Kara rocked back on her heels as Lena Luthor threw herself at her and brought her arms around her in a hug. Startled for a moment she hesitated and then brought her arms around the CEO, completing the hug.
“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Lena said, flushing slightly as she pulled back and she looked lovely like this; hair down, red lips, skinny jeans, plaid shirt, and blushing.
“Me to,” Kara replied and moistened her lips, then she realised what she had said. “Not that I’m okay, well, I- not that I’m not happy that I’m okay, but that you…are…” she trailed off and felt her heart flip at the way Lena was biting her lips trying not to smile.
“Yeah… glad we’re both okay,” she nodded and adjusted her glasses, smiling sheepishly in response.
Lena’s green eyes were alight and she quickly pulled Kara into the apartment and shut the door.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” She asked gently, eyes scanning Kara’s body for injury as she kept her hands on her shoulders. She could feel the warmth through her cardigan and tried not to flush.
“Yeah, I got pulled behind a bench and then got dragged behind a car when Supergirl appeared,” Kara replied and nervously rolled her fingers together. “But enough about me! Are you okay? I know Supergirl saved you, it was all over the news, but are you sure...what?”
Lena was looking at her warmly, slight smile to her lips and her heart did a flip and she fought the urge to look away from Lena’s eyes. They were so pretty.
“Nothing,” she worried her lip and then lifted her arm, gesturing for Kara to come into the apartment. “I just-I was worried,” she confessed quietly and Kara felt her face warm at the concern her friend was showing her.
“I’m fine,” she lifted her arms. “As good as new,” she smiled over at Lena and saw the other woman take a deep breath and release it slowly, tension falling from her body.
“I-I ordered pizza, I hope you don’t mind,” she said as she led the way into the kitchen and Kara’s stomach growled, even though she had eaten on the way to the apartment.
Lena giggled. “I’ll take that as a no,” she said and walked over to her fridge and rattled off a selection of waters, fizzy, and wines.
Kara went with a coke and Lena pulled two cans from the fridge. There were four pizzas on the marble top with a garlic bread and Kara was almost drooling at the smell.
Lena offered her a coke and hesitated, suddenly shy. “I wanted to apologise for last time… I was-“
“Lena, it’s okay,” Kara said quickly, giving the brunette her full attention and smiling softly at her. “Really, there is nothing to forgive you for. The flowers were lovely, thank you.”
Lena’s smile rivalled earths sun and Kara felt the warmth of her smile sink into all parts of her, making her warm and fuzzy all over. Lena ducked her head and then slid the coke across the bench to her.
“I’ve something to show you, when we are done,” she said and lifted a pizza box lid.
Kara’s stomach growled its approval of the smell and she fought a blush, smiling nervously but Lena just laughed and told her to help herself.
“Where do you put it?” She enquired as she sank her teeth into the point of a Hawaiian slice.
“Eh, I have a really fast metabolism,” Kara said through a mouthful and Lena bit her lip in amusement and the pizza got stuck.
She coughed awkwardly for a moment, hacking loudly until her throat was clear and Lena was at her side, hand on her back and the coke in her hand offering it to her.
“Thanks,” she coughed a little, took a sip of coke, and let it ease its way down her throat.
“I have to eat every few hours, otherwise my weight gets dangerously low,” she said, repeating the lie that the Danvers’ had crafted for her to allow for her excessive calorie intake. Of course, once she started to use her powers she had to increase the amount, eating more than a grown man would need over several days in one. But she couldn’t help it. She got hungry very quickly. She worried the edge of a napkin. “Is that okay?” She asked hesitantly.
Lena dapped at her lips with a serviette, brows narrowed on her and leant forward. “Okay? Okay that you have to eat to survive? Of course that’s okay?” She seemed confused. “Why wouldn’t that be okay? I’m your friend, I want you to be healthy.”
“O-kay,” Kara stuttered out a breath and then hesitated before explaining that it sometimes bothered her friends how much she needed to eat and how often she had to. They didn’t understand.
“I knew a girl in boarding school- skinny as a twig,” she sounded almost bitter about the fact. “Who needed to eat an entire block of chocolate every few hours. Her doctors told her to never quit drinking or smoking because they would have to hospitalise her before her body ate her alive.” Lena was looking at another pizza, deciding if she wanted bacon or chicken. “You do what’s best for you, Kara,” she said as she settled on a slice dripping with cheese. “If your friends mind, then maybe you need to ask yourself if they are truly your friends.”
“Thank you,” Kara said quietly, looking at the pizza’s and glancing to see Lena tilting her head back to get the strings of cheese into her mouth. Some was stuck to her lip and she watched her push it into her mouth with a red nailed finger.
Lena gave her the thumbs up, more concerned with her pizza than acknowledging Kara’s thanks for something that didn’t require it. Reassured Kara didn’t hold back and easily ate two of the pizza’s before she started to feel full and then started to pick at the slices, deciding which one she wanted more, in case she couldn’t fit any more.
It took her a few more minutes to slow down and Lena had given up after her fourth slice with a sigh and was watching Kara devour the pizza, a small fond smile on her lips.
“You done?” She asked teasingly and Kara blushed and nodded, quickly forcing the rest of her pizza down as Lena began to clean up their mess.
“Come on,” she jerked her head to the side and began to walk through the apartment, Kara hurrying after her like a puppy after wiping her mouth on a napkin.
She followed Lena to the guest room bathroom and washed her hands and then the brunette lead her down the hall to the dead-end Kara had seen last time she was here.
“I was stressed last time and didn’t give you the full tour, I apologise,” she said and pressed against the wall. A section of it slid open to reveal a keypad and she tapped a few keys and then pressed her palm to the palm reader above the keypad. A few moments later and the wall slid into itself to reveal the entry to the secret lair.
The television screens were black, silent, and the computer was the same.
“This is my private study,” Lena said as she flicked the lights on and walked into the room. “I do a lot of my theoretical design and research here.”
Kara followed her, hiding her apprehension, into the room, she didn’t sense anything dangerous, but Lena was a Luthor, even if she didn’t know who and what Kara was.
“Impressive,” she said truthfully and was rewarded with a smirk from the brunette as she sat in her chair and clicked her computer into life. There was another door in the wall, it must reach out to cover the rest of the floor, making sense as there seemed to be space for four luxury apartments on this floor, but there was only the doors for three.
“This is what I’ve been working on,” she said gesturing for Kara to come closer and the dark blonde walked around the desk to stand behind the Luthor. The background to the desktop made her wince slightly and she hoped the expression wasn’t caught in the reflection- it was of Lena and of Lex, smiling at the camera in snow gear with their arms around each other. There were various folders and programs on the screen, design ones, and building ones, no doubt for her to send to another computer where the prototypes could be made.
“Christmas two years ago,” Lena said in explanation as she clicked into another file and passed the encryption. “A brief pause in his crusade against Superman.”
She clicked a few more times, typed something and then her latest project was up on the screen. Kara tensed behind her at the names of a file in a folder, but not the one that was opened.
“I’ve been working on this for a while,” she moved the mouse around and the small device on the screen spun 360 degrees. “It’s an anti-alien alarm,” she explained and went on to show Kara the features that would allow the user to press a button and bring any alien within one hundred feet to their knees.
“So that will kill aliens?” Kara asked nervously, gripping the back of Lena’s chair and feeling it creak under the pressure.
“No,” Lena said quickly and shook her head, pieces of her hair falling across Kara’s hand. “This is defensive only. Human brains operate at a different frequency…. That mess with Myriad proved that,” she voiced to herself, softer than Kara should have been able to hear. “This is designed to emit a screaming sound at just the right frequency that will knock them out, not kill them. There are weapons for that,” she added almost as an afterthought.
“You did save Supergirl,” Kara said quickly, trying to relax her hold on Lena’s expensive chair. She felt nervous and wondered if she should have told Alex she was coming here.
“Yes, but she is a good alien,” Lena clicked from the file and then exited the folder and spun to face Kara, who’s eyes were on the screen and the folder that had said ‘Kryptonite gun’.
“You yourself said there were bad ones,” Lena pointed out and rose to her feet, making Kara step back so they wouldn’t collide. “That is what I am interested in defending against,” she said and tilted her head. “Can’t you understand that?”
Kara hesitated but nodded slowly, rubbing her fingers together. “I-I guess… but-but what if these devices can get to a high enough frequency to- I don’t know, explode a brain? Or be turned on humans?”
Lena was nodding in agreement as she turned the screen off. “I thought of that,” she said and gestured towards the door. “I designed the software myself. I will be very impressed if someone manages to hack into it, and then alter the software. Very impressed,” she emphasised and followed Kara out of the room, touching the touchpad and letting the door close behind them.
“I’m very good with computers,” Lena explained as she proceeded to show Kara the rest of the penthouse. There was a small library/study/home entertainment room, a small private gym. Two double guest rooms, the guest bathroom that Kara had already seen, and Lena’s personal rooms. Her bed room was designed to catch the most sunlight possible and from the brief glance Kara had seen made her itch to see just how comfortable her big bed was. The laundry was off next to gym.
After the tour Lena lead them back to the lounge and curled up on one end of the couch. The sunset was fading but still magnificent and Kara enjoyed the sight for as long as she could, taking a seat on one of the two arm chairs facing the window. After a moment Lena joined her and the two watched day turn into night and the horizon merging into one, even as the artificial skyline awoke.
“I, ah, hate to ask but um-“
“Your boss wants an exclusive interview?” Lena asked with a raised brow.
“That's not why I'm here!” Kara was quick to point out and was relieved when Lena lifted a hand and placed it in her forearm. She could feel the heat if her touch burning through her shirt.
“Relax, Kara,” Lena said and her voice was soft and gentle, the hint of an accent coming through. “I know you’re not here for that. You’re here for me.” She sounded disbelieving of her own words but then came back to herself and let Kara go with a smile. The dark blonde could have sworn she'd left an imprint of it on her flesh.
“Okay, let me just get my notepad,” she said and rose quickly to fetch it. On her return she paused to admire, and maybe imprint in her memory, the silhouette of the brunette against the sky.
She ran through her questions and Lena was calm and relaxed as she admitted that for the second time in a week an alien had tried to kill her. She was cautious, she told Kara-the-reporter, of the alien refugees and wanted humans to have a defence against those that wished them harm, but didn't know how to get both humans and aliens to get along. Kara got some good quotes, and when she’d decided she had enough she put her notepad away, signalling the return of Kara-the-friend.
She was a little pre-occupied with the supposed super-computer Lena hinted at and also at the fact she had admitted she was good with computers, but Winn was good with computers, so what did that mean. She was ignoring the fact that the DEO had been hacked by a computer genius and she may be speaking with one. But the rest of the night was comfortable, they sipped an expensive red wine while they watched the night of National City awaken and go about its business. Her phone was silent, a part from a text from Alex asking to see her when she was free, and as the minutes slipped away Kara and Lena discussed everything, childhoods, schooling, television, and college. Lena was very disappointed to learn that Kara didn’t have any wild, drunken, stories.
Kara had also asked Lena how she was feeling about her safety which had started an argument, but Lena was more…gentle with Kara than she was with Supergirl and Agent Danvers. She argued that Supergirl and her team had an entire city to save, and shouldn’t be concentrating only on her-she wasn’t worth it, was what Kara had gotten out of the discussion. Her own arguments had fallen flat, but she had conveyed her concern that Lena was in danger and her human security might not be a match for aliens, wouldn’t the help of the government agency be better? Lena had arched a brow then, asking her that weren’t those agents human? Flushing, like she seemed to do around Lena, Kara had responded that they were used to aliens, and would be more prepared to fight off an alien attack. She just wanted her to stay safe, she admitted quietly and Lena had gone silent, contemplative before changing the subject.
It was approaching the middle of the night when Kara reluctantly rose to leave and Lena guided her to the door, eyes and voice soft and Kara felt her eyes on her as she left.
She dug out her cell to call Alex, and minutes later she was landing in the National City DEO HQ, her sister coming to great her.
Alex had a tense furrow to her brows as she walked towards her, combat boots thudding on the linoleum surface.
“Agent Danvers,” Kara smiled and wrapped and arm around her sister.
“Winn’s been tracking the hacker and found something,” Alex said, wrapping her arm back around Kara and the two walked towards the podium where Winn was at his desk.
“Winn,” Kara beamed a greeting, “what have you got for me?”
“Well….” the agent drawled and spun in his chair to face her, grinning in response. “I managed to locate the source of the hack, it came from Lena Luthor’s flash-drive, the one she gave us of her footage.”
Kara felt her blood turn to ice and winced. Winn didn’t notice but Alex did and crossed her arms, eyes narrowing as Winn continued.
“I managed to trace it from an outside source, attached to the footage, probably before she gave it to us. The algorithm was designed to search for certain things, using the flash-drive to gain access to our systems….even though it was scanned…” His brow furrowed and he turned back to his computer, bringing up a section of computer code that Kara didn’t understand.
“It looks like the instruction was hidden in the footage, behind the bit that Lena obviously didn’t want us to share, the bit where the alien spoke to her.” He was shaking his head but in the reflection of his screen Kara could see the admiration of the work.
“Whoever it was knew we would make sure the footage was clear before uploading it to our system, they waited for us to open the door to let them in, and we did when Vasquez found the start of the video. She basically let the hacker in-not that she could have known,” Winn added hurriedly, seeing the Agent in question turn and give him a dirty look. “The tech behind this…. It’s something we don’t even have.”
“So what did they find? What were they looking for?”
“Anything on Cadmus,” Winn answered quickly and brought up another section of code. “Anything on alien weaponry, and…,” he ducked his head awkwardly and his expression turned pained, “anything on Kryptonian’s….”
Kara stiffened and Alex unfolded her arms, leaning forward intense.
“It was an algorithm hidden beneath the other orders…it was the first one executed…. They got everything we had…. But I don’t think they got your and Superman’s civilian identities….”
“You don’t think?” Alex’s voice rose to a high pitch, almost vibrating in her anger.
Winn shrugged helplessly. “We let them in to the system, whoever they are they are a computer genius, and I’m a computer genius!”
“Um,” Kara shifted nervously on her feet and tugged at the cord holding her sleeve to her palms, the heavy feeling from earlier returning tenfold.
“Kara?” Alex’s voice rose in warning and was an excellent imitation of Eliza’s.
“Well…. You know how I said Lena had a secret lair in her apartment?” Alex and Winn were nodding though Alex had folded her arms and was lifting a brow to get her to continue. “She took me inside it tonight, and, ah, she showed me one of the latest tech’s she’s working on.” She went on to explain what Lena had shown her, waiting for Hank to arrive before repeating it to him, then she added, “I saw a few other folders, one was um, Kryptonite Gun- but that isn’t everything I learnt!” She said quickly in the face of three disapproving masks and J’onn and Alex exchanging a look. “When I asked if the alarm could be used to kill aliens she said she’d be very impressed if someone managed to hack into it, and change the frequency…. She’s kinda a computer genius?” Her voice rose to a question at the end and Winn sat back in his chair blinking.
“So she gives us the edited footage, knowing we would look further, and sends in a Trojan to open our files and gets the information she needs,” Alex said, voice tense and features hard. “Let me go and get her,” she requested of Hank and the Head of the DEO shook his head again.
“We have no proof,” he began.
“Oh! Come on!” Alex shot back and proceeded to list the points against Lena’s favour. “She was attacked by an alien, twice, claiming revenge for Cadmus. She managed to severely wound one of them, who later died of the injuries, the tech she used is something we don’t even have, and we are the DEO! She lifted her gun on Kara, she has a program on her computer called Kryptonite Gun, and…” Alex’s voice was increasing in volume. “She admitted to Kara she was a computer genius! Her last name is Luthor! What more proof do you need!?”
“Evidence, Agent Danvers, evidence,” Hank said, iron entering his tone and Alex’s head shot back and she lifted her arms and shoulders to express her disbelief.
“Miss Luthor could have been targeted because of her last name, both times, it is not much of a stretch to assume she could be involved with Cadums. She is well within her rights to design anti-alien weaponry, we have anti-alien weaponry.” He lifted his hand to halt Alex’s protests as Winn and Kara watched with wide eyes. “She never took a shot at Supergirl,” he said warningly. “Being intelligent alone is not grounds for suspicion, and I am certain L-Corp is not the only company designing anti-alien weapons, not every Kryptonian is like Superman and Supergirl. You know that.”
Alex was huffing, crossing her arms, jaw rigid.
“She doesn’t seem so bad,” Kara offered quietly, in defence of her friend. “She hasn’t made an aggressive move.” The yet was unspoken but sat heavy on the air as though it had been shouted.
Alex’s phone made a chiming noise and her brow tightened as she dug it from her pocket, though her eyes widened at seeing the message.
“Speak of the devil,” she muttered and read the message out-loud.
“Agent Danvers. I have rethought your proposal. Please come see me tomorrow, when convenient, to discuss it further. Lena Luthor.” It was said with Alex’s voice but the cadence and tone of it was undeniably the CEO’s.
“Huh, wonder what changed her mind,” Winn pondered aloud and Alex stared down at the phone, pensive.
“What should I say?”
“Yes, of course!”
“It’s not that simple, Kara. She was a gun that could kill you,” Alex looked up from her phone to stare concernedly at her sister. “I know you want to trust her because she’s your friend, but she’s a Luthor.”
“And she needs our help,” Kara countered, straightening and folding her arms over her crest. “We can’t just ignore that.”
“What if it’s a trap?” Winn asked, and then shrunk a little in his seat at the withering glare Kara shot him.
“Innocent or not, Miss Luthor is being targeted by aliens and her human security cannot hope to protect her against them, even if she does outfit them with anti-alien guns.” Hank said finally, voice firm. “Agent Danvers,” Alex straightened slightly at the command. “I want you to arrange protection from our agents for Miss Luthor, at least until we have caught the aliens who want to hurt her.”
Alex sighed heavily but gave a grudging nod and tapped away at her cell. “I hope you’re right about her, Kara,” she said as she put her cell back in her pocket. “I don’t want her to hurt you.”
“She won’t, Alex,” Kara smiled winningly at her sister. “She won’t.”