“You know, just because you have super strength doesn’t mean you have to pack everything you own into this suitcase.”
Lily Danvers paused her packing and looked up at her mother with a huff and an exaggerated eye roll, to which Kara let out a little laugh, before continuing to stuff two more shirts into her already overflowing suitcase.
“I’m going to Maine, which I don’t know if you’ve noticed, has a very different climate than National City. And since I’ll be wearing my necklace all summer, I’ll actually feel the weather consistently for the first time in my life, so I need to be prepared,” Lily called out as she continued to make her way back and forth across the haphazard room, collecting random items she might need within the next three months.
Kara watched amusedly from Lily’s bed, bittersweetly taking in her daughter pacing the floor. They had been all each other had for fifteen years now, depending on each other through the thick and the thin. Kara’s chest puffed with pride as she took in the beautiful, strong-willed girl she had raised, who always pushed her to be the best version of herself. While she would probably never admit it to her face, Kara knew she would be absolutely lost without Lily grounding her on a day to day basis. Losing her for the summer would be hard, but she knew this opportunity and this experience would be invaluable to her daughter.
She half-listened to her daughter’s ramblings about how the camp’s science lab was probably incredibly outdated and how she was hoping to make some improvements to the experiments, as since the camp was located near a lake, they could be researching and collecting substantial data on the recent EPA regulations effects on methylmercury levels. As she was talking, she clumsily disturbed more objects in her room, eventually knocking a folder off of her desk--the contents spilling everywhere--as she suddenly remembered and ran to something she wanted to pack on the other side of the room.
“Lily, be careful, you’re knocking everything over,” Kara chided lightly with a smirk on her face, jumping off the bed to help pick up the folder that had just fallen askew on the ground. When she reached the papers to pick them up, however, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
Quickly realizing what her mother was about to see, Lily dropped the clothes in her hands and rushed over. “Yeyu, uh, don’t worry about it, I’ve got it,” she tried to butt in, but it was too late. Kara was holding the packets in her hands, the crease in her forehead deepening each time she looked at a new one.
“Lily?” she asked quietly, her voice strained, but not angry. Lily shifted her weight uncomfortably. “What is all of this?” she asked, her eyes finally fleeting up to the guilt-stricken ones of her daughter.
“Uh… school project?” Lily tried, wincing when her mother didn’t buy into it at all. Finally she sighed and averted eye contact. “I managed to get ahold of some of L Corp’s prototype blueprints and was working on some improvements,” she finally mumbled in admittance.
“This is illegal,” Kara deadpanned, and Lily had the good sense to try to look a little ashamed. “How did you even get these?”
“I may have… hacked some of their less secure systems,” Lily rushed out, biting her cheek as her mother’s eyes widened.
Holding her hands up in defense, she defended, “It wasn’t like I was trying to steal the ideas. Just improve them and send them back with an anonymous tip. It’s a hobby!”
Kara stared at her daughter incredulously and then held up the packets. “How long have you been doing this?” she inquired, her eyebrows furrowed, and Lily took a shaky breath.
“I don’t know, a year or so?” she tried shrug off nonchalantly, but Kara let out a long stream of air and buried her forehead in the hand not holding onto the packets. “And I haven’t figured out how I want to send anything back yet, but look at how much I have here,” she continued, beginning to ramble as she gently pulled a packet from Kara’s hand.
“Lily,” Kara began tiredly, but her daughter ignored her, flipping through the pages until she found the one that she was looking for.
“Here!” she announced, shoving the page back at her mother. “This is just a simple field air quality tracker, but it could be so useful in countries with poor air quality like India who don’t have the funds to continuously track in their rural areas.”
Kara sighed, not even looking at the page as she repeated, “Lily.” But she was ignored once again.
“The problem with this design though is that India has a really widespread particulate matter problem, which means the substances in the air are up to six factors of ten larger than other pollutants. So by switching out the impactor here, and then decreasing the number of jets and increasing the diameter of each jet, you can-”
“I just want an in, Yeyu!” Lily shot back without missing a beat, her voice desperate and eyes pleading.
The outburst startled Kara a bit, causing her pause a moment as the words hit her. Heart sinking with dread, she tried to level her voice. “An ‘in’?” Kara questioned slowly, and Lily huffed and averted her eye contact.
“Yeah,” she confirmed quietly. “So I can work there one day.”
Kara sucked in a sharp breath, and Lily grimaced at the awkward silence now enveloping the room, waiting for her mother to say anything.
“You,” Kara finally said, the word trailing off as she tried to form the rest of her question, “want to work at L Corp?”
Lily sighed, not really expecting much of a better response from her mother, but disappointed all the same. “You’re going to be weird about this, aren’t you,” she stated.
“Weird?” Kara asked immediately, overselling her blase attitude. “Why would I be weird about it?”
Lily just stared at her mother unimpressed. “You always act weird when I mention L Corp,” she pointed out as if it were obvious.
“Well, you’ve never mentioned wanting to work there,” Kara deflected.
“Because I knew you would act weird about it!” Lily countered, her voice raising a pitch as she threw her hands up in the air frustrated.
Kara winced at her daughter’s outburst and closed her eyes to take a deep breath. When she opened them again, she looked down at the design in her hands for the first time, and a strange feeling of nostalgia swept over her, taking her back almost twenty years to a similar scratchy handwriting messily posed all over similar prototypes. Lily watched her, deflating from the outburst and starting to feel a bit guilty for raising her voice against her mother.
Finally, Kara looked back up to her with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “This is a really great design,” she complemented, and Lily’s heart swelled. “I’m not trying to be weird,” she continued sincerely. “You just caught me off guard, but I’m happy you’re passionate about working towards this.”
Lily sighed. “It’s because of Uncle Clark, isn’t it,” she theorized sullenly, and Kara’s eyebrows furrowed. “That’s why you hate L Corp?”
Her mother’s eyes widened as she ferociously began shaking her head. “No, it’s not because of- I don’t hate L Corp,” Kara reasoned, scrambling to answer her daughter’s inquiries.
“But you hate the Luthors,” Lily guessed, and while the pinkening of her mother’s cheeks was enough of a confirmation for her, she continued to explain her logic. “Uncle Clark and Lex were best friends, but then they had a falling out-”
“Okay, that is a very simplified version of Lex went on a murder spree, hell bent on killing Clark-”
“-and there was speculation Lena Luthor was going to move Luthor Corp headquarters to the National City branch she was already working at, but then she up and left with almost no warning, established the headquarters in London, and rebranded the whole company to not include her name.”
Kara was silent for a moment, trying not to give away any emotion as she asked quietly, “What are you implying, Lily?”
“I’m implying,” Lily began, letting out a sigh, “that if Supergirl persuaded Lena Luthor that she should move halfway across the world with some unorthodox force because of a grudge against the Luthors, I’m not going to judge you.” Kara gritted her teeth at this, fighting the tears forming as she maintained Lily’s eye contact. “But I would really like to know if whatever you did that makes you so weird when L Corp is mentioned is going to affect my chances of ever working there,” she finally finished, looking at her mother expectantly.
Kara bit her cheek and considered her question, considered how much she could say. Eventually though she relented and reassured Lily quietly, “It won’t.”
Lily let out a breath of relief at that and nodded contently, and Kara relaxed a bit as well. The two of them began to restack the packets still in Kara’s hand and return them to their folder when they heard a honk in the driveway.
“That will be your grandma and Alex here for their goodbye dinner,” Kara announced quietly, flashing a hesitant smile at Lily who reciprocated it easily as they set the folder back on her desk.
Throwing her arm around her daughter and wrapping her in a hug, Kara sighed and then began to lead her out of her room and downstairs to the kitchen, one arm still tightly holding on to her daughter. “My little girl’s growing up,” she announced dramatically. “Why do you have to remind me you aren’t going to spend the rest of your life right here with me?”
Lily laughed at her mother’s antics and tried to wiggle herself out of her mother’s grip. “Because living with you for the rest of my life means Supergirl gets a protege at some point, and you’ve made it pretty clear you don’t want that.”
Letting out a huff, Kara rolled her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t understand why you can’t stay with me and not insist on putting yourself in danger.”
“It’s one or the other!” Lily called back, a teasing lilt in her voice as she ran forward to greet her aunt and grandma.
Eliza was standing at the counter in the kitchen, unloading the groceries Kara had told her not to pick up but she unsurprisingly did anyways. Alex was laying on the floor playing with Krypto, the golden retriever riled up with excitement at the presence of his favorite visitor. Lily grinned at the familiarity of the scene that she would undoubtedly miss the next few months and tackled her grandma in a hug.
“Hi sweetheart,” Eliza greeted warmly, wrapping her arms tightly around her granddaughter and placing a kiss on her forehead. “I brought the ingredients to make your favorite before your summer adventure.”
“You’re the best, grandma,” Lily’s muffled voice thanked her. By the time she was unwrapping herself from the hug, Kara and Alex were seated at the counter, discussing the latest news from the DEO.
When she noticed the younger Kryptonian had turned her attention towards her with an almost bursting enthusiasm, Alex paused her and Kara’s conversation to beam at Lily. “What’s up, baby girl?” she inquired, a knowing smirk on her lips.
“My project,” Lily began, and the recognition immediately lit up in Alex’s eyes. “You’ve put a hold on it until I get back?”
“Of course,” her aunt confirmed sincerely. “Can’t have it being developed without the head of our team present.”
Lily let out a relieved sigh and let her grin grow wider. “And it’ll be kept safe from any… curious eyes?” she asked with a faux and teasing innocence as her eyes slipped over to her mother’s.
Kara rolled her eyes at this. “Psh, I don’t want to know what you two do in your super secret little club,” she tried to play off, but Alex and Lily shared a knowing look.
“Not to worry, Lil. It’s safe in a lead lined room that only I have access to,” Alex confirmed and Kara deflated a bit.
“Come on, no fair!” she called out, and Lily and Alex giggled while Eliza shook her head fondly.
A half hour later, they were all sitting around the dining room table, enjoying Lily’s favorite casserole, when Kara, all but pouting, brought up the secret project again.
“I seriously can’t know anything about it?” she whined, teasing the two a bit, as she knew her daughter and her sister loved to discuss their secret invention. She hoped with enough proding they wouldn’t be able to resist dropping a few more hints.
Lily looked at her calmly, trying to keep the smirk off her face as she reached for the pepper across the table. “You know you’re talking to the only two people in the world who are invulnerable to the Danvers puppy eyes?” she shrugged innocently.
Alex let out a little laugh at that and then turned seriously to her sister. “Yeah, Kar, put those things away; you’re embarrassing yourself,” she teased, and Kara deflated and stuck her tongue out at her sister.
Eliza shook her head and sighed fondly at the interaction. “Sometimes I feel like I’m raising a second Alex with you around, Lily,” she commented, and Lily absolutely beamed at what she considered very high praise.
Her aunt Alex had always been her best friend. Well, her ultimate best friend would always be her Yeyu, but excluding that, Alex was always the one she would go to for anything. She was the one who got her into tech at the DEO in an attempt to keep her from wanting to rush into the field with her mother. The distraction worked a little too well, and soon became an all consuming passion, which Alex didn’t back down from. They often spent hours at a time in the lab working on whichever project the other needed support on.
Kara rolled her eyes at this and playfully stated, “Well you may have inherited your annoying attitude from your aunt, but your amazing good looks and unstoppable appetite? All me, baby girl.” She finished her statement with a bite of casserole and a wink, and Lily giggled.
“Hey Yeyu, don’t sell Aunt Alex short,” she commented with a faux seriousness. “I also inherited my obsessive science kick from her as well.” Kara shook her head amusedly, unable to disagree with her daughter.
“You got that from your mom actually,” Alex muttered with a snort, and Kara immediately stiffened.
Lily paused at this, her eyebrows furrowing a bit in confusion as she looked back and forth between her aunt and her mother who was sending Alex a rather nasty glare. “What do you mean?” she finally asked slowly, turning her attention back to Alex, who looked a bit like a deer in the headlights.
Scrambling to come up with an answer, Alex faltered for a second. “Uh,” she began, taking a generous sip of her wine, “just that your mother’s also into technology, with the whole science journalist thing for awhile there.”
Lily turned slowly to her mother, caught a bit off-guard by this information. “You were a science journalist?”
Kara was fighting to keep her expression neutral as she nodded nonchalantly. “Yeah, for a couple years right out of college,” she answered, her voice straining to remain level.
“You never mentioned it,” Lily observed quietly, wondering whether or not she should feel guilty for underestimating her mother and keeping her separated from her projects.
Seeing her daughter’s conflicted emotions, Kara’s eyes softened as she shrugged. “It just wasn’t for me. I thought since Krypton’s science was so advanced it would give me an edge on reporting, but the numbers and the translation and the conversions were more of a nuisance than I anticipated,” she responded easily, and Lily relaxed a bit, her curiosity peaking back up again. “Plus, it was hard to offer an engineer praise for a very simple nanotechnology when that was something simple I learned within one of my first years of the guild,” she added on with a smirk, and Lily all but dropped her jaw in awe.
“We have to collaborate sometime!” she finally declared, looking over at Alex excitedly who grinned back at her knowingly. She couldn’t believe she had never put together her mother’s past would make her understanding of technology so advanced. With someone like that in her corner, there was no way she wouldn’t make it into MIT.
“Hey, no, Lily,” her mother stated warningly, trying to keep the smile off her face. “I know what you’re thinking but Krypton’s technology is still far too advanced to introduce here on Earth.”
Lily deflated slightly with a huff as she protested, “But think of what you could offer to nanotechnology! And engineers like-”
She was halfway through her sentence when she made the connection.
“Wait, did you know Lena Luthor?”
The reaction was instantaneous, as Lily watched everyone at the table freeze and stare down at their plates awkwardly. A small feeling of dread filled Lily as every member of her family avoided her eye contact, her eyes flicking between the three other women at the table, eyebrows furrowing deeper with each pass. Finally she turned her attention back to her mother, narrowing her eyes as she silently waited for an answer.
Kara eventually cleared her throat and messed with her glasses before she began. “Lena Luthor?” she eventually asked trying to keep her voice light, but failing.
“She was the lead engineer on the Luthor Corp nanotech project before she left National City,” Lily stated evenly, and Kara cursed her luck that of course her daughter knew that.
Kara shrugged, still avoiding eye contact. “Oh, was she? I don’t really-”
“Yeyu,” Lily cut her off sternly, and her mother looked a bit guilty at trying to pull off such a blatant lie. “How well did you know Lena Luthor?” she asked, her voice softening a bit, and her mother finally met her eyes, tears welling in the corners.
Finally she took a shaky breath. “Well,” she responded simply, and Lily let out a long sigh. Kara tensed in anticipation, expecting her daughter to be upset she never told her that she actually knew her greatest idol at one point in time.
Finally Lily spoke softly. “I’m sorry,” she offered sincerely.
Her mother’s eyebrows creased in confusion. “Why are you sorry?” she asked.
“I guess I never really realized how much Lex’s rampage affected you,” she explained simply. “I always just thought you were upset for Clark; I- I didn’t know you lost a friend as well, and I should’ve been more sensitive about the whole L Corp thing.”
Kara studied her daughter for a minute, willing herself not to cry on the spot. “You don’t have anything to apologize, little one,” she finally promised, offering her a small smile. “That’s all so far in the past now.”
Lily smiled smally back at her mother, and reached out to squeeze her hand. A clearing of the throat from across the table broke their moment, and they both turned their attention to Eliza bashfully.
“Kara, Alex,” she directed with a pointed look, “you two do the dishes? I want to go on one last walk with my granddaughter for the summer.”
Kara and Alex didn’t protest their mother as they quickly began collecting the plates and bringing them into the kitchen. Once they were there and running water into the sink, they both sat in an awkward silence for a moment before Alex broke.
“So,” she began, and Kara let out a nervous laugh. “That was… a lot to unpack,” she stated, and they both knew that was the understatement of the year.
“How screwed do you think I am, on a conservative scale?” Kara groaned, and Alex shook her head with concern.
“Incredibly,” she responded with ease. “I honestly don’t know what to tell you to expect when she finds out.” Kara let out a large breath at this and bounced on her feet with anxiety. “What was she talking about, by the way. With the L Corp thing?”
“Oh that,” Kara commented with a little laugh. “She hacked into L Corp’s system and stole prototype blueprints to improve them.”
“Wow,” Alex responded with a little pause.
Kara sighed and began scrubbing the plates in front of her as she confirmed despondently, “Yeah.”
“Well you know what I’ve always said,” Alex began, and Kara looked up at her with a glare.
Ignoring her and shrugging, she finished, “She’s takes after her mom.”
Letting out a frustrated huff, Kara turned back to the dishes a hand.
They both were silent for several minutes, working through the tension in the air, before Alex once again broke the silence.
“Kara?” she asked gently, knowing her words would upset her sister. “You should really consider-”
“Contacting Lena?” Kara cut her off, not even looking up. “Yeah, I know.”
Alex stared at her sister for a moment, who refused to look back up at her. Finally with a sigh, she resumed her work silently.
They had returned all the dishes to their rightful spots before Kara spoke again.
“After this summer,” she promised quietly. “If Lily asks me anything when she gets back, I’ll call Lena immediately.”
Alex nodded at this, and they both dropped the subject for the rest of the night.
When Eliza and Lily returned from their walk, Kara and Alex did their best to perk up their spirits for family board game night (which Alex won as per usual). Her last night at home went by far too fast for Lily’s liking, but she was mostly just grateful to be spending the night with her favorite people in the world.
After Eliza and Alex said their goodbyes and hugged Lily tightly goodbye, Kara and Lily were left alone once again, and at the last moment decided to turn on a movie just as an excuse to stay up with each other longer. Kara was mildly afraid Lily would bring up the Lena Luthor thing again, but surprisingly she stayed silent on the matter.
When Kara finally made Lily head upstairs to go to bed, she hugged her tightly before she went.
“I’m going to miss you so much, Lilybug,” she mumbled into her hair, and Lily squeezed tighter in response.
“I’m going to miss you too, Yeyu,” she promised. “I hope you know how much I love you.”
“Of course I do,” Kara responded easily. “You’re going to have a great summer; I can’t wait to hear all about it.”
Lily pulled away then and beamed up at her mother. “Goodnight Yeyu,” she whispered softly as her mother kissed her gently on the forehead.
“Goodnight, little one.”
Lily flopped down on her bed that night, letting out a long sigh as she digested all of the information she had learned that day. A lot of it seemed insignificant; some seemed more significant. But from the reactions these pieces of information had gleaned from her mother, Lily was convinced it all tied together somehow.
She was on the edge of something huge, she could feel it.
But as her mind was racing through the possibilities, she sighed and rolled over to turn out the lights. Whatever her mother was keeping from her, there was no way she would put it together until her mother decided to disclose that information with her. And she trusted her mother.
For now she would let it settle out of her system, as her thoughts drifted peacefully and her mind began to approach sleep. She had a whole summer at camp ahead of her: her first summer of freedom away from the DEO and her mother watching her every move. Her first summer being constantly around other normal girls her age. The first summer she would be human instead of Kryptonian.
As a smile peaked at the edges of her mouth, she let sleep overcome her.
“Are you excited?”
Liza Luthor scoffed at the eager question posed by her best friend. “Nervous more like,” she answered easily. But when she looked up at Ruby’s curious expression, she sighed and elaborated further. “I feel like I’m putting more pressure on our moms.”
“Oh come on,” Ruby rolled her eyes and discredited her immediately. “I’m home for the summer to help out around here, and your mom’s going to be more than happy to put in more hours to distract herself from you being gone.”
“She promised she wouldn’t do that,” Liza protested weakly, to which Ruby gave her a serious, leveled look that conveyed every ounce of doubt she had towards that promise.
“Yeah so did my mom before I went to uni,” she pointed out, raising her eyebrows, and Liza sighed in defeat. Sam’s work hours increased dramatically when Ruby had left, and no amount of conniving on Liza and her mom’s part could convince Sam to stop her uptake in hours when her daughter wasn’t home.
Ruby studied her friend sulking for a few moments before she finally asked, “What’s really bothering you, Liza?”
Sighing and looking guiltily back up a her, Liza asked softly, “You don’t think people will know which Luthor family I’m from, do you? I know people here don’t care, but America’s a different story.”
“Absolutely not,” Ruby insisted, her expression softening and flashing her an understanding smile. “Hey, all that happened when we were babies. Your mom has worked tirelessly to rebuild your name,” she pointed out, and Liza felt some of the tension she had been holding for weeks now releasing out of her body. “Plus, she has, like, MI6 level protection on you at all times,” she continued with a smirk, and Liza let out a small smile at that as well. “The general public doesn’t even know you exist.”
Liza nodded at this, knowing her friend was right. Still, some lingering tension still fought inside her. She had never really had an opportunity like this. Her mom and L Corp were essentially her entire life. Summer camp was… completely uncharted territory.
“You know, kids like us don’t get the opportunity to be normal for the summer,” Ruby finally commented gently, and that seemed to finally pull Liza out of her funk.
With a sigh, she shook her head, and lightened her expression. “You’re right. I’m just overthinking things,” she relented, and let a genuine smile cross her lips for the first time. Then in an overly exaggerated tone, she mocked, “I’m going to spend three months in America being the normal-est girl ever, and I’m going to love every second!”
“That’s the spirit!” Ruby giggled, and soon Liza broke down laughing as well.
A knock at Sam’s office door where the two girls were currently waiting for their moms interrupted the laughter.
“Liza, your mother is ready for you,” Jess announced with a small smile, and Liza turned a beamed at her, grabbing stuff.
“Wow Luthor. I think that’s only the second time in our lives I’ve seen your mom leaving this building before mine,” Ruby observed, and Liza knew she was right. The only person at this company who had a worse workaholic streak than Sam was her mom. “She’s really going to miss you.”
Liza laughed a little at this and rolled her eyes. “You will too, Arias. Just you wait!” Ruby tried to protest, but wrapped Liza in a hug anyways and wished her a good summer.
On her way out the door, she stopped to hug Jess as well, who mumbled something about Liza owing her for taking on the sole responsibility for taking care of her mother for the summer.
“I heard that,” a sharp voice came from behind the two hugging, and both didn’t even bother to look guilty. Rather, Jess shrugged, told Liza to have a good summer, and walked away with a smirk on her face.
Lena let out a sigh, but couldn’t quite keep the amused look off her face at her secretary’s antics. Smiling at her daughter, she opened her arms up as Liza did a little run into them for a brief hug before they were on their way to the elevator and out the door for their dinner reservations.
The conversation between the two of them flowed naturally. Lena disclosed some of the prototypes the board had given further resources to; Liza detailed out some fundraising ideas she had for one of L Corp’s charities for when she returned from camp. Lena listened to her daughter eagerly, providing input where she could, even though fundraising and rallying around causes was never truly her forte.
Their conversation didn’t cease until they were sat at their usual table in downtown London’s most sought after restaurant and the waiter came up to take their orders. After the young man walked away, Lena smirked and shook her head.
“I don’t know why I bother taking you to a five star restaurant when all you’re going to order is potstickers,” she teased with an exaggerated sigh, taking a sip of her water.
“Hey! They added the potstickers to the menu for me!” Liza defended with a wide grin. “What, am I going to disrespect their favor to me?”
“Twenty years; same argument,” Lena mumbled, shaking her head.
Liza let out a faux offended scoff. “Dramatic and conflating the data as usual I see,” she commented with a haughty air to her tone. “It’s only been sixteen years, come on Mom.”
“Yeah well it definitely feels longer,” she shot back with a smirk and a small tongue stuck out at her daughter, to which Liza amusedly rolled her eyes. “I can’t wait for the next three months when I can serve something other than take out at my galas,” Lena then observed more seriously, and let out a little laugh at her daughter becoming immediately offended.
“Hey, Bruce Wayne loved the chicken wings at the spring gala!” Liza protested.
“Was that before or after he got so drunk, I felt like closing a deal with him was taking advantage of him?” Lena inquired, raising her eyebrows, and both women broke out into giggles.
“We should invite him more often. Especially if he’s going to get drunk,” Liza proposed, once their laughter had died down. “You know two years ago at the L Corp International gala he was trying to convince me that he knows Batman and Supergirl.”
Lena’s cheeks pinkened a bit by this comment, but she brushed it off easily. “Geographically that hardly makes sense,” she joked.
“I don’t know,” Liza said with a playful tone. She waited a moment to continue as their waiter had just returned with their food and placed it in front of them. Both women thanked him, and then turned back to each other. “He had some pretty convincing points. He may have turned me into a conspiracy theorist.”
Lena rolled her eyes at this, knowing she was getting into dangerous territory, but also aware she wouldn’t be able to change the subject without her daughter noticing. “Oh? And what were said convincing points.”
Liza shrugged. “Mostly that they both kind of hide in plain sight. Supergirl more so than Batman. He was very adamant that Batman had a better alias because he changed his voice as Batman, which Supergirl does not do.”
Choking a bit on food, Lena shook her head and scoffed quietly, “Of course Bruce thinks he’s the better one.”
“Yeah I was starting to get suspicious that Bruce had a thing for Batman for how much he complemented and idolized him,” Liza continued, and Lena let out a burst of laughter at that, to which Liza quirked her eyebrows confused.
Lena waved her off and apologized. “I’ll explain when you’re older,” she promised, leaving her daughter slightly confused.
“Well, anyways, I told Bruce that if he really knew them, he should get them to come to a gala sometime, and he got strangely insistent that he would only be able to get Batman to come. Apparently Supergirl still has some grudge against us or something. The way he phrased it was really weird though,” she ended with a shrug, and then popped a whole potsticker into her mouth, groaning from delight.
Lena however had frozen, staring at her daughter with a faraway look. When Liza looked back up at her and noticed her mom’s expression, her face immediately morphed to concern.
“Mom?” she asked, and Lena blinked and quickly snapped out of it, and turned her attention back to her daughter.
“Sorry, Liz,” she apologized, and turned back to pushing her food around her plate. Without taking a bite, she looked back up at Liza, a desperate curiosity burning through her. “How, um, did he phrase it?” she tried to ask with a general curiosity, but Liza immediately smirked.
“Worried your celebrity crush has a bad opinion of you?” she asked innocently, and Lena huffed with glare.
“Liza,” she said warningly, and Liza backed off, but wasn’t quite able to wipe the knowing smile off her face.
Finally she shrugged, and looked back up at her mother, taking another bite of a potsticker. “It was something to the extent of ‘I can’t ask Supergirl to come to Lena Luthor’s gala with all that history there’,” she informed her mom, and Lena nodded and finally took a bite of her food.
“He meant the history between Superman and Uncle Lex, right?” Liza inquired, and Lena stiffened a bit.
Then with a tight smile, she nodded. “That definitely is a rocky history,” her mom commented, and Liza furrowed her eyebrows.
“But you aren’t Lex,” Liza argued, “and Supergirl has made it very clear that she wants to be seen as a separate entity from Superman. So why does the fight of two men get between the two of you?”
Lena considered her daughter’s question for a few moments, her mouth open trying to come up with a response. Finally she sighed and looked back down at her plate and said, “Sometimes things are more complicated than they seem.”
She knew her daughter was going to question that more, but before she had the chance, Lena’s phone rang. Furrowing her eyebrows at who would be calling her when everyone knew she was off for the night, Lena dug her phone out of her purse, and looked at the caller ID. Upon seeing the name, she answered immediately.
“Sam? Is everything alright?” she asked concerned.
“Hey Lena. I need you to come back in.”
Lena let out a little sound of protest and declined, “Sam, no. I told you, I’m taking the night off to be with my daughter.”
“Lena, it’s important,” Sam insisted, and Lena sighed, knowing that if Sam was fighting her on this, she would end up having to go in. She wouldn’t call her on her last night her daughter was in town if it wasn’t an emergency. “It has to do with your daughter,” Sam continued, and now Lena’s attention was on full alert.
Her eyes glanced nervously over to Liza, wondering if she had heard what Sam had just said. She knew she couldn’t ask any outward questions for the risk of Liza figuring out what she was talking about, but Lena’s mind was racing through the possibilities of what kind of emergency would involve Liza, and the urge to ask her friend was almost uncontrollable.
“Mom, it’s fine,” Liza stopped her spiraling train of thought patiently. “I still have to pack anyways, so you go solve the crisis of the day, and when you get home we’ll watch true crime documentaries until the sun rises.”
Lena studied her daughter, biting her lip, feeling incredibly guilty getting called back to work when she had promised it wouldn’t happen that night under any circumstance. She debated it quickly in her mind, but finally realized she had to relent and let her daughter give her this one. “ You’re sure you don’t mind?” she asked slowly, and Liza let out a little smile with the shake of her head.
“Mom, please. Go,” she demanded, and Lena sighed. “Also you owe me twenty pounds.”
Groaning as she began to gather her things, Lena remembered the bet she had made months ago with her daughter on whether or not this exact situation would happen on Liza’s last night. She grumbled, “Should’ve known you just want to win the bet.”
Liza chuckled at this and shrugged. “Go save the world. I’ll see you when you get back.”
“Alright Sam, I’ll be there in ten,” she finally answered Sam, and hung up. Walking around the table, she gave her daughter a tight hug and whispered, “Bye darling. I won’t be more than an hour, I promise.”
“Bye Mom,” Liza whispered back affectionately, and Lena was on her way out the door.
She was anxious for the whole ride to L Corp, bouncing her knee and was half tempted to call Sam back and demand to know what this was all about. But she resisted, knowing she would find out soon enough anyways. The ride up the elevator felt excruciatingly long, but when the doors opened, she quickly headed straight towards the only office with a light still on in it.
As she walked in, she subconsciously noted that Sam must’ve sent Ruby home for the night, as the teenager was no longer in her mother’s office.
“Sam, this better be-”
“It is,” she quickly cut Lena off, ready for her friend’s appearance. Standing from her desk chair, Sam grabbed the folder on her desk and made her way towards Lena. “We’ve traced back that IP address that snuck in and stole some low level designs last year; they were surprisingly good at covering their tracks.” She held out the folder to Lena, and Lena didn’t take it, crossing her arms.
“Sam, I thought you said this was of the utmost importance about my daughter.”
“Lena, I’m telling you it is,” her friend insisted her face serious as she pushed the folder towards Lena again. “Look at the IP address.”
With a huff, Lena finally relented and took the folder, opening it up and scanning the page until she found where it listed the origin report for the address.
“It originated in America,” Lena reported, unimpressed, looking back up at Sam exasperated. “Liza’s not-”
Lena’s whole train of thought screeched to a halt with those two words. Slowly, her brain began to process what Sam had just implied, and her eyes searched her friend’s who were looking at her pointedly.
Swallowing thickly, Lena tried to form the words. “You mean-”
“Lily Danvers pretty expertly hacked into our systems and took some designs? Yeah,” Sam interrupted, and crossed her arms to mimic Lena’s offended pose from moments earlier.
Lena was still scrambling for the words when she looked back down at the IP address and saw the name of the owner below it. “Why?” she finally asked, her voice strangled.
“We were unsure until,” Sam began, her voice trailing off as she took a step forward and began rooting through the papers of the folder still in Lena’s hand. When she found what she was looking for, she pulled it out of the pile and set it on top. “We found this hiding in our servers,” she reported, and Lena looked down at it.
She recognized the prototype immediately. An air quality tracker that didn’t go much past planning stages once other projects began to take precedence. This version of the prototype, however, contained notes all over. Lena was silent for awhile, taking in each and every carefully calculated idea and realized that was was once a simple and generic idea had been turned into an invaluable tool that could be used all over the world.
“These notes are incredible; this could actually work. Is Tom working on anything-”
“Lena,” Sam cut her off seriously, and Lena looked up at her, a bit guilty she had immediately gotten swept away in her daughter’s project notes. “The matter at hand,” she reminded her pointedly, and Lena sighed.
Looking back down at the prototype and its notes, and finally considering how well her daughter must have covered her tracks if it took her team of specialists almost a year to find her, she gritted her teeth and knew what came next wasn’t going to be easy. “I’m going to have to contact her, aren’t I?”
“Yes,” her friend answered readily. “At the very least to offer her a part time position at the National City branch, but ideally to come clean.” Lena cringed at that, and began to fully comprehend the extent to which this all affected.
“I would have to talk to Kara to do that,” she commented slowly, and looked up at Sam with fear in her eyes.
“You would,” Sam confirmed gently.
Lena let out a long rush of breath and shook her head. “I don’t know if I can,” she confessed, and Sam reached out and squeezed her forearm comfortingly.
“I’ll be right here for you the whole time,” she promised, and Lena smiled at her gratefully.
“Thank you, Sam,” she stated sincerely. “Let’s just,” she began, and trailed off as she looked back down at her daughter’s notes before finishing, “get through this summer without Liza. Then we’ll worry about all of this.”
Sam studied her carefully, and Lena knew she wanted to protest that idea and take action right away, but finally Sam sighed and nodded. It would be a painful process for Lena, and she would do whatever possible to make that process easier for her friend.
When Lena returned home that evening, she sighed when she saw her daughter’s bags packed up and ready to go in the entryway. She heard the muffled sound of her daughter’s tv coming from inside her room, and Lena immediately took off her work shoes and grabbed a large cardigan she had hanging on one of the pegs of the coat hanger in the entryway.
Wrapping herself up in the cardigan, she peaked into her daughter’s room and smiled against the tears straining in her eyes. Liza was half asleep, slowly nodding off, and then popping her head back up to try to pay attention to whichever documentary she had settled on. It finally hit Lena that this was her last night like this with Liza that she was going to have in awhile. Her daughter was her rock and her foundation, but mostly, she was Lena’s favorite person in the whole world. She wasn’t sure how she was going to handle being separated from her for a whole summer.
Noticing her mom standing in the doorway, Liza immediately perked up. “Hey, Mom,” she greeted quietly, the exhaustion seeping through her voice. “How was the crisis?”
A little blip of guilt crossed Lena’s mind, but she pushed it away, determined to enjoy this last night with Liza. Pushing into the room, Lena quietly crawled into bed with her daughter and curled up with her to watch the documentary.
“Crisis averted, like always,” she commented, and Liza looked back at her and smiled.
“All in the day of a superhero,” Liza joked back, but there was a sincerity there that made Lena’s chest swell.
Hugging her daughter and then turning her attention back to the movie, the two didn’t really say anything else to each other that night. Eventually they drifted to sleep, the anticipation of the morning melting away from their worries.