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Supergirl In Training

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“Hey. No spare parts in the kitchen,” Lena says, nudging Lori as she comes to sit down at the island next to her with her bowl of cereal. 

Lori pouts at her, making no move to put away the device she’s taken apart on the granite countertop.

“But you work in the kitchen all the time,” she whines. 

Lena just crunches down on her cereal unsympathetically. “Future me does that all the time,” she corrects. “Take it to my office and work on it later.”

Kara looks up at them from across the island, mixing pancake dough as she comes to Lori’s defense. “She just wanted to keep me and Conner company while we made breakfast. Isn’t that right, us’kah?”

The baby, strapped to Kara’s back, simply looks at them over her shoulder and makes a small noise.

“See!” Lori gestures enthusiastically. “Conner agrees with me.”

“He did not,” Lena laughs, bumping her shoulder indignantly. “Your cousin has been out for less than twenty-four hours, you are not allowed to use him as emotional blackmail.”

“But it’s okay if he’s been out for a while, right?” Lori quips, and Lena scrunches her nose at her.

“Blackmail is what started this venture, really,” Kara adds with a laugh, turning to start ladling the pancake mix onto the pan. “She’s fixing her phone so she can take videos of Conner.”

Lena peers over at the parts. There’s a solid, rectangular piece of glass glinting with translucent circuit patters, and what she can only assume are the metal caps for the oddly shaped ends of the glass. Lori’s got the caps taken apart, prodding at the inside of one of them.

“Trying to, anyway,” she grumbles, poking at a little gold piece. “If I can just get this Teklin bit to work.”

Lena pushes her cereal to the side and scoots her stool a little closer, humming as she takes everything in.

“What’s wrong with it?”

Lori pokes at the gold piece again. “This is the Teklin bit—it’s a photonic frequency measurer that regulates the energy going through the entire phone so that the conduit doesn’t overload.” She points to the small silver lines running throughout the device, matching the odd patterns on the glass. “Because it’s the thing that keeps the phone from blowing up, it’s wired in at a crucial junction of the circuit—the entire thing doesn’t actually run if it’s not working.”

“And I assume it’s not working,” Lena says, taking the magnifier that Lori hands her. 

“It got torn loose when I dropped it, that first night. I’ve wired it back properly and everything, I can’t figure out why it won’t power up.”

Lena hums. “Have you thought of an internal malfunction? Something might have been damaged inside the bit itself.”

Lori shakes her head. “That’s not possible—it’s just a solid piece of gold alloy.”

Lena looks up at her in surprise. “How does it work as a frequency measurer, then?”

“It emits specific frequencies of baryon waves at certain photon levels. The receptors on the side powers the phone down if it gets to a critical point.”

“Baryon waves?” Lena furrows her brow. “How can a subatomic particle be a wave?”

“When it’s emitted from an alloy with a deliberate composition that facilitates quantum harmonics,” Kara adds, turning to look at the bits. “We called it the Jek-Val Effect. I didn’t think it was possible to replicate it in this system because there are no natural deposits of valtahnynj but a gold alloy—that’s brilliant.”

“If that’s possible,” Lena adds, lowering the magnifier thoughtfully, “then the implications are huge—we’d be able to measure energy the an infinitely precise degree, allow us to harness all the quantum technology we’ve only been able to theorize: quantum coupling relays, graviton charge limiters, even axionic pulse relays—“

“Hey, hi, excuse me,” Lori interrupts. “Teenage daughter in need of help here, not a science conference.”

They both laugh sheepishly, and Kara turns back to the pancakes as Lena turns back to Lori. 

“Sorry, Monkey,” she says, squeezing the girl’s shoulder. “Walk me through it again?”

After thirty pancakes and some more suggestions from Kara, they decide fixing it’s going to take longer than either of them have before work.

“That’s okay,” Lori says, taking Conner from Kara. “I’ll figure it out with this guy while you’re gone.”

Lena smirks as she pulls on her coat.

“Making him participate in his own downfall? Stone cold.”

Lori shrugs nonchalantly. “I have full faith he’d do the same if he were in my place. As with Jon. I’m just honoring the family code.”

Kara laughs. “I don’t remember anything like that in the House traditions,” she teases, pulling her shoes on and standing up. “Are you sure you’ll be all right taking care of Conner alone, is’kah?”

Lori rolls her eyes, adjusting her hold on the infant. “I’ll be fine. It’s not like he’s fussy or anything. And Mom taught me how to use Siri.”

“Still,” Lena says, fiddling with her bag strap anxiously. “Are you sure you don’t want to come into work with me? You can bring his basket and work on the couch.”

“And Lena Luthor showing up to work with a baby would be a PR nightmare,” Lori says. “We’re going to be fine.”

“Okay,” Lena breathes, still uneasy. “Don’t forget that your burner phone’s on the table, okay? Call me if you need anything,” she insists.

“And I prepared the formula for you,” Kara adds. “All the bottles are clean, and you should only have to change his diaper a few times before we’re back. I left instructions on the fridge—“

Yes, yes, I promise we’ll both still be intact when you’re home, now scram before you’re late.”

“Don’t talk to your mother like that,” Lena laughs, tussling her hair. “I’ll see you both later. Be nice to your cousin.”

Conner smiles at Lena when she softly pats his head.

“Have a good day, is’kah,” Kara says, squeezing the girl’s shoulder. Lori scrunches the side of her face that her mother kisses. “And you too, us’kah.” Conner squeaks at the soft peck on his head.

Bye, you two,” Lori groans, shooing them out the door and closing it behind them. Even Lena can hear the ‘finally’ that she grumbles through the door.

Kara and Lena look at each other for a moment before breaking into laughter, shaking their heads. Kara grins as she pushes up her glasses a little bashfully, clearing her throat as she shifts her coat from her right arm to her left.

“Well, Ms. Luthor,” she says gallantly, holding her arm out for Lena to take. “Shall we be off?”

Lena smiles right back, biting her lip for a moment just to get a hold of the butterflies in her chest before she takes Kara’s arm. 

“Lead the way, Ms. Danvers.”


 

It’s just half past three when the shitshow starts. 

Everything was going alright for a while, despite the fact that both of them got to work late, having only woken up at like eleven am after the late night. Well, since Lena did. Kara managed to pass off some sort of emergency to account for her tardiness, and Jess had rescheduled everything after getting a call from Lori.

(“I don’t know what I’d do without that girl,” Lena said when Lori told her. “What do I do without that girl?”

Lori shrugged, making the I-don’t-know sound through a mouthful of eggs before swallowing.

“I guess we’ll find out if she ever quits being your CFO or something?”)

So Kara’s sat down at her desk by the afternoon, texting Lena periodically. It makes her smile uncontrollably and wiggle side to side a little in her spinny chair, as usual. Nothing’s out of the ordinary.

(Well, minus the whole… daughter from the future and sudden nephew appearance thing. They haven’t called Clark yet. When she brought it up quietly before Lena woke up, Lori looked at her so sadly that she suddenly remembered how he left her with another family and stopped visiting after a few years. 

They’re probably not going to call Clark.)

It starts when she gets a text and picks up her phone a little too enthusiastically. 

(It’s been a whole hour since Lena texted her back, and it’s not a huge deal or anything, but… You know. She has a massive crush on and is possibly in love with the woman, she can’t be blamed.)

But it’s from Alex on her Supergirl phone, and the text itself is really… vague? Which is kind of unusual because Alex is never vague unless she’s upset or hiding something. 

[Agent Danvers: Might need you to come in. Be on standby]

It’s kind of alarming. If it’s a Supergirl thing, Alex usually just shoots her a few key points of information and leaves it at that—“fire on 22nd, residential building” and nothing else, sort of thing. 

[Supergirl: whats going on?]

She feels her brow scrunch even as she puts her phone down and gets back to her article. She strains her superhearing to try and figure out what it is—sometimes the DEO will handle a situation without her but keep her on standby. But even then, Alex gives her a rundown of what’s happening so she can respond as fast as possible. 

She doesn’t hear anything so urgent. She doesn’t notice how on edge it’s gotten her until her phone buzzes again and she nearly stabs the ‘h’ key through the desk.

[Agent Danvers: Nothing important. At the morgue rn. Just be ready to respond]

[Supergirl: ???????

morgue as in like city morgue??? why??

alex????]

She puts her phone down on her desk, face-up and still open before she crushes it out of anxiety. She doesn’t do well with sitting still while not knowing what’s going on—anxiety makes her nervously energetic and that usually ends up in a lot of broken things. 

Case in point: she almost splinters her desk with her knee when her personal phone buzzes.

[little one <3: hey yeyu mom hasnt texted back in a while

Non geduju wmbem?]

Kara laughs, part in shock and part in delight—she’s never seen her first language written in an Earth alphabet, phonetically. It’s infinitely endearing and cringe-worthy at the same time.

[supermom: oh rao please never text me kryptonian again thats AWFUL to look at]

[little one <3: give me a break im still trying to come to terms with these old ass emojis

this is what ur stuck with until uncle winn makes the kryptahniuo keyboard]

Her heart swoops in happiness at the thought of Winn programming a keyboard for them. One day she’s going to be able to write to someone in Kryptahniuo again and just like with all the other wonderful revelations that Lori’s brought with her, Kara can’t wait.

[little one <3: anyway pay attention please 

is everything ok she never takes this long to text back without saying she might]

[supermom: uh your aunt sent me a weird text on the deo phone but i dont think it has anything to do with your mother

ill keep you updated

hows conner?]

[little one <3: alarmingly well behaved

its kind of creepy]

[supermom: be nice >:(]

[little one <3: oh rao do you really still use sideways faces

and im being nice !!]

Kara chuckles and shakes her head—then her work phone buzzes again and her heart nearly drops out of her stomach. 

[Agent Danvers: Briefing in 5. Ask James for the rest of the day off.]

[Supergirl: whats going on??

alex?]


 

Alex’s stern, worried frown when she lands in the main room doesn’t make her feel any less anxious. Alex is worrying her lip a little bit, hands planted firmly on her hips like she’s bracing to give some very, very bad news.

“You’re starting to freak me out,” Kara says as she leans against the brightly lit console. “What’s going on?”

Alex gnaws at her lip for another moment before answering. 

“You’re not going to like this.”

“Yeah, I gathered.” Kara runs a hand through her hair. “Why were you at the morgue?”

“She was with Detective Sawyer,” J’onn says as he walks into the briefing room from one of the hallways, carrying a PDA. “The NCPD was called in this morning to investigate a few deaths on the suspicion of foul play.”

Kara glances between the two of them. “Well, what did they find?”

“Two people died from poisoning from some sort of contaminant in the air,” J’onn says, firmly compared to Alex’s hesitant shifting. 

“Whoah,” Kara leans forward. “What’s happening? We need to call the city—“

“It’s not affecting everyone,” Alex cuts in. “It came from a minor blast concentrated in one area. The contaminants reacted with a certain part of their physiology, but we’re still waiting on the autopsy to tell us exactly what it was.”

“Okay, so…” Kara glances between the two of them. “That’s good, right?”

J’onn sets his jaw grimly. “For now. We only have a few hours before it spreads to the rest of the city.”

Kara grimaces. “So we need to stop it. We’re on top of figuring out where the contaminants came from, right? Who do I need to visit?”

“Kara,” Alex starts, the two syllables of her name weighing so heavily on her mouth that Kara tenses in response. “The chemicals came from an L-Corp facility.”

She freezes for a moment—it’s like she understands each of those words individually but putting them together and parsing the implications is like trying to unscramble a particularly long anagram, because really, written English is hard enough to keep up with considering the seven other languages she’s fluent in—

“The contaminant was identified to be a compound being produced exclusively by L-Corp for unknown reasons,” J’onn says, bringing up the report on the big screen. 

“No, that’s not,” Kara laughs breathlessly, holding up a finger. “They can’t have released it on purpose, we need to talk to Lena—“

“Lena Luthor has gone off the grid three hours ago, and all facility operations have been halted,” J’onn says. “It’s most likely that she already knows.”

“She can’t have—“ Kara stutters on her thoughts. “She’d have told me.”

“Kara—“

“No, this is ridiculous,” she snaps, pushing off of the briefing console. “I’m going to go talk to her right now and clear everything up—“

“Kara, no,” Alex grabs her shoulder, and she pulls away a little more harshly than she meant to.

“Why, because you think I’m compromised?” she hisses. 

Alex crosses her arms. “Calm down—“

“No,” Kara growls. “I’m tired of everyone treating her like her family even though she’s done more than enough to earn the benefit of the doubt—“

Kara.” Alex leans in and grasps her shoulders again. “You’re not going to talk to her because I am.”

That throws Kara for a bit. She opens her mouth and closes it again, halting on an angry inhale before breathing out, confused. 

“I’m perfectly capable of going.”

“You’re angry and confused,” J’onn says, stepping around the console, looking at the two of them with a gentler expression now. “It wouldn’t be good if you lost your temper.”

“I wouldn’t—“ Kara huffs. “You really think she’d give me a reason to lose my temper?”

Alex squeezes her shoulders once to get her to relax before letting go. “Listen, running a company and being a superhero are two very different things,” she says. “She’s not just looking out for herself—she’s got the livelihood of all her employees in her hands and you know how seriously she takes that responsibility.” She crosses her arms and purses her lips wryly. “I don’t want you two to get into an argument.”

Kara runs a hand through her hair, antsy for answers. 

“She wouldn’t—“ she stumbles again and huffs.

“Under normal circumstances, you might be able to calmly discuss things despite being at odds with each other,” J’onn says, carefully. “But this only happened a few hours ago. She’s probably as agitated as you are.”

Kara glances between the two of them again, noting their worried expressions and how their words have gotten softer since she first flew in. A lump tugs a little at her throat.

They’re not really her superiors giving orders right now, not really—there’s no reason for the DEO to care if Supergirl gets into an argument with Lena Luthor beyond it being mildly inconvenient. Right now, they’re her family asking her to let them help her—Kara remembers the way J’onn hugged Lori like it was nothing and how Alex smiled at Lori like they’d known each other forever and she lets her shoulders untense. 

“So what—what should I do?” 

Alex gives her this little smile like she’s proud and grateful. “Help Winn parse through the samples, see if you recognize any alien components.”

Kara nods. “What about the city? People need to know what’s happening.”

J’onn frowns. “We’ve notified the city council, but they haven’t done anything so yet. I doubt they will—they don’t want a mass panic on their hands.”

“But that’s—“ Kara sighs. “That’s not right, National City deserves to know that something’s coming their way. Can’t we say anything about it?”

J’onn shakes his head. “Technically, the DEO doesn’t exist. We can’t compromise our operation.”

“And the council won’t agree to release any statement until they know more about the contaminant and how to counteract it. Otherwise the entire city would panic,” Alex adds.

Kara lets out a puffy sigh and holds her hands out for a moment before letting them fall to her sides. “So, I guess that’s what I’m doing for the rest of the day. I’ll figure out a way to get the word out through CatCo. Text me as soon as you find anything out.”

Alex nods. Kara shoots her and J’onn a grateful look before jumping out the balcony, heading fast for her office.

[Little Danvers: and alex?

thanks]

[Big Danvers: for what?]

[Little Danvers: for looking out for me and lena]

[Big Danvers: She's important to you. So it matters to me too.

I’m always here for you.]