her breakfast ignoring Leo’s repeated sighs of exasperation, that sounded alarmingly like her mother’s, as he watched her stall. She caught Kara laughing at her a few times.
Finally she’d finished her pancakes and her cup of coffee and Kara had taken the plates to put in the dishwasher.
Leo crawled over the bed and sat in front of her. He gave her a look. She returned it.
“You gotta ask her,” he said.
“I will,” she promised. “Just maybe not today.”
“Why not?” he demanded crossing his arms.
“Well I uh…” she glanced at the door. “It’s still early and-”
“It’s been three months,” Leo whined.
“Well yes but-”
“You love her,” he said with a sigh.
“Yes, I do,” Lena conceded.
“And you want her to live with us,” he said. “I know you do. You always want her to stay over and you smile more when she’s here.”
Lena sighed. She seemed to be doing that more these days.
“And I want her to live with us so there’s no problem.”
Lena opened her mouth to try and protest but she was really running out of arguments.
“Sweetie, maybe she doesn’t want to move in with us yet she-”
She fell silent at the face of four year old disappointment. He sighed heavily and picked up Rao holding him out.
“Rao will help you. But you gotta be brave and ask her,” Leo said.
Lena felt her heart melt as she took Rao looking at Leo.
“Okay,” she said smiling at him.
leo grinned back turning to look as Kara appeared in the doorway. Lena sighed.
“Yes Lena?” Kara asked smiling as she leaned against the doorway.
“Would you,” Lena swallowed and held Rao a little tighter. “Would you like to move in with me, and Leo?”
Kara’s smile in response eased every one of her worries.
“Yes,” Kara said.
Leo cheered and jumped off the bed running over to hug Kara. She didn’t look away from Lena as she picked him up and came over. Lena smiled as she reached out and pulled Kara in for a kiss. A kiss that was quickly interrupted by Leo’s demand for his own kiss. Kara laughed and peppered his giggling face with kisses.
“You know this means you’re going to need to make some space in your closet,” Kara said turning to Lena. “Maybe give up a few pairs of shoes.”
Lena’s smile dropped as she considered it. Leo and Kara started laughing at her.
“Or instead we could just get a bigger place and make a few alterations," she said. "Like a bigger closet, a pool, and perhaps…” She gave Kara a look. “A few nth metal fixtures.”
Kara gulped and Lena's smile became just that little bit predatory.
THREE YEARS LATER
“It’s gonna be okay Grandma,” Leo said turning to look at Lillian.
“And what makes you so sure of that?” Lillian asked smiling at her grandson.
He was still in his uniform, the junior swim team jacket hanging around his shoulders just that little bit too big. His hair was a little stiff from the chlorine and his medals still hung around his neck. He grinned back at her.
“Because Jeju says Mama is too stubborn to let anything hurt her or the baby.”
Lillian smiled and stroked his hair remembering his early days. Few traces remained of that shy child who clung to his lion. Instead he had become a confident boy with all of his Jeju’s bright optimism and his mother’s love of books. His deep love of swimming she liked to think he got from her.
He still slept with Rao and like any child he had nightmares, but they were much rarer these days. His fear of Supergirl had been replaced with a deep sense of safety every time he saw her.
“What happened to make you so optimistic?” Lillian asked.
“Mama says it’s Jeju’s influence,” Leo said with a smile.
Lillian smiled and nodded.
“Well she would know.”
Leo grinned at her and she gave him a gentle hug. She looked around the waiting room and saw the others. Alex was pacing anxiously her eyes constantly moving to the clock to see how long it had been. Her wife Kelly laughed softly.
“I swear you’re more anxious today than you were when Jeremiah was born,” Kelly teased.
Alex turned to her with a sigh.
“I was in the room for his. I knew what was going on. This…” She waved her hand. “I’m just waiting.”
J’onn’s face broke into a wide smile instantly getting everyone’s attention. He closed his eyes for a moment focusing then looked at Alex.
“You can stop pacing.”
They all sat up straighter waiting. Ten minutes late the door opened and Kara walked in with a bright smile. Leo jumped off his chair and ran to her. She picked him up with an exaggerated groan making him laugh. He leaned back to look her in the face.
“Is she here?” he asked excitedly.
“Yes. You are now officially a big brother,” she said.
Leo cheered and Lillian smiled sighing with relief. Kara looked at her the smile not leaving her face.
“Nine pounds ten ounces, and she came out screaming to be put back in. The doctors are very happy with her.”
Lillian smiled back. Kara gave her a nod then accepted a hug and congratulations from Alex, Kelly and J’onn. Kara looked back at Leo.
“So buddy, do you wanna come meet your sister?” Kara asked.
Leo nodded excitedly. Kara started walking towards the door. Lillian sat back to wait. Kara stopped at the door looking back. Lillian noticed everyone else was watching her. She turned to Kara still in the doorway.
“Don’t you want to meet your granddaughter?” Kara asked smiling at her.
Lillian blinked surprised for a moment and nodded quickly. She cautiously rose wiping her sweating hands on her pants and followed Kara into the corridor listening to Leo’s excited chatter.
Despite the late hour most of the rooms they passed were still brightly lit doctors and nurses moving about talking to each other and patients sitting or lying in their beds. Kara turned at the end of the corridor entering a room. Lillian hesitated for a moment and stepped into the doorway looking in.
Lena lay in a hospital bed looking very tired and sweaty but she was smiling as she looked at the baby held in her arms. The doctor left as Kara and Leo entered giving Lillian a bright smile and a soft “Congratulations” as he passed.
Lena looked up as they entered the smile growing as she saw them. Kara put Leo down and Lena beckoned the suddenly nervous Leo closer.
“Leo this is your little sister, Astra.”
Leo walked forwards and smiled at the baby. Kara pulled a chair closer picking him and sitting him on her knee so he could be at the right height to look at his sister without getting on the bed.
Lillian slowly walked around the other side of the bed to watch the moment her grandson properly met her granddaughter. One of Astra’s hands escaped the confines of the white blanket she was swaddled in. Leo held out his hand touching Astra’s with a finger. She grabbed it and Leo smiled.
“Hello Astra. Welcome to the family,” he said. “You’ll like it. Mama knows everything. Jeju always saves everyone. Aunt Alex will teach you how to hit things, and Grandma will teach you chess.”
Lillian smiled sinking down into a chair watching the scene in front of her.
“All you gotta do is remember the family motto, El Mayarah,” Leo continued smiling brightly. “It means stronger together but it’s more than that.”
Lena laughed softly. Lillian subtly wiped away a tear. Lena looked up and their eyes met for a moment. Lena smiled and looked at Kara. Kara put Leo down and carefully took Astra from Lena tucking her hand back into the blankets.
Lillian watched as Kara carried Astra around the bed and held her out to her. She sucked in a breath meeting Kara’s eyes. Kara smiled and gave her a small nod.
“El Mayarah,” Kara whispered.
Lillian’s body moved automatically cradling Astra as Kara settled her in her arms. Astra made a small noise of protest at the movement her eyes blinking open and Lillian looked into a pair of bright blue eyes. She felt the tears begin to roll down her face.
“Hello Astra,” she whispered.
Leo appeared at her side grinning at her. She looked at him smiling back.
“Today is the best day ever! I’m a big brother and I won my races today.”
He lifted the medals around his neck and held them up for Astra to see.
“I got this one in the 100 metre backstroke, and this one in the 50 metre freestyle. When you get bigger you’ll be able to learn to swim too and we can race each other. Grandma will even show you how to turn your head so you don’t have to stop to breathe. That’s really important. There was this one kid today who didn’t and he ended up having to stop in the middle of the pool to cough up water and then he came in way behind everyone else. Didn’t he Grandma?”
Leo looked up at her expectantly. Lillian nodded not quite able to make her throat work properly as more tears slowly rolled down her face.
“Why are you crying Grandma?” Leo asked his smile replaced by a look of concern.
“I’m happy,” she said.
Astra made a noise and she looked back down at her taking a deep breath.
“Why would you cry if you’re happy?” Leo asked.
There was laughter from his mothers. Leo turned to look at them.
“Do you remember how I cried when Jeju proposed?” Lena asked. Leo nodded. “Same thing, happy tears.”
Leo nodded turning back to Lillian.
“So you’re really happy then?”
She nodded looking from him back to Astra who was frowning up at her. She brushed her finger over the little crinkle that had formed and felt her heart melt as it disappeared replaced with a smile.
She held Astra for another minute listening as Leo explained all the races to his new sister. Eventually Kara sighed heavily and Lillian saw her put her phone back in her pocket.
“Alright bud, let’s go show your sister off to the others so they’ll go home.”
Kara approached and Lillian handed over her granddaughter. She watched as Kara and Leo headed down the hallway Leo smiling happily as he led the way. Lillian took the moment to dry her face.
“You alright Mum?” Lena asked.
Lillian looked over and smiled.
“I feel like I should be asking you that. She’s not exactly small at nine pound ten.”
“I’m sure six of them have to be her head alone. I feel like she tore her way out.”
Lillian laughed softly and rose moving to the chair by the bed. She reached out and squeezed Lena’s hand. Lena smiled at her.
“Don’t worry everything heals up faster than you think.” She paused thinking. “Though, I do recommend taking a jug of water with you to the bathroom. You’ll thank me later.”
Lena looked at her confused for a moment then she sighed.
“Rao that’s going to be unpleasant,” Lena muttered.
Lillian laughed and they sat for a minute in silence. She could see Lena’s eyes slowly closing as the exhaustion caught up with her despite her evident happiness. Lillian rose pressing a kiss to Lena’s head.
“Rest dear. I’ll send your wife and children back in a minute so you can say goodnight.”
Lillian smiled at her and felt fresh tears prick at her eyes. She walked to the door fighting down a wave of tears. Turning back at the last moment she smiled at her daughter.
“I’ll come visit again tomorrow. Goodnight Lena.”
Lena smiled back and nodded relaxing into the pillows.