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Supergirl In Training

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“Do you think it’ll scar?”

Alex laughs as she slaps Lori’s hands away from prodding at her arm for the umpteenth time.

“Hey—stop that. Are you seriously excited to have a ginormous scar?” She asks, getting up from her couch to pour herself a glass of orange juice.

“Are you kidding?” Lori snorts, swinging her legs over Alex’s vacated spot and stretching out on the couch. “Mar’i would be so proud.”

“And girls dig scars,” Maggie chimes in, leaning back in her armchair, and Alex’s heart does a funny little thing at the rather domestic sight of her niece and her girlfriend hanging out in her apartment together.

Lori perks up at that, just the tiniest bit.

“Do they?”

The hopefulness in her voice makes Alex chortle into her glass and just barely avoid choking on her juice. Maggie shoots her a knowing, delighted look.

“Sure do, kiddo,” she says, grinning. “When you get back this Mar’i girl’s going to be swooning over you.”

(and yes, of course Maggie figured it out within ten minutes of meeting Lori. Damn her and her detecting.)

“What?” Lori makes a face. “No, not Mar’i, she’s my best friend.“

“Oh?” Maggie raises a brow. “So there is a girl you wanna impress?”

The girl starts reddening, pushing up her glasses. “No, of course not, why would you—on what grounds are you— I—“

“Oh my god,” Alex scoffs, walking back over to the couch and slapping Maggie’s shoulder on the way. “Leave her alone, she’s gonna combust or something.”

Lori pouts at her as she tries to move the girl’s legs out of the way and reclaim her spot—her niece stubbornly refuses to move until Alex sighs and just plops right down on her shins.

“Hey!” The girl yelps, yanking her legs out from under Alex. Alex grimaces at the jostling before just laughing at her.

“That’s what you get. This is my couch, you know.”

Lori huffs dramatically, throwing an arm over her face.

“I can’t believe you’d treat your own niece this way. I’m wounded. I’ll never recover.”

“Yeah,” Maggie says, trying not to laugh, “what would Little Danvers say?”

Alex raises her hands in an exasperated gesture, giving Maggie an incredulous look. “ Excuse me, you were the one teasing her about a girl like two seconds ago.”

“What, I can’t have fun finding out that there’s not a single straight Danvers girl in the batch?”

Alex chokes and Lori burrows further into her arms with an embarrassed groan while Maggie laughs, beyond pleased with herself.

They’re saved by the front door clicking open and shut to one very annoyed Kara Danvers. The apartment falls silent as Lori and Alex straighten up guiltily and Maggie smooths a hand over her smirk.

“Hey, Little Danvers.”

Kara studies her critically, adjusting the strap of her bag as she slowly walks over.

“Hey, Maggie.” She shoots Alex and Lori a look. “I didn’t know you’d be here so early.”

Maggie shrugs. “I got off work a little earlier than I thought, so I thought I’d head on over. We were just hanging out with Baby Danvers here.”

Kara gives Alex a wide-eyed glare. Her sister throws her hands up defensively.

“She just figured it out on her own when we got here, what was I supposed to do?”

Maggie laughs smugly yet again as Kara rubs her eyes under her glasses, groaning. Lori clears her throat for a Quick Topic Change™.

“How was work, Yeyu?”

Kara sighs deeply before looking up with a tired smile and crossing her arms.

“It was good. Come on, is’kah, lets get you to your Mom’s house.”

Lori frowns. “Aw, already?”

Kara rushes over immediately when the girl winces trying to stand up, holding her gently by the arms.

“Yes, already,” she admonishes, checking over her bandages again. “You need to get your rest and I,” she glares at Alex, “need to have a talk with your aunt.”

“Oh!” Alex narrows her eyes as Lori perks up at that. “That’s okay then, I’ll just head off to Mom’s place now.”

Kara frowns. “Are you sure? You need to conserve your energy—“

“Nope!” Lori chirps, grinning. “I’m in perfect flying condition. No need to wait for me.”

A delighted look tossed at Alex over her shoulder confirms it—this little rascal. She’s throwing Alex under the bus.

“Bye, guys,” she says, hugging Kara once and leaning over to hug Alex. “Love you both.”

“You little shit,” Alex whispers under her breath as Lori squeezes her lightly.

“That’s what you get,” Lori whispers back before pulling away with the sweetest of smiles and heading for the window.

“Hey, what about me?” Maggie laughs in mock indignation.

“You don’t get one,” Lori wrinkles her nose at her. “You’re a meanie.”

Maggie claps a hand over her chest as if she’s been shot.

Ouch , Baby Danvers, that’s harsh.”

Lori sticks her tongue out at her before breaking into a laugh. “Bye, Mags.”

“See you,” she chuckles. There’s a whoosh as Lori takes off, then a heavy silence again as Alex shuffles awkwardly and Kara shifts her weight to stare her down.

The standoff lasts a few seconds.

“You let my daughter get into a deadly duel!”

“You didn’t tell me you broke up with your boyfriend!”

“And I’m going to get some more snacks,” Maggie says as she quickly picks up her keys, shrugs on her jacket, and pecks a petulant Alex on the cheek before quickly vacating the premises.

Kara sighs when the front door closes behind her, shoulders relaxing as she collapses onto the couch next to Alex.

“Okay, we… we need to talk.”

Alex scoffs, but not unkindly. “Understatement of the year.” She sighs, hoisting her legs up to sit fully facing Kara, folding her hands in her lap attentively. “You first. Wail on me.”

Kara rolls her eyes, mimicking Alex’s posture. “You joke but I am actually really mad at you, you know,” she grumbles. “I can’t believe you let her do that; she could have been hurt!” Kara gestures emphatically, pulling off her glasses. “Do you even—do you even understand how worried I was? I know you just met her, Alex, but I need you to understand how much I care about her. I know it doesn’t make any sense but I—she’s my daughter .”

“Hey,” Alex says softly, reaching forward to hold Kara’s hands. “I care about her too, okay? I get it. She’s… very hard not to like,” she chuckles, trying for levity as Kara’s eyes start watering. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was going to get that bad.”

Kara pulls a hand away to wipe at her eyes, sniffling. “You should’ve been more careful. I swear I had a heart attack. And I can’t even have those on earth.”

“Me too. I don’t think any of us were expecting that.”

Kara glares poutily. “It wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t let it.”

Alex laughs, tucking her chin as she concedes. “Okay, okay. Point taken. No more enabling.”

Kara pouts, pulling her hands away to cross her arms. “Somehow I don’t believe you.”

Alex snorts. “Okay, but can you blame me? She loves you. She wanted to help you, so I wanted to help her. And besides, her plan might’ve been crazy, but it was crazy cool and smart.”

Kara tries to keep up her glare but ends up breaking into a small, fond laugh.

“The worst combination of clever and reckless,” she scoffs, letting her hands fall to her lap. “She gets that from Lena.”

Alex watches the way Kara fiddles with her fingers, the way her eyes soften and the tension just drains from her shoulders, the way her voice just gets that slight bit more tender with ardour around Lena’s name.

She feels a little stupid, in retrospect; Kara’s always been that way around Lena. Soft, relaxed, smiley—giggly, even. Alex chalked it up to displaced feelings of defensiveness, given Astra and her father and everything, but now she starts to see how Kara smiles about Lena the way she used to smile about James.

“So,” she starts, leaning her elbow against the back of the couch, “you broke up with Mon-El, huh?”

Kara’s eyes shoot up to her, and she tenses up all over again.

“Y-yeah. Last night.”

Kara gulps and Alex wonders what it is exactly that she’s so afraid of hearing right now.

“I heard he broke into your apartment.”

Kara grimaces. “Yeah.”

“And you didn’t punch him in the face?”

That finally gets a small laugh out of Kara.

“No, I…” Kara shakes her head. “I really just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible.”

Alex raises a brow. “Why would you be the one leaving? It’s your—“ she sucks in a breath. “Nevermind, of course he wouldn’t fucking leave,” she grumbles under her breath, rubbing her eyes. “I’m sorry I ever pushed you towards him.”

Kara smiles wryly. “No, don’t be sorry, I know why you were doing it,” she says. “You were happy in a relationship, and you didn’t want me to be lonely…”

“Wrong, actually,” Alex says with a small smile. “I didn’t want you to stop yourself from feeling things like you usually do. I thought that you were ignoring your feelings and that I was pushing you to be honest with yourself, but I should’ve known better. At the very least, I should’ve started to notice how small he was starting to make you feel.” She sighs. “So, I’m sorry.”

Kara takes in a shaky breath. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

Alex shakes her head. “You didn’t want to hear me tell you that you should give him another chance. I get it.” She reaches forward to grab Kara’s hands again. “I’m sorry I made you feel like that.”

“It wasn’t your fault—“

“No,” Alex says firmly. “You’re not gonna deflect my apology like that,” she chuckles. “I promised you that I wasn’t ever drifting away and then I still made you feel like you couldn’t talk to me.” She cups Kara’s face, tilting her chin up to make eye contact. “That’s my bad, and I’m going to work on it, okay?”

Kara sniffles and nods. “I just—I didn’t want to bother you, you know? You have Maggie now and I—I was just afraid you didn’t need me anymore.”

“Kara, listen to me,” Alex says gravely. “You are my sister. Yes, I was really excited about Maggie, and I wanted to keep her to myself for a while, but this is literally the first real honeymoon phase I’ve ever had,” she says, getting a little smile out of Kara. “You’re my sister. There isn’t a single woman in all the universes who can replace you.”

She pulls Kara into her arms, holding her head closer when Kara burrows into her shoulder.

“I’m sorry. I’ll try—I’ll try not to get scared.”

Alex pats her head. “It’s okay to be scared. We’re both going to have to work a little harder to talk to each other, okay? There isn’t a single part of my life I want you to be excluded from.”

“Me neither,” Kara says, muffled by Alex’s shoulder. “I love you.”

Alex squeezes her. “I love you too.”

They stay like that for a while, just holding each other, feeling the distance they unwitting let build between them melt away.

Alex jumps at a timid knock at the door, sharing a puzzled look with Kara before getting up to answer it.

“Maggie?” Alex frowns. “Did you forget your key?”

Maggie just smiles softly, readjusting her food cargo a little bit. “No, I just wasn’t sure if you guys were done yet. I didn’t want to intrude.”

That’s Maggie, ever careful and respectful. Alex doesn’t bother to fight off a burgeoning grin and kisses her lightly, ushering her in.

“We’re good. Thank you.”

Maggie winks at her as she passes by, putting the food on the island bench.

“Hey, Little Danvers.”

Kara barely hides another sniffle before smiling.

“Hey, Maggie.”

“The dumpling truck on the corner was still open so I got you an extra box,” she says cheerfully. “I hope you’re hungry.”

Alex glances over at Kara to see her making just the face she expected—a touched kind of gaping, well on the way to full affection. Food’s always been the direct line to her heart, after all. Alex feels that odd little flutter of happiness in her chest again before she joins her sister and girlfriend in picking out a movie.

(Well, arguing over which movie to watch, really. But Kara’s grinning despite her protesting quips so Alex doesn’t mind.)


 

Lena’s in the middle of typing out an email when something lands on her veranda, startling her—it’s only a second before she’s pushing her laptop aside and starts for the glass door even as a grinning Lori steps through.

“Mom!” She pulls Lena into a robust hug before sniffing the air. “Is that—pizza?”

Lena laughs as she pulls away, holding Lori by the shoulders. “I heard about your escapades today and figured you’d be starving. Let me look at you first,” she tuts, touching the edge of the bandaid on her face. Her chest coils a little—it’s one thing to laugh over Lori’s recklessness, it’s another to see her covered in so many bandages that she might as well be held together by them.

“Are you okay? Does it still hurt anywhere?”

Lori shakes her head. “My knee hurt a little for a while but it’s fine now. Everything’s healing pretty quickly.”

Lena laughs. “You sound disappointed.”

“A little,” Lori grumbles. “The only lasting damage was to your jacket and shirt, though. Sorry.”

Lori apologetically holds up her arm to show her the gaping slash in the sleeve. Lena thumbs at the flaps a bit with a wry twist of her mouth before chuckling.

“That was designer, you know.”

Lori rolls her eyes. “Oh, boohoo , you billionaire,” she says, grinning when Lena laughs at that.

Lena takes a breath as she trails off of a chuckle, pulling Lori into another hug.

“I’m glad you’re safe,” she murmurs.

“Me too,” Lori hums, hugging her back—Lena basks in the warmth of it, feeling relief spread through her chest at the intactness and solidness of Lori. She’s here, she’s safe, she’s okay.

(and maybe, yes, she’s a little unreasonably terrified by the thought of people disappearing from her life to the point that almost anything will set off her knee-jerk panic.)

“Mom?” Lori shifts. “Not that I don’t love you too but… food…”

Lena rolls her eyes as she lets the girl go, slapping her lightly on the arm—Lori barely registers it as she runs over to the kitchen, shucks off her jacket, and basically tears into the first box of pizza. Lena takes a seat across from her, wrinkling her nose despite her grin when Lori stacks two slices in her hand to stuff into her mouth.

“Slow down, you’re going to choke.”

She snorts when Lori stares at her defiantly and stuffs even more in, making her cheeks puff out like a hamster’s—it’s only mid-laugh that she catches what Lori said.

“Love you too.”

The anxiety picks up in her chest again, because, yeah, maybe, somehow, she’s starting to love this stranger who’s crashed into her life with promises of a perfect future, promises that she’s capable of loving someone enough to make them happy. But even then, is she really? She studies the myriad of gauze and bandages covering this girl and tries to swallow her unease.

“Lori, can I ask,” she stumbles, not being quite sure how to phrase her question, “how was—how was your childhood?”

Lori furrows her brows, swallowing her mouthful before laughing lightly. “What?”

Lena snorts at herself, pressing at her temple and shaking her head. “I know that sounds—completely odd, I was just…” she sighs. “When I was little I was being put through private programs back to back, and I didn’t really have time to have fun, or be a kid, except for when…” she gulps. (she’s not going to talk about Him right now.) “Except rarely. I didn’t get to do normal kid things like… I don’t know, go to Disneyworld or anything.” She puffs out a laugh. “I still haven’t been.”

Lori’s eyes bulge at that, and she slowly puts down her pizza.

“You’re kidding .”

Lena shakes her head with a slight smile.

“Wow,” Lori breathes, staring at the countertop blankly. “So you were living vicariously through me when you bought out the entirety of Disneyworld for my birthday so I could go on as many rides without waiting in line for anything.”

Lena barks out a laugh. “Are you s—what am I saying, of course you’re serious, that sounds like something I’d do,” she groans, holding her head in embarrassment.

“And people think I get my dramatic flair from Yeyu,” Lori chuckles, resuming her pizza inhalation.

Lena groan-laughs again listlessly before brushing her hair back and taking a deep breath. “Okay, so, I take you to Disneyworld. That’s a good sign.”

Lori frowns at her. “I don’t really get what you’re worried about?” she says around a mouthful. “I mean, I guess I was kind of busy as a kid, but, I was happy to be skipping grades?”

Lena leans her cheek against her palm and furrows her brows. “It’s kind of lonely to be years younger than your classmates all the time.”

Lori shakes her head. “I’m not lonely. I have plenty of friends my age.”

“Other than Jon.”

Lori rolls her eyes. “Yeah, other than Jon. There’s Mar’i and Damian too.”

“And how did you meet them?”

“Uhhh.” Lori screws up her face. “I think, both at a gala? Mar’i, I definitely met at one of our galas five years ago, but I’m not too sure about Damian, that was a while ago. Probably something similar, though.”

Lena frowns. “A gala? Why?”

“You and Yeyu work with their parents a lot,” Lori says, shrugging. Lena lets out a defeated laugh, slumping a little.

“Do you have anyone you met other than family friends?”

Lori chews thoughtfully at that, tilting her head a little in confusion. “I guess not. Is it that important, though?”

“Kind of,” Lena laughs. “I don’t know, I just feel like you should have friends who don’t see your parents on a regular basis, you know? Especially since your friends are kids of business associates.”

Lori frowns, evidently still not understanding, and Lena sighs. “I’m just worried you’re too tied into Kara’s and my work life. I know you’re training to be Supergirl and to work at L-Corp, but you getting to be happy comes first.”

Lori’s frown deepens. “But I am happy. I don’t really mind at all? I want to graduate as soon as possible.”

Lena twists her mouth wryly. “You should get to enjoy being a kid, you know. Have time to work on your hobbies and have fun.”

“I have plenty of hobbies,” Lori retorts. “I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was seven. I have a bunch of awards for it!”

Lena smiles, chagrined. “Strict piano lessons don’t exactly fall outside of the whole harsh prodigal childhood thing.”

Lori shrugs, at a loss. “I mean, I don’t know? I—I’m happy, I promise. I practiced really hard so I could be in the senior orchestra with Conner in his last year of highschool. He plays cello and—and we get to hang out practicing a lot, and it’s fun. And Mar’i’s half alien too so we get along really well and—I don’t really know what else to tell you?” she frowns. “Conner and Jon are more like my brothers than anything else and, I guess I haven’t seen Damian or Mar’i in a couple of years but we keep in touch and it’s fine?”

The girl’s flustered, and it’s obvious she’s never thought of her accelerated upbringing as anything than normal, and the worry twisting in Lena’s gut stays even as the girl reaches over the bench to hold her hands.

“I’m happy, I promise. I might not have been out there making sandcastles with the other kids, but it’s not like I wasn’t having fun rigging up robots to wrestle each other,” she laughs. “It’s different but it was still… good. Don’t worry so much.”

Lena smiles sadly, squeezing her hands.

“Okay,” she relents, trying to stave off the unease in her gut with the hope that Lori’s right. After all, her childhood might have been as unusual as the girl herself, but deviating from the ‘normal’ script doesn’t mean things will be bad or unhappy.  

Lori smiles one of those signature Sunny Danvers smiles at her, and Lena laughs.

What an unusual little family she’ll have.


 

“Stop fiddling with your hair,” Alex snickers, leaning against the briefing console as she swats lazily at Kara.

Kara pouts, threading her fingers through her ponytail for the seventh time that morning. “It smells weird.”

“Well, it’s your fault you accidentally used Maggie’s shampoo.”

Kara wrinkles her nose. “I didn’t think she’d have weird all-natural shampoo, for crying out loud. How hipster can you be?”

Alex laughs.

“I’m telling her you said that.”

“Noooo,” Kara whines, halting her fidgeting. “She’ll give me a lecture about chemicals and haircare,” she groans, “nevermind that I’m impervious to chemicals anyway.”

Alex rolls her eyes. “Well, try to remember to grab the right bottle next time you’re over,” she laughs, before softening a tad. “You’re welcome to stay over again tonight, if you want.”

Kara smiles at her, feeling warm at the offer, since she still wasn’t ready to go back to her place last night—she feels a little pathetic, a little weak, but she swallows it down. It’s okay to be afraid.

“Nah, I’ll be alright.” She grins. “I’ll probably feel better after fixing the lock.”

“Need help?”

“I don’t know, can you help me find lead deadbolts at the hardware store?” Kara laughs. “I’ll be okay. Thanks.”

Alex quirks a brow. “I know you’re joking but if you wanted, we can make one in the lab here…”

Kara squeezes her eyes together, laughing again in affectionate exasperation. “I’m fine , Alex,” she groans, leaning back against the table. “As long as I don’t have to deal with him too soon.”

Alex gives her hand a quick squeeze. “If he shows his face around here, you’ll be the first to know.”

Kara gives her a tight smile. “Thanks.”

The balcony doors on the far side of the building swoosh open as Lori touches down, hopping inside and down the stairs. She spots J’onn first and grabs him into a hug; Alex and Kara try not to laugh at his frown of professional dismay even as he hugs her back quickly, glaring at the agents trying not to gape—it’s a sight to see.

Lori pulls away with a grin and jogs on over to the two of them.

“Morning!” she chirps, tackling them into consecutive hugs. Kara laughs while Alex wheezes at the enthusiasm.

“Morning,” she coughs, patting Lori on the back. “God, you’re even more of a hugger than she is,” she quips, nodding at Kara.

Lori crosses her arms and frowns. “Well, I can stop if it bothers you that much.”

“I didn’t say that,” Alex says, quickly and defensively and Kara muffles a giggle into her hand because Alex just played right into Lori’s hand; the agent tries to look unhappy but she can’t stop the little quirk of her mouth when Lori smugly bumps their shoulders together.

“If we’re done with the morning pleasantries,” J’onn starts, laying a hand on the table, “I’d like to start the briefing now, agents.”

All three Danvers girls straighten up, clearing their throats and nodding. J’onn looks them over critically (ignoring Lori’s little smile) before waving Winn over.

“Agent Schott, if you will.”

“Right,” he says, hopping up from his console, tablet in hand. “So, last night we intercepted a CADMUS message broadcasted from this location—“ he swipes at his tablet and the main screen lights up with a map of the desert, a red dot blinking just a bit off the highway. “Which we hypothesize is Lillian Luthor’s newest base.”

“What did the message say?” Lori asks, leaning forward. Winn kind of—blinks at her before getting his bearings.

“It was heavily encrypted, so we couldn’t understand the full thing—the gist of it is that they’re planning to raid a certain ‘Vault Thirteen’,” he says emphatically, even doing a quick airquotes gesture.

Lori’s heartbeat picks up at that, her entire body tensing up. Kara glances over worriedly as the girl stares at the display.

“You said Vault Thirteen ? Are you sure?”

“Y-es?” He glances around quickly. “Is that—is that important?”

“Do you know what’s in it?” Alex asks, frowning. Lori opens her mouth to answer, takes a breath, then closes it, frowning down at her hands and Kara can almost hear her gears turning.

“No,” she finally says, clasping her hands together. “No, I just—it sounds familiar.”

Alex and Kara share a look—did she just—did Lori just lie?

Winn blinks before getting back to it. “Well, anyway, I couldn’t decrypt the vault location or raid time, exactly.”

“So what, we raid them before they can act?” Kara says.

J’onn shakes his head. “There’s too much we don’t know. It’s unclear why they’re targeting a vault when they don’t have any means of opening it, or why that vault in particular. We need to…”

J’onn and Alex toss ideas back and forth, coming up with a plan, and Kara only pays attention to half of it—she spends the other half glancing at Lori. The girl’s tensed up, following every word of the briefing, but, something’s off—with that weird moment earlier as well, Kara’s worried. This is the first time she’s sure Lori’s holding something back, but she’s not sure for what reason.

“Hey,” she says, when the briefing’s over and Alex and J’onn have gone downstairs to go over their plans. “You okay?”

Lori glances up at her quickly, almost jerkily, before pulling her mouth into a smile.

“Yeah, I’m alright.”

“Are you sure?”

Lori laughs. “Yeah. Just bummed out I couldn’t remember more, I guess.”

Kara studies her for a moment, before deciding, yeah, that’s good enough—Lori will tell her when she’s ready to tell her, whatever it is. She slings an arm around her shoulders, smiling.

“Well, I’ve got the day off from CatCo today. Wanna help me fix my apartment door?”


 

Kara’s gut twists when she steps into her apartment again for the first time in two nights—it’s still the same way she left it that night. Blanket still thrown haphazardly over the couch, the cushion she fixated on to avoid eye contact still leaning on the coffee table, etc. She tries to stop her hand from shaking as she walks in—this is still her space, this was always her space to begin with—the platitudes in her head sound less and less convincing until Lori rushes in with a grin.

“Whoah,” she laughs, looking around at the apartment. “This is where you lived before you moved in with Mom?”

Kara laughs and pushes up her glasses and puts the bag of supplies from the hardware store down.

“Yup. Been living here for years now, ever since I moved to National City.” She remembers the first time stepping into the wide, unfurnished, slightly grimy space, feeling lost and excited at the same time.

“Wow.” Lori picks up one of the many photo frames. “ Hey, I know this one! You keep it in your study.”

Kara walks over, peering over Lori’s shoulder—it’s the one of Alex, Kara, and Eliza on vacation to New Zealand, a wide green field with sheep milling about behind them.

“Yeah, that’s from when Alex graduated highschool.” She sighs wistfully.

You told me ,” Lori says. “ You cried the last night of the trip because Aunt Alex was going to go straight to college and you didn’t want her to go.”

Kara laughs as Lori puts the photo down.

“Yeah,” she says, rubbing her neck bashfully. “I might’ve sped through my highschool credits so I could join her.”

Lori cants her head. “Is that a bad thing?”

Kara thinks about all the anxiety, the fear after Jeremiah disappeared—don’t draw attention, keep her head low, don’t stand out or someone will get hurt again—

“Well, I was trying not to stand out too much, you know?” She shrugs. “Suddenly adopted prodigies tend to draw too much attention.”

Lori frowns at that, pushing up her glasses thoughtfully.

“Huh. I… you never really told me much about that. I mean, I know you pretend to not be as smart as you are at CatCo, but…”

Kara tilts her head, curious. “Really? But wouldn’t you—we have been worried about attracting too much attention too?”

Lori shakes her head. “No, I guess—I guess I had the benefit of having a prodigy for a parent already,” she says, shrugging. She laughs a little bit, looking around at the apartment again . “This is so… weird, seeing your life before Mom. You don’t really hold back around us? Sometimes I can’t even keep up with you guys when you really get into those debates .”

“Debates?” Kara furrows her brows, smiling quizzically. “Debates on what?”

“Oh, you know.” Lori waves her hand. “Astrophysics, the efficiency on one of Mom’s new prototypes, that kind of thing.”

Kara thinks back to her Kryptonian education, all the advanced things she learned that were beyond earth’s Ph.D. levels, everything that she learned to lock away and pretend not to know over the years. She thinks about having an equal on earth to talk to about, to even debate with—she’s still trying to wrap her head around it when Lori makes an excited noise from the far side of the apartment.

“Yeyu!” She crows, and Kara laughs as she jogs on over. “Is this your suit?”

Kara looks past the partition and yes, Lori’s holding her spare suit up, marveling.

“Yes,” she chuckles, padding on over. “Do you want to try it on?”

Lori beams up at her, waiting for a confirmation before zipping into the bathroom to try it on—Kara smiles and shakes her head before walking back out towards the front door and rolling up her sleeves to start sorting through the tools.

It fits! ” Lori zips into the living room, and Kara turns to see her twirling around—it does, indeed fit her perfectly. It looks a little odd without the cape, but still—something twinges in her chest at the sight of her daughter, raven hair spilling over broad blue shoulders, a smile to light up the entire world and the family crest emblazoned proudly across the chest.

She can’t be blamed for getting a little emotional, she tells herself. This is the first time she’s seeing her daughter wearing the House emblem, a privilege reserved for members of the clan.

“It’s so old school!” Lori says cheerfully, slipping into English as she twirls around again.

Kara gasps in indignation. “Hey, who’re you calling old school?” she laughs, pushing her shoulder lightly. “That’s my uniform!”

Lori giggles, stepping away a little in defense. “Okay, okay, it’s classic, happy now?” She picks at the sleeves. “Man, I haven’t seen this except in photographs!”

“Huh.” Kara shakes her head with a grin. “I never thought about it, but I guess I’d change suits eventually, huh?”

“We make minor alterations every couple of years. I mean, Mom’s always experimenting on a spare at the lab.”

The thought of Lena tweaking her suit, making it better, more protective, makes her feel impossibly happy.

She looks at Lori, all geared up and looking ready to take on the world, and remembers something that Lena said.

“Is’kah,” She starts, shifting her weight. “You have time to have fun, right? Inbetween all the training?”

Lori rolls her eyes, laughing. “Not you too,” she chuckles.

“Me too?” Kara quirks a brow.

“Yeah, Mom’s already worried all over me about that.” She puts her hands on her hips and smiles. “I’m fine. I’m happy that I don’t have to be stuck in classes I could pass in my sleep. And I might have to hide in public, but I have so many people in my life that I can just be myself around.”

Lori smiles at her, rattling off answers she’s evidently already thought out, so Kara lets herself relax.

“That’s all I want for you, Little One.”

A siren goes off in the distance, much to Lori’s delight.

Kara gives her a warning look even as she brings her hands together to plead.

“Pleeeasse can I come with you?” She whines, pouting on full. “I promise I’ll follow your lead. I’m a good sidekick, I swear.”

“I—you—“ Kara tries to hold off against her pout but gives in. “Fine. Not right now,” she adds, before Lori can zip out the window in her spare suit. “But—hey, don’t pout at me, I’m saying yes—but I’m going to go deal with this, you’re going to wait here, then help me fix my door when I’m back, and then we’ll go to the DEO to see if we can’t find something for you to wear while you help Supergirl today.” She raises her brows in a stern way. “Deal?”

Lori beams. “Deal!”


 

Lena has to admit, she’s a little surprised when the news outlets start going crazy over Supergirl and her new mysterious sidekick, and she’s a little worried when she turns on her office TV to see what is very obviously Lori in a DEO issue tactical uniform and an eyemask flying around with Kara, because, should Lori really be flying around while still recovering? But the newsreel clearly captures just how much fun they’re having together—both of them grinning from ear to ear, in sync, Lori being beloved by the people already—and she lets herself relax.

Besides, it’s kind of funny to watch people scramble around trying to find something to call Lori. The two of them are having so much fun dodging questions.

(“You’re avoiding the question!” a reporter yells after them at some point.

Lori, having just touched down an ambulance at the hospital with Kara, smiles that million dollar Super smile and winks as she flies off.

“We did it elegantly, though!”)

And in all honesty, she should have been expecting the two troublemakers to pay her a visit at some point.

She jumps a bit when two pairs of boots touch down on her balcony, looking up from her laptop with just the slightest bit of panic (it hasn’t been that long since the latest attempt on her life, after all), only to laugh breathlessly when the two of them strike the classic pose, fists on their hips.

She shakes her head with a smile before waving them in.

“My, my,” she laughs as the two of them walk in and stand side by side with their arms crossed like they’re here on professional business. “Supergirl and her new mysterious sidekick. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

She sees Lori’s mouth quirks in a barely held back laugh before it smooths back into a neutral but friendly look.

“Just checking in, Miss Luthor,” Supergirl says, nodding politely. “You’ve been working very late nights lately, you must be very stressed.”

Lena raises a hand to her mouth to stifle a snort.

“Well, I appreciate the concern, but it’s only six pm—I’m hardly at risk for overworking tonight. Yet.”

“Studies show that stress is the number one cause of health complications in urban workers,” Lori says gravely, as if describing a serious risk. “The most advised time to get off work is five pm, so that one has enough time to have a proper dinner and leisure time with loved ones.”

“My associate is right, Miss Luthor,” Kara tag teams, just as stern. “Seeing as it’s one hour past the advised time, we’re going to have to strongly recommend that you take the night off to relax.”

“And spend time with your family,” Lori tacks onto the end of that.

Lena bites back a laugh, crossing her arms to try and keep her composure.

“You’re absolutely right,” she says. “I can’t believe how reckless I’ve been, what would I do without my two heroes?” She says it with real affection, letting her grin break through—Lori stifles a giggle and Kara nudges her elbow subtly. “If it’s not much to ask, could you do one more thing for me?”

“Ask away, Miss Luthor. We’re here to help,” Kara says, elbowing Lori again as the girl nearly breaks into laughter.

“Would you please let my daughter and her mother know that I’ll be meeting them at their favourite Chinese restaurant in half an hour? If they’re free, of course.”

“We’ll pass along the message,” Lori says, nodding firmly. “Have a nice evening, Miss Luthor.”

Lena hides another laugh behind her hand, almost breaking the façade.

“Stay out of trouble, you two.”


 

If Lena thought that having dinner with one hungry Kryptonian was an adventure, having dinner with a hungry Kryptonian and a hungry Kryptonian teenager is another thing in and of itself. Lena orders enough food for twelve people, one plus the eleven stomachs that Kara and Lori seem to have, and they demolish it within half an hour. Reasonably she should be self-conscious of the people who are staring as they simply tear through the food, but the sight of them enjoying themselves so candidly just makes her feel inexplicably happy.

They end up watching the sunset on Lena’s veranda after having gotten bubble tea for dessert, talking quietly about their day.

“Hey, Mom,” Lori says, getting up from her chaise. “Do you mind if I play the piano for a bit?”

Lena glances up at her. “Of course not— it’s dusty, though.”

“That’s ok,” Lori says, smiling as she heads inside.

“Leave the door open so we can listen?” Kara asks. Lori waves an affirmative, and Kara smiles.

“Well, I’m glad that grand piano’s getting some use,” Lena chuckles. “It came with the flat and it’s been gathering dust for a while.”

Kara props her elbow on the back of her chair, shuffling to face Lena fully.

“Really? You don’t play?”

Lena shakes her head. “I used to take lessons but I hated them. I was never much of a musician.” She glances at Kara. “Did you play any instruments?”

Kara smiles at her hands sadly. “On Krypton, I played the khahzhorgehd— something like a harp— for a while. I—”

She cuts off suddenly, glancing towards the door as Lori starts playing a song— it sounds unfamiliar, a little sad, a little strange, but beautiful, and when Kara’s hand starts shaking, she reaches forward to hold it.

“Kara?” She asks, concerned. “Are you alright?”

Kara doesn’t answer for a moment, mouth moving like she’s trying to speak but not coming up with any words. She threads her fingers through Lena’s as she tucks her chin and laughs softly, gnawing on her lower lip.

“Yeah I’m— I’m okay. I just, didn’t think I’d ever hear that song again.”

Lena glances towards the door. “Is that…?”

Kara nods. “A classical piece from the Taizhehn period. I don’t even know how she managed to transpose it, the octave doesn’t have enough notes.”

Lena smiles, smoothing her thumb in the curve of Kara’s palm. “Maybe you did.”

Kara grins. “Maybe.” She stands up, tugging lightly at Lena. “Come on. Dance with me?”

Lena laugh bashfully, acquiescing but hesitant.

“I’m going to have to tell you, I’m kind of a terrible dancer.”

“Really?” Kara raises her brows. “But don’t you have to dance at fancy events?”

Lena shrugs. “I can manage if I concentrate really hard, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. I have a terrible habit of stepping on toes rather painfully.”

“Well,” Kara says, raising their held hands and placing her other on Lena’s waist. “My toes are made of steel, so we’re safe.”

Lena rolls her eyes as she places her hand on Kara’s shoulder, trying to follow her lead.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I can’t do much more than a slow waltz.”

Kara smiles. “That’s alright. I don’t really remember any of the proper steps anyway.”

And she looks so sad, so handsome in the red sunlight, her hair glittering a burnished gold, skin glowing radiantly— Lena wonders if this is what Kara would have looked like on Krypton, had she been allowed to grow up there, have her normal life there. Would she have become a beautiful member of the gentry, infinitely graceful without the limitations of human life, would she have been more carefree without the grief of a world on her shoulders?

Would she still have cared for Lena, if they were able to meet?

Kara looks at her with the softest shimmering blues that remind Lena of the sunset on the lake by her dorms at boarding school, where she’d sit alone with her thoughts— Kara smiles as they sway slowly, leaning in to touch their foreheads.

“What are you thinking about?”

Lena hums, closing her eyes. “Something really cheesy.”

Kara grins. “Oh yeah?”

Lena nods.

“And you’re not going to tell me?”

She shakes her head. Kara laughs, bumping their heads lightly.

“Meanie.”

Lena bites back a giggle. “I’ll tell you if you tell me.”

She opens her eyes to look up, not expecting to find Kara gazing back with such open affection in her eyes— her heart thumps in her chest all the harder for knowing that Kara can hear it.

“I was thinking,” Kara murmurs, brushing the tip of her nose against Lena’s. “That you look beautiful in the red sunlight.” Lena closes her eyes as Kara’s breath tickles her skin. “And that I probably would have fallen for you if we’d met on Krypton.”

Lena lets out a shaky, involuntary sigh, knowing that it brushes over Kara’s lips, caressing, beckoning—

They jolt when Kara’s phone rings in her pocket. Lena pulls away, feeling her cheeks heat up, laughing bashfully as she rubs the back of her neck and refuses to make eye contact.

“Hello?” Kara sounds positively annoyed, and Lena ventures a glance— and yup, she looks miffed at the interruption and it somehow makes Lena’s face heat up even more. She watches as Kara’s face goes from pissed off to concerned, stepping away as she nods.

Lena starts to get worried as she sees Lori step out onto the veranda out of the corner of her eyes—  she hadn’t even noticed that the music stopped.

“Okay.” Kara nods, hanging up. She turns back to Lena with a frown.

“Is everything okay?” she asks, drawing her jacket around herself. Kara purses her lips unhappily.

“Just something more to do with CADMUS. I’ll be back, just stay here with—” she jolts and looks around, tensing; Lena follows her gaze, finding the veranda suddenly empty except for the two of them.

“Where’s Lori?”