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And I Wondered If I Could Come Home

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“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She half-listened to her daughter’s ramblings about how the camp’s science lab was probably incredibly outdated and how she was hoping to make some improvements to the experiments, as since the camp was located near a lake, they could be researching and collecting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.

“Lily!”

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-”

“Lily!”

“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.

“Don’t.”

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-”

“Not Liza.”

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.

Chapter Text

Lily bounced her leg up and down in nervous anticipation as the bus flew down the back country roads, en route to Camp Henwey. They had been traveling for over an hour now from the airport, and many of the other girls on the bus were becoming restless as their chatter became louder with every passing minute. Lily tried to participate for awhile, but eventually she hung back, an ache in her stomach as she realized she was going to miss her mother more than she anticipated this summer. Absentmindedly, she thought back to Yeyu dropping her off at the airport and felt a ping of guilt hit her as she once again began to worry about what kind of reckless behavior her mother would indulge in over the summer.

She had never spent more than a few days at a time away from her mother over the years. And every time she did, her mother got particularly jumpy and tended to throw herself into questionable situations. Lily had complained about it to Alex once, when she was considering applying to this summer-long camp, and Alex had simply told her to go easier on her mother, as abandonment was a great fear of hers, and that Yeyu knew how to take care of herself. (And Alex was always watching out for her as well, as a safety net.)

Which made sense, considering the fact that her mother immigrated from an entire planet that died, and that while she knew no details about her father, he had clearly left them as well. And it was enough to convince Lily to try her hand at independence and apply for the camp all the way across the country for the whole summer.

It wasn’t doing much to sway her concern at the current moment, however.

It was silly, she thought, that her mother was making her wear her necklace all summer. As her hand absentmindedly trailed the chain and she stared out the window, Lily found herself once again facing an inner debate about whether her mother was right about this or not. Sure, it was important for Lily to fit in at camp, but forcing her to not have powers the entire time? She was never forced to wear it as a child, and had assimilated quite easily without the help of kryptonite hanging around her neck. Plus, if she weren’t forced to wear it, she could visit Yeyu throughout the summer to check on her, and the camp attendees would be none the wiser.

Nevertheless, Lily had argued and pouted for months, but her mother was relentless. If Lily was to go to camp, no powers would be involved whatsoever, under any circumstance. And while it was incredibly liberating that the DEO and her mother trusted her without supervision for twelve weeks, it was incredibly terrifying that it meant no contact with her prone-to-trouble mother. The entire camp was off the grid, even if she were allowed to bring her phone, there wouldn’t be any service to use it anyways. Her only relief was that the camp would get newspapers, and in that way, she could keep up with Supergirl’s endeavors at the very least.

The bus finally turned to pull into a dirt road, and the chatter around the bus increased excitedly as the girls all knew they were about to arrive at camp. Lily forced herself to turn away from the window and took a deep breath. She was coming to camp to enjoy her time. And she was rather excited about it. Her mother was an adult woman whom she should not be worrying about.

With a determined mindset now, Lily planted a wide grin on her face as she sat up in her seat and began participating in the cheering as the bus pulled under a sign that read “Welcome to Camp Henwey”. This was her summer, and she wasn’t about to let it get haunted by her anxiety or her family.

She jumped up excitedly as the bus parked, and fidgeted along with the other girls as they all waited to exit. Out her window, she could now see duffel bags being unloaded from under the bus into a giant pile on the ground. She spotted hers immediately, laughing a bit at how the camp worker struggled to maintain its weight, and made a mental note of where to look for it when it was inevitably covered by others.

When she exited the bus, she made her way over to the sight of the last seen location of her bag, noting the large amount of other girls already waiting around. They must have been the last bus to arrive. Turning back to the pile and her task at hand, she noticed her bag under several others and reached in without hesitation, pulling it out with ease. Kryptonite necklace or not, Lily had an impressive strength either way.

“Damn, that is my kind of woman,” Lily heard from her side, and she turned abruptly, almost dropping her bag, and a light blush cursed her cheeks as she came face to face with an admittedly really cute girl.

Sure, she had considered that applying for an all girls camp would greatly increase the probability of meeting some really cute girls, and that she was basically useless around really cute girls. Especially considering most of the people she was exposed to and hung out around in her life included almost no one her age, making her even more helpless when it came to really cute girls her age.

She had seen it in Alex’s face when she told her what camp she had wanted to apply for. The teasing was right there for her taking, but she had refrained, and Lily was grateful. Not that she had ever officially come out to Alex, but she knew her aunt knew. Alex never pushed her to come out, though, as her mother remained fairly oblivious. But Alex always made her feel comfortable with herself without saying anything, which made her incredibly grateful to have a gay aunt to help her with the things her straight mother wouldn’t necessarily understand.

What her aunt had not taught her, however, was how to not make a fool of herself in front of really cute girls. Maybe it was out of respect of not directly addressing her sexuality, or maybe it was a morbid entertainment value to see her niece fumble at every turn, but at this moment, Lily was cursing her aunt and herself for standing there and stuttering like a fool as this girl before her just smirked.

Snapping into action, Lily blinked and offered a nervous smile. “D-do you need help with you bag?” she asked, taking a guess that the girl had made the previous comment in relation to not being able to get her own bag out of the pile.

The girl’s smile widened as she gestured towards the center of the pile. “Could you?” she asked relieved. “Mine’s the yellow one buried in there.”

Dropping her bag quickly, Lily moved without hesitation. “Of course!” she answered, grabbing onto the bag and tugging, pulling it out swiftly, and turning to hand it to the girl. She glanced at the tag on the bag quickly before the girl took it, and looked up at the girl with intrigue.

“You’re from Metropolis?” Lily asked, the city peaking her interest.

The girl laughed and nodded. “Good eye. But before you ask, no, I have not met the famed hero. He’s rather hard to get in contact with,” she jested, and Lily laughed a little at the joke about Superman. If only this girl knew that Lily had his number favorited in her contacts and they had a daily text chain that mostly consisted of just pictures of food.

Instead she shook her head and picked up her bag again. “Well, I wasn’t going to ask that, but I was going to ask if you’ve heard of my aunt and uncle? They work for the Daily Planet,” Lily explained, and the girl looked over at her intrigued.

“I can’t say I know many names of reporters that work there,” she confessed, but then she shrugged. “But maybe their names will ring a bell.”

“Clark Kent and Lois Lane?” Lily inquired, trying to keep the knowing smirk off her lips as the girl’s jaw dropped. Clark and Lois were basically Metropolis royalty. While generally, yes, reporters and editors’ names weren’t necessarily household names, her aunt and uncle had become somewhat of national icons when she had convinced her mother to run a short piece on their relationship at CatCo for their anniversary. It was intended more as a joke, but Lily had wound up inadvertently creating the celebrity couple of the century (and Clark refused to let her live it down how that backfired.)

“No way!” the girl exclaimed. “That’s so cool! I didn’t know Lucy Lane had a daughter.”

Lily shook her head at this. “Nah, I’m related on Clark’s side,” she explained, and she recognized the little furrow in the girl’s eyebrows as she tried to work out how only-child Clark Kent had a niece. “My mom’s his cousin, but they both lost their family’s really young. They were adopted by different families, but they’re basically siblings anymore.”

The girl blinked as she took this in and then smiled softly. “Well that’s really sad but also really cute,” she commented, and Lily gave a little nervous laugh. “Not sure why I couldn’t see the resemblance earlier though,” she commented. “Pretty blue eyes must run in the family, huh?”

Lily nearly choked on air, but managed to respond with a shy smile and nod as she attempted to maintain the burning blush creeping into her face. Surely the first girl she met at camp--a really cute girl at that--wasn’t flirting with her, right? Maybe she did need to branch out more often.

“I’m Maia, by the way,” the girl introduced, her face scrunching into a little smile, and Lily swallowed thickly as she reciprocated the smile.

“Lily,” she replied, and Maia grinned back at her and opened her mouth to say something else.

“Alright campers!” a woman a few feet away from them with a Camp Henwey vest and a megaphone yelled, jolting Lily and Maia away from their conversation. “I am Director Darvis, head of Camp Henwey, and let me welcome you all to camp on behalf of all my fellow staff members. We are so excited to have you all here with us this summer!” she announced, and Lily found herself buzzing with excitement at the fact that she was actually here. “We’re going to announce your group colors now. When you hear your name called come up and get your bandana and then stand with your group. We’ll start off with the red team being led by our team leader Kayla!”

A short, dark-skinned girl stepped forward and waved her hand to indicate where the campers should go once their names were called.

“Alicia Barnes!” Director Darvis called out, and so the process began. Once the last names had moved past the D’s, Lily admittedly zoned out, and turned her attention back to Maia.

“I hope we get put in the same group,” Maia whispered, and Lily’s skin felt tingly at the idea that this girl wanted to continue to see her.

“Courtney Jones!”

Lily smiled back at her. “Definitely! It’d be nice to have pretty--uh, friendly face!” Lily recovered, but she was sure her blush increased tenfold. If Maia noticed the mistake, however, she didn’t react to it, which Lily was grateful for.

“Elizabeth Luthor!”

“If not we should get lunch together!” Maia suggested with enthusiasm. “You seem super interesting; I’d love to get to know you more.”

And there it was again. Lily stared at Maia, unsure if she was being flirted with or not. Could she phone a friend? Pause this moment and go ask Alex what was going on? Not that she would be any help besides teasing her mercilessly.

“Gina Stout!”

Lily finally swallowed thickly and smiled. “Yeah definitely! I’d love to get to know you more as well.”

“Alright now moving on to our blue team being led by Taylor!” Director Darvis announced, pulling both of their attentions once again as a tall girl with long red hair stepped forward and waved. “Maia Adle!”

“Wish us luck,” Maia whispered beside you, and she moved away from you through the crowd to claim her blue bandana.

Lily bounced anxiously for the next couple names, hoping they wouldn’t pass the D’s before announcing her.

“Lillian Danvers!”

Hearing her name called, Lily could have whooped with joy. She let out a sigh of relief as a genuine smile took hold of her face and she hoisted her bag through the crowd. After she had received her bandana and made her way to the small group of girls already gathered around their team leader Taylor, she was greeted by Maia smiling brilliantly at her and giving her a high five.

The girls in their group chattered excitedly through the rest of the group assigning ceremony, and soon enough Director Darvis was wrapping up and turning the responsibility over to the team leaders. Taylor held up her hand and yelled to get all your attentions.

“Hey guys!” she called out, and a majority of the girls silenced and turned toward their leader. “I’m so excited to meet you and share this experience with you! I remember how amazing my camper summer was and am so glad you all get to have that as well! I’m going to lead you to our cabin and you guys can get settled in before I go over some basic rules for the camp, and then we’ll all go get dinner as a group, so if you will all follow me!”

Taylor turned then, and Lily and all her fellow team members picked up their bags and began to slowly follow.

“If they have bad food here, I’m packing up and going home,” Lily heard a girl mutter to her side, and Lily stifled a laugh as she looked over with a smirk.

The girl looked back at her with a guilty smile as she realized Lily heard her.

“I’m definitely on board with you,” Lily responded. “I can deal with no A/C and cramped living spaces, but I draw a hard line at food.”

At this Lily heard both the girl on her right and Maia on her left laugh, and she smiled at their response, puffing her chest a little with pride. Take that, Winn, she thought with a fond annoyance. She could in fact normally communicate with people her age, despite his light teasing before she left.

“Alright let’s make a pact,” Maia announced, and the two other girls looked her way intrigued. “If the food is bad, we steal the bus and run to the nearest Taco Bell.” All three began laughing at this prospect as everyone agrees.

After their laughter died down, the new girl smiled fondly at the other two. “I’m Carol,” the girl on the right of Lily introduced, and the other two girls also introduced themselves as well.

Soon enough the group arrived at the large cabin that was marked with a blue flag on the outside, and the excited chatter once again picked up. Slowly the girls filed into the cabin and claimed their bunks. Lily’s trio of friends chose a group of beds in the back corner, and threw their bags on the beds as they began to unpack. As Maia opened her bag, she let out a small scoff and shook her head.

“I knew they’d slip this in my bag just to spite me,” she complained, and Carol and Lily leaned in to see what she was referencing.

Carol spoke up first. “What is it?”

“Family photo,” Maia explained holding it up better for the other two to see. “My parents kept making jokes that I would forget them over the summer, so I would need a constant reminder.” Lily shifted a little, unsure of what to say, while Carol let out a small laugh.

“I feel that,” she related, and shot a smile at Maia, which Maia reciprocated. Lily ignored the small burn of jealousy in her stomach as she reminded herself that she was here to make more than one friend, and it was ridiculous to feel too attached to Maia. “My parents are super overbearing, but I feel like they were excited to get me away for the summer?”

“Yes!” Maia piped up eagerly, turning more towards Carol. “Like ‘Okay honey, see you in three months! Don’t be surprised if your room becomes the home office while you’re gone!’” Maia and Carol began giggling again, and Lily was a little bit at a loss.

She couldn’t imagine Yeyu ever being excited that Lily wasn’t with her. It just wasn’t fathomable.

“What about you, Lily?” Maia turned to her with a soft smile, and Lily’s raised her eyebrows as she met her eyes, surprised the conversation was being redirected over at her. She glanced at Carol, who looked eager to hear the answer as well, and then shifted her gaze back to Maia, realizing she hadn’t comprehended the question. “What are your parents like?” Maia elaborated, noting the small look of confusion on Lily’s face.

“Oh, uh,” Lily stuttered, trying to catch her mind up to her words. “It’s just my mother and I actually,” she explained, “and my mother is the best.” Lily was content to stop there, but both Maia and Carol peered at her intrigued, and silently edged her to explain until she relented. “I mean, she’s overbearing at times, don’t get me wrong, but she always has the best of intentions, and it’s hard to be mad at her for that. I think it’s a journalist thing.”

This was a detail that Maia latched onto. “Your mom’s a journalist too?” she asked curiously, and then turned a little bit to add for Carol, “Her aunt and uncle are Clark Kent and Lois Lane.”

Carol’s eyes immediately widened excitedly, as Lily fought a creeping blush. “Woah, no way.”

Lily just shrugged and nodded. “Yeah, they’re pretty great. And well, she was, but now she’s actually the editor-in-chief of CatCo magazine.”

“Oh my god, that’s awesome!” Carol stated in awe, nearing buzzing with excitement.

“So you live in National City then?” Maia asked, pushing for more information about Lily.

“Just outside of it, yeah.”

Lily saw the mischievous smirk in Maia’s eyes and held her breath in anticipation for the next question.

“Ever run into your famed hero?” she asked as a joke, paralleling her statement earlier, but all Lily could do was freeze a little, while trying to maintain a normal facade.

She shrugged again casually as she answered, “Yes.”

The two erupted immediately.

“What!”

“No way!”

“Tell me everything!”

“What was she like!”

Lily laughed at their response and tried to calm them down a bit by holding up her hands in defense. “It’s not a big deal, you guys,” she tried to brush off, not wanting to be known around camp who ran into Supergirl once. If only she could tell them she got to see Supergirl a little too often, and she often times preferred her times with Kara Danvers. “Supergirl doesn’t really have time to stop and chat, you know?” she continued, trying to fend off any future questions about their interactions.

Both girls took the hint and seemed to let it go, but Carol still seemed amped up from the news.

“It’s still really cool!” she commented, and Lily smiled widely at her, and let her eyes wander over to Maia, who was studying her carefully with a small smile on her lips.

Lily knew that look. It was the same one Alex got when she was on the verge of a breakthrough with an experiment or her mother got when she stumbled onto a big story. Maia was trying to figure her out, knowing there was more to her than she was letting on, and she seemed perfectly content to stick around and figure it out.

As Lily ducked her head, and fought off the pink crawling into her cheeks, they heard Taylor call from across the room.

“Alright you guys, let’s establish some ground rules and then we’ll go get some grub!”

The first couple days at the camp passed smoothly. Lily was surprised at how easy it was for her friends to drag her away the science lab (though admittedly, they enjoyed being in there as well and learning with Lily, so the amount of times they left wasn’t often).

Lily learned that Carol was an incredibly goofy when she opened herself up around them, and they could always count on her for a good snarky comment under her breath anytime Director Darvis was in the vicinity. She also didn’t care too terribly much about the lab testing, but would pay attention and pipe up from time to time, spending the rest of the time in the lab doodling, content to just be around the action.

Maia became more intriguing the more Lily got to know her. She came off as incredibly serious, but always had the crinkle of a smile in her eyes. And she was endlessly curious as well. She may not have had as much of a base idea on how systems in the lab worked, but she caught on effortlessly and kept up with Lily for the most part.

That didn’t mean the two of them were willing to let Lily spend her entire camp experience in the labs, however. Maia and Carol made a point to drag Lily out the second day to go swimming with their team, and while Lily had never technically learned how to swim without her powers, she figured it wouldn’t be too hard and went for it anyways.

(Maia noticed immediately and let her hold onto her for support.)

The third day the trio decided to go on a hike, and Lily soon began to regret not acclimating her body to exercise without her powers before camp. She was breathing a lot heavier than she expected, which was pointed out by Carol.

“Oh my god, if you’re out of breath, there’s no hope for any of us. You’re in, like, perfect shape!” she complained, but ended the statement with a smirk and turned to their other companion. “Right, Maia?”

Maia seemed startled to be included in this conversation, and her cheeks pinkened a bit as Lily furrowed her eyebrows at her. “Uh, what?” she asked.

“Lily. Perfect body. Any thoughts?” she asked, and Lily could swear she could hear a lilt of teasing in her voice, but Carol’s face remained neutral as both Lily and Maia’s faces flushed bright red, both hoping the exertion of the exercise would be attributed as the reason.

Maia sputtered to find an answer. “I- uh- I mean, yeah,” she finally answered simply, her eyes keeping trained on the path before them.

Carol smiled at this, satisfied and still wearing the hint of a smirk as she climbed ahead of them. Lily glanced over at Maia, who glanced over as well at the same time. They both let out a small smile, and then let out a large breath, and climbed quickly to catch up with Carol.

On the way back down, they ran into a pair of girls, who were excitedly chatting as they made their way up the trail. Just as they were passing the girls, one of them called out.

“Hey, you’re Liza right?” the girl asked with a wide smile and looking directly at Lily. Both groups stopped and Lily sputtered to find an answer to this girl’s very confident assertion that her name was Liza. She didn’t think she had even met the girl before.

“Yeah!” the other girl jumped in, after looking closer at Lily. “We played volleyball against you yesterday?” she continued, trying to jog her memory, but Lily still furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, as she didn’t even know where the volleyball courts were, and yet these girls were so sure of themselves.

Finally, the first girl caught on that something was off about the interaction, and her eyes wandered to the blue bandana tied around Lily’s belt loop. Furrowing her eyebrows and looking back up at Lily, she asked, “I thought you were on the red team?”

“I, um, think you have the wrong person,” Lily finally spoke up, and the two girls looked as if they didn’t believe her. “My name is Lily. This Liza girl must just look like me.”

The two girls shared a look, and then looked back at Lily skeptically, speaking at the same time.

“Weird.”

“Freaky.”

Lily shifted uncomfortably at this, fighting the blush on her face. She knew they didn’t mean it maliciously, but with her background? It was hard not to feel like a science experiment sometimes. And now there was a girl walking around the camp that looked like her? Lily didn’t like it.

“Sorry,” the first girl piped up again, flashing Lily a smile. “We didn’t mean to bother you, but you just look a lot like this girl.”

“A lot, a lot,” the other girl confirmed, and Lily shrugged, trying to pass it off nonchalantly.

“It’s okay. I, uh, hope you find Liza,” she responded, and before they could say anything back, she turned and walked down the path.

Maia and Carol quickly caught up, and reassured her that the interaction was a creepy and awkward as it had felt for Lily.

“It was so weird,” Maia commented, and Lily hummed in agreement, trying to get the conversation out of her mind. “Do you really think there’s another girl here that looks that much like you?”

Carol scoffed at this. “Please, those girls? Probably got hit in the head a few too many times with the volleyball.”

Lily let out a little smile at that, and released the breath she had been holding. No reason to read into the situation, she told herself. Plenty of girls could look like her from across a volleyball court.

And so the topic was dropped as the trio began to discuss getting dinner.

The next day started the same as any, as Lily and her friends discussed what they were going to do that day.

“Science lab,” Lily responded easily, with a small smirk, knowing her friends knew that would be her answer.

“Of course that’s where you want to be, nerd,” Maia chastised her fondly, and Lily stuck out her tongue at her.

Carol hopped up on Maia’s bed, however, to egg Lily on. “Oooh what’s Miss Miles’ experiment today?” she asked.

“Dissolved oxygen levels,” Lily responded easily, barely hiding the excitement from her voice. Sure, she was revealing the nerdiest part of her, but she couldn’t help it. Living in the city for so long made it so exciting to do these kind of tests on something other than purified or ocean water.

Maia chuckled and nodded approvingly. “Alright, dissolved oxygen in the morning, team basketball this afternoon?” she asked, and both the other girls nodded in approvement.

Not an hour later Lily found herself nearly bursting with enthusiasm as Miss Miles--the lab instructor at the camp--explained the process of determining the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and its importance to the natural habitat there. When it came around to asking for volunteers, she was more strict than she had been previous days.

“Since this experiment involves the highly toxic and corrosive vapor producing solution of alkali iodide azide, I am only comfortable allowing girls with a slightly more advanced lab experience in the back room to carry out the tests. Ideally it would be two volunteers, but if no one is comfortable, I am able to carry it out myself,” Miss Miles explained, and most girls looked as if they didn’t want to get within ten feet of the experiment. “So, do I have any volunteers?”

Lily’s hand shot up, and Miss Miles beamed at her. “I was hoping you would volunteer. Go get your gear on,” she responded, and Lily immediately moved across the room to don her protective equipment, a small bounce to her step.

“Anyone else?” Miss Miles asked, and the room stayed fairly quiet. Just as she was getting ready to relent and help Lily with the experiment herself, a group of giggling girls spilled into the laboratory. The whole lab turned to look at them, and they immediately quieted down and mouthed an apology, but Miss Miles hardly paid it any attention.

“Glad you could join us, red team!” she greeted sincerely. “We’re just about to complete an experiment to determine the dissolved oxygen in our lake. Any of you ladies experienced in a lab and want to volunteer?” She looked at them hopeful, and finally a girl piped up in the back, covered by her friends so the class could barely see who had volunteered.

“Uh, sure,” she offered, a slight British accent peeking through her voice, and Miss Miles practically beamed.

“Awesome!” she responded, and then gestured behind the girl. “Your face mask, lab coat, and gloves are behind you, if you’ll get ready,” she explained, and then called the attention of the class back to her. “Alright class, so let’s talk about the reactions that about to take place here while our two girls get ready.” The class turned back to the front as Lily made her way back to stand by Miss Miles.

Soon enough, the other girl was ready too, and Miss Miles was leading into the back room.

“Okay, ground rules for you two while you’re in there: do not breathe in the fumes of the alkali iodide azide, only use it in the fume hood; don’t leave a mess, that’s just good manners; and you two are only going up to step five in the experiment, we’ll let some others take a shot as mixing, diluting and titrating, alright?”

Both girls nodded, and she smiled at them. “Okay, go have some fun! The steps and all your materials are on the counter in there.”

Lily turned to the other girl and gestured for her to go in first, which she did without much thought to Lily. Refusing to not pay the girl much mind, Lily entered after her and began pulling out the materials needed for the experiment.

“This is so exciting, don’t you think?” Lily chatted amicably as the other girl pulled the water samples taken a half hour ago from the shelf above them.

The girl merely shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said, an unimpressed tone filling her voice. “It’s just a dissolved oxygen test. Nothing too special.”

Lily brushed off the girl’s attitude by pushing forward. “Yeah, but just with this one simple test we’ll be able to tell the health of the whole environment of the lake. I never get to do stuff like this back home.”

“Let me guess,” the girl drawled, not even looking up at Lily. “Your previous experience in a lab was a ‘My First Lab’ kit your parents set up for you in your garage?”

Lily turned and stared at the girl, feeling her ears burn with rage as she gritted her teeth. She was trying to be nice to this girl, but it clearly wasn’t taking. “I actually work in a lab with my aunt all the time,” she responded effortlessly, trying to neutralize her voice from the anger boiling in her, and the other girl turned towards her.

“Where at?” she asked pointedly, and Lily opened her mouth to respond, when she realized that she could not in fact tell the girl where, as it was a top secret organization. She could practically feel the smirk from the other girl as she said, “That’s what I thought.”

Lily huffed and turned back to her gathering of materials as she said, “Well where was your previous experience? Was there an accident there that made you a complete bitch?”

At this, the other girl slammed the samples on the table and turned to face the girl aggressively. Lily could tell by her body language she was tense, but instead of firing back at Lily as she expected, she eventually turned away and mumbled, “Let’s just get this over with.”

Lily gritted her teeth and huffed, before turning and continuing to work in silence, the tension between the two girls thick enough to see in the room. The silence wasn’t broken until Lily grabbed the pipette beside her and held it up to begin adding the manganous sulfate to the samples.

“Why are you using that?” the girl questioned immediately, and Lily looked over at her in confusion.

“The manganous sulfate?” Lily shot back, thinking it absurd the girl was questioning the use of the exact solution listed on the instructions.

The girl shook her head and huffed. “No, the pipette,” she gritted out. “That’s a ten milliliter one, and we only need to pipette one milliliter. Or do they not teach the metric system here?”

Lily was gripping the pipette tight enough that she was surprised it wasn’t breaking, and for the first time at camp she was thankful for her mother forcing her to wear the necklace.

“Did I do something to offend you?” Lily demanded, pointedly using the pipette she had in her hand to transfer the one milliliter of manganous sulfate to the sample water. “I’m sorry we aren’t all doom and gloom in the lab. Some of us enjoy this stuff, you know? Apparently you just like ruining that for other people.”

Without a word the other girl took the sample from Lily and stalked over to the fume hood to add the milliliter of alkali iodide azide. Lily followed and stood looming over the girl’s shoulder, watching her every move.

As she picked up the pipette to transfer the solution to their sample, Lily commented in a snarky tone, “Oh are you sure you want to use that pipette? There are some other ones that are exactly like it over here that I think you should use instead.”

At this, the other girl whipped around, affronted, forgetting that the pipette was still in her hand. With the force of her turning so quickly, the pipette struck the open bottle of alkali iodide azide and knocked it over, spilling the solution out of the fume hood and at the two girls.

Both girls yelped and jumped away before the solution could touch them, but the other girl just stood standing and staring at the corrosive liquid giving off fumes on the floor. Huffing, Lily grabbed the girl’s arm quickly and dragged her out of the room before she inhaled too much of the fumes. As she slammed the door open, the crowd around the lab, peering into the windows as the girls had been working, backed aways quickly as Lily shoved the other girl out and slammed the door.

“You idiot!” Lily cried out, stepping to the side. This girl had the audacity to imply she was an amateur when she was going to go around and be jumpy and aggressive around corrosive solutions like that? “You could have spilled that on both of us!” She turned her back to the girl and slammed off her face mask and and lab coat.

Miss Miles was in the back of the crowd yelling at someone to run and get the camp nurse promptly.

The other girl screamed back at her. “Me! You were the one who was standing over my shoulder and startling me around dangerous chemicals!” she argued back, turning away so she could also rip off her protective gear.

At this time, Miss Miles fought her way to the front of the crowd, holding up her hands, her voice stern. “Girls, stop. You were both very unprofessional in there, and I’m disappointed in both of you. Apologize to each other,” she demanded, and both girls huffed with their arms crossed, refusing to turn around. But Miss Miles wasn’t about to let that fly. “Girls, I mean it. Apologize.”

Gritting her teeth, Lily finally turned around as the other girl did the same. As soon as her eyes met the other girl’s, her breath caught.

It was the most outer body experience Lily had ever faced. It was like looking in a mirror, except different somehow. Like it was being reflected back just a little off. And yet there was the same high cheekbones, the bright blue eyes, the dark black hair with just the slightest curl to it. It was Lily, and it wasn’t Lily at the same time.

The girl across from her stood stunned as well, and the lab got so silent you would be able to hear a pin drop. Even Miss Miles was struggling to find something to say.

Lily knew this girl’s name was Liza without anyone having to tell her.

“Did you guys accidentally clone yourselves in there?” one of the girls from the back shouted, and suddenly the whole group of girls surrounding them dissipated into giggles, as both Lily and Liza fought the warm blush working their way to their cheeks.

There went their summer of being a normal girl for once, they both thought at the same time, and a small bout of anger gripped Lily for no reason. She refused to look to her right where she knew she’d find Maia and Carol’s concerned and confused faces.

Instead, she commented loftily, “I don’t know what you’re talking about; we don’t look anything alike.” And the whole room immediately scoffed at this.

Liza took in Lily uncomfortably, and finally shakily commented, “Oh come on. You have to see it.”

“See what?” Lily asked, her voice mockingly sweet.

Liza huffed, annoyed at Lily’s light take on the situation. “Seriously, we look identical,” she insisted, and Lily took a step forward and squinted her eyes to observe Liza.

The thing was, they did look identical. But instead of focusing on that, she channeled the unsettling feeling in her stomach into revenge for the girl’s comments in the lab. Because if they looked identical, chances are, this girl had the same insecurities as herself.

“Identical, you say?” she asked with a little shake of the head. “Well, my nose isn’t that big, and my eyes aren’t that close together, so-”

Before she could finish, Liza was lunging at Lily and Lily hopped back as Miss Miles stepped in between them.

“Okay!” Miss Miles called out sternly. “While this is an… interesting development to say the least, I meant it when I said you two have to apologize to each other.”

She looked expectantly at both of them, and Liza finally gritted out, “I’m sorry.”

Lily studied her for a moment, and finally with a patronizingly sweet smile, she returned, “I’m sorry too.”

Liza narrowed her eyes at her, and Lily knew her message had been received.

The war was on.

Liza hadn’t wanted to start a war. She hadn’t even wanted to volunteer for that stupid experiment. But the instructor had asked, and one of her friends elbowed her and looked at her expectantly, and she knew she had to do it.

She was Lena Luthor’s daughter, and Lena Luthor’s daughter volunteered for advanced science experiments.

But she knew it was a mistake the moment she was standing in all the gear outside of the door of the lab room. She always felt so on edge and uncomfortable in a laboratory when she knew people were watching her, expecting so much out of her. She was a prodigy who felt like a stranger in her own expertise. It was a feeling that was only soothed by her mom.

The long nights her mom would spend working late in the lab, too absorbed in her own work: that’s when Liza thrived in her skills. She would tinker and create and redesign without the fear of anyone ever seeing what she created. Without the fear of anyone ever seeing any of what she considered the most private part of her life.

Of course, her mom would always see it, when their late night came to a close. And she could see it in her eyes: Liza’s ideas were brilliant, and it was a shame she didn’t want the credit for them. But she never pushed her. Merely nodded and stated that they should go home with a small smile.

And Liza loved her mom for that. For not making her continuously do something she was good at simply because it wasn’t what she wanted to do. She just wasn’t sure her mom understood the whole of it. Sure, science wasn’t what she was passionate about, but that didn’t explain the anxiety she felt every time someone watched her in a lab. That was a whole other layer of discomfort.

Because she was Lena Luthor’s daughter, and when Lena Luthor’s daughter is in a lab, she can never ever make a mistake.

That is, until she did. And almost spill a highly corrosive and dangerous solution on a girl who actually found joy in what she was doing.

And instead of apologizing and admitting to the guilt that was eating her up, Liza merely continued to hide behind the guise of harshness she had created for herself in her discomfort.

Not her most impressive chain of decisions.

Of course, there was also the incredibly crazy part of the whole story where the other girl looked exactly like her. Which Liza was still trying to make sense of, because it was absolutely uncanny. She wouldn’t have thought it possible, had she not seen it with her own eyes.

And how aggravating was it that this mysterious other girl, with whom Liza felt she should at least try to communicate with her about the crazy coincidence, was so infuriating? Denying the resemblance and then immediately targeting on what Liza assumed was both of their insecurities? It was childish, and normally Liza wouldn’t be baited so easily, but if she were being honest with herself, meeting a girl who looked exactly like her set off a little bit of terror in the deep pit of her stomach. She had no idea what it meant, and if the other girl--Lily Danvers, she had learned from her friends after the lab incident--wanted to alienate her and push her away as fast as possible, Liza wasn’t going to stop her as long as it allowed Liza the opportunity to not dwell on the big question at hand:

Who were they to one another?

Instead, Liza pushed the girl out of her mind and her focus elsewhere.

“My mom never allowed me to learn poker because it ‘encouraged the sin of gambling’,” Liza’s friend Max piped up, as the group of girls in the red team cabin were organize the space so as to hold the influx of girls they were expecting that night.

Liza snorted a bit at this. “Our moms would not get along then,” she commented. “But I will say that poker is not gambling so much as it’s math.”

“Okay, now I know how to play poker, but you’ve lost me Luthor,” Kieran responded, flopping on the bed next to where the table was being set up for the tournament that night. It was a bit of an unofficial ordeal, but their team leader Kayla was immediately enthusiastic and said she would inform the other teams of the tournament if they wished to join.

Not that it mattered, Liza had thought. Even her own mom was unable to beat her by much more than a slim margin at this point. Not a single girl in this camp had enough experience to give Liza a run for her money, she thought confidently, but a poker tournament was exactly the kind of event her mom would expect out of her, and with the day’s events, she needed a destresser that reminded her of her mom, in a good way.

Liza turned to Kieran and just shrugged. “If you know the game well enough, any card game is basically just math,” she explained, and her friends looked less and less convinced by the moment. Finally Liza let out a little smile and a sigh, gesturing towards the table. “Would you ladies like me to show you, and give you some tips before the tournament begins?”

All the girls jumped eagerly at the chance to learn with Liza. While some improved with Liza’s coaching, some were too confused and opted out eventually.

Their game play between the friends ended as other girls from other teams began to show up. They started out with a friendly tournament with no bets, given most girls’ little to no experience playing the game. Liza unsurprisingly won the whole time, but the other girls seemed to be having fun despite this. Liza tried not to notice every team color seemed to have a group of girls present besides the blue team, but it seemed like Lily’s team was opting out of the tournament.

She was almost disappointed that she wasn’t going to be given the satisfaction of beating Lily.

A couple hours in, as Liza won again, she held her hands up and said, “Okay, okay ladies, let’s make this more interesting. Let’s put real stuff on the line here. Is anyone willing to bet against me?”

At this most of the girls got silent and looked uncomfortably at each other. Liza understood, definitely. She had swept the competition thus far. But she had been hoping there would be at least one brave soul to volunteer and give her a bit of a challenge. No one seemed willing to try, however. Just as she was about to relent and allow normal gameplay to continue, a voice spoke up from the back.

“I’ll take a crack at it.”

Liza froze, because she knew whose voice that was and immediately knew what it meant. As the crowd parted and made way for a smirking Lily Danvers to approach Liza, Liza almost let out a little laugh herself. So she was going to get the satisfaction of destroying this girl in a game of poker. It was the second battle of their war, and Liza could already smell victory.

“Alright, then let’s play,” she responded confidently, and Lily’s smirk grew as the two sat down opposite of each other.

As Liza shuffled and dealt the cards, she commented, “I have to warn you, Danvers: My mom taught me how to play poker, so this may not be a fair game.” She looked up and locked eyes with Lily, who had now narrowed a hard to pinpoint glare at her.

Scoffing, Lily shook her head and then leaned across the table to respond, “That’s funny because I was just about to warn you that I learned from my Aunt Alex, so you better be ready to eat dirt, Luthor.”

At this, Liza matched Lily’s glare and just asked simply, “Well then who’s the better poker player: my mom or your aunt?”

Unaware that they had stumbled upon their family’s historically notorious and unanswered debate, Lily simply smiled sweetly with a mischievous look in her eyes.

“Guess we’re about to find out.”

Both girls threw five dollars into the center of the table, and the game began.

It was much more brutal of a game than Liza had anticipated. She wasn’t even sure of the last time her own mother had given her this much of a run for her money. As the rounds passed by, the girls surrounding them sat on the edges of their seats, eager to see who would come out of the matchup alive.

Eventually, Liza decided it was time to put an end to this. She already had her favorite pair of flip flops in the middle of the table, plus a hefty sum of cash, and Lily at one point had thrown in the ring off her finger. Liza was sure she had the hand to end it all, and so she smiled smugly at Lily.

“I’m all in,” she called, and the girls around her chattered at this, knowing the victor would be known soon enough.

Lily stared at her cards and opened her mouth as if she were going to say something, but just furrowed her eyebrows in concentration. Liza could feel the excitement vibrating within her. She had it. She knew she had it.

“Let’s raise the stakes,” Lily finally called out, and Liza was a bit caught aback by this. She had already went all in, how much higher of stakes did they need? “Loser goes skinny dipping in the lake.”

Lily’s eyes held Liza’s as she faltered for a response.

There was no way Lily could be confident in her win, but why else would she raise the stakes like that? Glancing back down at her cards however, she knew she would be hard to beat. So she took a deep breath and then once again looked Lily in the eye.

“Deal.”

“Alright,” Lily nodded, satisfied and motioning towards Liza’s hand. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

With an uncontrollable smirk, Liza fanned her cards out on the table. “Straight flush, darling. Better luck next time,” she chided, and Lily’s eyes widened as her mouth formed a little “o”. Liza felt like she could bask in the feeling of victory washing over her at that moment.

“Oh my god, Luthor, how-” Lily began, and then shook her head and laid her cards down without fanfare. Liza almost began to laugh until she glanced down at the cards laid across from her and her entire body froze as she caught her breath. “How could you possible get that cocky without considering your opponent has a royal flush, darling?” Lily finished, mocking Liza with a patronizing innocence.

The result from the crowd was instantaneous, as it quickly dissolved into hollers and wild cheering as Liza’s face flushed and she glared angrily at Lily. Lily mere shrugged sweetly, and then swept all the goods piled in the center of the table towards her.

Irritated, Liza huffed and stood from the table, making a move to walk away.

“Hey Luthor, I hope you haven’t forgotten about a little thing you agreed to in that last round,” Lily called out with a pointed look, and Liza groaned.

Skinny dipping.

She cursed herself, realizing just then her mistake. Why didn’t she just think through the game better?

She really really hated Lily, she decided seventeen minutes later as she stood on the edge of the lake’s dock, naked and shivering. It was a bit unnerving that most of the girls from the tournament had followed Liza and Lily out to the lake to see the jump and were now lurking around the shoreline of the dock, but instead of paying them, or Lily’s merciless smirk, any mind, she merely turned her back and stared at the water.

Without much fanfare, she prayed the water wouldn’t be too cold and jumped.

Her prayers were answered in part. The water was cool, but not too cold as it enveloped her. Slowly, she managed to kick her legs and pull with her arms to get back to the surface, taking a large gasp of air as she reached the top. Then she began moving her body in a way she figured would get her to shore. Sure, she didn’t technically know how to swim, but she figured Lily would have called her out on trying to get out of the bet if she mentioned it, and then would have thought of an even worse thing for Liza to do.

No, better to do this, she stubbornly thought as she slowly inched her way towards shore.

When she crawled back out of the lake a few minutes later, shivering, Liza quirked her eyebrows and noticed no one was left at the edge of the dock. Making her way back over to where she had left her clothes, she let out an angry huff and tried to control her anger.

She walked back to her cabin in just the towel that was left for her, unlike the pile of clothes that had been stolen

Acknowledging Lily won that battle, Liza set her sights on winning the war and promptly began planning an extravagant prank to pull on the other, insufferable girl. It would take a lot of help and a lot of physics, but as she was scoping out the blue cabin, she knew she could pull it off.

Three days later, Liza, and her friends Max, Kieran, and Sarah snuck over to the blue cabin in the middle of the day, trying to control their giggles.

“Are you sure we can do this?” Sarah asked, as they walked into the cabin and immediately began scouring for Lily’s bed.

Liza brushed her off. “Physics has never failed me before,” she reasoned, and Kieran laughed at this.

“Girl, physics failed me, twice,” she countered, and Liza let out a little laugh and rolled her eyes.

“Over here!” Max called, and the girls rushed to the bed she was standing over. Liza checked her watch. The blue team would still be at lunch for another fifty-three minutes, they were doing good on time.

A short inspection of the area indeed confirmed it was Lily’s. Mostly given away by the photos scattered in the bedside table that Liza tried to not allow her gaze to settle on too long. She knew they were of Lily and her family. There were several pictures of Lily with a very pretty, middle-aged, blonde woman, whom Liza assumed was Lily’s mother. The unsettling part was how much Lily looked like her mother. Which meant Liza looked like her mother. And all her life, Liza had thought of herself as a lookalike to her own mom, and this woman looked so much different than her own mom, and yet-

“Liza, are we making moves or what?” Kieran called out, and Liza quickly shoved the drawer closed, and turned back to them with a forced smile.

Nodding, her friends, jumped into action, removing the mattress from the bed frame, and slowly began lifting it up. While they were working on that, Liza ran outside to the bush just to the side of the cabin where she had hid her supplies the day before. Grabbing the two strands of rope she stole from the lake sheds and the bicycle wheel she had obtained from the bike she had mutilated (and swore to repair to her friends), she threw all her supplies up to the lower porch ledge of the roof by her, and quickly began climbing. By the time she was at the top point of the roof, her friends had made it outside with the bed frame.

Making her way across the roof, Liza stood in front of the flagpole that was instrumental in the execution of this plan. This is where it could all go wrong. Looking below her at the fall range, and back at the distance between her and the flagpole, she shook her head. She would need a new approach.

So instead, leaving everything on the roof besides one rope which was now secured around her shoulders, she climbed down from the roof, and walked around to the flagpole.

“Everything good, Liza?” Sarah asked, and Liza turned to her with a smile.

“Yeah, just going to try this a different way,” she stated, and as she turned to leave, she quickly turned back to Sarah. “Hey you rock climb, right?”

Sarah shrugged. “A little, why?”

“Would you climb to the top of the roof, and catch this rope when I throw it at you?”

Sarah beamed back at her, and gave her a faux salute. “Anything for you, Miss Luthor,” she joked, and Liza shook her head amused.

Turning back to the task at hand, she hoped all those rope climbing exercises in school prepared her for this moment. Slowly, she grasped onto the flagpole, and hoisted herself up, climbing little by little. When she finally reached the top, she was sweating and out of breath, but victorious, nonetheless.

Balancing herself on the pole, she carefully moved to wrap the rope around and tie a knot. It was slow work, and she was using a lot of her precious time, but she was determined to get it done. When the knot was finally complete, she looked over and saw Sarah watching her expectantly.

“Alright, catch!” Liza called out, and threw the other end of the rope at the girl. When it was secured in Sarah’s possession, Liza nodded and then slowly began to slide down the pole and back to the ground.

By this time, Kieran and Max had the mattress and the side table moved out into the lawn of the cabin as well.

“Forty-three minutes left, Liza!” Max called out, and Liza gave her a thumbs up, still a little out of breath.

“Give me five minutes. You guys remember how to attach the stuff?”

The girls nodded, and Liza was grateful they were all in on this prank and had paid attention during Liza’s instructional sessions. Quickly, Liza found another burst of energy and climbed up to the top of the roof once again, and was grateful to find Sarah already stringing the tire hub through the rope.

“Tie a knot before and after it, so the tire won’t move,” Liza instructed, and while Sarah worked diligently on that, Liza searched for her second access point. There was a sturdy-looking tree branch that over arched the cabin on the same side as the flagpole. Smiling satisfactorily, Liza grabbed the other end of the rope as soon as Sarah was finished and climbed onto the tree, once again knotting the rope tightly around the branch.

Clambering back onto the roof Sarah and Liza looked proudly at their makeshift pulley. Then, without further pause, they wrapped the second rope around the tire hub, tied a knot, and sent it hurtling down towards the other two girls who were waiting with the bed frame.

As soon as the rope reached them, they began wrapping the rope around it so as it would be fully supported throughout its journey, and then threw the rope back to the girls on the roof, who once again looped it through the pulley and sent it back down at them.

As Kieran and Max stepped away, holding the rope, everyone said a tiny prayer as Liza called out, “Alright, let’s do this.”

Miraculously, the contraption worked, and soon the bed frame was on its way up to the roof. When it reached their level, Liza called for the girls on the ground to hold it steady, as Liza and Sarah worked to bring the frame over the roof.

“When I say ‘Go’, you two let down the rope down there, alright?” Liza called out, and her and Sarah pulled the bed frame to where it was just over the roof. “Okay, go!”

The bed frame dropped immediately on the roof with a loud thump; Sarah and Liza stumbled back a bit with the inertia of the move. Then turning back to their accomplishment, they whooped loudly and began untying the rope.

As they sent the rope back downwards, Liza called out ecstatically, “Alright guys, two more times and we’ve got her.”

They finished setting up the bedroom scene on the roof with twelve minutes to spare, and tore down their contraption and scattered quickly to hide in the woods beside the cabin, eager to see their work being appreciated.

It didn’t take long for a crowd to gather around the cabin as lunch let out and girls began noisily observing the sight before them. Some were appalled. Some were confused. Some were flat out inspired. The girls giggled as they watched the commotion, and then saw Lily and her friends wander onto the scene. Their faces were confused as they saw the growing amount of girls outside their cabin, but when they looked up, their jaws dropped.

Lily immediately raced inside the cabin, and then stormed out, slamming the door shut and stomping out to where she could see what she had just confirmed was her own bed and table on the roof of her cabin. At this Liza and her friends dissolved into a fit of laughter that lasted until team blue’s leader Taylor showed up to assess the situation.

The girls quickly scrammed and busied themselves the rest of the day, barely able to keep the smirks off their faces and keeping their ears open for any news on the rooftop bedroom. Last they had heard, they were considering calling the fire department out to safely retrieve the furniture without having to disassemble the whole set, which of course set the girls off into another fit of giggles.

At dinner that night, Director Darvis gave the camp a stern talking to and threatened them that if no one came forward with information about the bed on the roof of the blue cabin, the punishment would be much more severe if she ever figured out who it was in the following weeks. Apparently the victim of said prank had informed Darvis that she had no idea who would do such a thing, which threw Liza off a bit.

Why was she covering for her?

Perhaps she wanted to keep the war on friendly terms and not involve any authority figures, Liza hypothesized.

It wasn’t until after the speech when a girl snuck up behind her and whispered “I have to say I’m impressed, Luthor” that Liza realized Lily wasn’t saying anything because she had earned her respect. Liza fought the smile that was working its way onto her face, and turned to respond to Lily, but the girl was already gone with her friends, and Liza shrugged it off.

She knew it wasn’t the end of the war, but it was a new enemy she was working against now. She wasn’t only trying to get her back, but now she was also trying to one up herself. Maybe this would end up being a really fun summer.

Liza planned her next prank meticulously, and waited in anticipation for Lily’s retaliation. She almost expected to wake up one morning coated in syrup and whipped cream with molasses on the floor, but to her surprise, nothing like that ever came. It wasn’t until a few days later that Lily even approached her at all.

“Hey, Luthor! Mind if we talk?” Lily approached her, and Liza turned to her surprised.

She had been walking alone to the volleyball courts where her friends were already setting up a game. She had forgot her sunglasses back at the cabin and ran back for them when Lily cornered her.

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” she responded, stopping and moving towards Lily, who was sporting a bit of an apologetic face.

Lily shuffled a little on her feet and finally took a deep breath. “Listen, I know we didn’t get started on the right foot, but I just wanted to offer a truce.”

“A… truce?” Liza questioned, partially because she didn’t believe it, and partially because she had rather been looking forward to her next prank that was to take place in two days.

“Yeah, I just feel like I’ve been a little childish, and my mother wouldn’t really approve, so I’m offered a white flag here,” she explained, and then it was Liza’s turn to shift her weight uncomfortably.

“Oh, um, I mean, if you want to, sure,” she agreed, wondering what had brought this on, staring skeptically at the sincerity in Lily’s eyes.

Lily beamed at this, and bounced excitedly. “Great! I, um, got you this, as like a peace offering,” she explained as she held out an unopened fruit drink. Again, Liza was wary, but accepted it anyways as she watched the other girl carefully, ready for it to turn into a prank at any moment.

But it was her favorite flavor. And Lily’s sincerity never seemed to waver in her eyes. And it was really hot out that day. Finally sighing and letting the tension out of her shoulders, she gave Lily a small smile.

“Thank you,” she offered, and the girl smiled again. Something felt off to Liza, but she couldn’t quite place it, and decided she was just being paranoid. Shrugging, she made a move to walk past Lily and towards the volleyball courts, resuming her journey. She went to open the drink, wanting to consume it before the hot sun turned it warm, when another voice called out behind her.

“Liza Luthor and Lily Danvers, just the girls I wanted to see.”

Liza internally groaned, and stopped herself, turning slightly back towards Director Darvis. Her hands continued to work towards opening the drink, when Darvis began.

“Girls, I have received a concerning report that the two of you have been engaging in some kind of prank-”

At that moment, the off point of her previous interaction with Lily hit Liza. Her tell. The poker tell Liza should have picked up on during their game. Lily had used it when Liza had thanked her for the drink.

Realizing it too late, the drink was opened, and Liza quickly threw it away from her body.

Which unfortunately for her, meant that Darvis was the one to catch the now exploding drink.

The liquid spewed all over the director and both girls watched stunned with their hands over their mouths as the moment seemed to never end. And while generally, yes, they would have both began laughing at the sight of Director Darvis getting mutilated by a fruit drink, her expression once it was over was enough for both of the girls to promptly keep straight faces and be quiet.

Even after Liza had realized that Lily had modified the drink not only to explode, but also to stain the skin it came into contact with, she fought vigorously with herself to keep her laughter inside her as a purple (literally) Darvis sent the angriest glare at the pair of them.

“You two! My office! Now!” she demanded, and both girls sobered up at this and turned a little pale as they shot each other a look, gritted their teeth and began walking.

They sat outside of Darvis’ office for what felt like forever, as when she had seen herself in the mirror, she went off screaming to the bathroom. Lily tried to explain that she could make a solution that would remove the stain, but the director hadn’t wanted to hear anything from the girl at the time. So the girls just sat moping in silence.

“I can’t believe I thought you wanted a truce,” Liza finally grumbled, crossing her arms and sinking in her chair.

“I can’t believe you fell for it,” Lily countered, a satisfied smirk hiding in her voice.

They were silent then after that, waiting for the director to return.

When Darvis finally emerged from the bathroom, still purple, but more composed, she went up and stood in front of the two girls with a searing glare. “Alright, now you two get to call your parents and let them know everything you’ve been up to. And yes, I know about the skinny dipping, and the clothes-napping, and the bed relocation, so don’t you two dare try to skip out in your explanations,” she instructed sternly, and both girls immediately began panicking.

“Director Darvis, that is so unnecessary,” Lily began, becoming apologetic. “I swear, we’ll end this prank thing right now; it’s just my mother is super busy, and there’s no need to bother her-”

“Lily, I will hear no argument,” Darvis cut her off.

“No I agree, there’s no need for this; we’ll be on our best behavior from here on out, promise!” Liza called after her, as the director opened her office door and turned expectantly to the duo.

“Liza: you can go first,” she responded, unrelenting, and Liza huffed, standing slowly from her chair and walking into the room while she sent a glare at Lily. She had never been in trouble with any authority figure before in her life. Her mom was going to kill her.

She cringed at every number being punched into the phone, and held her breath as she heard it ringing. When she heard her mom’s distant but familiar voice pick up, Liza nearly ran on the spot.

“Hi, Ms. Luthor?” Darvis began, putting a smile on her face, and Liza glared at her. “This is Director Darvis from Camp Henwey. I’m here with your daughter who wants to give you an update on her experience here at camp.”

The phone was held out to her, and Liza stared at it for a moment, before slowly picking it up.

“Hey Mom,” she tried to greet with a faux excitement, but her voice was too thick to sell it.

“Hey, Liz,” her mom responded easily, her voice full of confusion. “I didn’t know I got updates.”

Liza gulped and let out a shaky breath as she looked up at Darvis’ glare. “You don’t, technically,” she finally answered, cringing at the words.

Lena was silent for a moment before finally asking, “I don’t?”

“Only on, uh, special occasions,” Liza replied again, and she knew her mom was catching on that this was not a good phone call to be receiving.

“And what kind of special occasion is this, Liza?” her mom asked her, a bit of her icy CEO voice slipping into the question.

“I may have…” Liza began trailing off as she tried to decide what was the best way to break the news to her mom. “I participated in a friendly prank war that got me in trouble,” she finally rushed out and held her breath waiting for the reaction

Liza felt like she didn’t need to be on the phone to hear her mom’s aggravated sigh all the way from London. “Liza-” she began, clearly irritated, but her daughter quickly cut her off to defend herself.

“The other girl started it!” she cried out, ignoring Darvis’ glare. “She’s awful, Mom. She’s so full of herself and-”

“Liza,” Lena cut her off, in full on CEO mode now, and Liza knew it was best not to try to talk back against her when she was using that voice. “What did you do?”

Sighing and relenting, Liza mumbled, “I put her bed onto the roof of her cabin.”

“You- Liza!” her mom called out, and she bit her cheek. “Apologize to this other girl, now.”

“Fine,” she grumbled, defeated.

“And I best not hear a peep from this camp for the rest of the summer, understood?” her mom continued, and the guilt from even involving her mom in this began spreading throughout her body.

“Yes, Mom.”

“Okay,” Lena finished, definitely and with a little huff. They both stayed on the phone for a tense moment before Lena let out a little sigh, and voiced softly, “I miss you, darling.”

Tears sprang to Liza’s eyes and she tried to ignore them as she responded, “I miss you too.”

With another wavering breath, her mom let out a little chuckle. “Sam’s giving me a level seven glare right now, so I have to return to my board meeting,” she relayed, and Liza swallowed thickly at the thought of hanging up the phone and not hearing her mom’s voice again for ten weeks. “Goodbye darling; I love you.”

“Love you too, Mom,” Liza choked out, and the line went dead.

Liza numbly returned to the chairs outside the office as Lily was called in to contact her mother. Liza could have eavesdropped on Lily’s conversation, but she honestly didn’t have the energy to at that point. A few minutes later, the door was reopened and Lily slumped down in the seat beside, with Darvis remaining in her office to make a few other calls.

“How’d your parents take it?” Liza finally asked, and Lily sighed.

“Parent,” she corrected glumly. “My mother. And not well.”

Liza glanced over at Lily, as she was previously unaware that Lily was also a single-mom kid. “My mom didn’t either, although that’s definitely partially due to me interrupting her board meeting,” she finally responded, turning back to face the wall across from them.

“I get that,” Lily replied. “Ye- My mother was in the middle of following a huge lead, and I had to basically beg her not to fly out here just to yell at me. Still kind of afraid she will.”

“Single mothers,” Liza agreed, thinking it wouldn’t be be out of the ordinary for her mom to threaten to hop on one of her private planes just to lecture at her. “They’re protective.”

“Tell me about it,” Lily grumbled and the two of them met eyes and found themselves on more common ground than they ever thought they had.

At that moment, the door swung open, and Darvis stepped out in front of them, crossing her arms.

“Alright you two. I want to hear the apology,” she demanded, and both girls reluctantly looked at each other and relented a “Sorry”.

Darvis nodded, partially satisfied at this, and then instructed, “Okay, pack your bags, you two.”

Both girls jolted at this, and immediately began protesting, thinking Darvis was going to kick them out of the camp. That had never been on the discussion table, and god, their mom’s wouldn’t let them out of their sight if they got kicked out of their first summer camp.

When the two girls seemed sufficiently terrified, Darvis held up her hand to silence them, and looked at them sternly.

“I think you two could benefit from some time alone in the isolation cabin together.”

Both girls stopped at this, and gave each other a side glance that was accompanied by a groan.

Maybe it’d be better if Darvis just sent them home.

Chapter Text

The first few hours in the isolation cabin passed morbidly slow for Liza. Darvis had given them a half hour to pack up their things before leading them on the ten minute trek into the woods where they finally stopped in front of plain medium-sized cabin. Leaving them with the instructions that they were allowed to join the other campers for meals only and if they were on their best behavior for the next two weeks, they could slowly be assimilated back into other camp events, Darvis had then left them to their devices.

Without saying a word, Lily had pushed in ahead of Liza--the frustration painted clear as day on her face--and claimed her side of the room, dropping her bag with a loud thump. Liza trailed in behind her hesitantly, unsure of how to approach the situation she was now put in. This was not ideal, she thought glumly, as she swung her bag off her shoulder and onto the only other bed in the room. Considering her past record with Lily, the girl wasn’t someone she exactly trusted to be in the same room with her while she was sleeping, lest she really did want to wake up with the whole syrup-whipped-cream-molasses situation.

But she wasn’t stupid enough to protest at this point. Her mom would absolutely take Darvis’ side, and she would cause more of an uproar than she already bargained for. Better to just sit this one out and take the punishment, she told herself with a sigh.

Noticing the cabin was pretty stuffy, Liza made her way over to the window and opened it, so as to allow more of an airflow throughout the room. Then she slowly began to unpack.

At one point she looked over and noticed Lily had wasted no time in plastering her wall with the pictures Liza had seen in her table drawer a few days prior. She tried to squint her eyes to look more closely at some of the ones she hadn’t seen before, feeling drawn to the pictures of her lookalike’s family for some reason, but Lily had glanced over and caught her looking, narrowing her eyes suspiciously.

Liza had quickly turned back to her own unpacking and refused to look back up at the other side of the room again.

Her settling in didn’t take near as long as she hoped it would, and without a phone to distract her, she soon was subjected to laying motionless on her bed and staring at the ceiling. Lily had been moving around quite a bit and keeping herself busy, but Liza just kept her focus on the wood paneling above her, seeing if she could try to count how many nails there were.

The time passed by like that for awhile, and eventually it got dark enough Liza could justify getting ready for bed. Lily apparently was still boycotting talking to her, so instead of trying herself, she sighed, and quietly changed into her pajamas.

As she made her way to crawl into bed, however, a nasty gust of wind blew through the window Liza had opened earlier and began to wreak havoc on all the pictures Lily had so carefully hung. Liza leapt into action with Lily, and met her at the window, tugging as hard as she could to re-close it. A moment later, it was closed, but the damage had been done. Lily’s pictures were scattered all over the floor, and Liza bit her lip, feeling a bit guilty.

To her surprise, though, Lily didn’t seem to show any irritation towards her, but rather just seemed concerned for the state of her pictures. Hesitantly, Liza made the split second decision to kneel down with her and begin gently collecting the pictures.

She couldn’t help herself from pausing and quickly studying each picture she collected. There were several selfies of Lily and a women with short, cropped red hair, usually making the same funny faces; one photo of Lily hugging an older, dark-skinned man who easily reciprocated her affection; and a few carefree pictures with the blonde woman in glasses Liza just knew was Lily’s mother. The picture Liza finally stopped on that embrazened her to break the hours long silence between the two girls was one that tugged at the pit of her stomach.

It was a simple picture of four women: Lily, the woman she assumed was Lily’s mother, the woman with the short red hair, and an older, warm-looking woman with blond hair. Liza stared at it for a moment before swallowing thickly and holding it up for Lily to see.

“This is your family, right?” she asked, and Lily almost looked startled as she looked up at Liza. Shaking the reaction off, she turned and narrowed her eyes at the picture before almost unconsciously smiling and nodding.

“Yeah. That’s my mom, my aunt Alex and my grandma,” she responded, pointing out the various women in the photo, and Liza flipped the photo back around to study it again. Feeling Lily’s eyes suspiciously watching her, however, she quickly put the photo down against her will, and picked up the next photo beside her.

She involuntarily widened her eyes as she realized who was in the photo with Lily.

“Is that Clark Kent?” she asked almost in disbelief, and Lily didn’t even look at the picture before nodding.

“Oh, yeah,” she confirmed with a little laugh. “He’s my uncle.” And Liza couldn’t do anything but stare at her new roommate after the revelation.

How weird was it that this girl’s uncle was her uncle’s ex-best friend? It was the level of coincidence that made Liza squirm a little bit, and she opened her mouth to mention it, when she realized that admitting to this girl that her uncle was Lex Luthor probably wouldn’t help her case in getting this girl to tolerate her enough to earn her way back into camp activities.

“What?” Lily finally demanded, her voice a bit sharp, and Liza realized she had been sitting, staring and contemplating with her mouth open for a conspicuous amount of time.

“Nothing,” she quickly promised, shaking her head, and setting the picture to the side. She picked up another selfie of Lily and the redhead. “This is your aunt right?” she asked, desperate to change the subject.

Lily watched Liza with a guarded expression for another second before she finally relented and released some of the tension in her shoulders. “Yeah, she’s the one you tried to discredit in the lab,” she commented with a dry humor, and Liza looked up at her guilty as Lily shot her a wry half-smile.

Swallowing thickly, and staring at the picture while not focusing on it, Liza finally took a shaky breath and said what she should have said a while ago. “I’m really sorry about that,” she admitted, keeping her gaze focused on the ground, though she could feel the other girl’s eyes on her. “I’m- There’s just so much pressure for me to be a prodigy in the lab, and I don’t even really like being in a lab, and then there you were, clearly so passionate and talented, and just with the combination of the anxiety and the jealousy, I lashed out. And I’m sorry,” she explained, rambling a bit. Her eyes looked up at Lily’s at the end sincerely, and she felt her chest flood with relief when they weren’t met with complete hatred.

Lily considered her and her apology for a moment before sighing. “I think I know where you’re coming from, in a weird twisted way,” she finally replied, sending Liza a strained smile. “My mother, well, let’s just say she’s kind of incredible. And it’s like, how do I live up to that when I don’t even have the same interests?”

“Exactly!” Liza responded immediately, eager to find common ground with the girl. “My mom is brilliant, and everyone’s expecting me to follow in her footsteps, and I’m just not going to. And she’s understanding, but-” Liza trailed off at this, unsure of how to explain what she was implying.

“But there’s a look,” Lily finished for her patiently, complete understanding in her eyes. “A ‘why-did-you-choose-this’ look.”

Liza stared at her for a few seconds, floored that the girl she had been fighting the past week understood her better than probably anyone besides Ruby. “Right, exactly,” she agreed, and it felt as if Lily was just as thrown off by the similarities they had just uncovered as she was.

Finally, clearing her throat awkwardly and breaking eye contact with Lily, Liza whispered “goodnight” and quickly handed Lily the pile of pictures in her hands, got up from the floor and crawled in her bed without a word. She heard Lily move around for a few minutes before the light was turned off, and they both fell asleep to the silence.

But even with that ending to the conversation, the tension in the cabin the next morning was significantly lighter than it had been at the beginning of the day before.

While they still barely said anything to each other, Lily had lingered in the doorway while Liza had been getting ready, and eventually Liza realized the other girl was waiting on her to walk to the dining hall for breakfast. Skipping most of her normal routine, Liza instead quickly swept her long, dark hair up into a ponytail, and walked over to Lily. Without saying a word, they walked out of the cabin and began the trek back to the main camp.

“I wish Thursdays were omelette mornings,” Lily grumbled, more to herself than anyone, but Liza perked up at the offer of conversation.

Shaking her head and shooting her companion an amused smile, she disagreed, “No way, waffle mornings are the best.”

Lily turned and narrowed her eyes at Liza. “I see you’ve turned your back on the far superior form of grilled-morning-batter that is pancakes, Luthor,” she accused, and Liza looked genuinely affronted.

“The fact that you don’t appreciate the even crispiness and overall fun energy of waffles tells me all I need to know about your personality, Danvers,” she shot back, and the girl tried to look offended as she held back her amusement at the conversation.

“You know I’m willing to let all of this slide if you can name the overall best food in the world, and if you get it wrong, our war is back on. Damn the consequences,” Lily challenged.

Liza let out a little laugh at this and met the amused eyes of her opponent. “Well that’s easy because it’s-”

“Potstickers,” they both finished at the same time, and both of them widened their eyes at each other a bit in surprise.

Liza was the first to recover. “What do you read minds now too?”

“No, I just genuinely love potstickers,” Lily insisted, a smile of disbelief working its way onto her lips.

“Wait, no way,” Liza responded, adding a little hop into her walk. “I’ve never met anyone else whose favorite food was potstickers!”

Lily let out a little scoff at that and shook her head. “You should meet my mother then, honestly,” she joked, and Liza let out a little giggle at this as they arrived at the main camp.

“Lily!” a girl called out and waved as the girls emerged from the path.

Liza watched curiously as Lily seemed to trip over herself and stutter as she scrambled to beam and wave back at the other girl. Interesting, Liza thought with a warm smirk.

“I- um- Maia said she’d save a seat for me, and-”

Liza tried her best not to bust out laughing at the stuttering mess that her new, usually-so-confident cabin mate had become with just one smile from the cute girl now heading their way. She had it bad, and Liza held her hands up to stop and try to save Lily from having to try to explain she was going to eat breakfast with her crush.

“Lily, you know we’re not really friends, and you can eat breakfast with whoever you want, right?” Liza pointed out, and Lily stopped and gave Liza a strange look.

“Right,” she finally responded, and glanced back over at Maia who was nearing them. “I’ll just, um, see you back at the cabin then?”

Liza nodded in confirmation. “As if I could go anywhere else,” she jested, and Lily shot her a genuine smile at this, like they had shared an inside joke.

Then she was off to meet Maia halfway and making her way into the dining hall.

Liza followed behind them slowly, stretching her neck to see over everyone and trying to locate her friends in the masses. Finally she found them as Sarah stood on a bench and eagerly made her way over to them. As she slid into the bench beside Sarah and leaned forward to jump into the conversation at hand, she felt a presence loom beside her and nearly groaned as she turned to look.

“Liza!” Director Darvis greeted with a stiff faux smile on her face. “I actually have a table reserved for you over there,” she informed Liza while pointing to the far corner of the room, where Liza now noticed a rather frustrated Lily eating by herself under a sign that read “Isolation Cabin”.

Liza gritted her teeth and protested. “Director Darvis, is this really necessary? Can’t I just eat with my friends?” she pleaded, and the woman narrowed her eyes at her.

“Well these girls didn’t engage in putting Miss Danvers’ bed on the roof of her cabin, did they?” she asked with a sticky sweet innocence. “Because if they had, they would most certainly be welcome to join you at the isolation table, and then we could have a discussion on further repercussions for them.”

Jolting up to save her friends from any further scrutiny under Darvis, Liza mumbled, “Okay, I’ll go.” Darvis smiled triumphantly as Liza walked away an shot a look back at her friends who thanked her apologetically.

With a sigh and a thump, Liza sat in the seat across from Lily and crossed her arms. “Darvis is a bitch,” she declared, and Lily hummed in agreeance. When Liza glanced over at Lily, she was staring sadly at her soggy cereal, and Liza offered her a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry you couldn’t eat with Maia,” she commented sincerely, and Lily looked as if she were spooked just by the name.

“It’s- uh, it’s okay. Maia understands and, uh, Carol was there too, so it’s not just Maia- but I do care that Maia cares and-”

“Oh my god,” Liza said with a little giggle holding her hands up to stop the girl’s miserable rambling and sitting up. “Okay, so you’ve got it bad bad.”

Lily’s face immediately turned bright red as she squeaked, “Got what bad? I don’t have anything bad. I, uh, got my flu shots and am all up to date on my vaccinations, so the chances of me getting something bad are very slim-”

Shaking her head and cutting her off again while trying to contain her amusement, Liza commented, “Well now we know why Maia thinks you’re cute.”

The response to this was instant as Lily jumped and accidentally banged her legs on the underside of the table, spilling the milk from her cereal all of the table.

“I- Me? Cute? She- she thinks I’m cute? Did she tell you that or-”

By this point, Liza was practically rolling on the ground laughing as Lily began putting up her walls again, thinking Liza was making fun of her. But between gasps of laughter, Liza tried to wave off her fear as she attempted to sober herself up.

“Girl, I have never spoken to Maia once, and I don’t need to because anyone within a ten kilometer radius knows that she thinks you’re cute,” Liza told her seriously, the amusement still in her eyes, and Lily’s blush deepened as she averted her eye contact.

Silently, Lily took some napkins out of the dispenser and began to wipe up her milk spill and then place the napkins in the now mostly empty bowl. Finally, when she was sufficiently done stalling, she looked back up at Liza and gave her a small smile.

“You’re not half bad, Luthor,” she finally admitted softly, and Liza reciprocated the smile.

Twenty minutes later, they were walking back to their cabin and Lily brought up how the path through the woods reminded her of the place her and her mother always went camping at the end of the summer.

“That sounds fun,” Liza commented, almost surprised at how easy it was beginning to be to talk to Lily. “I don’t think I could get my mom out into the woods to camp if I forced her.”

Lily let out a little giggle at this and looked over at Liza. “Not really an outdoors person then?” she asked amused, and Liza shook her head.

“Not really an out-office person,” she corrected, and Lily genuinely laughed at this. “Well, let me correct that: you can convince her to come out of her office if it’s to go eighty floors below her office to the R and D labs.”

Lily let out a low whistle at that as her expression turned impressed. “Eighty floors? Sounds like a mighty big building your mom works in,” she commented.

“Which brings me back to the fact that she has no need to go outside,” Liza deadpanned, and then both girls broke out into giggles.

“You know honestly I was worried my mother was going to hate her new job and being chained to an office when she got her promotion a few years ago, but I actually think it was a great change for her,” Lily commented, and Liza looked over at her with interest. “There’s a stability now that I didn’t have growing up,” she explained, as they pushed open the door to their cabin. “I love my mother and the work she does is always important, but I would get out of school when I was little and wouldn’t even bother trying to find my mother. I would just head straight for my aunt’s lab and wait for her there because she was always running around and chasing stories, trying to get the bad guy, you know? But now if I need her during the day I can just go to her office and unless there’s a crisis, I know she’s going to be there.”

Liza nodded at this, understanding the sentiment. It was kind of nice always knowing where her mom was going to be. “What does your mother do again?” she asked flopping down on her bed.

“Well, she was a journalist for CatCo, but now she’s the editor-in-chief,” Lily replied, the pride seeping through her voice.

“No way, that’s awesome!” Liza congratulated her, and a memory poked at the back of her head. “You know, I think my mom keeps a secret stash of those magazines. I found some in her room a few years ago, and I badgered her about it endlessly because the only magazines she would buy me growing up were science periodicals. She was very on edge that entire week.”

“Glad to know I’m not the only one you annoy to death in this world,” Lily bantered with a smirk, and Liza shot her an annoyed look that she could barely keep the smile out of.

Anyways, it’s nice that your mother is willing to take time off from her probably ultra time consuming job and go camping with you though,” she commented, channelling the conversation back to the original topic.

Lily smiled. “Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of cathartic for both of us. We both can be, uh, a little sensitive to loud noises at times, so being able to get away from the city for a few days and just be in the peace and quiet really recharges us,” she explained, and Liza nodded at this.

The conversation began to taper off as the two girls settled into a comfortable quietness about the cabin. Lily was still talking a bit, more so rambling to herself about whether they’d be allowed to go on a hike alone, or if Darvis would even notice if they did, when Liza finally took a deep breath and looked at Lily seriously. The girl across the room glanced at her and continued talking, but soon did a double take and stopped in the middle of her sentence when she saw the way Liza was looking at her.

Quirking her eyebrows, Lily frowned. “What, Liza-”

“Why do you think we look so much alike?” she asked bluntly, needing to get the question--the elephant in the room--addressed before she became any closer to this girl. It was fine to ignore the impossibleness of the situation when they were fighting, but now they needed to talk about it. And especially with this girl being the niece of her uncle’s once best friend, Liza couldn’t shake the idea that it wasn’t a coincidence the two of them were identical. They were connected; Liza just didn’t know how.

Lily stared at her with her mouth hanging open and looking rather uncomfortable and vulnerable as she considered the question. “I- I don’t know,” she finally answered honestly. “I think it’s just like a crazy coincidence, you know? My mother was adopted; I just can’t imagine her hiding that from me. Plus, there’s like another thing that I think proves beyond a doubt that I’m her biological daughter.”

“What is it?” Liza asked immediately, intrigued on how the girl could be so sure, but the girl’s face quickly closed off as she rocked back and forth on her feet, clearly uncomfortable. “Right, sorry, too personal,” Liza redacted easily, and waved off her question. “I just- My mom was adopted too, and I look exactly like her, so-”

So how could they be linked if they’re moms hadn’t adopted them and both girls looked exactly like their respective mom? The unvoiced questioned filled the air, and both girls swallowed thickly, unsure of how to tackle the issue at hand. There of course was the possibility that they weren’t linked and this was a huge coincidence. But when had a Luthor ever believed in coincidence, Liza thought bitterly.

“Do you have a picture?” Lily finally asked, a shy curiosity filling her voice, and Liza knew exactly what Lily feeling. That needing to know who else you looked like in this world.

Without a word, Liza promptly turned and dug through a small tin she had hidden in her desk. Unlike Lily, she had only brought two pictures with her to camp: one of her and her mom, the other of her, Ruby, Sam and her mom. She pulled out the one of just her and her mom and made her way back to Lily.

She would be lying if she said she wasn’t nervous to show Lily who her mother was. The girl was clearly up to date in the science and technology sphere and would undoubtedly recognize the CEO of the largest tech company in the world. Unfortunately, that recognition didn’t always come with the most adoring response.

But she felt like she owed it to the girl after seeing all the pictures of her and her various family members the previous day. With a deep breath, she slowly held the picture out to Lily, and the girl took it curiously.

The response was immediate. Lily’s eyes widened as she took a sharp intake of breath. “Holy Rao!” she cried out, looking up at Liza with her jaw dropped. “That’s your mom? You’re from that Luthor family?”

“Listen, I know Lex-”

“Oh I don’t give a shit about Lex,” Lily stopped her quickly, her eyes wandering back down to admire the picture with wonder. She seemingly caught herself in her thoughts, however, and backtracked. “Okay, well maybe for my mother’s sake, I’ll say I give half a shit about Lex, but that’s all really unrelated to your mom, because- Your mom is incredible,” Lily finally finished, looking up to say her last statement to Liza with as much reverence and awe as she could possibly muster. Liza almost felt tears pricking at the corner of her eyes. “The strides L-Corp has made in the past decade? Completely unmatched.”

Liza studied Lily for a moment, swallowing thickly and offering her a hesitant smile. “You really admire her don’t you?”

“Are you kidding?” Lily asked with a little bounce of excitement. “Besides Yeyu and Alex, she’s the biggest influence in my life.”

Liza frowned at this, her heart picking up a bit in pace. She felt like she had be hit with a bout of deja vu, and in what felt like a dazed trance, she strangled out, “Yeyu?”

Lily seemed to cringe a bit, and Liza realized she probably hadn’t meant to use the name in front of her. “Oh, uh, my mother,” she tried to explain nonchalantly, but Liza couldn’t let the topic go.

“Is that her name?” she pressed on, and Lily narrowed her eyes at her, beginning to become suspicious.

“No,” she responded slowly, furrowing her eyebrows at Liza’s keen interest in the name. “Her name is Kara. Yeyu is just something I call her.”

Liza wanted to continue asking questions because the word was so familiar to her in a way she couldn’t place, but something in the way Lily was looking at her told her not to push any further on it for the time being.

Instead, she cleared her throat awkwardly and looked back down at the picture of her mom. “I, um, wish my mom could hear you say all that stuff,” she commented softly, changing the subject. “I feel like she still carries this weight from Lex, and hearing from someone like you--a clearly scientifically gifted American--would mean a lot to her.”

Lily studied Liza for a moment, a hint of the suspicion from their conversation moments ago seeping into her expression, but eventually she sighed and relaxed, shooting Liza a mischievous smile.

“Well, if you ever set me up a meeting with her, can it double as a job interview?” she asked sweetly, and Liza let out a hearty laugh at that, knowing full well her mother would probably hire this girl on the spot.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Periodic awkward moments aside, Liza was finding that she was actually beginning to not mind her time with Lily. Their tense energy had almost completely dissolved into amusing banter, and they even were often able to civilly converse and go on hikes most afternoons.

She felt like she had learned a lot about Lily over the past few days and was almost surprised at how they continuously found more and more in common with each other (although being raised by single women in positions of power in multi-billion dollar corporations certainly would bring out similarities in anyone).

Even now, she absentmindedly wondered what Lily would be doing back in the cabin as Kieran told a story about their water balloon fight they had had earlier in the day at the main camp. Probably working with the paints she had convinced Darvis to grant them, she figured, as her friends all giggled over a part of the story she had missed. She wouldn’t be surprised if Lily ignored the canvases altogether and ended up just painting the walls of the cabin.

“Hello, Earth to Liza?”

Liza blinked and turned her attention back to her friends apologetically. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly, and all her friends looked at her expectantly.

Finally, Max spoke, breaking the silence. “So, what did you do today?”

Liza shrugged at this. The isolation cabin was a punishment for a reason, she figured. There was about nothing to do. “Sketched a little. Wrote a little. Lily and I went on a hike this afternoon,” she relayed, and her friends all made a little face at that.

“You know if you need us to break you out of there so you don’t have to spend time with her anymore, we can do that,” Sarah offered, and Liza quirked her eyebrows confused.

“Yeah, nobody would blame you if you just didn’t speak to her,” Kieran chimed in while Max hummed in agreement. “She’s kind of been a bitch to you.”

Liza stiffened a bit at this, feeling a weird need to defend Lily. “Well, I mean, I was a bitch to her too, that’s why we’re in this situation,” she pointed out, trying to keep her voice level. “And she’s also the reason I get to hang out with you right now. She is covering for me, remember?”

Her friends all just shrugged at this, unfazed by Liza’s reasoning.

“No need to defend her to us, Liz. We’re not Darvis,” Max teased her, and Liza bit her cheek. “Besides, I bet she was happy to get the cabin to herself, not having to hold back her weird inhibitions for the night.” All three of the other girls let out a knowing giggle at this.

“Okay, now you’re just being rude,” Liza snapped, and all the girls around her blinked owlishly at the outburst.

Kieran was finally the one to speak up. “Come on, Luthor. You live with her; you have to had noticed how weird she can be sometimes,” she reasoned.

“Yeah, I mean she says really bizarre and outdated things,” Sarah piped up.

“And she’s super klutzy all the time and just looks like she doesn’t know how to do basically any physical activity,” Max joined in.

Kieran gave out a little laugh. “I’ll bet she’s an alien, and she just doesn’t know how to assimilate,” she speculated, directing the idea more at Sarah and Max who enthusiastically picked it up.

Continuing off of this, Max joked, “Oh and that’s how she looks like Liza! She just cloaked herself after her and now she’s been caught red handed.” All three girls laughed again at this, and Max continued, “Wouldn’t put it past an alien to do that, would you Liza?” As all three girls began to hum in agreement, Liza gritted her teeth and stood with a firm stomp, beginning to walk away from the campfire they were sitting around.

“Wait, Liza,” Sarah called after her, clearly confused. “Where are you going?”

Not even bothering to turn around, Liza yelled back, “Gotta get back before Darvis realizes I’m gone.” And before anyone else could say anything, Liza was hightailing it back to the isolation cabin as fast as possible.

She was fuming, completely in disbelief that the girls she had considered her friends were willing to be so cruel. Tears still pricked at the corners of her eyes, and when a couple fell, she wiped them away angrily. Coming to America she had been afraid people would hate her for her family’s history of anti-alien rhetoric. She supposed she never considered the worse option of people embracing her for it.

As she tried to even her breath, she entered the cabin softly and noted the lights were already out. Liza tried to sneak in quietly so as to not disturb Lily, but when she sniffed particularly loud, she heard a rustle on the other end of the room.

“Liza?” Lily’s groggy voice called out. “Everything okay?”

Liza bit her cheek and tried to steady her voice as she whispered, “Yeah of course. Sorry I woke you.”

She watched as she saw the vague outline of Lily’s head nod in the moonlight and then plop back down on her pillow and fall asleep almost instantly.

Liza stood there for a moment, staring blankly at the girl as everything her ex-friends had said about her came rushing back. While the cruel intent still made Liza’s stomach churn, she realized there were things that were a little odd about Lily that she hadn’t noticed until then, and she hadn’t questioned most of them. Maybe because there was a distant warmth to the actions, like Lily reminded her of someone she once knew, once cared about.

Swallowing thickly, Liza shook herself out of her trance and didn’t even bother changing clothes before she curled up in her bed, desperate to quiet her overworking mind with the wild ideas it was sure to soon come up with. It was just a coincidence, she repeated to herself over and over again, trying to drown out the screaming voice in her head that she was missing something big here. Them looking alike, their uncles being friends, the out-of-character stack of Lily’s mother’s magazines hidden in her mom’s bedroom.

It was just a coincidence.

It was not a coincidence.

Ever since Lily had seen that picture of Liza and her mom and realized that Liza’s mom was Lena Luthor, Lily’s mind had been in overdrive. She was convinced from that moment on that her and Liza looking alike absolutely could not be a coincidence.

She just wasn’t sure yet what it was.

What she knew at this point was her mother’s ex-friend (whom she’d never mentioned before a few weeks ago and hadn’t talked to in fifteen years) has a daughter that looks identical to her. Said daughter, however, shows no signs of being Kryptonian. Which threw a wrench into a lot of Lily’s theories.

She had began organizing her theories into a list from most plausible to least plausible. There had to be a connection, she was sure of it.

At the absolute bottom of the list was the idea that they were actually the daughters of Clark and Lena and after Lex’s rampage, Lena took Liza and Clark gave Lily to Kara. It was the bottom of the barrel idea for several reasons. For one, Lily truly believed Clark and her mother would never lie about her true heritage. For two, Clark and Lois had already been together back then. Third, this idea also wouldn’t explain why one of them had Kryptonian abilities while the other didn’t. And lastly, Lily really just didn’t like the idea of Clark being her father.

At the top of the list was her mother and Lena had been experimenting together in the lab on some type of cloning technique. They had been friends and her mother had apparently once been in the science world, and with her Kryptonian background, surely she would have had adequate enough knowledge to participate in such a project. Then when Lex went on his rampage, the project and partnership was abruptly severed.

This idea, however, was far from perfect as well. Lily couldn’t decide what type of cloning process it would have been. Were they trying to see if they could copy only the human part of a half-Kryptonian? Was it the other way around, where they were trying to copy Kryptonian DNA into a human clone? Honestly, Lily felt like this theory wasn’t really answering the question at hand but rather playing into her lifelong fear that she had just been some kind of lab accident. It also didn’t explain why the girls looked like both of the mothers. Maybe they were experimenting with their own DNA?

This question always led Lily down a slippery slope, however. Because whenever she would start to consider the two women sharing their DNA for this project, she had to address the intentions of that, which led to the unspeakable theory: the one she refused to voice even inside her head.

Of course she had considered it. It seemed impossible and almost crazier than the Clark/Lena theory, but they both looked so much like their mothers, her mind couldn’t help to wander to the idea that just maybe they were-

Lily shook her head, trying to refocus her thoughts on the painting she was currently working on. It wasn’t a theory on her list for a reason, she reminded herself. If that had been the case, Liza would have to be wearing a Kryptonite dampener as well, and Lily checked. No Kryptonite charm, or anything that could hold Kryptonite was hanging from her neck, wrists or ankles. The only jewelry on the girl was a simple silver chain around her neck.

So she would just have to keep working on her other theories. She would crack the mystery though. She was sure of it.

“I’ll probably stay in tonight, if you want to go out again,” Liza broke the silence across the room. She had been writing in her journal for the better part of the afternoon, and still kept her eyes trained downwards at what she was writing.

Lily looked up at her with a small frown and a furrow of her eyebrows. “Are you sure? I’ve gone out the past two nights; it’s definitely you’re turn,” she pointed out. Liza shrugged nonchalantly, but Lily could see the heaviness that weighed on her.

“No it’s alright,” she promised with a small sigh and looked up at Lily with a small unconvincing smile.

Lily paused at this. Liza hadn’t shown any interest in leaving the cabin since she had went out the other night with her friends. Lily hadn’t wanted to push the subject, but she was starting to get worried about the other girl.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she finally asked, her face full of understanding of whatever her answer would be.

Liza instead furrowed her eyebrows. “Talk about what?” she asked, her voice wavering ever so slightly.

Lily just considered her for a moment before her voice darkened just a bit, becoming a little protective. “What did they do?” she accused, knowing Liza’s friends must have done something to upset her.

“Nothing, don’t worry about it,” Liza protested immediately, giving Lily a pointed look to let it go. “You should go out and see Maia and Carol.”

Lily bit her lip at this and considered her options. Finally relenting, she sighed and nodded. They weren’t technically friends, Liza had reminded her only a few days earlier. If Liza didn’t want to tell her, she had to respect that.

But a half hour later, as Carol, Maia, and Lily were hiking up to their favorite secluded spot on the trail, Lily couldn’t help but begin to feel guilty she had left Liza alone yet another night.

“Miss Miles really misses you,” Carol related to Lily from ahead of her, and Maia nodded beside her.

“I think she’s really hoping you can come back to camp soon,” Maia added, shooting Lily a smile. “We all try, but we don’t necessarily have your talent in the lab,” she ended with a wink, and Lily fought off the warm blush reaching her cheeks.

Lily let out a little laugh and shook her head, but then she perked back up again and looked at her friends curiously. “You guys still go to the lab without me?” she asked.

Carol let out a laugh at this. “Yeah, you showed us how to make exploding bomb of purple stain in a sealed juice bottle; I would say our interest in the lab is pretty justified.”

All three girls giggled at this, and Lily quirked her eyebrows at Maia, wondering if she had any other reasons.

“I, um,” Maia began, clearing her throat, “I just never really had an interest in the labs at school, but you made it really fun and interesting, so I figured I’d stick with it.” She shrugged afterward and averted her eyes bashfully, and Lily beamed at her friend, a little stunned she had had such an impact.

“How’s the escape plan working, by the way?” Carol asked her. “You and Liza clearly have the biggest brains in the camp, so I can’t believe you haven’t thought of a way to get yourselves out of that lonely little cabin.”

Lily laughed a little and shrugged. “Honestly, we’ve both been just sucking it up. It’s really not that bad; she’s better company than I anticipated. I think we may even be becoming friendly towards each other,” she joked, knowing full well that they were closer than she was letting on, even if they refused to admit it themselves.

At this, however, Maia and Carol shared a quick glance at each other, and Lily frowned.

“What?” she finally asked, when her friends were proving reluctant to divulge whatever telepathic conversation they were having.

Maia let out a sigh, clearly losing whatever debate they were having, and looked at Lily seriously. “It’s Liza’s friends,” she finally disclosed uncomfortably. “We weren’t going to say anything, but if you two are getting close-”

“We just don’t want you getting hurt,” Carol clarified, and Lily was very lost now.

“What did they do?” she asked for the second time that day.

With an awkward glance at each other, Maia reluctantly explained, “They’re spreading this theory that you’re an alien using some sort of cloaking to appear identical to Liza.”

Lily’s skin prickled at the words, trying not to show a reaction. Her stomach rolled and she tried to even her breathing as she convinced herself they were just making a shot in the dark.

It was a pretty accurate shot, however. The cloaking idea was off, but the alien part was a little too close for comfort.

“They’re being pretty xenophobic about the whole thing too,” Carol continued, a disgusted scrunch on her face, and Lily bit her cheek, not willing to believe that Liza would participate in such a thing. The Luthor name was just that: a name, not a set of ideals.

Maia nodded at this. “They’re now also saying that you’re refusing to let her out of the cabin because she knows the truth or whatever nonsense because after the night they first pitched the theory, they haven’t seen Liza at all.”

Lily came to a full stop at this and stared at her friends. Without another word, she turned and began to sprint down the trail. Within a few minutes, she was approaching the cabin, and gratefully noticed the light still on. Stumbling a bit, she rounded around the structure and slammed the door open with little fanfare.

Liza jumped from her standing position in the middle of the room. She looked like she was in the middle of doing laundry, and turned with wide eyes to stare at Lily.

“Lily, what-”

Lily didn’t let her finish whatever her question was going to be. Cutting her off, she ran up and smashed her into a tight hug, to which she felt Liza hesitantly reciprocate.

Finally letting go off her, Lily wiped away a few of the tears she hadn’t noticed had fallen. “Um, Carol and Maia just told me what the other girls were saying around camp about me being a- an alien, and-”

“Oh my god, Lily, I’m so sorry; they’re spreading that around camp?” Liza asked a little desperately, her eyes widening. “I- I didn’t know; I would have said something-”

“Liza, Liza,” Lily stopped her, shaking her shoulders. “I’m thanking you. They’re your friends and you’re standing up for me.”

Liza shuffled uncomfortably at this. “They’re not really my friends,” she finally mumbled, and Lily wrapped her in another hug.

The door opened again behind them, this time with a little less urgency. Both girls laughed a little at the tears in the corners of theirs, trying to wipe them away sneakily as they turned towards the door.

Maia and Carol’s heads popped in cautiously to observe the scene before them.

Lily let out a full laugh at how silly they looked, refusing to enter the premise of the cabin, and waved her hand at them. “Come in, you guys,” she instructed with an amused look.

They both shyly crept into the cabin, and Maia was the first to speak.

“You just ran off so quick without an explanation; we wanted to check to make sure you were okay,” she explained.

“Also wanted to make sure Liza was safe,” Carol joked, and Maia softly punched her in the side trying to tell her to shut up as everyone began laughing nervously.

“We’re fine,” Lily clarified with a warm smile. “I was just thanking her because I realized why she’s been refusing to go see her friends recently.”

The connection hit both of her friends as their eyes widened and then smiled over at Liza. Liza seemed to be caught a little off-guard by the positive attention she was being granted, and hesitantly smiled back at them.

“Cool abode you guys got going here,” Carol commented, ever the one to distract a group from the original conversation. She began to wander around and look at all the paintings hung up around the room and stopped at the big wall mural Lily had slowly began piecing together a couple days ago. She had gotten tired of having to continue to ask Darvis for canvases.

“You guys can chill here awhile,” Lily suddenly offered on a whim, but then backtracked a bit and looked guiltily at Liza. “If that’s okay with you,” she corrected, and Liza scrambled to find an answer.

“Uh, yeah, I can go hang out on the porch, or-”

“Ouch, Luthor, don’t want to hang with the riff-raff?” Carol asked teasingly, causing Liza to begin stuttering even more.

“It’s okay,” Maia said with a gentle smile, and shaking her head at Carol’s antics. “What Carol means is you’re welcome to stay and hang out with us. We aren’t trying to kick you out.”

Lily shot a hopeful look at Liza, and the girl seemed a bit confused at the offer standing before her. Lily sincerely hoped Liza would decide to hang out with them though. Maia and Carol would love her, and she deserved to make nice, non-xenophobic friends at camp.

Finally Liza let out a little sigh and shrugged. “Uh, sure, I’d love to hang out,” she confirmed.

The girls ended up spreading the blankets from the beds on the floor and sprawling out as they chatted away through the evening.

“Knowing you, I can’t even imagine what your friends back home are like, Carol,” Maia joked at one point in the evening, and Carol let out a bark of laughter at that.

“My best friend back home is the complete opposite of me. Very quiet and very observant,” she explained, and everyone shook their heads with an amused disbelief.

“Mine’s kind of the exact same as me,” Liza piped up, and everyone turned to her curiously. “Which I guess makes sense since we were raised exactly the same.”

Lily furrowed her eyebrows a bit at this. “You’ve never mentioned a best friend,” she recalled, wondering if she had missed that bit of information, and Liza laughed a little and waved off her concern.

“Probably because she’s more like a pain-in-the-ass older sister,” she explained. “Our family’s are really close; Ruby’s mom is my mom’s CFO.”

“Sam Arias!” Lily cried out, knowing immediately who Liza was referencing, and everyone in the room tried to hold back their giggles at Lily’s outburst. The other two girls had quickly made the connection early on in their conversation that Liza’s mom ran the company Lily knew more than the average person about.

“Hey guys, has Lily mentioned she’s a little obsessed with L-Corp?” Maia asked, with a fond teasing lilt to her voice.

Liza smirked and commented, “I don’t know, maybe once or twice.” Lily frowned as all three of the other girls began to snicker, and she sat up, ready to defend herself.

“L-Corp averages twelve major breakthroughs each year!” she exclaimed, and the girls began to laugh even harder. “That’s-”

“‘More than twice as many as their leading competitor!’” Carol finished, mocking Lily gently by quoting her very often stated speech.

Lily, not quite realizing she was being teased, enthusiastically pointed at Carol in agreeance. Maia and Liza were rolling at this point, as Carol kept a straight face to continue egging Lily on.

Liza put an end to it, however, as she managed to control her laughter enough to address Lily. “You know when you go into your interview, you’re going to have to tone this down a little,” she informed her, gesturing to the entirety of Lily’s body.

Lily, however, only had selective hearing for that sentence.

“You’re going to get me an interview!” she screamed in question, and before Liza even had a chance to respond, Lily had tackled her in a hug.

Carol shook her head at the scene and laughed. “You’re not going to get the interview if you kill Liza with your hug, you know,” she commented, referencing the how the girl wrapped in the hug was most definitely suffocating.

Bashfully, Lily let her go and mumbled “sorry”, unable to get the excited spark out of her eye, and Liza shook her head amused.

“Don’t mention it,” she said, confirming that she indeed was planning on trying to get this girl an interview, and Lily tried harder to control her excitement this time. (It didn’t work.)

Soon however, it was time for Carol and Maia to sneak back to the main camp. Carol last minute asked Liza about getting involved with some of L-Corps charities, and Liza was left to lead Maia to the door. As they walked to the door, Lily was proud of herself for having less nervous energy than she usually did on the rare occasions she was around Maia alone, but still, the underlying jitteriness was still there.

Instead of looking up at Maia when they reached the door, she turned back to glance at Carol and Liza who were still deep in conversation. Seeing no other option, she turned to Maia and forced a wide smile on her face to hide the anxiety in her eyes.

“I- um- I’m glad you guys got to visit the cabin of solitude,” she joked lightly, and Maia smiled with amusement.

“Me too. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but that’s probably partially due to your paintings and pictures,” she speculated, looking around the room fondly.

Lily blushed a bit at this. “You guys could sneak out to visit more evenings if you want,” Lily offered. “We’re never really doing anything.”

“Yeah I didn’t figure,” Maia jested with a little scrunch in her nose. “I would love to come visit more often.”

Lily nodded happily at this. “Great, yeah. That’s great!” she confirmed, still blushing. “I- um- It was good to see you again.”

“You too,” Maia responded, her voice and eyes going a bit softer.

“Tell Miss Miles I say hi,” Lily continued, feeling a full on rambling coming as she didn’t know what else to say to the girl.

Maia giggled a bit at this and nodded. “I will,” she promised.

“Uh-”

Seemingly wanting to put Lily out of her misery, Maia just gave out a short little laugh and shook her head. Taking a step forward, she softly kissed Lily’s cheek, stunning her into a silence before she could begin speaking again.

Lily stood with her mouth hanging slightly open as her brain completely short-circuited. Maia just looked at her with a soft smirk and whispered, “Goodnight, Lily.” And before she could even think to respond, Maia was out the door.

Carol came up from behind her a split second later with a knowing look and gave Lily a strong pat on the back. “Atta girl,” she called out as she followed Maia out the door, and then it was just Lily and Liza.

Slowly Lily turned around and faced Liza, still sporting her absolutely stunned look on her face. “Liza, is it possible to die from a kiss on the cheek?” she finally asked after several seconds of silence, and Liza promptly shook her head and threw Lily’s bedspread at her, catching her off-guard with a yelp.

“Go to sleep, you melodramatic sap,” Liza called out, and both girls began to giggle as they shut off the lights and crawled into bed.

The next day Lily was lounging in her bed, sketching out what she wanted the next part of her mural to be when Liza walked out of their bathroom dressed in a tank and running shorts. Lily looked up at her curiously and quirked her eyebrows.

“Going for a run?” she asked, more amused than anything.

“Yeah,” Liza responded easily, grabbing a headband from off her wardrobe.

“I didn’t know you ran,” Lily commented, raising her eyebrows, and Liza scoffed.

“I don’t,” she clarified, stretching the headband across her head and pulling it down around her neck. “I’m just bored, and dying for a few hours should take my mind off things.”

Lily laughed at this, and Liza smirked as she tried to pull the headband back up, but immediately yelped in pain. Lily shot up, and noticed that her headband had gotten caught on the necklace around her neck.

“Let me help you with that,” she called out, hopping off her bed quickly and making her way over to the girl. Sure enough, the clasp of the necklace had become intertwined with the material of the headband. “Hold on, don’t move,” Lily instructed as she worked to release the headband. “I don’t want to break your necklace,” she explained as the rescue mission took longer than she was anticipating.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Liza brushed off her comment. “You can’t.”

Lily furrowed her eyebrows at this. “What do you mean?” she inquired, and at that moment, the headband broke loose of it’s hold. “Got it!”

Liza smiled gratefully and finally placed the headband on her head. “Thanks,” she replied. “And just, it’s a special necklace my mom made out of an indestructible material, so you wouldn’t be able to break it.”

“Oh wow, that’s so cool!” Lily responded, thinking to her own Kryptonite necklace she was wearing. Alex had made it for her when she was born, and it was nearly indestructible, but not quite. The itch to ask Liza if she could study her necklace was near uncontrollable.

“Yeah, she made it when I was born, but has made some modifications to it since then,” she explained absentmindedly as she grabbed her water bottle. “Honestly, I’m a little afraid she put a tracker in it because she’s kind of crazy about me keeping it on at all times,” she divulged with a little smirk and a roll of the eyes.

Lily, however, froze to her spot and stared at Liza as if she had a second head. Liza turned to leave, but frowned when she caught Lily’s stunned expression. Before she could say anything, however, Lily’s mind had fully processed and caught up to the information at hand.

"Holy shit” were the only words that left Lily’s mouth before she sprinted to the other end of the room and started frantically pulling equipment out of her bag.

"Lily?" Liza asked, now the one thoroughly confused. She watched as Lily pulled out and began to set up her laptop and a small circular device, and then turned and looked a Liza with a sense of urgency.

“You’re absolutely, one hundred percent sure your mom made you that necklace?” she asked, her eyes a little wild, and Lily seemed a bit taken aback by the blunt force of the question.

“I- Yes. I’ve seen the blueprints in her-”

"Oh my god,” Lily mumbled, cutting her off, and turning back to her laptop to get it up and running, continuing to mutter to herself as she went. “Oh my god. Rao. Holy shit!"

"Lily are you okay?” Liza asked, now hesitant to leave her roommate alone. Why was she acting so strangely about the necklace? “What are you doing?” she tried, desperate to know what was going on. Taking a closer look at the circular device by her laptop, Liza’s frown deepened. “Is that a hotspot? We weren't allowed to bring-"

"It's for emergencies and this is definitely an emergency,” Lily justified quickly, beginning to type furiously on the computer.

Liza watched for a second and then huffed. "Lily! What is going on?" she finally demanded, and Lily whipped around to look at her with the same intensity.

"Liza! Do you know what this means?" she asked, her voice raising a bit in pitch.

"No, that's why I keep asking you,” Liza responded impatiently, moving closer to Lily as she turned back to the screen and continued typing. She squinted to see if she could decipher what she was doing, but Lily was moving too fast for her to really catch anything.

"When's your birthday?" Lily inquired, but her tone of voice made it sound like she was more trying to prove a point.

Liza considered the question for a moment, and then finally sighed. "August-"

"Third,” Lily cut her off knowingly.

Liza blinked at this, shocked that Lily knew the answer. She hadn’t told her her birthday. "How did you know?" she finally inquired, but the sinking feeling in her stomach already answered that question.

"Because that's my birthday too,” Lily replied, and the significance of that response wasn’t lost on either of the girls.

"Wait,” Liza stopped her, pinching the bridge of her nose as she tried to take it all in. “You aren't actually suggesting that-” Finding herself unable to finish the sentence, she swallowed thickly and switched tactics. “What are you doing?" she asked again, and at that moment, Lily stopped typing and just stared at her screen.

"Rao. Liza look,” she whispered, as tears began to fill her eyes.

Shakily, Liza bent down to look at the screen, and immediately noticed the database Lily was in. "Did you just hack National City's private records?" she asked incredulously, and Lily huffed impatiently.

"Liza look,” she repeated, pointing to the documents she had pulled up on the screen, and Liza’s eyes finally wandered down to their contents.

She felt like she had been sucker punched. Her breathing immediately became shallow as tears immediately filled her eyes.

"I- It's our-”

But she once again found herself unable to voice the words out loud. Luckily for her, however, Lily was a bit ahead of her in the processing of the information.

"Birth certificates,” Lily confirmed softly, with a bit of awe. “Elizabeth Lexington and Lillian Alexandra Danvers-Luthor born to Kara and Lena Danvers-Luthor."

They were both silent for a moment, almost feeling in shock at hearing their full names for the first time. Finally, Liza sniffed behind Lily and tried to wipe away her tears.

"Oh my god,” she mumbled, turning to Lily in disbelief. "We're- we're sisters,” she announced, voicing the discovery for the very first time.

Lily looked up at her with matching tears in her eyes and a giant smile on her face.

"Liza, we're twins,” she clarified, and the two only stared at each other for a split second before they were laughing and wrapping each other up in the tightest hug of their lives.

Chapter Text

Lily knew Liza had thousands of questions and was bursting at the brim to ask them all, but she also knew many of them were going to have answers that needed to be demonstrated rather than simply explained. So rather than allow her the chance to ask everything once the hug broke, Lily quickly grabbed Liza’s hand without a second thought and dragged her out of the cabin.

They ran for a few minutes further away from the main camp, and Lily knew she could only stave off Liza’s curiosity for a short while longer before she all out protested.

Coming to a clearing in the woods, Lily stopped suddenly, causing Liza to crash into her. Seemingly not noticing, however, Lily furrowed her eyebrows and surveyed the area closely. Liza watched her closely, the confusion never leaving her eyes.

Nodding in satisfaction, Lily jogged over to a tree with a small snapped off branch about eye-height up. Her hands reached around to the back of her neck and shakily grabbed the clasp to her necklace. As she undid it and pulled the chain off her, she could feel her powers seep back into her muscles, and she could almost weep with relief at the feeling. She could survive without her powers, but the past three weeks she had felt less like herself than she would have cared to admit.

Reclasping the necklace together and depositing it on the tree branch, Lily let out a big sigh and then turned to Liza with a wide grin. With the full scope of her powers beginning to take effect, she could now confirm what she had originally suspected: they were a good few miles from anyone who might think to disturb them, and with trees as cover, this made it the perfect place to show Liza what being her twin meant.

Liza quirked her eyebrow at Lily’s expression and looked at her doubtfully. “Uh, Lily?” she asked slowly, gesturing to the forest around them. “What are we doing out here?”

With a smirk and a refusal to answer her directly, Lily merely instructed, “Take off your necklace.”

Liza visibly paled at this as her hand shot up to her necklace. “I- I can’t,” she weakly argued. “Mom will find out.”

Lily shook her head gently with an understanding expression and an outstretched hand. “She won’t; I promise. And you need to take off your necklace,” she pushed, and Liza took a hesitant step towards Lily.

“Why?” she asked, stopping just short of Lily, and Lily let out a little exasperated giggle.

“Because it will change your life. It’s going to suck at first, but I promise it’s worth it,” she answered easily. “Do you trust me?”

Liza stared at Lily for a long moment before slowly nodding her head and reaching her hands back to fiddle with the complicated clasp her mom had fashioned before finally getting the necklace undone and letting it snake off. Handing it to Lily, nothing seemed to change, but by the time Lily had her necklace hanging around the tree branch with her own, Liza was clutching Lily’s forearm with a strength that she knew would have broken it had she been human.

“Hey, hey, Liza, it’s okay, okay?” Lily quickly hushed her, holding her up with her other hand as Liza’s clenched her eyes shut as tears started streaming out of her eyes.

“What’s happening to me?” she gasped out, looking up at Lily in fear, and Lily quickly pressed their foreheads together and held her tightly.

“It’s going to be overwhelming for a moment,” she explained softly, trying to sooth her sister through it. “But nothing’s happening to you. You’ve just never had these heightened of senses. Do you hear that?” she asked, knowing from experience the soft whispers would help with the transition. “The wind through the leaves; the three- wait no- four squirrels in that tree above us; my heartbeat. Just focus on the one that calms you the most, and breathe slowly. This is the safest place for your first transition; I’m right here with you, and we’re miles away from any noise that would be too overwhelming.” Liza’s heartbeat still was beating rapidly, but Lily noticed a significant drop in the rhythm and let out a sigh of relief that Liza was beginning to get ahold of her newfound senses.

They stayed like that for several minutes before Liza’s breathing and heartbeat returned to semi-normal. Slowly, she unclenched her fingers from Lily’s arms, who reciprocated cautiously.

“O- okay,” Liza finally announced shakily, nodding her head to signal she would be okay. Swallowing thickly, she looked up at Lily a bit scared at what had just happened, still trying to adjust to the her newfound abilities. “What was that?” she eventually asked breathlessly.

A slow smile crept across Lily’s face as she almost bounced in anticipation of revealing the big news to Liza. “There’s something I never told you about Yeyu,” she began, taking in Liza’s every expression.

Liza seemed to catch onto this immediately, widening her eyes as she looked down at herself in wonder. “We’re part alien, aren’t we?” she asked, her wide eyes looking up at Lily a bit dumbfounded.

Biting her cheek, Lily looked a bit guilty. “It’s not just that,” she confirmed, while keeping the air of mystery alive. Walking past Liza to the middle of the clearing, she looked above her to gauge the amount of room she would have between the trees when she jumped. Then with a big huff, she dropped her head, locked eyes with Liza, and then took off.

The rush of flying would never leave Lily. Ever since she was a little girl, it had been one of her favorite feelings in the world. The ground left her at a startling rate and she merely let herself make it about a mile above the trees before allowing herself to float and then subsequently freefall. As she hurtled back to the Earth, she let out an unbridled whoop and may have sped up a bit for the sake of showing off to Liza.

Bracing for impact, Lily gracefully flipped herself around and few seconds later, landed on the soft forest mud with a loud thud. Flipping her head up so as to dramatically remove all the hair from the front of her face in her crouched position, she grinned at the stunned expression on Liza face.

“You- but- Supergirl!” she sputtered, trying to form coherent thoughts, but clearly failing.

Giggling a bit, Lily stood up and pulled her hair back behind her ear with a smirk. “Correct,” she replied, cutting her off with a gentle encouragement. “Our mother is Supergirl,” she continued, sauntering over to Liza with a knowing look in her eyes as her jaw dropped.

“That’s- but that’s incredible!” she squealed, jumping excitedly, accidentally lifting herself off the ground. With a yelp, she slammed herself back down to the ground, shaking it violently as she landed. Her eyes widened in fear and looked up at Lily for help.

“Don’t worry about it; I’ve been training for years and still have my shaky landings,” she comforted with a small smile. “If you’re interested, I can train you a bit for the rest of the summer,” she offered, and Liza’s face broke out into a beam.

“Of course I want you to train me; can we start right now?” she jumped at the offer. “Supergirl is my all-time favorite hero. I’m honestly a little upset Mom never told me I was related to her; I talk about her all the time.”

At this, Lily deadpanned her stare into an incredulous look and raised her eyebrow. “And what, you think I’m thrilled my mother never told me Lena Luthor is my mom?” she scoffed, and Liza let out a little giggle at this, still high from the thrill of finding her sister and her mother. “Come on,” she gestured with a small smile for Liza to join her in the middle of the clearing. “Let’s see if you can control that flying of yours.”

Lily had promised herself that she was only going to use her laptop and hotspot for emergencies when she had packed it secretly into her suitcase. Her mother may or may not have specifically stipulated that she wasn’t allowed to bring them if she was going off the grid for the summer, but somewhere between her worry for her mother and general worry of emergencies in general, she had made sure to stuff as much in her suitcase to subvert suspicion and snuck the tech in anyways.

And an emergency did appear, so she was grateful that she had brought it. Proving her and Liza were sisters more than made it worth it. And now that she had done that, she swore she was done with it. She knew the more she used it, the more likely the DEO would be able to track her, and she really didn’t think a visit from Supergirl while she was using unapproved tech and using her powers to train her never-spoken-of twin sister after promising to keep the necklace on the whole summer was the best move at the moment.

Unfortunately this fear only dissuaded her for about twenty-seven hours after she pulled up her birth certificate. Her mother had been married to Lena Luthor, and she was still trying to wrap her mind around it. They had twins together; they had been a family. There had to be some kind of trail of the two of them, and yet all those years of Lily trying to learn everything about Supergirl as if she could research her way into the confidence of a superhero and then all the years of researching L Corp and Lena Luthor had turned up nothing of the sort. She had to figure out why.

With a huff as the sun set through the window of the cabin and Liza silently wrote in her journal, Lily pulled out her laptop and began setting it up. Liza looked up at her with a frown, knowing that she had stated the tech had only been packed for emergencies.

“What’s up?” she asked, a worried crease in her brow, and Lily waved off her fears with a smile. Liza had been super quiet almost that whole day, but Lily had just chalked it up to absorbing the mountain of information they had uncovered the day before. It was a lot to take it, and Lily herself was even catching herself having trouble processing it.

“I’m just really curious, honestly,” she explained as she began to set up the laptop. “There’s got to be some kind of trail on them right? Old pictures and such?”

This seemed to pique Liza interest. Setting aside her journal, she hopped off the bed and came to sat beside Lily, leaning over her shoulder slightly as she watched type “kara danvers and lena luthor” into the search engine.

The results were underwhelming. A few articles her mother had written on her mom. A few articles that listed both women as influential women in business. They thought they had found something with an article titled “Lena Luthor’s Romantic Past”, but the article was clear of any mention of their mother, instead just explaining that no one really knew anything of her past romantic entanglements. On the side of the article was the link to another article written by Kara Danvers.

Lily sighed aggravated. “Mom’s a Luthor,” she stated exasperated, the title rolling off her tongue easily. Both girls had begun to their mothers’ as such and were almost surprised at how natural it felt. “She had to have some kind of public profile, even back then, but it’s all clean. Too clean.”

Liza considered this for a moment, biting her cheek as she watched Lily keep clicking on dead ends. “Do you think she wiped it?” she asked quietly.

Biting her lip, Lily resigned herself and sat back against the wall. “I guess. There’s no trace of them.”

“I don’t think there would be much to find anyways,” Liza responded a bit frustrated and defeated, and Lily quirked her eyes at her tone. “Mom always says until Lex forced her hand, she tried to stay out of the public spotlight as much as possible,” she explained.

Lily frowned and thought this over. Suddenly she sat up and began typing furiously. “Liza you’re a genius,” she complimented excitedly while her sister just stared at her confused.

“I mean, I know, but how in this situation specifically?” she asked, with a joking edge to her voice as she playfully poked Lily.

Tilting the computer towards her a bit more so she could see what she was working on, Lily stayed intently focused on the task at hand as she responded, “Of course Mom had a public profile, everyone does, but if she was never in the spotlight, we’re looking in all the wrong places. We have to find their personal trails.”

Liza still frowned as she explained this. “But if it was wiped, is there any personal trail to even find?”

“If your good enough at uncovering things, definitely,” Lily promised with a wink, and Liza held her breath. Sure enough, a few minutes later she had pulled up a collection of deeply buried and hidden photos of their mothers. Both girls stared in awe at the younger versions of their mothers, arms wrapped around each other, holding hands, kissing each other’s cheeks. In each and every one of them, both women were beaming and looked so in love it was almost disgusting.

“Woah,” Liza breathed out and pointed at a photo they had yet to study. It was a group picture, and as Lily enlarged it both of them stared at it a little stunned.

“This has got to be one of the rarest photos in existence,” Lily commented in awe as they took it in. It was their entire family all crouched together around a hospital bed. Their mom sat in a hospital gown, circles around her eyes but smiling nonetheless. Their mother looked as if she had been crying and sat beside Lena in the hospital bed in sweats. Each of them held a newborn.

On the right side of the bed near Kara sat Lillian Luthor, a hard, yet tearful expression on her face. Her placement on the bed seemed a bit forced, as if she wasn’t quite comfortable to be there. Crouched in front of her knelt their Aunt Alex who had her hand placed warmly on her sister’s leg.

The left side had the more shocking collection of people. Eliza sat beside Lena, her arm wrapped around her back and her hand softly gripping her adoptive daughter’s shoulder. To her side stood Clark and Lex, arms around each other’s shoulders as they seemed to be laughing excitedly. Lois stood wrapped in Clark’s other arm, a small smirk on her lips as she laughed along with the boys.

“This is probably the only family picture we’ll ever have in our life,” Lily observed, unable to take her eyes off how close Clark and Lex looked. Of course she had always known they had been best friends, but seeing the physical proof of it, knowing how their relationship ended made her stomach turn a little.

“Wait, if Yeyu is Supergirl, then is Clark Kent-”

“Superman?” Lily cut her off softly. “Yeah,” she confirmed sadly, and she heard Liza take in a sharp breath as she realized the new implications the picture had.

Liza was quiet for a few moments before she softly commented, “Wow.”

Glancing back at her sister for a moment, Lily frowned as she took in her expression. “You good?” she asked gently, and Liza swallowed thickly and nodded.

“I just- I can’t really consider this a family photo for me,” she explained, a hard look in her eyes. “The only person in this photo that I know is Mom--well, besides you, of course. Lex is obviously not a part of my life, and Lillian’s always been distant with me and Mom. I see her once a year, and she never really says anything to me. Just gives me this hard look as if I’m a disappointment somehow; her relationship with Mom has been really tense ever since Lex went to jail, I think.”

Lily bit her cheek as she considered this. “I guess I didn’t think of that,” she responded softly. “Would you consider Sam and Ruby your family then?” she asked, looking back at Liza once again.

Liza nodded at this, seeming to relax a little bit more at the mention of their names. “Definitely. They’ve been there through everything.”

Lily studied Liza for a moment longer before turning back to the computer and closing out of the picture, deciding they had dug up enough skeletons for the time being. Instead, she continued to go through pictures of their moms, eating up every single one. She noticed Liza was still tense behind her, so she tried to lighten the mood with some commentary.

“Rao they were such a power couple,” Lily breathed, looking at a particularly attractive photo of the two of them outside of a party with their arms snaked around their waists. “I’m telling you Liza, we won the gene pool here.”

At this, Liza stood abruptly behind her and exited the cabin without a word, slamming the door behind her. Lily looked after her a bit stunned and confused by the reaction. Frowning, she quickly shut down the computer and packed it up before taking off her necklace and going after her into the night.

It didn’t take long to find Liza by following her heartbeat, even though Lily had an idea of where she might have gone anyways. Floating on her back above the clearing the girls had trained in the day before, Liza stared up into the starry sky, silent tears slowly streaming off her face. Slowly Lily flipped onto her back and joined Liza, laying silently in the clouds.

“Thought I’d find you here,” Lily said after a moment, turning her head over to observe Liza who was still pointedly ignoring her. With a small sigh, she turned her head back up to stars and waited for her sister to speak when she was ready.

It was a few minutes before Liza’s voice, raw with anger and disappointment, cut through the night. “How aren’t you angry?” she asked, still staring upwards.

Lily sat up a bit at this, worry creasing in her brow as she looked over at Liza. “What do you mean?”

“What do I-” Liza began incredulously, glancing over at Lily and then burying her eyes in her hands frustrated. After a second like that, she sat up to face her sister. “Lily, we’re twins,” she explained, an edge to her voice. “Our mothers separated us when we were only a year old, and then proceeded to never tell us about our other mom nor each other. And you’re just okay with that?”

“Of course I’m not okay with that,” Lily defended herself, her frown deepening. “I’m upset, sure.”

Liza scoffed as if she didn’t believe her. “They kept us separated for fifteen years, and your going through pictures of them like it’s some cute family scrapbook.”

Lily swallowed thickly and fought the tears brimming in her eyes. “We don’t know what happened between them,” she argued weakly.

“And whatever happened is supposed to make this all better?” Liza snapped, and Lily opened her mouth to snap back, but at the look in Liza’s eyes, she stopped herself. She was just scared, she realized. Lily would be too in her situation. She grew up knowing only their Mom and now found out she had been hiding this the whole time.

Lily grew up with her Yeyu, her aunt as her best friend, a grandma that always looked out for her, and a fun aunt and uncle that visited every holiday. It was unconventional, but it was a family, and suddenly Lily felt guilty, as if she had hogged all the attention and family for the past fifteen years. But one look at Liza and she knew the other girl wasn’t blaming her for her luck of the draw, but was rather merely scared at losing her mom as a role model when she was all she had for her entire life.

With a soft, understanding half-smile, Lily let out a deep breath. She knew exactly what the girl needed to hear, what Yeyu would want her to hear. Laying back down, she gestured for Liza to join her. Hesitantly after a moment, she did, and they laid in silence for a moment before Lily was ready to begin.

“Do you know where Krypton is in the sky?” she asked, and Liza’s eyes flicked to her confused before she slowly shook her head. Lifting her hand to point to the quadrant of the sky that was to the left of them, Lily explained, “It’s there, about twenty-seven light years away.” She paused to let Liza find it before she continued. “Do you know why it exploded?”

Liza nodded at this. “They over exploited their planet’s core, leaving it destabilized,” she answered easily.

Biting her lip, Lily gave a short nod. “That was part of it, yeah,” she confirmed. “But I would argue the main reason it exploded was because their government knew the planet was becoming destabilized and instead of trying to own up to it and fix it, they hid it.”

“That’s awful,” Liza commented, her voice thick with unspoken emotion.

“Yeah,” Lily responded, her voice just as thick and she laughed with a sarcastic tone. “And what makes it worse is the government was our grandparents, who decided to let everyone else die and send Yeyu and her cousin to Earth to be saved,” she continued, and Liza’s eyes whipped to hers widely.

“That’s-” Liza tried to form, but she was at a loss for words, and she swallowed thickly as she tried to fight the new tears in eyes as she watched Lily carefully.

“Yeah,” Lily agreed, unable to describe her feelings on it herself. “Yeyu didn’t tell me that part of the story until I was fourteen.” Lily paused, biting her lip and taking a deep breath before she continued. “I was upset with her; I used my powers for a science project, and it was banned from the fair because it had caused a hole in my data. It was still far more advanced than any of the other kids’, so that inconsistency aside, I should have been able to participate, I argued. But Yeyu took the school’s side. ‘El mayarah!’ I had screamed at her when we got home. Our family motto: ‘Stronger together.’ I thought she should have taken my side because I was her daughter.”

Lily paused to collect her thoughts as her voice became shaky, and Liza waited patiently for her to continue.

“She sat me down then, and finally explained to me the guilt she associated with being the last daughter of Krypton. It hurt so much to watch her be shameful of something that I had only ever seen bring her pride. She loved her planet and her parents, but the lies and deceit had tainted those memories for her. ‘El mayarah,’ she explained then, had not meant what her parents believed to mean, what I had thought it meant; it meant doing the right thing, making the hard choice, looking out for everyone and not just our family. She looked me in the eye then and promised she had always lived her life by the true meaning of El mayarah for our family, even the ones who were far away. ‘It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes; it doesn’t mean we don’t do things we regret; it means we have to do what we think it best and deal with the consequences.’”

Liza sniffed then, and Lily looked over at her, tears streaming down her own cheeks as she watched Liza look intently at the direction Krypton was in for the first time in her life. Remembering that conversation with her mother and looking at Liza, she finally realized that when Yeyu said she lived by El mayarah for family far away, she wasn’t talking about Clark in Metropolis or memories of Krypton twenty-seven light years away. In her mind was the girl floating right next to her, and Lily smiled a bit, knowing Yeyu would be happy to know her other daughter was brilliant.

“So you’re telling me they weren’t intentionally trying to hurt us and we should cut them some slack?” Liza finally commented, trying to wipe away the tears on her cheeks. She rolled her head over to look at Lily, and Lily just smiled softly and held out her hand.

“I’m saying El mayarah,” she whispered.

Clasping Lily’s hand in her own, Liza smiled through her tears and looked back up at Krypton.

El mayarah,” she whispered back.

As the days passed with their new discoveries, Lily and Liza had no problems finding ways to use their time in the isolation cabin. Generally, most of their time was used training in the forest. Liza loved her powers in a way Lily never did, and she would have almost been jealous had she not been genuinely happy the girl had found her true passion.

“Do you train with Yeyu a lot?” Liza asked one day, and Lily shrugged.

“Not as much as I did growing up,” she replied. “Back when I was still gaining all my powers and learning how to use and control them all, I was out with her a lot, but since then, we only go out together on rare occasions.”

Liza giggled a little in between her tries at using her heat vision and turned to Lily with a beam. “All those kids growing up and wanting to be superheroes and you got to grow up knowing you could actually be one,” she joked, and Lily shot her a strained smile.

“Did you want to grow up and be a superhero?” she asked curiously, and Liza looked a little bashful.

“Always,” she admitted. “I love helping people, and superheroes do it with such style, you know? Supergirl was always my favorite too growing up, which is funny now considering the psychological torture I must have put upon Mom. All those Halloweens I insisted on being Supergirl, the fit I threw in the store when I was seven because I wanted a bedspread with a big Supergirl print on it that Mom refused to buy me, the endless amount of t-shirts and dolls. I’m honestly surprised she kept it together as much as she did now knowing their history. I always thought she was just wary of me being a Luthor and being so obsessed with a Super.”

Lily smiled amused at this, definitely wanting to see pictures from her sister’s Supergirl phase. Sometimes she honestly forgot how much little girls looked up to her mother for actually being a hero. Growing up she had just thought it was normal because her mother was always her hero anyways.

“Did you?” Liza asked then, turning back to their impromptu training grounds.

Lily hummed, being pulled from her thoughts and furrowed her eyebrows at Liza’s question.

“Want to be a superhero,” Liza clarified, and Lily’s eyes widened in understanding.

“Oh,” she said. “Uh, not really,” she admitted a bit shy. Liza furrowed her eyes a bit confused but allowed Lily to continue. “I tried really hard for awhile, you know? The only two other people I knew who had powers like me were superheroes, so I just figured it was what I had to do. I tried to research it endlessly and ended up over training and becoming a little too eager for good measure. I tried to follow Yeyu out into the field one day, and she caught me and stuck me up in the lab with Alex. It was-” Lily cut herself off and let out a large breath with a smile. “It felt like coming home. I would spend hours a day in there, pouring over project after project, but the moment Yeyu would come back from work or whichever bad guy she was fighting that day, I would shove it all to the side and try to ask her when I could get out in the field with her.”

Liza gave Lily a strange look and smile before she laughed a little. “When you told me you understood not knowing how to live up to your mother when you’re not interested in her career, I thought you were talking about her fashion magazine empire, not being the world’s greatest superhero,” Liza jested, and Lily let out a little laugh.

“Yeah, well, you try telling your superhero mother that you really don’t want to selflessly put your life at risk day after day,” she defended herself, a smile taking over her face. “It makes you sound really selfish and scared.”

Liza hummed at this and then nodded. “True, it does,” she agreed. At this, Lily playfully glared and shot her heat vision at Liza, who just barely managed to dodge out of the way in time with a laugh.

Anyways,” she continued with an eye roll and a cheesy grin, “it wasn’t until Yeyu sat me down and told me it was okay that my passions lay elsewhere, and that her and Clark weren’t going to be upset with me if I wasn’t a superhero that I broke down and finally admitted to her nothing stressed me out more than the idea that I was going to have to take over for her someday.”

Liza stared at her, shaking her head amusedly. “Do you think cosmic karma got the two of them back for leaving each other and separating us just by giving them us to raise?” she asked with a smug smile. And Lily let out a little laugh that was cut off abruptly as her head snapped back towards the cabin.

“Do you-” she began, and both of their eyes locked in panic.

“Darvis,” they both breathed at the same time, as they realized the counselor was making her way to their cabin as they spoke.

“We’ll never make it back in time,” Liza panicked, already heading for her necklace as Lily held her hand up to stop her.

“We will if we don’t put those back on,” she reasoned, and Liza’s eyes widened with fear.

“Lily,” Liza hissed. “I’ve been using my powers for a week and never around other people,” she reminded her, a fearful look in her eye.

“Just follow me, and don’t touch anything,” she instructed. “We can’t have Darvis calling our moms again; she might mention one of our names to the wrong mom, and then they’ll know we know, and this will become messy fast. Come on, Liza, you’re a natural; you’ve got this,” she encouraged.

Liza took a deep breath and nodded. “You’re right. Let’s do this,” she agreed, a fearful lilt still haunting her voice. With a supportive smile, Lily nodded at her, and then took off running through the forest.

They arrived back at the cabin with a minute to spare, and both girls positioned themselves on the porch so as to appear as if they had been hanging out there the whole time. When Darvis rounded the corner, they were idly chatting about the different music venues in National City and London, and both girls turned to the camp director with innocent smiles as they stopped their conversation.

As if somehow sensing that the girls knew she was coming, Darvis narrowed her eyes suspiciously at them, but continued her trek towards them until she joined them on the porch.

“The two of you have behaved surprisingly well for the past two weeks,” Darvis observed with a bit of resentment. “I’m willing to put you both on probation for the next two weeks, which means you’re allowed to go to and from the camp for camp sanctioned activities only. Every time you go, you have to check in with another counselor, and once the event is over, you’re expected to return here promptly. If you still maintain your good behavior streak for that long, we will discuss options of reinstating you in the camp more permanently,” she announced, and Lily and Liza shared excited looks at the prospect of rejoining the camp for at least a few hours of the day.

“Thank you, Darvis,” Lily thanked enthusiastically. “We won’t let you down!”

Darvis shot Lily a long disbelieving look, but for she nodded and began walking away shaking her head. As she left ear shot, Liza shot up happily, and accidentally stomped a hole in the floor of the porch.

“I can fix that,” she promised quickly, and Lily just laughed and gestured for them to go back to their clearing in the forest.

The next day the girls took advantage of their small granting of freedom by excitedly joining Carol and Maia in the lab after breakfast. The lab was mostly empty as they entered, due to Miss Miles not having a program scheduled that day, but Miss Miles’ face lit up when she saw the two enter the lab and quickly assured them she would document their time there for Darvis as “camp sanctioned activity” as long as they didn’t spill any more toxic chemicals. They both apologized for the mishap, and Miss Miles waved them off unconcerned, and pointed Lily towards the corner of the room she had kept her ongoing projects while she was away. Lily grinned eagerly began to break them all out again.

Liza watched amusedly as Lily began to take over the lab and Maia and Miss Miles eagerly set out to help her, showing her all the progress they had made in her absence. Instead of getting involved, however, Liza was perfectly content sitting to the side with Carol, who knowingly offered her paper and charcoal so she could sketch while the others geeked out.

“These are incredible samples,” Lily stated, after taking inventory on her methylmercury project. “Have you tested the fish at all?” she asked, looking up at the other two.

Maia shook her head. “We wanted to get the water samples first to provide a baseline for the project and to gauge if there were areas of the lake that were worse than the others,” she explained, and Lily beamed at her.

“Spoken like a true scientist, Miss Adle,” Lily complimented with a sly smile, to which Maia reciprocated easily.

“Oh yeah, I’m great with chemistry,” she teased back, bumping her hip into Lily’s, and Lily’s face quickly became a bright shade of red as she turned purposefully back to her samples.

“Uh, we should test the fish!” Lily squeaked, and she chose to ignore the giggles from Liza and Carol across the room that were directed at her.

Taking her flustered actions in stride, Maia smiled knowingly and then flipped around to face Miss Miles. “Do you have any fishing gear?” she asked, and Miss Miles quirked her eyebrows as she considered the question.

“You know I’ve worked here for two years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone fish on the lake,” she commented. “I honestly don’t know if we have fishing gear.”

“You do,” Liza piped up from across the room. “I saw some fishing rods and stuff in the lake sheds,” she explained when everyone looked at her confused.

“When were you in the lake sheds?” Lily asked confused.

With a small laugh, Liza shrugged innocently. “When I was getting the tire hub and rope for the pulley contraption that got your bed on the roof,” she disclosed with a smirk.

At this, Lily let out a little gasp and smacked her forehead. “A pulley!” she exclaimed. “Of course that’s how you did it; did you use the flagpole and the tree?” she asked a little urgently, and Liza laughed at her.

“You seriously didn’t figure that out?” she asked with a raised eyebrow. She tsked a little and shook her head. “And to think you’re Lena Luthor’s daughter,” she teased, and Lily rolled her eyes and shot her a glare. It was a beat after the comment the girls realized that everyone had frozen at Liza’s words.

“Uh, something you’d like to share with the class, guys?” Carol finally asked, breaking the awkward silence as Lily and Liza tried to communicate their options to each other through their eyes.

Finally Lily responded, “Funny story, uh, Liza and I kind of found out we’re long lost twins.” Three sets of eyes stared at the two girls for a long moment before Miss Miles was the one to break the silence this time.

“Well at least that mystery is solved,” she commented, and Maia and Carol nodded in agreement, smiles overtaking their faces.

“If you could kind of keep it a secret though?” Liza asked them. “We’re still figuring it all out and don’t need our moms finding out that we know,” she explained.

“Don’t worry about it,” Maia jumped in easily, and Carol nodded with her.

“Yeah, we’ve got your back,” she promised, and Lily and Liza let some of their tension out of their shoulders as they shot everyone grateful smiles. “Now I heard something about fishing, and I am stoked to see how awful we all are at it,” Carol commented, and everyone laughed as they made their way out of the lab and towards the lake sheds.

Lily and Miss Miles ended up at the front of the pack discussing the implications their research could have, and Carol being Carol got distracted thirty seconds into the walk by a what she thought was a turtle by the lake (it was a long forgotten and abandoned deflated dodgeball), which left Liza to walk with Maia for a bit.

“Please tell me you’re going to get her to take you in a boat out on the lake with just the two of you,” Liza commented with a pleading tone, deciding to be upfront with Maia. If she knew anything from her limited experience with her sister, it was that she was hopeless when it came to actually making a move on Maia.

Maia chuckled a little at this, and then sent Liza a sly smirk. “What do you think the real reason is that I’ve been stalling on testing the fish?” she asked coyly, and Liza’s jaw dropped a little before she let out a quiet whoop.

“I knew it!” she whispered excitedly, jumping a little. “I knew you liked her too!”

Maia laughed a little, but at the last word her head whipped around a little as a light blush began to form on her cheeks. “Too?” she asked, her voice going up a couple of pitches.

Liza rolled her eyes at this and laughed at the hopefulness inside Maia’s eyes. “Honestly you two were made for each other. You may talk a big game, Maia, but you’re just as oblivious as she is,” she stated, and Maia playfully punched Liza in the shoulder.

“Liza, which lake shed did you see the fishing poles in?” Lily called back to her then, and Liza looked up and observed the three sheds in front of them.

“I think it was the middle one!” she yelled back, and Lily excitedly made her way into the middle shed.

It was a cluttered mess, and Lily could tell the sheds weren’t used for most camp activities. She scanned through what seemed like endless amounts of nets and rope and just plain wood planks until she found what she sought on the far end of the shed. Clambering over all the miscellaneous items in her way, Lily proudly grabbed five fishing poles and the tackle box sitting on the ground beside them.

As she emerged from the shed victoriously, everyone had to stifle their laughter at the sight of her. She was covered in dust and cobwebs from head to toe, and was completely entangled in the five fishing lines from the poles she had grabbed. Not letting it dampen her mood in the least, she sat down the tackle box and patiently started to work with Miss Miles to untangle herself from the cords.

After about five minutes of hard work and dedication, Lily was finally free, and the group made their way to the lake.

“Okay,” Miss Miles instructed, as she handed out fishing poles. “We need samples from all over the lake, so I say you four split into pairs and pick a spot on the lake. I’ll stay and fish here so I can keep an eye on both pairs.

“Carol and I will take the south side,” Liza volunteered quickly, and Lily almost sighed with relief that she was going to be paired with Maia. She hadn’t had the chance to spend hardly any alone time with the girl yet.

“Alright then, looks like we have our pairs. Do you girls know how to row a boat and or fish?” Miss Miles asked, and all four of the girls looked at each other nervously.

“We’re fast learners,” Maia finally piped up, and all the other girls nodded along. Amusedly, Miss Miles let it slide on the condition that they all wore life jackets.

The girls then loaded up their small boats and sat wobbly inside, as they all tried to become acclimated with the balance of the whole process. Carol and Liza seemed to get the hang of it first, so they pushed off into the lake before the other two. After a few more moments of settling in, Maia looked up at Lily with a bright smile that almost caused Lily’s heart to jump out of her chest, and she shot her a delayed smile once she got her emotions in check again.

“You ready?” she asked with a little laugh, and with an eager nod, Lily pushed them off into the lake. The push ended up being a little too eager, however, and caused them to unsteadily rock back and forth. The two of them, now holding onto the sides of the boat for dear life as it rocked and they floated out to the middle of the lake, burst out into loud laughs that did not help the stability of their boat.

When they finally calmed down and got the boat back under control, they managed to row steadily enough to locate themselves on the opposite side of the lake from Carol and Liza. Finally in position, they tried their best to bait their hooks (Lily laughing the whole time Maia squirmed trying to puncture the worm with her hook) and cast their lines out into the water.

“So,” Maia began, slowly after a moment of silence as they watched their motionless bobbers, “you and Liza are twins. How does one figure that out?” she asked curiously.

Lily shrugged. “Too many coincidences, honestly,” she explained. “It just got to be freaky, so I hacked some records and found our birth certificates.”

Maia shook her head amused and let out a little laugh. “Of course that was your solution,” she commented. “Lena Luthor being your mom though, that’s got to be so exciting for you.”

Laughing, Lily tried to keep the anxiety out of her voice. “More like terrifying,” she corrected, her tone a bit strained as she disclosed the small fear that had creeping in on her lately. Maia looked at her with a quirked eyebrow, and Lily sighed. “I just don’t want to disappoint her, you know? I’ve looked up to her for so long, and now she’s my mom on top of it, and it just feels like a lot to live up to.”

Maia stared at Lily for a moment with a strange look on her face before she turned and looked out at the lake contemplatively. “I think she’s going to be impressed with you ten seconds into hearing you ramble about a project you care about, or when she sees the clear passion you have in the lab. I don’t think she’ll care what you’re good or talented at, but I think she will care that you’ve found something that makes your eyes light up every time you think about it,” she commented, and then turned back Lily with a small smile.

Lily stared at her for a long moment beaming and blushing before she ducked her head and looked back at the lake. Yeyu would really like Maia, she decided, and the idea almost startled her. The idea that she would ever introduce Maia to her mother implied that their friendship would expand in the weeks to come, and the idea frankly terrified Lily. In general, throughout her life, Lily always took awhile to trust people she hadn’t grown up around. Letting Liza into her life so quickly and easily was a culture shock enough for her. Adding Maia on top of that, well she just needed to take this one step at a time.

The idea did, though, get Lily thinking about Maia’s family. She realized that while Maia seemed to know more about her than a lot of people in her life at this point (or as much as she could know at least), Lily knew barely anything about Maia’s life back home.

“What do your parents do?” she asked suddenly, and Maia looked up at her amused.

“Well I can promise they don’t live up to editor of international magazine and CEO of largest tech company in the world,” she joked, and Lily pushed her gently with a seriously look. “Okay, okay,” Maia relented, holding up her hands with a little laugh. “My mom’s an electrical engineer at a consulting firm, and my dad owns a small bakery in downtown Metropolis. My brothers and I usually work there in the summers.”

“No way! Which one?” Lily inquired excitedly.

Maia shrugged. “Oh it’s really small, I’m sure you’ve never-”

“My uncle and I have bakery crawls all over that city, and I remember every single one that we’ve visited. Maia, I need you to tell me the name of the bakery,” Lily cut her off with a serious look in her eye.

Letting out a bark of laughter at the sheer ridiculousness of the idea of Clark Kent and his niece travelling all over Metropolis unnoticed to try every pastry in sight, Maia caved. “It’s called Dough in the Wall, and-”

“The tiny bakery with blue doors on the corner of Seventh Avenue?” Lily asked quickly, and Maia blinked at Lily’s memory.

“Yeah, that’s the one,” she confirmed a bit dumbfounded.

Lily almost melted right then and there. “Oh my Rao, that’s your dad’s bakery?” she asked excitedly. “Your croissants are the best this side of the hemisphere. And your red velvet cupcakes are to die for; Clark and I ate four a piece when we visited, and I know for a fact that Lois still sends him one every day she has to work late and wants to apologize.”

Maia stared at Lily stunned. It took her a moment to come back to the present and when she finally shook herself back, she let out a little chuckle. “You’re incredible you know that?” she asked, and Lily immediately flushed as she shrugged. “And for the record, the red velvet cupcakes are my favorite thing that we sell as well.”

Lily beamed at her and relaxed back a bit in the boat.

“Crazy to think that Clark Kent and Lois Lane are regular customers, and we have no idea,” she commented after a moment.

“Clark’s really great at disguises,” Lily laughed, mostly to herself. “But I can yell at him to give you guys a shout out sometime,” she offered.

Maia shot her a soft smile at the offer. “Let me ask Dad first if he’s okay with that kind of influx of business,” she responded modestly. After a beat, she looked back up at Lily and asked curiously, “Do you visit Metropolis often?”

Lily shrugged at this. “Not as much as I’d like to, but when I get a chance to fly out, I jump at it. I love hanging out with Clark and Lois.”

“Have they ever taken you to the restaurant Bido’s?” she asked curiously.

Getting tired of watching her bobber do nothing, Lily stood and crouched in the boat to reel it back in to cast it back out. As she did so, she shook her head and furrowed her eyebrows. “No they haven’t. Should I tell them too?” she asked.

“No,” Maia responded easily. “The next time your in Metropolis, I’ll take you myself,” she explained, shooting Lily a pointed look as the girl froze. “That is, if you want me to take you on a date after camp,” she clarified, doubt starting to seep into her eyes at Lily’s lack of response.

Instead of reassuring her though, Lily’s body reacted without her conscious decision. She yelped and jumped as the words ran through her head, and before she knew what else to think, she was heading face first towards the water, flipping the boat as she went.

The life jacket pulled her up to the surface immediately, and she came up coughing up water, her mind still in full panic mode as she tried to process the fact that Maia just asked her out on a date. Maia came bobbing up from the water moments later, and tried to laugh it off.

“You know, not the best response I’ve gotten from asking someone out,” she jested.

But before she could say anything else, Lily screamed, “Yes!”

Maia blinked at this, caught off guard by the enthusiastic response. Slowly her face morphed into a wide smile before she broke down into uncontrollable laughter.

“You couldn’t told me that without flipping us into the water?” she asked through the giggles, splashing water towards Lily’s face.

Splashing her back, Lily laughed and argued, “You couldn’t have asked me out on stable land?”

By this point Liza and Carol came rowing up beside the girls, looking a bit concerned at their overturned boat and splashing war.

“Everyone okay here?” Carol asked, holding out a hand to help Maia into their boat.

“Everything’s great,” Maia responded with a wide smile that threw Liza and Carol off. She shimmied herself into the boat and landed on the floor with a little laugh.

“What happened?” Liza inquired concerned as she tried to help Lily into the boat the same way.

Maia waved off her concern and explained, “I asked Lily out and she-”

“Actually,” Liza cut her off with a chuckle as she yanked Lily on board, “that checks out. You don’t really need to explain any more.”

Lily stuck her tongue out at Liza who reciprocated easily. About a minute later, as they were rowing back to the dock, a mischievous look donned Liza’s face that made Lily internally groan.

“I know that face, and whatever you’re thinking, stop,” Lily threatened, but Liza just smiled sweetly at her and shrugged.

“I’m just thinking of how perfect of an in I have with our Aunt Alex now that when we first meet, I’ll be able to tell her the story of how you tried to drown the first girl who ever asked you out,” she related innocently.

This time, it was Liza who flipped the boat from dodging Lily’s lunge at her. The passengers were deposited in the water, and all the girls came up to the surface coughing and laughing at their predicament. By the time they finally swam back up to the dock, Miss Miles was standing there with her hands on her hips, shaking her head amusedly at the girls.

“Alright,” she announced, “this is partially on me for allowing you all to get on boats.”

The boat incident added another two weeks to the girls’ probation, for which Miss Miles apologized for profusely. She had wanted to not report it so as to not jeopardize the girls’ status, but then quickly realized two overturned boats on the lake were likely to get noticed.

Liza didn’t mind though, really. She enjoyed her time with Lily in the cabin and training, and being isolated from the rest of the camp made it easier to hide their discovery and for them to slip out and work on Liza’s powers.

The week following with their probation in place began a new routine for the girls. Generally they would hang out at the camp in the mornings from breakfast until lunch. Then they would spend their afternoons training in their place in the woods. After dinner, some nights they would sneak off with Maia and Carol to have their own, unsanctioned camp time, or they would just hang out in the isolation cabin by themselves.

Tonight was the latter of those two options. Everyone seemed tired at dinner, so the girls had decided to part ways earlier that night. They were glad they had too, as it had started pouring down rain not twenty minutes after they entered the cabin.

Liza allowed Lily to make some headway on her mural as she caught up writing in her journal for the week. The two lightly chatted as they went about their business, and Liza briefly wondered if this is what it would have been like growing up with and living in the same room as Lily. She felt a little robbed of that childhood, even though her childhood was great as it was, but the more present feeling was the ache in her chest at the idea of now having to go back to her life without Lily after camp.

She was going to miss the other girl a lot, and there wasn’t really a solution to that problem.

“Did Mom ever take you to amusement parks as a child?” Lily asked out of the blue, pulling Liza from her thoughts. She was getting used to Lily curiously asking random questions at any given time throughout the day.

Swallowing thickly, and trying to ignore the thoughts she was just dwelling on, Liza smiled. “All the time. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, if you couldn’t tell by my flight patterns,” she joked with a small smile, and Lily laughed along, knowing full well how fast and albeit dangerous Liza liked to cut it with her flying. “She rented out a whole amusement park for me once for my birthday and invited everyone in my class at school. I think she personally hates riding roller coasters, but she never hesitated to take me.”

Lily looked back at Liza with an amused smile. “God you can tell you’re Supergirl’s daughter, can’t you,” she commented before turning back to painting. “Yeyu never let me go as a kid. She didn’t like making me wear my necklace and couldn’t trust me not to break the rides without it on. Plus, she argued that we had something better than roller coasters anyways.”

Liza was silent at this, pondering what it would have been like to grow up as Supergirl’s daughter. But as she considered it, she realized she was more interested in what it would have been like to grow up as Kara Danvers’ daughter. Investigative journalist, outspoken human and alien rights activist, editor of a magazine that was known for giving a voice to those who don’t usually receive one in the media. Supergirl was just a side gig, Liza realized with a startling clarity. The real hero was just herself.

“I used your laptop the other day, while you were asleep,” Liza suddenly admitted, looking a little bashful at the confession, and Lily froze and turned around to her with her eyebrows furrowed.

Lily was quiet for a moment before asking, “What for?”

“To research Kara Danvers,” she explained, and Lily’s expression immediately softened.

Plopping down from the chair she was standing on, setting her brush on her side table and wiping the paint from her hands onto her shorts, Lily jumped up onto Liza’s bed and sat with her legs crossed. “So,” she began with a small smile, “what did you find?”

Liza let out a little disbelieving laugh and shook her head. “That she’s incredible and I should have been obsessed with her instead of Supergirl,” she relayed. Lily beamed at this, and Liza could tell she was happy her mother was getting the credit she deserved. “Seriously,” Liza continued, “I read some of her articles on the alien refugee crisis, and she’s so incredibly well spoken and influential. I’m not surprised she got promoted to editor, her work speaks for itself. And the fact that she does all that for minorities, and then is Supergirl on top of it? I honestly don’t have the words.”

“I’m really glad you think so,” Lily thanked her. “I don’t think she gets enough credit for who she is as a person. Like Supergirl is amazing, and Kara Danvers is brilliant, but so few people get to see the big picture, and it can become frustrating. I look up to her so much, and I just want people to appreciate her, you know?”

“Definitely,” Liza agreed. “Mom’s still fighting that whole Lex debacle while she’s still doing such amazing things, and I hate that he had to take away from what she should get credit for. Reading about Yeyu though just makes me want to become a journalist and help fight her fight, you know? Mom’s kind of been pushing me that direction anyways, saying that I should look into a career in journalism or humanitarian efforts.”

Lily bounced a little at this, a bit excited. “You know Yeyu’s always looking for driven interns in the summers. I’m sure she would love to have you on her team, you being her daughter aside, you would bring so much to the table,” she related eagerly, and hope began to warm Liza’s chest at the thought of being able to spend a whole summer working under her mother. “Of course, you’ll probably run into the same problem I’d have if I got an internship at L Corp,” she lamented when a grim smile. “Everyone would just think we were each other.”

Liza laughed a little at this, unable to disagree with Lily. “Might as well just not tell anyone at that point. We’ll just be each other for the summer,” she joked, and Lily froze at her words.

When Liza’s eyes caught Lily’s, she immediately began shaking her head with a stern look at the realization that her sister had taken her words a bit too literally. “No, Lily, it was a joke,” she argued before her sister could even propose anything.

“A implementable one, though,” Lily retaliated, the far off look in her eye proving that she was barely paying attention to Liza’s protests.

“We couldn’t pull off being each other for an entire summer; our moms would know that we knew by then,” Liza tried to point out, but Lily was already hopping off the bed and pacing like she did when she was in deep thought.

She stopped suddenly, and looked at Liza with wide, excitable eyes, and Liza internally groaned at whatever plan was about to come out of her mouth.

“What if we did it this summer?” she proposed, and Liza stared at her a bit confused. “Just for a couple weeks,” she continued, clarifying the idea as she went. “At the end of camp, you go back to National City as me, and I go back to London as you. We don’t tell them we switched, and they know none-the-better. Then we get to know our moms, see each other’s lives, and eventually we tell them about the switch, and they switch us back.” Lily was near bouncing by the end of her pitch.

“You’re mad,” Liza commented still a bit dumbfounded that Lily thought that was a good idea. “Don’t you think the woman with superpowers is going to be able to tell the difference between her daughters?” she pointed out, and Lily waved away her concern.

“Liza, this is the woman who thinks glasses and a ponytail are a convincing disguise we’re talking about here. She won’t notice a thing,” she promised, and Liza huffed, still thinking the idea was ridiculous. “Just think about it,” Lily pushed, desperately wanting Liza to hop on board with the idea. “You get to meet and train with Yeyu; I get to nerd out with Mom. We don’t know how they’ll react when they find out we know, so this could be our one shot at getting good quality time with them. Then when they figure out what’s happened, they’ll have to exchange us in person, meaning-”

“They’ll have to meet again,” Liza reluctantly finished, seeing where the plan was going.

“Face to face after all these years,” Lily added, a mischievous smirk on her lips.

With a sigh, Liza looked up at Lily’s hopeful eyes defeated. “We’re going to try to get our moms back together, aren’t we?” she asked, already knowing the answer, and Lily whooped at the question, taking it as confirmation that Liza was in. And she hadn’t said it as a confirmation necessarily, but the more and more she thought about the plan and the potential to get her moms back together and being able to have a home with both of them and her sister, the more Liza was on board with the idea. It was crazy, sure. But so was the situation they were in regardless.

“Okay, so we’ll have to teach each other everything about our lives to pull it off, and we’ll also have to come up with a plan of how to get them back together when they finally do see each other again. Maybe tomorrow we can sneak into Darvis’ office and print out a bunch of stuff so we can start making informational posters and such to follow,” Lily began rambling, and Liza sighed a little with a chuckle, knowing she was absolutely going to agree to and go along with everything Lily had just said.

And she did. In the following weeks the walls of their isolation cabin became covered floor to ceiling with different pictures of different aspects of the girls’ lives, both eagerly learning everything they could to prepare themselves for the switch.

One evening, Liza was sitting and studying Lily’s house plan with furrowed eyebrows. “So your house has-”

“Red sunlight worked into the lighting fixtures,” Lily cut her off, knowing what the girl would find interesting about the design. “It’s better than wearing the necklace all the time because it doesn’t drain your powers, but it just kind of makes you feel like a normal human. It makes the house quiet and calming, honestly. It’s nice that home can then be translated into not having to control your every move, sort of like being at home with yourself.”

How does it feel when you walk out of the house?” Liza asked, the carefully placed Kryptonian rolling off her tongue like a natural. One of Lily’s first tasks for Liza to fill her shoes for a couple weeks was for the girl to learn their mother’s native language. Yeyu would know what was off immediately if Lily couldn’t speak Kryptonian, and having learn five other languages in her life already, Liza approached the challenge with grace, taking every chance to practice the language.

Lily thought about her question for a long moment, trying to think of a way to describe it. “If taking off your necklace is like walking out into very cold weather--harsh on your body, causing an uncontrollable reaction that takes a long time to adapt to--then walking out of the house is like walking out into very hot weather--it can be uncomfortable, but you adapt pretty easily,” she tried to explain, and Liza nodded as if she understood.

Looking up at from the layout, Liza frowned at the paper Lily held in her hands. She had been studying and adding to it all night without a word to Liza about what it was about.

“What are you working on?” she inquired, standing up and making her way over to Lily’s bed. She scooted herself onto it and leaned over Lily’s shoulder to catch a glimpse at what was written.

“A plan,” she explained simply. “To get Yeyu and Mom back together.” Liza could tell just by Lily’s tone of voice she was frustrated with her progress.

Sitting up more and preparing herself for a long brainstorming session, Liza gently pulled the paper from Lily’s hands and narrowed her eyes at it. “Okay, where are you getting stuck,” she inquired, and Lily sighed.

“Kind of all of it,” she replied a bit helplessly. “The problem is we don’t know why they broke up, so I don’t exactly know what strategy we should use to get them back together.” The unspoken fear rested between them then and unsettled them both: what if their moms were simply better without each other.

But they had both seen the pictures of them together. Their moms had never looked that happy that they could recall in their lifetimes. There had to be something special there that could be salvaged from the situation.

“Okay, so we figure out what split them up,” Liza responded easily, as if that were a simple task.

Lily scoffed a little. “And how do you expect we do that?” she asked. “Just tell them ‘Hey Mom I have a weird suspicion you were once married to another woman, wanna tell me why that ended?’”

Liza pushed Lily a bit in an attempt to tell her to stop being so dramatic. “We know more than they do at this point about their current lives,” Liza proposed. “We just have to use that information to manipulate them, or anyone who would know really, into telling us stuff about their past. They’ve kept us a secret from each other for so long, maybe everyone will give us actual information so we’ll stop digging.”

Considering this for a moment, Lily sighed. “You’re right, that will probably work,” she admitted, and Liza shot her a proud smirk to which she rolled her eyes.

Lily took her paper back and began to write some things down. Liza watched her silently for a moment before she was unable to hold back the nagging voice in her head.

“What’s your top theory as to why they broke up?” she asked, a waver of anxiety in her voice.

Lily paused at this, waiting a moment before slowly bringing her eyes up to meet Liza’s. “Well, Mom left National City and opened the L Corp international headquarters a few months after Lex’s trial, so it would probably have to have something to do with that, right?” she speculated slowly, trying to choose her words carefully.

Liza was silent for a bit as she contemplated her answer. Finally she quietly asked, “Do you think it was because Mom is a Luthor?”

Lily became defensive immediately, as if she had been expecting Liza’s mind to go that route. “Absolutely not,” she answered quickly. “Yeyu doesn’t look angry or hateful when Mom’s brought up around her. She just gets really sad.”

Letting out a sigh of relief, Liza nodded. Every through her worry, she had to admit that it didn’t sound like the Luthor name came to play in their split. “Okay, good. That’s how Mom gets about Yeyu as well,” she related.

“So we can probably knock Clark and Lex’s fight out of the running,” Lily concluded confidently.

“Well if it wasn’t that though, then what was it? Something else about the trial?” Liza asked, her eyebrows furrowing, trying to remember anything that might help them.

Sighing, Lily sat the paper aside. “We’re going to have to figure it out as we go, I guess. We’ll just keep in contact and keep each other updated to form the plan.”

Liza nodded, and then looked at Lily with a bit of curiosity. “Has Yeyu ever dated anyone?” she asked, and Lily nearly burst out with laughter.

“Oh Rao, no,” she denied. “I don’t think she’s ever looked twice at anyone. Has Mom?”

“Nope,” Liza responded, popping the “p” sound at the end of the word. “I don’t think she’s ever come close either.”

Lily nodded at this, and both girls knew: they had a real, viable shot at this, at getting their family back together. They couldn’t waste it or mess up. It should have terrified them, made them more on edge. But both just looked at each other with a calm knowledge that fate had brought them together at this camp; what was the harm in trusting in fate just a little longer?

“What about you?” Lily then asked, breaking the silence with a curious smirk and curling her legs up in front of her. “Anyone ever caught your eye?”

Liza shook her head amused at the change of subject. She was wondering how long it would take before Lily wanted to have relationship discussion with her.

“Nothing serious,” she responded easily. “And nothing that ever made its way up to Mom,” she clarified with a pointed look as Lily shrugged innocently. “I went on a date with a guy from my advanced physics class earlier this year, but he wasn’t really my type. Too outgoing and probably just looking for an L Corp internship. He was cute though,” she lamented with a smile poking at the corner of her lips. “I had a massive crush on one of my primary school friends growing up though. What a shame she moved away.”

At this, Lily’s eyes lit up, and Liza smirked, knowing Lily was going to latch onto the information eagerly. It wasn’t that she had been trying to hide her sexuality from her sister, but getting her and Maia together took up a lot of her time and energy, she had honestly just forgotten to mention it. Dating had never been at the top of Liza’s to do list. Her crush list was few and far between, but she adored supporting her sister and getting her to act on her potential with Maia.

“Do you think if she hadn’t moved, you would be dating her?” Lily asked genuinely interested, and Liza let out a little laugh.

“Who knows,” she waved her off with a little shake of the head. “I don’t even know if she was gay, and I’m definitely not heartbroken over it. I’m probably too busy for a relationship anyways, you know, with the four L Corp charities I manage?” Liza gently reminded her with a pointed look, and Lily gulped a little as she tried to nonchalantly nod her head.

Out of this whole process, Liza had not been expecting Lily to get tripped up over the fact that Liza ran four of the L Corp charities. The girl was able to convince her they could trick their superpowered mother who spoke an alien language for a couple weeks, but apparently doing some finances and planning some events was where she drew the line. Liza let out a little chuckle at the strained expression that came up every time Lily now heard her mention the charities and shook her head. Even after she had assured Lily that the charities had been fine without her control for the summer and certainly could go another couple weeks without her, it did nothing to relax Lily’s obvious anxiety at the prospect.

Instead of commenting on it though, Lily eventually forced the strained look off her face and shot Liza a faux disbelieving look. “Too busy to date? Maybe you are the true miniature Kara Danvers,” she jested, and Liza scoffed and rolled her eyes.

It had become an ongoing joke between the two girls that they were just reincarnations of their moms. And while they teased each other endlessly, it was a bit of a welcome discovery to know that somehow, some way, both of their moms had influenced their lives. Going into the switch, it was a comforting thought to have that they wouldn’t have to fight for a connection with their other mom; they had had one all their lives.

“I don’t think this can count towards that,” Liza rebutted with a sly smile. “Mom is just as bad at being too busy to date. I think that’s just something we inherited overall. You can’t tell me that the hours you put into creating the super suit make your dating life more active,” she teased gently.

Lily huffed good naturedly as she relented. “Okay, okay, fair. But the good news is the super suit is an investment because once it’s finished, and I’ll wear it, my dating life will skyrocket with activity,” she shot back with a cheeky smile.

Liza shook her head. “That’s assuming it looks as good as you say it does, and you’ll even want to wear it,” she teased back, and Lily shot her a mild glare.

The girl was very protective of her project back home. She had given Liza a twenty minute lecture before she had introduced it to her explaining that Yeyu was in no way shape or form to discover the secret project her aunt was currently protecting while Liza was doubling as her. Apparently the suit was going to be the most advanced super suit in the world once Lily was done with it, but she didn’t want to reveal anything too soon. If all went well, she was hoping her mother would allow her to update her own suit, which would be the biggest honor Lily had explained. Her current suit was near perfect and hadn’t been updated in the past fifteen years.

“I wouldn’t test me, Luthor,” Lily said warningly, a smirk at the edge of her lips. “You insult me and I won’t let you wear the suit when it’s finished,” she threatened with a pointed look.

Instead of being fearful of the threat, however, Liza just stared at Lily a little stunned. When Lily noticed, she furrowed her eyebrows a little, the confusion painted on her face.

Before she could say anything forever, Liza asked breathlessly, “You’re going to let me wear the suit?”

The crease in Lily’s forehead deepened as she stared at Liza. “Uh, yeah?” she said, as if she were lost as to why Liza was shocked by that. “I’m sure we’re almost the same measurements, and you enjoy the superhero thing way more than I do, so after I got the tests done, I was kind of planning on the suit becoming primarily yours anyways.”

Tears pricked at the corners of Liza’s eyes as she lunged forward and wrapped Lily in a tight hug. “Thank you,” she mumbled, the gesture meaning more to her than she could possibly describe. It wasn’t just that Lily trusted her enough with the suit, or felt close enough to her to let her wear it: it was the symbol of the whole thing. She had only known she was a Zor-El for a few weeks, and Lily was already telling her she was worthy of wear the House of El crest on her chest as if it were nothing.

When she pulled back and let out a little laugh as she tried to wipe away her tears, it was almost as if Lily read her mind, finally connecting why it meant so much to her. Softly she squeezed Liza’s forearm and beamed at her.

“All those Supergirl costumes as a kid, I don’t know why it’s surprising you would grow up to wear the House of El crest,” she pointed out with a soft look in her eyes.

Laughing as more tears escaped from her eyes, Liza pulled Lily back in for another hug.

The summer passed far too quickly for Liza’s liking. While she was excited to finally meet Yeyu and try to get their family back together, there was a much larger part of her that was so nervous it caused her stomach to churn. What if Yeyu saw right through her? What if her powers were a disappointment compared to Lily’s? What if Alex didn’t like her? What if she managed to ruin this for everyone?

Lily on the other hand seemed like she couldn’t wait to board the plane to London, as if their future was so certain once they parted ways. Liza may have inherited what Lily called Yeyu’s “ridiculous trust level” by going along with Lily’s plan, but she most definitely did not inherit their mother’s pure and excitable optimism like Lily had.

Maybe she just wanted to stay in this cabin with Lily forever and not risk losing what she already had.

It was two weeks until the end of camp and the girls had finally been off probation for a week. They were fortunately able to convince Darvis to allow them to keep living in the isolation cabin for the few weeks of camp, so they wouldn’t have to take down any of their crazy in-depth research on each other’s lives from the walls. (Lily also hadn’t wanted to deal with Darvis’ discovery of her now-finished mural until as late as possible.)

The girls at this point spent most of their time with Maia and Carol. They had spent day in and day out studying for the switch for weeks, and now was their time to relax a bit. Review sessions were still held in the evenings, but as far as fooling their moms for a couple weeks, both felt confident in their ability.

“What kind of plans do you guys have for after camp?” Carol asked as they all sat around a campfire one night. Most of the other campers were participating in the special nightswimming event at the lake, but the four friends had decided they would rather take the opportunity to use a fire pit, since they usually were all taken.

Lily and Liza shot each other a look and shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They hadn’t disclosed their plan to their friends, deciding it was too risky. There was a high chance their friends would want to know more about the switch, and there was a lot about being Supergirl’s daughters that they couldn’t discuss.

“I’ll probably just be working in my dad’s bakery until school starts,” Maia responded, not noticing Lily’s look at Liza as she curled into her side a bit. It was a cooler night than it had been most of the summer, and Liza could tell Lily was very grateful she had used it as an excuse to sit right next to each other.

Liza cleared her throat finally after this and shrugged. “Probably just the usual. I’ll have to check in on the charities and get ready for our upcoming events,” she explained vaguely, shooting a pointed look at Lily that she should respond in the same fashion.

“Uh, yeah,” Lily agreed, a little too quickly, a bit jumpy from the feeling of Maia at her side. “I’ll probably just be back in the lab.”

Carol just nodded at this, taking a swig of her water. “Well, I’ll be dying of boredom in Iowa, if any of you want to kidnap me so I can hang out in one of your super cool cities,” she half-joked, the painful look in her face exposing her true feelings towards her home state.

Everyone laughed good naturedly at this, and Maia shrugged.

“Maybe we should all get together before school starts up again,” she suggested, her eyes wandering to Lily’s hopefully, and Liza could see the bit of nervousness in her eyes. “I could host everyone, if you wanted to make Metropolis the meeting point,” she offered, watching Lily carefully as she shifted uncomfortably and looked to Liza for help.

“I’d be down,” Carol chimed it excitedly, ready for any excuse to spend time away from her home.

“Uh,” Lily tried. “I might be kind of busy the first few weeks after camp,” she explained, and Liza grimaced by how unsettled her sister looked.

Maia’s face fell a bit as she explained, “Oh, well I go back to school two weeks after camp, so that’s about the only time I can host you all during the week.” She was trying to hide her disappointment at Lily clearly trying to make up an excuse to not visit her, and Lily’s face fell too, unsure of how to make it better.

With a sigh, Liza made the executive decision for her.

“We’ll let you know,” she promised softly, and Maia looked up at her confused. “It’ll just depend on how long it takes our moms to figure out we switched.”

Maia and Carol sat in stunned silence as Lily’s eyes widened at Liza’s admission. Merely shrugging, Liza sat back and waited for her friends to fully process what she had said.

“I knew you two were up to something!” Carol finally exclaimed, a victorious expression on her face as Maia still stared dumbfounded at Lily. “That’s brilliant, definitely one way to force your moms to meet you two,” she joked, taking it all in stride.

Carol’s words must have loosened Maia up a bit, because she finally broke out a smile on her face as she looked back and forth between the two girls.

“You two wouldn’t happen to be planning to also force your moms to meet again, would you?” she asked coyly, catching on to the real reason between the switch quickly. Carol’s jaw dropped as she also put together just how devious Lily and Liza were being with their mothers. Liza shrugged innocently while Lily easily gave away the guilt on her face.

Lily was able to get a bit of a grip over her emotions, and she looked at Maia with a pointed look. “Maia, do we seem like daughters who would trick our single moms into seeing each other for the first time in fifteen years in the hopes of them rekindling whatever spark they once had?” she asked pensively, and both Maia and Carol burst out laughing.

“This is the best idea ever,” Carol declared. “Keep us updated, I want to know how your little parent trap here works out. Because it’s the two of you, and I’ve seen how easy it is for you to stay out of trouble with authority figures, I’m sure it will go swimmingly,” she teased with a wink. Both girls laughed at this, knowing their track record wasn’t the best over the summer, but confident in their ability to pull this off nevertheless.

Before Liza could shoot back a playful remark, a few girls stumbled upon their campfire. Liza froze when she recognized their voices.

“Oh shit,” one of them said with a little laugh.

“Look, it’s the clone freaks,” another chimed in, setting all the girls around the campfire on edge.

One of the stepped towards the campfire so the girls could see her face, and Liza clenched her jaw as her eyes met Kieran’s.

“You guys certainly put a lot of faith in these aliens that they won’t steal your identity. I certainly wouldn’t,” she stated snarkly to Carol and Maia, her eyes never leaving Liza’s. Carol and Maia glared at her as Max and Sarah came up on her sides.

Liza had been purposefully avoiding the trio for weeks, having nothing left to say to them. She had hoped that by her hanging out with Lily and her friends, the nasty comments and rumors would cease around camp. Apparently it didn’t deter her old friends in the least.

“Cute you think I would even want to steal your identity,” Liza responded loftily, knowing what she needed to do to get back at them for everything she’d said against Lily. “Being a bigoted bitch doesn’t really take much effort.”

Kieran glared back at her, and Max scoffed. “Whatever Luthor, Danvers brainwashed you, and we all know it. You were cool before you had to live with her,” she shot back, and Liza swung her legs around to stand up.

“The fact you think I ever agreed with you because I’m a Luthor is disgusting,” she retorted, clenching her fists. “If you want to follow Lex’s ideals, go ahead, but don’t be surprised when you end up right beside him in a prison cell.”

“You’re delusional, Luthor,” Sarah stepped in. “If you think aliens do any good for this planet, then-”

Liza held her hand up to cut her off, almost growling as she began to talk. “I’m not even going to let you finish that sentence,” she gritted, her glare so strong, she was almost surprised her heat vision didn’t activate despite the necklace she was wearing. “I suggest the three of you turn around, walk away, and never talk about me or Lily again, or I may just be inclined to get your name blacklisted from every Global 500 company,” she threatened.

She could tell the three girls wanted to keep fighting, but as they each came from well off families and couldn’t afford to have opportunities at the world’s largest companies to be taken away from them this close to college, they silently one by one turned and walked away without another word.

As they left earshot, Liza sunk back in her chair with relief as Carol let out a loud whoop of victory. Maia beamed a bit stunned by the interaction, as Lily’s eyes shone with tears as she looked gratefully at Liza.

“Can you really get someone’s name blacklisted from the Global 500?” Carol asked after a moment, in awe of Liza’s clear power she was exhibiting.

Liza let out a little laugh and shot Carol a small smirk. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” she said coyly, and Carol once again began cheering for Liza, as both Maia and Lily shook their head in disbelief that Liza had been bluffing the whole time.

Soon after, the group smouldered their fire and began the trek back to Maia and Carol’s cabin to drop them off before Lily and Liza made their way to their cabin. As was custom anymore, Carol was in the front of the group with Liza, discussing whatever random topic popped into her head. Today she was mostly interested in exactly how many Global 500 companies Liza would actually be able to blacklist someone’s name from, and the number was well over fifty percent, which made Carol pale a bit.

Behind them, Maia and Lily spoke quietly, stealing as much alone time to talk as possible.

“It still would be super cool to have you visit before the summer was over, if you have the time,” Maia said with a small smile, and Lily beamed up at her.

“Definitely. Like Liza said, it’ll just depend. I can come up and visit some weekends though, if you’d like?” she offered in return, and Maia tried not to look too excited before her expression became hesitant.

“I wouldn’t want to make you fly all that way,” she shot down with a small frown.

Waving her off, Lily smiled. “It’s no big deal really. My family has, like, unlimited frequent flyer points,” she explained, trying to keep her face straight.

Maia looked back up at her hopefully. “Well, if it wouldn’t be a hassle to you, I’d love you to visit however often you want,” she admitted. “We can exchange numbers too, obviously; I’m just really going to miss having you around.”

“I’m going to miss having you around too,” Lily mumbled, her cheeks burning as Maia softly tangled their fingers into each other’s as they stopped in front of the cabin. Liza and Carol quietly snuck into the cabin to leave the two alone for a moment and both girls were grateful for their thoughtfulness.

Maia stared at Lily for a moment, and Lily didn’t need super hearing to know that her heart was pounding just like hers. She didn’t miss the way Maia’s eyes flicked down her her lips, or the way Maia was breathing shallowly, as if she were anticipating something.

Before Lily could force her body into motion, Maia awkwardly shifted her weight and cleared her throat, her hand still holding Lily’s.

“I- uh, I should go-” she began to say, but before she could move, Lily just gently tugged on her hand, knowing if there was ever a moment to make a move, this was it.

Leaning in, Maia seemed to know what Lily was going for before her brain even processed it, and met Lily halfway. As their soft lips met, Lily fought to keep any verbal noises buried deep in her throat as she pressed deeper into the kiss, Maia reciprocating easily. Her free hand dug eagerly into Maia’s curly hair as her other hand hung on to Maia’s for dear life.

When they pulled back from the kiss, both girls seemed a bit dazed. Lily almost wondered if it had even happened or if she had blacked out. It was only from her ability to feel the ghost of Maia’s lips still on her own that she even convinced herself it was real.

Clearing her throat, Maia smiled shyly at Lily before leaning in and lightly kissing her again. Then untangling their fingers, she slowly walked away from her without a word and into her own cabin.

Liza was by Lily’s side in seconds, and laughed a little as she physically began to lead Lily back to their cabin. A few minutes in, the dazed girl try to say something, but all that came out were unintelligible sounds.

Shaking her head amused, Liza teasingly asked, “If I took off your Kryptonite necklace right now, would you just shoot straight up in the air from at the coiled up happiness in you right now?”

Lily turned to her at this and looked at her seriously in the eye. “I don’t think I would ever be able to come back down,” she reported honestly, and Liza snorted as they came upon their cabin.

Lily rolled over and looked at Liza at the crack of dawn. Both of them had grown accustomed to sleeping in a little, but not this morning. Liza was already awake, staring back at her, and they both shot each other nervous smiles.

Their stuff was already packed up, all the evidence of their conspiring over the past months disposed of properly. Lily had left the mural on the wall, knowing they would have to repaint the interior of the cabin before next summer anyways.

Lily had said goodbye to Maia and Carol the night before, knowing she had to leave the earliest for her flight, while Liza would get to hang back for a few more hours. Clenching her eyes shut as she lay in bed for a few more seconds, sending out a little prayer to Rao that this would all work out.

Eventually, however, it was time to face the reality. Slowly, she trudged out of bed, Liza following her lead as they packed their last few things, and Lily changed into an outfit of Liza’s.

“How do I look?” she asked, slipping a little of Liza’s accent into the question.

Liza shook her head and tried to look amused, but also looked as if she were on the verge of crying. “Mom’s going to love you,” she stated confidently, and Lily shot over to her and wrapped her in a warm hug, sniffing as she pulled away and tried to pretend she wasn’t crying herself.

“This is so silly,” she chided, speaking mostly to herself. “It’s not like we’ll never see each other again.”

Liza agreed, but they both knew the unspoken thought they both had. Even when they saw each other again, it wouldn’t be like this. It might not just be them being lighthearted, normal sisters for awhile now.

Lily and Liza both decided to bring their suitcases to the main camp together, so they could say goodbye there. As they made their way to the camp, Lily looked around her in awe, and then back to Liza with a reverent smile on her face.

“No matter what happens, this has been the best summer of my life, and I don’t care if we have to sneak out and fly all the way across the world to see each other again; we’ll do it. El mayarah,” she stated confidently, grabbing Liza’s hand and squeezing it.

Liza beamed back up at her, allowing some of the tears in her eyes to fall as she yanked Lily into another tight hug. “I love you, sister. Good luck,” she whispered in her now fluent Kryptonian, and Lily would be lying if she said she didn’t shed a tear or two herself.

Pulling back Liza immediately brought her hands to the back of her own neck to undo her necklace. Lily did the same as they both laughed a little. Trading the necklaces to each other’s hands, both immediately redonned the opposite dampener. Lily was almost shocked by the quality differences in the dampening. Liza’s necklace almost felt like being under the red sunlight.

Lily could tell Liza was about to complain about the quality of her new necklace when they heard Darvis come up behind them. “Oh Liza, good!” she called out, shooting her a wary yet warm smile. “The driver is here to take you to the airport,” Darvis announced, and Liza reached out her hand and squeezed Lily’s encouragingly.

Taking a deep breath, Lily grabbed Liza’s suitcase and made her way towards Darvis. “You and Miss Lily certainly know how to get into trouble,” Darvis whispered to her as she led her to the car. “But I’m glad a friendship was built out of it,” she finished, and then moved in to hug Lily.

Lily was a bit shocked by the affection, but reciprocated it all the same. Darvis had been annoying, but she had done her job and did them a huge favor by allowing them to stay in the cabin after their punishment was over.

Then with one last glance back at Liza, Lily dipped into the car and held her breath as they pulled away from the camp.

The plane ride seemed to pass with no issues, Lily taking advantage of the first class seats Yeyu had refused to buy her due to Lily needing to be a bit more “humble” or something. She had been rather calm in the air, just entertaining herself through the flight rather than dwelling on what awaited her when she landed.

But she did land, and all the worries she had been avoiding came rushing to the surface.

“Ma’am, we’re disembarking, if you could grab your bag,” one of the flight attendants snapped her back to the present as she sat frozen in her seat, nerves preventing her from standing. She shot the lady a nervous yet polite smile, and shakily stood as she reached up for her bag and began to shuffle off the plane.

Liza had informed her that Lena was supposed to pick her up from the airport, but she shouldn’t count on it. Their Mom got busy quick and would make it up to her with a fancy dinner later that evening. Holding her breath, Lily almost ran out of the terminal, nervous energy propelling her as she quickly tried to push down her emotions again. There was no way their Mom would notice she wasn’t Liza. She had to calm down so she could savor meeting her for the first time.

As she turned the corner from baggage claim, Lily almost dropped her bag as she stopped dead in her tracks. A few people grumbled behind her that she should watch what she was doing, but her mind couldn’t focus on them as her mouth hung wide open and tears sprang to her eyes.

Not twenty yards in front of her stood Lena Luthor, in all her glory. She hadn’t seen Lily yet, as she was talking seriously on the phone and looking at the floor, but Lily felt breathless and lightheaded as she took in her Mom for the first time. Her entire body began buzzing, and she wasn’t actually sure if she could go up and greet her Mom like she had done it for fifteen years of her life. Suddenly, she was beginning to see why Liza had been so hesitant to agree to this plan.

Just when she was considering making a run for it and forcing Liza to switch her back and figure out a new plan, Lena glanced up from her phone call and broke out into a large smile upon seeing her daughter. Lily shot back a nervous smile as she tried to remember how to work her body, and she could tell her mom was cutting her phone call off so she could greet her.

Finally finding movement in her legs, Lily began to speed walk towards her mom, trying to hold in her tears until she could hide them in a hug. Sixteen years she had thought she would never meet her other parent. Six years she had looked up to the woman in front of her as one of the biggest influences on her life. And now she was running up to her like she was running home. Lily let out a little laugh and choked back her sobs as she finally came upon her mom, dropped her bags unceremoniously, and slammed into her with a tight hug.

Lena let out a little gasp of air, surprised at how tight the hug was, but she merely just reciprocated the hug warmly and smoothed the back of Lily’s head, a few tears coming from her own eyes.

As she pulled back from the hug, she wiped the tears off Lily’s face, kissed her forehead, and chuckled a little. “Hi darling,” she embraced, a tearful smile on her face.

Lily choked back a laugh as she held on tightly to Lena’s arms. “Hi Mom,” she greeted for the first time in her life.

Pulling her in for another hug, Lena wrapped Lily up tightly and whispered, “I’m never letting you out of my sight again.”

Chapter Text

Liza stepped off the plane surprisingly calmer than she anticipated being. There was still a nervousness jittering throughout her, and if she thought about it too much, she would probably definitely throw up. But overall as she walked out of the terminal--each step one closer to meet her lifetime hero and mother for the first time--just the ability to stay on her feet felt like a victory.

Her nerves were almost destabilizing after Lily had left her for England. She just didn’t know how she would act around her mother. A part of her desperately wanted to create that unique bond with Yeyu about journalism and social justice and change, but logically she knew she would have to be careful if she did so. If she behaved too much like herself, Yeyu would figure out who she was quickly, and Liza wanted as much not-awkward time with her mother as possible.

The dilemma stuck with her all throughout her flight as well. Along with the worry that Lily was wrong and Yeyu would be able to sense immediately that Liza was herself. And the worry that maybe her moms did hate each other after all this time and they were just really good at hiding it; that would mean Liza was meddling in something that would upset them. And as she kept thinking about it, several other anxieties popped up into her mind.

She had tried as hard as she could to push the worries down, especially now that she was moments away from meeting her mother, but they just keep resurfacing. Huffing frustrated, Liza picked up her pace, hoping that getting the initial introduction out of the way would rid her of at least some of her worries.

When she rounded the last bend and found herself at baggage claim, Liza pulled her carry on over to the side and began to scan the crowd for the woman who was so familiar and unknown at the same time. It took only a split second for her eyes to catch those of the woman across the room with golden hair and a grin so wide it took over her whole face as she waved eagerly.

Liza’s heart stopped and breathing shallowed. Swallowing a sob and letting out a disbelieving laugh, all of Liza’s worries melted away in a second as the tears welled in her eyes as she took in her mother for the first time, with her excited and caring smile, looking as if she were about to cry herself. Unable to stop herself, Liza broke into a sprint across baggage claim, dropping her bags and slamming into Kara with a force that should have destabilized any human, yet her mother welcomed it with open arms, wrapping her tightly in her arms.

“It’s been too long, Yeyu,” Liza mumbled into her mother’s chest, and Kara let out a sad scoff and squeezed her daughter tighter.

“You’re telling me, is’kah,” she mumbled back, rocking them back and forth a bit, and Liza felt her skin tingle a bit at the adoring Kryptonian term being placed on her. “It’s felt like years since I’ve gotten to hold you in my arms.”

Letting out an awkward laugh, Liza pulled back and bit her tongue from commenting that it had been years. Instead, she turned to where she had dropped her bags, and Kara went with her to find her checked luggage. Casually wrapping an arm around Liza, Kara let out a sigh and kissed Liza’s forehead as they watched the bags go by them on the carousel.

“It’s not the same around here without you, Lilybug,” her mother commented, and Liza found herself biting her cheek to keep from laughing at the nickname Lily must have just happened to forget mentioning in their long, in-depth conversations about each other’s lives.

Smiling brightly up at her mother, Liza decided to tease her a bit by slyly commenting, “Well, aren't you lucky I’m back then?”

Kara let out a little laugh and shook her head. “I didn’t say it was worse without you,” she retorted with ease. “I just said it wasn’t the same.” Liza let out a giggle at this and rolled her eyes. “I would say after that phone call I got at the beginning of camp that your counselors got to deal with the bulk of what I was missing,” she commented, still teasing, but Liza could hear the warning tone in it. Even if she had just met her mother, she knew what it meant, and she was eager for any excuse to get out of a scolding or being forced to give an explanation of the prank war with Lily. It would put her in dangerous topic territory.

Thankfully, at that moment, Liza saw Lily’s bag come around on the conveyor, and she quickly escaped the situation to retrieve it. Kara most definitely saw the avoidance of the subject, but she dropped it for the time being, just happy to be reunited with her daughter, and Liza let out a small sigh of relief.

As they made their way out of the airport, Liza was grateful her mother had a “no flying to/from the airport” rule, so she wouldn’t have to take the dampener off quite yet. Lily hadn’t really explained the rule, but had more just shuddered at what was surely the memory of a close miss, and Liza had been more than happy to not ask any questions as to what that had meant.

Kara made small talk with her about some of the big events that happened around National City over the summer as they made their way to the car. “Honestly it was a pretty quiet summer for Supergirl,” she commented as they rounded their way through the parking garage. “I only blew out my powers once, but it was kind of a fluke thing. I was up on my feet an hour afterwards,” she continued as they reached the SUV and Kara opened the trunk to load Liza’s bags.

She was too busy to notice the uncontained startled look Liza let slip past her defenses. Of course, she knew Yeyu was Supergirl, but she hadn’t expected her to just start talking about it in the middle of the open so casually. How had she managed to keep her identity hidden again?

“It was nice though; I got to really throw myself into my work at Catco for the first time in a long time,” her mother resumed after the trunk was closed again. Liza went to take a step towards the passenger side of the car when Kara stopped to give her a questioning look.

“Are you sure you want to drive after three months at camp, is’kah?” she asked, the concern written on her face. “You only got to drive with your permit a few months before you left.”

Liza froze at her words, trying not to let the panicked look take over her face as she managed to nonchalantly shrug. “Uh, no that’s fine. You can drive, Yeyu,” she responded quickly, skittering to the other, actual passenger side of the car, berating herself for making such an obvious mistake. She had never driven, and she didn’t think starting now would be a great idea.

“Anyways,” Kara pressed on, unperturbed by the incident as they both climbed into the car and buckled their seatbelts, “my group of interns this summer were incredible. I’m pushing for at least two of the college interns to get full time offers, and I’ve already told three of the high school interns they have a place to come back next year if they want.” They pulled out of the parking garage, and Liza watched her mother talk about Catco with rapt attention.

“I think you’ll really like one of the high school interns too; we’ve been talking about bringing her to the DEO to help out,” Kara explained, and Liza’s eyebrows furrowed curiously.

“Is she an alien?” she asked, wondering why the girl would be brought into the DEO. Lily hadn’t mentioned that happening ever.

Kara nodded with a small smile. “Naltorian,” she clarified. “She’s very passionate too, and the only reason I haven’t brought her in already is because I know she would agree too readily.”

Liza hummed at this, biting her cheek, wondering if her mother would ever let her work alongside her as a superhero, since she was clearly worried about people jumping head first into the idea. Taking a breath and shooting her mother a smirk, Liza shrugged and commented, “I think you should reach out to her. Some people are eager because they know what they want to do.”

Returning her comment with an faux-exasperated look, Kara shook her head. “I have enough to worry about with you in the lab constantly doing Rao-knows-what, baby girl. I think the last thing I need right now is another teenager to watch out for that’s keen on running straight into danger,” she responded reasonably, and Liza felt her stomach drop. “But,” Kara announced right afterwards, “I will think about it.”

She turned to glance at Liza briefly with a mischievous smile, and Liza forced a smile on her face, as if her mother hadn’t just said she was the last thing she needed. She tried to calm the rolling of her stomach by telling herself Yeyu clearly didn’t mean it in that context, but all of her anxieties came rushing back at once.

Kara frowned at her as she turned her eyes back onto the road. “Everything okay, Lil?” she asked concerned. “Your heartbeat just spiked.” She kept glancing over at Liza who was trying desperately to calm down, as she had forgotten her mother would have such a good read on her at all times.

“I- uh- yeah,” she stammered, forcing another smile. “I’m just really excited to be back home,” she deflected, and while Kara didn’t look completely convinced, she let out a little, relieved sigh and relaxed a bit more in her seat. “I’ve missed everyone.”

Her mother let out a grin at this. “Everyone’s missed you too,” she promised. “Especially me. You know how I get without you around. Though I think I was the least reckless I’ve ever been this summer, so you should be proud of me.”

Liza let out a little laugh at this, and shook her head in disbelief. “You? Not being reckless? Who are you?” she teased, and Kara scoffed.

“Says the girl who hasn’t mentioned once since she’s landed that she needs to stop at Noonan’s before we get home,” she countered with a pointed look. “I swear Lily, I don’t even recognize you.”

While she did manage to strain a laugh, Liza’s heart spiked as she shrugged and tried to play it off. “What can I say, camp made me into a whole different person,” she joked, hoping it landed okay, and with one glance at Kara, she let out a sigh of relief.

Her mother was laughing heartily, taking the confession in stride. “Well I hope your new self is ready for family dinner tonight. Everyone wanted to come over and see you on your first night back, and hear all about camp,” Kara informed her with the flash of a smile.

Liza was definitely worried about meeting the whole family her first night with her Yeyu, but thankfully Lily had warned her of this, saying everyone would most likely be waiting for her when she got back to the house. Not being blindsided by the prospect helped considerably in hiding her anxiety at the idea. Instead she just smiled and nodded eagerly.

“I can’t wait to see everyone,” she commented, and most of her meant it. Growing up, she had always been jealous of the other kids with their big families, and now she was having one thrust upon her with little warning. She was grateful, but overwhelmed, and it took everything in her to breathe calmly so as to not give herself away to her mother again.

Kara let out a little laugh and shook her head. “They can’t wait either,” she shot back. “Literally. I gave Clark strict instructions he wasn’t allowed to start eating until we got back, and you would’ve thought I shot him with kryptonite.”

Liza giggled a bit at this and joked, “With Eliza’s cooking, who could blame him?”

Scoffing, her mother slowed just enough to turn off the highway and then continued to speed down a small county road to their isolated house. Looking in the rearview mirror to her side, Liza watched the outline of National City shimmer and slowly disappear in the sunset. Turning back to watching the road in front of them, Liza gritted her teeth in anticipation, knowing they were getting close.

Kara allowed the conversation to settle into a peaceful quiet, knowing everyone back at the house would want to hear about Lily’s summer as well, and she would just have to be patient. Lily was probably tired from traveling as well, she figured, so allowing her to rest a bit before being bombarded by the family was probably in her best interest. Especially with the news Kara had thus far avoided telling her daughter. She didn’t want to overwhelm her all at once.

Liza tried to remain inconspicuous during the silent ride, sneaking glances at her mother every few seconds, completely in awe of the fact she was in a car with Supergirl. She laughed silently to herself, realizing this was probably the most extraneous and unconventional way she could’ve gone about meeting her childhood hero.

Her mother looked over at her curiously when she heard the little puff of laughter from her daughter, and she shot Liza a quizzical look, but before she could question her, Liza let out a sharp breath and shot straight up in her seat.

The house was recognizable from the photo Lily had given her, but seeing it in person for the first time caused a heartbeat spike she could have done nothing to prevent. She stared in awe as they pulled up to the home, a large structure that her and her mom’s upend city apartment didn’t hold a candle to.

Taking her reaction in stride as Lily’s usual dramatics, Kara laughed softly as she pulled into the driveway and turned the car off. Turning to Liza with a sincere smile, she said softly, “Welcome home, is’kah.”

Liza nearly cried on the spot, but held herself together well enough that she could swallow the lump in her throat and force a tight smile on her face as she nodded in acknowledgement at her mother’s welcome. As long as she kept her emotions in check, she could get through this first night.

She got out of the car slowly, still composing herself as her mother went to the trunk to unload her bags. Making a mental note to not unpack her bags while her mother was around due to explicit instructions from Lily with the warning that she would absolutely regret it if Yeyu found out about the hotspot and laptop, Liza walked to the trunk to take at least one of the bags in.

As they walked to the door, Kara paused and turned to her daughter before opening it. “You ready?” she asked with a knowing smirk, well aware that the company awaiting them would jump as soon as she was through the door.

Liza’s heartbeat spiked a bit, but she muscled on a smile and shrugged. “Guess I gotta be,” she tried to joke, but it came out a bit breathless. And without wasting another moment, Kara pushed open the door.

“Hey, we’re home!” she called out as she pulled the giant bag into the house, and Liza heard the cheers from the other room that made her stomach roll.

Somehow managing to keep a semi-pleasant expression, Liza watched as the woman she recognized as her Aunt Alex popped her head through the doorway with a big grin.

“There she is!” Alex announced excitedly, walking straight up to Liza and wrapping her in a tight hug. “We’ve missed you, baby girl. Can’t wait to hear all about your summer.”

“Let her breathe, Alexandra,” Liza heard a voice call out from the direction Alex came from, and her aunt let out a light laugh and pulled back from the hug.

When she stepped away, Eliza was right there to replace Alex, quickly enveloping her in soft hug. “It’s so good to have you back, Lily,” she greeted, and the warmth in her voice calmed any nerves Liza might have exposed at meeting her grandma.

Eliza finally pulled out of the hug a few moments later to reveal Clark and Lois now standing in the doorway beaming, and the breath caught in Liza’s throat, trying to push down her initial reaction at being faced with two media legends (and one superhero) casually all at once. Both of them laughed a little and opened their arms to Liza, and without a second thought, she skipped over to where they stood and caught them both in a hug.

“Okay, okay, I’m sure the girl of the hour is hungry, and I know for a fact Clark is, so let’s all head into the dining room,” her mother called out from behind them, and all three of them pulled back from the hug with big grins. Before she could make her way into the other room, her mother’s hand reached out and grasped her arm lightly, holding her back as everyone else filed into the dining room. “You should take your necklace off,” Kara pointed out softly. “No need to have it on anymore.”

Liza let out the breath she was holding and nodded, clumsily feeling for the clasp on the back of her neck. As she did so, her mother pulled out a small lead lined box that the necklace was promptly stored in once Liza had it removed.

With the necklace now gone, she let out a sigh of relief, shocked that the house actually was as amazing as it had been described to her. For the first time ever, thanks to the red sunlight filtering through the house, the transition after removing the kryptonite made her feel better rather than worse. It was even better than she had felt with her mom’s improved version of the necklace.

Kara smirked at her expression and shook her head. “Feel better?” she asked with a teasing smile, and Liza nodded as her and her mother made their way into the dining room.

It looked just as Lily had described it, Liza noted. The floor-to-ceiling windows, the eight person dining table, the rustic chandelier that hung overhead: Liza tried to hold in her awe as she took it all in before she was shuffled to her place at the table. The food was already sitting out and it smelled delicious, causing Liza’s stomach to growl and everyone around the table to laugh.

“Dig in,” Kara announced, and nobody wasted anytime in starting to put food on their plates.

As she scooped some potatoes onto her plate, an empty place setting caught her eye at the end of the table, and Liza paused and frowned. Why were there seven places when there were only six people there? Liza racked her memory for anyone else who might have been invited tonight, but the only six she could think of were already there. So who else was supposed to be there?

When she glanced up, Alex was staring at her uncomfortably, as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t. Liza’s frown deepened as she noticed everyone at the table except her mother and Eliza--who both remained oblivious--looked at her with the same expression. They had all obviously noticed her look at the empty place and now were uncomfortable that they knew something Liza didn’t.

Clark and Alex were seemingly having a silent conversation with their eyes, both subtly motioning towards Liza, and then she became uncomfortable, clearly the center of whatever argument they were having. It wasn’t until Lois elbowed Clark in the side that the debate was resolved and Clark cleared his throat, pulling Eliza and Kara’s attention.

“So did Mon-El say when he was coming?” Clark asked nonchalantly, reaching for the salt as he spoke, but everyone at the table seemed to hold their breath at the question.

Liza’s eyes immediately shot to Alex’s and mouthed “Mon-El?”, but her aunt quickly and subtly shook her head to hold off with her questions at the time being. Turning back to look over at her mother, she noticed her mother bristle at the question and send a somewhat frustrated look over at the empty place setting before she took a deep breath and shook her head.

“He didn’t but I’m sure he’ll be here soon,” she responded with a clipped voice and a pointed look that very efficiently got the message across to everyone in the room that Clark was to cease talking.

Everyone was uncomfortably silent for a moment, and Liza was dying to ask who the hell Mon-El was, but she had the good sense to stay silent as everyone else in the room stared at their plates, afraid to make a move. Liza peeked up from her position and noticed Alex gritting her teeth. Feeling lost, Liza resigned herself to the fact that she wasn’t going to be able to understand the dynamic of what was happening during this dinner.

Finally, after several moments, Kara let out a sigh and cleared her throat, clearly feeling guilty for putting a damper on the dinner. “Lily,” she began, forcing an over enthusiastic grin, “tell us about your summer.”

Everyone was clearly still tense, but Liza pushed herself to begin talking about some of the things she had rehearsed on the plane. “Well, the camp was in this beautiful woods,” she started, letting a genuine smile take over her face as she thought about her summer home. “And there was a lake, so we went hiking and swimming a lot.”

“Ah, a ‘we’,” Clark cut in with a smirk. “So she did make friends while she was there.”

The air seemed to lighten with the joke, clearing out any of the lingering tension. Everyone let out a little laugh while Liza shot him a faux annoyed look.

“I’ll have you know I made three really good friends,” she retorted and subsequently stuck her tongue out. Clark let out a little laugh, and Liza let her expression melt into a small smile as she urged her mind not to wander to her non-existent relationship with Lex. “You two actually indirectly know one of my friends.”

Lois raised her eyebrows at this with an amused look. “I indirectly know a lot of people,” she noted with a sly smile. “Can I get another hint?”

Grinning, knowing her uncle at the very least was going to be excited by this news, she shrugged and explained, “You know the bakery Dough in the Wall? The owner’s daughter Maia and I got close over the summer.”

As expected, Clark nearly leapt from his chair. “Did you tell her about the red velvet cupcakes?” he asked urgently, and Liza let out a little laugh.

“Yes, I made sure to make perfectly clear to her how amazing the red velvet cupcakes are,” she reassured her uncle, and he let out what seemed like a sigh of relief.

Alex was the next voice to pipe up. “Well I’m glad you and this Maia girl got close,” she stated, but there was a pointed look and smirk directed towards Liza that made her blush. She wasn’t even the one who had a crush on Maia and her aunt already had her nervous about it.

Deciding she should subvert that attention, Liza tried to calm her nerves as she shrugged and commented, “We didn’t get near as close as her and Lil-”

Cutting herself off quickly with a cough and reaching for her drink, Liza’s mind admonished her once again for making such a simple mistake. After she swallowed and tried to manage the bright blush now residing on her cheeks, she cleared her throat to look up and see all of the family looking at her concerned.

“You okay, Lil?” her mother asked quickly, the worry visible in her eyes, and Liza quickly waved off her concern.

“Yeah, of course,” she commented, letting out a little breath preparing herself to do damage control. “I was just saying how my friend Lilith got much closer to Maia than I did,” she recovered. Alex looked as if she didn’t quite believe Liza wasn’t the one to have the relationship with Maia, but she let it go.

“You had a friend named Lilith?” Eliza inquired. “That must have been confusing.”

Biting her cheek, Liza nodded. “Definitely,” she confirmed. “We were always getting mixed up.” She quickly looked down after the comment, willing herself not to laugh at her own joke because it wasn’t appropriate in the current circumstance. She knew if Lily were here, however, she would have laughed, and Liza quickly swallowed the pang of missing her sister.

“So Maia and Lilith,” Kara stated with a grin. “Who’s the third girl that I’ll never hear the end of for the next few months?” she asked with a playful tone.

“Carol,” Liza answered easily, smiling widely thinking about Carol now back in her home state causing havoc. “She was- Well we never got bored with her around; I’ll say that,” she tried to explain, and a round of laughter went around the table. “She’s probably back home right now telling her parents how the boat flipping incident was the favorite part of her summer,” Liza laughed, and while everyone else joined in with curious looks, her mother’s eyes hardened a bit.

“You flipped a boat?” she asked, clearly trying not to start anything at dinner, but Liza realized quickly that none of the other adults knew about the pranking, and her mother was already associating that with this.

“I didn’t flip a boat,” Liza defended herself quickly, but then paused for a beat as she thought about it. “At least, not on purpose,” she rectified, and Kara sighed as the rest of the adults giggled. “Yeyu, I promise. The boat flipping was all Lilith.”

“You know you have to tell the whole story now, Lil,” Alex prodded her, smirking at the disapproving look on her sister’s face.

With a small giggle, Liza just shook her head. “There’s not much to tell. We were fishing on the lake to obtain mercury levels; I told Maia to ask Lilith out; Maia asked Lilith out; Lilith has a particularly jumpy personality, and she flipped the boat,” Liza recounted as her aunt let out a hoot of laughter. She noticed her mother also give up a tiny grin of amusement at the story.

“A jumpy personality?” Lois commented, giving Liza a side eye. “I wonder who that reminds us of,” she deadpanned to the rest of the table.

Feigning disinterest, Liza looked her in the eye and shrugged. “Maybe you’ve met Lilith?” she suggested, and Lois chuckled as she shook her head.

Her mother opened her mouth to add another comment to the conversation, but at that moment her cellphone rang, causing everyone to pause. Before anyone could react, however, Kara was hopping out of her chair and picking the phone, walking away into the kitchen to answer it privately. Liza stared after her a bit bewildered because Lily had told her phones that the dinner table was a big no in her mother’s book, and then turned back to Alex with questioning eyes.

“That would be Mon-El,” her aunt answered, not waiting for her question and almost growling it out. Before she could say anything else, however, Eliza cut her off.

“Alex,” she warned, sending a stern look to her daughter despite looking exhausted herself. “Be nice.”

At this, her aunt grumbled something she couldn’t quite make out, and Liza instead turned to Clark and Lois for help. “Who’s Mon-El?” she asked, her eyebrows furrowed, and both adults shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

“He’s-” Clark began, struggling to find the words. “Well he crash landed here this summer, shortly after you left. He’s been helping out at the DEO,” he explained, clearly skirting around something and Liza frowned.

“So he’s an alien too?” she asked, trying to get to the bottom of whatever had everyone so worked up.

Alex scoffed at this. “Yeah, he’s a Daxamite,” she announced, her eyes suddenly focused on Liza intensely, as if she were expecting something.

She almost cowered under the scrutiny of her aunt, but managed to let out a little “oh”, unsure of what reaction her aunt was hoping for. Honestly, everyone was looking at her a bit expectantly now, and Liza was a far cry from understanding what was going on. Why were they all worked up about some guy her mother had been working with over the summer? And why had he been invited to her welcome home dinner?

The answer hit her as her mother made her way back into the room, looking exhausted.

“I need to go into the DEO,” she announced with a sigh, looking frustrated and resigned at the same time.

“It’s Lily’s first night back,” Alex deadpanned with a bite at the edge of her voice, as if she had expected this to happen. She gestured towards Liza, which caused Kara to look over at her with immense guilt as she tried to reason with her.

Not wanting to get in the middle of whatever was going on between her mother and her aunt, Liza quickly jumped in to put an end to it. “No it’s fine, Yeyu. If you’re needed there you should go, I’ll be fine. It’s not like I won’t be here when you get back,” she pointed out, hoping it would resolve the situation. Her mother looked a bit relieved at her statement and let out a little nod, while Alex seemed like she was biting back her incredulous expression she wanted to send towards Liza.

Honestly, even if Liza was right, and this Mon-El guy was- Well she didn’t want to think about that quite yet, but regardless, she understood last minute work emergencies at inopportune times. If there’s one thing being Lena Luthor’s daughter trained her for, it was this. She had learned at a young age to not take it personally.

With an encouraging smile, Liza once again urged her mother to go do whatever she needed to do, and a few minutes later, she was left alone with her extended family.

“Well you handled that a lot better than I expected you to,” her aunt commented, not upset with her, but surprised all the same.

Eliza admonished her daughter. “Not everyone has to handle it as poorly as you are, Alexandra,” she chastised, but it did nothing to change Alex’s mood. “Lois, would you help me with dishes?” she asked as she stood up from the table. “I think Clark and Alex need time to cool off.” Nodding silently, Lois stood with Eliza and began to remove all the dirty dishes, as Liza sat bewildered between her moping aunt and uncle.

Finally, she took a deep breath and suggested the only thing she could think of. “You guys want to help me start unpacking?” she asked with a bit of reservation.

Both adults let out a sigh, and then looked up at Liza with a reluctant smile. Alex stood gesturing for Liza to follow her back into the entryway to grab her bags, and she eagerly popped up to do so, her uncle trailing behind them with an amused smile. Alex picked up the smaller bag as Clark grabbed the large bag, and the trio made their way upstairs.

The first thing Liza did when her bags were deposited on her bed was open the big checked luggage bag and immediately remove the laptop and the hotspot, replacing them where Lily had told her they went in the room. With that fear out of the way, she then paused to take in the room. It was very… Lily.

There was artwork everywhere as well as prototypes and notes pinned up on every surface in an unorganized manner. Liza was honestly surprised her sister was able to find back anything in this room, and yet she could help but smile fondly, comforted just by the sheer presence her sister had here. It was enough to make her feel more comfortable in this house.

“I thought your mother said she had forbid you to bring that stuff to camp?” Alex questioned smugly, a smirk planted firmly on her lips, and LIza whirled around with a guilty look on her face.

“It was for emergencies,” she defended, and her aunt and uncle let out a laugh.

“Were there a lot of laptop related emergencies?” her uncle inquired after a moment, and Liza scoffed, her cheeks burning up with a blush because there was one, but she couldn’t tell them that.

Taking her blush as the answer, they broke out into more laughter, and Liza reluctantly joined in. Now with smiles donning all of their faces, they worked to continue unloading all of Lily’s things from her bag. They were all silent, and Liza watched as Alex and Clark both tried their best to not allow their faces to go back into resting in their obvious distaste for the scene that had happened with her mother early.

Finally, needing answers, Liza sighed and stopped to look pointedly at her aunt and uncle. Both froze nervously at the action, but refused to meet her eye or say anything.

“So Yeyu has a boyfriend,” Liza stated confidently, urging her voice not to waver as it wanted to. It wasn’t a question because it seemed like it was clear at this point, but part of her was still hoping they would deny what she already knew.

When their eyes locked nervously, her stomach sank and she knew she had been right.

Alex was the first to respond after that. “I thought you would be more upset, honestly,” she commented, her eyes finally meeting hers with a strange pity, and like she was trying to get Liza to open up about her feelings.

Liza shrugged at this, gritting her teeth. The only reason she was seemingly handling it well was because she didn’t know how to handle it at all. She had only known her mother for a few hours and had only known about her for a few months. And she knew exactly nothing about this Mon-El guy except that he was big on work, her aunt and uncle (whom she also just met) seemingly disliked him, and he was a Daxamite, whatever that was. There wasn’t a lot to go off of in this situation.

What she did know was that she was upset that her and Lily’s plan was in danger. She had thought Lily was a bit crazy when she talked about getting their moms back together, but a bigger part of her than she would admit to herself was really hoping it would work out. Not just so she could get to live with her sister again, but also so she could see her mom be genuinely happy for once.

But she couldn’t outwardly be upset for that reason, she consciously acknowledged. She could only be upset for reasons she could explain to her expectantly looking aunt and uncle, and she didn’t have one of those reasons, so instead she was forced to shrug her shoulders, bite down her emotions, and pretend she was fine.

“What’s he like?” she asked nonchalantly, continuing to unpack and forcing herself to act normal.

Clark scoffed at this. “Your typical Daxamite,” he answered, and Alex hummed in agreement, as if that was a perfectly reasonable description. Liza really really wished she knew what Daxamites were. They hadn’t been in Lily’s crash course of aliens she would encounter at the DEO. So Liza just nodded, as if this made sense to her.

“He’s also kind of possessive over your mother’s time,” Alex chimed in, and that one did get a bit under Liza’s skin. She didn’t lie to both of her moms and go to the wrong side of the world after camp to meet her mother for the first time just for some guy to occupy all her time. Gritting her teeth, she knew if she had to fight for her mother’s attention, she would.

Noticing Liza bristle at this, Alex smiled smugly. “There’s the Lily I know,” she commented satisfactorily. “I knew you weren’t as okay with this as you were putting on.”

Liza sighed and figured it would be okay to complain a little, as long as she didn’t give too much away. “I just haven’t seen her in awhile, and want to be able to hang out with her without feeling guilty about making her boyfriend mad,” she lamented with a frown, and Alex let out a sigh.

“We were so close to having our Lily back,” Clark chuckled, shaking his head, and a deep blush took over Liza’s face. “She went to camp an unapologetic firestorm and came back empathetic,” he joked, and Alex laughed.

Shaking her head, Alex observed, “Honestly, any other time I would love this new chill vibe you’ve got going, but right now we need the girl with the snark that makes your mother feel guilty at the drop of a hat.” She shot Liza a teasing smile, and she swallowed thickly, suddenly feeling very out of depth. There was no way she could make her mother feel as guilty as Lily could. And that meant the whole plan might fail because of her.

Seemingly sensing her distress, Clark reached out and ruffled her hair softly. “Don’t worry about it, Lil,” he reassured her. “Your mother will come to her senses soon; she doesn’t need you babysitting her.”

Liza relaxed a little at this and sent a Clark a genuine smile. Her thought before about her relationship with Lex came storming back into her mind. If Lex hadn’t gone crazy, would she have had this kind of support and relationship with him, she wondered. A small pang rang through her chest, just thinking about how much her uncle must have torn up this family, even if that wasn’t the reason her moms split. The man standing before had his life nearly torn apart by him; he was probably the only person in the world who was hurt more than her own mom. And after a lifetime of seeing the repercussions of it in her mom, it took everything to not reach forward at that moment and hug her uncle.

Liza was pulled from her thoughts just as Clark eyebrows quirked curiously, able to tell his niece was deep in thought. She heard the door to the house open and noted her mother was home, and she would now have to face her with the knowledge she was in a relationship. Her stomach rolled.

“Shoot, I forgot to tell Mom to hide some leftovers for me before your mother claims them all,” Alex announced, jumping into action and heading for the door. “I’ll meet you guys downstairs,” she called out without bothering to look back.

Both of the room’s occupants let out a laugh at this, and looked at each other with soft smiles. With a start, Liza realized Clark must know a lot about what happened back then, and if her goal was to figure out what happened between moms, he could be a good source to start with. Even just learning how he still felt about the situation would shed some light, she figured.

Clark turned and made his way towards the door, and Liza knew it was now or never.

“Uh, Clark!” Liza called out before she could stop herself. He paused halfway out the doorway and turned, raising his eyebrows as Liza tried to stutter out her reason for stopping him. “I, uh, have a kind of weird question I want to ask you,” she explained. “About a private, more, uh, personal topic?”

Clark’s face paled at this as his eyes widened and he began to panic. “I don’t think I’m maybe the best person to talk about this with, Lily. I, uh, your mother, and, and-”

Liza furrowed her eyebrows, confused on how Clark had figured out what she wanted to talk about so quickly and why he was so flustered about it. A split second later, she realized Clark hadn’t figured out anything at all, and she quickly jumped to put his fears to rest.

“Oh god, no, not like- I don’t want to talk about that,” Liza calmed him, and he looked visibly relieved, albeit a bit more confused. “No, god. No offense Clark, but you’re the last person I would go to for sex questions,” she clarified with a pointed look, and although her uncle still looked a little shaken she had merely mentioned sex in front of him, overall he seemed more comforted going into what Liza actually wanted to talk about.

Taking advantage of Clark’s brief moment of vulnerability as he recovered, Liza decided to approach it as if ripping off a bandaid. “What do you think of the Luthors?” she asked quickly, and Clark’s panic seemed to return tenfold. Right, so not a great reaction.

“I- Lily, I know your mother mentioned you were asking about L Corp before you left, is this-”

“I just want to know what you think of them,” Liza cut in, pleading a bit as she tried to keep her voice level. She had gotten along with Clark really well in the past couple hours, and she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to ruin that already. But whatever he had to say could be valuable to her and Lily’s investigation, so she pushed on, steeling herself for anything.

Clark sighed and looked at Liza sadly. “I don’t know what to tell you, Lily. It’s complicated,” he finally commented, looking as if he actually regretted not being able to disclose anything. Liza sighed, expecting that to be his answer.

“Do you hate them?” she asked then after a moment, her voice small.

Clark’s eyes shot up to hers at this and narrowed. “No, I-” he began but cut himself as he tried to organize his thoughts in his head. “Lex, yes. I think I can confidently say I hate him, but it’s still more complicated than that. Just because I hate who he’s become doesn’t mean I can get myself to hate the man who was my best friend,” he explained softly, the pain and guilt clear in his eyes. “As for all Luthors, I reckon there’s one or two out there I would still consider family.”

Tears welled up in Liza’s eyes as she heard this and widened her eyes as she took in her uncle. “Do you still keep in contact with some of them?” she asked, her eyebrows furrowing.

Clark let out a little laugh. “No, everything got a bit intense after Lex went to prison. We were all close before, but-” Sighing Clark shook his head and shrugged. “That’s the thing about family, I guess. They never really stop being your family.”

A split second after she registered the words, Liza threw herself at her uncle and buried herself in his chest, so incredibly surprised and relieved he still consider her and her mom his family, even after everything. A bit caught off guard by the hug, it took Clark a beat to reciprocate. But as soon as his mind caught up to the action, he quickly wrapped Liza tightly up in his arms and held her there for as long as she wanted.

When she finally pulled back, she had tears in her eyes, and she tried to laugh it off. The action however just caused her to sob, and she quickly buried her head in her hands, embarrassed to be putting on a scene in front of her uncle.

“Hey, Lily,” Clark was quick to comfort, his hands softly stroking her hair and trying to coax her to look back up at him. When she finally managed to peak her eyes out from behind her hands, she was met with Clark’s, whose were filled with confusion and concern. “What’s wrong?” he asked softly.

“It’s nothing,” Liza dismissed, but she knew her uncle hadn’t bought it. Taking a shuddering breath as he waited patiently for her to explain, Liza made an in the moment decision that could have put everything at risk. Clark was leaving for Metropolis, she figured this would be okay.

“I met this girl at camp,” she began explaining, her voice shaking through the tears still streaming down her cheeks. “She had this amazing and involved family, and I just couldn’t help but be jealous of her.” Clark listened to her carefully; his eyebrows furrowed, trying to put together what Liza was saying. “I love my mom more than anything, but for fifteen years she’s been the only family I’ve known,” she continued, as her uncle’s confusion increased. “And I guess I was just nervous that when I was given an opportunity to be with this girl’s amazing family, they would just hate me or would have forgotten about me or not want me, and now you’re telling me this amazing family has actually been mine the whole time, and I just-”

“Woah, woah,” Clark stopped her, now crying himself as Liza let out another sob. He lowered himself down to her level, looking her seriously in the eye and almost doubting the question that came from his mouth. “Everything you just said, it- it sounded like you’re not Lily,” he expressed, holding his breath as he watched Liza carefully.

“I’m not,” Liza confessed breathlessly, and before she could say anything else, Clark was smashing her back into a tight hug.

They stayed like that for several minutes, before they both broke apart to wipe away their tears. When their eyes met, they both let out little laughs, and more tears filled Clark’s eyes just looking at his niece.

“So much for the Man of Steel, huh?” Liza commented with a mischievous smirk, and Clark let out a loud laugh and ruffled Liza’s hair.

“Anyone can tell you I’ve always been a big softie,” he countered. “It makes the title a bit more ironic.” Liza scoffed a bit at this, her tears finally subsiding as she took one last shaky breath, and Clark smile turned a bit pensive as he watched her.

“Liza?” he finally questioned softly, and his niece looked up at him with a wary hum. “We all still love you and your mom very much here. Don’t- don’t ever doubt that.”

With a small smile and her eyes shining, she looked up at her uncle with a nod, but paused after a moment. “Does Yeyu still love Mom?” she finally asked, and Clark paled visibly at the question.

“That is not a question for me,” he deflected firmly, and Liza sighed. He smirked a bit at her deflation and patted her softly on the shoulder. “Listen, I won’t tell anyone who you are because I’m assuming Lily was somehow the mastermind behind all this and she has a plan, but promise me you two will go easy on your mother’s heart. She’s been through a lot,” he warned with a pointed look, as if he knew what the girls were up to.

Liza swallowed thickly and nodded. Forcing a smile on her face, she assured her uncle, “Of course. We just want her to be happy.” With a short nod, Clark smiled back at her, but the look in his eyes told Liza he didn’t believe a word she said.

Before he could respond, however, the door swung open to reveal a breathless yet beaming Kara. “Hey there you guys are! Everyone’s getting ready to leave, so it’s time for goodbyes, Lilybug,” she announced, not noticing the tension in the air as she entered. Clark sent a knowing look to Liza, who fought to hide a smirk and a little laugh at her uncle’s antics. Without saying anything the two just scooted past Kara and downstairs.

Liza gave a big hug to everyone there. She was infinitely grateful Mon-El hadn’t decided to make an appearance that night, knowing she wouldn’t have been able to emotionally process that yet. Instead, she beamed as she hugged her grandma and aunt, who promised to come back the next day to chat even more. And when she turned to hug her uncle, he seemed to have tears in his eyes.

“Remember what I said,” he whispered as he held her tight. “And I’ll see you soon.” Liza bit her cheek to keep from crying as she pulled away and moved on to wrapping her arms around Lois.

With their final goodbyes and goodnights said, the four visitors took their leave, and Liza was once again left alone with her mother.

“So,” Kara started, turning her daughter after a beat of silence. Liza froze, unsure what her mother was about to say. “Let’s get this out of the way,” she continued with a sigh and a frown, as if something had been weighing on her all night. “I didn’t want to bring it up when you just got home and everyone was here, but we really need to talk about that phone call I got at the start of camp.”

Liza’s heart dropped, unsure of how to get herself out of the current situation. She grimaced and looked for an escape route, but when her eyes met her mother’s once again, they were narrowed, as if she knew what Liza was thinking and Liza knew she was stuck. Shifting awkwardly on her feet, she cleared her throat a few times, trying to decide what to say that would prevent her mother from asking too many questions.

“Yeah, uh, that girl and I worked it out, and we ended up being pretty friendly with each other for the rest of the camp,” she reassured her, deciding it would be the best for her mother to hear the result of the phone call first.

Kara let out a loud sigh and shook her head. “I’m glad it all worked out, is’kah, but it worries me that it happened at all. I sent you to camp so you could befriend other girls your age, not so you could start a fight your first day there,” she admonished, and Liza cowered a bit. Sure, she was talking about Lily and not her, but she had participated as well. Her mom would say the same thing to her.

“I know, Yeyu,” Liza responded, trying to keep the heaviness out of her voice. It must have been the anxiety from the day, but the disappointed tone coming from her mother was affecting her more than she expected it to as she blinked tears out of her eyes. “I didn’t mean for it to escalate like that, but-” She cut herself off and cleared her throat before looking back up at her mother. “I don’t know; it was kind of like a challenge, and I think I just got swept up in it, and that’s no excuse,” she finally relented.

Kara was silent for a moment, watching her daughter duck her head and mope in front of her before letting out a long sigh. “Well if there’s one thing you are, it’s competitive,” she commented reluctantly, lightening her hard expression a bit. “You didn’t do anything else to get yourself in trouble this summer? No other antics I should know about?” she finally asked with a look that made Liza feel like she was being scrutinized by Supergirl and not Kara Danvers.

“No,” she answered quickly, her voice probably a little too high pitched but she resisted cringing at the sound of it. She couldn’t blow the whole plan now.

Kara’s eyes narrowed as Liza held her breath. “You kept the necklace on the whole time?” she inquired, suspicion seeping into her voice and Liza gulped nervously, trying not to show her anxiety in the moment.

“Of course,” she responded, but her mother eyes caught hold of the nervous twitch in her hand.

“Lily-” Kara started with a warning tone, and Liza was quick to cut her off.

“Yeyu, I promise, the necklace stayed on my neck from when I first put it on to when I took it off in this house earlier tonight,” she assured her, and technically, it wasn’t a lie. She hadn’t taken Lily’s necklace off until she had gotten here, and while it was definitely stretching the truth from what her mother expected, it was enough of the truth to help Liza visibly relax, which further convinced her mother of her innocence.

Relenting, Kara nodded and let up on her distrust. “Okay, good,” she responded, shooting Liza a grim smile. “I just don’t want anymore surprises; raising a teenager is stressful enough, baby girl.”

Liza laughed nervously and nodded, unable to promise anything in that department. She hoped her mother would take her nonverbal response as the answer and drop it.

“It’s getting late though, so you should head up to bed. Supergirl’s gotta make her night rounds, and then I’ll be back. We’ll catch up more tomorrow,” Kara promised, and they both knew exactly what they had to get caught up on. The elephant in the room; the one thing Kara had yet to explicitly mention to Liza herself.

Liza nodded and swallowed thickly, knowing she would have to go find Lily’s phone and send her sister an update for the day. As she started to make her way upstairs, she suddenly stopped and turned to her mother with an unreadable expression and a crinkle in her eyebrow.

“Yeyu?” she called out, and Kara turned to look at her with her eyebrows raised. “Is it serious?” she finally asked after a beat, the question coming out breathless. “With him?” she clarified after a beat when her mother’s expression morphed into confusion.

Kara’s face softened into something that almost looked like guilt. She shifted awkwardly from foot to foot, considering the question before she took a big breath. “I think it might be,” she responded finally, and Liza bit down her disappointment. Seeing this, a shadow crossed Kara’s facing and she frowned. They both stayed like this for a few moments, unsure whether they should address the clear rift that was just formed between them when Kara sighed.

“We’ll talk about it tomorrow, is’kah. I promise,” she reconciled, and Liza gave her a short nod.

Without another word, she turned and went upstairs, completely unsure of what she would tell Lily. Completely unsure of how she even felt about it herself.

When Lily blinked her eyes open into the sunlight, she immediately felt disoriented. Her mind briefly panicked, not being able to place were she was. The cabin didn’t have this much natural sunlight flowing into it, and the light was coming from the wrong side of the room for her to be back home.

Groggily sitting up, she tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes as she once again tried to figure out where she was. Squinting around the room, the pristine and antique furniture gave Lily a sense of familiarity and calm and her mind soon came to terms with the fact that she was in Liza’s room.

She was in London. With her Mom.

Quickly jumping out of bed, Lily checked the clock and realized it was already 7 am, and she would have to probably hurry to get ready if she wanted to join her mom at L Corp for the day. Quickly grabbing Liza’s phone off her desk she had left it on the night before, she frowned when she noticed there were no incoming messages from Liza.

She unlocked the phone and made sure her updates she sent from the night before actually went through. When she noted they had, her eyebrows furrowed with confusion. Why hadn’t Liza sent an update?

She gave a swift read through of what she had sent her, updating her on how their mom picked her up from the airport and they had dinner just the two of them, how Lily had a quick stumbling moment when she turned down their mom’s side of green beans because that’s apparently something Liza always did but Lily hates green beans, and they spent the evening just talking about camp (and being scolded by their mom for the prank antics). None of that seemed like it would cause Liza to not respond, so she sighed and set the phone aside, figuring maybe she hadn’t had the time yet, and she would call her later if there still wasn’t an update.

Moving to the closet, Lily quietly began to pick out an outfit for the day when she heard the door open behind her.

“Hey Liza, I’m- Oh, you’re awake,” Lena noticed as she popped her head through the door, and upon seeing her daughter already up in action, she walked into the room to address her more directly.

Lily didn’t think she would ever get used to seeing her mom in all her CEO glory. Today she was sporting a tailor made suit and Lily pitied anyone who would have to go up against her in it. Currently she was wearing a soft smile meant for her daughter so she seemed rather harmless, but Lily knew enough about Lena Luthor to know when she wanted to be intimidating, she could be at the flip of a switch. It took everything in Lily to not be awestruck.

“I’m heading in for the day, but I wanted to let you sleep in your first day back. I left some waffles on the stove for you, special made,” her mom announced, with a small smirk, and Lily smiled in response.

“Oh, I, uh, was kind of hoping I could go in with you today?” Lily asked, biting her cheek and hoping her mom would agree. Seeing her mom in her element was everything that she wanted.

Lena frowned a bit this and looked at Lily curiously. “Are you sure? It’s your first day, darling; you’re welcome to relax,” she offered, but Lily was quickly shaking her head.

“I’ve been relaxing all summer, Mom,” she pointed out. “I would really like to go in with you today,” she insisted, trying to reel in as much excitement as she could, but she was practically vibrating with it at this point.

Catching on to Lily’s enthusiasm, she reluctantly agreed, giving her a slightly suspicious look but eventually wiping it away with a laugh. “The summer away give you the L Corp bug, darling?” she joked, and Lily laughed nervously.

“Come on, Mom,” she retorted. “I’ve always had the L Corp bug.”

Humming but unaware of how true that was, Lena just nodded and let out a little chuckle before she retreated towards the door. “Get ready, we’ll leave in fifteen,” she instructed, and Lily eagerly went back to picking out her outfit.

When she emerged a few minutes later, her hair tied back in a ponytail like Liza always wore it at camp, she beamed at her mom, ready to go. Her mom’s eyes lit up at the sight of her, and wordlessly offered her a waffle.

“I figured you could eat it on the way,” she explained, and then led the way out of the door and down the apartment complex to meet the driver. Lily reluctantly ate the waffle on the car ride to L Corp, noting in her head to once again give Liza shit for preferring waffles to pancakes.

It took everything in Lily to not stop and stare in awe at everything she passed in L Corp. This was the place she dreamed of being for years, and now not only was she here--with Lena Luthor no less--but she had full access to everything happening in this building. The urge to drag her mom to the R and D labs was almost impossible to refuse, but she swallowed the urge, knowing she couldn’t give herself away so quickly.

Instead she followed her mom as she made her way up to the top floor office. As they walked in, Jess popped up and began listing off the meetings Lena had that day, and her mom thanked her softly. Then her secretary turned to Lily with a wide smile and offered her a small hug.

“Good to see you back around here, Liza,” she whispered before she quickly slipped away, off to do one of the thousands of things on her list.

After Jess was gone, Lily slowly followed her mom into her office, and swallowed nervously as she noticed Lena in a deep conversation with her CFO.

Seeing Lily walk in from the corner of her eye, Sam turned a little and beamed at her as Lena continued to discuss the projections for the next month. She then turned back to her mom to finish going over the stats they would have to present soon at a board meeting. Realizing it was going to be a minute, Lily sat down on the couch in the room, at a loss of what else to do. She let her eyes wander, both the other women’s attention occupied in the moment, and indulged in taking in every edge of her mom’s office.

It was different than Yeyu’s office, she noted. It was clean and devoid of any clutter; it reminded Lily of Liza’s room in some aspects. There was a sense of calm and concentration, where her mother’s office had scattered thoughts and a loud presence. Lily wondered if her mom had a separate space in the labs to-

“Liza,” a voice cut through her thoughts, and Lily guiltily met her mom’s concerned eyes, getting the feeling it hadn’t been the first time she had called the name. “Our board meeting isn’t for another hour, and the guys down in R and D want to give an update on the nanotech; I know it’s not the most interesting thing, but would you like to come with?” she asked, and Lily tried to prevent her face from lighting up too much.

“Of course!” she agreed, leaping up from the couch eagerly, and her mom beamed at her. When her eyes wandered to Sam standing behind Lena, Lily felt a warm blush creep on her cheeks as Sam narrowed her eyes at Lily. Ignoring the look and telling herself there was no way Sam could suspect anything, Lily followed them both out of the room and to the elevator.

When they stood in the elevator, Sam leaned over and gave Lily a big hug. “We missed you around here. No one quite has your talent with those fundraisers,” she stated with a little smirk and a side eye towards Lena.

Scoffing at this, her mom shook her head. “I threw perfectly good fundraisers while you were gone, Liz. Don’t listen to her,” she fought with an eye roll, and both Sam and Lily let out a little laugh at how defensive had become.

“Where’s Ruby at today?” Lily finally asked after a beat of silence. Sam let out a little laugh.

“She’s seemed to have fallen in love with our quality department this summer,” she informed her. “She’s been with those engineers all summer, but no worries, she’ll be joining us for dinner tonight,” she reassured her with a smile, and Lily grinned as if she wasn’t nervous for that at all. Liza and her had agreed Ruby would probably be the first to figure out the switch for herself.

Soon enough the elevator doors were opening and depositing the trio into L Corp’s infamous R and D labs. Lily almost fainted on the spot, but fought to stay conscious and take everything in about the experience. She was nearly walking on her tiptoes, she was so amped up with energy seeing all the amazing projects being developed around her.

The nanotech meeting had Lily in awe the entire time and at the end, she had to reign in the amount of questions she wanted to excitedly ask. The meeting ran over so long because of it, Sam and Lena had to bow out to go to their board meeting.

“Feel free to stay here and chat,” Lena offered, seemingly sensing her daughter (and the engineers) weren’t even close to done discussing the update. Lily nodded eagerly at the suggestion, and didn’t even wait for her mom to walk away before continuing the conversation.

Several minutes later, the engineers apologized to Lily and told her they too had meetings to attend, but would definitely be in contact with her later in the week to go over some more ideas, as her input had spurred some new directions they could take the project. They invited to explore the rest of the projects in the lab, knowing their colleagues would love to have a conversation with her like they had just had.

Left to her own devices, Lily began to wander around the labs stopping to talk to some of the engineers and developers along the way. They all seemed encouraged by her input and eagerly explained everything they were working on. Lily consumed it all endlessly, her mind taking in all in while making a million notes a minute. She wished she had a notebook on her so she could have physical notes to look back on.

Eventually she wandered up to a room that was locked with a face recognition scan. When she tapped the screen of the scan, it informed her that this was for access to the archives, and Lily felt a deep pull in her gut to enter and go through the years of L Corp’s contribution of science and technology. Her only hesitation, however, was whether or not the face scan would work. A lot of the most recent technology wouldn’t recognize twins, despite their being identical.

Deciding to go for it anyway, Lily held her breath and placed her face in front of the scanner. A moment later she heard the door unlock, and quietly whooped in victory. When she finally told her mom who she was, she would have to inform her of the updates needed in the system, she noted, feeling lucky the face scanners hadn’t been updated to the highest ranking tech yet.

Without hesitation, she pushed open the archive door and lost herself in the tech she found there. She found the air quality tracker she had made her own notes on, her mother’s original design for the L Corp battery powered car, the infamous L Corp nanotech design from the previous year. She didn’t think she’d ever been happier than she was engulfed in the old designs, besides maybe meeting her mom for the first time the previous night.

As she worked her way through the boxes and boxes of material and hours passed, she eventually ran into a box that, unlike the others didn’t have a label and looked as if it hadn’t been touched since it had been created. Her curiosity got the better of her, and she promptly pulled it from its shelf and onto the floor; she sat cross-legged in front of it, gently pulling off the lid, and her breath caught as she realized what this box was.

From supersuits, to shields, to weapons, she had stumbled upon a box filled to the brim with her mom’s designs for her mother. Lily stared in awe at the sheer amount and range of sketches and designs and ideas that were shoved in the box. The earliest was dated December 20th, 2003: two days after Lex’s attack. After skimming through most of the designs, the latest date she could find was November 7th, 2004: a week before L Corp was moved to London.

Lily stared at it all, a bit baffled. In less than a year, her mom had churned out hundreds and hundreds of ideas to keep her mother safe, a lot of which looked similar to tools her mother actually used now and Lily didn’t doubt were the original versions of said tools. Then what? She just decided one day to pack her bags and never look back? Never worry about Yeyu ever again?

It just didn’t make sense.

She made a mental note to tell Liza to see if she could find anything out about the time around November 7th, 2004. There had to be an incident or something. Her mom clearly cared about Yeyu a lot, designing all these things to protect her after her brother’s attack; why did she stop trying to protect her after November 7th, 2004?

The box left her with more questions than answers, but that didn’t stop Lily from going meticulously through each design, partially to learn more about her mom, partially to gain some ideas for the suit she was making back home. She intensely studied a design that would subvert the effects of kryptonite when it came in contact with the supersuit, converting it into energy Yeyu could then use against her enemies. Honestly, it was a brilliant design, and Lily furrowed her eyebrows in confusion as to why it wasn’t implemented when she heard someone clear their throat behind her.

Whipping around, Lily looked like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar as her mom stood behind her with her arms crossed, looking rather unimpressed. There was a hard, yet understanding look in her eyes as she had immediately recognized what box Lily was going through, and Lily cringed. Not wanting to meet her mom’s eyes, she flicked them back to Sam standing behind her.

Sam had a pensive look on her face, as she studied Lily carefully, as if she was on the verge of understanding but wasn’t quite there.

“Uh, Mom,” Lily finally greeted. “I- I was just-”

Lena held up her hand and sighed as she knelt down to sit beside Lily and the scattered designs. Lily held her breath and gulped as her mom joined her and waited for her to say something.

“You missed lunch,” Lena explained with a pointed look. “You’re usually the one yelling at me to eat, so I wanted to make sure you were okay. I suppose this makes sense though,” she observed, gesturing to all the Supergirl designs around her, and Lily nodded, looking at all the papers herself.

Finally after a beat, she stated, “You knew her.” It was a simple enough statement, but it didn’t leave any room for disagreement.

Lena clenched her jaw and nodded, shooting Lily a tight smile. “I tried to help her, when she first debuted,” she explained simply, and Lily let the fact that the first designs were dated before Supergirl made her debut slide. “It felt like the least I could do after Lex, even if I didn’t necessarily want to.”

Lily furrowed her eyebrows at this and looked back up at her mom. “You did a lot for someone who didn’t want to,” she pointed out, and Lena scoffed.

“For awhile, I didn’t know how to best help her and keep her safe; my last attempt though: that one I succeeded with. It’s what I left her with before coming here,” she explained.

Even more confused now, Lily glanced at the design that had November 7th, 2004 on it. It wasn’t particularly spectacular. Not near as good as the rest of what was sitting there. Lily didn’t even recognize it as anything Yeyu currently used. Why was that the one her mom left her on?

“What do you have there?” Lena asked, breaking Lily from her thoughts, and Lily swiftly handed over the design she had just been studying. A shadow seemed to cloud her face as she studied it, and while she kept an impassive expression, Lily could just tell from the tension in her body something was wrong.

“Why wasn’t that ever implemented?” she finally asked, her mom not looking up from the design. “It’s brilliant.”

“Unfortunately, not all technology is brilliant by face value,” her mom countered sadly.

* * * * *

“You can’t be serious.”

“Kara,” Lena sighed, just trying to get through one proposal without her wife deciding she hated it. “It’s a good option. It would make you invincible against Kryptonite.”

Kara scoffed at this, pushing the design away from her once again. “I don’t want to be invincible against Kryptonite. I just want to not die from it,” she explained stubbornly, and Lena let out a frustrated huff.

“Do you realize how stupid that sounds?” she countered angrily. “That’s the same thing as being invincible.”

“It’s not, and you know it,” Kara growled, standing up from the dining room table. “I don’t care if I’m hurt by it, as long as I don’t die.”

Stomping up from her chair, Lena followed her wife into the kitchen and slammed the design down again. “Well I care if you’re hurt by it, does that matter to you? Or do you only care about seeming tough in Clark’s little superhero club?” she demanded, the tears brimming at her eyes, and Kara whirled around with an intensity in her eyes that almost made Lena back down.

Almost.

“Well at least I’m making some good from this,” she shot back, a single tear escaping her eye. “At least I’m helping people. You just hide in your labs all day, making gadgets for someone who doesn’t need them, while your employees are waiting for you to take action.”

“Oh so now I’m lazy?” Lena retorted, her anger flaring once again. “Excuse me for trying to keep my wife and the mother of my two daughters safe.”

“Keeping me safe is different than making me invincible,” Kara argued, her jaw clenched with conviction.

“Making you invincible is the best way I can keep you safe,” Lena shot back. “Why are you so insistent that this is a bad thing?” she demanded, a bit disheartened by her wife’s attitude.

“Because it’s what Lex was afraid of!” she exclaimed before she had time to process what was coming out of her mouth. Lena stopped, looking almost shocked at her wife’s outburst, and Kara just stared at Lena for a long hard moment, fighting the tears in her eyes.

With a shuddering breath, Lena just cringed and shook her head. “Why do you still care so much what Lex believed? He was insane, Kara,” she tried to reason.

“Why don’t you care?” Kara asked with just as much disappointment. “Just because he was insane doesn’t mean he wasn’t right.”

“He wasn’t right,” Lena stated firmly, frustrated she was still having this conversation months after Lex’s conviction. “He’s in jail for a reason.”

Kara huffed and looked up at the ceiling, as if that would allow the tears to seep back into her eyes. Finally she looked back at Lena and explained, “He’s our brother.” She stopped and took a shuddering breath and before Lena could jump in like Kara knew she wanted to, she held up her hand to signal she wanted to finish first. “If he could go crazy and kill thirty-two people, what is there that would prevent the same thing happening to me? What if you make me invincible and no one could stop me? What makes me different from him?”

The tears began streaming from Lena’s eyes as she shook her head. “He was selfish and arrogant and you are neither of those things, Kara,” she assured, her voice wavering from the tears. There were so many other things Lena wanted to add on. Kara wasn’t a Luthor, not by blood. She was never destined for this kind of fate. She was always meant to stand in the sun while Lena lived in the shadow of her family’s mistakes.

If anyone here would go insane like Lex, Lena had no doubt it would be herself.

Kara was silent for a moment before speaking again. “I don’t want to be invincible,” she repeated firmly, and Lena sighed. Relenting, she realized she understood where her wife was coming from. She would just have to come up with another way to keep Kara safe and keep herself from panicking every time she went out as the city’s hero.

“Okay,” Lena agreed. “No invincibility.” Kara nodded at Lena and clenched her jaw for another moment, before they both stepped towards each other and wrapped each other up in a tight hug. Lena let out her silent tears into Kara’s shoulder, terrified of their future.

“I’m sorry,” Kara finally mumbled a few moments later. “I hate when we fight. We never used to before-” She cut herself off and swallowed thickly.

Lena nodded in acknowledgment. “I know, darling,” she comforted, resting her hand on her wife’s cheek comfortingly. Kara leaned into it with closed eyes, and Lena whispered, “I’m sorry too. No more fighting, okay?”

She offered it like a pact, and Kara kissed her as an acceptance.

* * * * *

Lena cleared her throat, trying to repress the memory as much as possible as she handed the design back to Lily and stood up. “Did you find anything else here that interests you?” she asked quietly, more subdued than the moment before. “I know how much you love Supergirl,” she added with a smirk, and Lily let out a little laugh.

“Kind of all of it,” she admitted, looking around at the piles she made. They were organized by what she knew her mother used, what she thought her mother should use, and what should be scrapped altogether (which was a total of four designs, including the November 7th, 2004 design). Her mom hummed despondently as she stood up and took Lily in.

“You can take what you want,” she finally offered with a small smile, and Lily’s eyes shot up to her, wide with surprise and unfiltered joy.

“Seriously?” she asked, almost bouncing up from her position.

Lena shrugged and let out a little laugh. “Sure. The designs aren’t getting any use collecting dust here, and if you want them to work off of or anything, that’d finally give them justice,” she reasoned, and Lily didn’t hesitate to begin to gather all the paper into their box to take them all. Her mom let out a loud laugh a moment later when Lily stood with the box in her hands, clearly ready to leave.

“I think I’m going to have to call this camp up and figure out how they got you so interested in tech all the sudden,” Lena commented with a raised eyebrow as she turned to walk out of the archives, and both Sam and Lily froze at her words.

Lily cringed and knew she would have to do damage control to make it out of the building with the box of Supergirl tech designs and not set off red flags to her mom and Sam. “My friends were just really into it,” she raced to explain. “Is it- is it a bad thing that I’m into it now too?”

“Oh, no. I love it, I just-” Lena began, glancing behind her to look at her daughter with a kind smile. “What happened to ‘I mean the tech is cool, Mom, but think of the social impact we could make if we started a program to help at risk alien youth’?” she asked, a smirk in her eye, and Lily paused awkwardly.

“Oh, um, I- I still really care about the alien youth,” she defending, her voice shaking as she frowned and tried to think of something her mom would believe. “There’s just a lot of ways to help them, and tech is one of them,” she finally reasoned, and Lena hummed in agreeance, not saying another word. Sam kept shooting odd glances at Lily, but she ignored them and kept her gaze straight ahead to follow her mom to the elevator.

When they reached Lena’s office once again, Sam announced that she had to part ways to attend to some business herself, and Lily was left alone with her mom.

“Do you want anything to eat?” her mom called out as she sat down at her desk. “We’ll be leaving for dinner in a few hours, but I can have Jess order you something if you would like. Tuesday is half off potstickers at Pim’s,” she reminded her daughter with a sly smile, and Lily sighed in resignation.

“I mean, how do you expect me to turn that down?” she asked, and Lena laughed as she paged Jess to order the food.

A half hour later, Lily was comfortably settled on her mom’s floor, some designs her mom asked her to look at scattered around her, as she mercilessly scribbled all over each design and periodically ate whole potstickers at a time. Her mom and her were holding a steady conversation, talking about different breakthroughs and theses that had been introduced over the summer, and the implications of what L Corp could achieve with them all.

“Do you think Wayne Industries will ever be able to top their AI interface they introduced two years ago?” Lily asked her mother curiously as their conversation began to drift into companies around the world. Lily personally believed Bruce wouldn’t give up until he did, but with the team of scientists under him, she remained reluctant to throw her support at him.

“I think Bruce is too stubborn to not try,” Lena repeated Lily’s thoughts with a smirk. “The problem is he probably achieved the most advanced level of Stage 2 AI possible, and improving to Stage 3 will take decades or longer, even with our exponential growth in technology. I just don’t think he has the right people to achieve it.”

Lily hummed in agreeance before popping up from her seat and walking over to her mom’s desk. “Okay so I’ve been looking at the pump system you’ve been designing, and I think the problem you’re going to run into is it will cavitate if you use it at an elevation above a couple hundred meters,” she explained, setting the design down on her mom’s desk as her mom leaned over to see her calculations.

Lena sighed and muttered, “I was afraid of that. The community that need it though is so far above sea level, they would need more height than a couple hundred meters.”

“Is there anyway you could do two pump systems?” Lily asked, biting her lip as she studied the design. “One just to bring the water up to a manageable storage elevation and then another to get it up to the community?”

Lena studied the blueprints for a second and thought it over before she slowly nodded. “It could potentially work,” she finally stated, looking up at her daughter. “Could you contact the R and D department to get you the exact blueprints of the community? I want you to come up with a proposal and we’ll travel out to the civil and water management branch tomorrow to present it and see what they think,” she instructed, and Lily’s chest constricted with pride that her mom was trusting her with a whole design proposal on her own.

“Of course!” she agreed, and eagerly set off to achieve what her mom had asked of her. She had three hours before they were convening for dinner, and Lily had every intention of using the most of that time.

When she had gotten the blueprints and studied the area carefully, she noticed there was luckily an area about halfway up the mountain to the community’s elevation that would work perfectly for water storage and easy access to a pump system. Lily wasted no time in drawing up her proposal, and typing a small summary of what would need to be done. Her mom hadn’t been very specific on how detailed the idea should be, so when she found she had a little extra time, she also designed a basic storage unit for the water and ideas for water treatment and recycling in the community.

When it was almost five-thirty, both Lena and Lily looked up from the designs they were immersed in to greet whoever knocked on Lena’s office door.

“Mind me interrupting so we don’t miss our reservation?” Sam popped her head in with a little laugh and wink at Lena, and Lena scoffed.

“I wasn’t going to make us miss our reservation again, you have no faith in me, Sam,” she chided as she began to stack up her paperwork.

Sam laughed as she entered the office and Ruby followed, catching Lily’s eye immediately and beelining straight for her. Lily barely had a chance to stand before Ruby was hugging her.

“How was being normal for a summer?” Ruby asked excitedly, when she finally pulled away, and Lily let out a nervous laugh.

“I just don’t think it’s in my cards to be normal for a summer,” she responded with a small scoff, and Ruby chuckled knowingly at this.

Shrugging, she looked at her mischievously and stated, “I don’t know, the prank war sounded like a pretty normal teenage experience.”

Unable to stop herself from laughing at that, Lily shook her head as a light blush covered her cheeks. She supposed the prank war could be perceived as a normal experience out of context, but the fact it was basically started because she had met her identical twin really thwarted any hope of her seeing it as such herself.

Before she could respond, however, Liza’s phone buzzed beside her new design on the table, drawing both girls’ attention. Upon seeing the name of the contact, Lily quickly grabbed the phone before Ruby could see. Luckily for her, however, the other girl was much more interested in the blueprints on the table.

“Well shit, are you working on a design?” Ruby asked incredulously as her eyes widened and looked back at Lily. Lily’s blush increased, feeling Sam and Lena’s eyes turn their attention over on her too. “I never thought I’d see the day,” Ruby teased, crouching down to get a better look at the design. At this, both Sam and Lena made their way over to observe what Lily had spent the past few hours.

Lily felt the phone buzz in her hand again when her mom looked up at her appraisingly. “This is beyond any of my expectations, darling. The committee is going to love it tomorrow, you should be proud,” she complimented, and Lily practically preened at the praise. When everyone turned back to the design once again, this time going over it in more detail, Lily snuck a glance at her phone.

Liza: [Sorry, Yeyu took your phone after Darvis called her.]

Liza: [Had to beg to get it back this morning, and luckily she was feeling guilty enough from last night to do so]

Lily frowned at the messages, wondering what her mother could feel guilty about to give up on a punishment so easily. Normally it felt like Lily would have to move Earth itself to get Yeyu to lighten a sentence once she decided on it. Deciding to send a quick text before anyone noticed, Lily typed quickly.

Lily: [What happened?]

She looked up then and tuned into the conversation everyone was having about her design. When Sam had a question about the potential treatment options, Lily readily jumped in and explained different ways they treat the water after its use at the top of the mountain and then reuse it, which if implemented correctly, could reduce the size of the storage tank needed halfway up the mountain and the cost considerably. She felt the phone buzz again as she finished up the explanation, and glanced at it quick before anyone could respond.

Liza: [Hold on, let me get my whole update typed out]

“We’ll see what kind of resources we could funnel to the community to achieve something like that. Their current system could leave them without water indefinitely if it ever decided to give out, which it’s on the verge of doing. The main thing right now is to streamline clean water to them as reliably and effectively as possible,” Lena commented with a sincere smile, and Lily nodded in agreement.

“The idea would be one to look into for all high altitude communities though,” Sam pointed out. “If we could come up with a system to implement it, it could change water resources for them drastically.”

Lily beamed at the attention and value her idea was being given and hurried to explain more. “Depending on how efficient we make it too, it could become a process implemented anywhere; it could reduce water usage world wide,” she pitched, and Sam smiled at her and ruffled her hair.

“Liza’s about to save the world while we just sit here useless,” she jested, and everyone let out a laugh at that.

“Do you think you could postpone your world-saving for a few hours though?” Ruby piped in. “I’m starving.” Letting out another laugh, Sam and Lena agreed with Ruby and began to gather their things to head out to dinner. When they were in the car on their way, Lily felt the telltale buzz of the phone.

Liza: [Okay so first off, don’t freak out, but Clark knows we switched. I was trying to ask him questions about Lex, and he called me and Mom his family and I broke, sorry. He promised he won’t say anything though! Family dinner went pretty well, I think Alex is kind of suspicious, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Yeyu is incredible, Lil. She’s so freaking cool and I could hug her forever. But that does lead me to the thing I have to tell you that I don’t think you’ll take well.]

So many thoughts ran through Lily’s mind as she read the text. Clark knowing about the switch was surprising, but she felt like she could trust her uncle. And if Liza felt that it was right to tell him in the moment, she guessed she couldn’t question that. She had figured Alex would be suspicious, and she felt like Sam was on her tail personally, but her mom hadn’t seemed too suspicious or worked up about anything, so she still felt safe on that front. She was overwhelmingly happy her twin was enjoying her time with their mother, but her heart dropped as she read the last line. Before she could respond, however, Liza sent another text.

Liza: [Before I get into that though, what’s a Daximight? Google isn’t being helpful.]

Frowning at this, Lily considered the text. Why was Liza asking her about Daxamites? There were none of them left. Sighing, and tilting her phone as far away from her mom as possible without being suspicious, she typed what she could.

Lily: [We’re heading out to dinner, and there’s so much to respond to here, but I’ll start with your question and text you as I can.]

Lily: [You’re spelling it wrong. It’s Daxamite, and Rao they’re the WORST. Misogynist, slave owners, no sense of morals. They’re very similar to Kryptonians though. Like the frat boys of Kryptonians. Why?]

When the texts were sent, she turned the phone over and looked impassively out the window as Ruby and Lena discussed some of the updates the quality labs were going through. She felt the buzz a second later and resisted the urge to pick up the phone immediately and look at it. Another buzz, and Lily bit her cheek, willing herself to be patient. When the third buzz came through, Lena turned and looked at Lily with her eyebrows furrowed.

“Are you not checking your phone for a reason, darling?” she asked, and Lily shrugged guiltily.

“It’s, uh, just a group chat from camp. It’s not really important,” she explained, and Lena paused and then just nodded, turning back to her conversation with Ruby. Deciding she should check it just to not seem suspicious, she lifted up the phone and read through the messages waiting for her.

Liza: [Oh]

Liza: [Shit you’re really not going to like this]

Liza: [Please don’t blow our cover over this because I’m going to handle it]

Lily’s blood ran cold as she tried to think of any reason Liza would act like this. She had a bad feeling her mother had encountered a Daxamite somewhere and was in danger. She held her breath as she typed her response.

Lily: [Liza, what is it?]

After it was sent, their car pulled up to the restaurant and all the women exited and made their way towards the front door. They were being led to their seats when Lily felt the phone buzz and she quickly looked at it.

Liza: [Yeyu’s dating a Daxamite.]

Lily didn’t register she screamed “What!” until a beat later when she noticed the entire restaurant was staring at her. Sam, Lena, and Ruby were looking at her with concern about her outburst, and she quickly flushed red as she tried to stutter an apology.

“I’m- sorry, I just- I need to go to the bathroom,” she finally announced, brushing her way past the group and practically running to the bathroom. She felt the buzz of the phone a couple more times before she got there, but knew she could look at them until she was out of view of everyone.

When she arrived in the bathroom, she gratefully noted no one else was there. With a big sigh and fighting the tears in her eyes, Lily leaned back against the bathroom sink to reopen the conversation. When her eyes reread the previous message, she swallowed the thick disbelief she had, knowing Liza wouldn’t lie to her about something like this. She then quickly scanned over the two messages that had come in on her retreat to the bathroom.

Liza: [Apparently he takes up a lot of her time too, because she left in the middle of my welcome home dinner to help him at the DEO]

Liza: [Lily?]

Gritting her teeth and trying to control the feeling of her blood boiling, Lily didn’t even bother typing anything in response and just hit the call button on Liza’s contact. A beat later, Liza had answered the phone.

“Hey, I don’t know if this is the best-”

“Tell me you’re joking,” Lily demanded, and Liza just sighed in defeat. Some shuffling could be heard on the other end of the phone and eventually a door closing, and Lily figured Liza was retreating to a more private space.

“I- no, Lily, I’m not joking,” she finally admitted. “Yeyu hasn’t said anything to me about it specifically, but she implied that she’s serious about it. Also, Clark and Alex seemed confused as to why I was so calm learning about it, and your reaction is making me understand why.”

“Well, yeah,” Lily shot back, letting her frustration with the situation seep into her voice. “He’s a horrible person, and Yeyu should have nothing to do with him,” she almost yelled, but swallowed down her anger to try to stay manageably quiet.

Liza sighed. “We’ve not even met him,” she pointed out, but Lily scoffed at this.

“You don’t want to meet him, I promise. Plus, Liza, don’t forget our plan,” she insisted. “Our moms belong together, we know that. We just have to remind them.”

“Well then maybe we should consider telling them we switched now and get them back into each other’s lives quicker. I don’t know if I can fight for Yeyu’s attention from this guy,” Liza reasoned, becoming irritated, and Lily almost cried at the suggestion.

“Liza, I can’t- I don’t want to expose ourselves so soon. I want more time with Mom,” she explained desperately, and she heard the other girl let out a little sigh on the other end of the line.

“Yeah, okay,” she finally relented. “I want more time with Yeyu too,” she admitted softly, and they were both silent for a moment.

Finally Lily spoke up. “Yeyu won’t ignore you in favor of some boyfriend,” she promised. “She might be flighty, but I refuse to believe she wouldn’t make time for you, so you don’t have to worry about that much. Just text me if you need anything okay?”

“Yeah, of course, Lil. I’ll do what I can to sabotage them,” she offered, and Lily let out a little laugh.

“Did you find anything out from Clark?” Lily asked after another moment of silence.

“Just that the trial really fucked everything up, but we already knew that,” she reported. “I think he knows what we’re up to with our moms too, and implied Yeyu still has feelings for Mom, but refused to give me a hard answer on that.”

Lily hummed thoughtfully at this information, wondering if her uncle was right. With a start, she remembered what she had to tell Liza. “Hey, while you’re researching, keep an eye out for anything significant happening around November 7th, 2004,” she informed her twin. “I found an old box of Mom’s designs for Yeyu, and she designed something to keep her safe before she left, and that was the last dated design I could find.”

“Okay, I’ll keep an eye out,” she promised. “Now get back to your dinner before Mom hunts you down,” she ordered with a little laugh, and Lily chuckled with her.

“Okay,” she agreed. “I miss you,” she said a beat later.

“I miss you too,” Liza admitted. “Bye, Lil. We’ll talk more later.”

“Bye,” Lily signed off quietly, and then hung up. She spent a few more minutes in the bathroom composing herself before reemerging and locating her mom at a table.

Her mom’s eyes lit up when they saw her daughter, but Lily could tell she was also concerned, so she tried to act like everything was fine even though it wasn’t. She just couldn’t believe her mother would go off and get involved with someone so objectively terrible for her while she was gone. She knew she would do something reckless.

“Everything okay?” Lena asked when she got close enough to the table, and Lily waved off her concern.

“Just some camp drama,” she explained. “We got it sorted out.” Everyone at the table seemed relaxed at this, and Lily let out a long quiet breath and tried not to focus on how nothing was sorted out at all. Picking up a menu she smiled at the table.

“Anyone else feeling potstickers?” And everyone laughed in response.

Chapter Text

Liza sighed as she looked down at Lily’s phone. A million thoughts raced through her head after she hung up with her sister. She understood that they needed more time with their moms, but Liza couldn’t stop herself from worrying about how she was going to handle the Mon-El. Lily was definitely the more equipped twin for this, she thought as she sighed, and made her way towards the bedroom door to rejoin Eliza and Alex down in the kitchen.

As she walked down the stairs, the clue Lily had told her reentered her head. What could the significance of November 7th, 2004 be? And how would she figure it out? Maybe the DEO had archives that could help, she pondered. Alex had mentioned heading over there after breakfast, so maybe she could convince her to take her with.

“Crisis averted?” her aunt called out as she reentered the kitchen, and Liza shot her a small smile with a nod. She had been surprised this morning to find her grandma and aunt in the kitchen with her mother. Apparently they decided to come over for an Eliza breakfast specialty Liza’s first day home. After getting Lily’s phone back (with some help from Alex), her mother had bid her goodbye with the promise she would see her at in the afternoon at the DEO.

Sitting down at the bar as Eliza kept her back to the two of them, Liza shrugged and came up with an excuse to leave on the phone so suddenly, “Camp stuff. They always make it seem like a bigger deal than it is.”

Eliza let out a little laugh as this as she plated some scrambled eggs onto a plate already loaded with pancakes. “I still find it hard to believe anyone could be more dramatic than you, Lily,” she teased warmly, and Liza fought to control her blush.

“You know how Lilith is,” she commented off-handedly as the plate was sat down in front of her and her grandma took a seat on the other side of Alex.

“You didn’t do something in that lab to switch personalities with Lilith, did you?” Alex joked, and Liza choked on the orange juice she was currently sipping on.

Coughing and waving off her aunt and grandma’s concern, Liza finally was able to respond, “I’m afraid not. You’re just stuck with the new me.” She shot her aunt a sly grin to which she reciprocated, and Eliza scoffed a bit.

“Well we’re happy having any version of you, Lilybug. We all missed you over the summer,” Eliza promised getting up and going over to her granddaughter to give her a hug. And if Liza clung onto the hug a few beats longer than necessary because her life had been quite barren of hugs from her grandma, well she didn’t figure that wouldn’t give away her identity.

When Eliza finally let her go, Liza turned back to her food and willed herself to eat the pancakes on her plate. For the first time since she had been back with her mother in National City, a small pang of homesickness swept through her. Her mom probably made her favorite waffles this morning, pushing back her morning meetings to do so. And now they were probably at her favorite restaurant with Sam and Ruby, talking over the summer. She missed them all, and suddenly felt very out of place at a kitchen counter halfway across the world with two women she had just met the day before. Ignoring the churn of her stomach, Liza picked off a little bite of the pancake and chewed it slowly.

Without warning, she felt a hand on her forehead and she turned to her aunt in confusion.

“Sorry was just making sure you aren’t sick,” she commented jokingly, but there was a little bit of worry in her eyes. “I’ve never seen you take longer than ten seconds to down Mom’s pancakes,” she continued with a pointed look.

Liza tried not to let her worry show on her face that her aunt was getting suspicious. “Oh I’m just savoring them. I had to live without them all camp,” she defended quickly, and both Eliza and Alex shared a look before shrugging it off and accepting the explanation. Unfortunately for her, however, she just talked herself into having to finish all the pancakes to prove she was in fact trying to eat all of them slowly.

She did manage to eat them all though, and when Alex stood up and announced that she had to go into the DEO, Liza quickly stood as well, and her aunt shot her a confused look.

“Can I ride in with you?” Liza asked eagerly, despite Alex’s wary look.

Hesitantly, she furrowed her eyebrows. “You sure? I won’t be able to work on the suit with you until this afternoon; you could just fly in then,” she offered, shrugging on her leather jacket as she waited for her niece’s response.

Liza held in her scoff thinking how much of a disaster it would be if she were to just fly around aimlessly looking for the DEO. Shaking her head, she answered confidently, “Yeah, I’d rather just go with you today, if that’s okay. I’ll catch up with everyone and keep myself busy.”

Alex narrowed her eyes at Liza suspiciously before she let out a small smile and motioned for Liza to follow her. “Well if you insist, let’s go then, kiddo,” she relented, and Liza’s grin grew as she excitedly skipped to follow her out to the car. They both waved goodbye to Eliza, and exited the house.

Liza tried to hold in her gasp as she left the house for the first time without her necklace on, but it was impossible to hold it all in. She felt her powers seep back into her body and realized Lily was right: it was still a bit uncomfortable, but not as much of a shock to her system, like she usually experienced. Alex let out a little laugh at her reaction and shook her head as she opened the door to the car.

“I’m not surprised the transition took you off guard,” she commented, as Liza got in her side of the car. “That necklace you wore all summer is a bit outdated. I keep meaning to update it, but if I’m being honest, I’m scared of what your mom would think,” she confessed, and Liza furrowed her eyebrows at her aunt.

As far as she had noticed, everyone had always referred to Yeyu as her mother, including Alex. If her aunt said “mom” did that refer to Yeyu or Mom? The question almost was too confusing to think about, but she still stared at Alex as she put the car into drive and began to make her way towards the DEO. Alex really wouldn’t be directly talking about her mom in front of her, would she?

But why would Yeyu care about her Alex updating the necklace?

Deciding to test her theory, Liza looked forward and planned her words carefully. “I didn’t know Mom had such strong opinions on the necklace,” she commented nonchalantly. Her aunt gave her a brief glance that Liza didn’t miss, and she held her breath waiting for the evidence she needed.

Finally Alex scoffed and shook her head. “I’m surprised your mom even let me touch blueprints,” she commented, and Liza snorted, knowing definitely she was talking about her mom and not Yeyu now. If there was one thing her mom was known for, it was being very protective and hesitant to let anyone else tinker with her prototypes. That’s why they had a whole section of the L Corp R and D labs dedicated to just her mom’s side projects that only she was allowed to touch. Even Liza wasn’t allowed to have access to that lab.

Alex gave Liza an amused glance at her giggles, and Liza immediately tried to hold them in a bit more, so as to not be so obvious she knew exactly what her aunt was referring to. It was unsuccessful, however, and just caused her face to become strained and bright red as she tried to discipline herself.

If Alex was suspicious, however, she didn’t say anything, and just turned back to driving in silence. With a start, Liza realized this was the first time she had been alone with her aunt since she had been in National City. From what Lily had told her about her relationship with her aunt, maybe she was the best person to get information out of. Especially in light of Yeyu beginning to date again; it gave her the cover she required to start asking what she needed.

“Alex, does Yeyu still miss my father?” Liza finally asked, catching her aunt off guard. Alex jumped and cussed under her breath at the question, swerving the car a bit and gripping the steering wheel tighter. Liza bit back her smile with a smirk, suspecting her wording would surprise her aunt. If Alex suspected anything about the switch, she had put that suspicion to rest for the time by implying she had no idea Yeyu was gay.

Her aunt let out a cough and grimaced as she tried to decide how she wanted word any answer to that question. “Lil,” she finally started tiredly, and Liza decided to try and help her out.

“I know she’ll kill you if you talk about it, but I just had to spend a summer meeting new people not being able to talk about Yeyu because she’s Supergirl and not being able to talk about my dad because I know nothing about him,” she started, using her guilt trip eyes that always managed to get her mom to give in to whatever she was asking. But she knew she would really have to dig in if she wanted to get results. “Plus, now she has this new boyfriend I know nothing about, and how am I supposed to judge anything about him if I don’t know anything about my father.”

Alex released a long sigh at this, and Liza knew she had her backed up into a tough corner. Yeyu obviously was very private about her previous relationship if Lily hadn’t even known she had been married to a woman. Her aunt would clearly be in deep shit with her if she gave anything away, and yet she knew she had to give her niece something.

“Your mother misses them very much,” she finally relented with a warning look, and it was clear she wasn’t going to speak more on the subject. Liza bit her cheek and stopped herself from pointing out the wording. Her heart warmed a bit to think that her mother had missed her mom and her all these years, but mostly solidified Liza’s suspicion that her mom had been the one to end things.

With a sigh, Liza turned and looked out the window, not willing to push her aunt any further to preserve the safety net she had just created for her identity. She had just used most of her cards she had to get information, and only got a sliver anyways. She would have to come up with a better way to investigate.

A few minutes later, Alex was turning into what looked like a military base, and Liza practically popped up with excitement. She knew her sister loved this place for the labs, but the DEO was the forefront of all alien research and protection. Her obsession with Supergirl may have influenced it slightly, but she still always wished to see everything that went on in this super classified building.

Liza followed Alex’s lead into the building, and as soon as Liza entered the door, everyone’s attention seemed to be on her.

“Hey Lily! Good to see you back!”

“How was camp, Lil?”

“Thank god you’re back, your mother’s been driving me up a wall.”

Liza tried to smile and nod at everyone greeting her, but she felt a bit overwhelmed. She guessed she underestimated how much of a small celebrity Lily was around here. She had taught her the names of most the people greeting her, but she was struggling in the moment to remember any of them. She believed the last person to say something to her was her mother’s friend by the name of Winn, but she couldn’t be positive.

“Alright, alright, give the kid some space,” Alex finally stepped in for her, motioning for everyone to back off a little, and Liza let out a relieved sigh at not being pressured into being put to the test the moment she walked through the door. “She’ll be here all day, so I’m sure you’ll see her around. Until then, I believe you all have assignments to be attending,” she ended with a pointed look, and the entire crowd dispersed besides the man believed to be her mother’s friend.

He walked up to Liza excitably and immediately wrapped her in a tight hug, which she reciprocated without hesitation.

“Schott, you have the most assignments out of anyone,” her aunt pointed out exasperatedly, but he just shot her a dopey smile and turned back to Liza.

“Okay, so the hotspot: the range worked out alright?” he asked, and Alex left Liza’s side, muttering how she wouldn’t get into any more trouble with her mother that morning by overhearing this conversation.

Liza sighed, grateful for her background knowledge at L Corp and for paying half-attention when Lily had been babbling on about the hotspot connection one night. “Yeah, it worked perfectly,” she confirmed. “The signal was even pretty strong for being in a deadzone. The virtual SIM must have been working overtime connecting to a ton of low level local signals to give us that quality.”

At this Winn smirked and nodded. “ ‘Us’?” he questioned mischievously. “What happened to ‘Uncle Winn I promise this will only be for my personal use if there’s an emergency?”

Liza’s cheeks flushed at the mistake, and she coughed and shrugged. “There was an emergency that involved two of us,” she explained truthfully, and Winn didn’t look convinced. “Honest.”

Finally, Winn relented a grin and held up his hands. “Fine, fine, if you say so. As long as your mother doesn’t find out, I’m in good shape,” he commented.

“She’ll never know,” Liza promised, but she wasn’t quite sure if she would be able to keep it. Eventually her mother would ask how they figured out they were twins. It was bound to come up. But for now, she was more worried about putting Winn’s conscious at ease.

“Schott, the mainframe still needs those security checks done,” a voice came up from behind Liza, startling them both. Liza whirled around and stared wide-eyed at J’onn J’onzz, the infamous leader of the DEO. Somewhere in the back of her head, Lily was screaming at her to think about how the twin’s switch was a secret so J’onn wouldn’t give it away right away, but right now Liza’s brain was scrambling as J’onn’s eyes narrowed in on her.

“Yup, on it! Just greeting Lily,” Winn responded easily, popping back into action and heading back towards his work area with a wink at Liza.

“I think we need to talk, young lady.”

Liza gulped, but didn’t try to fight is as a thousand possibilities of what J’onn might say to her ran through her head. He led her to an empty room and shut the door behind him, and before Liza could even begin protesting and defending herself, J’onn’s arms were wrapped around her in a tight hug.

“Been a long time since I’ve seen you, Liza,” he finally pulled away, his eyes shining as he took the girl in. Liza stood a bit stunned, scrambling for something to say. Lily hadn’t known how J’onn would react to the switch, so this was definitely a lot better than what she was expecting.

J’onn let out a little laugh and sighed. “Your thoughts are a little everywhere right now,” he pointed out. “Mind telling me how you came to come back to National City as Lily?”

Liza let out a sigh at this and smiled at him a bit guiltily. “We met at camp and figured out we were twins. Lily had the great idea of switching places so we could meet our moms,” she explained a bit ruefully, fully understanding how crazy the idea sounded.

J’onn let out a little hoot of laughter and shook his head amusedly. “Lily always did jump into ideas that were maybe not the most thought out,” he recalled, and Liza let out a smirk. All of Lily’s friends and relatives had said the same thing so far about her sister, and Liza definitely understood from first hand experience.

Switching places was one level of reckless. Trying to get their moms back together after fifteen years of not seeing each other? That was a whole other level.

J’onn raised his eyebrows after this thought, and Liza mentally cursed herself for forgetting he could read her mind.

“That is a bit reckless,” he confirmed, and Liza sighed. “Though if you pull it off, I wouldn’t complain. I miss having your mom around the labs. I definitely have a few projects I could use her help on as well.”

It shouldn’t have surprised Liza that J’onn and her mom had once been acquaintances, but honestly it was always so hard to remember her mom had a whole life here before London. Growing up, anything before London in her mom’s life was just overshadowed by Lex. A thought hit Liza as she considered the fact that J’onn had known both of her moms before they split. Maybe he knew why they-

“I don’t really,” J’onn stopped her before she was even able to finish her thought. “And I don’t think anyone you ask around here will either,” he informed her solemnly, and Liza sighed frustrated but not surprised. Their moms split seemed to be even more of a mystery than she had bargained for.

“Even my mother?” she asked pointedly, because surely-

“Especially your mother,” he answered with sad eyes. “I could list off several reasons as to why I think they split and what went wrong and how it could have possibly ended with your mom leaving for London, but I don’t think any of us actually know. It would all be speculation. The only person who will be able to give you the answer you’re looking for is your mom.”

Liza’s stomach churned as she had been expecting that to be the answer. She wouldn’t stop looking, though. Anything she could learn would help give insight into her moms’ pasts.

“If Mom worked here on some projects, do you think I could go through some of the archives?” she asked, and J’onn raised his eyebrows considering it. “Lily gave me a date to look into and I don’t know how else to figure out the significance of it,” she explained.

J’onn sighed, clearly weighing the options, and then relented. “I suppose that wouldn’t do any harm. I’ll show you where our physical archives are,” he promised, leading her out of the door. “We had a small incident with our mainframe last night, so the online archives probably won’t be able to be accessed until later today,” he explained, and Liza briefly wondered if Mon-El was at fault for that and was the reason her mother had to leave so quickly last night.

While Liza was lost in thought, J’onn stopped suddenly, and Liza bumped into his back. “Alright they’re in here,” J’onn instructed, pointing at a rather unassuming door. “Just don’t get into anything you’re not supposed to. I’ll know,” he instructed seriously, and Liza swallowed thickly as she nodded and promised she would just stick to looking through her mom’s history with the DEO. As he began walking away, Liza took a deep breath and pushed into the room.

She was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of files. It felt like they were overflowing the room with information, but if there was one thing Liza was good at, it was organizing information.

It took her two times around the room to figure out the (loose) organization of the files. Using her theory, she came up to what she hoped would be fall 2004 files. Pulling out the box, she began pulling out the files one by one, noting the dates November 23, 2004; October 2, 2004; and October 17, 2004. She sighed in relief. This was the box she was looking for, but did it have any of the answers she was looking for?

She began to dig deeper into the files, stopping to look at any and all reports and designs from before her mom leaving America. She was two pages into a report on particularly nasty run in with kryptonite Supergirl had in September of 2004 when Lily’s phone buzzed beside her.

Pulling her eyes away from the report, she looked down at the text she had received.

Lily: [Was going to ask you if you’ve met the bf yet, and realized you never told me his name.]

Liza smirked at this and rolled her eyes as she picked up the phone to respond.

Liza: [His name is Non-Oil.]

Liza: [Shit, autocorrect. Mon-El.]

Lily: [I’m only referring to him as Non-Oil now, and you have to accept that.]

Liza let out a loud laugh and shook her head. It was misfortunate, sure, but it was exactly what she needed from her sister to boost her spirit. She was incredibly nervous to meet Yeyu’s boyfriend because she knew she would have to be much more forward than she wanted to be if she wanted to evoke her inner Lily.

Liza: [Anyways, haven’t met him yet. I’m at the DEO rn, so I expect to soon.]

Lily: [Give him hell.]

Lily: [Whatchu up to at the DEO?]

Liza: [Archives. Looking up that date you told me. Haven’t found anything yet except a brutal open case file about a kryptonite attack in September of that year.]

Lily: [Yeyu’s dealt with kryptonite before, that’s not too out of the ordinary. Any encounter with kryptonite is technically brutal.]

Lily: [I have to go now though, Mom and I are going to watch some true crime. Lmk if there’s any updates on the date or Non-Oil.]

Liza: [Have fun! I’ll let you know.]

Liza set down the phone and sighed at the amount of files she still had to go through. Remembering what Lily had said, she reluctantly set aside the kryptonite case in favor of getting through more files. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to which order the files were put in the box, which meant Liza was just going to have to go through them all.

It felt like an agonizing amount of time, but it only took about forty minutes to get through all the files. Liza slammed the last file down and ran her hands through her hair. Nothing. There had been absolutely nothing that even alluded to her mom besides a few designs. There wasn’t even report on November 7th.

She picked up the phone to give Lily her update when she heard the archive door open behind her. She whirled around and saw her aunt with a mischievous grin on her face.

“Wanna meet Mon-El?” she asked with a smirk, and Liza tried to hide her anxiety at her aunt’s proposal. “That’s why you wanted to come in early with me right? To terrorize your mother’s boyfriend? Give him the ‘ole Lily speciality?”

Liza swallowed thickly and forced a beam on her face as she began to gather all the documents around her and return them back to their box. She quickly lifted the box off the ground and restored it to its place on the shelf. Her aunt’s eyes narrowed when she realized which box she had pulled down, but didn’t say anything as she was clearly excited to see what was about to go down between her niece and the Daxamite.

Liza followed Alex out of the room, and her aunt led her through a series of hallways and back towards the main area of the DEO.

“Him and your mother usually meet here and then go out to get lunch together,” Alex relayed to Liza. “He gets sensitive about the smallest things, and he definitely thinks your mother would choose him over you, which we both know is not true.” Liza gulped a little, praying that Lily and Alex were right about that.

Her aunt stopped suddenly and held Liza back for a second before pointing at a man across the room who was talking to Winn. “Okay that’s him,” she instructed. “Do whatever you have to kiddo: assert your dominance, be ruthless, make him cry,” she continued with a wide impish grin, and Liza understood with a sudden clarity why Alex and Lily were best friends.

Alex gave her a little push, and Liza reluctantly walked forward towards the man. He was cute, she supposed, for an alleged asshole. She could at least see why her mother was interested in him.

When she got close and he still hadn’t noticed her, she stopped and cleared her throat a little. Both Winn and Mon-El looked up at her, and Winn quickly looked back and forth between them before deciding very quickly to take his leave before anything could go down. Liza could almost feel the entire room holding their breath waiting for her and Mon-El to hash out whatever needed to be hashed out.

Mon-El, however, clearly didn’t sense the apprehension in the room. Glancing at her, he stood and looked her over. “Hey you’re Lily right?” he questioned, a bit of a bored expression on his face, and Liza bristled a bit at his clear lack of enthusiasm meeting his girlfriend’s daughter.

Taking a deep breath and channelling every ounce of Lily she possibly could, she painted a sickly sweet smile on her face and nodded. “And you’re this year’s summer boyfriend, right?” she greeted, gleefully noting his face fall immediately. “Nice to meet you, Manuel.” She stuck her hand out for him to shake and heard her aunt snicker from behind her as Mon-El clearly didn’t appreciate some teenager calling him by the wrong name.

“It’s Mon-El.”

Liza furrowed her eyebrows at this a bit incredulously. “I’m pretty sure Yeyu said Manuel,” she persisted, and a shadow covered his face. Liza frowned a bit. Her aunt was right, he was too proud and sensitive for his own good.

“I’m pretty sure she would have told you my name correctly,” he shot back, rolling his eyes a bit. “Maybe being around a bunch of giggling girls all summer messed with your listening comprehension.”

Liza’s fists clenched at this as she sent a menacing glare at Mon-El, nearly making him flinch. She was a bit surprised her heat vision wasn’t activated. “And maybe being an overgrown man child has affected your comprehension of what you are to my mother if this is how you’re going to treat me.”

“Listen-”

“No you listen,” Liza cut him off forcefully, and the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop without super hearing. It might have been hard to antagonize him for no reason, but if this was how quickly he got worked up and began throwing around sexist insults, he needed to be put in his place. Her mother didn’t deserve to deal with stressing over him on top of everything.

“Everything might have been la-di-da and you could just take up whatever of my mother’s time while I was gone,” she started, her voice lowering a bit into a growl, “but that’s because she was bored without me. Make no mistake: when it comes to pairings around here, it’s Yeyu and me, not you and her. She will always choose me over you.” Mon-El stood a bit stunned and Liza knew she needed to seal the deal and make sure he was never going to try something with her again. “I let her come help you last night, and if you want me to let her do anything else with you, I suggest you get your attitude checked.”

Mon-El’s face flared up, but there almost a resignation in his expression as well. He knew he was beat. If what Liza was saying was true, he wouldn’t have a chance with her mother without her. Liza almost expected her aunt to whoop in excitement at her niece’s display, but the room was strangely still quiet. She got her answer as to why a couple seconds later.

“What’s going on here?” her mother’s voice rang out, an edge to her voice. Liza spun around quickly, trying to keep the guilt off her face. “Lily?” Kara asked, narrowing her eyes at her and her boyfriend. Liza cringed internally because it was very obvious what she had been doing.

“Nothing, Yeyu,” she defended quickly, trying to keep her composed and confident demeanor about her. If she showed she was nervous about what she had said, Mon-El would take that as she was lying. “I was just telling Mun-Al here how I was hoping I could get you alone for lunch at Noonan’s?” She phrased it as a hopeful question and her mother raised her eyebrows, looking back and forth between them. If she noticed Liza mispronounce his name, she didn’t say anything.

“I was telling her how we usually get lunch together and she could join us,” Mon-El butted in, and Liza clenched her fist at him still trying to be relevant in her relationship with her mother. Holding her breath, she waited for Yeyu to come up with a response. If she went with the compromise and went with both of them to Noonan’s, her words will have meant nothing.

“Maybe we can do that tomorrow, Mon-El,” her mother finally responded, and it took everything in Liza to not let out a large sigh of relief. “Lunch at Noonan’s sounds great, Lil. Got your things?” Kara asked, turning her attention back to her daughter.

“Yup, I’m all set to go!” Liza skipped over to her mother, clearly elated that when put to the test, Yeyu had pulled through, and as they were about to leave, she turned around and looked back at the dejected Mon-El. “See you Mannel!” she wished sweetly, and he glared back at her.

They made their way silently out to Yeyu’s car and didn’t start speaking until they were a little ways down the road. The silence was awkward but not tense. Liza assumed Kara wanted to wait until they were sitting across from each other to have a real conversation.

“How was CatCo this morning?” Liza asked breaking the silence.

Kara let out a small smile and shook her head. “Oh the same old. Nia--the intern I was telling you about yesterday--did something pretty reckless which I pretty firmly instructed her not to do for an article, but like I said: same old.”

“Are you going to punish her for it?” Liza looked at her curiously, unsure of how her mother handled these kinds of situations.

Shrugging, Kara answered, “I’ll definitely punish, but we’ll see how good the article turns out before I decide how much punishment to inflict.”

Liza smirked a bit at this, realizing despite her superhero exterior, her mother was a bit of a softie as well.

They arrived at Noonan’s shortly after their conversation, and Liza would be lying if she said she wasn’t excited to eat there. Lily had hyped it up so much, she wasn’t sure how it was ever going to live up to its reputation. As they walked in, Liza noticed a few people sitting here or there and the waitress noticed them enter right away.

“Hiya you two!” she greeted from across the room. “Same as always?” she asked with a grin.

Kara waved back at her and responded, “That would be great, thank you Kendra!”

Liza smiled at the interaction, not taking for granted that this was a really special place for Yeyu and her daughter, and Liza was lucky enough to be here with her this time. Kara slid inside a booth, setting down her purse, and Liza followed suit. Her mother sighed, and her stomach churned as she realized what was coming.

“So, it’s time to have that talk then,” Kara began and Liza gritted her teeth.

“That’s who you choose to date after all these years?” she started, not meaning to sound so accusatory, but she’d been bottling it up since her interaction with Non-Oil and she just couldn’t put it together. Her mother seemed to be such a great judge of character, why was she bothering with this man-child.

“Lily.”

Liza pushed on, however, needing to get her feelings out. “It’s just, he’s so-”

“I know,” her mother cut her off with a pointed look, and Liza stared at her a bit shocked.

Before she could respond though, Kendra came up with their platefuls of food. “You know the drill, holler if you need me!” she instructed before she turned to leave Liza alone with her mother again.

“You know?” Liza questioned, jumping right back into it. Her mother shook her head and motioned for her to start eating her food before it got cold. “Then why do you put up with it?” she asked, before picking up her fork and taking a bite out of the sticky bun on her plate.

The groan she let out was involuntary and her mother let out a little laugh, unsurprised her daughter was so dramatic about eating Noonan’s again after a three month break.

“He’s getting better; he’s still getting acclimated here,” Kara then responded, digging into her own food, and Liza stopped and stared at her warily.

“Yeyu-”

“Lil,” Yeyu cut her off with a bit of an exasperated look. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve felt anything with anyone? I’ve spent so many years wondering where I messed up so horrendously to get left in my last relationship that I’ve never even thought to look at anyone else.” Liza stared down at her food a bit guiltily for antagonizing her mother when she had thought this through more than she expected.

“Mon-El can be… overbearing,” Kara admitted, “but he’s the closest thing to a Kryptonian I’ll find. He’s probably the only guy I’ll ever find that reminds me of home and my culture, and believe it or not, he can be very charming when he wants to be. Maybe I just wanted to indulge in that when I found it. Don’t I owe it to myself to entertain the idea of finding someone else after all these years?”

Liza was silent for a long moment before she finally relented. “I understand, Yeyu,” she admitted. And Lily might not be happy with her for it, but she did understand.

“By the way, you don’t have to threaten him or stake a claim over me, is’kah,” Kara continued with an amused smile. “Not that I’m surprised you did, but I’m here for you, first and foremost,” she stated definitely, and Liza grimaced a bit. She didn’t want to argue with that, but the question was still burning in her.

“But last night-”

“But last night was an actual emergency,” her mother cut her off gently. “I wouldn’t have left for the normal crap he pulls, but one of the inmates got loose and messed up the mainframe, and J’onn and Winn weren’t responding.”

Liza sat back at this, having to come to terms with maybe her mother did have this under control and it would be a heartless thing to try to pull her and Non-Oil apart. “Alex didn’t tell me that,” she finally explained, figuring her aunt would have disclosed that kind of information to her before she sent Liza in to destroy the Daxamite.

Kara let out a frustrated huff and shook her head. “Alex didn’t tell you because she wanted you to be biased against him,” her mother grumbled.

“And you want me to be biased for?” Liza guessed, trying to keep her face emotionless.

“I want you to make an honest opinion and not judge him just based on being a Daxamite,” Kara stated pointedly.

Liza was quiet for a moment considering this, and she knew what question Lily would want asked. “Isn’t him being a Daxamite a lot to base off of though?” she questioned, forcing an edge onto her voice, but she nearly cowered the moment she saw the shadow cross her mother’s face.

“Lillian Alexandra,” she chided harshly, and Liza bit her cheek as she allowed her eyes to bow ever so slightly ashamed. “I’ve raised you better than to judge someone off of rumors and reputations.”

That stung, Liza thought as she pouted and moved her food across her plate despondently. How many times had she been judged based on the Luthor name? Even if she was pretending to be her sister, there was no reason to pass that burden along to some guy she barely knew.

Finally she sighed, and glanced up at her mother warily, the shame clear in her eyes. “Sorry, Yeyu,” she mumbled, and Kara’s expression softened significantly.

Her mother let out a sigh as well and reached across the table to hold Liza’s hand softly. “I know you’re just trying to look out for me, is’kah,” she comforted. “But you don’t need to worry about me. I can handle myself.”

Liza nodded and shot her mother a reluctant smile of acceptance of this. While it demolished her plan to get Yeyu to break up with Non-Oil, it put her in a better spot with her mother, and for that she was grateful.

With a smile and gathering her bag, her mother laid some money on the table, sighed and motioned to Liza. “Alright, your aunt will have my head if I don’t get you back to work on that secret project of yours,” she teased, and Liza let out a grin. “Speaking of the secret project, it’s a…” She trailed off with a mischievous glint in her eyes, clearly hoping her daughter would fill in the blank, but Liza immediately shook her head and hopped out of the booth.

“You aren’t getting anything out of me,” she announced, not looking back at her mother as she walked away. She heard Yeyu mutter behind her, but let out a laugh and follow her out the door.

Her aunt was waiting for them when they came back and snatched Lily right away.

“You know I have good reason to not allow you to influence my daughter right now,” Kara stated bitterly as Alex tugged on Liza’s arm. Yeyu crossed her arms unimpressed as Alex shot her an innocent smile.

“What did I do?” she questioned, and her sister rolled her eyes.

“Don’t even try to pretend that you didn’t encourage that little display earlier,” Kara retorted warningly, but while her tone was harsh, both Liza and Alex could tell there was a little bit of teasing under her hard expression.

Alex shrugged at this, still feigning innocence. “I don’t think you can prove that, sis,” she retorted, and Kara sighed exasperated. “Now shoo! We’ve got a project to work on!”

Muttering, her mother walked away, presumably to catch up with J’onn after the previous night’s incident. Turning, Liza excitedly followed Alex to a remote part of the DEO and watched as she punched in the code for a blacked out room. Her nerves were off the charts as she was basically bouncing anticipating seeing the suit her sister had designed, and she held her breath as she stepped into the room and the lights snapped on.

The suit was magnificent, was all Liza could think as she stared in awe. It was almost like their mother’s, but the dark blue pants morphed into a sleek black when it reached the chest. The material seemed to mimic layers of graphene, providing indestructibility along with flexibility, and the cape seemed a bit lighter than their mother’s, providing a bit more aerodynamic ease.

Alex was about to start in on where they had left off when Liza interrupted her without thinking.

“Can I try it on?” she asked eagerly, and her aunts eyes immediately narrowed at her, confused. Liza’s cheeks flushed, but the damage was already done.

“You want to try it on?” Alex repeated doubtfully, as if she thought she had just misheard her niece.

Liza cleared her throat and cursed at Lily for being so uninterested in being a superhero. “Yeah, just to give it a little test run,” she reasoned, hoping it didn’t sound like she was just making shit up as she went. “It will be a good way to reassess and see the main issues that need addressed.”

Alex stared at Liza deep in thought, and Liza tried desperately not to crack under the pressure. Finally, she answered, “Well unless you have an idea of how to go test it out without your mother finding out while she’s here at the DEO, I think we better just stick to the checklist.”

Liza gulped and nodded nervously. “Oh yeah,” she tried to cover. “I forgot Yeyu was here.” She then ducked her head and made her way over to the work bench, refusing to meet her aunt’s eyes again. She very well might have just blew her cover, so she would have to tread very carefully for the next couple of days.

“Wanna start with the cape aerodynamics test?” her aunt asked from beside her a few moments later after gathering the different notes and memos they would need.

Plastering a wide smile on her face, Liza nodded and let out a low breath to try to calm her nerves. The lab setting still amped up her anxiety, especially without her mom or sister there to take the lead, but when her smile met her aunt’s enthusiastic, supportive one, she couldn’t help but feel she had found the third person in the world that could put her at ease in a place that usually caused so much stress.

It was a couple hours later when they were both elbows deep in researching the friction coefficient of the soles of the boots when a knock sounded at the door. Quickly peeking a look at the camera Lily and Alex had set up in the hallway to check on any intruders, Liza relayed to her aunt that it was her mother come to visit.

“Hey, Lil,” Yeyu voice called from the outside of the room. “I have to go back in to CatCo a bit before I can go home tonight, but I’m doing my flyover for the afternoon right now, if you want to join,” her mother offered, and Liza practically vibrated at the chance to go flying with Supergirl.

Even at the risk of seeming even more suspicious to Alex (since she knew her mother’s offers to take Lily on a flyover were always hit or miss), Liza couldn’t seem to let herself pass this opportunity up. This had been her dream since she was a kid, so what if gave away who she was.

“Yeah, I’ll be right there,” she called out, and her aunt raised her eyebrows at her. “It’s been awhile since I’ve fully gotten to use my powers,” she explained, hoping it would appease her aunt for the time being.

Alex seemed to relax a bit at the reasoning and resigned a nod. “I’ll get cleaned up here,” she offered, with a small smile. “You go with Yeyu.” Liza beamed at her excitedly and started to skip towards the door, thrilled that she was about to be taking flight with her mother for the first time.

“Oh! And I left my sunglasses at your house this morning, so tell your mother I’ll be stopping by after I head home from the DEO soon for them, okay?” she instructed, and Liza turned and shot her a thumbs up quickly before she slipped out of the room.

Kara was smiling widely when Liza greeted her with a hug. It was the first Liza had seen of her mother actually in her infamous supersuit. The all blue pantsuit suited her mother well, but she was mostly taken off guard by how much of her mom’s handiwork she could see in the suit. Her mom always left her signature touch on every piece of tech she worked, and Liza was sure no one who didn’t know her mom super well wouldn’t be able to see it, but it was so obvious in the thoughtfulness that was put into the suit.

Blinking and shaking herself out of her thoughts before she could get too deep in them, Liza beamed up at her mother and started impatiently tugging her down the hallway.

“I haven’t seen you this excited to fly since you were five, is’kah,” her mother commented, and Liza forced her face to remain neutral.

“Yeah well, this summer felt like a lifetime of not flying with you,” Liza responded and ignored the little tug at her heart as the words came out of her mouth. Yeyu would never remember how much truth Liza shared with her before she found out about the switch.

Kara just nodded amused and followed her daughter towards the exit of the DEO. “I invited Mon-El to go with us,” her mother finally admitted, and Liza stopped mid-step and pivoted around to face her mother. “Before you get upset about it though, he passed; he wanted to give you some space.”

Liza gritted her teeth at this, sure he only wanted to give her space so he could prolong her mother seeing how much he disliked his girlfriend’s daughter, but she found herself being reluctantly thankful as well. She was glad she was getting to do this for the first time with her mother with just the two of them.

“I just have to do a city sweep and make sure everything is relatively okay,” her mother explained, as she prepared to take off. “Ready?”

Liza nodded eagerly and was bouncing on the balls of her feet in preparation.

“Okay then let’s go,” Yeyu instructed, and she took off into the air. Jumping to follow, Liza let out a little breathless laugh and held in her whoop as she neared her mother. This was the first she was flying without her sister, and though she was anxious about it, she couldn’t wait to tell Lily about it later. She would be so proud of her.

Liza followed her mother lazily from high above National City, giggling over different things they heard or witnessed. Ten minutes into the flight, Kara started in on a story of how she was doing a flyover over the summer and started playing a scavenger hunt with herself.

“I was honestly very surprised that ‘someone watching a Disney movie’ was one of the hardest ones to cross off. What is America coming to?” her mother complained, and Liza let out a little laugh.

“Could it have been any Disney movie, or like a classic,” Liza inquired curiously, and her mother quirked her eyebrows at her and considered the question.

“You know I didn’t make set rules for it, but I definitely meant a cartoon,” she clarified, and Liza hummed at her answer.

They were both silent for a few moments, having circled the city twice slowly and going for their third and final round. After they were done, Kara would have to go back and report to the DEO before she would get changed and drive back to CatCo. Liza floated peacefully, closing her eyes and breathing deeply as she began to smile and truly appreciate her life in that moment.

Her peace was broken when she heard her mother cleared her throat beside her. Liza opened her eyes and looked over at her with her eyebrows furrowed, and her mother grimaced a bit guiltily.

“I don’t want to ruin the mood,” she confessed, which made Liza’s stomach churn in preparation for what her mother was about to say. “But I need us to be able to talk about this as openly and honestly as possible,” she continued with a pointed look, and Liza bit her cheek. “Last night, when you asked me if it was serious with Mon-El, I wasn’t fully honest with you because I didn’t want to overwhelm you all at once, but-”

Her mother trailed off with a sigh, and Liza froze in midair. What was her mother hiding?

“I may have downplayed how serious it is,” Yeyu admitted, and before Liza could react to that, her mother continued. “Mon-El asked me to marry him.”

“What!” Liza cried out, completely taken by surprise. She stared at her mother aghast who seemed a bit ashamed and affronted. “You- I have to- I need some space right now,” Liza found herself saying as her mind was going a million miles a minute. Marriage? How could Yeyu not tell her about that? And how could she consider it with someone so arrogant and awful?

Liza shook her head and blinked the tears from her eyes, and ignoring the calls from her mother behind her to wait and stay and talk, she quickly took off and beelined straight back for the house.

Liza knew her mother wouldn’t be able to abandon her Supergirl duties just because she had flown off, so she had at least a few minutes before she would come looking for her. Landing in a rush and slamming the door to the house open, Liza whipped out Lily’s phone and shakily scrolled to her own contact information. It would be almost midnight in London, but she hoped her sister would still pick up. She needed her right now.

“Come on, Lily,” she muttered, trying her hardest to keep her tears at bay. How was she supposed to handle this? It was one thing for her mother to get a boyfriend over the summer. But to get engaged?

The call went to voicemail, and Liza cursed as she hung up and immediately punched the call button again. Lily would have a plan, she tried to calm herself. Lily always had a plan, even if they were reckless and a little unconventional. She would know what to do. She could bring her mom here straight away and put an end to all of this. Liza held her breath as she listened to the phone ringing and breathed in sharply as the ringing stopped.

The voicemail greeted her again.

“God, fuck. I can’t do this, Lily. I don’t know how to do this,” Liza cried out, throwing the phone across the room and burying her head in her hands. Liza didn’t know why she thought she would ever be able to separate Yeyu and Non-Oil. What if she did and then her moms ended up hating each other, and she just ruined any chance Yeyu had at a happy life? Then Yeyu would hate her, and she would never have a good relationship with her mother and-

Liza froze when she saw the other stiff figure across the room from her.

Distantly her mind remembered Alex mentioning she would be returning to the house to grab her sunglasses, and Liza’s blood ran cold as her eyes met her aunt’s wide eyes. Liza wondered how much she had overheard.

“Alex!” she finally called out, clearly surprised and tense, and her aunt barely acknowledged she had spoken, her eyes wary as she was clearly trying to piece together what she had just heard. “It’s a camp thing,” Liza finally supplied, trying desperately to hold her alias intact. “Speaking in third person,” she clarified. “We did it all the time.”

Alex swallowed thickly and nodded at this, seemingly unsure whether or not to accept this explanation. Her aunt held her eye contact a few moments before speaking.

“Right, of course,” she said, shaking her head as if it were an inside joke. “Talking in third person. I knew going to camp was going to give you weird habits,” she tried to joke. Liza grimaced, but held a smile as she helplessly stared at her aunt struggling to work through all her thoughts. “I guess camp is also why you ignore Krypto, or you don’t like pancakes as much, or you want to try on the supersuit and not test the aerodynamics of it, right?” Alex asked it as a question, but it felt more like an accusation.

Liza swallowed thickly as she tried to come up with anything to say. Part of her wanted Alex to figure it out. She had only known her for a day, but Liza already looked up to the woman so much and wanted the chance to form an actual relationship with her. But another part of her told herself it was risky. Clark and J’onn already knew. She couldn’t be going around and telling everyone and just hope her mother didn’t figure it out.

When Liza didn’t answer, Alex just nodded a little. “Right, just camp,” she concluded, a little sadly, but Liza knew she didn’t buy it. Her aunt knew something was up. Maybe she had completely pieced it together or maybe she just had a hunch, but either way, she figured her niece wouldn’t disclose it to her anyways, so she dropped it. And the look of disappointment on her face that her niece wouldn’t trust her with this broke her heart a little.

Alex turned to walk out of the room when Liza called out, “If you asked, I would be honest.”

This stopped her aunt in her tracks, until she slowly turned back around, bewilderment in her eyes. She didn’t have to speak her question for it was clear to both of them: what should be asked?

But both of them knew, deep in Alex’s heart, she knew what to ask. She was only hesitant because she was afraid of the answer, afraid of being right.

Finally Liza broke the tense silence between them. “You should ask it, Aunt Alex,” she prodded, her voice thick with the tears pooling up behind her eyes.

Alex took a shuddering breath and looked at her niece with wide eyes before she shakily asked, “Are you Lily?”

Liza’s voice caught in her throat as the first tears pooled down her face. Wiping them away quickly, she sniffed and looked her aunt in eye, anxiety coursing through her body at what her response would be.

“No,” she finally answered, and Alex stared at her stunned. “I’m Liza,” she finished softly, disclosing fully what he figured her aunt had already guessed.

This was her niece she hadn’t seen in fifteen years.

Alex’s hand shot up to her mouth as she began to cry with Liza, but before she could say anything, the front door to the house opened, and they both heard Kara call out.

“Alex! Lily got upset and flew away; have you seen her around- oh!” she stopped, stumbling into the room that tense with Liza and Alex trying to wipe away their tears and pretend they weren’t crying like they obviously just were. Kara looked at them concerned, about to ask what was going on, when Alex shot her a tight smile.

“Well, I better be off then,” she greeted her sister as she made her way towards the door. “You and me are having a long talk tomorrow,” her aunt looked at Liza seriously, and Liza nodded as Alex took her leave and left her alone with her mother.

“What was that about?” Kara asked confused, looking back at the door and then to her daughter for an explanation.

Panicking and unsure of how else to explain the encounter her mother had just walked in on, Liza admitted in a rush, “I came out to her.”

Kara blinked at her daughter, taken aback a bit and stunned. “You- you came out to her,” she spluttered, trying to get her bearings on the news. “That’s great! That’s amazing actually, and- and now you’re coming out to me too?” she finished hesitantly, her eyes wide as she looked at her daughter with such admiration.

Liza shrugged and swallowed thickly, not fully prepared that this was where her improv would take her. “I guess, yeah,” she stated softly, suddenly very acutely aware that this was only the third person she had told about her sexuality, after Ruby and Lily. It felt right, somehow, that Yeyu would be the first adult to know, even if she thought this was Lily coming out to her.

Kara quickly crossed the room and wrapped her in a tight hug, and Liza was surprised at how easily she started crying when her head was buried in her mother’s chest. She felt safe and supported and loved and all the things she didn’t know she needed to feel after coming out to one of her moms.

Pulling away and sniffing a bit, Liza let out a little laugh at herself, and Kara just shook her head and planted a firm kiss on her forehead.

“I’m so proud of you,” she whispered softly. “How ‘bout we order potstickers in and have and just talk tonight? I still have things to discuss with you that you didn’t let me get out before you ran away,” she stated pointedly, and Liza looked down guiltily, but agreed to the night in with her mother.

Yeyu made a few calls to CatCo, citing her daughter’s coming out as the reason she wouldn’t be able to return, and left her assistants with a few instructions of what to get done before they left for the evening. While she was working on that, Liza called in their potsticker pick up order, and then stood awkwardly as she waited for her mother to get off the phone.

“They said it would be ten minutes,” Liza relayed and her mother nodded in acknowledgement. They both stood their silently before Kara decided to start their talk off.

“You didn’t let me finish earlier,” she explained, a sad look in her eyes. “I didn’t say yes.”

Liza looked up at her mother quickly with a wide look in her eyes. “You didn’t?” she questioned, taken a bit off guard.

“Not yet at least,” Kara sighed, with a look that Liza knew was supposed to make her feel guilty for overreacting. “I would never say yes without your blessing, is’kah,” she admitted quietly, and heat crawled to Liza’s cheeks as her eyes filled a bit with tears. Her mother really truly cared about her opinion, and she didn’t even know how biased her daughter was. Was that fair?

“Besides, I don’t think I’m that in love yet,” Kara explained, shrugging her shoulders.

Liza knew she would be treading into dangerous territory with her mother, but she couldn’t help her curious side. Yeyu was being open and vulnerable with her right now anyways, she figured. Now would be the best time to bring this up.

“Were you married before?” she asked innocently, and her mother almost flinched at the question.

She cleared her throat and avoided eye contact with her daughter before she hesitantly answered, “Yes.”

“What was it like to be that in love?” Liza pushed, wondering if she could get anything from her mother just on what her relationship with her mom was like. First hand opinion on how it had been.

Kara let out a little cough and her sad eyes met Liza’s expectant ones.

*****

Kara paced nervously back and forth across the room, and she couldn’t seem to get her anxiety in check. There were moments she felt like throwing up, other moments she felt like she couldn’t breathe, and moments still she was sure she would burst into tears at any second.

Today was the day she would ask Lena to marry her.

She had walked around her small apartment a dozen times now it felt like, straightening things here or there. Everything had to be perfect. Lena deserved perfect.

She stopped and sighed, looking around the apartment yet again, and closing her eyes. In an attempt to get herself to calm down, she imagined herself living in this apartment in a few months, Lena by her side. Her girlfriend would be graduating with her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT at the end of this semester and then would be moving in the small National City apartment and taking up a job at the Luthor Corp NC branch as Kara finished her bachelor’s in journalism at NCU. It would be the perfect little life for the two of them, but Kara wanted it to be more so.

She wanted to make Lena her wife by the end of next year.

By some work of miracle or fate, MIT and NCU’s fall break had lined up this year, which meant Lena was on her way right now to this apartment and the box in Kara’s pocket felt heavier than it should.

A knock on the door caused Kara to jump, and she quickly made her way over and flung the door open.

“I’ve been instructed to tell you to breathe,” Lex greeted her immediately, a wide smile on his face, and Kara shook her head and laughed a little at herself as Lex pulled her into a comforting hug.

He and Alex had been instrumental in getting Kara’s courage up to ask Lena. They brainstormed with her for months on how she should go about it and what ring Lena would like best and who she would want around when Kara asked.

“Alex is on a last minute liquor run,” Kara informed him as she pulled away from the hug and her nerves began to once again seep into her voice. “She realized she forgot to buy the champagne, so she had to go back.”

Lex laughed a little at her report and nodded. “The rest of the Metropolis crew are on their way up,” he updated her, and she shook her head as if she were giving herself a pep talk.

This was really happening.

“You have the ring, right?” Lex continued as Kara heard distantly people climbing the stairs up to her apartment.

She nodded as she pulled the box out of her pocket, opening it so her future brother-in-law could admire the ring. He smiled down at it, having already seen pictures, but Kara knew the pictures would never do it justice. She had picked a simple, yet very elegant ring that was exactly what Lena would be looking for. Lex gripped her shoulder proudly, and Kara couldn’t help but beam back at him.

“Look who I found on my way up,” a voice called from the open doorway, and Kara immediately went over to hug her adoptive mother who was leading in the rest of the Metropolis crew. Eliza smiled at her softly as she pulled out of the hug, and gently pushed a strand of hair out of her daughters face. “I’m so proud of you, dear,” she whispered, and Kara had to restrain herself from crying right then and there.

Turning then to greet her cousin and his girlfriend, Kara reluctantly stepped into a hug. While they had an okay relationship, she never knew how to approach her cousin. Despite both being from Krypton and studying journalism, Kara always felt like her cousin and her were too different to really form a strong bond. Lena got along with him really well, however, and he was partially how she met her girlfriend, so she figured he should be here today as well.

After them, Kara was greeted by Lillian Luthor, and Kara warmed up significantly on her response. She knew Lillian was always a bit reserved, but Kara had taken to her immediately. Maybe it was being raised by Eliza, but she always just gravitated towards personalities that seemed like they could use someone else in their lives. And while their relationship did seem tense at times, with Lena pursuing science only degrees with no intention of leading the family business, Kara recognized how much they cared about each other early in her relationship with Lena. Her girlfriend always strove to make her mother proud, and Kara could so easily tell that Lillian always was.

“She’ll be so happy to be a part of your family,” Lillian whispered into the hug, and Kara pulled back a little bit, a few tears slipping past her defences.

“And I’m just as happy to be a part of yours,” Kara answered sincerely. Lillian responded with a tight smile, but her eyes betrayed how much that meant to her. “Do you want to see the ring?” she asked, still having the box in her hand from earlier, and her future mother-in-law nodded immediately.

Kara held it back up, and Lillian gasped a little as she swallowed thickly and smiled. “It’s perfect,” she whispered and relief swept through Kara.

“Champagne acquired!” Alex announced as she entered the threshold of the apartment, breaking the moment. Kara let out a little laugh as her sister got distracted heading to the kitchen by the object in her hands. “Oh, are we admiring the ring? It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”

Suddenly, Kara was being surrounded by friends and family all excitedly complementing the ring. Her cheeks were flushed bright red, and she once again felt like she couldn’t breathe. This was real. She couldn’t back out of it now.

“What’s everyone excited about?”

Everyone froze as Kara's eyes got wide. She quickly snapped the box shut and whirled around to face a confused and concerned Lena standing in her doorway. Her girlfriend was clearly dressed for travel comfort from her journey across the country in her big MIT crew neck and soft black sweatpants. She was carrying her duffel bag to spend the week with Kara. And she’s just looked so devastatingly pretty, Kara had to swallow a lump in her throat before she could respond.

“Just some, um, new furniture pieces I’m thinking about getting for when you move in,” she tried to cover, cringing at how silly the lie sounded. Lena just narrowed her eyes at her and then at everyone acting suspicious around her.

Finally she let out a little sigh and looked back at Kara, as if she could sense her discomfort. “Can I drop my bag in your room?” she asked motioning to her bag, but Kara knew she just wanted to get her alone.

Jumping into action, she nodded as Lena started to walk past her and Kara followed, telling her the directions to the bedroom from behind. The ring box was still clutched in her hand, and she was struggling to get it back in her back pocket inconspicuously. It was a tight fit and her hands were nervous and fumbling.

As soon as they turned the corner down the hall to Kara’s bedroom, Lena suddenly stopped and turned to face Kara, causing her to panic a bit and almost drop the box.

“Okay, now that we’re alone, do you want to tell me what’s going on?” she asked with a pointed look, worry in her eyes that Kara was hiding something from her.

“G-going on? Nothing’s going on,” Kara answered quickly sounded guiltier than she planned on, but the box was still burning in her hand, now that she couldn’t move it without suspicion.

Lena just narrowed her eyes and then sighed sadly as she ran her fingers back through her hair. “If you’re nervous about me moving in with you in a couple months, then-”

“What!” Kara cried out, her hands moving to comfort Lena. “That’s not it at all; I’m so excited for you to move in with me, don’t worry about it,” she promised enthusiastically, but it took her about a split second after she finished to realize Lena’s attention wasn’t anywhere near what she was saying.

Her wide eyes were trained down on the small box she held in her right hand. Kara sputtered to recover as Lena’s eyes flicked up to hers with tears.

“Is that-”

“It’s not-”

They both stopped, cutting each other off. Lena’s eyebrows furrowed as she tried to piece together what was happening while Kara’s mind fought to salvage the extravagant plan she had for the proposal. Before she could form a strategy, Lena was gently pulling the box from her hands and opening it.

When her eyes laid on the ring for the first time, she let out a little “oh”, her eyes refusing to be removed from ring.

“I had a whole plan,” Kara burst out, her voice turning a bit into a whine that she had messed up what would be one of the most important days of her life. “I was going to do it in front of our whole family after dinner, and I had a speech and I was going to get on one knee and- and-”

“Yes,” Lena cut her off, her eyes finally flicking up to Kara’s, and Kara stood there a bit stunned, trying to process what she had said.

Clearing her throat a bit, Kara reasoned, “I haven’t even asked you anything yet.”

Lena laughed and shook her head. “Well then can you ask so I can say ‘yes’?” she goaded, and Kara started to protest.

“Lena, my plan. It was going to be perfect, I can’t just-”

“Any way you ask me will be perfect, so long as you’re the one doing it, darling.”

Kara stared open mouthed at her. There had been moments in their relationship in the past two years that had felt like this moment. Sometimes they were big moments, like saying “I love you” for the first time. Other times it was seemingly insignificant, like Lena just whispering an inside joke to her at a family party. It was the moments Kara felt like she had been hit in the gut and was just being consumed with how much she loved Lena. The moments she realized the only perfect person on the entire planet was choosing to spend her time with her. The moments she knew she needed this woman in her life for the rest of her life.

Finally she swallowed thickly and let out a smile. “Will you marry me?”

Lena’s lips crashed onto hers as she let out a half-laugh, half-cry. “Yes,” she breathed again. “A thousand times yes.” She buried her head into Kara’s neck, and Kara finally let out a little grateful laugh with all the tears she’d been trying to hold in the whole day. A weight felt like it had been lifted off her chest as she let out a content sigh.

“You’re never getting rid of me now, Danvers,” Lena whispered tearfully against her skin, and Kara couldn’t help but think there wasn’t a reason she would ever want to.

*****

“It was brilliant,” her mother finally answered a bit breathless as a painful smile took over her face, trying to bite down the memories flooding through her. “Being that in love was the best feeling in the entire world. And to realize it was falling apart was like watching a crash happen in slow motion.” She cleared her throat and Liza’s heart ached for her mother. “We both made mistakes, but I just didn’t figure it would ever-” She cut off and shook her head with a joyless laugh. “I didn’t think I would ever recover. I still don’t think I have. Maybe that’s why I have Mon-El,” she admitted tiredly with a shrug, and Liza swallowed thickly.

“Well you have me too,” Liza pointed out as she tried to smile, and Kara let out a wide grin as she pulled her daughter into a tight hug.

“You are all I really need, is’kah,” her mother whispered into her forehead before planting a kiss there. Liza melted into it a bit and held onto her Yeyu a little tighter. When they pulled apart, a thought hit Liza.

Taking a deep breath, she hoped her next words wouldn’t offend her mother. “Yeyu, earlier when you said Mon-El relates to your culture,” she started and her mother looked at her curiously. “You spent all that time sharing and teaching your culture to your ex. Is this a way for you to share your culture with a significant other without actually investing in it in case he leaves?”

Kara swallowed thickly as she studied her daughter, and without a word, she kissed her forehead again. “When did you get so wise?” Kara mumbled to herself, before pulling back. “I’ll go pick up the potstickers,” she announced. “And when we get back, that’s enough about me. We have to talk about your exciting news.” Her mother smiled at her as she turned to leave, but it didn’t reach her eyes.

As soon as she left, Liza went and retrieved her phone from the other end of the room and opened her conversation with Lily.

Liza: [Yeyu doesn’t know why it all ended, but blames herself anyways. I think that’s why she’s with Mon-El. She’s scared to share so much of herself and culture with someone she believes will inevitably leave.]

Sighing and setting the phone down, Liza let out a long breath. Maybe if she could figure out why her mom left, this could work out. If she could in good conscious show them why they were so good for each other, she realized it would be exactly what both of her moms would need. She could show her mom she didn’t have to handle everything alone.

And she could show Yeyu that she already had someone to be vulnerable with.

Lily set her alarm to get up earlier than she had the previous morning, and as a result, at 7 am she was sitting across the kitchen from her mom eating toast and eagerly discussing the projects they had underway. Lena had a prototype blueprint spread out in front of her, and after a little investigation, Lily discovered it was one of her mom’s personal projects.

“The problem is getting the inhibitor to accurately detect the correct enzymes,” her mom was saying as she gestured to something on the page Lily couldn’t quite see.

Hopping off her seat and abandoning the toast, Lily curiously walked around the counter to stand by her mom and study the design. Wiping the leftover crumbs onto her pants, she quickly pointed to a feature on the design she thought would help her mom.

“What if you used these detectors to identify the enzymes for the inhibitor. Leave some kind of mark on them to make it obvious,” she suggested, and her mom studied it closely.

“The issue would be that we would be modifying the enzymes then, potentially making them come off as unknown and dangerous bodies that would shut down the whole system,” she finally explained, shooting her daughter a kind smile. “It was a good idea though,” she encouraged. “I think you’re on the right track; we just have to keep working at it.”

Lily beamed up at her mom as she began to roll up the design, clearly getting ready to leave and start her day. It made Lily a little sad, she realized, as she watched her excited and passionate mom become clearly more stressed and tense with every roll of her design. Lily couldn’t imagine being as brilliant as Lena Luthor at creating the world’s most innovative technology, and then having to store it away for the day to become a CEO. She guessed she had never truly considered before how much her mom never really wanted this; she got the feeling her mom did a lot of things she didn’t necessarily want for the good of others.

Her mind wandered back to the text Liza had sent her from the early morning hours. She still had to respond to it, but getting to know her mom, it wouldn’t surprise her if Lena had been the one to make the hard decision to “benefit” the family. The reasoning behind it, however, still remained a mystery. Why would her mom think leaving was the best option?

“Ready?” her mom called out, pulling her from her thoughts, and Lily nodded eagerly as she began to follow her mom out the door.

They were silent as they got into Lena’s car and began to pull away to begin their day. Lily was still pondering how to approach the issue at hand. If Liza was right, Lena might be the only one who would be able to give them answers on why their mothers separated. But that didn’t exactly make her task any easier. She couldn’t just go up to her mom and be like “hey why did you leave me and Yeyu with no explanation”.

Glancing over at her mom, she knew she would have to tread carefully. Liza was worried about how Lena would react to the switch, since her and her mom have a pretty open and trusting relationship. Their mom could feel like they were conning her and get upset quickly. Lily was relieved her mom hadn’t seemed too suspicious of anything so far, but all it took was one mistake to change that.

Lena noticed her daughter’s glance at her, and returned a curious one back at Lily with her eyebrows raised. When Lily didn’t respond but instead just blushed, Lena decided to break the silence.

“You know, I really enjoy having your input on projects,” she offered, and Lily’s eyes got wide as she took in her mom. “Over the summer I was thinking about it and was really hoping I would be able to get your helping hand in a few personal prototypes I’ve been making; I just didn’t want to be too pushy or overstep any boundaries,” she continued, sending her daughter another pointed glance as Lily held her breath. “But camp must have really inspired you, and you seem pretty eager, so if you’d like, we can stop by my personal lab today and check some things out, dip your toes in the water and see what you’d be interested in?”

Lena barely had her proposition out before Lily was screaming, “Yes!” Being invited to Lena Luthor’s personal lab was a dream come true for Lily, and the fact that she got to spend that moment with her mom working on projects together? Lily’s heart was almost beating out of her chest in anticipation.

Her mom let out a little laugh and shook her head in amusement. “Alright, so that was easy,” she responded easily as she pulled into the L Corp parking garage.

In the midst of her excitement, Lily felt a little edge of guilt seep into her mind. Her sister had disclosed to her several times over the summer her fear that her mom would rather her be passionate about science than social justice. She had felt like maybe their mom would relate better to her and have a closer relationship if she could share that passion together. And here was Lily swooping in as Liza, perpetuating that idea by getting her mom excited about helping out around the lab. Maybe she shouldn’t do this. Was she potentially making her sister’s insecurities worse?

Lena seemingly noticed her daughter deep in thought after seeming so excited a moment before and cast a curious look at Lily. “You good, darling?” she asked in concern, and Lily snapped her attention back to her mom.

“Yeah, I just- You know I used to- I just don’t want you to think-” Lily started and stopped almost every thought she had because how could she convey her worry to her mom in this situation. How could she tell her mom’s intentions were good and not trying to force Liza into a box?

With an understanding smile, Lena cut her off gently. “You know I love you no matter what,” she explained, and Lily looked over at her apprehensively. “All I’ve ever wanted is for you to pursue what made you happy and excited. If that’s working with me on tech this week, great. If it’s planning fundraisers and starting campaigns next week, even better. As long as you’re happy, so am I. I won’t be offended if you decide you don’t want to be in a lab again,” she concluded with a pointed look at Lily.

Tears filled Lily’s eyes as looked at her mom and felt a weight lift off her chest as her mom quelled her fears. It must be a mom superpower, she decided as she followed her mom through the building to her office, knowing exactly what to say to make your daughter feel at ease. Yeyu was always able to do it as well.

When they arrived in Lena’s office, Lena quickly sat down at her desk to look at her schedule for the day. Lily sat and waited patiently, absentmindedly once again going through the box of designs for Supergirl. It still astounded her that her mom had been able to come up with so many designs so quickly. She wondered if the DEO had asked her to make all of these for Supergirl, or if Yeyu had. Or maybe she did it of her own volition, but it seemed like a lot for Lena to make in her spare time.

“Alright, you know what?” her mom began, and Lily looked up at her curiously. “I don’t have any reason to be in this building specifically today, and I’ve been meaning to visit a few of our branch sites for awhile now. We were going to go to the civil branch anyways, so would you mind doing a little jumping around to the different sites today?”

Lily quickly responded with an enthusiastic grin, excited at the prospect of seeing every aspect of L Corp. Especially because she would be presenting a project today.

“Okay, grab your design and we’ll head out,” Lena instructed, and Lily bounced to the other end of the room to grab her rolled up water supply blueprint she created the day before, and then followed her mom out of the door and back to the parking garage.

The drive to the civil and water management branch was a relatively quick one, and before Lily could really process it, she was standing in front of a few of the engineers there, her blueprint rolled out on the table and everyone looking at her expectantly. Her mom was sitting at the back of the room a proud grin on her face as she nodded and encourage Lily to explain her design to the men and women in front of her.

Taking a deep breath and ignoring her shaking hands and knees, Lily tried to sound confident as she went through her proposal. The engineers listened in rapt attention and asked her questions after she was done explaining, most of which she was able to explain. Finally, forty-five minutes after she entered the room, the head engineer stood and shook her head.

“It’s a great plan, Liza,” she congratulated her, and Lily nearly fainted from how fast her heart was beating. “We’ll see what we can do to get it implemented and will probably be contacting you over the next couple months for different input and for updates.”

Lily beamed at them, and glanced back at her mom who looked as if she were about to cry. Lena stood as the engineers took their leave and waved goodbye to both of them, and she walked over to her daughter and wrapped her in a tight hug.

“I am so so proud of you, bug,” she murmured, and Lily held onto her tightly, burying herself in her mom. There wasn’t anyone else she wanted to share this moment with, she realized. “Come on, let’s see what else they’re working on around here. After that we’ll go visit Ruby at the quality branch.”

Lily eagerly agreed and began following her mom around the branch, talking to different engineers and receiving several high compliments, because apparently word about her project spread quickly around here. They stayed for a good portion of the morning before they finally decided to wrap up and head over to their next stop.

The drive from the civil branch to the quality branch was close to a half hour, so it was around lunchtime when they finally rolled up. As they walked in, Lily had to keep herself from running up and watching every engineer and assembly line in the factory. She knew this was only a manufacturing plant for a fraction of L Corp’s products, but the quality engineers were stationed here to help with any issues that may arise in any manufacturing plant internationally.

“Ruby’s office is on the second floor if you want to go visit her,” Lena explained, her attention being a bit distracted by the plant operator coming up to approach her. “I have to speak with Dan for a moment before I head up. You should ask her if she wants to take a lunch break with us.”

Lily nodded as her mom got dragged away to a meeting room somewhere to discuss different updates with the plant systems and processes. Turning Lily scanned the room for a set of stairs, and unable to find any, decided to wander around until she could. She walked past several projects she wanted to stop and observe closely, but knowing that would draw more attention to her, she resisted. The workers all smiled and waved at her as she passed, and Lily marveled at how everyone who worked at L Corp seemed to admire Liza endlessly, yet the rest of the world hardly knew Lena Luthor’s daughter existed.

Eventually she did happen upon a set of stairs on the far end of the factory and she made her way up to the second story. Once she arrived, she looked around helplessly at the endless amounts of offices surrounding her. Glancing at one, she prayed she would see the owner of each office’s name on the outside, otherwise she would have no idea how to find Ruby’s.

With a sigh of relief, she noticed they did and quickly began to walk down the hall, trying to find Ruby’s name among them. Finally, at the near last door, she saw a sign that said “Ruby Arias: Quality Engineer Intern”. Without thinking twice, Lily knocked once and then opened the door with a beam, sure Liza’s friend would be happy at her surprise appearance to break up her work day.

What she was greeted with instead was Ruby and a girl Lily had never seen before scrambling to push away from each other and act inconspicuous as Lily entered the room. Ruby met Lily’s wide eyes with flushed cheeks and seemed a little breathless as she greeted her, not selling the fact she hadn’t been doing anything very well.

“Liza! Hey!” she greeted with a forced cheerfulness as Lily narrowed her eyes and looked back and forth between the two girls. “What brings you by?”

A sly smile began to turn up at the corner of her lips and Ruby seemed to almost groan at the sight of it. From Ruby’s behavior, she was almost positive neither her mom nor Sam knew about this certain development with Ruby’s coworker.

“Mom wanted to check up on things here and see if you wanted to get lunch,” Lily explained innocently, and the girl who was still awkwardly trapped in the room with the two friends apprehensively looked back and forth between them, everyone wondering how Ruby was going to talk her way out of that one.

“Oh, um, Cameron and I actually have a lunch meeting we have to-”

“Seemed like a really important lunch meeting,” Lily cut her off with a smirk and raised eyebrows, and both girls blushed furiously.

Finally, Ruby sighed and pinched her nose before whispering, “Please Liza, can we just keep this between us? If your mom finds out about Cameron, my mom will know in two seconds; you know how they are about this stuff. We’ve only been dating for a couple weeks, I don’t want them to go overboard, you know?”

Lily considered, even though she already knew what her answer was going to be. Ruby deserved her privacy if she wanted it, but that didn’t mean Lily was just going to stop teasing her.

“I don’t know, it seems like endless entertainment for me for lunch,” she joked, and Ruby rolled her eyes.

Before she could answer, however, they all heard a voice coming from behind Lily at the door. “What would be entertainment?” her mom asked, and Lily whirled around, not hearing her mom approach her from the hall.

Ruby immediately coughed and Cameron shifted silently as the energy around them got significantly more tense now that Lena was in their presence. Lena raised her eyes at the three girls in the office, but seemingly unaffected by the mood, she immediately focused her attention on the one girl she didn’t know.

“Hi, I’m Lena Luthor,” she greeted warmly, holding out her hand to shake, and Cameron’s eyes widened as she took Lena’s hand.

“I- I’m Cameron. Cameron Hall, Ms. Luthor. I’m a quality intern this summer,” she greeted nervously, and Lena nodded, and gestured briefly at Ruby.

“Well that explains how you know Ms. Arias here,” she stated warmly. “Are you joining us for lunch?”

Everyone in the room seemed to panic at the idea of Lena Luthor sitting down with Ruby and her new girlfriend, and Cameron looked at Ruby a bit panicked as her girlfriend tried to think of anything to say.

“She actually has something-”

“Nonsense, boss says you can ignore whatever it is and come out to lunch,” Lena insisted. “Plus, I’ll pay,” she continued, and no one could seem to come up with an argument out of it.

They drove to a little diner just down the road from the plant, and Lily tried her best to ease any tension in the conversation and help Ruby to remain inconspicuous.

“So, uh, what kind of projects have you guys been working on in the quality sector?” Lily asked after a few awkward moments of silence, glancing back at Ruby and Cameron who were sitting stiffly in the back seat.

“We just started one on an assembly line in the plant we’re at,” Ruby explained vaguely, and Lena glanced back at her curiously.

“The new GPS tracker line, right?” Lena inquired, and Ruby nodded shortly with a hum. “Dan was just telling me the interns on that project were doing great work, so it sounds like you’ve already got raving reviews,” she commented with a little smirk as she pulled into the diner parking lot and Cameron and Ruby shared a nervous glance.

Silently everyone got out of the car and Lily shot Ruby an apologetic look, which she received a grim smile in return. Suddenly, Lily wondered what it would be like for her mom to meet Maia. What would she think of her? Would she approve?

She bit her cheek as she thought of Maia in Metropolis right now, baking with her dad. She missed her. As soon as all of this with her mothers was figured out, she was flying straight to Maia, she decided. She definitely wanted to see her- friend before she went back to school. Though, the thought of going on a date with her though terrified her did terrify her. What if it didn’t go well? And what if it did go well? Then what? The thought of asking Maia to be her girlfriend made Lily want to pass out on the spot.

They all settled into a booth in the diner, Lily and Lena across from Cameron and Ruby, and the atmosphere at the table remained tense. Lena immediately began studying a menu, and Lily studied the two girls across from her carefully. For how nervous they were, she could tell they had a natural comfort and chemistry around each other. She smiled lightly and picked up her own menu. As scary as it would be to ask, she definitely wouldn’t mind having a girlfriend, especially if it were Maia.

“Have you guys been here before?” Lena asked, breaking the silence and glancing back up at the couple across from her.

“We come here sometimes for lunch,” Cameron admitted after a moment shyly, and Lena narrowed her eyes slightly at them again before re-burying them in her menu.

“It’s always good to have a girlfriend to go to lunch with,” she commented, and Ruby started coughing as her face turned bright red. “Any recommendations?” she asked curiously.

Cameron cleared her throat and fought the blush rising to her face. “The turkey club is pretty good,” she responded, and Lena’s eyes flicked over to that side of the menu.

The waitress came over a minute later and Lena did end up ordering the turkey club. After she left, Lena started up a conversation about different projects the quality team had been working on throughout the summer. Lily tried to interject where she could, just to take some of the attention away from Ruby and Cameron, but by the time they all got their food and were eating, the two girls had loosened up significantly.

Which made sense, since it was so clear they were best friends by the way they spoke and interacted with each other. Lily could tell they were resisting being as touchy as she was sure they usually were, but other than that there was no real way to tell they were dating. Maybe just that they had a crush on each other, but Lily hoped that was harmless enough and maybe her mom wouldn’t even catch on to that.

When Lena dropped them back off at the plant at the end of lunch, Lily held her breath in anticipation, waiting for her mom to mention something about it as they drove off to a new manufacturing plant on the other end of the city. But her mom didn’t seem interested in discussing Ruby and her friend, and rather immediately changed the subject to the products the new factory would be producing.

A little way into the conversation, Lily felt a buzz from the phone in her lap. Glancing down at it as her mom continued talking, she noticed it was from Ruby.

Ruby: [Does she seem suspicious?]

Lily: [Not at all. All clear. Sorry about that by the way.]

Ruby: [Eh, it’s not a big deal. You know how our moms are.]

Ruby: [By the way, have you given any thought to coming out to your mom? I know you said you were going to think it over over the summer.]

Lily stared at that message, unsure of how to respond to it. She obviously couldn’t speak for Liza in this instance, but if she was being honest, she had thought over coming out to Yeyu over the summer extensively. With everything developing with Maia, she wanted to be able to talk that over with her mother. Especially now that she knew her mother would be able to relate and give her advice.

Lily: [I don’t know. I’m still waiting for the right moment.]

Staring at the text after she sent it, she realized she had mostly sent it to pacify Ruby, but there was a truth to it. It just never felt like the right time to tell Yeyu or Alex or even her mom.

Ruby: [Well you know how our moms reacted when I came out. Overboard support. They’ll support you too, you just have to be willing to take the step. I’m here for you if you ever need to talk.]

She stared at the text for a little while, and then eventually sighed and closed out of the conversation. Her mom had quieted into a peaceful silence and turned up the radio a bit, so Lily’s eyes wandered to her most recent message from Liza that she still had to respond to. Gritting her teeth, she figured now was as good of a time as any.

She pondered how to respond for a long moment, before she finally got her fingers to type slowly.

Lily: [It makes sense, I just wish it wouldn’t have to be a Daxamite. How was Non-Oil as a person?]

Lily: [Btw, Ruby has a girlfriend. I’m sure she would want you to know if I know.]

Shutting her phone off and staring out the window, Lily let out a silent sigh. She wished she could talk to Yeyu, she realized. If she was feeling distant from her culture, Lily could have been doing more to help her. And if she wanted to date and meet someone who was willing to learn about Krypton, Lily would have helped her with that too.

Glancing over at her mom, she realized that in a way, she was helping her mother, she just didn’t know it yet. She would knock some sense into her and make her realize she didn’t need an alien to understand her. The way her mom had meticulously saved all those prototypes and CatCo magazines told her she still cared for Yeyu even after all these years. This was her mother’s soulmate, she was convinced. She just had to get her mother to see that.

The stop at the new manufacturing plant lasted no more than an hour and then they were back on the road, heading back into the city.

“So,” her mom finally began after a few moments of silence, “that was obviously Ruby’s girlfriend earlier.”

Lily sputtered in shock, completely taken off guard by her mom’s sudden proclamation. She opened and closed her mouth several times, trying to come up with some response that not outright deny the accusation but to at least throw her mom off their scent. “Who? Cameron?” she responded, trying to look a bit confused, and Lena rolled her eyes in response.

“Don’t play dumb with me,” she countered with a pointed look. “I’ve always been able to read you girls so well. You could never hide anything from me.” Lily’s stomach twisted a bit at this with guilt at the fact she was currently hiding something very big from her mom, but she pushed the concern out of her head. Her mom would understand, she tried to convince herself. “Besides,” Lena continued, “Sam’s been suspecting she has a girlfriend for a few weeks now.”

Fiddling her fingers, Lily looked up at her nervously. “You aren’t going to tell her, are you?” she inquired, worried she would be the reason Ruby’s mom found out about her relationship before she wanted her to.

Lena scoffed a bit at that and shook her head. “You two,” she muttered. “You always think Sam and I can’t keep secrets from each other.”

Glancing up at her mom warily, Lily asked, “Can you?”

Lena paused at this and then looked over at Lily with a sad sincerity. “Of course I can. When necessary,” she elaborated. “Which I believe is so in this case, since both Sam and I want Ruby to go to her mom in her own time.”

Lily swallowed thickly at this and smiled up at her mom. It was very possible, she was realizing, that she knew some of the coolest women in the world. Her mom wasn’t pushy, but was always looking out for those she cared about. She could see in the tired lines by her eyes that Lena had been through a lot in her life that she never wanted to dwell on, but the fact she was always able to pull herself back up again was incredible. She gave off the feeling that she always made the right call when needed, which is why Lily was still so stumped on why she had left without an explanation.

“Ready to go back to my lab? I think I’m done being CEO for the day,” Lena stated with a small smile, seemingly exhausted from the days activity and the amount of people she had to meet with. A few minutes later they were pulling back into the L Corp parking garage and making their way down the elevator instead of up towards Lena’s office.

It was getting towards the end of the work day, and Lily could see some of the lab scientists packing up sporadically throughout the lab and calling it a day.

“How long do they normally have to stay for?” Lily inquired, suddenly realizing she didn’t know the schedules of her mom’s employees. She realized a split second too late that that was certainly not a question Liza would be asking, as she would already know something like that, and Lily fought the blush creeping up on her face.

Lena shot her daughter a curious look and paused for a moment. “Well, policy hasn’t changed since over the summer,” she joked, and Lily let out a little nervous laugh and averted her eyes. “I have noticed recently though that the guys close to another breakthrough on the nanotech have been staying a bit longer than usual, sometimes until nine, but not if I have any say in it and kick them out. Otherwise everyone still just stays until they feel like they’re still useful and motivated, I don’t really count hours.”

Lily stared in awe up at her mom and her dream to work at L Corp intensified by tenfold as she realized her mom was not only the coolest mom but also the coolest boss. It suddenly made sense to her why L Corp was at the forefront of all major breakthroughs: her mom never forced any of her scientists to burn out and kept their loyalty by treating them as coworkers instead of employees.

“Hey Liza!” an engineer called out to them as they were heading to the far corner of the lab, and Lily quickly pulled her attention towards her. She immediately recognized her from one of the projects she had given input on the day before. The woman walked over to them before she continued. “I investigated your suggestion yesterday with the air tracker, and I think it might work. If you’re free tomorrow, you should stop by again to help us do some testing, since it was your idea.”

Lily was preening with pride by the time the engineer was done talking and excitedly nodded. “Yeah of course, if I’m free,” she agreed, side glancing at her mom who let out a little laugh.

“She’s free,” Lena confirmed with an amused look and a proud beam at her daughter. The engineer nodded and gave Lily a thumbs up before returning back to her station. “You keep this up and you’ll replace me as the lab’s favorite visitor,” her mom commented as she continued to walk through the room towards the door in the back.

“Not my fault I have better ideas than you,” Lily teased, and Lena whipped around with a faux affronted expression.

“Excuse me, that’s big talk for a girl who learned everything she knows from me,” her mom pointed out still trying to look insulted.

Lily shrugged as she walked by her mom and whirled around to face her again nonchalantly. “I didn’t learn everything from you, you know. And maybe it’s time to let the younger generation take the lead,” she reasoned with a wink.

“Oh I know you didn’t just call me old,” Lena scoffed, and Lily let out a loud laugh. Her mom quickly moved towards her then and wrapped her in a tight hug as she demanded, “Take it back, or I won’t let you in the lab.”

Lily was too busy laughing and struggling to get out of her mom’s arms to even give a response. Her mom’s laughter matched hers and after a few moments, she let her go, still keeping an arm around her daughter to drag her the rest of the way to the door.

Before she activated the face scan to allow them into the room, she turned to her daughter with a raised eyebrow. “How about you look at what’s in here and then tell me I need to get with the times,” her mom teased, and Lily tried to smirk and come off confident, but after that comment, she couldn’t help but feel fueled with excitement. What was beyond these walls could very well change the world, and she was about to be only the second person to learn about them. This was more than she could have ever hoped for.

Lena activated the face scan and soon the doors were opening and the two of them were slipping inside. Immediately, Lily’s jaw dropped. The sheer amount of cutting edge technology was enough alone to make Lily faint on sight. That wasn’t even breaching the blueprints scattered around, which Lily took a glance at the nearest one and it was a prototype for a cure for cancer. The amount of power this room held was so intense, Lily nearly forgot to breathe.

“There are a few prototypes here I might give to the engineers soon,” Lena began shuffling through some of the chaos, and Lily didn’t miss how her mom’s office was always pristine but where she was comfortable in the lab, she left things strewn everywhere. “I’ve just got so much other stuff to work on. There are several here though I want to see if I can see through until the end.” She stopped and looked at a blueprint thoughtfully before tossing it into the pile on her right.

Seeing the beginning of a prototype underneath, however, Lena’s eyes lit up as she eagerly held it up to her daughter to inspect. “You’ll love this,” she started, making her way over to Lily. “I’ve been working to replicate photosynthesis in solar panels shaped like leaves,” Lena explained, quickly dropping the leaf prototype in her daughter’s hands and moving to the other side of the room to search through a few blueprints until she found the one she wanted.

Spreading the blueprint out on the table, she continued, “I was thinking if we paired it with this design I’ve been working on to imitate photosynthesis’ process of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen-”

“You could create real-fake trees that provide a power source for the world,” Lily finished breathlessly. “This could solve, like, most of the world’s issues right now. That’s amazing. You know you’re literally saving the world right now,” she pointed out, looking at her mom in awe and Lena almost blushed.

“Well, they’re still prototypes, and we would obviously have to be mindful of habitats where we implement them. I was thinking maybe just the roofs of all city buildings could be an adequate placement of all of them,” her mom began explaining. “They might end up being a little pricey too, which might dissuade some governments from implementing them at all, but as fossil fuel prices rise, many entities will be looking to switch to solar anyways. It saves money in the long run.”

“I think it’s brilliant, Mom,” Lily encouraged. “This is exactly the solution the world needs.”

Lena beamed at her daughter and wrapped her tightly in a hug with one arm and turned back to the blueprints. “Wanna help me with it? There are other things you can help with as well, but-”

“Yes!” Lily exclaimed, jumping on her chance to help even a minuscule amount on a project that was likely to change the face of the world. “I mean I’ll look at your other projects as well. I’ll probably want to help with everything,” she admitted honestly, glancing around the room again at all the prototypes.

Letting out a little laugh, Lena nodded and shrugged. “Well if you want I can add you for access to this room so you can come and go as you like throughout the day,” she offered, and Lily’s jaw dropped at the proposition. Liza had told her how protective their mom was of this place. She was honored to be offered that piece of her mom.

“I mean, I would love that, but I don’t want to encroach on your privacy,” she stated hesitantly and Lena waved off her concern.

“I never allowed you access before because you never seemed interested in visiting beyond when I was here, so I could just let you in anyways,” she explained simply. “I’ll change the security settings in the morning,” she finished with finality, and Lily let out the largest grin she could manage. “Now, I want to see what you think of this prototype.”

Pulling up stools, Lily and her mom then hunched over the leaf, and Lily felt the most content she had felt with her mom since she met her.

It was seven before either of them happened to look at the clock. They had managed to come up with a few improvements and some different tests to implement to the prototype, and made more headway on the carbon convertor, as Lily had taken to calling it.

When her daughter’s stomach growled, however, Lena insisted that they stopped for the night and go get some food, potentially settling in for another true crime night. Lily was reluctant but eventually agreed, and they packed up what little they had.

When they left her mom’s lab, they noticed only a few other engineers still in the lab. Lena waved to them on her way out, calling out that they better leave soon, boss’ orders. They all laughed a little at this and relented, beginning to wrap up their tests for the day and head home to their families.

They were silent as they made their way up to the parking garage, and Lily was a little lost in thought, still thinking over what she could do with the projects the next day.

“Most of those guys still there have partners that work in science fields as well, so the late nights are understood in their households,” her mom supplied without Lily asking, and Lily hummed interested. She supposed that made sense. “Still, I would rather them be able to walk away from their work to be with their families. At least when I stay late, I try to have you there with me,” she reasoned with a wink at her daughter.

Lily smiled up at her, and quickly became absorbed in her thought process. Yeyu had mentioned being a science journalist at one point, but she wasn’t sure if that counted in this situation. From the box of blueprints sitting up in Lena’s office, Lily knew for a fact her mom must have spent a lot of time at the lab the year before she left. Had that added a strain to their relationship? Had that been part of the problem?

She knew her mom noticed her deep in thought and she wanted to ask about the possibility that just popped into her head, but she couldn’t ask outright. She would have to mask it with a different question.

“You alright, Liza?” her mom inquired as they entered the now mostly empty parking garage. “You’ve been getting lost in thought a lot recently,” she commented, but there was no accusation in her voice.

Lily looked up at her mom a bit guiltily. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just-” she paused, and figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least try to get some info from her mom. “Was my father also interested in science?” Lily finally asked in a rush, and Lena seemingly tripped on thin air as she let out a surprised gasp.

“Why are you suddenly so interested in your father?” Lena asked instead of answering, her eyebrows furrowing as she stopped and studied her daughter.

Lily coughed a little, trying to seem as inconspicuous as possible. “You never mention him, you know,” she finally reasoned.

Lena hummed at this and was silent for a few moments deep in thought. “Yes, I suppose I never do,” she whispered, beginning to walk again, but stopped when she noticed her daughter had stayed frozen in her spot behind her. She quirked her eyebrows into a question as Lily stuttered and struggled to say what she wanted to.

“Mom?” she finally started quietly, and Lena held her breath in anticipation. “I- I’m gay.”

Her mom stood there stunned then, a bit taken aback by her daughter’s sudden announcement. Her mouth was stuck open, as if something was supposed to be coming out, but it was just silence. She held eye contact for a few moments before ducking her eyes and staring at her fiddling fingers.

“Me too,” she eventually admitted, and Lily’s eyes shot up to hers widely as Lena smile back at her bashfully.

Lily was honestly stunned she had not only managed to say the words to her mom, but her mom had also said them in return. Her mind was racing of the implications of this, and how her mom would expect her to respond to such news if she were Liza.

Clearing her throat, Lily decided to focus on her mom for the time being. “So I had a-”

“Another mother, yes,” Lena cut her off with a bit of a grimace. “I’m sorry I kept it from you. I just didn’t know how to tell you,” she admitted, and Lily silently went over and hugged her mom, knowing she needed comfort in this moment. With everything that presumably went down back then, it was no wonder Lena had been hesitant to talk about her relationship at all with Liza.

Clutching her mom tightly, Lily finally asked her in a timid voice, “What happened?”

Her mom stiffened in her arms as she began to stroke her daughter’s hair.

*****

The sound of blood pulsing through her brain felt so loud it might crack her skull open. And judging by how much pain her heavy body felt like it was in, she almost wished it would. The world seemed blurry and bright and loud and too overwhelming for Lena to open her eyes for more than a millisecond at a time, and she was considering just never opening them again in her life. Just fall back to sleep, away from the pain, away from the-

“Come on!” she heard a frustrated voice scream in the room accompanied by a loud bang of something being thrown. Lena knew that voice; she recognized it; she just couldn’t quite place it.

“You have two daughters; you can’t leave them!” the voice screamed again, and Lena wanted to tell her to be quiet, tell her to stop talking, tell her to stop making her feel guilty for wanting peace at last.

But the woman’s words wouldn’t leave her. Two daughters. She remembered them. Lily and Liza. What would happen to her daughters?

“Fucking fight, god damn it!” the voice finally screamed, and Lena flinched a bit at the words. Could she fight? Did she have any fight left in her? She had known this was going to happen, known that her past would catch up to her. Wasn’t this all her fault in some twisted way? Did she deserve to fight against something she caused?

Her thoughts slipped away from her then, mind shifting back into a dreamless unconscious. The words of the woman somehow didn’t leave her, though. They were still there rotating through her mind on an endless loop, yelling at her, chiding her, frustrated with her. They didn’t stop for what felt like ages.

Until they did.

When Lena opened her eyes into the bright overhead light, she couldn’t remember anything. Where she was, why she was in so much pain, how she had ended up here. Her mind was completely blank.

Groggily she moaned, wishing to be in the dark instead of the light, but the noise attracted the attention of one of the rooms other occupants.

“Lena?” she heard Alex call out to her. “Lena stay with me,” she demanded as she began to hurriedly check her vitals. Lena stayed quiet as she fought to stay conscious as she had been instructed.

Her mind felt numb. Something had happened, she remembered. There had been an alert, a bomb threat at Luthor Corp. She had been trying to help everyone evacuate from the lower levels when-

She cringed as she tried not to remember the blast. At least that explained the pain.

“Your vitals look good considering,” Alex muttered, and Lena even in her dazed state could tell her sister-in-law hadn’t slept in days. She looked haggard and worried and her hands were fumbling where they were usually confident.

“How long was I-” Lena managed to rasp out, and Alex shook her head and sighed. She looked as if she’d burst into tears at any second.

Clearing her throat, she responded, “Almost two days.”

It felt like her breath had been knocked out of her. Two days? How could she have been out for two days?

“The girls?” she instinctively asked, hoping Kara hadn’t brought them in to see their mom like this. They had just turned one; they had been so close to losing one of their moms so soon.

“Sam and Eliza have been rotating watching them and visiting here. Sam has them right now. Eliza just stepped out to get some food,” Alex explained softly, and Lena looked up at her with her eyebrows furrowed.

“Where’s Kara?”

Alex froze and looked at Lena sadly, and it felt like her heart had dropped in her chest. Without a word, she stepped away from Lena’s side to reveal a red sun lamp bed with an unconscious Kara laying there peacefully.

“Kryptonite,” Alex explained shortly. “We don’t know where they got it from, but she went down around the same time as you. She’s still holding on, but-” Her sister-in-law trailed off, clearly not wanting to finish her sentence, and Lena was grateful for it. She didn’t think she could handle hearing that sentence ended.

Her girls could have been orphans, she realized with a sudden clarity. All those promises Kara and her made to each other of how they would be better for their children and always be there for them were almost wiped away in a matter of days.

This was her fault. She had known something like this was going to happen. The attacks had become more frequent recently for Supergirl and Luthor Corp. After Lex’s tyraid, National City had just become too small for a Luthor and a Super to coexist. They were just sitting ducks to be targeted.

If Kara had just let her make her invincible to the Kryptonite, this wouldn’t have happened, she wanted to scream. But she knew there was no point in blaming her wife, when she knew who was truly at fault. She was a Luthor. Any proximity she had to Kara put her in danger. She thought of the hundreds of prototypes she had churned out in the past year, all in an attempt to keep Kara alive, and then looked at the woman dying to her right. She thought she could protect her; she thought she could just be a hero from her lab. But in the end, she was just useless. She knew how to protect Kara, and she had ignored it, and now she was paying the price.

Lena laid there for hours, her mind going over and over of how she didn’t know how she was going to survive without Kara. She couldn’t die, she told herself. Kara was strong; she had to live.

But if she lived, Lena knew what she had to do. No more pushing it off or selfishly convincing herself she could find another way. She owed it to Kara. She owed it to her daughters. Her family would no longer be targets because of her.

She had to leave.

*****

Lena sighed heavily, shook her head, and left a kiss on Lily’s forehead. “Life got complicated, bug,” she finally explained, her voice thick. She shot Lily a strained smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “I had to look out for you, and that meant leaving.”

Lily considered this as she studied her mother carefully and thought about what Liza had texted her that morning. If it had just been life complications, why did Yeyu seem like she didn’t know why her mom left?

“Come on,” Lena pulled her from her thoughts with a softer smile this time. “Let’s invite Sam and Ruby over for a coming out dinner. I’ll even cook.”

Lily beamed up at her with a bit of a mischievous glint in her eye. “You’ll cook?” she teased and Lena rolled her eyes as she pulled her back in for a hug and began walking.

“I’m proud of us,” her mom reasoned. “I think that’s cause for a special enough occasion for me to cook for family and friends.”

Lily just smile at this as she followed her mom to the car and popped into the passenger side. As soon as they were in the car, Lily pulled out her phone to text Liza again.

Lily: [Asked Mom about our “father” and she came out to me. Said she left Yeyu because “life was complicated”, whatever that means.]

After the text was sent, she turned and watched the city lights go by her as her mom expertly weaved through the streets. The drive home went by quickly, and her mom headed straight for the kitchen when they arrived. She began pulling ingredients out of the cabinets and instructed Lily to text Sam and Ruby.

“What are you making?” Lily asked a moment later when her task was finished.

“I was thinking eggplant parm. I picked up the eggplant last weekend at the farmer’s market and have been meaning to use it, if that’s okay,” she offered, and Lily’s stomach growled in confirmation as they both laughed. Lena continued to pull pots and pans out as Lily looked on at her slyly from the counter.

Her mom turned around and noticed her expression from the corner of her eye. “What?” Lena questioned, giving her daughter a leveled look.

Holding her hands up innocently, Lily quickly responded, “Nothing, nothing.” She paused for a moment before continuing, “I just think it’s funny that your a billionaire who goes to the farmer’s market on the weekends, and it never once occurred to me before that you were gay.”

Lena let out a loud laugh at that, and Lily let out a little giggle as well as her mom tried to lean over the counter and smack her teasingly with the wooden spoon in her hand. “Alright, no need to call me out, darling,” she chided warmly with a wink. “Besides, you’re the one who missed it.”

Lily laughed in agreeance to that as her mom turned back to the counter and began preparing the meal for the evening. Their conversation morphed to different LGBT current events, and Lily eventually got her mom to admit she was throwing around the idea of starting a camp for LGBT kids interested in STEM during the summer time. Lily quickly jumped on this idea and began suggesting different project ideas for the kids to work on while they attended.

Sam and Ruby arrived half an hour later, pulling both of their attentions away from their current conversation. Lily popped up from her seat and went to the door eagerly to meet their guests. As soon as the door was opened, Ruby was wrapping Lily in a tight hug.

“I’m proud of you for finally telling her,” she whispered, and Lily smiled as she reflected on the fact she had actually came out to her mom. She had always found it so hard to tell Yeyu and Alex, but in that moment, her mom had seemed at a loss of how to tell her too. It was both of their moments and Lily was just glad it was off her chest, even if it was technically just off Liza’s chest for now.

After the hug was broken, Ruby got distracted by the smells coming from the kitchen and promptly left the entryway, leaving Lily alone with Sam. Her mom’s friend stood a bit stiffly in the doorway, but her eyes remained warm.

“I’m proud of you,” she stated with a small smile, and Lily shyly smiled back.

“Listen,” Sam began as if she was about to propose something. “I know this is a big night for you and your mom and all, but I was hoping to get you alone for a sec for a quick walk around the neighborhood?” she asked, and Lily furrowed her eyebrows.

It was a curious request, but Lily could tell from Sam’s eyes she really wanted her to say yes. Her mom was busy in the kitchen with Ruby now, and after all, the walk would be short. She probably just wanted to discuss one of the L Corp events coming up that Lily had ignored for the past couple days. She hadn’t seen Sam all day, so she was probably just looking to check in. Finally deciding it was harmless and shrugging, Lily nodded, and Sam let out a relieved breath.

Quickly popping her head into the kitchen, Sam called out, “Hey, Liza and I are going on a quick walk. We’ll be back in a sec.”

She immediately then turned around and began leading Lily towards the door, as they heard Lena yell from the kitchen “Dinner will be ready in ten!” And then they were out of the house.

They walked silently for a few moments, Lily awkwardly looking anywhere but at Sam, still unsure of why she had been invited on this walk.

“So,” she finally broke the silence, glancing up at her mother’s friend who had an unreadable expression on her face. “Is everything okay?” she inquired and Sam just let out a long sigh and looked down at Lily.

She eventually shook her head and glanced up. “Everything’s fine,” she answered. “I just thought it was time we had a talk,” she continued, pausing and looking back down at her pointedly before finishing. “Don’t you think so, Lily?”

Chapter Text

It felt like the world had stopped when Lily heard her own name slip past Sam’s lips instead of her sister’s. A thousand thoughts ran through her head, but she couldn’t seem to form one cohesive one to make a sentence out of.

She stood there for several moments, staring mouth agape at Sam and sputtering, trying to come up with something to say to Sam’s pointed and unimpressed expression.

“How did you- I mean, uh, who?” Lily tried to cover in a panicked voice, but she cringed from how unbelievable her try was.

Rolling her eyes, Sam motioned for Lily to continue walking, taking the young girl’s surprise in stride. Lily scrambled to follow as her mom’s friend began to explain.

“First off, I can tell you were raised by a one Kara Danvers purely because I don’t think subtlety is even in your vocabulary,” she began shaking her head, and Lily’s cheeks immediately heated up, opening her mouth to protest before quickly getting shut down by Sam. “Secondly, when you came back acting all weird, it took two minutes of investigating that camp to find the name Lily Danvers on the roster,” she continued, and Lily bit her cheek, cursing herself for not thinking of that. “And lastly,” Sam announced, stopping her walk and looking at the teenager seriously, “your aunt called to make sure you’re okay.”

Lily hung her head a bit ashamed. If she had known Sam was going to figure her out so quickly, she would have definitely approached this whole plan differently. She figured she was going to have at least a week with her mom to formulate a further plan, but only have two days was going to throw a wrench into that.

On top of it all, Alex had somehow figured out about the switch as well, and now that she knew, she would be undoubtedly worried about Lily being across the world without them knowing about it. As would Yeyu if she found out.

And she had her bets her mom was not going to be incredibly pleased when she found out either.

Swallowing thickly, Lily tried to come up with something to say, but suddenly all the amazing reasons she had used to convince Liza to do the switch at camp were leaving her now. She was in big trouble, and she didn’t need a mom to tell her that.

“I just wanted to meet my mom,” she finally admitted, her voice thick, and Sam’s expression immediately turned sympathetic as she pulled Lily in for a tight hug.

“I know,” she whispered, holding onto the girl. “But,” she continued, pulling back and leaning down to look Lily in the eyes, “your mom would want to know if you’re here. She’s spent fifteen years wanting to spend time with you. You have to tell her.”

Lily held her breath at the order and grimaced as she shifted uncomfortably on her feet. “And I will. This isn’t like an indefinite thing. I just need time to-”

“Lily,” Sam cut her off sternly, and the girl gulped, knowing what was coming next. “You have to tell her tonight. No excuses. The two of you need to be switched back.”

Staring at Sam apprehensively, she finally let out a sigh and hung her head. “Fine. I will,” she conceded, and tears worked their way to the back of her eyes.

She had only gotten two full days with her mom before everything had to change. She wasn’t ready to go back and confront or confess to Yeyu. She wasn’t ready to try to get her moms back together. She wasn’t ready to know for certain whether or not she would ever see her family whole again.

All she wanted was to stay here in this perfect little bubble of time where she was still getting to know her mom and her idol.

Sam wrapped her arm around Lily comfortingly and sighed, beginning to lead them back to the house. “It won’t be so bad, kid,” she promised. “No matter her reaction, I promise she’ll be happy to have you, even if it’s deep, deep on the inside,” she continued with a playful smirk, and Lily’s stomach churned as it really began to set in that by the end of the night, her mom would know about the switch.

When they arrived back at the house, Lena greeted them excitedly, and Sam smiled genuinely back at her, wrapping her mom in a tight hug and then following her into the kitchen. Lily wandered behind a bit, trying to get the grim expression to disappear from her face, but not succeeding in the slightest. This could be her last good, normal meal with her mom and knowing that made it really hard to enjoy.

Quickly, she pulled out Liza’s phone and opened her conversation with her sister to update her. She noticed she had messages she hadn’t realized she had received while she was in her mom’s lab. Before she could attract any attention, she skimmed through them.

Liza: [Did everyone get a girlfriend this summer except me?]

Liza: [He’s annoying and sexist, so not great. Non-Oil’s gotta go. Just not sure how to get Yeyu to see that.]

Liza: [Also Alex may or may not have found out about the switch.]

Lily sighed reading the texts and responded quickly.

Lily: [Sam knows. She’s making me tell Mom tonight. Also Alex called Sam so they’re still in touch after all these years. Maybe ask her about that?]

Clicking her phone off and sliding it back in her pocket, Lily entered the kitchen threshold and joined the others quietly.

“It smells so good, Lena,” Sam gushed when they saw the meal already portioned out and set up professionally. Even though she wasn’t hungry anymore, Lily had to agree. The food looked and smelled like it was from a five star restaurant.

“Thank you,” her mom responded with a smirk, pouring out four glasses of sparkling water and gesturing for everyone to grab one. Holding her own up, she sighed a little and looked happily at the group of women surrounding her. “I just want to say something before we eat,” she began, and Lily looked at her mom with a curious glint in her eyes as Lena beamed at her. “We all know how hard coming out can be, and I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter for trusting in me enough to do so. I love you more than words can describe, darling, and I’m so happy to have you back with me again. No matter what happens, no matter what challenges you face in life, I hope you always know that I will be a safe place to land. You can come to me for anything, and I will always respond with open arms.”

Lily quickly wiped away the tears that formed in the corners of her eyes throughout Lena’s speech and gritted her teeth so as to keep herself from sobbing. Even if her mom had meant that for Liza, it was exactly what Lily needed to hear before confessing to the switch. If she pleaded her case and just explained to her mom that she just wanted to meet her with no complications, surely she would be at least a little understanding.

“Okay, now that I’ve made everyone cry, let’s eat!” Lena announced with a little laugh, her voice still heavy from the tears she almost cried as well, and everyone joined her with a little laugh as well as they made their way to their seats.

Lily hesitated when she picked up her fork, staring at the food as her stomach still churned. Eventually however, the aroma of the food won out over her anxiety and she went to take a bite. As she experienced her first taste, she nearly melted on the spot and let out a little groan that everyone at the table agreed with.

Lena shot Lily a curious look and shook her head. “I’m glad it’s up to your camp food standards,” she teased, and Lily tossed her a cursory glance before redirecting all her attention back to the food.

“How was the food at camp?” Ruby asked curiously, and Lily frowned as someone was once again taking her attention away from the plate in front of her.

Shrugging, she looked up at Ruby and responded, “It was okay. The nights the counselors would grill food for us were always the best. Fresh hamburgers, corn on the cob, cabbage, one time they grilled pizza for us; it was all so good.”

“Better than this eggplant parm, I’m sure,” she commented, a teasing glint in her eyes and Lily immediately became affronted.

“Take back that blasphemy this instant,” she demanded, and everyone around the table let out a little chuckle.

It didn’t take long for everyone to scarf down every last scrap of the dinner Lena made, and everyone volunteered to help with dishes so Lena wouldn’t have to, since she had cooked the food. Lily took up drying while Sam washed and Ruby put away the dishes. Ruby and Lena started in on a conversation about the quality project Lena and her had discussed briefly earlier in the day, and Lily zoned out and instead became acutely aware of Sam’s presence beside her.

“Just rip the bandaid off as soon as we leave, kid,” she instructed calmly in a low voice, and Lily glanced up at her nervously. “You heard what she said earlier. She’s here for you.”

“She’s here for Liza,” Lily corrected, going back to drying and frowning. “I’m just an imposter, remember?”

Sam didn’t respond for a moment, but suddenly her hand was placed gently on Lily’s to get her to stop drying and look up at her. Lily swallowed thickly as her eyes met her mom’s friend’s, who were looking at her with a kind of determination.

“She is here for you too. Anything she says to Liza, she means for you as well. You’re not an imposter; you have always been and always will be her daughter,” she stated simply, and then went back to washing, leaving Lily a little bit at a loss.

Lily stared blankly at the sink for a few more seconds before she was able to snap her head out of it and begin drying again. Sam didn’t say anything to her for the rest of the time and Lily was grateful, as she was given a lot to think about.

She had never consciously acknowledged it, but Lily was realizing that she had just automatically assumed that since Liza had grown up with Lena and she hadn’t, Liza would obviously be more of a daughter in Lena’s eyes. It would make sense, and Lily wouldn’t be able to blame her mom for it. She barely knew Lily.

Maybe that was why she had been so insistent on the switch and meeting her mom under false pretenses. Once she found out, Lily was afraid she would become lesser in her mom’s eyes. Just ship her back to Yeyu and ask to meet up for Christmas every year, and never anything more.

Maybe she just wanted one daughter and that’s why she took Liza and left.

Swallowing thickly, she blinked and realized there were no more dishes to dry and she was just staring at the sink, towel in hand, unmoving. She quickly placed the towel down and turned to where Sam, Ruby and Lena were now all discussing L Corp’s latest tech release and the sales so far. Lena sent Lily a worried look and quirked her eyebrows to ask if she was alright, and Lily quickly waved off her concern with a small smile.

As they continued their conversation, Lily felt a buzz in her pocket and immediately pulled out her phone to check it. She had been anxiously waiting for Liza’s response all throughout dinner and knew they would need to make a plan quick if she was revealing the switch soon.

Liza: [Shit, well that’s that, I guess. What’s the game plan? Do you want me to tell Yeyu too?]

Lily bit her cheek because she didn’t want to tell Yeyu. If they told Yeyu, their moms would have full control over the situation. This was only phase one; they needed to get their moms into the same room now and talk. Taking a deep breath, she started typing shakily, knowing what they would have to do.

Lily: [Don’t tell her. Just get Yeyu to the Condry hotel tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll get Mom there. See if Alex can help you.]

Liza: [Okay. I’m heading to the DEO to talk to Alex soon so I’ll send updates. Let me know how it goes!]

Lily didn’t bother responding to that, her nerves being set too on edge for her to be able to even form a response.

“Alright Rubes,” Sam cut into the conversation with a big sigh, pulling everyone’s attention. “I have some emails to go through before tomorrow morning, so we should head home now,” she announced, and Ruby reluctantly agreed.

“I hope those aren’t work emails, Samantha, because as your boss I have strictly forbade you from doing work off company time,” Lena asserted, her eyebrow raised as she took in her friend, who was all but laughing at her at this point.

“Oh yeah they’re personal emails for sure,” Sam unconvincingly deflected with an eyeroll. Lena immediately began trying to protest, but Sam quickly cut her off by giving Lily a quick hug and then walking away, pulling Ruby. “See you guys tomorrow!” she yelled, not waiting for Lena’s response, and then they were out the door.

Lena let out a long sigh and shook her head. “What am I going to do with her?” she asked before standing up from her seat at the counter and throwing her arm around Lily’s shoulder.

Lily let out a little laugh, but it was strained and she knew it. Her mom immediately looked down at her concerned and furrowed her eyebrows.

“Are you okay, darling?” she asked, taking a step back and taking her daughter in. “You’ve seemed off since that walk with Sam. What did she say to you?” she inquired a bit tiredly. “If it’s about the annual charity ball fundraiser I forgot to put up the donation page for a week late-”

“No no, it wasn’t-” Lily began, but she cut herself off as she shifted uncomfortably. “I mean, it was nothing,” she lied, trying to dismiss it, and she knew her mom saw right through her.

Lena stared at her for a moment, like she was considering something, but then she ultimately decided against it. Instead she shrugged and smiled at her daughter, changing the subject.

“So what’s our to do list for tomorrow?” she asked, letting go of Lily’s shoulder and beginning to walk towards the back of the house where her room was, presumably to finally change into comfortable clothes for the evening. “I’m assuming you’ll want to spend a good portion of the day down in the R and D labs with the air tracker team, but I was thinking we could start drafting up the summer camp as well, if you’re interested?” Lena inquired, glancing back as if she were expecting her daughter to be following her, but she noticed Lily still frozen in the kitchen doorway, she paused and turned back to her fully, quirking her eyebrow in a question.

Lily was fighting with herself immensely. She knew logically, she had to tell her mom. Sam would tell her otherwise and that would make everything worse. But when she tried to speak, the words got caught in her throat. She just couldn’t get herself to give up this experience so abruptly.

So instead of confessing, she bit her cheek and decided to dance around her task.

“I’m sorry, I’ll be busy all day,” she responded, hoping she came across as confident as she wanted.

Lena let out a little chuckle at this and shook her head amused. “Big plans for the day?” she questioned a little jokingly.

“I’m afraid so,” Lily answered easily, shifting nervously on her feet.

“And what might those be?”

Lily paused and considered her mom’s question for a long moment. Her mom was beginning to catch on that she was being more serious than she had originally picked up on, and her expressing was beginning to become concerned. “I have to go meet someone actually,” she finally offered, the words sounding thick as they left her lips.

“Very ambiguous,” her mom commented with a hum, raising an eyebrow and looking at her daughter expectantly. When she realized Lily wasn’t going to add on to her statement, she inquired, “Care to elaborate on who this mysterious person is?”

Swallowing thickly, Lily nodded and clenched her fists to keep them from shaking. She was almost certain at this point she wouldn’t be able to confess to her mom. She could hint; she could allude; but saying “I’m Lily” was an impossibility she wasn’t ready to face.

“I met her at camp,” she responded, her voice wavering. “You know her,” she added after a split second debate. Maybe if she alluded to it too much that she couldn’t get out of it, her hand would be forced and she would be able to spit it out.

“Do I?” Lena cut into her thoughts, trying to look amused but still seeming overwhelmingly concerned at her daughter’s clear state of quickly increasing distress.

Lily willed herself to just say it. Rip it off like a bandaid, as Sam had suggested. Tell her mom who she really was. But when she opened her mouth, nothing came out, and tears began to form at the corners of her eyes.

Seeing this, her mom was immediately on high alert. “Darling?” she questioned, making her way back over to her daughter and lowering herself to Lily’s level so she could look her in the eye. She softly ran her hand through Lily’s hair, which prompted her daughter to allow the first of the tears to fall.

Lena fought back her own tears and quickly wiped Lily’s away. “Whatever it is, you can tell me,” she murmured comfortingly, still stroking her cheek. “I promise I won’t be mad.”

Lily looked up at her mom with wide eyes and saw the complete and utter sincerity in them. Sam’s words came back to her, and she wondered if it was too good to be true that her mom would mean those words for both her and Liza.

But she knew if any moment were it, it would have to be this moment. Confessing now was the only way she could prevent the situation from escalating.

“Liza’s in National City with Yeyu,” she rushed out, immediately biting her cheek once the words were out and holding her breath waiting for her mom’s response.

Lena’s breath caught as her eyes widen slightly at the confession and her hand froze in her daughter’s hair. She stared at Lily for a long moment, taking in her guilty expression and tense demeanor, before she sighed and nodded and stood, and then gestured for her daughter to follow her.

Staring in her mom’s wake a bit stunned, Lily was at a loss for what to do for a second. She had expected her mom to freak out, yell at her, maybe even immediately call Liza or Yeyu. But the silent walking away with an unreadable expression? That she didn’t know how to respond to.

She quickly blinked out of her trance, however, and followed her mom, who met her at the door of the home office and silently handed her a small ID card.

“No use waiting to give this to you now, I guess,” she commented lightly, walking back to her desk and sitting down, indicating that Lily should do the same across from her.

Completely bewildered, Lily glanced down at the card in her hand and noticed it was an official L Corp ID with the name “Lillian Danvers” written on it. A quick glance at the picture that accompanied the ID confirmed her suspicion and caused her stomach to flip as she looked up at her mom in shock.

"You insisted on taking this picture of me my first night here. After we got home from dinner,” she recounted, her eyes wide. “You knew?"

Smiling a bit guiltily, Lena nodded softly. "I knew,” she confirmed.

“But,” Lily began to sputter, “but how?”

Lena raised her eyebrow and leveled her eyes at her daughter. “I know my daughters. And one of them by the name of Liza would never turn down green beans from her favorite restaurant,” she stated pointedly, and Lily blushed as she realized her mistake.

Pouting, she crossed her arms and grumbled, “You found out because of green beans?”

“Well, I guess that’s what confirmed it,” her mom elaborated, teasing her daughter a bit. “There was also the question of why my daughter didn’t come home immediately asking me questions about her twin sister, whose name I saw on the camp roster.”

This time Lily let out an audible groan and tilted her head back upset. “Why didn’t I think of that stupid roster?” she questioned not for the first time that day, and her mom let out an immediate bark of laughter. Lena waited for her daughter to recover from her frustration before she continued with her explanation.

“I was going to look into who Liza got into that prank war with after I got that phone call from your counselor, but got distracted pretty quickly when I saw your name on there,” she detailed with a half smile. “I was nervous all summer, knowing I would need to come clean as soon as Liza was home, but when you got here, you didn’t mention it at all.” She paused as she let Lily consider this, and then commented a moment later, “You know, we found some of your designs in our servers over the summer. They’re brilliant. I was going to reach out to you this fall anyways, on a business level and personal level. I figured it was well past time.” She admitted the last part a bit guiltily, and averted her eyes as she said it.

Lily looked on at her curiously and fought the tears forming in her eyes. She glanced back down at the ID in her hands and something surged through her as she had a realization.

“The face scanners,” she said suddenly, glancing up at her mom. “You used this picture to enter me into the system,” she elaborated. “I just thought your scanners were out of date and it was recognizing me as Liza, but you had already given me full access to L Corp, hadn’t you?”

Lena’s eyebrow quirked curiously at the topic her daughter wished to discuss at that moment, and responded, “Of course. You were already trying to get into L Corp from halfway across the world, I couldn’t have you hacking into what was already yours while you were here.”

Staring up at her mom with wide eyes, Lily felt the tears start to stream off her cheeks again, and she quickly wiped them off, embarrassed and ducking her head.

“Sorry, I just-” she began, shaking her head. “I don’t know; you’re Lena Luthor, you know?” she asked, and her mom looked on at her like she didn’t understand. “I’ve wanted to meet you since I was eight, and then I found out you were my mom, and I wanted to meet you even more, but I’m- I’m just me. Why trust me with your life’s work?”

Lena stared at Lily for a long moment with a heartbreakingly sad expression. Lily cringed a bit, because she hadn’t meant to make her mom upset, but it just didn’t add up to her. L Corp was everything to her mom, and it was like she was just handing it to Lily no questions asked. Didn’t she have to do something to earn this?

“L Corp isn’t my life’s work,” Lena finally responded softly. “You and Liza are my life’s work. Everything I’ve ever done in the past sixteen years has been for you two.”

Lily gritted her teeth at this answer, and as much as she wanted to just let herself bask in the sentimentality of that statement, she couldn’t find it in herself to not question the validity of that statement.

“Then why did you leave?” Lily asked a bit desperately, tired of everyone dancing around answers to her and her sister. They deserved to know what happened to their family.

Lena sighed heavily and wiped a few tears from her face before she responded. “I don’t expect you to understand or believe me, darling,” she began quietly. “It was for your protection, all of you. And while I do regret that I had to leave your Yeyu and I could never see you, I want you to know that I made the right decision, and I do not regret making it.”

Lily stared at her mom, clenching her fists and trying to restrain herself, but ended up letting a frustrated question slip her lips anyways. “What does that even mean?” she challenged.

With a grim smile, Lena stood and took a step over to kiss Lily’s forehead and sigh. “It means every heart wrenching, agonizing second I had to be here away from you was worth every second knowing that you were alive and safe.”

Studying her mom for a long moment, Lily bit her lip and considered her words. Her eyes shone with her sincerity, but she still had trouble believing danger was the reasoning behind the whole situation. It felt too simple, too easy of a reason. Yeyu was in danger all the time, but the only time she had worried about Lily’s safety was when she rushed into battle after her.

What could have possible put the entire family in danger? And why had her mom felt like leaving would solve it?

Finally Lily sighed and relented a little. “You promise we all would have been in danger if you and Liza stayed?” she asked quietly, needing the confirmation to quell at least a few of her churning thoughts. For whatever reason, she trusted her mom and trusted her judgement. If she said it was too dangerous to stay, Lily would believe her.

“Oh darling,” her mom whispered quietly, pulling her into a tight hug. “I promise. Nothing could have pulled me away from you otherwise,” she mumbled into her daughter’s hair, and Lily clinged to her mom tightly at her words.

They stayed like that for a few long moments before pulling away from each other and wiping the tears from their eyes. Lena’s hand found its way back to stroking her daughters hair again, and they both remained in silent contemplation as the minutes passed by.

Lily’s feelings were becoming more and less conflicted at the same time. She felt like she needed more information on the danger that had been present to truly accept it, but she also knew asking might be pushing her mom’s limits. So many questions ran through her head, however.

What kind of danger was it? Had something happened that pushed her mom over the edge? Had Yeyu agreed it was too much? What about now? Was that danger still present?

She knew she wouldn’t be able to get the answer to any of those questions in this moment, however, if she wanted to get her mom to California without her becoming suspicious of her and Liza trying to set her back up with Yeyu. Once she was back with Liza, they could tackle the questions together.

She had to get her mom to National City first, though.

"Mom?” she inquired suddenly, a thought popping into her head. “Why didn't you say anything? About me being Liza?”

At this, the serious expression on her mom’s face was replaced with a guilty smile, as she sighed and responded, "I knew the moment I said something I would have to do the grown up thing and send you back to Yeyu. I suppose I just wanted as much time with you as possible before that."

Lily’s heart swelled at the thought her mom was postponing acknowledging the switch for as long as possible just like she had been. She had wanted just as much alone time with her daughter as Lily had wanted with her mom. Instinctively, Lily reached out and pulled Lena into another tight hug, glad yet another fear of hers was put to rest.

"Unfortunately,” Lena then continued, cutting into Lily’s thoughts and pulling back from the hug. “I'm now obligated to do the grown up thing. You have to go back to National City, darling, and Liza needs to come back to London."

"Mom?” Lily started. “Can I just-” She cut herself off with a sigh as she tried to form what she was trying to say. “I never had a sister until this summer,” she finally stated after a moment, looking up at her mom pointedly. “And I would really like to not go back to not having one."

Lena immediately looked a bit guilty and swallowed thickly before nodding. "A new arrangement should’ve been set up a while ago,” she considered softly. “I considered- a few years ago, after-” Lena stopped herself again and let out a small huff as she shot her daughter a grim smile. “I won’t bore you with the explanations and excuses,” she finally relented. “I’ll call your mother, and we'll work something out."

Lily furrowed her eyebrows a bit in question at her mom’s statement. "Why would you have to call her when you're going to see her when we switch back?" she pointed out.

Her mom seemed a bit taken aback by this, as if she hadn’t considered to switch her daughters back, she would have to see her ex again face-to-face. Swallowing thickly and clearly trying to hide the nervousness written all over her face, Lena nodded and responded lightly, "Of course, I'll talk to her then. We’ll just fly to National City and figure this all out."

Internally letting out a sigh of relief that her mom was falling into a plan, Lily grinned widely up at her mom. "Great! Let’s book a flight for tomorrow!"

Lena let out a little laugh at this and shook her head, loosening up a bit from the moment before. “How about I just make sure my plane is ready to go?”

Alex had texted Liza that morning that they would have to wait to meet up until their usual afternoon time to talk. Which Liza was more than okay with. The more she thought about having to explain everything to Alex, the more nervous she was getting.

What if Alex thought trying to get their moms back together was a horrible idea? Or what if she thought they were being too invasive trying to figure out what happened? Or even worse yet, what if she had told Liza to wait to come in to the DEO until the afternoon so she could set up a whole thing where she exposed her to everyone, including Yeyu?

Her stomach churned and she tried to shake the thought away. That would never happen, she told herself; her aunt probably just had a meeting or something this morning, and it would be less suspicious to just wait to talk to her until they usually met up.

That didn’t stop Liza from pacing most of the morning trying to figure out what to do with her time. She didn’t want to go into the DEO early for fear of running into Non-Oil (whom she did not have the patience nor energy for today), and her mother had gone into CatCo early to help some of the interns with the finishing touches on their summer projects.

She had passed most of the morning by snooping through her mother’s and sister’s things. It was probably an invasion of privacy, but how else was she supposed to find out more about her long lost family when she was home alone for the morning?

She had started off in Lily’s room, going through folder by folder all the designs Lily had hazardously tossed around the room. Almost everything she saw brilliant on some level. When she was snooping through her sister’s closet, she found what could only be described as a shrine to L Corp. Shaking her head, she decided to move her focus to Yeyu.

Yeyu’s room was surprisingly scattered as well. Some dress clothes were flopped over a chair, and her super suit tossed on the floor, most likely from her mother dropping it there after her late rounds the night before. They had stayed up talking so long into the night, she had almost forgotten to do them.

Beyond the clothes, there were a few piles of CatCo magazine stacked around the bed, books scattered on the side table and a dusty guitar sitting in the corner of the room. The dresser with the tv on top of it only held miscellaneous business cards along with little sea shells Liza instinctively knew were from Lily and Kara’s visits to Midvale. She picked one of the small shells up and stared into it, as if she were expecting it to share its memories with her. How strange was it that this inanimate object had spent more time with her own mother than her?

Swallowing thickly and setting the shell down, she continued her snooping, not wanting to ponder on anything too heavy. By the way everyone had talked, it seemed as if her mother still held some kind of affection for her previous marriage. There had to be evidence of that somewhere around the room, right?

She opened the drawers of the dresser to find only clothes. Then she wandered over to the closet and found nothing but clothes again to her dismay. In a bit of a last stitch effort, she laid down on the floor and looked under her mother’s bed.

Immediately she saw a dusty looking box, and she tried not to let herself get too excited as she quickly went to pull it out. Sitting up and staring at her find, Liza felt her heart racing and prayed that within the box held the information she sought.

She opened the lid and her breath caught. On top of all the box’s contents was a picture of Lena holding Lily and Liza just after they were born. Her mom’s eyes looked tired, but there was still a smile on her face as she looked up at the camera. Tears welled at the corners of her eyes as she took in every millimeter of her mom in the hospital room.

Picking the picture up, she noticed there was another one just under it. Her mom was still in the same position, but Yeyu was now leaning over the side of the bed and planting a firm kiss into the side of her head. Her mom’s expression was noticeably brighter in the second picture, and it almost caused Liza to cry on the spot.

Continuing her search into the box, Liza found a photo album and gently pulled it out, trying not to disturb the dust on it too much. Opening to the first page, her jaw dropped a little and she momentarily ceased breathing.

She had found her moms’ wedding album.

Carefully, she began to flip through the pages and staring in awe at her moms. It seemed cliche to think, but they seemed so undeniably happy. The kind of happy every couple hoped to look on their wedding day. The kind of happy that seemed like could withstand any struggle and weather any storm.

And yet it hadn’t.

Liza felt like she was going slightly crazy, not knowing what had happened to her moms. How could two people who were obviously so compatible and so happy with each other go from that to one of the moving halfway across the world in a three year time span?

Sighing, she knew she had to leave the nagging thoughts and questions alone. She would be talking to Alex soon and hopefully that would clear at least some things up.

Instead, she pulled out Lily’s phone and started taking pictures of the photos in the album. She was assuming her sister had never seen them before (for obvious reasons) and wanted her to be able to remotely share in the moment with her. She flipped idly through the pages, picking out which pictures her sister would most want to see (mostly the fun ones: their moms out kissing and giggling in the rain; their moms and aunt dancing obnoxiously; Clark and Lex both clearly drunk and hugging their moms from behind as they laughed.)

She was in the middle of sending Lily a picture of their grandmas good-naturedly fighting over bouquet their mom had just tossed when a notification popped up from her aunt.

Alex: [Hey I finished up a little early. You can head in whenever.]

Letting out a shaky breath, Liza knew her patience couldn’t wait to speak to Alex until after she was done going through all the boxes contents, so instead she would save that for later in the afternoon, she decided. Quickly, she packed everything back into the box, just as it had been, and pushed it back under the bed.

Doing a quick sweep around the room with her eyes, she made sure everything looked as it had when she came in, and satisfiedly nodded her head and pivoted to leave the room, shutting the door behind her.

She then quickly grabbed the key to the house that was left for her in the entryway, locked up, and was on her way to the DEO. The day was hot, and Liza was grateful for the lack of her necklace just so she wouldn’t feel the sun’s brutal rays.

She flew fast, hoping she remembered the correct path to the base from the day before. About halfway through the flight, she felt the phone in her pocket buzz several times, her anxiety increasing with each buzz. She hoped it would be Lily with a more solid plan for the next day, but it could be Yeyu as well, or Alex. No matter who it was, however, any of them could deliver bad news at any moment.

As soon as she landed outside of the DEO, she pulled it out to check the messages she was sure were going to be from Lily. She visibly paled as she read the messages that drew her attention the most.

Lily: [Oh my god, the wedding photos! Where did you find those?]

Lily: [Also]

Lily: [SHE ALREADY KNEW.]

Lily: [SHE’S KNOWN THE WHOLE TIME.]

Lily: [Convinced her to wait to fly to NC until tomorrow at noon. We should be at the Condry around 4 pm.]

Their mom knowing the whole time was not a good sign for either of them. The plan could go awry at any moment, Liza felt like. How long until Yeyu found out? Or did she already know as well? It felt like everything was teetering on an edge at this point, and while Lily still clearly felt confident in their plan, Liza wasn’t so sure.

Stomach churning, she ignored the new bout of fears that threatened her, and instead made a beeline inside to find her aunt.

“Hey there you are!” Alex called out, as soon as she entered the threshold of the DEO. Her aunt was beaming, and Liza let out a bit of a relieved sigh at her expression, grinning back at her.

Alex paused for a brief second, and then deciding it wouldn’t be too weird to the passing onlookers, she quickly wrapped Liza in a tight hug and just held her for a few moments. When she finally pulled away, she sniffed and tried to sneakily wipe the tears from the corner of her eye, so as to pretend she hadn’t almost started crying.

“Alright kiddo,” she finally started, wrapping her arm around Liza and beginning to lead her back to Lily’s lab. “We have a lot to catch up on.”

“I figured you’d say that,” Liza commented a bit begrudgingly as her aunt laughed a little and opened the door to the lab. “And before you ask, yes it was Lily’s idea,” she explained with a pointed look that caused Alex to let out yet another bark of laughter as the door slammed shut behind them.

Pulling out two chairs, Alex gestured for Liza to take a seat in one of them before she took a seat herself.

“To be honest, I wasn’t going to ask you that. I figured that was a given,” she explained, and Liza relented a smirk. She shouldn’t be surprised by that, she figured. Alex and Lily were so similar, her aunt had probably already guessed their secret intentions behind the switch as well.

Biting her cheek and keeping a light smile on her lips, Liza looked at her aunt curiously. “Okay, then, what do you want to know?” she asked honestly, willing to tell her aunt anything at this point. It felt good to be able to explain everything to someone who would actually be able to give her advice. No one knew Yeyu better than Alex, besides maybe Lily.

“How about you start with how you and Lily figured out you were sisters?” her aunt suggested.

Liza didn’t need any more prompting than that. She quickly launched into the story of the lab incident followed by the prank war which landed them in the isolation cabin. Alex had a good laugh over their scuffle with poker and couldn’t resist throwing out that she had beaten Lena ninety-seven times to ninety-three in the lifetime poker record.

Liza then explained how the necklace had tipped Lily off to the possibility of them being sisters and had subsequently looked up their birth certificates, to which her aunt made a small impressed sound. She finished by adding that Lily had decided they should meet their moms under no pressure circumstances and so they had trained each other to infiltrate each other’s lives.

Alex listened attentively through it all, and at the end she let out a long sigh and shook her head. “I always knew the two of you would be a handful together,” she finally commented with a smirk. “You were when you were babies, and you still are,” she elaborated. “Babysitting for you two was a nightmare, by the way. Try getting two superpowered one-year-olds to not destroy their moms’ multimillion dollar house while they’re away,” she lamented and Liza let out a little giggle. “Though I seem to remember you were the ornerier one back then; you just always found a way to pin it on Lily.”

Liza held her hands up in faux defense. “Who me? I would never blame anything on Lily,” she joked, and they both laughed at the obvious lie.

Shrugging, Alex brushed her comment off with the reasoning “She deserves it more these days anyways.”

Liza hummed in agreement, and her and her aunt shared a smile, like they had an inside joke.

Liza’s body warmed at the thought of it. She had been so scared coming to National City that she wouldn’t be able to make any personal bonds with any of her family while she was here, yet here she was. Talking openly with her aunt about her sister, and it felt so natural and right. Like this is what they should have been doing her whole life.

She swallowed down a thick lump in her throat and kept her now forced smile on her face as she looked up at Alex. “I didn’t know you were still in touch with Sam, by the way,” she commented. “Lily told me she confronted her earlier and mentioned you called her.”

And then her aunt did the last thing she expected.

She blushed.

“I wouldn’t say I kept in touch, per se,” she tried to brush off, averting her gaze down to the floor. Liza’s eyes widened with realization and a certain glee that earned a glare from her aunt. “We just touch base every now and then to make sure the other idiot is okay. Your moms are still basically both of our sisters, and we worry about them, okay?” she defended, her voice rising a bit, and Liza was nearly bouncing on the edge of her seat with excitement.

“Right, right,” Liza confirmed with a faux serious expression. “And touching base definitely doesn’t include seeing if you’re both still single for some morbid fascination or another, right?” she asked innocently, and her aunt’s face was now burning red.

Alex stayed quiet for a long moment before she finally scoffed and shook her head. “I’m supposed to be getting information out of you, remember?”

Liza let a giggle out a this and decided to give her aunt a break for the time being on what seemed to be a fifteen year hopeless crush. The thing was, she had never seen Sam show any interest in anyone before. She had overheard her mom make a comment once about how she felt like L Corp had ruined Sam’s romantic life, and at the time she had brushed it off as a dig at how many hours Sam put in every day.

But with this new revelation, her mom very well could be referencing L Corp’s move to London and subsequently away from Alex. She made a mental note to mention it to Lily. Maybe they could add Sam and Alex to their list of people to set up while they were at it.

Just the thought of Lily and the plan, however, set her sights back on her true goal of this conversation. She had to get some information. Any information.

“Can I ask you something?” Liza finally asked after a long silence, and her aunt glanced up at her curiously, blush slowly fading away. “Why did our moms split up?” she inquired, knowing she probably didn’t know the full answer if her mom was the one that left, but maybe with her connection to Sam, she would have more insight than anyone else.

Alex let out a long sigh and shook her head, a bit regretfully. “Liza, I’m not going to be able to tell you everything that went into that,” she reasoned, and while that was probably partially true, Liza also knew she was trying to cover her own ass from Yeyu.

“C’mon, I’ve only spent a couple days with Yeyu and I already know she’s perfect for Mom,” she goaded, hoping to wear her aunt down into spilling any type of information.

“She is,” Alex responded easily, without having to think about it at all, and a painful flash marked her face as she sighed again, knowing Liza was going to succeed in getting something out of her.

“So,” Liza began again with a pointed look. “Why aren’t they together?” she asked simply, and her aunt seemed to grit her teeth, as if she were forcing herself to keep the information inside. “C’mon, I have to know what we’re up against, if we want to-”

Liza quickly cut herself off, cursing a bit when she realized it was potentially a bad idea to explicitly state that portion of the plan to Alex.

“Want to what, Liza?” Alex asked, immediately picking up on her hesitation. She studied her niece for a long second, pondering what the teenager was about to say, when her eyebrows suddenly shot up in recognition. “You’re trying to get them back together,” she stated simply, shaking her head in disbelief.

“It was Lily’s idea,” Liza defended quickly, not wanting to take any heat from her aunt about meddling.

Alex immediately let out a sharp laugh and nodded amusedly, commenting, “She does always find a way to meddle, doesn’t she?”

“Are you mad?” Liza asked, a bit of her worry seeping into her voice.

“Mad?” her aunt questioned, her eyebrows furrowing as she studied her niece. “Why would I be mad? Your moms were always happiest together,” she reasoned, her face softening a bit at the memories before she gritted her teeth again and corrected herself. “At least at the beginning.”

“And then?”

Alex paused for a moment a bit regretfully before she sighed and explained, “And then your uncle Lex went crazy.”

Liza stopped at this, biting her lip and looking down dejectedly. “So that’s it then,” she relented. “They separated because of Lex.” She almost hissed out the name at the end, feeling an overwhelming amount of hatred in that moment for her uncle that seemingly derailed her mom’s entire life, and her life as well consequently.

“Baby girl, it was more complicated than that,” Alex stepped in comfortingly, rubbing Liza’s arm softly. “Lex was a factor yes; he set a lot of things into motion that complicated your moms’ relationship. But a lot of other things went down as well.”

Sighing a bit, Liza relented her glare at the floor partially and looked up at her aunt begrudgingly. “Like?” she asked, her voice thick, and Alex gave her a sympathetic look.

“There’s too much to really-”

Letting out a shuddering breath, Liza held up her hand to cut her aunt off and took a moment to compose herself. Then she looked calmly back up at her aunt, and decided to approach the obviously large and encompassing topic more efficiently.

“Okay, new strategy,” she began, and Alex waited patiently for her offer. “You said a lot of things happened right? Was there one thing that sticks out to you as a tipping point?”

She saw the answer in her aunt’s eye immediately. There had been something, and now Alex was wrestling with herself on whether or not she could divulge that information to her niece. Eventually, one side of her won out, and Liza held her breath as she waited to figure out which side it was.

“I’ll never forget that day,” Alex relented, and Liza nearly whooped with joy that she was finally going to get some information. “We got the report of the alien attacking downtown seven minutes before the report of the bomb threat at Luthor Corp,” she explained, looking levelly at her niece. “I- I won’t go into all the details but the alien ended up having kryptonite, and your mom refused to leave Luthor Corp until she helped all her employees get out. They were-” Alex cut herself off, almost choking up, and shook her head to try again. “It was bad, Liz.”

Liza furrowed her eyebrows and studied her aunt. “Did they get hurt?” she asked, trying to recall if her mom had ever mentioned a bomb at Luthor Corp.

“Neither of them woke up for two days,” Alex explained, her expression heavy, and it hit Liza like a ton of bricks. It had been that bad here? She couldn’t recall any other time in her life that either of her moms had been in such immediate danger. She would read about Supergirl blowing out her powers now and then, but she would be back on her feet fighting crime a day later.

“Oh,” she finally responded, unsure of what else to say, because she was not expecting the reason her mom decided leaving was better than staying to be the time she was almost orphaned and had no knowledge of it.

“I thought for sure we would lose them,” Alex continued, trying to keep her voice light. “When they woke up and realized how close you two came to being orphaned, I saw the pure fear in their eyes: the fear I had been feeling for days. And I think that was when we all realized there was a very real possibility they wouldn’t make it through everything that had been happening together,” she admitted. “They fought for weeks,” she recalled. “Your mom refused to do therapy for the recommended time and was back at Luthor Corp within three weeks. Your mother didn’t know how to be around her without feeling guilty or angry, so she stayed out later fighting crime. So when they were together, it was just arguments on top of arguments. I think they were both trying to deflect their fear, and we all saw where it was going to end: their separation felt inevitable at that point.” Alex sighed and shrugged. “Two months after the incident, your mom took you and moved to London, and we never heard from you again.”

“So they were scared,” Liza followed up with a sigh, her stomach churning from the realization she had just learned the reason of her moms’ separation. Something about it didn’t sit right with her, however, but before she could question it, her aunt pulled her thoughts.

“We all were,” she comforted, reaching over and holding her niece’s hand gently. “But--I know it sounds terrible--but I really think they were trying to have your best interests at heart. They both lost their parents growing up, and almost putting you two through the same thing scared them down to their very core,” she explained, and Liza swallowed thickly, reluctantly understanding what her aunt was saying. “It wasn’t the best solution, but for two traumatized twenty-four year olds who had the weight of the world thrusted upon them on top of raising two superpowered babies? Give them a little credit, kid.”

Liza gritted her teeth at this and let out a long sigh. Finally she nodded in agreement, and admitted, “I’m seeing that.” She was silent for a moment as Alex let her mull over all the information she had learned from the conversation before she eventually scoffed and asked, “Everything was really fucked, wasn’t it?”

“Language,” her aunt instinctively chastised before softening her expression a bit. “But yeah. Pretty damn fucked.”

Liza grimaced at the confirmation and took in a shaky breath as she finally began to truly process what had transpired all those years ago. She did the mental math of when the incident must have occurred if it was two months before her mom had left and quickly realized the timing coincided with the file she had skipped over the day before about her mother’s nasty kryptonite exposure. She cursed herself for not looking at the file closer and tried to remember anything she did read about it. Her mind slowly began to wander back to the off feeling she had about the whole situation, and looked up at Alex with furrowed eyebrows.

“Were the kryptonite and bomb connected?” she asked, wondering if it had been a joint effort of some sort. Neither Luthors nor Supers were well loved public figures back then.

“We never found anything to link them,” Alex lamented, knowing where Liza’s thoughts were going. “It was just a crazy coincidence,” she continued with a sympathetic look, unable to imagine how hard it would be for the teenager to accept that her family had fallen apart due to coincidence. “But it wasn’t the first time your mother had encountered kryptonite nor the first time your mom had a bomb threat. It all built up for so long, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped,” she explained, hoping to soften the blow.

The coincidence wasn’t the only reason they separated, Liza reminded herself regretfully. Fear was such a broad feeling that could fuel so many reasons to leave. She wondered what fear fueled in her mom to leave, though she didn’t need J’onn to tell her only her mom would have the answer to that question.

“It’s hard to be mad at them for all that,” Liza finally admitted with a sigh, deciding to give her mind a break from the endless circles it was running. She paused and then looked up at her aunt with a guilty smile. “I’m still going to give them hell for leaving their soulmate and separating Lily and I though,” she declared, and Alex immediately let out a sharp bark of laughter.

“Good, it’ll probably finally knock some sense into those two,” her aunt supported with a wide smile. “When does that plan take off, by the way?” Alex then asked after a second, turning to her niece curiously. “Sam didn’t sound too impressed when I talked to her on the phone, so it’s only a matter of time before she tells your mom what’s going down, and then you’re on a short timeline to get those two in a room together before one of them bolts.”

Liza let out a little laugh at this, thinking back to Lily’s text. “Mom’s known the whole time, apparently,” she informs her aunt with a small grimace, and Alex chuckled and rolled her eyes.

“Of course she has,” she muttered with a soft fondness.

“Yeah, so Lily wants me to get Yeyu to the Condry hotel tomorrow afternoon without her finding out Mom’s going to be there, so if you have any suggestions on how to go about that…” she trailed off, looking at her aunt hopefully, and Alex sighed with a rueful smile and shook her head.

“You know when your mother finds out I was in on this, she’s not going to let me hang out with you or Lily for a year,” she pointed out, and Liza let out a little laugh before she continued. “The best way to get away with lying to your mother, though, is to not lie,” she instructed dutifully with a pointed look.

Liza furrowed her eyebrows at this and opened her mouth to question her aunt’s statement. Before she could ask anything, however, Alex held up her hand to stop her and signal she would explain.

“You’re going to tell her the truth, but not the whole truth. Say a friend from camp is coming to National City and staying at the Condry, and then prompt it as a family mini-cation because you haven’t seen her all summer,” she clarified. “If you do that, and add a small dose of guilting her into some time of just the two of you without her boyfriend lurking at every corner, she’s sure to crack.”

Liza considered the plan before slowly nodding. “I think I can make that work,” she confirmed, and Alex shot her a thumbs up and a proud smile.

“Alright, well now that that’s figured out, we have to have a serious discussion,” her aunt declared, and Liza paled a bit. Alex paused to hold onto the suspense for a second before letting an impish grin slip through her lips. “How’s your mother going to react when she sees your mom for the first time in fifteen years?” she questioned with amusement, and Liza’s face immediately lightened into a giggle. “I’m willing to put twenty bucks on accidentally ripping an entire door off its frame.”

“I have a proposition for you.”

Kara raised her eyebrows at her daughter and smirked a little. They were holed up in Kara’s office at CatCo, curled up and eating Chinese food as they sat across from each other on the couch. Her mother had to stay a little later this evening since she had left early the day before, and Liza had offered to pick up take out and eat dinner in her mother’s office with her. It was a familiar gesture, as she often did it for her mom back home, and one she was more than happy to act on given how she was chomping at the bit for an excuse to visit CatCo that wouldn’t immediately give her away.

At that moment, there was a knock at the door, and both of their attention was pulled to the incoming visitor.

“Miss Danvers, I was wondering if you could help me with this one part of the article,” a girl came bustling in distracted, staring down at a paper. “I’m having trouble with the- oh!”

She cut off in the middle of her sentence when she glanced up and noticed Liza sitting on one end of the couch, chopsticks full of lo mein halfway to her lips as she stared at the girl who just entered the room with a sort of wide panic. They stared at each other for a split second before Liza averted her eyes quickly downward to notice that the food she had almost to her mouth now rested on her chest.

Cheeks burning, Liza ignored the soft giggle from the girl who just entered the room and her mother’s obvious amused stare as she quickly tried to clean herself up and not draw attention to the situation further. She cursed her mother for not informing her that 1) one of her interns was drop-dead gorgeous, 2) that intern was still in the building, and 3) that intern was prone to barging into her mother’s office and causing full on gay panic.

Mercifully, her mother took pity on her and addressed the intern so as to take the attention away from her daughter.

“Of course, I’m always willing to help, Nia,” she greeted with a cheesy smile. “What do you got?” she inquired, motioning for the girl to place her papers in her hands.

Instead of passing over the article, however, Nia hesitated. “Are you sure?” she asked, sneaking another glance at Liza who was pointedly staring very intensely at her food and blushing lightly. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. I can always ask again tomorrow.”

Kara waved off her concerns and assured her, “Nonsense, we’re both here now, and I’ve been meaning to get around and ask you how things were going, anyway.” She sat up a bit and gently tugged the papers from her intern’s hands. “I’ll give this a quick read over and try to point you in the right direction, and then I can send you something more detailed tomorrow, if that’s alright?” she offered, and Nia nodded eagerly.

Glancing down at the page to start reading, Kara suddenly stopped herself and looked back up at Nia. “This will be a minute, so make yourself comfortable,” she instructed, scooting further to her side of the couch and gesturing to the space between her and Liza. “And this is my daughter Lily, by the way,” she introduced with an impish grin. “Lily, this is Nia Nal, one of our most esteemed high school interns.”

Both girls were blushing at the introduction, and Liza was shooting her mother a deadly glare by the end of it. She knew her mother could read that article in a second if she wanted to, but instead she was making a whole show of introducing her to this girl just to undoubtedly read at the pace of a snail.

Before she could call her mother out, however, Nia was sitting a bit awkwardly between the two women and turning to smile at bit at Liza.

“You were at camp all summer, right?” she asked, after a moment of silence of neither knowing what to say.

Liza managed to nod, hoping she wasn’t blushing too much just looking at Nia. But now she was so close she could see the specks in her brown eyes and smell her lavender perfume and Liza was pretty sure she was blushing too much.

“Uh yeah,” she managed to respond, her voice coming out with a bit of a waver. “It was an all girls camp up in Maine,” she found herself saying.

Nia raised her eyebrows a bit at this and shot her a teasing smile. “All girls?” she asked, a small lilt in her voice. “Sounds like a fun camp,” she continued, her eyes questioning Liza’s. “I’m sure you enjoyed yourself?”

Liza was definitely blushing more than a healthy limit as she took in Nia’s shy smirk and tried to clear her dry throat to get her nerves in check enough to at least form a response.

“It was definitely a fun experience,” she finally choked out, nervously glancing over at her mother to try to survey how long it would be until she was done reading. To her dismay, however, her mother was only halfway at most and holding back the nosiest grin as she clearly had some sort of amusement with the conversation happening beside her.

Biting back a groan, she turned back to Nia, nervous smile still in place as she tried to continue the conversation. “How was your summer here?” she asked, a little strained.

“It was also a fun experience,” Nia provided back eagerly. “Though the boss here can be really tough sometimes,” she teased a bit, and Liza found a small giggle bubble out of her lips.

“Tell me about it,” she found herself agreeing, and Kara let out a bit of an indignant scoff that caused both girls to laugh even harder.

Rolling her eyes, Kara now held the slightly marked up article up, as she finally decided to let her daughter off the hook. “Alright, alright, you two better hope you never see me actually being tough,” she threatened, but the expression in her eyes gave away her joking demeanor. Softly handing the papers back to Nia, she turned to her sincerely and instructed, “See what you can do with those notes, and then we can go more in depth from there. I think you just on the edge of writing what you want to write. Be more honest to yourself as you go through the process and the article will turn out more honest too.”

Nia soaked in the advice eagerly and stood from the couch as she took it. “Thank you, Miss Danvers!” she expressed reverently, and turned to make her way towards the door.

Before she could reach the door, however, she turned back and looked directly at Liza, catching her a bit off guard in the midst of staring after Nia. Her cheeks immediately flushed, and Nia shot her a soft smile.

“I’ll see you around, Lily,” she stated with a small glint in her eye, and before Liza could choke out a response, Nia pushed open the door and slipped out.

In her wake, the room stayed very quiet, and Liza pointedly turned back to her food and refused to meet her mother’s eyes. This only lasted for a few seconds, however, until Kara finally decided to break the silence.

“You can’t date my interns,” she pointed out, cheeky grin still present on her face as she watched her daughter carefully.

Liza huffed and tried to keep her cheeks from burning red yet again, but failing miserably. “I don’t want to date your interns,” she defended a bit panicked and Kara immediately let out a bark of laughter.

“But you want to date one of my interns,” she continued to prod, a knowing look in her eyes. “Let me guess: She’s pretty, smart, was just in here a couple seconds ago?”

“Yeyu!” Liza cried out, throwing her back into the couch, slouching and pouting at her mother. She crossed her arms and grumbled, “You’re making me regret coming out to you.”

Letting out an even louder laugh, Kara leaned over dramatically to wrap her daughter in her arms. “Is’kah, I have years of you being a nervous mess around girls to catch up on,” she chided. “And just, years of you having crushes on girls in general.”

Scoffing, Liza shook her head and mumbled, “You’re one to talk.”

She froze a bit when she realized the words left her lips, and her mother stilled in her position. Holding her breath, Liza tried her best not to grimace. She had been flustered. The words had just slipped out.

“What did you say?” Yeyu finally questioned, and Liza refused to meet her eyes as she once again picked up her food and swallowed thickly.

Her mother wouldn’t let her off that easy, however, and after a few moments of feeling her intense stare, Liza broke.

“Come on, Yeyu. You’ve never had a crush on a girl before?” she jested lightly with a short uncomfortable laugh.

A glance at her mother showed she was a bit caught off guard by her daughter’s guess, and after a moment, she broke out into a tight grin and shook her head.

“You caught me,” she admitted softly, ducking her head a bit embarrassed. “I didn’t want to make your big moment about me last night, but… Yeah,” she confirmed. “I have had a crush on a girl before.”

Liza bit her lip and considered her options. How far was too far to push if her mother was already willingly sharing information?

“Yeyu, if I ask you something, would you tell me the truth?” she finally asked, and her mother quirked her eyebrows at her.

“What’s the question?” she finally asked after a moment of contemplation.

“Were you married to a woman?” Liza rushed out, and her mother’s eyes filled with tears.

The room was silent for a few seconds before Kara finally opened her mouth and took a shaky breath. “I was,” she admitted, and Liza widened her eyes, not expecting her mother to answer honestly.

Kara now looked at her daughter with a bit of hesitant expectation. She had just come clean about something huge, and she expected her daughter to question her on it. And yet, while Liza wanted to know more than anything, the look in her mother’s eyes caused her to hesitate.

“Do you want to tell me about it?” she questioned, and her mother just smiled ruefully at her.

*****

The day was better than anything Kara could have hoped for. It ended up raining for the better portion of it, despite National City’s record of notoriously dry Junes. Kara knew Lena wasn’t exactly superstitious, but they both had smiled and started crying when they heard the rain began to fall. They were in a small hall, surrounded by their friends and family, the atmosphere warm and cozy as the sky blessed the first hours of their marriage with good fortune.

Kara’s eyes searched the hall quickly, holding two drinks in her hands, and began to make her way over to her wife once she had located her.

It was a crazy concept, she thought, the idea that for every moment for the rest of her life, Lena would be her wife. She didn’t think her mind had caught up to the reality of it yet. Maybe it never would.

“There you are!” Lena called out as she approached, her eyes lighting up as she turned her attention away from Alex and Clark. The three of them had been talking enthusiastically above the roar of the people surrounding them. On the small stage close to where they stood, the DJ was setting up his equipment, and distantly in the background, the caterers were cleaning up the food from the buffet to clear out the dance floor.

Kara smiled widely at her wife, greeting her with a small peck to her lips, before briefly turning her attention to Clark.

“Here you go,” she offered slyly, and Clark grinned as he took one of the drinks from Kara’s hand. Since only a few people in the hall knew of Kara and Clark’s true heritage, they had taken to smuggling in their own alcohol to enjoy in the festivities as much as anyone else.

And the plan worked rather well, Kara thought proudly, enjoying the slight haze in her vision and the warm buzz throughout her body that the alien whiskey was providing her. Lena was well on her way to being beyond the recommended limit of intoxication, and Kara just beamed as her wife drunkenly wrapped her arms around Kara’s waist and rested her head on Kara’s shoulder.

Planting a firm kiss on Lena’s forehead, she murmured, “You doing okay, my love?”

Lena immediately made a slightly affronted noise before she looked up at Kara with wide eyes and an even wider smile. “Is it possible for everything to be perfect all at once?” she asked, and Kara just wrapped her in a tight hug as a response.

Lena cried through the first dance. Kara was close to joining her, but kept her composure enough to whisper quietly in Lena’s ear the whole time about how much she loved her, which made Lena cry even more.

Kara did end up breaking down and crying during her mother-daughter dance with Eliza. Her adoptive mother had merely smiled proudly at her as they began dancing, and Kara was already a mess. She wished her parents had been there to see her and see how happy Lena made her. She wished they would have been able to know when they sent her away from Krypton that she would eventually end up here in this impossibly happy moment.

It would have made their goodbye easier, she suspected.

But Eliza--good, kind, perfect Eliza--said exactly what she needed to hear. “They would be proud of you,” she whispered without prompting, and Kara buried her head in her mother’s neck in an effort to hide some tears and compose herself. “I’m proud of you too,” she continued. “For so many months after you first arrived, I thought I would never see you happy, and it broke my heart,” she recounted softly, stroking Kara’s cheek as she clung to her. “But slowly I watched your heartbroken resolve melt a little and begin to mend. I saw a spark of happiness, true happiness, in your eyes, and I let myself hope. Now, every time you’re with Lena or your sister or any of the people you surround yourself with, I see unrelenting happiness, with no guilt or hesitation to accompany them. Allowing yourself to be happy in the wake of tragedy is one of the bravest things anyone can do, and you do it every day. As a mother--as your mother--I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

The dance ended with both women clinging to each other and crying, and eventually pulling away and embarrassingly wiping their tears away. When Kara glanced over at Lena finishing her mother-daughter dance with Lillian as well, she noticed her wife was still crying as well, and even Lillian was a little teary-eyed.

The heavy moment hung over the dance floor for a moment before a voice came through the mic system to end everyone’s trance.

“Okay, everyone. Now Clark and I have a small surprise for the wedding couple,” Lex announced from the stage, as he grinned mischievously, and Kara wrapped her arm around Lena as they both laughed and shook their heads, unable to even guess what their brothers’ surprise would be.

Clark, realizing that was his cue, jumped on stage quickly with a proud grin and winked at the couple as they waited in anticipation.

“Now the one thing all of us know and have learned from these two incredible women is that family is unconventional, but that’s what makes it beautiful,” Lex continued, and Lena squeezed Kara’s arm softly as Kara leaned into her. “So we wanted to do something to celebrate this little family of ours. If the brides would be so kind so as to join us in a brother-sister dance,” he inquired, but his question trailed off as he was already setting the mic down, and him and Clark were hopping off the stage to join Kara and Lena on the dance floor. The crowd around them were cheering softly at the gesture, and Kara and Lena laughed affectionately as Lex and Clark tried to divvy out who should dance with which sister.

As the song started, it was decided that Lex would dance with Kara and Clark with Lena, and as Kara recognized the first few notes of the song playing, she let out a loud laugh and shook her head at Lex.

“Lex!” she heard Lena yell jokingly from across the dancefloor, and Kara let out a little giggle as her and Lex shared a look. “I thought I made it very clear I didn’t want Backstreet Boys playing at my wedding!”

Kara glanced over at Lena, and noticed that while she was trying to paint an annoyed look on her face, the small quirk of a smile in the corners of her mouth betrayed her amusement.

“It’s tradition, Lena!” he called back easily, and that sufficiently ended her argument.

Because it was tradition, Kara realized with a smile to herself. When the four of them were together, somehow Backstreet Boys always came on, and they all (usually drunk) sang their hearts out. All the weekends Kara visited Metropolis and they went out to the bars, and all the Luthor Corp functions they had attended over the years and disrupted with their loud singing and obnoxious dancing.

They had slowly become a group since Kara and Lena met and started dating four years ago. And as a group they had created a tradition.

And while Kara’s life was comprised of so many cultures and traditions at this point, she wanted them all to make a presence on this day. That meant trading bracelets with Kryptonian vows inscribed on the inside before the ceremony. It meant breaking glass with her wife after the ceremony. And it certainly meant slow dancing to I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys with her brother-in-law at the reception.

"We've made a really happy family here, haven't we?" Lex asked after a moment, pulling Kara from her thoughts, and she smiled widely up at him as they swayed goofily and overdramatically on the floor.

"Yeah, Lex, I think we have,” she answered easily.

With a mischievous grin, he gave Kara a sly look and asked, "A family that might be getting bigger soon?"

"Lex,” Kara began warningly, rolling her eyes affectionately. “We've talked about adoption, but it'll take years and-"

"Not adoption,” he stopped her.

"We're not doing sperm donation; we've already-"

"What if I told you Lena and I were working on a special little project that could let you have a mini Kara-Lena running around?" he cut her off quickly, the excitement shining in his eyes, and Kara looked up at him surprised.

"I- Lena hasn't mentioned it,” she stuttered, wondering why this was the first she was hearing of the option.

"She doesn't want to get your hopes up,” he brushed off Kara’s concerns quickly. “But would you be interested?"

"Of course,” she replied with little thought, and then backtracked to correct herself. “If that's what Lena wants."

"It is,” he answered confidently with a smug smile. “And I give you my word that we'll figure it out. Imagine how cute your kid would be; I'd be doing the world a disservice if I didn't."

Kara let out a little giggle and hugged Lex tightly, whispering "I love you, Lex."

"Love you too, Kare-bear,” he responded easily.

The song ended then with a cheer from the crowd. Kara and Lena thanked Lex and Clark for the dance, and before they even got a moment of rest, Alex had the DJ immediately start playing party music, dragging her sister and sister-in-law out to dance with her.

They danced all night, becoming more and more intoxicated with each passing song. Towards the end of the night, Lena decided to join Kara on an alcohol run to her secret stash, and the two of them took the moment by themselves to sneak a heated kiss.

“I want to have your babies,” Kara drunkenly rushed out, when she took a second to breathe, and her cheeks immediately flushed as Lena pulled back and looked at her curiously.

With a little laugh, Lena brushed Kara’s hair out of her face and shook her head. “If that were possible, you’d probably be pregnant by now, darling,” she teased, but Kara’s expression remained serious.

“Lex told me there was a way-” she began, but Lena immediately became visibly annoyed by the statement and stopped her from continuing.

“Lex needs to learn when to stay out of our business,” Lena shot back tiredly, the air around them being enveloped in an awkward silence. They were both quiet for a moment before Lena sighed and gently pulled Kara into a hug. “It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you, or that I’m mad that he did, but- it’s still highly experimental. And I need Lex’s help with it, and I don’t know how to involve him without him finding out-”

“That I’m an alien,” Kara concluded softly, with a grim expression, finally putting together what had her wife so worked up. Lena sighed in confirmation, and Kara wondered whether right now while they were drunk at their wedding was the right time to ask the obvious question hanging in the air.

Eventually, she decided she had to.

“We could always just tell him,” she offered, trying not to let too much hope slip into her voice, and to her wife’s credit, she could tell Lena tried really hard to not visibly react to the suggestion.

“Kara…” she started tiredly, not wanting to go through this whole conversation again, and Kara immediately backtracked and held up her hands in surrender.

“Sorry. I’m sorry,” she apologized immediately, wrapping Lena in a hug. “This isn’t the time, I know.”

Lena let out a choked sob into Kara’s chest before pulling back. The tears were welling in her eyes but none had fallen yet, and her hands softly cupped Kara’s face desperately.

“You know I hate that you have to hide your identity,” she whispered. “It’s just- it’s Lex, you know? He doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut, and he’s always looking for a way to profit from everything. If you told him, you wouldn’t have any control in anything that happened after that.”

“I know,” Kara whispered quietly, rubbing Lena’s back so as to soothe her.

“I’m not trying to force you to hide; it’s just your safety and-”

“Lena, love,” Kara quieted her softly. “I know. I’m sorry. I know the reasons, and I just wish there was another way, but you’re right, and I trust you. If you say Lex shouldn’t know, then I believe you,” she comforted, and Lena let out a ragged sigh, still clearly tense.

She looked up at Kara with wide eyes, and Kara could see the thick drunken haze over her expression.

“I love you a lot,” she stated. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

With a small smile, Kara shook her head. “You haven’t. And you won’t. I love you too, Lena,” she whispered softly, and Lena intertwined her fingers with Kara’s.

“No matter what?” she asked, a catch in her voice, and Kara hummed as she pulled her in for a hug.

“No matter what,” she promised, and she felt the remaining tension in Lena’s body melt away.

*****

The silence seemed to stretch forever before her mother finally swallowed thickly and softly patted her daughter’s hands.

“I’ll tell you about it someday,” she finally relented. “Someday soon,” she clarified a beat later, and after another moment of consideration, she added, “I think you would have really liked her, Lil.”

Liza shot her mother a strained smile and swallowed the lump in her throat. It was understandable that she wasn’t ready to talk about her mom yet; she had only just come out. But the sadness that had passed through her eyes, as if her mom’s absence was still eating away at Yeyu, it stirred something in Liza. Her mom had left a wound so deep and still fresh after fifteen years, and she couldn’t imagine why. They had been happier together, was what Alex had said. And they belonged together.

There had to be something, right? Some reason that this all had happened? Some reason other than Lex?

“So,” Kara cut into her thoughts, trying to lighten her voice a bit. “What was this about a proposition?” she inquired, and it took Liza a second to rewind her thoughts to what she had been referring to.

When she remembered, however, her stomach churned a bit and she bit the inside of her cheek to level her nerves. So long as she asked confidently enough, her mother wouldn’t suspect anything, she told herself.

“My friend from camp is visiting National City tomorrow,” she explained. “They’re staying at the Condry for a small family reunion thing, and she won’t be able to leave all weekend. She wants me to come visit them, but I can’t fly there without it being suspicious with how I’m coming and going, and I can’t book a room because I’m not eighteen yet and basically I think we should go on a mini-cation for the weekend.” She rushed out the plan at the end, just wanting it to be over with and feeling like she was blowing her chances with every weak excuse she came up with. She was sure her mother was going to point out every hole in her story, but to her surprise, Kara just stared at her with her eyebrows raised in amusement.

“Are you sure we won’t be crashing the reunion?” she asked with a mild concern.

Liza shook her head immediately and let out a little cough. “Not at all,” she assured.

“Okay,” Kara nodded with a slight smile, content with her daughter’s answer. “I’ll book a room tonight,” she promised, leaning back in her chair and digging back into her food.

“That’s it?” Liza questioned, the words slipping out of her mouth before she could stop them, and Kara looked up at her amused. Her mom would have questioned the daylights out of her for such a flaky reasoning.

Kara shrugged and shot Liza a wide grin. “I could use some time off work anyways, and I feel like everything’s been so hectic since you got home from camp. I think we both could use a mini-cation,” she conceded. “Plus, it seemed like you really wanted to go see this friend. Which one was it again?”

Liza cleared her throat before slowing saying, “Lilith.”

“Right, Lilith. I can’t wait to meet her,” she stated with a wink, and Liza rolled her eyes and turned back to her own food.

If only her mother knew.

Lily woke to a crash coming from across the house and sat up in a flash.

She had taken Liza’s necklace off the night previous, not seeing any need to still have it on, and as a result, she could hear her mom cursing under her breath in her room.

“Fuck, stupid fucking- why did I fucking keep this- piece of fucking shit-”

Lily bit her cheek at her mom’s overdone and obviously stressed morning musing as she slowly decided to get out of bed so she could go check on her.

A few moments later she was knocking on her mom’s door cautiously and peeking her head in. “Hey Mom, are you okay?” she asked. “I heard a crash, and- oh.”

Lily now stood, shocked as she stared into her mom’s usually pristine clean room as it became a haphazard wasteland of half packed bags and rejected clothing choices strewn throughout the room. She glanced at her mom, who looked a bit guiltily at the mess, but also looked as if the room were a mere reflection of the state of her mind at the moment.

“Don’t worry about me, darling,” her mom quipped with a much too strained smile. “I just had some trouble getting an old suitcase down earlier.”

Lily raised her eyebrows with a smirk and glanced at the other four suitcases around the room. “Was there something wrong with these ones?” she asked amused, and her mom’s cheeks immediately flushed.

“I just like to see all my options,” she defended, grateful when she heard her phone ring and answered it quickly. “Hey Sam!” she greeted. “No I’m taking the weekend off to fly Lily back to National City and see if Kara and I can work out a new arrangement with the girls.”

“I’ll be over in a half hour,” she heard Sam promise on the other end of the line, and Lena visibly sagged in relief that she wouldn’t have to ask her friend to come over for support.

“Thank you, Sam,” she whispered sincerely before she hung up and stared dismayed at the mess around her.

“Let me help you, Mom,” Lily offered a moment later, an understanding expression on her face, and she could tell her mom wanted to fight her on it and tell her she was fine, but after a moment’s consideration, she conceded and allowed her daughter to step into the room and start organizing clothes on the bed.

When she got to the clothes dropped near the closet, she began picking them up when she noticed there was a box under them all that had fallen open and had its contents deposited on the floor. Lily began picking them up, realizing it was a box of old trinkets and pictures, and froze when she flipped one of the pictures over and immediately recognized everyone in it.

It must’ve been taken her first Halloween, she realized, her eyes flitting over her and Liza in their costumes. Liza was crying in her little R2-D2 outfit while Lily sucked her thumb contently in a C-3PO costume. They were only a few months old at this point, and their moms held them excitedly in their Han and Leia costumes.

“Your aunt dressed up as Luke Skywalker,” she heard her mom state softly from behind her, a tinge of sadness to her voice. Lily whipped around and stared at her mom a bit open mouthed, feeling like she had been caught snooping, but to her surprise, her mom just shot her a smile and knelt down to sit beside her on the floor.

Gently, Lena pulled the picture from Lily hands and studied it closer, letting out a little laugh when she saw Liza’s expression.

“Your sister hated wearing hats, but it just completed her little costume so well, and your mother insisted we get a family picture in our full costumes,” she recalled, grinning ruefully. “This is also the only Halloween I ever got her to dress up as someone other than Supergirl,” she admitted, and Lily let out a little scoff at that, completely unsurprised by that fact.

Lena then reached down and picked up the next picture. She let out a shaky breath as she was faced with Kara, crouching on the ground in her super suit, grinning as she wrapped the twins up in her cape in front of her. They were around ten months old now, and Liza looked excited while Lily grinned up at her mom with an ornery look in her eyes, and all three subjects of the photo seemed to be covered in dirt.

“You two loved to play with Yeyu. I’m not entirely sure why I let her ever convince me to allow you two to take off your necklaces to play tag in the backyard, but you all always looked like this at the end, and my yard always looked like a herd of horses had ran through there,” she lamented, but the smile remained on her face.

She stared at the photo a little longer as Lily picked up a stack and began shuffling through it. There was her and Liza in the bathtub; her, Liza and Alex all asleep and cuddling on the couch; Lillian and Eliza holding the twin on the beach in Midvale at what looked to be Christmas time.

“You can have all those pictures, if you want,” her mom finally offered, pulling her from her thoughts, and Lily turned to look at her with a bit of surprise. Waving away her concern, Lena sighed and threw the pictures in her hands back into the box beside them. “I just keep them in a box on the top shelf of my closet,” she explained. “But they’d be getting better use from you and your sister.”

Lily nearly lunged out of her position to hug her mom, who let out a chuckle and reciprocated easily.

“I haven’t received a super strength hug in over fifteen years,” Lena grunted at the end with a pointed look, and Lily merely laughed and began scooping up the rest of the pictures to put in the box. They both sat in content silence as Lily gathered the last of the pictures and looked up satisfied.

“I didn’t know you knew how to play guitar,” Lily commented suddenly, seeing the instrument hidden behind her mom’s racks of clothing as she had looked up at how much clothes still needed to be picked up.

Lena glanced up at the guitar a bit shocked, as if she had forgotten it was there. “Oh,” she whispered, staring at it with a faraway look. “I don’t really.”

Lily furrowed her eyebrows at her mom, wondering what she meant. But before she could question her, Lena let out a loud shaky breath and laughed a bit humorlessly.

“Your mother played. Maybe she still does, I guess,” she began, sighing and fiddling with the pictures in her hands. “But she would play and sing you this song every night-”

“ ‘When You Need Me’,” Lily supplied right away, knowing exactly what her mom was referencing. “Bruce Springsteen,” she finished, a small smile appearing at the corners of her mouth. Her mother had sung her to sleep with that song every night until she was in middle school and insisted she was too old for nighttime lullabies.

“Yeah,” Lena confirmed, her mouth tight. “When Liza and I moved here, she would never be able to fall asleep until she heard your mother play and sing that song. I had an old recording of her singing it that I would have to play every night, and it just- it ate away at me, having to hear her voice like that, so.” Her mom trailed off a bit and flicked back over to the guitar with a sad look. “I bought a guitar. I learned that song and that song only. And I threw away that recording so I could finally try to move on,” she concluded, trying to sound light, but her voice seemed heavy at the memory of it.

Lily was silent for a moment, studying her mom.

“Mom, can I ask how things ended between you and Yeyu?” she finally asked after a beat, trying to put the pieces of the situation together.

Lena glanced up at her daughter confused. “I already told you,” she explained softly. “It was for your safety-”

“No I know that,” Lily cut her off gently, swallowing thickly because she knew the next question was not going to be easy to ask. “I mean, I know why it ended, but how did things end? Did- did you both see it coming? Were you already heading towards separation anyways, or was it…”

Lily cut herself off, realizing she was probably asking something too personal, and Lena averted her eye contact so as to hide the tears forming in her eyes. They both sat in an awkward silence for a few moments, and Lily wanted to take her question back and just go back to reminiscing with her mom, but suddenly Lena looked up at her with a bit of determination, as if she really wanted to be open with her daughter about what had happened.

“I think your mother definitely never thought that I would…” She trailed off and scoffed before shaking her head and saying confidently, “We fought a lot, but your mother is stubbornly hopeful. She never saw it coming.” Letting out a long breath, Lena swallowed thickly and closed her eyes at the admission, but not before Lily saw the regret swimming in them.

*****

Lena found the letter in the scattered mess on Kara’s desk.

Her blood froze as soon as she saw its sender, and as if everything was moving in slow motion, she plucked it out of the piles of papers and shakily opened it.

For all intents and purposes, Lena had refused to speak to her brother since she saw him just before the trial had started, much to Kara’s dismay. Her wife still thought they should write to him, as if he were worth the time or even deserved it. As if he didn’t pose an active threat.

But that was Kara, she thought bitterly. She somehow always saw the good in people where there sometimes just was none. And generally, Lena looked up to her for it, loved her for it. It was the thing that made Kara so quintessentially Kara.

But Lex’s massacre had been a rude awakening for Lena. She couldn’t just take Kara’s route and only see good and ignore all the bad. People were killed because of Lex, because Lena didn’t see what Lex was planning and stop him. She had always wanted to believe, like Kara, that there was good in him, and the good times would always stay good times.

But Lex didn’t have good in him. And that meant cutting off from him when he went to jail, whether Kara liked it or not.

Seeing a letter from him on Kara’s desk, however, sent Lena into a spiral of emotions. For one, it clearly had been sitting there for awhile and was well read, but Kara had never mentioned it to her. On top of that, it’s mere presence in their house meant Kara had gone behind her back yet again to do something Lena had asked her not to.

Hands shaking, she opened the letter and began to skim it’s contents. When she realized it was mostly Lex inquiring about the girls, she crumpled it on the spot, her vision blurring as her blood boiled and breath shortened.

The nerve of her brother asking about the twins, pretending he had any right or semblance of actual concern for them after what he had done. And the ignorance of Kara for clearly falling for his plight after she had tried to warn her so many times.

Lena had felt alone a lot of moments in her life, but in this one moment, standing in the silent study of her small home, she felt the most alone she had ever felt. She felt like she had been fighting and struggling to keep everyone afloat for so long, and everyone was just actively working against her. She had no one to turn to, no one in her corner, no one to help her.

She didn’t realize she had started crying until she saw a tear drop onto the crumpled letter. Standing stiffly in the room, she tried to focus on her breathing and managing at least some of her anger before she would have to walk out of the room and face her wife.

“I didn’t know you would be home early,” a voice called out from behind her, and Lena whirled around to face the woman in question. Kara was doing her best to seem pleasant, but they both knew they had been avoiding each other for weeks, neither having the energy for the constant arguments that continued to break out when they were around each other.

Lena didn’t respond, not trust her voice yet as she tried to thickly swallow down her tears. Kara noticed her crying immediately and frowned, her expression almost softening into concern, but then her eyes flicked down to the now crushed letter in her hands, and her expression darkened instantly.

“Why did you hide this from me?” Lena finally demanded after a long pause in the tense air. Kara flinched at the accusatory question, but gritted her teeth and didn’t waver.

“I didn’t hide it from you. I just knew you would respond like this, and didn’t-”

“Didn’t want to deal with me?” Lena accused, and Kara’s expression flared with anger as she threw her hands up.

“It’s a letter, Lena. From your brother. Our brother,” Kara cried, tears seeping into the corners of her eyes. She paused for a moment before she broke again and let her questions flood out. “What is it, Lena? Why do you act like this all the time now? Is it something to do with Lex?” she demanded, and Lena’s skin flared up as she took an angry step towards her wife.

“My brother killed thirty-two people a year ago. I think I’m allowed a bit of a change in personality,” she finally shot back. “Why do you keep letters from a murderer?” she accused, wanting to change the focus and shoving the letter into Kara’s chest as she looked at her with an unreadable expression.

“I don’t know how to help you when you’re just angry at me all the time,” she finally said after a beat. “I know you’re dealing with something, and maybe it’s Lex’s attack or maybe it’s our close call, but it’s making you angry and bitter and scared all the time, and it’s scaring me, Lena.”

Lena swallowed a thick lump into throat and willed herself not to break down in sobs then and there. Kara’s last words pushed her further into her lonely place. Her wife thought that she was losing her mind, and maybe she was, but Kara thought it was in a way that would make her end up like Lex.

“What’s scary is that I can’t trust my wife anymore,” she finally spat out, her whole body shaking as she watched Kara recoil from the words.

Silently Kara stared at her with a grim expression, before pulling the letter off her chest, igniting it with her heat vision, and dumping it in the trash can before turning to walk out of the room silently. Lena watched in her wake and clenching her jaw shut, and trying to prevent herself from throwing up.

She had to move the plans up, she decided. It caused a large surge in scrambling from everyone at Luthor Corp, but she had to make the relocation happen that week instead of that month. She thought she would still have time to slowly integrate everything to London, but the letter had put everything back into perspective. She had to leave now; she couldn’t be around Kara anymore.

It was what was best for her daughters; she knew that. But it didn’t make anything easier. They would have to grow up apart from one another, and she would never stop feeling guilty for it.

But National City got more and more dangerous the longer she stayed. And their home environment got more and more toxic the longer she tried to stay. More than anything she wanted to stay and work things out, but to put her children at risk to do so?

No. She had to leave.

Three days after she found the letter, the news broke that Luthor Corp would be rebranding itself as L Corp and relocating its international headquarters to London later that week. Lena watched the news break, holed up in her top floor office that she had barely set foot in since being promoted to CEO (though “promoted” felt like a joke of a term). She stared at the TV watching coverage after coverage of the news, and sitting stoically, having the information finally sink in for the first time that she was leaving Kara.

She felt like she was holding her breath, watching it all. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. She knew what was about to happen. It was only a matter of time, and at this point, she could do nothing but wait.

A matter of time turned out to be twenty minutes into the news coverage when Supergirl slammed open her balcony door and stared angrily at her. Just under all the anger, Kara wore an acute pain on her sleeve. Lena flinched when she met her eyes.

“You didn’t even tell me,” she accused, hot tears running down her face, and Lena choked back a sob as she stood and tried to calm her wife down before she attracted the attention of her secretary and security just outside the door.

She had meant to tell her. She was going to tell her the previous night, but Kara never came home and Lena had to be swept to Luthor Corp first thing this morning before the news broke.

But Kara didn’t care about any of that. This was a plan that had been in motion for two months now. She could have told Kara she was leaving at any point, but she didn’t. She never wanted to make it real.

“I’m sorry,” she finally apologized lamely.

Kara huffed at this, the tears growing in her eyes. “You’re still leaving though, aren’t you?” she accused, clearly not taking her apology as sincere at all.

“I am,” Lena finally confessed, almost knocking the breath out of her just to say it outloud.

“You can’t leave,” Kara demanded, her voice getting angrier, and Lena shook her head.

“Do I get an opinion on this?”

“Not if it’s you leaving!” Kara shouted, desperation seeping into her voice.

“Kara!” Lena cried out, unable to keep her voice from raising as she became swept up with her emotions. “Do you want our children to grow up in constant danger? Or worse, orphans?”

“Of course not!” she answered easily.

“Then it’s settled-“

“What about us, Lena?” her wife interrupted through her tears, her voice quieting to a sob, and feeling like a blow to Lena. She hadn’t heard Kara say “us” that affectionately since before their incident. “Don’t we get a chance too? You’re just going to throw away this relationship-“

Lena gritted her teeth, her anger surging through her once again as she cut Kara off and accused, “You threw away this relationship the moment you went behind my back and came out as Supergirl."

Kara stared at her a little stunned, and Lena swallowed thickly, feeling a little guilty for bringing that up now. They had a small fight over it when it happened, sure, but Lena never told Kara exactly how much that had hurt her, hurt them.

"I did what I had to do,” Kara finally responded, her words coming out weighted down by the realization of how long things had been wrong in their relationship.

Lena passed her a short understanding nod. "Now so am I,” she explained with a tight voice.

"Is this an ultimatum?” Kara finally asked after debating it for a moment. “Give up Supergirl or you leave?"

Lena sighed and shook her head. "This isn't an ultimatum, Kara. This is me leaving and you not being able to do anything about it."

"Just like that?" she asked, her voice cracking as she looked at Lena helplessly.

"Look around us, Kara!” Lena cried out, feeling the same helplessness her wife did. “This is not a relationship I want to have anymore, and it hasn't been for awhile now.”

It had been months of fighting for Kara, trying to keep her alive. Then it was months fighting against Kara, trying to keep her intact. And now Lena was done fighting. She had tried. She had tried for so long it almost killed her. It was time to think about the girls now.

Gritting her teeth and trying to hold in her tears, Kara asked, “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying I’m taking Liza to London, and I don’t want you to follow me,” Lena tried to state confidently, but the words just ripped holes through her chest, and made her want to scream out in pain. She tried to blame Lex for creating this rift between them for so long, but she was the one who made the final blow.

“And if the danger follows you there?”

Lena shook her head softly and answered, “Then we come up with a new plan.”

Kara nodded at this, and then hesitated before asking her next question. “And if it doesn’t?”

Lena gritted her teeth and stared at her wife. The thing she had always loved the most about Kara was that she was her best friend. She could go to her for anything, any problem, and Kara would meet her was a kind understanding and a plan to solve the problem.

But here in this moment, Lena didn’t see any of that. Instead she saw a sad woman who was broken just like her, begging her to see if their pieces could match up and make a whole again.

It was too late. Lena knew that. It had been too late for months: too late to come clean, too late to figure this out with her wife. She had tried to fix everything by herself to protect her family and was left alone, with her best friend broken beyond repair and no one for Lena to turn to. She owed it to everyone to make this right, do what she should have done months ago.

There was only one way to clean up this mess. And Lena had to be the one to do it.

“If the girls are safe, then we did our jobs as parents,” she answered simply, confirming Kara’s fear that Lena was moving to London to stay. The pain showed on her face, and Lena averted her eyes and turned to leave the room. “I leave in two days,” she called back, and then slipped out the door, silent tears running down her face.

*****

Lena sniffed and wiped her tears away, and looked up at her daughter trying to look semi-presentable, but Lily immediately scooted over to hug her tightly, and her mom held on to her.

They stayed like that for awhile, before Lena shuddered and pulled away, brushing Lily’s hair out of her face while she wiped away her own tears.

“You don’t have to tell me anything,” Lily finally whispered. “I really do trust you, Mom. You were young. And me and Liza, we- we’re great, you know?” she tried to comfort, and Lena let out a bubbly sob before pulling her daughter back into a hug.

“I do want to tell you,” Lena mumbled into her daughter’s hair. Lily nodded understandingly as she pulled back from the hug this time.

“Later then,” she confirmed. “I think everything’s a little emotionally charged right now, so later.”

“Are we doing slumber party heart-to-hearts?”

Both girls turned quickly to see Sam standing in Lena’s bedroom doorway, and both smiled a little at the joke. Sensing her welcome into the room, Sam entered and sat her packed bag down on the bed before joining the other girls on the floor.

Lena furrowed her eyebrows at her friend and glanced back at the bag. “Sam, you brought a bag for-”

“You don’t think I’m going to let you see Kara for the first time in fifteen years without me right there to support you, do you?” she questioned with an incredulous look, and Lena nearly cried on the spot.

“Thank you, Sam,” she murmured sincerely, and Sam shot her a wide smile and clapped her hands together.

“Alright, so we have to pick out you’re most killer outfits, do the whole ‘look how great I’m doing without you’ thing,” Sam instructed, and Lily let out a little laugh as Lena scoffed but smiled all the same.

A couple hours later, they were all standing on the tarmac in front of her mom’s private plane, and it took Lily a solid minute to wipe the excited look off her face.

“What are you so excited about?” Lena asked, genuinely confused. “You get to fly all the time.”

“Oh, yeah I guess,” Lily confirmed with a shrug. “But I don’t know, that’s fun and all, but I can already tell you’ve personally modified this plane and Rao I can’t wait to get inside,” she explained, bouncing a bit on her feet.

Laughing a bit, Lena gestured to Lily to go ahead of them. “Well then don’t let me hold you back I guess.”

They had about twenty minutes to kill before all the checks would be done that they were ready to fly. Lily used that time to her advantage to investigate all the technology presented before her (and as it was a pilotless plane, Lily soon learned, there was absolutely no shortage of technology to investigate).

“Alright I think we’re ready to go,” her mom cut in, gesturing for Lily to go over and sit down by Sam.

Sighing, she went reluctantly, and Sam smirked at her as she sat down. Her mom went to go sit down across from them, but stopped herself abruptly and turned on her heel.

“You know I used to keep a stash of scotch on this thing, I wonder if it’s still here,” she started, moving towards the other end of the plane, and Sam and Lily both shared a wide-eyed look.

“I thought Liza said she doesn’t drink,” Lily whispered.

“She doesn’t,” Sam confirmed sighing.

“Should we do something about it?” Lily asked a bit worried, and Sam studied her for a second before glancing back at Lena digging through her cabinets.

“Does your mother know we’re coming?” she questioned, not accusingly, but Lily blushed all the same.

“No,” she finally admitted.

“And is it true you’re trying to set your moms back up?” she questioned again, this time looking at Lily with a raised eyebrow.

Lily realized at that moment that Sam had talked to Alex more than she had expected. “I- um- yes,” she confessed shamefully, and Sam sighed.

“I think we should let her have the alcohol.”

Alex arrived at the house just before Kara got home from work, both taking part of the day off for their mini-cation.

Liza had been sitting outside reading one of the books her mother had suggested to her the night before and looked up to watch their interaction with amusement. Her aunt had texted her earlier in the day that she had plans to crash the mini-cation, and Liza had told her she was welcome so long as she wasn’t suspicious about it.

“What are you doing here?” her mother asked, furrowing her eyebrows as her sister ignored her and pulled a duffel bag out of her back seat. “And wait- why do you have an overnight bag?”

Alex slung the bag over her shoulder and looked at her sister leveled in the eye and stated, “I’m joining you guys. Figured I could use the time off.”

Kara sputtered at the confidence of her sister’s announcement. “I don’t remember inviting you,” she grumbled, as Alex dutifully placed her bag in Kara’s arms to put in the car, and Kara rolled her eyes.

“As if I would miss this,” Alex teased her, and Kara furrowed her eyebrows a bit as Liza froze. “You haven’t gone on a vacation in fifteen years; I’m definitely coming along.”

“I go camping with Lily every year, and we’re not even leaving National City for this weekend!” Kara protested, but Liza could tell she was just putting up a front. But the ghost of a grin at the corner of her mouth, however, betrayed her pleasure at the idea of going on a girls trip with her sister and daughter.

“One: camping doesn’t count when you’re immune to the elements,” Alex started with a pointed look to which Kara let out an indignant scoff. “And two: this counts because I say it does. How often do all the girls in our family hang out like this? Never.”

Liza let out a little giggle at this. She could tell she was having too much fun hinting at what she knew was about to happen, and as much as Liza enjoyed watching her aunt foreshadow, she knew she had to pull her away before she really gave something away.

“Alex! Can you come help me pack?” Liza called out, pulling both women’s attention, and her aunt grinned back at her, shooting her a thumbs up, to which Liza let out a bark of laughter.

Her mother stayed out to pack Alex’s bag as the other two headed into the house. As soon as they were through the red sunlight threshold, Liza turned to her aunt with a smirk.

“Okay, be honest,” she started seriously. “Are you more excited to see my moms reunited, or to see Sam again?”

Scoffing and fighting her blush, her aunt pushed her up the stairs towards Lily’s room. “Alright, how about you focus on getting your things packed,” she instructed with a sigh, causing Liza to let out a giggle and reluctantly move upstairs.

They were on the road twenty minutes later, and Liza anxiously watched her phone for any updates from Lily on their landing. It would take about an hour to get across the city to the Condry, which meant Lily, Sam and her mom would need to land soon to time this all out right.

Honestly, now that she was thinking about it, did her and Lily have a plan, or were they just throwing their moms in the same room and hoping it all worked out? She hoped Lily had something planned, because Liza would have almost no way to explain everything to Yeyu without her completely freaking out if they walked into the hotel and just ran into the other half of their family.

She nearly sighed with relief when Lily texted her about fifteen minutes into their drive.

Lily: [Just landed!]

Lily: [Mom’s plane is *awesome* btw.]

Lily: [Also Mom may or may not be drunk rn. I’m handling it. We need to come up with a plan.]

Liza nearly groaned when she read that her mom was drunk. She hadn’t drank in years and she chose today of all days?

Though she guessed she couldn’t necessarily blame her.

Liza: [Let’s just get them both to their rooms when we get there, and divide and conquer from there?]

Lily: [Sounds perfect. See you soon, sis!]

Liza’s heart skipped a bit at this, and she couldn’t help but let out a grin at her sister’s text. With all the stress of their moms meeting again, she had almost forgotten that she would finally be reunited with her sister. She had just seen her earlier that week, but still. It was longer than she ever wanted to go without Lily for a long while now. Until college, if she could help it.

They pulled up to the Condry over forty-five minutes later, and Liza felt like she could throw up on the spot. As they all pooled out of the car, Liza was clearly shaky and Kara turned and looked at her with concern.

“Are you okay, is’kah?” she asked, putting her hand on her shoulder.

“Yeah,” Liza responded quickly in a high-pitched, breathless voice. “I just, don’t like being in a car that long,” she tried to cover, but her excuse was weak at best.

Luckily her aunt jumped in to cover for her. “I bet she’s just nervous to see her friend again,” her aunt teased, and Kara narrowed her eyes between Alex and Liza.

“Lily, is this friend… more than a friend?” she finally asked slowly, and Liza immediately blushed.

“No!” she cried.

But at the same time her aunt answered, “Yes.”

Kara then gave Liza an unimpressed look and folded her arms over a bit amused. “Lillian Alexandra, am I about to meet your girlfriend?” she asked with a pointed look.

“Yeyu, no!” she exclaimed again exasperated, glaring at her aunt for insinuating this, but Alex merely laughed good naturedly at her niece.

“Listen, how about you check us all in, and I’ll take Lily to see if we can find her not-girlfriend-more-than-a-friend friend,” Alex offered, and Kara seemed hesitant to let her sister to supervise her daughter. “We’ll meet up again in twenty minutes. You can handle the bags by yourself; it’ll be fine, Kara,” Alex assured her, and her mother finally relented.

“Okay. Let’s meet in the lobby in twenty minutes,” she conceded, and Alex smiled widely, not waiting for her to say anything else before she was dragging Liza towards the hotel entrance.

“Alex,” Liza hissed. “What if she runs into-”

“She won’t, look over there,” her aunt gestured subtly. Liza looked over to where Alex was looking and saw a parked high security L Corp car, whose occupants had clearly already entered the hotel.

Letting out a sigh of relief, Liza entered the hotel confident her sister would have already gotten their mom to go up to her room. She just needed to find Lily now to nail down a more concrete plan.

As Alex and Liza headed towards the elevator, Kara trailed behind them, carrying three bags effortlessly. She set them all down at the front desk and grinned at the receptionist.

“Checking in two rooms for Kara Danvers,” she informed her, and the receptionist immediately began inputting her information.

Kara began scanning her eyes around the room, taking everyone in as she waited for the receptionist to finish. When her eyes reached the doorway to the bar, she nearly froze and quickly turned back to the receptionist, as if she had seen a ghost.

It had only been the back of her head, but Kara could have sworn it was-

No, she nearly laughed at herself. A lot of people had long dark brown hair, she chided herself. Maybe Alex was right. Maybe she really did need a vacation if she was still seeing her ex everywhere she went.

The receptionist finished up her transaction and Kara quickly thanked her, grabbing her bags and heading straight towards the elevators. She pointedly kept her back to the bar, even though she knew she was being paranoid. Lena Luthor hadn’t been in National City in almost fifteen years, she certainly wouldn’t be at the Condry on this of all weekends.

When she got into the elevator, she hit her floor number and leaned back on the wall, trying to even her breathing, willing her mind to stop overthinking, to stop playing tricks on her. And yet…

Kara sighed frustrated, not wanting to finish that thought, and instead stood to anticipate the elevator doors opening.

But the thought nagged and nagged at the edge of her brain. It nagged her as she walked to her room, nagged her as she unlocked the door, nagged her as she walked in, dropped the bags, and flopped down on the nearest bed.

Because there was a zero percent probability that Lena was in this building right now. And yet…

And yet why could she hear her heartbeat?

Chapter Text

The elevator dinged on the floor Lily had informed them to go to, and Liza was nearly bouncing on the balls of her feet in anticipation. Despite how much trouble she knew she was about to be in, she couldn’t help herself from being excited to see her mom again for the first time in months.

As soon as the doors opened, Liza bounded out and headed down the hallway to her mom’s room number, already texting Lily that she was on her way.

“In a hurry, are we?” Alex asked, chasing after her, and Liza barely spared her enough time to throw a pointed look at her aunt.

Stopping suddenly, Alex nearly ran into Liza as her eyes widen as she looked at the door number in front of her and paused.

“No need to be nervous, kid,” her aunt finally encouraged her softly. “Your mom’s really more reasonable than she pretends to be.”

Liza bit her lip and nodded a bit, trying to believe Alex’s words. She didn’t know what she’d do if her mom decided to never trust her again. Her mom was the only person she could truly depend upon for her whole life; she just really hoped she hadn’t ruined all of that.

Slowly, she lifted her hand up to knock on the door, but before she could, the door flung open, and Liza was tackled in a hug.

“Oh my Rao, I missed you!” Lily cried out, clinging to Liza tightly, and once she regained her bearings, Liza reciprocated easily, holding onto her sister as she buried her head into her shoulder. “No more splitting up,” Lily finally declared. “I hope you’ve looked at MIT for college, because that’s where we’re going.”

Liza let out a little laugh at this and pulled away from the hug, wiping some of the happy tears out of her eyes. Looking up, she found Sam and Alex watching them with tears of their own in their eyes.

“Never thought I’d see the day,” Sam murmured in a little bit of awe, and Alex nodded in agreement. It had been a long fifteen years; this moment of seeing the girls reunited was long overdue.

Alex then turned to Sam slightly and wished sincerely, “It’s good to see you again, Sam.”

Both women wore slight blushes on their faces as their eyes met and they tried to control their grins, and Liza laughed as Lily’s eyes went wide, putting together what she was seeing between her two aunts.

“Wait, are you two-”

Her voice was cut off as Liza not so subtly elbowed her in the gut as she smiled on sweetly with a wink at Alex. Face crimson now, Alex rolled her eyes and motioned for them all to enter the room and not continue to take up all the space in the hallway, and everyone followed her willingly.

“Hold on,” Liza stopped when she was a couple steps into the room. It was a large room with two king sized beds and large kitchen, but most noticeably to Liza, it was empty of any other people. “Where’s Mom?” she asked, whirling around to face Sam and Lily, and both looked a little guilty.

“She kind of, um, slipped away from us?” Lily explained after a moment, cringing at her words.

Liza froze at this, her eyes going wide as Lily tried to hold her hands up to protest and calm her sister down before she freaked out.

“We think she just went down to the hotel bar,” Lily defended fast. “We were on our way to go find her when I got your text that you were heading here, so I figured we should just wait for you and then figure out a game plan.”

“Lily,” Liza hissed, trying to maintain her composure but failing miserably. “We left Yeyu downstairs to check us in,” she explained, panic seeping into her voice, and her sister froze at this, realizing why Liza was worked up over the situation.

Stuttering, Lily turned to look at Sam with wide eyes and cursed, “Shit, uh, Alex and I can go look for Mom, that way if we run into Yeyu, she won’t be suspicious. Sam can you take Liza through the plan we were discussing?”

Liza bit her cheek, not wanting to be the pessimist of the group, but there was a very likely scenario that Lily didn’t seem like she was going to address. “Lil,” she began, and Lily knew what she was going to say before she said it. She bit her lip and looked at her sister with pleading eyes, wishing the idea stay unvoiced, but Liza couldn’t find it in herself to not suggest it. “What if they’ve already seen each other?” she asked quietly, and she could almost see Lily’s heart squeeze in fear.

If their moms already found each other, they could both be running for the hills right now. All of their hard work these past few months could have all been for nothing because of a few minutes of leaving their moms unattended.

“Don’t worry about it, Liza,” Lily finally promised with more confidence that she should probably have. “I’ll find Mom and bring her up here before she sees Yeyu.”

“And why shouldn’t I see Yeyu?” a voice questioned from the still open doorway, and all four women in the room cringed to turn and see Lena standing behind them with a full CEO ice glare painted on her face.

“Mom!” Liza finally called out after a moment, breaking the tension in the room as everyone stared awkwardly trying to think of something to say to the woman. Liza ran forward to smash her mom in a tight hug, and she heard her mom reluctantly sigh before tightly returning the hug, careful not to spill the drink in her hand.

Kissing her forehead, Lena pulled away from her daughter and cupped her cheek with her hand softly as she shook her head. “Please don’t go to the other side of the world without telling me again,” she instructed tiredly, and Liza gulped as she nodded.

What are you drinking?” Sam finally asked, as she had been eyeing the disgusting looking concoction in her friend’s hand for several minutes now, waiting for a chance to question it.

Sighing, Lena brought the glass up to her mouth and grimaced as she took a sip. “The bartender’s hangover cure,” she admitted bitterly, glaring at the drink a bit. “I may have drank a little too much on the way here for someone who hasn’t drank in years.” With a little sigh, she finally walked into the room and shut the door behind her.

When she walked up to and stopped in front of Alex, she bit her cheek slightly but kept her face impassive. Lily and Liza shared a nervous glance as Alex awkwardly shifted her weight and nodded at Lena, waiting to see who should break the silence.

Finally deciding Lena wasn’t going to, Alex let out a breath and greeted, “Hey, sis.”

The reaction was immediate. Tears filled Lena’s eyes as she shook her head and stared at Alex incredulously. “I’m not Kara’s wife anymore, Alex,” she said softly, as if she could have forgotten. She knew Alex hadn’t, but she just couldn’t understand why she would still greet her like that after all these years. After everything she had done.

“Come on,” Alex tried to joke lightheartedly, but her voiced ended up coming out heavy. “Being married to Kara wasn’t what made you my sister.”

Lena swallowed thickly at this, trying to fight back the tears threatening to spill from her eyes. All those years ago, Alex had been one of her best friends. Looked out for her like she was her own sister, and Lena had just always assumed it was just because of Kara.

Seeing the flood of emotions in Lena’s eyes, Alex quickly stepped forward and wrapped Lena in a tight hug, which she returned easily and buried her head in Alex’s shoulder. When she pulled away, her eyes were red rimmed, and she quickly swiped at them to hide any tears that might have been shed in the embrace.

Sighing once again, Lena made her way over to the couch, sat down and then stared expectantly at the four other women in the room. “So back to my original question,” she began, and everyone tensed, as they clearly had been hoping Lena would have forgotten the conversation she walked in on. “Why can’t I see Kara?”

Everyone unconsciously slipped their eyes over to Lily, hoping she had a plan for this situation, but she was drawing a blank on what to say. She bit her cheek nervously and clasped her hands together tightly, hoping a solution would miraculously come to her, but none did.

“Lily,” Lena finally narrowed her eyes at her daughter, picking up that she was the mastermind behind whatever was happening. “What’s going on here?” she inquired sternly, and Lily squeaked anxiously.

“Um, uh- It’s just, uh-” she tried to begin, but no excuses were coming to her, and when her eyes met her mom’s glare, she cracked. “Yeyu has no idea you’re here,” she admitted in a rush.

“Lillian Alexandra!” Lena cried out immediately, sitting up in her chair as her eyes widened and her teeth gritted.

“Woah, it’s really scary hearing you say my full name,” Lily mumbled, a little bit in awe.

Not amused however, Lena glared at the other three women in the room who were all trying to plan their escape, and roughly pointed to the chairs across from her. “You all: sit,” she demanded with a tone that chilled each of them down to their bones, and they all ashamedly went to sit a safe distance away from Lena. When they were settled, Lena turned back to Lily with a hard stare. “Explain.”

“Right, so, um, don’t get too angry, Mom; it’s not that big of a deal,” Lily immediately started, trying to talk her way out of trouble, but her mom just narrowed her eyes at her unimpressed, and she gulped nervously. It would be hard to get anything past her mom, but for the sake of their plan, she was going to have to try. “Yeyu still hasn’t figured out the switch, and we figured it would be hard to get the two of you into the same area willingly so we… lied to her.”

Lena let out a long sigh and shook her head before looking up at Lily exasperatedly. “Listen, girls,” she finally started slowly, tone still stern, and Lily glanced at Liza warily as they were addressed. “I know it can seem like your mother and I will be unwilling to work something out for the two of you because of the way things have been for fifteen years, but I promise you, we’re both adults and can handle seeing each other long enough to have a grown up conversation about our children. So unless any of you have a problem with that, we should be fine here,” she stated confidently, and she watched the other four carefully.

Each of them sat a bit uncomfortably, not willing to look at each other, but also avoiding eye contact with Lena. None of them were brave enough to tell her that talking to Kara wasn’t what they were worried about. That the plan went so much deeper than just a new arrangement for her daughters.

Finally letting out a steady breath, Lena closed her eyes and asked shakily, “Okay, so what is it?” Looking up then and looking each of the women in their eyes for a beat to see who would crack first, her gaze finally settled on the guiltiest looking (Liza) and pried further. “What else don’t I know?”

Liza could feel Lily’s eyes burning on her to not give anything else away, but she bit her lip and knew she was going to break under her mom’s pressure. She’d never been able to get away with lying to her before; her mom called it a Luthor trait, being good enough to lie to spot someone else’s from a mile away.

Maybe if she didn’t spill everything. Just a small part that would satisfy her mom’s curiosity she reasoned.

“Yeyu might be getting married,” she finally admitted a bit breathlessly, and she bit her lip, waiting for the reaction.

Surprisingly, the first ones came from her sides.

“What!” Lily and Alex both yelled at the same time, clearly taken off guard by the revelation. But Liza’s eyes never left her mom’s impassive face. If she looked closely enough, she thought she could see a hint of sadness taking root in her eyes, but-

“You didn’t tell me that!” Lily pulled her from her thoughts, standing as she accused her sister of withholding information from her.

Pulling her gaze from her mom reluctantly, Liza looked over at an incredulous Lily with a sigh and explained, “Well she said ‘no’ when he asked, but alluded to the fact that she wants to say yes if she gets my- I mean, your blessing.”

Immediately pouting and crossing her arms, Lily shook her head indignantly and proclaimed, “I’ll never give it to her.”

“I mean, I agree,” Liza started tiredly, voice rising a bit irritably because she didn’t want to have this conversation right here and now, “but you haven’t even met him yet, so maybe-”

“Okay!” Lena cut in, raising her voice above her daughters, who both froze and stared at her a bit apprehensively. Looking first at Liza, Lena leveled her eyes with her daughter and instructed, “You are going to explain what this has to do with me, and you,” she continued, turning to addressed Lily, “are going to stop meddling in your mother’s lovelife.”

“Mom, I’m sorry, but Yeyu deserves way better than some Daxamite, and you know it,” Lily protested, her fist clenching her fist as she looked at her mom helplessly. If Liza didn’t know any better, she would almost say a flinch of disgust passed over her face when Lily said ‘Daxamite’, but instead she brushed it off as her mom responded.

“What I think doesn’t matter,” Lena replied stiffly. “Your mother is free to see whoever she likes; her personal life has nothing to do with me.”

Liza bit her lip and grimaced. Luthor’s could tell a lie from a mile away, and her mom just told a blatant one three feet in front of her.

She was still in love with her, Liza realized with a start, and she should have felt relieved, but all she felt was guilt. How cruel of her it was bringing her mom to see the love of her life as a part of some big scheme, when she knew Yeyu was already taken?

Not backing down, however, Lily huffed. “Of course it does! Why else did we-”

She caught herself and cut off quickly before she said too much, but Liza nearly groaned at her sister’s mistake. Glancing at her mom, she watched as her eyebrow raised a bit stunned, and Liza grimaced as she realized it was all over.

“So what, is this is all some ploy to- to end your mother’s relationship?” she asked, hoping for someone to correct her, but everyone stayed silent, averting their gaze from hers. Lena was silent for a few long moments before she accused, “You wanted us to get back together, didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question, but more just a disappointing statement. Like she couldn’t quite believe this was the position she found herself in.

Lena shook her head and looked up to meet Sam’s eyes sadly. Her friend held a soft, pleading expression, like she just wanted her to hear them out. Like they were just trying to help her. Letting out a ragged breath, Lena closed her eyes and turned away from everyone.

*****

She had never opened the door faster than she had that night.

Sam’s worried eyes immediately met hers, and her brow furrowed into a question. Her friend stood bundled up outside her door, shivering slightly from the walk through cold night to get to the door from her car. “Lena, are you okay? It’s late, why did you call-”

“I needed someone to be here with me,” Lena cut off her friend, her voice wavering. Upon closer inspection, Sam could quickly tell her friend had been crying, and without another question, stepped into the house and firmly wrapped Lena in a tight hug.

“What is it?” she whispered softly. “What’s wrong?”

Lena didn’t answer for a long moment. Instead she just buried her head in her friend’s shoulder and let herself be vulnerable for the first time in a long time. Part of her felt bad for calling her here past midnight on a work day. Ruby was barely old enough to stay home by herself and she knew how uncomfortable Sam felt leaving her alone.

And she would have done this by herself, truly. She had done everything else by herself, what difference would this make? But then she had sat at the table and stared at the future she was about to sign herself into, and she had broken. Not even the whiskey could be her friend in this moment. She had needed someone to stand by her and hold her hand, and as weak as that made her feel, she knew she would feel weaker if she didn’t do it at all.

So instead of answering Sam, she wordlessly pulled back from her and led her into the kitchen where she stood in front of a stack of papers before looking back up at her friend with an acute pain in her eyes. Sam understood her cue and moved forward to pick up the papers to inspect them.

“Oh Lena,” she whispered after a beat, her eyes filling with tears as she looked back at Lena, and sat the papers down gently. Softly, she pulled her in for a hug and they sat there for a moment before Lena broke down in sobs and clung to Sam for dear life.

“Why can’t I do it?” she finally gasped, her voice heavy as Sam wiped the stream of tears falling from her cheeks. “I know I have to, but-”

“Do you?” Sam questioned softly. There was no accusation in her voice, and when Lena looked up at her stunned, she was only met with a sad understanding. “You clearly don’t want to,” she continued, hesitant to push farther than she already was, for fear of upsetting Lena too much.

“I have to,” Lena stated simply, and even she wasn’t convinced. “It’s the right thing to do,” she pushed, but Sam’s expression turned skeptical.

She glanced back down at the papers before slowly beginning to say, “Lena, if you’re still in love with her-”

“That doesn’t matter, Sam,” Lena cut her off quickly. “It doesn’t matter if I’m still in love with Kara, or if I still think about her every night, or if I know I’m never going to find anyone else for the rest of my life. None of that matters.”

“Why-”

“Because I left her,” Lena cried out a bit desperately before dissolving into more tears. “Because I left her six years ago and didn’t tell her why and broke her heart, and now none of it matters because even ignoring all the circumstances, it means I don’t deserve her anymore. Dragging this on is more cruel to her than everything else I’ve done.”

Sam was silent for a long time, considering Lena’s words. She had known her friend had been struggling the last few years, but she had never opened up to her like this. If she were being honest, she was a bit frightened by Lena’s state. She was falling apart and Sam didn’t know how to help besides to point out the obvious: Kara and Lena would always be each other’s person. Lena shouldn’t have given up on that back then, or now.

“Do you want to talk about why you can’t sign the divorce papers then?” Sam finally asked softly, and Lena let out a little whimper as she buried her face in her hands.

Through an admission dripping with shame, Lena whispered, “Because I want her back. It’s so selfish, but god Sam, I just want her back.”

“I know,” Sam answered quietly, proud of her friend for saying what they knew to be true all along. She stepped forward once again to hold Lena tightly as she broke down, wishing there was anything she could do to make her friend’s pain more bearable in this moment.

When Lena pulled away this time, she looked at Sam seriously through her puffy eyes and tears, and questioned, “Do you trust me?”

The question took Sam a bit off guard, but she soon recovered and answered easily, “Always, Lena.”

With a small nod and a new resolve, Lena pulled her right hand from Sam’s and picked up the pen on the table. Without hesitation, she placed her signature on the line above her name and stared at it for a moment before setting the pen down again.

“I need a drink,” her wobbly voice finally announced as Sam stared at her stunned. It only took a moment for Sam to jump into action, however, striding across to grab the bottle of scotch on the counter and delivering it back to Lena.

“I know I said I trust you, and I do, but why-” Sam began, but her words were quickly cut off by Lena’s pointedly sad look before she took a shot straight from the bottle.

“It had to be done,” she finally answered, tears once again filling her eyes, and Sam for once, decided not to question it.

Lena fell asleep that night belligerently drunk and telling Sam she needed Kara; she woke up the next morning with a painful headache and aching hole in her chest as she remembered the events from the night before.

Channeling every inch of her CEO front she had developed over the last six years, she managed however, not to cry. Instead she calmly placed the divorce papers that were still sitting on the kitchen counter in an envelope and then in the mail, and then returned to her kitchen to dump every ounce of alcohol she had in her house. She only allowed herself to miss Kara when she was drunk, and that wasn’t a luxury she was afforded to have any longer.

Life moved on. Lena knew Sam was watching her carefully over the next week, just to make sure she was okay. Lena wished she could tell her she was. She was perfectly fine. The idea of Kara receiving that envelope in the mail from her didn’t sting as much as she expected it to because instead of dwelling on it, she always forced her mind to go different places.

Kara wouldn’t still be holding on to her after all this time anyways, she told herself. They hadn’t spoken a word to each other in six years; there was no reason to think Kara wouldn’t be expecting divorce papers eventually.

And telling those lies to herself worked. It worked every morning when she went to work. It worked every evening when she curled up with her daughter to read a book. It worked every night when she tried to calm her mind enough to fall asleep. It worked.

Until one question from her daughter unraveled it all.

“Mom, Supergirl’s been missing for days; do you think she’s okay?” Liza asked innocently, her wide eyes looking up at her mom with concern.

Liza clearly wasn’t used to her mom crying in front of her because when Lena broke down in sobs at the question, she stood shocked and frozen, unsure of what to do.

Lena knelt down beside her and wrapped her in a tight hug, which Liza tried to reciprocate as strongly as possible to make her mom feel extra loved.

“I really, really hope she’s okay,” Lena finally answered through her tears, and Liza nodded at this.

“Don’t worry, Mom,” she soothed softly, clinging to her mom tightly. “Supergirl’s the strongest superhero in the world. She can handle anything, right?”

Lena pulled back from her daughter, tears streaming down her cheeks as she brushed Liza’s hair out of her face. “Of course she can,” she finally comforted, her voice thick from the tears. Her daughter relaxed a little bit, pulling her back into a hug. “She’ll get through this,” she whispered softly, hugging Liza tighter and burying her head in her hair.

And Lena prayed that she was right. That Kara would get through this.

That they both would get through this.

*****

“We ended things for a reason,” Lena finally spoke after a long moment. “I know that’s hard for you all to believe, but there’s just too much-” Her voice cut off abruptly before she swallowed thickly and turned around, redonning her icy expression to hold all her emotions in. “Kara and I’s business is not any of yours, and the four of you will not meddle in it any longer. The reasons we ended things were valid, and I expect you all to respect that and respect us. I am here for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to switch the girls back. Am I clear?” she demanded, and everyone cowarded at her intensity.

Finally they all sighed and relented a soft ‘yes’, much to their dismay.

Nodding satisfied with their answer, Lena swallowed thickly and sat back down with her hangover drink, staring at it distastefully. “So who’s going to break the news to Kara?” she finally asked quietly, and Lily and Alex looked at each other uncomfortably.

“I will,” Alex eventually volunteered, not seeming enthusiastic about the prospect in the least. “We told her we would meet her back down in the lobby in five minutes, so I’ll tell her then.” Lena nodded tightly at this, trying not to let her nerves show too much. “Which one of you is coming with me?” Alex then asked, looking up at the twins, and they looked at each other curiously.

Lily did not want to be the one to break the news to mother at all, and technically, it was Liza’s turn to confess about the switch. When her sister gave her a very pointed look that told her she wanted to stay and talk to their mom, however, Lily sighed and raised her hand.

“Guess that’ll be me,” she grumbled unhappily, and Alex smirked a little at her niece’s expression.

Liza quickly pulled the phone out of her pocket and handed it to Lily. “Here, let’s switch our phones back now,” she offered, and Lily pulled Liza’s phone out as well to make the switch..

“Come on, baby girl,” Alex gestured towards the door, pulling Lily from her thoughts and wrapping her arm around her to begin dragging her away. “Let’s go get this over with.”

After they were out of the door, the air in the room tensed as Lena stared steadily at her drink, pointedly avoiding her daughter’s gaze burning into the side of her face.

Clearing her throat softly, Sam finally spoke up and announced, “I’m going to go get us some ice for the room and… leave you two alone.”

As Sam left the room, Lena and Liza both stayed silent for a long moment. Liza felt like a thousand emotions were coursing through her as she tried to get a grip on what she wanted to say to her mom. A large part of her felt guilty for putting her into this situation, but the longer she sat and thought about it, the more she became conflicted with herself. Her mom was still in love with her mother. If she loved Yeyu that much, why did she never go back to her?

“So,” Liza finally started softly, glancing up at her mom warily. “You didn’t tell me my mother was Supergirl.”

Lena cringed as the accusation hung in the air, and she finally sighed to look up at her daughter. “Liza,” she began, but Liza cut her off, holding up a hand.

“No it’s fine,” she continued. “That isn’t even really the worst part, is it?” she asked softly, looking up at her mom pointedly. “You didn’t tell me my mother was Kara Danvers. All these years I’ve looked up to you as this strong, independent woman, and you’re the best mom ever and that’s why I never asked about my probably deadbeat jackass of a father that you had the good sense to leave in the past.” Liza paused and shook her head, sighing a bit. “But you were just scared.”

“Liza I-”

“Listen, I don’t know everything that happened back then,” Liza started again quietly, not meeting her mom’s eyes. She was still trying to find the balance between guilt and frustration; she just wanted her mom to tell the truth, but she knew she wasn’t going to. Not now, not after all these years. “Aunt Alex explained a little to me, and I’m not saying you didn’t have a right to be scared, or that I’m angry with you about the split; I just wish you would fight a little harder for yourself instead of against yourself.”

Lena was quiet for a long moment, taking in her daughter’s words before she let out a shuddering breath. “How do you mean?” she inquired, voice cracking slightly.

Biting her cheek, Liza sighed and chose her words carefully. “You’re still in love with her right?” she asked quietly. “So why do we still live in London?”

Letting out a long breath to steady herself, Lena wiped the tears from her eyes as she got up from the couch softly and kneeled in front of her daughter, holding her face in her hands and gently stroking her cheeks with her thumbs. Liza found herself leaning ever so slightly into her mom’s touch as she tried to blink away her own tears.

“What happened back then was far too complicated for you or Alex or anyone to understand everything that went into it,” Lena began to explain softly. “I care about your mother very much. Always have, always will. But I also hurt her and destroyed everything we had. I don’t expect you to understand-”

“I don’t understand,” Liza blurted before she could stop herself, and her mom paused patiently. “I spent a week with Yeyu, and I already know she’s probably the most kind and patient and passionate person on this planet. And it’s so painfully obvious that she’s not over you either.”

Swallowing thickly, Lena cleared her throat and averted her eyes downward. “Well, I can’t speak to the second part of your statement,” she finally commented after a moment with a sigh, “but the first part sounds pretty accurate for your mother.” She ended the statement with a humorless laugh.

“Well then you know she would forgive you for whatever it was you hurt her for,” Liza insisted, her eyes sincere as she pushed her mom further.

Lena shook her head sadly and stroked her daughter’s hair for a few seconds before whispering, “Sometimes we don’t deserve forgiveness we know we could get.”

Liza gritted her teeth and stared at her mom for a long moment. “You know that’s horrible advice, right?” she finally questioned. “You don’t deserve to believe you don’t deserve forgiveness. And you don’t get to decide if you even deserve it in the first place. You’re punishing yourself for no reason, Mom.”

Closing her eyes, Lena let out a low breath and shook her head. “No one else knows the full story,” she countered. “So no one else can decide what I do or don’t deserve.” Liza opened her mouth to protest her mom again, but Lena cut her off before she could. “I know that’s not the answer you’re looking for, darling. And I know in some way, I’m letting you down. But you just have to trust me that this is the way things have to be, okay?”

Liza studied her mom for a moment, but instead of fighting her like she initially wanted to, she tersely nodded her head and allowed herself to be pulled into a tight hug. Clenching her eyes shut, she tried to breathe evenly.

Her mom was hiding something, and she was going to figure out what it was.

Lily sighed loudly the elevator and bounced on the balls of her feet as she tried to think of anything she could say to Yeyu that wouldn’t get her grounded until the next millenia.

“So, obviously, we won’t be telling her,” Alex commented after a moment, nonchalantly leaning against the back wall, and Lily’s eyes flashed to hers widely. “Lena talks big, but if your mother found out we were trying to force her back with your mom, she would run immediately. Better to let her figure out she’s here herself because then she’ll do all the work for us. The moment she sees Lena, she’ll be like a moth to a light.”

Lily bit her lip a little and furrowed her eyebrows. “Are you sure?” she asked apprehensively. As much as she wanted to believe her aunt, she also knew if this backfired on them, Lily would be in double the trouble she was already in.

“Listen,” Alex instructed sincerely. “If there’s any relationship I know better than any other, it’s your mothers’. I know how they work, which gives us the advantage because they’ve probably incorrectly assumed that fifteen years has made a difference. But that woman upstairs is still the same Lena Luthor I know and love. Your mother won’t be able to resist her.”

Lily still wanted to protest it, but she just nodded when the elevator stopped and the door opened. If Yeyu was on this floor, she would be more keen to overhear their conversation now that they were here, and if they weren’t going to expose anything yet, Lily needed to stay discreet.

But also, she was trying her hardest not to get her hopes up. If what Alex was saying was true, they could have a real shot at getting their moms back together. She bit down the excitement bubbling in her and tried to ground herself with reason. Yeyu was dating someone now, she reminded herself. And while she didn’t believe for a second that her mother was actually moving on, she did believe that her mother had convinced herself that she was.

“Do you see her?” Alex asked quietly as they made their way to the middle of the busy lobby, and Lily shook her head, scanning the room quickly. “Maybe she already made a break for it,” her aunt joked, and Lily smirked at the comment.

“Is there a reason I need to run away?” her mother’s voice rang out from behind them with a light, teasing tone, and both Alex and Lily whirled around trying their best not to look guilty.

“Yeyu!” Lily cried out before she could think twice about it, and she ran forward to slam her mother into a hug.

Kara let out a little ‘oof’ and looked up bewildered at Alex before returning Lily’s hug. “Hey there, is’kah,” she greeted. “Did you miss me already?”

Lily pulled back bashfully and shrugged with a light blush. “Is that so hard to believe?” she asked cheekily, and Kara rolled her eyes.

“You’re a teenager, that’s almost impossible to believe,” she quipped easily, and Lily let out a nervous laugh. A moment later, however, her mother’s eyes narrowed on her outfit, and inquired, “Have you been wearing that all day? I don’t remember you owning it.”

Lily’s heart skipped a beat as she didn’t even think about the fact that she was currently wearing Liza’s clothes, and opened her mouth in a pitiful attempt to explain it away.

“Oh, she spilled salsa on herself at the party, and her friend offered to lend her some clothes,” Alex quickly filled in after the awkward beat. “She was worried you would be upset at her for ruining that new shirt she just got, but I told her you would understand.”

“Oh, Lilybug,” Kara responded, turning her attention to her daughter with a teasing smirk. “I’m not mad at you for ruining your clothes, but I am mad you haven’t brought me somewhere there’s food. I’m starving, let’s go.”

Kara turned then to begin making her way back to the elevator, when both Lily and Alex yelled, “No!”

Lily bit her cheek nervously as her mother paused and then turned around slowly, looking back at her and Alex suspiciously.

“Is there something going on here?” she asked, an edge of unease to her voice, and Lily quickly tried to enact the years of lie training her aunt had taught her. It was very hard for her to get away with lying to Yeyu, but she did manage to get away with it more often than not anymore.

Steadying her breathing and looking at her mother innocently, Lily cocked her head and responded, “What are you talking about?”

“You’re both acting weird,” she accused, her eyes shifting back and forth between her sister and her daughter. “And your heartbeats are both erratic, so I know you’re both nervous.”

Lily was in the middle of preparing her response when her aunt jumped in. “See, this is exactly why I wanted to see you on vacation,” she deflected effortlessly. “Even when you take time to relax, you read into things just so you can get worked up about them. Chill, Kar. Nothing’s going on.”

“They’re just moving the party out to the pool, is all,” Lily fed off of her expertly. “We’re supposed to meet them out there, so we have to go back to our room and get changed,” she continued, and Kara looked torn as to whether or not to buy their explanation.

Finally relenting, she let out a sigh and relaxed her shoulders. She let herself believe she was hearing Lena’s heartbeat and suddenly she was paranoid about everything. It was silly, she chided herself. She needed to not overthink it.

“Okay, well then let’s go up and get changed then,” she responded with a forced enthusiasm, and she didn’t miss the relieved expressions on the other two’s faces.

But even if they were up to something, it wasn’t really out of the ordinary, she figured. And she wouldn’t even be able to begin guessing what it was, so it was better to just let it go now and hope it didn’t have consequences later.

The three of them threw on their suits and cover ups quickly, excited to get down to the pool, and on their way back down, Lily sent a text out to Liza to update her on the plan.

Lily: [Don’t tell, Mom, but we didn’t tell Yeyu. We’re going down to the pool, so you guys should meet us there, and we’ll do the big reveal.]

Liza: [I hope you know what you’re doing. Mom’s staying up here to sober up a little longer before heading down, but I’ll be down soon. You should send Yeyu away for a bit, so we can talk. I have a lot I haven’t told you.]

Lily frowned at the text she received from her sister, but luckily wasn’t too caught up in her thoughts to be able to pull her phone to her chest when she felt her mother begin to lean over her shoulder.

Chuckling softly, Kara held up her hands in surrender. “Sorry, sorry,” she promised, an amused look on her face. “You looked deep and thought, and I was wondering if Nia had texted you yet.”

Lily furrowed her eyebrows in confusion and glanced at her aunt who just shrugged her shoulder lost. Who was Nia?

“Uh, why would she be texting me again?” she finally asked nervously, hoping she wasn’t blowing her cover as she snuck a text to Liza to see if she knew what this was about.

Shrugging, Kara smirked and brushed off, “Oh she was looking for another source for her women in STEM piece, and I suggested she talk to you.”

Lily quirked her eyebrows a bit at this, confused by her mother’s tone. If she didn’t know any better, she would think Yeyu was teasing her. And if that were the case, she was really intrigued as to who Liza had clearly met that had their mother teasing already.

“I’ll watch out for her text then,” Lily responded, and Kara smiled satisfiedly.

When they made their way out to the pool and claimed their chairs along the back fence, Lily was back to being nervous. How was she going to get her mother away long enough to be able to talk to Liza? Her mind quickly flipped through several options before she finally settled on one she thought she could pull off.

Lily: [Hey, remember you still owe me for that time I didn’t tell Lois I caught you eating at her favorite restaurant without her?]

Clark: [Why do I feel like this is going to have to do with getting your mothers back together?]

Lily: [All I need you to do is call Yeyu and tell her you need her help with an emergency and then stall her for a few minutes before she flies back.]

Lily stared at her phone, waiting for a response, but when none came, her mind immediately started planning for a Plan B.

Just as she was about to text Diana Prince, her mother’s phone rang.

Kara frowned when she looked down and saw her cousin on the caller ID and picked up the call immediately. “Hey what’s up?” she greeted, a bit concerned. She listened worriedly for a few seconds, and Lily nearly cheered when she saw her mother’s infamous lip bite before she turned to Lily guiltily and asked, “Will you be okay if I leave quick? I’ll be back soon.”

Trying to hide eagerness, Lily shrugged her mother off and responded, “No one else is even here yet, Yeyu. Go do what you have to do.”

Kara nodded at this, and then held the phone back up to her ear before answering, “I’ll be there soon, Clark.”

As her mother, walked away, Lily quickly whipped out her phone and texted Liza.

Lily: [Coast is clear! Get here ASAP and we should have a few minutes!]

Alex laughed a little beside her and questioned, “Now that wouldn’t have anything to do with you, would it?”

Shrugging innocently, Lily retorted, “What are you implying?” But right as she finished saying it, both Liza and Sam walked out of the hotel door and proved the point Alex was trying to make.

Instead of commenting, however, Alex just held out her hand for Lily to high five before standing up and beelining straight to Sam. Lily watched amused as Liza stood there for a moment, looking back and forth between the two women before she finally gave up and made her way to Lily.

As she approached, Liza gingerly sat down on the edge of Lily’s lounge chair and looked back over at Sam and Alex with a wistful sigh. “Fifteen years apart and they still are that smitten with each other,” she related.

“Yeah, that is honestly one I didn’t see coming,” Lily responded with a smile as she watched her aunt fumble a bit as they went over to the pool bar to buy drinks. “We’ll definitely have to interrogate them on it later.”

“Yes we will,” Liza murmured, before turning her attention to Lily and criss crossing her legs so as to fit her whole body on the edge of the chair.

“I’m also going to interrogate you on Nia later, just so you know,” Lily informed her, and her sister blushed profusely at this declaration, earning Lily smirk.

Ducking her head, Liza protested, “That’s nothing; that’s just Yeyu trying to embarrass me in front of a really cute girl.”

“So you think she’s cute,” Lily pointed out, latching on to the information she thought was relevant. “Come on, you so owe me. You got the whole summer to make fun of me and Maia!”

Rolling her eyes, Liza shook her head tried to divert the conversation. “We’re on a limited time frame here, are we not?” she inquired, and Lily pouted in protest, but allowed Liza to relay what she had come to relay.

With a deep breath, Liza started in on everything she had learned from Alex the day before. The attacks, the paranoia, the eventual falling apart. By the time she was done, her voice was shaking a little, and both girls seemed more somber as they mulled over the information at hand.

“So that’s it then,” Lily concluded glumly once her sister had finished recounting her aunt’s story. “They split because it was just too much.”

Liza bit her lip at this and sat on her hands nervously. “I don’t know if that’s it,” she finally admitted, deciding to share her uncertainty in the story, despite knowing how Lily would react. “I mean, J’onn said all anyone but Mom knows is speculation,” she defended before her sister could say anything, but it did nothing to mediate the sad look Lily gave her.

“Liza,” she started, trailing off a bit as she didn’t know how to let her down gently. Their mom’s story had coincided with Alex’s. There weren’t really any loose ends left to tie up; they knew why they separated.

“I just think there’s something she hasn’t told anyone, Lily,” Liza insisted again, trying to keep her voice level, but a bit of her desperation slipped in. “I think she had a reason to leave.”

Lily placed a soft hand on her sister’s arm comfortingly. “Yes and the reason was, she thought we were in danger,” she reasoned with a pointed look.

“A coincidence doesn’t cause that kind of fear,” Liza tried again, knowing she was being stubborn, but needing Lily to see her side of things. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off about the whole situation.

“It does when it’s a new mother with twin daughters and a wife whose a superhero,” Lily stated firmly, and Liza swallowed thickly as she averted her eyes from her sister. “Listen, Liza,” Lily started again, trailing off as Liza still refused to meet her eyes. “I think you’re maybe still trying to justify this in a way that makes you feel better about them splitting us up, when in reality, this stuff just happens.”

“No I know that,” Liza scoffed finally looking back up at Lily sadly. “And I know that could be the explanation.” She paused and took a shaky breath, and her sister let her gather her thoughts before continuing. “I was upset about it before, but I’ve come to terms with it,” she assured her confidently. “I’m more just worried about Mom. I know her, Lily. She would suffer with some secret for fifteen years alone.”

Lily finally paused to consider what Liza was saying at this. She was silent for several moments, running the different scenarios in her head, before slowly commenting, “I think you worry too much. What could she be hiding-” Lily quickly cut herself off and sat up, looking a bit alerted.

Liza straightened up too, a bit on edge from her sister’s abrupt mood change. Following Lily’s eyes, she looked across the pool area to see her mother--in full business attire for some reason--looking absolutely stunned with her mouth hanging open. Quickly turning to see what their mother was staring at, both girls jumped up when then saw their mom walk out of the hotel door.

“Shit, we have to go intercept before they both realize what we pulled on them,” Lily announced desperately, and Liza shot her sister an unamused look.

“Well if you would have just told Yeyu-”

Shaking her head and cutting her sister off, Lily promised, “It was for a reason, I swear. But we have to get in there and buffer for it to matter.”

Sighing, Liza agreed with her sister, and looked back up at their moms. Lena was standing a bit shocked just outside the doorway, and Liza could tell she was trying to come across as calm and collected, but she was nervous. Kara was now trying to work her way forward through the busy pool crowd, distracted as her eyes never left Lena’s. There was a bit of desperation to her movements, like if she took her eyes of Lena for one second, she would disappear again for another fifteen years.

This distraction, however, proved to be their mother’s downfall. One moment, she’s striding confidently and weaving through the crowd, and the next she’s falling straight into the pool that she didn’t notice curved out in front of her.

“Oh my god,” Liza exclaimed, covering her mouth with her hand as she looked on with an amused horror. The whole pool area was now turned to see their mother coming up from the water, sputtering a bit. Her eyes, however, landed immediately on Lena, and she began wading quickly to the side of pool Lena was closest to.

“We gotta-” Lily began, but Liza was already ahead of her, taking off towards their moms. Lily ran after her, but halfway there, Alex stopped her and smirked.

“We’re never letting her live that down,” she stated, and despite the impending doom of both her moms figuring out she pulled one over on them in addition to the intense anxiety of both her moms finally being back together were making it hard for Lily to concentrate on anything else at this moment, she let out a small giggle at her aunt’s teasing.

Pulling away then, Lily jogged to the other side of the pool where Liza was already standing with their mom. Yeyu was pulling herself out of the pool now, and didn’t seem to mind one bit that her multi-thousand dollar dress and shoes were now dripping wet as she stood in front of Lena with a look of awe on her face.

Lena shifted uncomfortably, unsure what to make of Kara’s entrance, and Kara was eventually the one who had to break the silence.

“Hi,” she breathed out, and Lily almost let out a laugh at the absurdity that fifteen years of silence was ended so casually.

Lena let out a small involuntary smile and murmured, “Hi, Kara.”

“Am I- am I missing something here?” Kara asked, a growing concern taking over her nervous expression as she was trying to ignore the buzzing feeling in her head at hearing Lena say her name again. “I’m really surprised to see you. You haven’t been to National City in fifteen years, but you-” Her words seemed to get caught in her throat as she looked Lena up and down quick, causing the other woman to blush lightly, before she finished, “You seem very calm.”

It didn’t take long for Lena to figure out Kara still hadn’t been told about the situation, and when she did, she fixated on the nearest target she could blame.

“Hey, why are you glaring at me?” Liza yelped, frowning at Lena.

Taking her mom’s expression into account, Lily decided it was better to stay a few feet away from the situation for the time being, and took a small step backwards to stay out of sight.

“I’m not the one who decided not to tell her,” Liza continued to protest.

Kara glanced confused back and forth between Liza and Lena, trying to put together what she was seeing. “Lily?” she finally asked, her voice a bit soft, and Liza looked up at her nervously. “Are you the mastermind behind… whatever this is?” For the life of her, Kara couldn’t figure out what was going on. Had Lily invited Lena Luthor to National City, and then got her to stay in the same hotel as them? Did she… did she know who Lena Luthor was? Kara’s skin felt clammy as she balked at the possibility.

Liza shifted uncomfortably, trying to figure out how to phrase her answer gently. “Lily is the mastermind, but I’m not her,” she finally admitted, and Kara furrowed her eyebrows before she followed Liza’s pointed look to where the real Lily was standing with a hesitant smile.

Immediately, Kara whirled around and stared at Lena widely, as she solemnly nodded to her to confirm what Kara was seeing.

“Both of them?” she wondered aloud before turning to zero in on her daughter standing next to Lena. “Liza?” she asked nervously, and Liza let out a short nod. Without thinking, Kara stepped forward and wrapped her in a tight hug, getting her all wet in the process, and Liza let out a strained giggle in response. “I’m sorry, it’s just- wow. The first time in fifteen years I’m seeing you,” Kara related, leaning down a bit so she could look her daughter in the eyes and stroked her cheek softly.

“Not to interrupt a moment here,” Lena cut in after a second a bit regretfully, “but does one of you want to explain to your mother why that’s not true?” She was wearing a hard expression that once again confused Kara, as they both looked at their daughters.

“I’m going to let Lily answer that one,” Liza passed off, as Lily came up on her side.

Scoffing, Lily pouted at her sister and mumbled, “Coward.”

“Lily?” Kara stated warningly, her eyes narrowing at her daughter. “What did you do?”

Taking a deep breath and steeling herself for her mother’s reaction, Lily began in on the explanation. “Liza and I met at camp, and we figured out we were sisters and grew up looking up to our other mom, and we just wanted to meet you so bad, but were worried you two would get weird if we just asked about it, and-”

“Lily,” Kara cut her off sternly, knowing her daughter was stalling.

“We went home as each other,” Lily admitted with a cringe, and Kara’s eyebrows raised as she was floored by the confession.

“You what?” she asked breathlessly.

“They switched places on us, Kara,” Lena related solemnly as Kara’s eyes widened and her eyes flicked back to Liza.

“But that would mean-” she started, swallowing thickly as the implication of her daughter’s switching began to set in. “You’ve been with me the whole week, Liza?” she finally asked a bit incredulously.

Liza cringed a bit. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you-”

“Come here, is’kah,” Kara instructed as she pulled Liza towards her again and clung onto her daughter tightly tears forming in her eyes. How had she missed a whole week with her?

Then, eyes flicking up to Lily, Kara pulled back softly and asked, “And you’ve been in London all week?”

Lily bit her lip and gave a nervous nod before Kara held out her arms to her, and she quickly slammed into them, holding onto her mother as she tried to steady her breathing to not cry.

“Does this mean you’re not mad at me?” Lily mumbled into the hug, thinking maybe she had gotten lucky with the whole thing.

“Oh, I’m furious,” her mother quickly responded, and Lily gulped nervously, waiting for her mother’s lecture. “But we’ll talk about that later,” Kara sighed, relenting a bit, and Lily relaxed again.

Clearing her throat a little bit, Lena interrupted the two and brought everyone’s attention back to the situation at hand. “Okay, now that that’s all out of the way-”

“It’s good to see you again, Lena,” Kara impulsively interrupted, murmuring softly. Now that the mystery of the situation was solved, Kara’s mind was now focusing on the actual reality that Lena was standing in front of her for the first time in fifteen years. If she was being honest, she wasn’t sure if she would ever see her again, and her mind was kind of swimming looking at her in all her glory after all these years. It was all of Kara’s worst nightmares and best dreams wrapped up into one.

The interruption startled Lena a bit, as her breath caught and she quieted quickly. “It’s good to see you too, Kara,” she relented after a moment, her voice soft and a bit nervous. They both held each other’s gaze for a prolonged second, the tension between them climbing before Lena cough a little and glanced downward, breaking the suspense between them. “Do you make a habit of wearing business clothes when you go swimming nowadays?” she teased, a slight smirk ghosting the corner of her mouth, and Kara let out a little chuckle, glancing down at her ruined outfit.

“Only when I’m coming straight from a CatCo emergency,” she quipped, and Lily quirked her eyebrows a bit. She hadn’t realized her uncle would use business as an excuse rather than superehero-ing to pull their mother away. “And it’s not like you’re one to talk, you know,” Kara pointed out, a grin spreading across her face as she looked pointedly at Lena’s slacks and button up.

“Touche,” Lena responded, raising her eyebrow and letting out a little laugh.

They stood there for an awkward beat, their smiles at each other become slightly strained, until Liza finally cleared her throat a little so one of them would do something.

Both women blinked a bit startled back to reality, and Kara blushed as she stammered, “So- so what were you saying?”

Lena was blushing now too as she tried to regain her thoughts and remember what she had been trying to say to Kara. “I think we need a new arrangement,” she finally related, less confident than she was before, but when Kara tilted her head confused, Lena sighed and elaborated further. “The girls know about each other and… us now,” she explained, and Kara tried not to pick up on the fact that both her and Lena’s heartbeat spiked a bit at hearing them as an ‘us’ again. “We should come up with a new arrangement so they can both see each other and both of us more regularly,” she continued.

Kara wetted her dry lips at this, trying to come up with a response. “Yeah, that makes sense,” she admitted, but her mind wanted to ask what was wrong with their original arrangement, the one before Kara never heard from Lena again, and she got to come home to her and the girls every day. Her mind wanted to ask why had they let things get so bad that wasn’t a possibility anymore.

*****

Kara fumbled with the cellphone in her hands in a panic and ended up dropping the phone as she went to place her call.

“Kara,” Lena gritted out warningly, as her hand wrapped protectively around her large stomach and she winced in pain.

Bending down quickly to pick up the phone and hold it to her ear, Kara mumbled under her breath “come on, come on, come on” and exuded maximum nervous energy as she ran around their house trying to collect everything she would need. When she heard the tone for the voicemail again, she hung up frustrated and started to redial the number for the fourth time.

“Kara, darling,” Lena tried again, the patience in her voice wearing thin. “Just grab the bag we packed, and take me to the hospital,” she instructed. “We can try to call Eliza again when we’re on our way. It okay, you got this; we just need to-”

Lena’s voice was cut off when she cringed and let out a whimper, trying to breath steadily to get herself through the pain. Though the nerves still ate away at Kara mercilessly, she finally nodded and sat down the phone on the counter, heading her wife’s words and going over to help get her to the car. The plan had been that Eliza would meet them at the hospital to help them because everyone had assumed (correctly) that when the day came Lena had to give birth, Kara would be a disaster.

When they were on the highway, Kara pulled out her phone and dialed the most recent number again, but again, she was sent to voicemail, and panic started to seize her body as she tried to calm herself down. She was just stressing Lena out, she chided herself. She wasn’t even the one who was giving birth.

“Let me try,” Lena offered gently, slipping the phone from her wife’s hands, and Kara relented apprehensively. It would be better for Lena to call since she wasn’t driving, but she shouldn’t have to be worrying about her right now.

Dialing a number slowly, Lena shakily hit call and held the phone to her ear, waiting in silence for a few beats.

“Hey,” she greeted after a moment, and Kara sighed in relief that their call finally went through. “I’m going into labor; could you, uh, meet us at the hospital? Kara’s kind of freaking out, and I think she needs someone.”

Kara was too stressed worrying about the traffic and speeding in and out of lanes to hear the response on the other end of the line, but a few seconds later, she heard her wife murmur “Okay thank you. See you there.” and she finally allowed herself to relax a little and let out a slow breath. They would get to the hospital, and Eliza would be there, and everything would be okay, she told herself.

A little over ten minutes later, Kara was pulling the car into the parking lot and working quickly to get her wife into the hospital. She wished with everything in her she could have just carried her and flown Lena here in an instant, but there was no guarantee flying wouldn’t harm the twins, as well as it would put her own identity at risk.

As soon as Lena was walked into the hospital, she was greeted by nurses who began to ask her a million questions. Kara stood anxiously to the side, filling in information where necessary, and shifting the weight on her feet every so often. Several minutes later, Lena was fully checked into a room and Kara was pacing the floor as Lena tried to mentally prepare herself for what was about to come. When they heard a small knock on the door, both looked up expectantly, and Kara raised her eyebrows in surprise.

“Backup has arrived,” Lena announced with a small smile, and Lillian reciprocated the smile nervously in the doorway.

Kara vaguely remembered Lena mentioning her mother would be in and out of meetings in National City for the next few weeks, trying to expand their R and D labs. She just hadn’t realized she had called Lillian instead of Eliza in the car, but Kara grateful her wife’s quick thinking brought her this solution. It was clear Lillian just came from a meeting, as she was dressed in a suit and looked a bit frazzled to be there.

Lillian turned her attention to Kara, and her eyes seemed to ask how she was holding up. Responding with a slight grimace, Lillian let a genuinely amused grin slip onto her lips as she finally relented her spot in the doorway and walked towards her daughter-in-law.

She had never been an overly affectionate being in Kara’s life. Honestly she could probably count on one hand the number of times Lillian had hugged her over the years. But there seemed to be an understanding between them right now, and so when Lillian cautiously approached Kara, neither hesitated to pull the other into a tight hug that lasted several long moments. After they both pulled away, they tried to sneakily wipe away the tears that had found their way onto their faces, and they both laughed a little at the encounter, becoming overwhelmed with happiness at that moment.

“It’s all going to be okay, Kara,” Lillian promised after moment. “We get the easy part.”

Kara nodded at this and swallowed thickly as the question she wanted to ask got stuck in her throat. “What if-” she began but cut herself off, ducking her head. “What if I’m not ready to be a mom? What if I mess it all up?”

Lillian shook her head, but her eyes told Kara she understood. “It doesn’t do any good to hold onto those fears,” she disclosed. “Because no matter what, you’re never completely ready, and you’ll mess things up,” she explained comfortingly. “But the good news is, neither of those things are the criteria to be a good mother. As long as your patient and willing to communicate with your children, you’ll be fine, Kara. You and Lena are going to be wonderful moms.”

Kara let out a long breath and nodded, her tense muscles relaxing just a bit. That was exactly what she needed to hear.

Lillian then turned her attention to her daughter and sat down on her bed with her, stroking her hair and whispering words of encouragement. Lena seemed to respond well to the attention, as she began to relax a little more as well. A few hours later when the doctor announced Lena was ready to be moved to the operating room. All three women looked at each other and apprehensively began to help Lena up.

The operation passed in a blur. When they held up each of their daughters after delivery, Kara and Lena had clutched each other’s hands tightly and cried freely at the love at first sight they felt for their girls. The twins were taken away then to get cleaned and make sure their vitals looked okay, and before Kara could even process it, her and Lena were in the maternity ward holding two tiny babies that were tightly bundled up in their hospital blankets. Lena and Kara were quiet for the most part. Partly because Lena was recovering from the surgery, but mostly because they were both in such awe.

Kara decided in that moment that the rest of her life belonged to the two lives in their arms. She would protect them from everything the world would throw at them and make sure they grew up knowing that they were loved, and nothing in the world could take her away from them.

When they heard someone knock to announce their presence in the doorway, both women looked up expectantly to meet Eliza’s eyes.

“Eliza!” Kara greeted, her eyes lighting up as tears began to pool in them, eager for her mom to meet her daughters. “You made it!”

Eliza shot them an apologetic smile and explained, “I’m sorry, you two. I was out in the field and didn’t have service when you called. Lillian eventually got ahold of me and caught me up on everything.”

“You’re okay, Eliza,” Lena reassured her softly. “Everything went perfectly.”

Eliza beamed at her daughter-in-law and leaned down to lightly hug her. “I’m glad to hear that,” she murmured. “Now, who’s this beautiful girl,” she inquired kneeling down to coo in awe at her granddaughter.

"Her name is Elizabeth Lexington,” Lena admitted quietly after a moment, grinning at Eliza wide-eyed look of shock. “After you and Lex."

It took Eliza a few moments to process this information, and by the time she had, tears were already streaming down her face as Lena shifted her daughter into Eliza’s arms. “Oh aren’t you just the most beautiful girl,” Eliza doted, still a bit in awe that her daughters had decided to use her as a namesake.

Kara smiled at the interaction, a bit overwhelmed with emotion herself, when she noticed Lillian lingering near the doorway, hesitant to fully enter the room.

Deciding to put her mother-in-law’s apprehension at rest, Kara gingerly scooted off the bed and carried Lily over with a grin. When she neared Lillian, she held her daughter out at an angle to let her meet her granddaughter for the first time.

"I can already see the resemblance,” Lillian commented, a smile winning out over her anxiety of not belonging in the room at that moment. “What's her name?"

Kara smiled a bit and could feel Lena’s eyes watching them carefully, as they waited in anticipation for the response. "Lillian Alexandra,” Kara murmured with a kind of reverence, staring lovingly at her daughter. Then glancing up at Lillian bashfully, she reassured her, “Don't worry, we'll call her Lily so there's no confusion."

Lillian stared at Kara stunned, as if she had misheard her. Kara just smiled at her encouragingly, knowing this was why Lena and her had kept the twins’ names top secret until now. They had wanted their moms to meet their granddaughters before they learned of their legacy.

“You didn't have to-"

"We did,” Kara cut her off firmly, expecting this kind of protest to come from her mother-in-law. “I don't think you know the impact you have on us, Lillian."

"I- I know I wasn’t the best mother to her over the years,” Lillian finally admitted, her voice lowering so Lena wouldn’t hear her from across the room. “I knew I could never replace her mother, and I tried to always-"

"Do you see that woman over there?” Kara inquired gently, stopping Lillian before she could fully convince herself she didn’t deserve this. “The woman who just gave birth to two girls and is potentially the best woman any of us have ever been in the presence of?” she continued, and Lillian glanced over at her daughter who met her eyes and smiled softly. “You raised her; you were there for her when she was a child and she got bullied at school, and when she was stressed in college, and when she needed someone to walk her down the aisle at our wedding. And when I was panicking earlier, and she needed someone to come to calm me down, you were there for her then too. And when she’s tired and stressed and feels like a horrible mother in two weeks, I know you'll still be there, because you’re a great mother, Lillian. And Lily couldn't have a better namesake."

Lillian sniffed a little when the speech was over, wiping her eyes a bit as she tried to compose herself. “Can I hold her?” she finally asked after a moment, her voice thick with emotion, and Kara happily passed her daughter into her arms.

Sneaking a glance at her wife, Lena was watching her intently with tears in her eyes as well.

“Thank you,” she mouthed, and Kara just smiled softly back at her.

Because it was the easiest thing in the world, she realized, to help Lillian realize she deserved this happiness and this family. This wasn’t a trick or a hoax from the universe, like Kara assumed a lot of happiness was in her early life.

No, she decided as she looked around the room at a small part of the family they had brought together. This was exactly how happy they all deserved to be every moment of every day for the rest of their lives. Each and every one of them had fought hard to get here. And Kara knew it was naïve to believe there wouldn’t be hard days or really bad things that happened.

But she did believe that despite everything, this family had enough happiness and love to make it through it all.

*****

Kara swallowed her questions, however, and put on a painful smile. If Lena’s expression were any to go off of, she didn’t want to be in this position either. Neither of them had wanted everything to end like it did; they just had to make do with the pieces they still had, and most importantly: they had to do what was best by their daughters.

“You, um, I’ll let you get changed and stuff,” Lena finally broke her train of thought, stumbling through the words a bit. “We can discuss this all later,” she continued, and Kara was grateful, for she was going to need some time to process everything she had just learned.

“Yeah, we’ll… later,” Kara agreed uselessly, and Lena nodded shortly.

Lena began to turn to leave, when she paused and looked back at Kara with an unreadable expression on her face. “Congrats by the way,” she offered, and Kara furrowed her eyebrows. “On the engagement,” she clarified, and Kara stiffened involuntarily.

How did Lena know about that? Her eyes glanced over to Liza who was staring guiltily at the ground and then to Lily who was gritting her teeth and staring off irritatedly at something across the pool yard. Of course Liza had told Lena and Lily about Mon-El, she realized, and her stomach churned. It shouldn’t bother her, she told herself. She was allowed to move on, and it didn’t matter that Lena knew that she had.

Except for whatever inexplicable reason, it did matter to her. Because Kara wasn’t engaged, and it felt increasingly important that Lena know that. She had stood frozen long enough that Lena was now walking away, not waiting for Kara’s response, and Liza was tailing after her quietly.

Kara took a step forward to call Lena back and set the record straight, but before she could, Lily quickly grabbed her arm and started pulling her the opposite way, clearly not seeing her mother’s attempt to speak with her mom. Kara sighed, accepting that this would have to happen before she would have any discussion with Lena. Both her and her daughter had a lot to air out between them from the past couple of months. She knew Lily was quick to act before thinking, and she had learned some life changing news, but it was taking everything in Kara’s motherly instincts not to lecture her and ground her into the next century.

“You have a lot of explaining to do,” Lily finally demanded, spinning around to face her mother with her arms crossed.

Kara stopped and spluttered a bit, trying to get her bearings on her daughter’s statement. “I have a lot of explaining to do?” she asked after a moment, her eyebrows shooting up incredulously. “I’m not the fifteen year old who just went to London without telling her mother.” Crossing her arms to match her daughter and holding her stare.

Without hesitating, however, Lily pushed on, insistently. “No, you’re just the thirty-nine year old who went off and tried to get hitched without telling her daughter,” she accused, her voice raising a little, and Kara flinched at her daughter’s harsh tone.

She should have expected this, honestly. Rao, Kara should have been suspicious when Liza hadn’t reacted like Lily was right now when she had talked with her about Mon-El earlier in the week. It stung a bit that Lily thought she would purposefully keep her in the dark about her boyfriend for selfish reasons, but after everything her daughter had learned recently, she couldn’t find it in herself to fault her for it.

Instead, Kara sighed softly, and tried to reason with her daughter. “Lily, Mon-el is-”

“A Daxamite!” Lily cried out in disbelief, cutting her mother off before she could say anything else. “Of all people, you chose-”

“A guy who happens to make me happy,” Kara pushed back, her tone bordering on impatient. The last thing she needed the same day she saw Lena again was her daughter lecturing her on the boyfriend she’s never met.

Lily scoffed at her mother’s rebuttal and rolled her eyes. “Oh please! I bet I’ve seen you more in love with a potsticker than with that guy.”

“Lillian Alexandra that is enough,” Kara scolded sternly, gritting her teeth a bit. A small tinge of guilt nagged at her when she saw tears begin pooling in her daughter’s eyes.

“Why did it have to be now?” Lily cried out, a few tears escaping onto her cheeks that she tried to wipe away inconspicuously, and Kara blinked in surprise at the outburst. “It was just us for all these years, and then right when I try to bring our family back together, you suddenly decide you’re ready to move on?”

Kara’s breath caught as her brain slowly processed her daughter’s words. She wasn’t actually trying to- Who was she kidding, this was Lily she was talking about. Once she got an idea in her head, she never let it rest, and while this was definitely one of the more insane ideas she had ever had, she had gotten her and Lena in the same building for the first time in fifteen years, so maybe she needed to give her daughter a little more credit.

Except she didn’t want to pursue a woman who was clearly no longer interested in her in the least bit. She had been doing that for years now, and it needed to end. She needed to let Lena go, once and for all.

Swallowing thickly, Kara spoke slowly, “I’m sorry, is’kah. I’m assuming you had a big plan for this, but sometimes things don’t work out for people, your mom and I being some of them. I’m asking you to respect that I’m ready to move on.”

Shaking her head, Lily frowned and crossed her arms stubbornly. “I would respect it if that’s what this was, but it’s not, and we both know it.”

Kara steeled her voice and asked, “And what do you think this is exactly?”

Lily sighed loudly and glared up at her mother pointedly. “You watched the love of your life walk away fifteen years ago, and watching me go away to that camp terrified you,” she stated accusingly. “You’re being reckless because you don’t know how to be anything else when people leave, and your heart’s too big to handle all the trauma you’ve been through in your life.” Lily paused for a moment, sniffing and biting her cheek as she surveyed her mother’s expression and decided it was time to deliver the final blow to get through to her. “You need to pull it together though because the woman you’re clearly still hung up on is in National City for the first time in fifteen years, and you’re in danger of not doing anything but watch her walk away again because you impulsively became involved with a Daxamite.”

Lily was confident her speech would stir something in her mother. Make her see Lily’s side and that she should fight for her mom. There was no way she could choose Non-Oil over Lena Luthor given the choice, right? Someone just had to make the choice available for her.

But her mother just stared at her with a mixture of sadness and anger, and Lily didn’t know what to make of that.

“Are we interrupting something?” a voice called from a few feet away, and Lily and Kara’s eyes both shot up in surprise to see Lena and Liza standing there a bit bashfully. Neither of them had even heard the other two walk up, and now they were both trying to conceal the emotions they were clearly just displaying for each other.

Lily could feel Liza’s eyes trying to reach hers, but she pointedly avoided them. She just wasn’t ready to face her quite yet after her… disagreement with their mother.

“Lily?” Lena finally asked softly after enough time had passed without an answer to justify speaking up again. “Is everything okay?”

Kara tried to ignore the sting she felt from Lena going straight to their daughter instead of her to inquire about the situation. There was no reason for her to be upset about it besides that it was just yet another constant reminder that they weren’t a team anymore and the only commonality between them at this point were their daughters.

“Yeah,” Lily brushed off, forcing a fake cheerfulness into her voice. “Everything’s fine.”

Lena considered the response for a moment before she decided she would let it go, not wanting to get too caught up in what was obviously a very personal conversation between Lily and Kara. “Liza suggested we all to go to dinner tonight to discuss things, so I figured I would come back to ask, but if you two want to-”

“No we’ll come!” Lily volunteered quickly, her eyes shooting up widely to her mom’s and they side glancing over to her mother worriedly. She prayed to Rao that her mother wouldn’t turn the request down after Lily had already accepted on both of their behalfs, but a large part of her was expecting it.

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to. We can talk in the morning,” Lena finally reassured her softly, and when Kara met her eyes, she was scared she would be met with judgement or criticism not only for considering backing out of a very monumental dinner for their daughters, but also for how clearly upset she had made Lily before Lena had walked up.

To her surprise, however, she was only met with patience and understanding, and as much as Kara was trying not to let her daughter’s words get under her skin right now, her heart tugged a bit towards falling all over again into a spiral of wanting Lena again.

“No I want to,” Kara finally responded assuredly, and Lena smiled gratefully at her.

Brightening her smile a bit and looking at the girls, Lena announced, “Well then I’ll go make a reservation for seven. You girls should go get ready.”

Lily hesitated, looking at her mother and then at her mom and finally at Liza. When their eyes met, it didn’t take long for Liza to understand what her sister needed, and she sighed and nodded, relenting.

“You two should go ahead,” she instructed towards Lena and Lily, avoiding her mother’s eyes. “I need a moment alone with Yeyu.”

Lily shot Liza a grateful glance, and Liza bit her lip a bit in apprehension. She wasn’t quite sure what she would say to Yeyu to make any kind of difference if Lily couldn’t get through to her, but her sister needed her to try, and so that was what she would do.

Her mom seemed to hesitate slightly, wanting to protest, but she eventually nodded and held her arm out to Lily to lead her away. It was a few beats of silence between the remaining two before either spoke.

“Lily’s been upset,” Liza finally stated, looking up sadly at her mother. She knew Lily would want to convince her to end her relationship to restart her old one, but this felt more important right now.

“I can tell,” Kara responded quietly with a grimace.

”You know, she never really talks about her feelings much, not without you,” Liza observed, trying to keep her voice from shaking. She had spent all week talking to Yeyu, but for some reason talking to her as Liza instead of Lily was so much harder. “We learned all this life changing information at camp, and she was the one looking out for me and making sure I was okay and keeping her emotions under wraps. I think you’re the only one she trusts herself to be vulnerable around, even if it comes out a bit harsh. She’s not actually mad at you.”

More than anything, Liza just didn’t want her mother to be upset with Lily for lashing out or speaking too plainly. She could tell this had all been building up for some time now, and she didn’t want Yeyu to get the idea that Lily was unproportionally upset at her.

Sighing, Kara took a step forward and wrapped Liza in a tight hug. “I know, is’kah,” she whispered, her hands rubbing her daughter’s back comfortingly. “Thank you.”

Liza nodded dutifully as she pulled away from the hug and shifted uncomfortably. “I understand you, by the way,” she offered, hoping to create some middle ground with her mother.

“Do you?” Kara asked, taken a little by surprise, but not by much, considering everything she had learned about what she was now realizing was Liza’s patient demeanor from the past week.

“You and Mom were soulmates right?” her daughter inquired innocently, and Kara nearly choked at the words.

She stared at Liza for a long time, trying to debate how to answer. When they were together, Kara had full heartedly believed they had been soulmates. Even now, there was a small voice that whispered that she would always believe that. But how did she explain to a fifteen year old that being someone’s soulmate didn’t automatically guarantee that things would always work out?

So instead of bringing down the point her daughter wanted to make, Kara just gave out a subdued nod and responded, “Yeah.”

Nodding as well, Liza continued, “Your soulmate walked away, and you don’t know why, and you aren’t to be blamed for how you dealt with that. Even if it’s with some less than ideal guy, you are entitled to your recovery.”

It was a statement eerily similar to Lily’s, but softer and more understanding. Kara flinched a little at the dig at Mon-El, but ultimately she decided to let it pass. Instead, she let out a low breath and commented, “Good to know you’re wise like your mom, is’kah.”

“I’m not done, Yeyu,” Liza stopped her, and Kara held her breath. “You also deserve to know what went wrong, and you deserve to try and fix it, and you can’t do that if you’re hanging onto to this guy. I know in some weird way it’s important to you to make this relationship work, to prove you weren’t the broken one. But if you’re going to entertain that idea, then please also entertain the idea that your soulmate is the one worth fixing things with. You owe that to yourself more than anything with him.”

Soundlessly wiping away the tear that slipped out of her eye, Kara stared at her daughter for a long moment before stating, “We should probably head in and get ready for dinner. Your mom hates being late.”

Liza bit her lip and studied her mother sadly, as if she wanted to say something else, but eventually she relented and accepted she wouldn’t be able to make any more headway with her mother right now. She would just have to try again later.

Grateful her daughter was allowing her to drop it for the time being, Kara gestured that they should return inside the hotel, and the two began to make their way in. Kara dropped Liza off on Lena’s floor and then waited for the elevator to bring her up to her room.

Closing her eyes, she thought over her daughter’s words and ignored her churning stomach as she considered the possibility. It was madness, she told herself, to think that Lena would want anything to do with her after all these years of silence. But for one second--only one--she allowed herself to wish everything was just as simple as her daughters made it out to be.

Chapter Text

Lily seemed much calmer when Kara entered the room to start getting ready, and was now patiently sitting on her bed observing her mother pick out an outfit for the evening. Kara was pointedly not saying anything to her so as to not stir up any other strong emotions before she would be put on trial with Lena for an hour. She didn’t need her ex reading any more into her relationship with their daughter than she surely already was.

Scrunching her nose as Kara pulled a purple dress from her suitcase, Lily called out, “You can’t wear that.”

Kara stilled a bit, immediately on defense after her and Lily’s altercation earlier, but after a moment she relaxed and let a small smile slip onto her lips. Since the time she was six years old, Lily had been very opinionated on Kara’s wardrobe; she could choose to read into this as an attempt to continue with her plan to set her and Lena back up, or she could allow them to relax back into their set roles for the time being.

“And what would you have me wear?” Kara questioned, with a raised eyebrow, and Lily beamed at her mother as she scooted off the bed and made her way towards the closet behind Kara. Opening it a bit ceremoniously, Lily dramatically pulled out Kara’s dark navy, custom tailored suit that she had only worn once before, when she accepted her Pulitzer a few years prior.

Kara let out a little snort at Lily’s sincere expression and rolled her eyes a bit. “That’s a bit much, don’t you think?” she questioned with a raised eyebrow, and Lily held it out more insistently.

“We’re having dinner with Lena Luthor,” Lily shot back. “She may not have exclusively eaten at five star restaurants fifteen years ago, but I can tell you from personal experience, she certainly does now.”

It was a weak excuse, and they both knew it. Lily didn’t want Kara to dress up for any old restaurant. They could be walking into a place that served food that had fallen on the floor and then subsequently been spit on, and Lily would still insist Kara should get dressed up in her most dashing suit because Lena would be there.

With a mildly amused expression, Kara crossed her arms and asked, “Did you seriously fly home and back in the past five minutes just to get this suit and guilt me into wearing it for your mom?”

Blushing a bit, Lily shrugged and inquired, “If I had?”

Pressing her lips into a firm line, Kara responded, “I would say you directly disobeyed my clear rules about you flying in and out of populated areas.”

Lily nodded at this as if she were expecting this response, and commented cheekily, “Good thing that’s not what I did then.” Staring innocently at her mother, Kara finally broke and let out a long sigh and reached out for the suit.

Lily bit the inside of her cheek triumphantly as her mother begrudgingly retreated to the bathroom to get changed. Kara told herself she was doing it for her daughter and her daughter only. Because she was already in a relationship. And the idea of Lena getting that look in her eye that she always did when she saw Kara in a suit was doing nothing to sway her feelings on the subject, she thought stubbornly.

Twenty minutes later, Kara and Lily were in the elevator on their way down to the lobby, and Lily was smiling approvingly at her mother. Kara glanced over at Lily’s smug look and rolled her eyes a bit.

“I don’t know what you’re expecting, is’kah,” she commented light heartedly. “This suit isn’t going to convince your mom to uproot her whole multi-billion dollar company halfway across the world.”

The words were still light, but Lily caught the meaning behind them. Her mother wanted her to slow down and consider all the facts here. Her mom still had L Corp in London. Yeyu wasn’t going to be willing to commute thousands of miles for either of her jobs. Making her mom swoon at Kara in a suit was the very least of things that would need to happen to reunite their family permanently.

Instead of addressing this, however, Lily just hummed and responded effortlessly, “I don’t think you have enough faith in the suit.”

Before Kara could respond, the elevator dinged, and the doors opened to allow them to spill out into the crowded lobby of people getting ready to go to different dinners and parties. Kara spotted Lena and Liza across the room first, and she strained her neck and held up her hand to wave and signal that they were there.

Her mother may have talked big on the way down from the room, but the moment Lena’s eyes landed on her and her mouth opened in a bit of a stuttered, frozen panic, accompanied by an immediate wild increase in her heartbeat, Lily was convinced she had made the right decision. This was in turn was backed up by Kara’s large surge of breath at seeing Lena in a deep emerald green dress that Lily had insisted Liza convince their mom to wear.

They just needed a few nudges towards each other, Lily thought with a smirk. They would work the rest out themselves.

When Lily and Kara walked up to Liza and Lena, both the adults seemed to still be rebooting their brains to find any words, and the girls shared a conspiratorial look and a subtle thumbs up at their good work.

“Should we head to the restaurant?” Lena finally managed to grit out, and Kara nodded eagerly. “It’s only two blocks away so I figured we could walk,” she offered, and everyone agreed readily.

Liza and Lily began to lead their crew out the door and to the sidewalk.

“It’s crazy you two met at that camp,” Kara finally broke the silence, voicing the thought that had been running through her head since she learned about the switch. Liza and Lily grinned at each other, well aware of how kind fate had been to them. “I’m surprised Lily’s prank war with that other girl didn’t take up all of her attention,” she added on after a moment, a little laugh leaving her lips, and while Lily and Liza both tried to laugh awkwardly along, Lena froze midstep, her eyes widening.

“Wait,” she started, holding her hands up as everyone else turned to look at her concerned. “You?” she asked Liza before turning her attention to Lily. “And you? You two were the-” She never finished her sentence before she began to burst out laughing. “I was so distracted by the roster-” she tried to muscle out again shaking her head. “I didn’t realize-”

“What am I missing?” Kara cut her off this time, her expression a mixture of amusement and utter confusion.

Lily began shuffling her feet a bit, but was ultimately unable to keep the small smile off her lips. “Yeyu, about that prank war-”

“I was the girl she made skinny dip and then stole her clothes,” Liza deadpanned, a smirk painted on her face as Kara’s jaw dropped a little bit.

“Hey, you lost that poker game fair and square!” Lily shot back before anyone else could respond. “I’m not the idiot who didn’t calculate out that her opponent had a royal flush.”

“And I’m not the idiot who had to have the fire department come out and get my furniture off the roof because my clearly superior opponent stumped me,” Liza countered haughtily, sticking her tongue out at Lily.

Lily opened her mouth to respond again, but stopped herself when she noticed both of her moms doubled over with laughter and clutching each other as they tried to breathe.

“Oh my god,” Lena gasped out, unsure why she was laughing so hard, but unable to stop herself all the same.

“They’re us!” Kara cried out.

“Terrorizing their siblings right out of the gate. Sounds about right,” Lena confirmed, still shaking a bit from the laughter. Kara and her shared a warm look as they began to compose themselves, and Lily and Liza shot each other a knowing expression.

“Wait wait, did you two figure out you were sisters before or after the prank war?” Kara asked suddenly, and both girls let out a little huff of laughter.

“After,” Liza clarified softly.

Lily jumped in, explaining, “I noticed Liza’s necklace one day, and on a suspicion, I hacked into the National City records to find our birth certificates. Lo and behold, our names under yours.” She spun around as she was walking to grin proudly and she was met with a raised eyebrow and muted impressed expression on Lena Luthor. Widening her grin, she opened her mouth to add on, but was quickly cut off.

“Lily!” Yeyu cried out, a mixture of annoyance and frustration, and the daughter in question quickly flashed her confusion-filled eyes to her mother.

“What?” she asked frowning a bit, confused by the change in energy from her mother, and Liza sighed a bit beside her.

“What do you mean ‘what’?” Kara admonished hands being placed on her hips, and Lily bit her lip as it suddenly hit her what her mother was going to say next. “I told you you weren’t allowed to bring that hotspot equipment to camp,” she began, a bit exasperated. “And on top of that, I seem to remember forbidding you from hacking into the city records three years ago.”

Grimacing, Lily turned on her heel to walk with her back to her mother once again, and mumbled, “Oops.” Liza tsked a bit and rolled her eyes, knowing her sister was going to blow her own cover at some point.

“ ‘Oops’ is right; you’re in trouble, is’kah,” Kara informed her, crossing her arms and she didn’t have to use her laser vision for Lily to feel the holes she was burning in the back of her head.

“Yeyu, in the grand scheme of everything that’s happened, do we really want to dwell on-”

“Do not test me right now, Lily,” her mother stated warningly, her arms crossed as she glared at her daughter with an unimpressed look.

Opening her mouth to counter but then thinking better of it and deflating a bit, Lily breathed a disappointed, “Fine.”

“And you,” Kara continued, spinning to address Lena, catching her off guard. “Stop looking at her like that,” she instructed, her voice stern.

“Like what?” Lena sputtered to respond, confused as to what Kara was referring. Lena had been behind her the whole time and she couldn’t have possibly have seen her expression at the interaction.

“Like you’re proud of our daughter for figuring out how to break the law and not get caught,” Kara supplemented, and Lena immediately flushed, wondering how Kara knew that was exactly what she was thinking. “We’re supposed to be discouraging the girls from operating outside the law, remember?” she questioned, this time smirking a bit at Lena’s guilty expression.

Rolling her eyes, Lena brushed Kara off and continued walking down the street. “I wasn’t aware the DEO works within full limits of the law now,” she teased dryly, raising her eyebrows, and Lily let out a little snort that she quickly tried to play off as a cough.

“Oh the DEO was easy to bring into the light,” Kara informed her easily. “CatCo on the other hand... I had to fight tooth and nail to get that place to work lawfully after Cat Grant’s departure and its descent into chaos,” she lamented dramatically, pulling a small giggle and shake of the head from Lena. Kara beamed proudly at the reaction, her skin warming a bit as she bit her cheek and ducked her head.

“Oh I know how ruthless those CatCo reporters can be with my PR department, I have no doubt about that,” Lena commented after a moment with a roll of her eyes.

“We have a moral duty to make sure you’re PR department is giving us preference and letting us announce your discoveries first,” Kara rebutted with confidence, earning her another laugh.

Humming Lena quirked her head a bit and mused, “Well if it’s your moral duty…”

“Hey, um guys?” Lily finally cut in. “You remember we’re still here right? I mean we could leave, and let you two have dinner by yourselves,” she offered, trailing off with a smirk, and Kara just shook her head and let out a laugh as she wrapped an unsuspecting Lily up in a hug.

“I’m sure you would love that, wouldn’t you, Lilybug?” she asked with a pointed look.

“I mean…” Lily started.

“Okay, okay. So the two of you had a prank war, and then found out you were sisters,” Lena cut in smiling widely at her daughters, not wanting to get wrapped up in having to actually have dinner alone with Kara. “How’d you spend the rest of you camp experience?”

“Mostly just talking about you two and coming up with the plan to switch,” Lily provided, ready to finally disclose her actual experience at camp. A lot of her stories were tied up in finding her twin and planning to get their moms reunited; she hadn’t really been able to tell much of any of her experience because of it.

“That was her focus at least,” Liza cut in with an eye roll, and Lily turned and looked at her sister a bit confused. “I spent a lot of my time trying to get this idiot and Maia together.”

The reaction from Lily was immediate, as her face flushed bright red and her eyes widened as she realized what Liza was intending to disclose.

“Maia?” Kara asked, raising her eyebrows and grinning conspiratorially.

“Her girlfriend,” Liza filled in easily with a singsong voice as Lily immediately tried to cover her mouth.

“Liza!” Lily whined as Liza dodged out of her way. “Stop, we’re not- we haven’t like defined anything, so it’s not-” Huffing, Lily dropped her sentence and crossed her arms, pouting.

“Yeah she gets like this every time she’s brought up,” Liza informed her moms proudly, and they both looked like they were holding back their laughter.

“Lizaaa,” Lily complained again, her blush not subsiding in the least, and her sister threw her arm around her shoulders comfortingly.

“Wait,” Kara questioned after a moment, furrowing her eyebrows a bit, but keeping her smile in place. “Earlier this week,” she continued, deciding to be purposefully vague as she tried to ask what she was asking. “Liza, was that-”

Immediately understanding what her mother was trying to ask, Liza bit her cheek. “That was me coming out to you, Yeyu,” Liza assured her softly after a moment, ducking her head a bit in embarrassment. “I wasn’t, like, trying to be Lily or anything.” Her eyes flicked back up to Kara’s and pointedly avoided her mom’s. It felt almost like she was holding her breath. She knew Lily had already come out to their mom as her, but Lena had known the whole time it wasn’t her.

In short, this was her coming out to her mom. And she still just felt nervous, even though she knew it would be fine.

But there was still a nagging in the back of her brain. Maybe her mom would be upset at her for telling Yeyu before her. Or maybe she would be upset that Lily told her before she had.

Instead, however, when her eyes met her mom’s, Lena was already closing the distance between them, and Liza felt herself being wrapped into a tight hug before she could fully process it.

“I’m proud of you, darling,” she whispered into her hair, and Liza finally let herself relax and reciprocate the hug.

When they pulled away from the hug, they found Kara and Lily standing beside them with their arms linked around each other as they watched on softly. Pulling her arm from around Lily gently, Kara then held her arms out to Liza, who accepted the hug offer from her mother without question.

“I’m proud of you too,” Kara offered. “And I’m happy you trusted me, is’kah.” Ending the hug, Kara took a step back from her daughter, and slowly her smile turned into a smirk, and she observed, “Plus, if you’re also into girls, that means I can continue to talk you up to Nia.”

“Yeyu!” Liza cried exasperatedly as she ran her fingers through her hair, and Lily burst into laughter, relieved the crush teasing had moved its way to her sister.

“Hey, woah,” Lena cut in seriously, and every quieted a bit and turned to her with a bit of anxiety. “I need to know who these Maia and Nia girls are before I approve of any setting up for my daughters,” she instructed with a pointed look and both girls blushed.

“Oh, you’ll love Nia,” Kara reassured her easily. “And I think Maia is the friend from Metropolis, so I can send Clark in for an interrogation right now if we wanted,” she continued, holding up her phone.

“Oh my Rao, Yeyu please no,” Lily protested immediately, her eyes wide with fear.

Chuckling, Lena shook her head and responded, “Call off your man, Danvers; I’ll leave you to do the interrogating at a later time.”

“Only if you’ve got the background checks?” Kara inquired, and Lena smiled cheekily.

“Of course.”

Groaning, Liza sighed and muttered, “Oh yeah, brilliant plan, Lily.” Crossing her arms, she continued, huffing, “Get our moms back together, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.”

Both women laughed while the girls pouted, realizing having their moms together might actually prove to be the more embarrassing of the options. The group continued to walk in a comfortable silence, all buzzing from their conversation and the surreal feeling of being a whole family for the first time in fifteen years. At one point, Liza thought she even saw her moms’ hands almost interlacing fingers, but when she turned a bit abruptly to observe closer, the women were a foot apart and looking at her quizzically.

As they arrived at the restaurant, Liza tried to shake off what she thought she had seen, and looked to her sister to see if she was suspicious of anything or if Liza was just seeing things, but Lily seemed to be far off in her thoughts. Sighing, Liza knew it would be useless to try to get through to her sister when she was like this, and instead she just stayed quiet as her mother talked to the hostess and they began to follow her to the only empty table in the otherwise crowded restaurant.

Taking their seats, Lena and Kara asked their waitress who approached the table for a round of waters, as well as two glasses of wine. Lily was still eerily quiet, but her eyes caught Liza’s and held them for a moment before going back into her thoughtful state. Swallowing thickly, Liza immediately knew what had Lily so consumed.

She was trying to figure out how to start reminding their moms they belonged together. It was a delicate process for sure. They had to at least attempt to be subtle, otherwise their moms would shut down and not give them anything. Lily must have realized what Liza was realizing now: they had to make it feel like they were reminiscing for their daughters’ sakes, not for their daughters’ scheme. And by the look Lily had just given her, she was close to settling on a path for their plan.

“How did you guys meet?” Lily questioned suddenly, and Kara and Lena shared look that was somewhere between strained and soft. Liza held her breath, knowing the question was too perfect for her moms to resist.

“Clark and Lex set us up on a blind date,” Lena finally admitted after a moment, clearing her throat a bit and smiling at the memory.

“Lex insisted it was all him,” Kara continued with a bit of an eyeroll. “Apparently Clark was skeptical I was even gay, but Lex convinced him Lena would be all over me, and well, he wasn’t wrong,” she recalled with a smirk, which earned her a scoff and playful hit in the arm from her ex.

“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes. “Your mother would have you believe she was a smooth charmer if you let her,” she warned her daughters, who both laughed a little at this.

A bit affronted, Kara puffed up her chest a little and defended, “Hey, I am a smooth charmer.”

Humming, Lena raised her eyebrows at Kara and mused, “Oh, is that why you tripped down a whole flight of stairs and destroyed a five-thousand dollar bannister at the first sight of me?”

Kara blushed at this and ducked her eyes as her daughters both laughed aloud. “The floor was slippery, I’ve told you this,” she insisted after a moment, causing everyone to laugh louder. “I am charming,” she grumbled crossing her arms.

“You were,” Lena finally admitted a moment later, trying to keep her voice light. “In a very dorky, nervous way. But it worked for me, so.”

Kara stared at her with an unreadable expression before stating, “Well I’m sorry I wasn’t on my A-game with genius heiress who was twelve levels out of my league.”

Lena snorted at this. “You mean the loner who was so incapable to make friends she had to rely on her older brother,” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Frowning, Kara pouted and stated, “Well I didn’t find out about all that until after the first date.”

Opening her mouth incredulously, Lena laughed and playfully punched Kara in the arm and addressed her daughters saying, “See girls, take note. This is how you don’t win a woman’s heart.”

Liza had to punch Lily in the leg to stop her from pointing out that it seemed like it was working from where they were sitting. The last thing they needed was Lily taking it too far and making their moms self-conscious about the situation.

It was nice though, she supposed, to see her moms interacting like this, and while Lily seemed like she was going to rocket out of her seat with happiness, Liza’s enjoyment of the situation in front of her seemed tainted somehow. She could almost feel the under current of anticipation in her moms’ conversation. Both of them were anxious about recounting their beginnings because it was irrevocably linked with Lex’s massacre. Lex had set them up, and in some small way, he had torn them apart as well. And sitting here joking and not talking about the big elephant in the room was eating away at Liza.

Instead of asking about her uncle, however, she let out a long breath, and smiled up at her moms, willing to play along for the time being. “Did you know you had found the One that first date?” she asked, and both her moms froze.

Both of them studied their daughters looking at them expectantly for a few moments, wondering how to answer, but eventually, they both just settled on the truth.

“Yes,” they both answered quietly at the same time, and they both looked over at each other surprised.

Opening her mouth to elaborate, Kara tore her eyes off from Lena’s and tried to hide her blush. “At least, I knew she was someone I wanted to pursue a long term relationship with her, which I think is as close you can to knowing you’ve found the One on the first date.”

Lena pressed her lips together and didn’t elaborate on how she knew the moment the date had ended, Kara was her person.

“Do you ever wish you could go back?” Liza asked softly, and Lena’s eyes met hers.

The question was vague enough; she had left it intentionally so. She wanted her moms to fill in whatever their mind automatically translated that to. Did they regret the relationship? Did they regret leaving each other? Did they have any regrets at all, or was this all just a waste of time bringing them together again?

Lena steadied her breathing and closed her eyes.

*****

“Thank god you’re here,” Lena cried out falling gratefully into her brother’s arms and clinging tightly to him as he chuckled.

“I don’t think you’ve been this excited to see me since I came home from Spain with that custom made chess set when you were ten,” Lex commented, and Lena huffed a bit and pulled back, cringing at the sound of crying in the distance.

Her eyes were red and puffy, but she still tried to take a shaky breath and flash Lex a soft smile as she shook her head. “It’s just- I wouldn’t have asked you here, but Kara has a big make or break it article due tonight and usually the girls are good by seven, but it’s been two hours and I can’t get them to stop crying, and I just don’t know what to do,” she lamented, her voice shaking more and more the further she got into the speech.

Softly, Lex kissed his sister’s forehead and reassured her, “It’s okay, I was planning to stop and visit while I was in National City anyway. Now let’s see if we can get them to calm down so you can rest a little.”

It took twenty minutes for them to sufficiently soothe the twins, and when they finally fell asleep, both Lena and Lex crashed on her living room floor, exhausted from their day and numbly absorbing the news channel on in the background.

“How are you doing, sis?” Lex finally questioned after a moment, and Lena let out a little sigh.

“It’s been hard these past couple of months, having to leave the girls with Kara’s mom during the day while I work. It feels like if I don’t watch out for them every single second of every day, I’ve failed them somehow,” she admitted.

Side glancing at his sister, Lex considered her for a moment before suggesting, “You could always bring them to the LutherCorp daycare during your days, and then you could see them throughout the day.”

Biting her cheek a bit, Lena tried to come up with a reasonable rejection for that idea. The truth was, Kara and her had decided it wasn’t safe to let the girls go to any normal daycare, lest their necklaces malfunctioned and a worker or another child got hurt. Plus, with Eliza watching them, Kara could stop in throughout her workday without it even being noticed she was gone.

“Eliza’s just so willing to do it,” she finally offered. “And I trust her more than the daycare workers. It’s fine. It’s just taking some getting used to.”

His gaze lingering on his sister’s for a moment, Lex finally nodded and stared up at the ceiling again.

“In breaking news: Superman safely landed a crashing plane in the Hudson River this afternoon, saving the 162 passengers and crew on board. The plane began experiencing engine trouble at an altitude of 2,678 feet and sent out a mayday call. Within minutes, the Man of Steel appeared to guide the plane to safety on the river and then single-handedly performed evacuations for each of the passengers onboard.”

Lena glanced up at the screen absentmindedly, wondering how Lois dealt with the stress of Clark always having one foot out the door, ready to speed away at the first sign of trouble. Lena didn’t think she would be able to handle Kara taking on that responsibility gracefully. Especially not with the twins at home.

Not that Kara was planning on suiting up any time soon, if ever. It was just something that always crossed her mind. Clark and Lois made it work because they were employed at the same place and didn’t have kids. But leaving Lena at home with the girls to fight crime, and causing Lena to have to lie to her brother more blatantly about who her wife was, Kara becoming a hero would definitely put a strain on their marriage, and Lena was just grateful she had no desire to do so.

“That god-complex timebomb gets more and more dangerous every day,” Lex commented after a minute, and Lena stiffened a bit. With a stone cold dread, she realized this was the first time Superman had been brought up while she was alone with Lex in years.

It was a topic she routinely tried to avoid at all costs, but with Lex not being around as often and Lena always having the security of other people around when she did see him, she had relaxed too much, she realized. She let her guard down, and now she was in for it.

“Oh yeah, saving people from a crashing airline seems really dangerous, Lex,” she replied lightheartedly instead, hoping he had finally let go of his bigotry in search of other things. Maybe she should buy him a knitting kit for Christmas in a few weeks to substitute and busy his mind.

Scoffing Lex glared over at her, and Lena remained impassive. “It’s not about who he saves, it’s about who he manipulates into trusting him. Soon he’ll have the whole city under his spell, and that’s when we won’t be able to stop him.”

“Stop him from what? Helping? Saving lives?” she questioned, frowning at her brother’s sincere tone as she watched him carefully.

“See this is what I’m talking about. No one suspects a thing, but one day, he’s going to realize how much power he has over all of us, and he’s going to decide he doesn’t want to serve us anymore: he wants to control us.”

Sitting up a bit and leaning on her elbows as she furrowed her eyebrows at her brother. “You really don’t believe that, do you?” she asked quietly. “Not everyone is a power hungry monster, Lex. I know you have your issues with aliens, but-”

Pushing up a bit to look his sister in the eye, Lex tsked and stated, “This is much bigger than that, Lena. And don’t be so naïve. Everyone in a position of power is power hungry.”

“You’re not,” Lena pointed out. “I’m not. We respect the power given to us and we use it to help the less fortunate than us.”

“Which is why we should be looking out for those who may hurt by taking heroes out of the picture and returning our cities’ protection into human hands.”

Biting her cheek Lena looked away and finally responded, “Well, no matter. You would never get lawmakers to ban superheroes; they’re too popular. Looks like you’re stuck with them.”

Laying back down flat on the ground, Lex commented, “There’s more than one way to rid the streets of a hero.”

Lena froze at this, her heart pounding a bit faster and her brain not quite letting her connect what he had just said. Not daring to look over at him, she stiffly joked, “How? By asking him to leave nicely?”

Lex was quiet for a long moment after this, and Lena held her breath, hoping, praying this was him dropping the subject. He was irritated at her, sure, but she just wanted the conversation to end. She didn’t want to know where he was going with it.

“What if I discovered something that would make the invincible man a little less invincible?” he finally asked after a long moment, and Lena immediately felt like she was going to throw up.

This was Clark. His best friend. He wanted to harm his best friend, and Lena couldn’t stop her hands from shaking, either from fear or anger or both. It was worse than Lena remembered. Worse than she wanted to think. If Lex thought Superman was truly and threat and was working on a way to-

The front door slammed opened and startled Lena to sit up as Kara whirled in, her hair a mess and a wide smile on her face.

“I think Miss Grant was really impressed with my piece!” she announced excitedly. “She said she was going to think over my request to be a full-time journalist tonight!” Kara rounded the corner and stopped mid step when she saw Lena wasn’t alone in the living room.

“Lex!” she cried out, and Lena’s brother was off the floor in a moment, smashing Kara in a hug. “Lena mentioned that you were all tied up with meetings this week and you might not be able to visit while you were out,” she related.

“Well your daughters were giving my sister a hell of a time, so I stopped over to offer a hand,” he explained, and Kara faltered a bit at this, glancing over at Lena with a bit of a sad expression. Lena knew she was upset Lena hadn’t called her instead, but she quickly waved it off and tried to bite down her tears.

“Don’t worry about it, darling. I just needed an excuse to get him to visit,” she teased, and Lex scoffed.

“Well, do you want to get food? We have this Chinese place just down the road we love,” Kara offered, already making her way back to where she had dropped her coat.

“Actually, I have to get going. I have to be at LuthorCorp by six tomorrow morning for a meeting, so I better head to the airport,” he declined. “But some other time, I promise.”

Wrapping him in another hug, Kara hummed in agreement, and Lex continued, “Congrats on the article by the way. I’m sure you’ll get the promotion.”

Laughing a bit, Kara dipped her eyes bashfully and thanked him stating, “I hope so.”

“Trust me,” Lex assured her. “I have a good feeling about tomorrow.” Then shifting his gaze to meet Lena’s eyes pointedly, he stated, “Everything’s going to change.”

Even after Lex departed, Lena couldn’t get the words out of her head. Paired with her discussion with Lex just before Kara had walked in, it was unsettling her. Lex was planning something, but what, she wasn’t sure. It was probably nothing. Lex was big talk, but little bite most days. It was a CEO thing, she figured, as Lionel had been the same way.

But even as she tried to fall asleep that night, and got ready for work in the morning, a sense of dread filled her stomach. On her way to work, she tried to call Lex, but there was no answer. She texted him multiple times, trying to pry into what he had discovered that might affect Superman, trying to get him to open up to her, but still got no response. She was on the verge of contacting Clark to check in on him, when in the middle of her lunch break, she was surrounded by police officers.

“Is there a problem?” Lena asked, her voice shaking a bit, wondering why the officers were let into the lab’s break room.

“Ma’am, I think it’s best if you come with us,” one officer instructed. A woman. She looked like she had a kind face, but right now she was looking at Lena like she had just watched her kick a dog. She made a move to grab Lena’s arm, and Lena instinctively jerked back from it.

“What’s going on?” she demanded, feeling like her heart was going to beat out of her chest when she noticed all the other lab techs huddled around the one tv at the other end of the room.

Standing up slowly, Lena tried steady her breathing as she clenched her phone and walked over to what everyone was watching with a horror filled gaze. Lena tried to make sense of what she was seeing on the screen, recognizing immediately the destroyed city of Metropolis and her breath caught as she read the banner on the news station.

“LEX LUTHOR IN CUSTODY; NUMBER OF CASUALTIES UNKNOWN; MAN OF STEEL DOWN”

Lena stumbled back, and let out a choked sob, allowing the officers to finally grab her and begin to lead her out of the building. As they neared the door, Lena broke down as she saw Kara fighting her way through the crowds in front of LuthorCorp NC to find her.

“Lena!” she cried, her eyes red and cheeks stained with tears. Cutting loose from the officers trying to hold her back, Kara slipped up next to her and wrapped her into a tight hug as the police tried to pull her away. As Kara finally let herself be pushed back a little, her eyes met Lena’s and her mouth opened as if to say something but nothing came out.

Lena understood. What was there to say? They had just made plans to have chinese food with her brother fourteen hours ago, and now he had just tried to kill Kara’s cousin, murdering who knows how many people in the process.

So instead Lena just nodded at her and let herself be dragged away by the police.

When they visited Clark in Metropolis the next day, he sneered at her under the red sun lamps and snapped, “Did you know?”

The golden question. Everyone wanted to know. The lawyers wanted to know. And she knew Kara would never directly ask her, but she saw the question in her wife’s eyes. Even as she stiffened and defended her to Clark, and pulled her from the room, and assured her everything was going to be okay. It was still there, lingering between them.

Had Lena known?

She hadn’t. She hadn’t known her brother was a homicidal maniac. She hadn’t known he would kill thirty-two people just to fail to kill one. She hadn’t known that was what he was trying to tell her that night lying on the carpet after putting her daughters to bed.

She refused the polygraph. Everyone took this as a sign of guilt. Kara tried her best, but…

How could Lena explain it wasn’t a confession of guilt, but rather one of fear? How did she explain that she was terrified of what the truth would reveal? That maybe deep down, she had known.

Maybe deep down, she knew this was her fault.

“It was my fault,” Kara whispered angrily, six days after. “I should have told him who I was. Clark and I should have trusted him. He wouldn’t have done this if he had known-”

Lena remembered the day sophomore year in college, a year into dating Kara. Lex had come storming up to her at school and pulled her aside to yell about how he was so angry aliens could cloak themselves to be anybody he knew and that their world was infested with inferior beings that didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as them. He told her how his most trusted advisor had revealed he was an alien, and Lex had immediately thrown him on the streets and blacklisted him from all other companies.

Lena calmed him down, told him if the press got wind of this, the company would suffer and Lex needed to cool it. She knew she was the only one he trusted to tell these things to. To everyone else, nothing ever bothered him, but Lena always got the free ticket she couldn’t refuse to his inner thoughts.

She just had to get through the rest of her schooling, and then she could move across the country and live with Kara, She wouldn’t have to deal with any of Lex’s bullshit anymore. He could suffer in his bigotry alone.

The memory played over and over again in her head, and she finally swallowed thickly and turned to her wife.

“None of this was your fault,” she assured her with a quiet confidence. Kara looked like she wanted to protest, but Lena walked away before she could. Because deep down, Lena already knew exactly who to blame.

Herself.

*****

“All the time,” Kara finally answered for them, her eyes flicking to Lena’s concerned as she was pulled from her memories. “You should have seen what I wore on that first date, ugh. I would go back and give myself a strict fashion lecture,” she elaborated with a wink towards Lily, who let out a giggle.

Lena let out some of the tension in her shoulders and joined in with a half-hearted laugh, insurmountably grateful Kara had subverted their daughter’s question for her.

Or maybe it was just for Kara’s own sake, but nevertheless, she was still grateful.

The rest of the dinner passed with little excitement. Eventually they migrated from reminiscing on their past to discussing options for the future. The twins swore up and down their moms could trust them to fly across the world by themselves for their visitations, and while Kara was still insistent that she should accompany them at least the first few times, both of their moms finally agreed that would be the easiest way to split the weekends between the two of them.

Lily and Liza were then starting to throw around ideas of what to do on their weekends together. Liza wanted to be Lily’s tour guide around London one weekend; Lily suggested hiking through the Rockies another weekend, which Liza took to immediately. As they continued to make unofficial plans, Lena and Kara quietly ate their food and watched their daughters interact happily, relieved that they finally had this connection, but there was an unspoken tug at their chest.

At one point their eyes met, and they knew they both felt it. But instead of saying anything, they looked down at their food again, and allowed their daughters to control the conversation at the table.

As they were walking back to the hotel after dinner, Lily and Liza both began to beg to let them stay by themselves in Kara’s extra room that night, since they hadn’t seen each other since camp. While both moms were weary to leave their daughters alone together, seeing the result of it the previous time, they both eventually relented, finding themselves incapable of denying them more time together after fifteen years of keeping them apart.

“I want to talk to you first, though, Lily,” Kara stipulated with a pointed look as they entered the hotel.

Lily turned back and looked at her with a bit of apprehension before responding, “Yeah, of course, Yeyu.”

Everyone went their separate ways then, Lena announcing she was going to go find Alex and Sam and Liza saying she was going to go grab her some clothes from Lena’s room before they both disappeared and left Kara and Lily to make their way up to their room by themselves.

As they entered the threshold of their room, Kara let Lily walk in before she shut the door and sighed.

“Is this where you yell at me?” Lily asked, biting her lip.

Gritting her teeth, Kara huffed and began, “I have a good mind to.” Then walking up to Lily, she pointed to the bed and instructed, “Sit.”

Lily sat down quietly, smartly keeping her mouth shut as she did so and worried watched her mother pace a bit in front of her.

“You directly disobeyed my orders. You took your hotspot to camp; you broke into National City private records; you started a war with a girl you didn’t know; you undoubtedly used your powers at camp to train Liza; you went to London without my permission; you lied to your mom for a week; and on top of all of that, you have now put your mom and I in an incredibly difficult position without thinking once about the consequences,” she lectured, Lily swallowed thickly, shaking a bit. “You are going to college in two years, and at this point, I barely trust you to leave my sight, let alone go to school all the way across the country at MIT.”

Tears welled up in Lily’s eyes as she tried to think of anything to say to her mother. Knowing her daughter, Kara paused and leveled her breathing, deciding to wait for her daughter’s response before continuing.

Lily remained quiet for a long time before she finally carefully chose her words and spoke slowly. “Yeyu, I know a lot of what I did seems unexcusable, and it is, but can I please explain myself?” she asked softly. She looked up at her mother with wide eyes and prayed her mom would give her a chance to redeem herself.

Her mother stared at her with a hard expression as Lily held her breath, and just as she was about to recant her wish, Kara finally sighed and leaned up against the desk across from Lily.

“Of course you can, is’kah,” she permitted, her voice tight as she crossed her arms.

Taking a deep breath, Lily nodded and began explaining, “Okay, I only brought that hotspot to camp in case you blew out your powers, or got really injured. You always get so reckless when I’m gone, and I was terrified something was going to happen to you and I wouldn’t be there or even be able to get any information on whether I would have to come home or not. It was just a precaution, and I wasn’t going to use it for anything else until I realized Liza and I were sisters, I swear.”

She paused to take in her mother’s expression, but seeing it remained unchanged, she pressed on. “The National City records was just a heat of the moment thing, how else was I supposed to find out Liza and I were twins unless I checked them? I admit the prank war was a mistake. Liza and I didn’t get off to a great start, and we took it too far.” Taking a shaky breath, she continued, “I couldn’t not train Liza, Yeyu. Having powers is such a large part of who we are, and you and Mom might have been okay with hiding that from her, but I wasn’t.”

Stopping again, she gauged the reaction she was receiving, and when she noted the tears in her mother’s eyes, she decided not to dwell on it any longer. “The switch was bad. I’m sorry. Okay? I’m really, really sorry,” she apologized, her voice wavering as tears pricked the corners of her eyes. “I was just so scared Mom would see me as less of her daughter than Liza, and I just wanted the chance to be more than that to her. And if it makes you feel better Mom knew the whole time, so I never technically lied to her,” she reasoned, and at this, Kara stiffened a bit.

“Your mom knew?” she asked, her eyebrows furrowing.

“No,” she scrambled to fix, internally cursing herself. “She just figured it out I guess?” she struggled to explain, but then she sighed and relented. “Don’t be mad at her, please Yeyu. Just blame me. Okay? You’re right; I don’t think about the consequences of what I do, and I’m just royally fucking up your lives, and I’m sorry. You have every right to be mad at me.” Bowing her head, Lily didn’t even bother to wipe the tears off her cheeks as she waited for her mother’s response.

Instead of saying anything, however, Lily heard her mother walk over to the bed, sit down beside her, and then wrap her in a tight hug. Instinctively, Lily latched onto Kara and held her tightly as she began to sob into her shoulder, and Kara buried her head in her daughter’s hair as she began to cry as well.

After a few moments, Kara whispered, “You scare me down to my very core, is’kah. You remind me so much of myself, and I know how reckless and dangerous I can be, and I can’t protect you like I protect myself. I can’t stop the world from hurting you; I can’t stop you from getting into trouble, and as a mother, it is the most terrifying thing in the world. I know you mean the best, and I’m sorry if I came down harshly on you, but you can’t just go around going against my rules and doing whatever you want.”

“I know, Yeyu. I’m sorry,” Lily responded quietly. “I know your rules are there for a reason and I’m not trying to break them just to spite you, but when I learned all this stuff over the summer, I guess I just kind of went off the deep end I guess.”

“You’re fifteen. You’re allowed to go off the deep end when things get overwhelming,” Kara comforted. “And I wish you would have came to me for help, but I understand why you didn’t. Just please: no more rule breaking for the time being.”

“Okay,” Lily agreed, chewing on her lip. She paused a moment before asking, “Even the unspoken ones?”

Letting out a loud sigh, Kara shook her head, and questioning, “Is this you trying to ask if you can still try to get your mom and I back together?”

Lily pressed her lips together and responded, “That’s a possibility, yeah.”

“I’d prefer it if you didn’t,” Kara answered, her tone a bit warning.

Lily’s eyes narrowed on her mother, and she paused before asking, “Do you not love her anymore?”

At this, Kara stopped, a bit caught off guard before she swallowed thickly, tucked a strand of Lily’s hair behind her ear and whispered, “It’s not that simple, is’kah.”

“I can’t let you give up on her if you still love her.”

Kara opened her mouth to protest, but before she could, she closed it and nodded. Sighing she relented, “Go easy on us, bug. It’s been fifteen years. Some things just aren’t meant to be.”

Lily’s eyes widened a bit in surprise. “Am I supposed to conclude that you want to get back together with Mom, if you’re allowing it?” she asked, a bit of hope in her voice.

Letting out a little chuckle Kara shook her head, and ruffled her daughter’s hair. “In case you’ve forgotten, I have a boyfriend, Lil. So no, it just means I don’t want to know what you’ll come up with if I don’t allow it,” she explained, and Lily smiled at her shyly, knowing her mother was right. “Liza’s probably waiting for you; you should go,” Kara announced softly then couple seconds later.

“Are we good, Yeyu?” Lily asked, holding her breath a bit.

“Yeah,” her mother answered. “We’re always good, is’kah,” she promised softly. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Lily answered easily, hugging her mother tightly and then grabbing her bag before heading for the door.

Kara watched her daughter go, biting her cheek as she wondered if she had just made a mistake, not effectively shutting down Lily’s little operation once and for all. Flopping back onto the bed, she steadied her breathing as she tried not to overthink, instead allowing her thoughts to wander in a different direction.

Kara wanted to be angry with Lena. She had known the girls had switched and didn’t contact her. It went completely against their unspoken rules and yet… she couldn’t find it in herself to be mad. She never could, she supposed. She wiped away the tears falling from the corners of her eyes.

Lena had figured it out. She had gotten time with Lily while Kara wasted her time with Liza. Her skin crawled as she thought about it, and unable to take it anymore, she stood up and went over to dig out the alcohol she hid in her suitcase.

A moment later there was a knock on her door, and she numbly went to open it without bothering to put down her bottle or wipe her tears, knowing who was on the other side.

“Hey sis, just need to grab my- hey,” Alex stopped short, taking in her sister as she held an already open beer in her hand. “What’s wrong?” Alex’s face was full of concern as Kara sighed.

“Tried to discipline Lily,” she answered softly, and Alex let out a little hum.

“That never goes too well for you,” she observed, trying to offer a small smile. When Kara barely responded, she took a deep breath and asked, “Is that all that’s bothering you?”

When her sister’s only answer was a noncommittal hum, Alex knew she her visit was going to be much longer than she had anticipated.

“Okay,” said with a sigh as she shut the door behind herself and stared at sister with a bit of apprehension as Kara tugged off her suit jacket and grabbed a pair of sweatpants from her luggage. “This better be good if I’m giving up my last night to finally get with Sam for it,” she tried to joke, but the words felt heavy coming from her mouth.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kara responded indifferently. “If you want to be with Sam, then just go be with Sam,” she offered, an edge to her voice as she walked into the bathroom and slammed the door shut behind her.

“Kara,” Alex murmured, walking up to the door and placing her hand on it softly as if her sister could feel it. “I know it must be hard for you to see Lena--and your daughter--again.” Before she could say anything else, however, the door flung open, and Alex blinked back a bit.

“What?” Kara questioned, her voice laced with sarcasm. “Why would this be hard for me? I only missed the fifteen years of my daughter’s life, and hardly know anything about her.” Alex swallowed thickly and kept quiet as Kara unceremoniously threw her suit onto the floor. “And when I get a week--a week--with her,” she continued, the frustration in her voice growing, “I completely miss it.” At this, she turned and looked at Alex with tear filled eyes helplessly. “Lena on the other hand knows Lily. I’m sure they already have inside jokes, and- and-”

Taking this as her cue, Alex walked up to her sister quietly and wrapped her in a tight hug, which Kara accepted numbly before pulling away.

“I’m just the idiot who’s behind, like normal,” she finally lamented, wiping the single tear that had managed to fall away from her cheek and turning to sit on the bed despondently.

“No one thinks you’re an idiot Kara,” Alex chided immediately, scooting onto the bed beside her sister. “Especially not the girls or Lena,” she asserted with a pointed look, but the sentiment didn’t calm Kara in the least.

“But I feel like I missed my chance!” she burst, her head burying into her hands, and Alex wrapped her arm around her shoulders.

“Kara, Liza was only here for a week,” Alex comforted softly. “Even if you had known, there’s no way you would have gotten to know her well in that time. Unless-” She paused considering something for a moment, before she looked over at Kara hesitantly. “Unless that’s not who you think you missed your chance with.”

Eyes widening, Kara looked up and shook her head. “I- no, I-” she sputtered, before gritting her teeth. “Liza. I’m just talking about Liza.”

“Okay well then talk to her,” Alex encouraged. “Skype her, text her, fly to her and get lunch; it’s not like Lena’s going to be hiding her away from you.” Taking a breath as Kara bit her cheek, Alex pushed on. “Plus, Lily’s going to want to spend as much time with you and Liza as possible! Liza told me the three of you already have vacation plans to meet in the Rockies and hike. It’s not like you won’t get to know her,” she assured her, but Kara seemed so deep in her thoughts at this point, Alex wasn’t even sure she was listening anymore. “Kara?” she asked concerned.

“She just…” Kara started before trailing off. “She seems so unbothered to see me.”

“Liza?” Alex questioned immediately, frowning before it hit her. “Oh. Okay now we’re talking about Lena,” she gathered, and Kara took a deep breath.

“She’s gotten more successful, and more beautiful, and more intelligent, and she just waltzes in here like she does every day to tell me she knows our daughters better than me, and- how does she do that?” Kara asked, and as much as she tried to come across as frustrated, all her eyes said when they met Alex’s was how heartbroken she was. “And now--oh Rao--and now she sees me still fumbling to recover from her fifteen years later, unable to distinguish between the girls with my superpowers, struggling to discipline Lily effectively, and royally screwing up my dating life by seeing Mon-El of all people.”

Alex remained silent for a long moment, taking a swig of her beer. Finally, she sighed and commented, “So… that was a lot to unpack.”

“I think need more to drink,” Kara announced, falling back onto the bed and staring up at the ceiling, hoping that would help contain some of the tears that were threatening to break loose. “I almost said I’m still in love with Lena and want her back,” she admitted quietly, her voice shaking. “And that’s just ridiculous to say about a woman who left you fifteen years ago and isn’t bothered to see you.”

Alex stared at her sister sadly, swallowing the lump in her throat before standing and announcing, “Well then let’s get you more to drink.”

The next morning, Kara woke up clinging to her sister with a pounding headache. Alex was sprawled out across the bed and Kara shifted herself off of her as she sat up groggily and cringed as she took in the empty bottles of alcohol around her and the memories of the night before came rushing back to her.

Alex woke up soon after, and they both silently began to get dressed for the day, the tension almost unbearable between them, as Kara could feel her sister’s concerns on the edge of her mind. Kara had said some pretty damning things the night before that could make Lena leaving today an almost impossible affair if Alex didn’t choose to drop it.

“Hey,” Kara finally started, drawing her sister’s attention. “Last night, it was just the heat of the moment, you know? Seeing Lena for the first time in fifteen years it- I didn’t mean any of it,” she assured her, trying to sound confident. “I still want to be with Mon-El.”

Alex stared at her as she seemingly saw straight through her lies. Opening her mouth, Kara held her breath, waiting for her sister to call her out, but finally, Alex just sighed and responded, “Yeah. Okay, Kara.”

Kara exhaled slowly, but somehow, Alex’s reassurance didn’t do anything to make her feel any more relieved. So instead, she just turned and continued to pack her things.

Lena was almost eager to wake from one of the most restless nights of sleep she had experienced in awhile. With the clarity of the morning hitting Lena, flashes from the day before passed over her in waves and it almost felt like Lena had woken up into a completely different life. Two days ago, you wouldn’t have been able to convince her for anything that should would be in the same country, let alone the same hotel as Kara Danvers. And the alcohol and adrenaline may have subdued the effects of that initial realization yesterday, but neither were doing anything to stop the deep seated panic Lena was feeling take over her as she thought over her interactions with her past wife from the day previous.

Why had she congratulated her on her nonexistent engagement? Lena groaned as she buried her head further into her pillow and chided herself. And why did she joke around and get dangerously close to flirting with her at dinner? She felt sick; she was being so cruel to Kara. She had finally moved on and now here Lena was destroying her life and leaving her to deal with it on her own again.

Taking a shaky breath, Lena tried to bury herself under the blankets to compose herself before she had to get up and face the day. She hadn’t meant for any of this to become so confusing.

No, she gripped herself, gritting her teeth and sitting up on the edge of the bed, bracing herself as her feet dangled just above the floor. She wasn’t confused; she couldn’t be confused. Her and Kara were over, and she had lingering feelings and still felt comfortable around her. But that wasn’t confusing.

That was just a reality Lena had been avoiding for awhile.

Scooting off the bed, Lena huffed loudly and made her way to her suitcase to get ready for the day. Sam shifted groggily from the bed and mumbled some nonsense that got a half-amused smile from Lena as she looked up.

“I’m surprised you didn’t slip out in the dead of the night,” Lena commented with a raised eyebrow, and Sam just looked over with an innocent grin.

“And what would you have me slipping out in the dead of the night to do?” she questioned as Lena rolled her eyes. Sam, however, paused for a moment and let the little bit of disappointment show in her face, as she had clearly thought this was finally going to be her chance to be with the elder Danvers sister. “Alex said her and Kara were having a sisters night,” she finally disclosed, a bit sadly, and this made Lena pause for a moment.

Danvers Sisters Nights were no joking business. She knew this from personal experience. They had to have a whole ceremony to approve Lena into the ritual when she had been Kara’s wife.

She knew why Kara had needed one last night. Lena’s urge to throw up returned, but instead she just continued to calmly pack her things. She could feel Sam’s eyes watch her closely, but she pointedly ignored her gaze as she went into the bathroom to change.

Coming out, Sam was sitting on the edge of their bed, biting her lip and making no move to get dressed and ready. Lena was about to address it when Sam took a deep breath and met her eyes.

“We don’t have to leave so soon, if you don’t want to, you know?” she asked, and Lena froze.

Finally, shaking her head, Lena insisted, “I’m just intruding here. This isn’t anything big; we’re just switching the girls back.”

“You and Kara still have so much to work through, Lena,” Sam pushed back. She was silent for a moment before continuing with a bit more assertiveness. “I’ve never, ever pressed you on Kara or your divorce, but I’m going to now because I morally, as your best friend, have to tell you this. I think you need to talk to her. I think you need to tell her whatever you need to tell her.”

Lena’s heart skipped a beat at her friend’s statement, but she quickly blinked herself out of her trance and sat down the clothes in her hands, closing her eyes. “It’s too late to say what I have to say,” she finally relented.

“Says who?” Sam questioned, her eyebrows furrowed.

“Me,” Lena answered easily, swallowing the lump in her throat and finishing her packing. She refused to look back up at her friend, refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing the tears in her eyes that what she said actually affected her. Eventually she heard Sam sigh and stand up, finally getting ready for their flight later that morning.

When they arrived in the lobby thirty minutes later, Kara was already there, talking to the hotel clerk to check out of her rooms. The girls weren’t anywhere in sight, and Lena felt naked without their daughters there to be a buffer between the two. But as Sam walked over to say her goodbyes to Alex, Lena found herself stuck standing behind Kara to wait to check out herself.

Kara thanked the clerk, and backed up to walk away, but when she saw Lena standing behind her, she stopped and stayed put, forcing Lena to walk up to her to be able to check out. Kara just waited for her quietly, and when Lena was done they began to walk away together.

“So, the girls will remain in their same schools and go back and forth between us on weekends?” Kara clarified, just looking for a way to start a conversation with Lena.

Nodding, Lena confirmed this, but added, “We shouldn’t be too strict about it though. I’m sure they’ll want to visit their friends some weekends. And I wouldn’t be opposed to Liza spending some weeknights with you, or vice versa, as long as we send them back at a reasonable time.”

“Yeah, I’m okay with that too,” Kara confirmed, a bit distractedly, staring at Lena a little too intensely for Lena’s comfort.

Lena opened her mouth to say something, just as Kara was as well, but before either could, the elevator dinged and their daughters came out and pulled their attention immediately. They were wearing near identical outfits, sporting jean shorts and Camp Henwey t-shirts, and looking smug as they carried their bags beside them.

“Well you two look like trouble,” Lena observed with one raised eyebrow.

Kara crossed her arms and looked at the girls pointedly. “What are you up to?” she asked suspiciously, and both Liza and Lily giggled.

“We have a proposition for you,” Liza started, and before she could get any further, Lena held up her hand to silence her.

“No,” she stated. “Whatever this is, we’re the grown ups, and you two don’t control us any longer.”

Lily shot her mom an innocent smile and commented, “You might want to hear this proposition before you start making such bold claims.”

“Lily,” Kara demanded, but instead of Lily looking over at her, Liza turned to her mother and answered.

“Yes, Yeyu?” she asked wide-eyed.

Now both Kara and Lena paused. They had both thought Lily would be the smug one, but why-

“It’s a pretty simple deal,” Liza started. “We all go on the annual camping trip, and then we’ll tell you which of us is which.”

Their moms stared at them agape.

“This is ridiculous, we can tell you two apart,” Lena finally stated, but her daughters could tell she was nervous as she narrowed her eyes between them and just enough doubt began to sink in.

“Are you sure?” Lily goaded. “Because it would be a shame if you flew all the way home and realized you took the wrong one.”

“That doesn’t work on us, is’kah,” Kara chided with a frown. “You both can fly; we’ll just send you back where you belong.”

Crinkling her nose, Liza shook her head and pointed out, “But then how would you know the right one of us actually went home? The only way you’ll ever really be sure is if we tell you.”

“Girls, this is absurd,” Lena stated glaring at them. Before she could say anything else, however, she felt a soft hand on her arm. A bit startled, she looked over at Kara who was smiling at her triumphantly, before turning back to their daughters.

I know only one of you understand me right now,” Kara began in Kryptonian. “So I’m going to tell you a bunch of embarrassing stories about your mom, and whichever of you doesn’t react will be Liza.”

“Kara,” Lena hissed, a blush climbing on her face. “Do you seriously have to use me as your bait?” she asked frowning.

Kara looked over at her in surprise, not at all expecting Lena to still understand her lost language all these years later. She gaped at her for a moment, as Lena realized what she had exposed and began to blush more intensely. Liza, however, decided to interrupt them.

Sorry, Yeyu,” she interjected. “That plan might not be as feasible as you think.”

Joining in, Lily continued, “Kryptonian may or may not have been on the summer camp syllabus of each other’s lives.”

Although we do still want to hear Mom’s embarrassing stories,” Liza added as an afterthought.

Kara and Lena both held their breath as they realized they daughters might actually get away with forcing them to spend time together a little longer.

Turning to Kara, Lena accused, “Can’t you just use those super-senses of yours to figure this out?”

Holding her hands up innocently, Kara shot back, “Don’t you think if I could tell them apart with my senses I would have figured it out way before falling into a pool?”

Lily snorted at this, and Liza elbowed her in the stomach so as to not give away their cover. Both moms looked over at them suspiciously, before they both sighed.

“What’s going on?” Alex asked, coming up from behind the group, and both Kara and Lena frowned back at her.

“The girls have decided they won’t tell us which is which unless we all spend more time together,” Lena admitted after a moment, and Alex raised her eyebrows over at the twins as Sam let out a small chuckle that earned her a glare from both moms present.

“Well, what are you going to do then?” Sam asked, and Kara and Lena looked at each other as their shoulders sagged.

“My car only has five seats, so someone’s going to have to-”

“I’ll ride with Sam!” Alex cut in excitedly, and the women were holding hands and making their way out of the hotel before anything else could be said.

As they turned back to their daughters, both of them were staring up at them with hopeful eyes, and both moms found themselves officially relenting and motioning for their daughters to make their way out to Kara’s car.

“Yes!” Lily squealed, and Liza jumped on her a bit with a fist pump in celebration, as they successfully managed to squeeze a little more family time out of their moms.

As they approached the car, Kara opened the hatch and began to deposit all their bags. While she was arranging them all so they would fit in the trunk, Liza saw her mom hesitating, eyeing the passenger side door with a bit of fear.

“Shotgun!” she cried, and swiftly ignored Lily’s confused look as she quickly slipped into the passenger seat. She figured it was enough to get their moms into the same car for an hour car ride and there was no need to push it and force them to awkwardly make small talk the whole time.

Liza knew she made the right decision when she saw her mom scoot into the backseat, looking visibly more relieved than she had moments before.

They were twenty minutes down the road before Lena and Lily had passed out in the backseat, Lily resting her head on Lena’s shoulder with Lena’s arm wrapped around her as her own head rested straight back and her mouth hung slightly open.

Liza let out a little smirk as the scene behind her, not at all surprised. Lily had been up most of the night scheming for how they would get their mothers back together on this camping trip, and if Liza knew her mom, the night hadn’t been a particularly restful one for her either.

So that just left her and Yeyu in the front seat, and while Liza wanted to talk to her, she knew Lily would kill her if she gave away which twin she was. Until they were officially on the trip she knew she couldn’t blow it.

“So,” Kara finally began twenty-two minutes into the drive, not able to take the silence any longer. “If you’re anything like Lily, there’s no way you haven’t been involved in some of those amazing L Corp breakthroughs over the past few years.”

Liza looked over at her mom a bit startled, wondering how she could so confidently deduce that it was Liza sitting next to her, and when Kara looked over at her and saw her expression, she let out a chuckle.

“Oh come on,” she said with a shake of her head. “When you two are apart and I’m not expecting anything, I might not notice the subtle differences between you, but I definitely know who’s who when you’re standing right in front of me,” she leveled and Liza’s jaw dropped a bit in surprise.

“You know, Mom’s gonna kill you when she finds out,” she finally pointed out with raised eyebrows, which caused Kara to laugh more.

“I’m sure she already knows,” she responded easily. “I was never really any good at getting anything past her. Plus, if she really had a problem with all of us spending more time together, she could have grilled the two of you until one of you slipped up,” she reasoned lightly. But when she looked over at her daughter and saw she was still apprehensive, she became a little more serious and continued, “Both of us want you two to have more time with us all, even if it’s emotionally taxing in some way. We’ve always tried to put the two of you first.”

Biting her cheek, Liza pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them as she observed her mother driving. “You guys aren’t mad at us for asking for more time?” she inquired after a moment. The underlying question was there as well. Were they mad they weren’t giving up on this idea of a whole family? The idea Kara and Lena could make amends and get back together?

“Hey,” Kara comforted her softly when she saw her daughter’s worried expression. “We’re the adults here, okay? You aren’t responsible for us and our feelings. We could never be mad at you for wanting what you think is best for our family.”

Liza let out a breath at this, and sent a teary smile to her mother, who reached over and squeezed her hand.

“I actually helped kick off one of our breakthroughs a couple years ago,” she admitted a few seconds later in a rush, answering her mother’s question from moments before, and Kara raised her eyebrow as a small smile upturned the corner of her lips.

“Tell me more?” she inquired genuinely, and Liza bit her lip before diving in.

“Okay, so, I haven’t even told Lily about it, because I knew she would freak out if I did,” Liza admitted a bit bashfully. “And it was kind of a one off thing, but-” Taking a deep breath, she looked at her mom and asked, “Okay, so you know PFAS?”

“Wait stop. Don’t tell me you had a hand in L Corp’s PFAS degradation design process?” Kara answered, her voice raising a bit with excitement. Glancing over at her daughter who was wearing a sort of sheepish smile as confirmation, Kara let out a little squeal, trying to keep it quiet so as to not wake the two sleeping girls in the back, but barely able to contain it. “Wait seriously! I helped cover that for CatCo and your name wasn’t listed. Oh my Rao, Liza, that discovery is being considered for one of the top breakthroughs of the decade. Like up with taking a picture of a black hole and discovering the Higgs boson. How were you involved?”

Letting a little nervous laugh, Liza shrugged and explained, “Part of what I like to do at L Corp is keep up with the public health concerns, and I started to hear more and more about per and polyfluoroalkyl substances and how they were contaminating drinking water. The governments had started putting bans on the use of PFAS on stuff like non-stick cookware, food packaging, water repellent coatings, and makeup, but because it’s a ‘forever chemical’ and never degrades over time due to its almost impossible to break carbon-fluorine bonds, it was getting into our water supplies and just staying there for decades, and people were beginning to ask how to avoid it. So I researched a little into the different filters people could install in their homes to remove it before they ingest it, but the granulated activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis filters were both too expensive to expect low income households to be able to afford.

“So it kind of happened by chance that I was hanging out with Mom one day in her personal lab and decided I needed a break from researching how to make the filters an economic option for everyone. I was mostly frustrated because even if we made these filters standard in every household, we were only diverting the PFAS waste stream, not breaking them down. So I walked out of Mom’s lab and started talking to one of our bioremediation engineers--Nat Hall--who happened to be working with different strains of Acidimicrobium sp. to observe their metabolisms for the breakdown of acid mine drainage. One of the strains used inorganic carbon sources to perform defluorination, and I just kind of stopped and stared at the results.

“She asked me if I was okay, and I asked her if she had ever thought about bioremediating PFAS with defluorination. We both looked at each other, and she immediately left to start the experiments. By the end of the month, she was presenting the results to Mom, and we allotted a whole team to engineering the discovery to a workable solution for biodegrading PFAS in the environment. Nat asked me if I wanted to be a part of the team, but I turned her down.”

Kara stared at her daughter stunned as she finished her tale of stumbling across the solution to a decades long issue. “Why’d you turn down the position?” she finally asked, a bit confused by her daughter’s choice.

Chewing on her lip, Liza shrugged, “I had other things to work on, I guess. And I’m just not as passionate about the science side of things. Mom was furious when she found out, though. I would classify it as a level ten ice glare. She didn’t know I had anything to do with the breakthrough, and when Nat had expressed her concern on me turning the position down, she had been completely caught off guard. She was upset that I had tried to hide my discovery and refused any sort of credit.”

Kara was silently for a long moment, and Liza held her breath, unsure what she would respond with. Most likely, she would give her the same lecture her mom had: how she deserved credit for her work and deserved a spot on the team making history.

“What are you passionate about?” Kara finally asked after a moment, and Liza looked up at her in surprise. “Public health?”

Nodding slightly, Liza elaborated, “Humanity. Aliens. Humanitarian efforts.” Kara shot her an unreadable expression before turning her focus back to the road. Taking a deep breath, Liza pushed on, relating, “Four of the five L Corp charities are under my lead, and Mom’s considering transferring the fifth to me as well.”

“Liza,” Kara started, a bit of awe in her voice. “That’s amazing.”

“Thanks,” Liza accepted, pressing her lips together and glancing in the rearview mirror back at her still sleeping mom before continuing, “She’s been so supportive, you know. Even though I’m so gifted at science, she doesn’t push it. But…” Liza trailed off and shifted her focus to pulling at a thread in her jeans and avoiding her mother’s gaze. “I can’t help but think sometimes she’s disappointed in me. That she doesn’t think I’m living up to my potential. I just really want to make her proud, you know,” she admitted quietly a minute later, sighing a bit and terrified to look up at Kara.

“Elizabeth Lexington,” her mother chided immediately, looking over at her daughter with a serious expression. “There is no way you could ever disappoint your mom if you’re doing something you’re passionate about,” she stated confidently. “You could join a pyramid scheme and try to sell us sketchy cleaning products, and you wouldn’t disappoint her. She’s so proud of you. And I am too.”

Liza looked shyly up at her mother with tears in her eyes, a feeling of warmth settling over her, and she whispered softly, “Thank you, Yeyu.”

Kara smiled approvingly at her, and her eyes flashed up to the rearview mirror where she almost jumped when Lena’s eyes met hers. Freezing for a moment, Kara realized Lena had been awake for the whole conversation, and she was holding her breath when she saw a teary eyed Lena Luthor mouth “thank you” in the rearview mirror.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she nodded and tuned her eyes back onto the road, letting out a shaky breath. It still felt like a shock to her system, parenting with Lena again. It was so natural, it felt so right; it was becoming hard for Kara’s mind to wrap around the idea that this wasn’t the way this was supposed to be.

Liza and Kara chatted idly for the last twenty minutes of the drive, discussing Liza’s future plans and universities she was looking into.

“Mom’s trying to push me towards journalism,” she admitted a little ways in, bashfully. “She says we need more people who are able to understand and translate discoveries and concerns to the general public to help them navigate everything that’s going on in the world.”

“We do,” Kara confirmed quietly, her skin buzzing a bit with an unknown feeling at the thought of Lena encouraging their daughter to follow in Kara’s footsteps. “I could always, um, show you some ropes at CatCo, if you want?”

Liza bit her lip and looked shyly over at her mother. “Yeah?” she asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.

“Of course,” Kara confirmed easily, flashing her a smile, and Liza hesitated for a moment.

“Do you think you could show me some ropes for your other job too?” she finally asked, looking over at her mother with wide puppy dog eyes and holding her breath.

Kara looked over at her, a bit surprised as she faltered to respond. “I mean, I- I could, but I don’t know how your mom-”

“I’m sure she’s expecting it,” Liza answered quickly. “I’ve been obsessed with Supergirl for my entire life.”

Letting out a sort of breathless laugh, Kara stopped and stared at Liza incredulously before asking, “Yeah?”

“Oh yeah,” Liza confirmed. “Four Supergirl themed birthday parties, nine Halloweens as her, all my school supplies from age six to age ten had to have her on them; I was a regular Lena Luthor nightmare child,” she explained with a smirk, and Kara let out a loud laugh at that.

“Oh nooo,” her mother lamented, unable to stop her giggles.

Joining in the laughter, Liza mused, “Yeah, I never put together the reason she looked mildly uncomfortable every time she walked into my room was because her ex’s face was on my bedspread, pjs, and the seven posters on the wall, but she definitely handled it impressively well.”

“I bet she did,” Kara commented, a smile still on her face.

Her smile, however, quickly turned into a frown as Liza saw they were pulling into their driveway and there were two cars waiting there for them: Alex’s and one she didn’t recognize. As soon as they got close though, Kara mumbled “great” under her breath, and sighed a bit as the driver’s side door of the mysterious car opened and Non-Oil emerged.

Liza visibly stiffened, and as Kara pulled the car to a stop, both Lena and Lily groggily awakened, still not noticing their visitor. Liza tried to look back at Lily as a warning, but Lily was still blinking awake and missed it. Lena, on the other hand, caught the look and furrowed her eyebrows as Kara got out of the car without waiting for anyone else.

“Mon-El, I told you I would be gone with Lily this weekend,” Kara started tiredly, and Lena froze in the backseat as she realized what was happening.

“You didn’t answer any of my texts or calls,” he said desperately. “How was I supposed to know you were okay?”

“I can handle myself, Mon-El. There’s no need for you to-”

“And what about our plans for tonight? How am I supposed to know if those are still standing if you don’t respond to me?” he continued to demand, and Kara let out a long breath and pinched her nose a bit to calm herself.

“Listen, I’m going to have to cancel on those plans. We’re just stopping here to pick up our camping equipment and then we’re leaving again for a couple days.”

“A couple days?” he asked incredulously. “Are you avoiding me, Kara? Is this you trying to break up with me?”

“What?” Kara almost screeched, her face burning. “Why would you think- Mon-El, it’s nothing, just some family matters came up. Don’t read into it.” At this, Kara pushed past him to open up the trunk and unload the luggage, if only to busy herself with something to do.

“How do you expect me to not read into it when ever since your daughter got home, you’ve been-”

The backseat driver’s side door open suddenly, and Kara quickly hid her eyes as Lena climbed out of the car and took Mon-El by surprise.

“Do you need help grabbing the bags, Kara?” she called out, and Kara nearly melted with relief, glad Lena was merely emerging to cause a diversion.

“Yes, I would love some,” she answered gratefully.

“Who are you?” Mon-El question, and Lena looked up at him and placed her sunniest faux smile on her face as she held out her hand and introduced herself.

“Lena Luthor.”

At this Mon-El took a step back and turned to Kara looking a bit surprised. “Why is there a Luthor in your car?” he asked, the derogatory tone not escaping Kara’s attention.

Before she could respond, however, Lily was out of the car and smiling sickly sweet at Non-Oil as she asked, “I’m sorry, was that a judgement of character coming from a Daxamite?” Kara glared at Lily for antagonizing, but once again before she could say anything, Liza appeared as well.

“What she meant to say was, no one deserves to be judged on preconceived notions, don’t you think, Non-Oil?” she asked, and instead of comprehending anything she had said, Non-Oil just looked completely baffled between the two twins.

“Hi, by the way,” Lily greeted, capitalizing on the moment and holding her hand out. “I’m the real Lily Danvers. We haven’t had a chance to meet yet.” When Non-Oil ignored her hand, she pressed on a bit amused. “You have met my sister Liza Luthor though. She was pretending to be me all week.”

Non-Oil’s eyes shot up to Kara’s completely baffled, and Kara cleared her throat and asked, “Mon-El, did I ever mention that Lily was a twin?”

“No you did not,” he gritted out.

“It’s okay, she didn’t tell me either,” Lily comforted him with a smirk. “It wasn’t until this summer that I found out Lena Luthor was my other mom.”

“You’re-” Non-Oil turned back to Lena who smiled innocently at him. “You’re Kara’s ex?” he finally asked.

“Guilty as charged,” Lena confirmed.

“Listen, Mon-El, I told you it was some family matters. We just have to go on this camping trip and then-”

“Wait, this camping trip is with your ex?” he demanded, and Kara huffed.

“What, do you not trust me?” she shot back, only half sarcastic and gritting her teeth.

Mon-El laughed almost incredulously. “It’s your ex. Shouldn’t you ask me if I’m comfortable with-”

“She’s the mother of my children. I don’t have to ask you anything,” Kara silenced him with a glare. They were seemingly in a standoff, and Liza had her arm on Lily to prevent her from stepping in between them.

Finally, it was Lena who broke the silence. “Kara, I would hate to cause any tension between you and Mon-El,” she offered, and Kara looked up at her a bit surprised. “Mon-El, you should go on the trip instead of me.”

“What!” both of the twins cried out at the same time.

“Mom, that wasn’t the deal,” Lily cut in, glaring at her mom, while Kara and Mon-El just stood a bit shocked.

Raising her eyebrow at her daughter, Lena pointed out, “Well you just revealed who was who, so as far as I’m concerned, that deal is off.” Turning her attention back to Mon-El, Lena smiled and repeated, “You should go instead, I insist. I would only slow them down since I don’t have powers.”

Mon-El raised his eyebrows and looked at Kara in question, while Lily once again gritted out “Mom” angrily.

“Yeah, you should come, Mon-El,” Kara finally relented, and both girls did little to hide their disappointment at this idea, as Non-Oil accepted the offer.

“Lily, could you show me where the bathroom is inside?” Lena asked softly, and Lily grumbled as she reluctantly led her mom inside the house.

By the time the two reemerged, Kara, Liza and Non-Oil had the car packed up and ready to go, and Lily seemed like she was in much better spirits. Both Kara and Liza questioned this change in attitude, as she had been the one most against this change in plans, but neither Lena nor Lily seemed willing to comment on the matter.

Instead, Lena addressed her daughters. “Alright girls. Be good for Yeyu. And have fun,” she instructed, holding her arms out and smashing her daughters into a tight hug.

“We will, Mom,” Lily promised easily, and a feeling of amused dread began to set into Kara’s bones.

She was beginning to feel like she was being set up.

“You have fun too,” Lena then addressed her softly, and Kara nodded, swallowing thickly.

“There, um, should be food in the fridge, Eliza stocked me up earlier this week. And feel free to take any of the beds and any clothes, because I’m sure you didn’t pack many sweats,” she offered with a small laugh, and Lena smiled thankfully. Then Kara announced to the rest of the group, “Alright, let’s load up. We want to get there before dusk.”

As they all pulled out of the driveway, Lena hoped she hadn’t miscalculated. Letting out her breath she was holding, she sat on the front porch step, and dreaded going into Kara’s house by herself. It felt like an invasion of privacy in some way, and she would have much rather had just stayed at the hotel if she were given the option.

Ten minutes after she sat down, Sam and Alex pulled up to the house, looking confused as to why Lena was sitting by herself and Kara’s car was gone.

“We stopped for gas,” Sam explained as she got out of the car, and somehow by the state her clothes and hair were in and the hickeys marking her neck, Lena didn’t quite believe her. “What’d we miss?” she asked with a frown.

There seldom less things Lena could think of that could be more awkward than staying in her ex’s house with her ex’s sister for company. The tension seemed to strain at every corner of the house, and Lena almost felt as if she were suffocating. Between Alex and Sam and whatever was going on between them, and Alex clearly trying to corner Lena to interrogate her about the good old days, Lena felt like she was at her wits end.

Alex eventually did get her alone that afternoon, finding her on the back patio, staring out at National City.

“Hey,” she greeted, and Lena looked up, sure there was a bit of fear in her eye that caused Alex to chuckle. “Relax,” she comforted her. “I just haven’t talked to you in awhile. Want to know what you’ve been up to.”

At this, Lena shot Alex an unimpressed look and snorted. “Alex, you don’t have to do that. You can just ask me what’s on your mind,” Lena leveled with her. “We’re adults, you know.”

Chuckling a bit, Alex sat down beside her and nodded. “Alright, alright. Whatever you want. I do want to know how you’re doing though. Contrary to your obvious belief, I do still care about you,” she reasoned, and Lena ignored the lump in her throat. “But if you want to jump right into it, we can do that too!” she announced, trying to keep the smile on her face, but they both knew this was about to become very serious.

“So… you left my sister with no warning,” she started, and Lena chewed on her cheek. “Am I right to assume that had a little to do with Lex and a little to do with you two almost dying?” she inquired, and Lena clenched her eyes shut.

“Yeah,” Lena admitted quietly. “Probably more my brother.”

“Thought so,” Alex said after a moment, nodding. “Your brother was a fucking piece of work.”

“That he was,” Lena agreed bitterly.

“Sometimes I think about how he almost got out on that insanity plea. It makes me sick, the thought of him not being locked up in some highly contained cell,” Alex commented, taking a swig of her beer.

Nodding, Lena agreed with a hum. “Without that testimony, it wouldn’t have even been a thing. Luckily, the jury wasn’t taking his bullshit, but he almost- God,” Lena commented with a sigh. “I think that was the maddest I had ever been at her.”

Alex looked over at Lena with a quirked eyebrow, and Lena swallowed thickly.

“I know she was all about justice and everything back then, but trying to help my brother was just-”

“What are you talking about?” Alex asked, interrupting Lena with a concerned look on her face.

Lena faltered. “Didn’t you know- Kara didn’t tell you, did she?” she finally concluded sadly, already knowing the answer to the question. “Of course she didn’t; she was so ashamed after I yelled at her for it, I’m sure she never told anyone.”

“Told anyone what?” Alex asked slowly.

“Kara was the anonymous testimony backing Lex’s insanity plea,” Lena admitted slowly, watching the horror cross Alex’s face.

“Why would she- He almost killed Clark,” Alex started, her face in complete disbelief.

Shrugging, Lena sighed, wishing she had an answer for Alex. She had tried to reason it herself so many times over the years. “I think she just truly believed it. She had never seen Lex as anything but this great guy, so he had to be insane. It’s hard to believe your brother-in-law was pulling one on you the whole time. They were so close.”

“You knew, didn’t you? Not about the attack, but that he was an ass?” Alex asked.

Letting out a surge of breath and a surprised laugh, Lena nodded. “I did. I never knew how to tell Kara though. I thought if I just kept her far enough away from him, then it wouldn’t matter,” she admitted guiltily.

Alex was quiet then, thinking it all over, and Lena bit her lip waiting for her to say something.

“Do you resent me?” Lena finally asked after the long silence, wishing she could hold the question in, but Alex was right here, staring at her with that unreadable expression, and Lena couldn’t find it in herself to not ask the question that had haunted her for fifteen years. As long as they were clearing the air between them, she might as well get this out of the way.

Alex pressed her lips together quietly, and turned her head back out towards the view of National City. “I was resentful for awhile,” Alex offered after a moment. “Kara never was, but I- it hurt a lot to see her like that, and I had to find some way to channel it.”

Lena nodded, her throat thick with emotions. It wasn’t that she hadn’t expected this; Alex had every right to hate her. Kara had every right to hate her. It just hurt to have what she knew for so long confirmed by someone who was there when it happened.

“Why be nice to me now then?” she asked, her voice small, and Alex shot her a sympathetic smile.

Shrugging, she turned back to the view and took another swig of her beer. “I guess I just realized that you’re you. You have reasons for everything, and you love my sister more than anything,” she confided. “I guess I just realized that blaming you for not knowing the whole story wasn’t productive. Especially not when I knew one day—inevitably—you would be back.”

Lena was silent for a long moment at this before finally letting out a long breath. “I don’t think I can offer you any type of closure, Alex,” she confessed, a bit of wavering slipping into her words as she was unable to look Alex in the eye.

“That’s okay,” Alex reassured her, soft hand landing on Lena’s as she moved to stand from her seat. “I’m not the one who needs it.” With a pointed look, Alex stood and moved back in the house, leaving Lena frozen in her place.

Alex didn’t talk to her directly for the next few hours. As the trio began to make plans for dinner, they saw headlights pull into the driveway. Sam and Lena both frowned, but Alex beamed and muttered under her breath “finally”.

“Did you order food without us?” Sam questioned, raising her eyebrows unimpressed.

“Not really,” she answered easily, going to answer the door. Lena trailed behind her a little ways when she heard Alex greet the person at the door with a happy “Hey Mom!” and she froze.

Eliza Danvers was here. Kara’s mother Eliza. Kara’s mother Eliza Danvers was here, and Lena was finding it distinctively hard not to run straight out the back door and never look back.

Before she could put her plan into action, however, Eliza walked through the doorway into the dining room, and immediately zeroed in on Lena.

“Well now aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” she greeted with her signature smile, and Lena almost broke down into sobs on the spot. Not letting her escape, Eliza walked up to her and wrapped her in a tight hug. Rubbing her back, Eliza held onto Lena as she buried her head in her ex mother-in-laws neck and bit down hard on her tongue to prevent the tears from falling.

Instead, Lena pulled away and hummed, “It’s been a long time, Eliza.”

“I was starting to think you didn’t like me,” Eliza commented with a smirk, and Lena froze for a minute before she realized she was teasing her.

Letting out a strained laugh, Lena shook her head and responded, “I could never.”

With an approving hum and wrapping her arm around Lena’s shoulder, Eliza sighed and pulled them into the kitchen, Alex tagging along behind them. “How are you, dear?” she inquired. “I’ve wanted to reach out for so long, but Alexandra always tells me it’s better to get updates through her and Sam.”

At this, Lena turned and raised her eyebrows at Sam and Alex, who both averted their eyes guiltily as Lena narrowed hers.

“Have you two been keep tabs on us all these years?” she asked, a bit of surprise seeping into her voice. She guessed she just assumed that they had all cut off contact from each other as her and Kara did, but thinking about it now, that wasn’t a well supported assumption. Alex and Sam were close before they left. Of course they had stayed in contact.

Maybe it was more surprising to her that they had stayed in contact to check in on Kara and Lena. Maybe Lena was floundering at the idea that all these years after she had abandoned them, they still wanted to make sure she was okay.

Alex scoffed a little at this before responding, “Of course we did. I wasn’t going to let you isolate yourself without knowing you would be alright. Besides Kara didn’t ask me to do it, but I know if she found out I didn’t, she would have had my head.”

Lena swallowed thickly at this, before she turned back to Eliza who was looking at her expectantly. “I’m good. L Corp is better than ever. My board is finally not fighting me every step of the way. Liza’s top of her class-”

“And how are you?” Eliza interrupted, looking at Lena pointed, and she faltered, her mouth hanging open as she tried to answer.

“I’m good,” she finally repeated lamely.

Eliza pressed her lips together before turning towards the fridge. “Is lasagna still your favorite?” she asked absentmindedly as she rummaged through the fridge. “I’m pretty sure Kara has some ricotta cheese in here that’s about to expire.”

Pushing past the lump in her throat, Lena nodded and murmured, “Yeah, I still really like lasagna.”

The four of them conversed then, as if this were just a normal night together. Lena stayed mostly quiet throughout the conversation, and she was grateful Eliza’s attention had mostly turned to Sam, not overlooking the way Sam and Alex looked at each other. Lena realized that Sam had never officially met Eliza before she had left.

The lasagna smelled delicious as always, and Lena’s stomach growled, knowing how much she had missed Eliza’s cooking over the years. Kara and her had been self-sufficient, but when they had been busy or had later nights than usual, Eliza would just cook while she was watching the girls, wanting to help the two young mothers as much as she could.

She really didn’t deserve Eliza. She had already known that, but when she took a bite of her food and remembered just how good she used to have it, the realization hit her again.

After dinner, Sam and Alex announced they were going to run to the store to grab some snacks so they could all watch a movie. Lena panicked a bit at the idea of being left alone with Eliza for twenty minutes, but before she could protest, they were gone, and Lena sat awkwardly in a room with the mother of her ex-wife.

“I’m not angry with you, if that’s why you keep looking at me like that,” Eliza stated a moment later, and Lena looked up at her a bit guilty, which earned her a laugh. “I understand why you think I’d be, but what happened back then, it was too much to put on you girls. Everyone could see that. I was upset, sure, but all I really hoped was that you were doing what was best for you. Kara has a support system here. I knew she would be okay, but you… I worried about you, is all.”

Sniffing a bit, Lena shrugged and refused to meet Eliza’s eyes, sure she would cry on the spot. “I’m okay, Eliza. I did what was best, and I’m okay,” she reasoned, and Eliza walked up to her softly and stroked her hair back.

“But did you do what was best for you?” she questioned. There was no anger or disappointment in it. In fact there was understanding. She already knew the answer. She knew that Lena had left for everyone’s sake but her own. Eliza always was the one who saw right through her.

Clearing her throat, Lena ignored the question and asked, “How have you been, Eliza?”

“I’ve been good as well. I’m thinking about retiring soon, but everytime I start to put it in action, I come up with another year long list of things I want to accomplish before I do, so I don’t really expect that to happen any time soon,” she recounted easily.

Lena smirked at this and responded, “I don’t think my mom will retire until she’s in the grave. She enjoys making my life miserable with the board trustees too much.” Lena ended it with a little huff of a laugh, but her lips were pressed together sadly. Lillian still lived in Metropolis. Maybe she should stop by and see her before she returned to London. She hadn’t seen her since last year at Christmas.

“Oh,” Eliza tittered, waving Lena’s concern off. “It may seem like that, but Lillian’s always been one to look out for you,” Eliza comforted softly.

Lena thought about Lillian’s latest refusal to allow Lena’s pick onto the board. The guy had ended up being a self-involved, misogynistic dick, and Lena had just chalked it up to good luck her mother had refused. Maybe… maybe Eliza had a point though.

“How is she, by the way?” Eliza asked softly, pulling Lena from her thoughts. “I tried to make a point of keeping in touch with her, but after the trial, everything just became so much harder to keep up with, and she just got more distant, and I guess I didn’t put as much effort into it as I should have either, so we fell out of contact.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Lena assured her a bit bitterly. “She did that to everyone. Lex was her pride and joy, and now she’s left with nothing, so she cut and ran.”

Eliza studied Lena carefully at this, planning out her response. “Well, she didn’t run far if she’s still looking out for you,” she finally answered, and Lena remained silent at that.

Alex and Sam then returned shortly with several bags of chips and insisted everyone gather on the couch. They all voted on a cheesy horror movie on Netflix, and spent the whole time making fun of it. When the movie ended, they decided it was time to head to bed.

The group made their way upstairs, Eliza and Alex both deciding they didn’t want to make the drive home that late, and Alex pointed out Lily’s bedroom for Sam and Lena to crash in for the night. Her and Sam shared a lingering look before Alex turned and entered a door down the hallway. Lena didn’t need anyone to tell her that was Kara’s bedroom.

Before Eliza also retreated into Kara’s room with Alex, she stopped and made a point to hug Lena. As Eliza wrapped her up in a hug, she whispered, “I’m so glad I happened to stop by. I miss you something terribly, dear.”

Lena swallowed thickly and decidedly ignored the second part of Eliza’s statement. With a little laugh she murmured, “I know Alex texted you to come.”

Eliza chuckled at this and praised warmly, “Nothing ever did slip past you. But I’m glad she did.” Pulling back from the hug, Eliza looked on at her now with tears in her eyes that made Lena become even more choked up. Lightly kissing Lena on the forehead, she confided, “A mother can really only go so long without her daughter.”

The words hit Lena hard, catching her off guard and she felt a little out of breath. She watched as Eliza retreated and turned on her heel, pointedly tried to force her mind to focus on anything other than the encounter she had just had. These were the interactions with Kara’s family that would break her, she was convinced.

When she entered her daughter’s room, she found exactly the distraction she was searching for. It was distinctively Kara was what struck her first, stopping her on sight; everything scattered and left about without any true attempt at organization. But a moment later, when she looked a little closer, her heart seemed to warm as she saw some familiar elements of the room that she would compare to her own personal lab space. Things were ordered generally, but looked as if they were so often brought out and worked upon that the organization of it got lost or became useless altogether.

Sam immediately walked over and started going through the papers on the desk, and Lena chastised her from behind.

“Don’t go through my daughter’s stuff.”

Looking up at Lena with an amused look, she asked, “As if Lily wouldn’t want you to see what she’s got over here. These are amazing, Lena.”

She only held out for a few more moments before Lena finally sighed and walked over, scanning one of the designs Sam handed her. They did that for several minutes, pointing out different reports and designs together, and as Lena got engrossed in a proposal for new uses of hydrogen peroxide vaporization, Sam left her side and began to look through other things in the room.

“Hey, Sam,” Lena finally noticed, looking up from the notes in her hand. “No snooping,” she repeated, and Sam just scoffed.

“It’s your daughter. We aren’t going to read her diary or anything, just look around. It doesn’t count as snooping,” she brushed off, and Lena rolled her eyes as Sam walked over to the closet.

Lena was once again pulled from her focus when Sam let out a little incredulous laugh as she opened the closet door and saw what could be misconstrued as a conspiracy theory’s worth of photos of Lena and L Corp inventions.

“I think Kara knew how it felt for you to have a daughter obsessed with Supergirl,” she commented with her eyebrows raised, and Lena let a little giggle bubble out of her lips as well.

Eliza had left early the next morning, needing to return to her lab for some emergency or another, and while Lena was appreciative of Alex and Sam’s concern and company while she stayed in her ex’s house, it was becoming clearer and clearer that they were both trying to subtly ditch her to get some alone time. Every time Lena tried to leave them alone, however, they both guiltily came back to her and insisted they should do some other off the wall bonding exercise. Alex was convincing her to go horseback riding with them when Lena finally snapped.

“Please, for the love of God, take this, buy the most expensive bottle of whiskey you can find, go back to Alex’s place, and let me have a moment of peace,” she begged, holding out her credit card to the two stunned women taken aback by her outburst.

Alex seemed eager to comply immediately, but Sam held her back for a moment, hesitating as she took in her friend. “Are you sure?” she asked quietly. “I don’t want to leave you alone if-”

“Sam, I cannot stress this enough: the sexual tension between the two of you that’s suffocating this whole house is far worse for me to deal with right now than anything I’ll get into while you’re gone,” Lena leveled with her, causing Alex to choke on her breath and start to blush while Sam merely widen her eyes before donning a smug smile on her face. “Please, just go enjoy yourselves.”

The two women didn’t require anymore prodding than that, and they both soon quickly left Lena alone to her devices for the first time in Kara’s house.

In a way, it felt like intruding, being here in Kara’s space without her. But there was still that small part of her that thought of the two of them as a unit. And maybe she was reaching or was just flat out delusional, but she could feel a bit of her influence in this house. Little things that she liked were scattered around the house. Things she knew Kara could have done different while building, but she clearly hadn’t.

Maybe it was a coincidence she tried to tell herself. It was reasonable, she considered. Maybe Kara just liked the bay window overlooking National City having a bookshelf under and around it, and it had nothing to do with Lena’s endless lamenting for such a thing in their old house. And maybe she chose the dark wood countertops in the kitchen because of their modern rustic feel and not because Lena had once told Kara all she remembered of her mom’s house in Ireland were the dark wood countertops she would always try to climb on. And maybe the large fireplace in the living room was placed there just by chance and not at all the product of her and Kara talking endlessly about how one day they would build their dream home and after they did, they would cuddle up next to the fireplace every night and look out over National City before retiring to their rooms.

Sighing, Lena slowly meandered her way through the house, taking in everything and trying to ignore the dull pain in her chest. Her mind kept wandering to Kara and Lena building this house here, raising their girls here, living out their days here. And as soon as it slipped back into her mind, Lena pushed it out again, not wanting to dwell on the idea, on everything she missed that a different her on a different Earth got to have.

When she made her way up to the second floor, Lena stared at the room Alex and Eliza had crashed in the night before, obviously deducting that this would be Kara’s room. She stood outside it for a long moment, debating with herself as to whether she should enter it or not.

It felt like a true invasion of privacy. Kara wasn’t here. She shouldn’t be snooping, she chided herself.

Biting her lip, she considered the other side of it. Kara had invited her to use any of the rooms. She couldn’t technically be mad if she walked through her bedroom and just observed. Plus, this was Kara she was talking about; she was probably expecting Lena do as much.

Finally she bit the bullet and just pushed her way inside the room, stopping as soon as she entered, as if she didn’t want to disrupt the energy in it. It was becoming increasingly clear as she stood and looked on at the room, that it was the only room in the house without Lena’s presence. This was pure Kara, and something ripped a little at her at that fact. Of course the only room without her touch in it would be the room that was Kara’s and Kara’s alone. Lily was present everywhere else.

Finally gritting her teeth and getting her wits about her, Lena stepped further into the room. As she stepped over the clothes tossed on the floor, Lena bit her tongue and shook her head, remembering all the times she had irritatedly told Kara to use a hamper when they lived together. Her super suit was abandoned on the chair in the corner in a heap, and Lena swallowed her indignant hum at her carefully crafted suit being tossed aside and improperly cared for.

When she didn’t find anything too exciting just walking around, Lena held her breath and chided herself to leave now, because anything further than this would definitely be considered snooping.

But she knew Kara too well. Remembered Kara too well. And she knew she always hid her most valuable possessions beneath the bed.

Chewing on her lip, Lena fought with herself. When they had been married, they had kept their wedding album and the girls’ keepsakes under the bed. If she had to guess, now it was just memories of Lily’s achievements and her Pulitzer drafts, she didn’t have to dig through it all to prove herself right. And yet still she found herself lying on the ground in an undignified manner and looking under the bed. She told herself it was just because she wanted to see what her daughter had accomplished, but she knew the truth was she had to know.

And when she pulled out the box under, she had her answer.

It was like she had been catapulted back fifteen years, pulling out the same box from under the bed and opening it to the same things. The wedding album, the pictures of the girls, she pulled them all out, and heard a little thump as she did. Setting all the items in her hands down, she looked into the box to see what dropped and her breath caught.

It was Kara’s wedding band. She had kept it all these years. Shaking a bit, she remembered the small box she had buried in the back of her dresser drawer where she had been keeping hers all this time. Slowly, she reached out to pick it up, tears pricking the back of her eyes.

Before Lena could, however, she heard the unmistakable sound of a car pulling into the driveway. With a bit of annoyance, she scrambled to throw everything back together and back under the bed, trying to calm her racing heart and pretend she wasn’t just going through her ex’s things, before she went hurtling downstairs to yell at Alex and Sam for coming back so soon. It was getting patronizing at this point, she thought bitterly. She was okay by herself, why couldn’t they just-

Her train of thought cut off the moment she heard Kara’s voice just outside the door.

“Straight to your room,” Kara instructed testily, and Lena heard both Liza and Lily groan outside the door before pushing it open and stomping into the house. Both girls were a little caught off guard to run into their mom as soon as they entered, but they soon turned to grateful.

“Mom!” Lily cried out, a hopeful expression on her face as Lena widened her eyes a bit, trying to take in the situation at hand. “Can you tell Yeyu she’s being completely unreasonable here?” she continued, whining a bit.

“Upstairs now,” Kara instructed, coming in the door behind them and Lena’s eyes flicked to hers in question, and Kara waved her off, instead crossing her arms at her daughters. “You’re both grounded.”

The twins and their mother seemed to be at a standstill, so Lena decided to step in and assess the situation. “Kara, what’s going on?” Lena questioned aloud this time, her tone not leaving room for evasion, and when Kara’s eyes met hers again, she sent Lena a pointed look and allowed the inevitable outburst from the girls to fill in the blanks.

“We only pulled some harmless pranks on him!” Liza immediately defended, and Lena had to bite her cheek. She had almost expected this as the answer, but she knew she couldn’t react in front of Kara. No matter how much she thought this Mon-El character deserved the full force of her girls. Kara would never forgive her if she figured it out.

“He’s a Daxamite; he’s got impenetrable skin!” Lily continued, throwing her hands up in disbelief. “It’s not like the scorpion’s poison was going to actually hurt him!” Lena almost bit through her cheek trying to prevent herself from snorting with laughter.

“Also, Rao talk about being overly sensitive,” Liza fed off her sister. “He can fly. Mom, look me in the eye and tell me what us dropping him from a thousand feet in the air while he’s sleeping is really going to do besides make him pee his pants?”

This seemed to be the breaking point for both Kara and Lena because Kara snapped her attention to the twins and gritted out, “Girls. Room. Now.” While the girls stomped past Lena and headed up the stairs with their arms crossed, Lena turned her back to Kara and let out a single laugh in hopes she could maintain her composure afterwards.

Once the girls were secured in Lily’s room upstairs, Lena morphed her face into the most sympathetic expression she could muster and turned back to Kara who was sighing heavily and running her hand through her hair.

“I’m sorry they ruined the trip,” Lena offered, a grimace lighting her lips and Kara glanced over at her before closing her eyes and shaking her head.

“No, no. They…” Kara began trailing off a bit before admitting, “Don’t tell them this, but they were kind of right. He was the one ruining the trip, and I’m glad I ended things.” The confession made Lena’s heart skip a bit selfishly, but before Lena’s mind could catch up with it, Kara continued, “But I’m still mad at them!”

“You ended things?” Lena asked a beat later, trying to keep her voice neutral as she was unable to keep the question inside her. Kara’s eyes flashed to hers and they softened a bit in confirmation, and Lena felt a warmth creep up on her cheeks. “While you do deserve better than him, I am sorry,” Lena stated sincerely, and then it was Kara’s turn to blush.

“Well,” Kara finally responded after clearing her throat, “it’s not like you purposefully sent him in your place in hopes of this happening, so you really have nothing to apologize for.” Kara didn’t say the words maliciously or mean-spiritedly. In fact, when Lena froze and her eyes flicked to Kara’s, there was a glint of amusement, of knowing humor.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lena tried to divert, trying to keep the smirk off the corner of her lips as Kara broke into a beam, knowing Lena was stepping straight into her trap.

“Uh huh,” Kara hummed with a raised eyebrow and placing her hands on her hips. “See, it’s funny, because when I caught them rigging his tent so it would collapse on him the moment he laid inside, I thought to myself ‘Huh, they must have genetically learned that prank from their mom, since she pulled the exact same one on Lex every time they went camping’,” Kara continued with a pointed look, and Lena blushed knowing she was busted. She also knew it was useless to try to defend herself and say she last minute told Lily how to rig the tent so she could pull the prank on Liza. But Kara surprisingly didn’t seem upset about her secondhand meddling like she had expected to.

So instead of outright confirming or denying her involvement, she just smiled cheekily and stated, “And here I was, thinking I could get away with slipping some of my prank DNA into their eggs without you noticing.”

“See!” Kara smiled triumphantly, clapping her hands together with another giggle. “I caught you!” she announced, taking a step towards Lena, so close now Lena could feel the heat radiating off her body even despite being under the red sun lamps. Lena was holding her breath as she held Kara’s eyes with her own, until Kara finally broke the silence and looked around the empty entry way and inquired, “Uh, so where’s Alex and Sam?”

Letting out a little scoff at this, Lena rolled her eyes and admitted, “I sent them away just before noon. Told them to get whatever they needed to out of their system before they even thought about coming back.”

Kara let out a hearty laugh at this and shook her head. “Still all that tension, even all these years later?” she inquired.

“God, even more so. It was suffocating,” Lena complained, causing Kara to laugh again and Lena joined her this time.

“Well, I guess we always knew that was inevitable, didn’t we?” Kara supplied with a good natured smile, but it was after the words left her lips that both women stilled a bit.

Inevitable was a funny word. An even funnier word for Kara to use right now, alone with Lena. All the ease present in their demeanors a moment before suddenly was sucked from the room, and Kara and Lena were back to being exes instead of long lost friends.

It was a weird balance, being with Kara like this after all this time. There were moments in the past fifteen years Lena would stay up late at night trying to decide if she missed Kara her lover or Kara her best friend more. She didn’t let herself mull over it often, but when she did, she eventually had trouble separating the two out from each other. There was never a Kara and Lena best of friends. There was Kara and Lena apart and then Kara and Lena together. There was no inbetween. They were inevitable.

That’s what everyone kept saying, right? It was inevitable. From the moment they met, nothing they could have possibly done could have stopped them being Kara and Lena together. Even now, after Lena moved halfway across the world and left Kara and divorced her and didn’t speak to her for fifteen years, everyone still thought Lena would come back and draw messy lines between best friends and lovers with Kara, and they would work it out. Lena saw it in Sam’s eyes, in Eliza and Alex’s eyes, in her daughters’ eyes.

Right now, she could see it in Kara’s eyes. It wasn’t hope, per se. It wasn’t a knowing look or an expression that she was pushing or asking for something from Lena. It was just there.

Inevitability.

Lena bit down and swallowed hard on the lump forming in her throat. She wished she just scream at everyone that the inevitable already came and went through their family. And it wasn’t through Kara and her relationship, nor through her coming back after all these years.

Lena knew inevitable. Knew it like the back of her hand at this point. Sometimes it felt like all she was living through was the inevitable.

The fact of the matter was, Lena was a Luthor, and Luthor’s hurt Supers. No matter how hard you try, no matter how desperate you are to break the cycle, there was one inevitability in the world, and it was that Lena’s existence put Kara’s in harm's way. There was no compromising or attempting to fix that. Everyone in their lives could think Lena being here would change everything, but the truth was tomorrow Lena would board a plane, go back to London with Liza, and fall off Kara’s grid again, just like she had vowed to fifteen years ago.

“Are you hungry?” Kara asked finally, blinking a bit and wanting to move on from the awkward silence between them. “I can make a mean alfredo now, and I’ve been waiting to impress someone other than Lily with it,” she offered, and Lena found herself smiling politely back.

That look was still in Kara’s eyes, and Lena found herself looking away so as to shield herself from it.

“That sounds delicious,” she responded softly, and Kara grinned wider and led her into the kitchen so they could talk while Kara cooked. It was nice. It almost felt normal, Kara updating Lena on all the changes she’s been making to CatCo. Lena bit her tongue several times to keep herself from commenting on different articles of Kara’s she had read over the years. There was no need to make this more complicated than it was.

Letting out a shaky breath, Lena relaxed a bit and allowed herself to enjoy the quiet evening with Kara. When the girls were called down to eat over an hour later, she let herself relax even more into the normal banter of their family, her chest tugging a bit at how comfortable they all were around each other. But again Lena pushed down her intrusive thoughts, and instead shared knowing looks with Kara about amusing things Liza said and laughed along with Lily’s side comments.

For the time being, the inevitable was buried in her mind, and Lena allowed herself one last indulgent, selfish night with her family.

After dinner, the girls had once again been sent to Lily’s room, leaving Kara and Lena alone to their devices. Kara had insisted on showing Lena something upstairs, and so with a little option to do anything else, she followed her pensively upstairs to the room she knew was Kara’s.

Her heartbeat raised a little as Kara showed her into the master suite, and she was never to intimately thankful that the house was infused with red sun lamps so Kara couldn’t hear it.

Instead of stopping when they walked in the room, however, Kara continued her trek straight over to where the curtains were drawn on what Lena assumed to be a window, and she threw them back to reveal a sliding glass door that led out to a wood paneled balcony overlooking National City in the distance. Lena swallowed thickly and smiled when Kara turned back to her excitedly.

“This was one of my favorite things to build on this house,” she informed Lena. “I just wanted to finally be able to look at my city and not hear all of its misery at the same time. It becomes so draining, but from here-” She cut off and opened the door and walked outside, and Lena followed her quietly. “From here it’s just my home. And I get to remember why I love it and why I fight for it so much,” she admitted a bit wistfully.

Lena hummed a bit at this and couldn’t disagree that National City looked great from this view. They both stood there quietly, leaning on the railing and taking in the view for several minutes, wondering who would be the first to break the silence, and what of the mountains of things they had to discuss they would start with first.

“Do you ever feel like you’re just doing a terrible job raising them?” Kara asked suddenly, the question being on her mind for awhile now. Lena seemed to get along so effortlessly with Liza, it was hard to imagine her ever struggling to discipline or get through to her. Maybe Kara was feeling a little insecure about it.

To her surprise, however, Lena let out a loud laugh and shook her head. Kara looked over at her quizzically, but Lena brushed her off with a pointed look. “Liza didn’t talk to me for two days last year because I wouldn’t let her go to a musical festival with Ruby and her friends for a weekend. And since I was so wrapped up in taking my mind off her and her refusal to talk to me, I worked right through one of the fundraisers she was hosting that she had been talking about for months on end leading up to it. So yeah. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing a really shitty job,” she responded, letting out a long breath, and Kara raised her eyebrows and studied Lena carefully.

She seemed almost ashamed to admit the story and ducked her head, almost afraid to see Kara’s response.

“Two years ago, I missed Lily’s orchestra concert because of a Peganan invasion,” Kara finally said, turning away from Lena, who looked up at her with a soft surprise. “She insisted it was fine, but when she told me she wanted to quit orchestra a month later, it was probably one of the closest times I came to hanging up the cape,” she admitted softly, looking off into the distance with a short, unamused laugh.

Considering it for a moment, Lena finally took in a sharp breath and disclosed, “I once forgot Liza at L Corp when she was seven. By the time I realized it and got back to the office to look for her, she had just fallen asleep on the couch in my office. She was so used to me leaving her for my private lab late into the night, she didn’t even know I had left. Sam had to spend two weeks talking me down from transferring the company over to Lillian.”

By the end of her story, Kara was staring at Lena softly, before she took a shaky breath and responded, “Lily tried to follow me into battle once, when she was eleven. She had never even really showed an interest in fighting alongside me, so I got completely blindsided by it, and it…” Kara let out a long breath before continuing, “It was the single most terrifying moment of my life. I got her out safely and banned her to the labs of the DEO before she admitted that’s what she really wanted to do anyway. But I still wonder if it wasn’t a mistake to hang it all up and quit then, or if somehow continuing to be Supergirl will put Lily in danger sometime in the future.”

Lena studied Kara quietly, quickly wiping away any tears that escaped onto her cheeks. Finally, she offered, “When Liza was three she broke off her necklace and floated out of a second story window. I slept with her chained to me for the better part of a year.”

Kara let out a little laugh at this, the image of a three year old Liza floating away in the night and Lena dangling under her taking over her mind and leaving the heavy topic behind them.

“When Lily was two she would always try to fly up and get into the vents at the old house,” she stated, and Lena chuckled a bit at this, not doubting it for a moment. “Alex and I tried bolting them down several different ways, but she always got back in.”

They both laughed a little at this, but it eventually became a little strained as their minds both came to the same conclusion: they wished they didn’t have to share these memories with each other now. They wished they had both been there through all of them; they wished they hadn’t missed out on the good and the bad.

“You know if I could go back-”

“Me too,” Lena agreed readily, her heart pounding loudly as she tried to blink away the tears. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear what Kara had to say.

“You would also go back in time and make our daughters’ first solid food potstickers?” Kara asked curiously after a moment, and Lena looked up at her almost horrified before Kara’s demeanor cracked and she let out a loud laugh.

“Shut up,” Lena grumbled playfully, as she pushed Kara lightly on the arm.

“Okay, no, seriously though,” Kara continued, holding her hands up in surrender. “If I could go back, I would have given up the superhero thing for you.”

Lena blinked at this, completely caught off guard. She let out a surprised puff of air--not taking Kara’s admittance lightly--before furrowing her eyebrows and shaking her head a bit. “That’s not what I wanted Kara,” she murmured. “I didn’t want you to give up a part of yourself; I just wanted you to be safe.”

“That’s all I wanted for you too,” Kara confessed after a moment. “I realize now in hindsight that the superhero thing wasn’t the best way to go about that. I was just scared, you know? It was like the whole world shifted. Someone I trusted killed thirty-two people. How was I supposed to protect you and the girls in a world where it felt like anyone could decide to harm you in an instant?”

Clenching her eyes shut, Lena was reminded of why she had to leave in the first place. Kara’s statement had felt eerily similar, and Lena thought of how unfair it was that they had both been fighting for the same thing, and it somehow still fell apart for them.

“You couldn’t have,” she finally answered.

“I know,” Kara answered easily. “That’s a hard lesson I’ve had to learn: I can’t save everyone. But I wish I could go back and try to learn it faster.”

Lena bit her cheek and nodded, replying, “There are a lot of things I would like to go back and learn faster.”

Kara looked up at Lena and quirked her eyebrows curiously, before dropping it and joking, “I would also try to stop smashing into your buildings. I feel like that really pissed you off on top of everything else.”

Lena let out a loud laugh at this and jested, “My insurance is so much more affordable in London, you know.”

“Oh I bet,” Kara nodded readily, cheeky grin on her face,

“Well fair is fair,” Lena relented. “If you’d stop smashing into my buildings, then I wouldn’t throw that baby rattle at you.”

“Yeah, that was rude!” Kara responded affronted, her chest puffing up as she remembered the incident in question.

“Hey, you’re invulnerable remember?” Lena teased, poking her in the arm, and while Kara laughed, there was a strain to it that thickened the air around the two of them. Realizing what she had said, Lena held her breath and wrapped her arms around herself in shame.

“Not to everything,” Kara finally admitted quietly, dropping her eyes to the ground and scuffing her foot a bit on the wood panels of the balcony. “Not to the love of my life running halfway across the world.”

Gritting down, Lena sighed. She couldn’t focus on the words Kara had just said that were buzzing in her head, and so instead she instinctively replied, “You can fly, Kara. I waited for-”

Quickly, she cut herself off, biting down on her tongue and chatising herself for revealing so much to Kara. She was supposed to be making this easier for them; she was supposed to be the one uncomplicating things so she could leave in the morning without making Kara worse off.

“Wait, Lena, what-” Kara began, her jaw dropped as she tried to process what Lena had almost just disclosed to her, but before she could get a full sentence out, Lena was turning her back to her and looking over the rail once again at National City in the distance. Her jaw was clenched tightly shut and Kara let out a shuddering breath before she took a step closer to Lena and leaned a bit on the rail to try to get herself in front of the woman, needing to look her in the eye for this.

“Did you want me to follow you?” she finally asked, and she didn’t need her super senses to see the tiny shudder make its way through Lena’s body.

After staying silent for a long moment, Lena finally swallowed thickly and asked softly, “Does it matter?”

Kara’s jaw dropped at this as her eyes widened and she nearly burst with disbelief. “Of course it matters, Lena!” she insisted, her voice becoming thick as she stared at the woman still pointedly looking away from her. “Why tell me not to follow you if you wanted me to?” she asked, her voice edged with the plea of finally knowing the truth. “Why didn’t you reach out in some way other than divorce papers?” she finally begged after a long beat of silence that signaled Lena wasn’t going to respond unless she pushed a little harder.

“How was I supposed to convince myself that you wanted me to?” Lena finally rushed out, pushing herself back from the railing in a whirl and catching Kara off guard. Kara could see the pain as clear as day in her eyes, and she just didn’t know why- “You are the most stubborn person I know; you will do anything, take any risk, if you believe in it enough, despite what I want,” Lena explained, her voice rising a bit. “I asked you not to debut as Supergirl? You did it anyway. I asked you not to meddle in my brother’s trial? You did it anyway. I asked you not to take on goliath size demon aliens because you have two daughters at home? You did it anyway. And then I asked you not to follow me-”

“Lena-” Kara tried to cut her off, her voice cracking as tears streamed down her face to match the ones streaming down Lena’s.

“-and for the first time you listened to me!” Lena finished with a force, but immediately crumpled into herself, cutting off her sob before it could fully manifest. Before Kara could respond however, she let out a long shuddering breath and whispered, “What kind of conclusion was I supposed to come to?”

“I wanted to follow you,” Kara finally offered when Lena when done, the pain so interwoven with her voice, Lena nearly flinched when she heard it. “I wanted to fly halfway across the world and burst into your house and make you take me back; some days I got halfway there before I made myself turn back. Because I messed everything up by not listening to you every other time you asked,” she admitted with a sob. “I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.”

Her last statement came out so vulnerable, Lena couldn’t stop herself from physically reacting to it. As if her brain went onto autopilot from fifteen years ago, and immediately responded to the urge to comfort Kara when she was in this much pain. It was what Lena was built for. It was why she had to keep her distance for all these years, because she knew if she didn’t, this would happen.

Softly, her hand reached out and entangled her fingers in Kara’s, who looked up at her with such a sad reverence before silently pulling her into a tight hug.

Head buried in Kara’s neck, Lena let out the first sob over their relationship in years as her fingers squeezed Kara’s to the point it felt like she could break them while her other arm slipped around her back and clung to her like she was the only thing keeping her together anymore. Maybe she was, Lena considered. Maybe she would back out of this hug and return to London and just fall apart and never truly be able to put herself back together.

Kara just held her quietly, eventually resorting stroking her back with the gentle touch of someone who knew every stretch of her skin, even after all these years, and it made Lena want to shiver.

“I was the one who messed everything up,” Lena finally mumbled after a long moment, careful to pull herself away from Kara just enough to not be touching her warm skin before making the statement. She could feel Kara’s body stiffen, and she took in her breath as if to question her, but Lena pushed forward. “And then, I didn’t know if you wanted us to be over or not, and somewhere between my inability to face you again and an inability to face myself, I sent the divorce papers out as a question.”

“Rao, Lena,” Kara chided lightly, this time forcibly backing up from Lena so as to look her in the eye. “I only signed because I thought- Did you want to get divorced?”

Gritting her teeth, Lena averted her eyes from Kara’s and took a shaky breath when she felt Kara’s hands move to her shoulders as she leaned down and forced Lena to look at her again.

“Lena,” she addressed with a bit of urgency, her voice cracking a bit. “Did you want to get divorced?”

When Lena’s eyes met Kara’s, she almost cracked open and laid out everything right then and there. “Kara,” she started, breathless, the tears already forming in her eyes and she could feel her body physically shutting down at the idea of coming clean after all these years.

Before she could say anything else, however, headlights began coming up the driveway, and Lena gratefully looked over at them as an excuse to get out of the situation she now found herself in. She had ended things for a reason. She had gotten divorced for a reason. What she wanted never had anything to do with it.

“That’ll be Sam and Alex,” Lena announced, knowing Kara’s eyes hadn’t left her but refusing to look back at her. Instead she shook herself out of out Kara’s grip and slipped back through the balcony door, fleetingly explaining, “We should go greet them.”

Leaving as quick as she could, Lena nearly ran through Kara’s bedroom towards the door, desperate to make her escape. Throwing the door open, she started to beeline towards the bathroom she knew was just down the hall, but jumped when she was immediately greeted by the twins.

“Hey Mom!” Lily greeted cheerily, not noticing anything off with their mom. “We were just coming to see if you and Yeyu would want to have a poker game? Now that Aunt Alex is home?”

Lena fought against the lump in her throat and tried to flash her daughter a genuine smile, but one glance at Liza, and she knew her facade wasn’t going to hold up much longer. Liza stared at her with question and concern, and Lena had to look away, so as to not completely break.

“Yeah, I would love that,” Lena finally choked out, stiffening a bit when she felt Kara’s presence come up quietly behind her, and before anyone could say anything else, she announced, “I need to go to the bathroom first, if you will excuse me.”

Quickly she pushed past everyone now crowded in the hallway and ignored the three pairs of eyes she could feel following her. Reaching the bathroom, she swung herself in and shut the door behind her, leaning her back against it as soon as she was alone. Letting a sigh out, Lena clenched her eyes shut as the back of her head hit the door with a soft thud.

What was she thinking, coming back here, pretending she could let Kara in again? Why couldn’t she just leave well-enough alone? Why did she have to do this to her family again?

“Lena?” she heard the soft whisper through the door, and Lena almost cursed with frustration that Kara couldn’t just stop being so concerned for two seconds to let her wallow in her misery in peace. “I sent the girls downstairs. I’ll give you as much time as you need, and I won’t push anymore. You don’t owe me anything, I’m sorry.”

Lena let out a silent sob and covered her mouth with her hand.

“I’ll just tell the girls you aren’t feeling well. I know this is all a lot. You don’t have to-”

“No,” Lena croaked out, sniffing a bit as she began wiping away her tears. “I’ll be down in a moment,” she promised, running her hands through her hair and trying to compose herself.

A minute passed and Lena almost thought Kara had wordlessly went downstairs to join the girls and give her space. After the minute, however, she heard a soft, “Okay. When you’re ready.”

Wrapping her arms around herself, almost as if she was trying to physically hold herself together, Lena tried to steady her breathing and get a grip on herself. It wasn’t fair to the girls, she thought. They were only getting this short time together with each other and both of their moms. She couldn’t be the one to ruin this.

When she had composed herself enough, she stood up straight, splashed some water on her face and turned back towards the door.

She could do this, she thought. She could do it for the girls. For Kara.

For herself.

Chapter Text

When Lena first made her way down the stairs, she could hear Lily and Liza’s animated story coming from the dining room. She stopped on the second to last step, not quite ready to join them and interrupt the girls. Instead she sat down and curled up into herself as she listened.

“Right so after Non-Oil-”

“Why do you two call him Non-Oil?” Alex interrupted Lily quickly as an aside, an amused tone to her voice.

The girls both let out a little giggle before Liza explained, “Lily’s phone autocorrected his name the first time I tried to text her about him. It kind of stuck.”

“Got it,” Alex accepted easily. “Proceed with the story of how you got rid of the leech.”

Lena heard Kara scoff a bit as she commented, “You guys are horrible. I did date him for two months-”

“And we’re being the bigger people here and not holding that against you,” Alex protested, and Lena could almost feel Kara’s eyes rolling from where she was sitting.

“Thank you for being sensitive after my break up,” Kara grumbled sarcastically, and Lena felt her heartbeat spike a little.

“Yeah yeah, you seem really torn up about it,” Alex brushed off, and everyone let out a small laugh at what was assuredly the expression Kara made to her sisters comment.

Cutting back into the conversation, Lily began, “Right so after we convinced him a blood-thirsty alien cult lived up in the woods of the mountain by burning a bunch of random symbols into the sides of the tree trunks with our laser vision, Liza and I devised a plan while we were setting up camp. We had told him the cult likes to trap people in tents and drag them off, so while he was setting up his sleeping bag, we melted the zipper of his tent together, and then waited for him to realize. When he did, we both started dragging his tent towards the woods.”

“I’ve never quite heard a grown man scream like that,” Liza observed. “He of course then destroyed the tent trying to get out of it, which Yeyu was not happy about.”

“And then when she asked him what he was upset about and subsequently informed him there was, in fact, no cult in the woods, we pretended we had never told him otherwise, which really pissed him off,” Lily finished.

“But by then, Yeyu was onto us, so we had to get creative. Then we realized what could possibly make Non-Oil more uncomfortable than two fighting, bratty teenagers constantly bugging him as if he were our father,” Liza reported proudly, and Alex laughed in approval.

“Honestly that might have been the cruelest thing you two did to him,” Kara relented with a sigh. “Forget your powers, two teenage girls could scare away anyone.”

“Before dinner, Liza sent him out to look for bugs. I don’t know how she did it with a straight face, I had to pretend I was setting up the fire to keep him from seeing me laugh. But sure enough, fifteen minutes later he reappeared with a handful of dead crickets, beetles, and worms, and tried to throw them into our food to be cooked,” Lily snickered, barely able to get her story out at this point.

Liza then jump in saying, “When Yeyu caught us trying to then rig Non-Oil’s back up tent to collapse on him, she put us on an indefinite pranking hiatus by scaring the love of Rao into us, and neither of us wanted to cross her so…”

“We waited until she was asleep,” Lily filled in easily, and both Alex and Sam let out a loud laugh. Lena snorted a bit and ducked her head as she listened, smirking a bit about how relentless her daughters were.

“In what ended up unfortunately being our prank grand finale-” Liza started before Lily cut her off.

“Which was such a shame because we had so many other good ideas,” she added.

“We carefully stole Non-Oil from his peaceful slumber in the tent, and went on a nice flight to the nearby lake,” Liza recounted.

Clearing her throat, Lily finished, “And then we wanted to see if we could see National City from way above the trees, since we thought Non-Oil might appreciate that view. So we flew up, up, up, and then--completely on accident--we dropped him over the lake.”

Alex let out a loud hoot at this, and Lena heard several high fives being exchanged as Lena let out a small chuckle herself.

“Alright, alright,” Kara tried to calm them down, an edge to her voice, but Lena recognized it as a playful one. “Anyone want to tell them about the aftermath of your little ‘accident’?” she asked, and both Lily and Liza seemed like they were trying to hold back their laughter. Kara huffed and explained, “So I woke up to water dripping all over my face and a very angry Mon-El standing over me in the tent asking me if I ‘plan on keeping them’. It took me like five minutes to realize he was talking about the girls and figure out what had happened.”

“Oh my god, he did not,” Alex gasped. “What did you say?”

“Wait this is the best part,” Lily hushed everyone, and the room got completely silent as everyone held onto their breath, waiting for Kara to speak.

Finally Kara sighed, and explained, “I told him to go fuck himself and get the hell out.”

Everyone let out a loud cheer at this and began clapping, and Lena let a small smile form on her lips, listening as the group in the dining room chattered on for a moment before she sighed and reached up for the bannister to pull herself up. If she didn’t go now, she knew she would be stuck on the staircase all night. She could do this, she told herself. Her daughter and Alex and Sam were all there as buffers. The mood was light. One poker game. Sleep. They would head to the airport straight away in the morning. And then this would all be at an end.

“Oh great! Everyone’s here!” Lily called out as she spotted Lena slowly making her way towards the seat saved for her at the dining room table.

A tight smile painted on her face, she could feel Kara’s eyes watching her warily, but she steadily ignored them and sat down quietly at Sam’s side.

Liza to Lena’s left picked up the deck of cards and began to deal out everyone’s hands, a smirk painted on her face. “I guess it’s time to truly figure out who the best poker player in the family is,” she stated, sharing a conspiratory look with her mom.

Shooting her eyes over to Alex amused, Lena tsked slightly, beginning to feel lighter from the edge of competition surrounding her. “Let me guess; you’ve been lying again about our record?” she guessed, a smile at the corner of her mouth, and Alex laughed.

“You wish I had been lying, Luthor. I kept meticulous track. I’m ahead of you in lifetime wins,” she pointed out confidently.

“We’ll see about that,” Lena replied vaguely, looking at her cards and keeping her expression neutral.

Sam looked back and forth between Alex and Lena a bit caught aback, and then met her eyes with Kara who was sighing at the interaction. Sam’s eyes seemed to ask Kara if they had always been like this playing poker, and Kara bit her cheek and nodded in affirmative before glancing back down at her cards and furrowing her eyebrows in concern as she studied her cards intently.

“Okay, Mom, want to start the bidding?” Liza asked, looking to her mom, and Lena let out a small breath.

“I’ll put in twenty-five,” she started, throwing her chip into the middle. “Just to get things going.”

Alex scoffed a bit, muttering, “Careful, you may go bankrupt there, Luthor.”

“I’ll call,” Sam cut them off quickly before they could continue, and threw her chip into the middle as well.

“Me too,” Lily followed, and then she looked to her aunt with a smirk.

“Hey no table talk!” Lena declared, catching the secret signals Alex and Lily were sharing.

Shrugging innocently, Lily defended, “Mom we would never.” Narrowing her eyes, Lena turned her attention back to Alex.

“I’ll raise to one hundred,” she finally announced, throwing in a small stack of her chips, and Lena shook her head a bit. Predictable as always, she thought. Alex only ever raised Lena’s first bet if she had something.

Everyone’s eyes were on Kara then, who was staring at her cards with such intensity, it was amazing her laser vision wasn’t activating despite the red sun lamp filters in the room. “I’m going to…” Kara began before trailing off and finally slowly laying her cards down and finishing, “Fold?”

Lena bit her cheek to stop herself from laughing affectionately.

“I fold too,” Liza followed easily, turning to her mom.

After chewing on her cheek for a moment, Lena finally conceded. “I’ll fold as well,” she announced, and Alex raised her eyes a bit.

“Too rich for you already? You could always cheat like you used to and show me up,” she offered, goading Lena a bit as she rolled her eyes.

“It’s okay, Alex. We all know you need to accuse me of cheating to let yourself sleep at night,” Lena answered easily.

Shrugging, Alex responded cheekily, “Nah, you can’t even win while cheating, so why would I lose sleep over it.”

“I’m going to go all in,” Sam called out, pushing all her chips to the center of the table and everyone stared at her a bit stunned as she waited expectantly.

A moment later, Liza cleared her throat and pointed out, “It’s the first round, Sam. Are you sure you want to-”

“Yeah, I’m really confident in my cards,” she answered easily.

“Fold,” Lily said quickly, her expression clearly confused, but Alex’s expression stayed trained on Sam skeptically as everyone held their breath.

“I’m going to call,” Alex finally said slowly, warily pushing all of her chips into the center. The moment Alex declared it, Lena ripped the cards from Sam’s hands.

“Sam,” Lena scolded. “You only had a pair of threes.”

“Is that not good?” Sam asked innocently.

“Considering I have triple kings, no not really,” Alex answered a bit amused as she swept all the chips to her side of the table.

“Oh shoot, I’m out then?” Sam lamented. “Guess I’ll go get a snack. You kids have fun,” she then continued a moment later, popping up from the table and heading straight for the kitchen.

Kara surveyed the table she was left with of blood-thirsty, professional level poker players and frowned. “I should’ve thought of that,” she muttered.

Sam watched amused from the kitchen for the next few rounds as Kara struggled to keep up with the other four players but fell miserably short. It was like an unspoken truce between the rest of the table to snuff out the weakest link so the real game could begin. Sam felt more confident in her forfeit than ever.

Being out of the game also gave Sam the opportunity to study everyone at the table all but unnoticed. The girls’ attention was trained only on the women who their alliances were with. Lena and Alex’s rivalry seemed to take all of each other’s attention at first, but when Sam watched a little closer, Lena’s eyes were every so often wandering over to Kara. There was a softness to the moments she would catch her in the act. But before anyone else would notice, her eyes would go straight back to her hand.

By the end of the fourth round, Kara was betting with her last chip and lost miserably. After a few seconds of enduring humiliation from her sister and daughters, she held up her hands in surrender, and got up from the kitchen table. No one but Sam noticed Lena’s eyes following her to the kitchen.

“That was a valiant effort,” Sam greeted with a smirk, turning her attention back to the woman approaching her and holding out the bag of chips for Kara to eagerly take a handful from.

Shrugging a bit bashfully, Kara ate a chip and looked back at the table where Lily and Lena were almost in a screaming match already. “I figured it would look suspicious if I went all in like you did,” she admitted after a moment, and Sam let out an abrupt laugh at that.

“Well then I’m glad you got out of there while you could,” Sam observed, as Alex threw her hand down angrily and yelled “Cheating!” while Lena raked her winning for the round with a smirk.

Kara scoffed, “You and me both.”

Sam hummed at this and stayed silent for a moment, considering the scene in front of her. She opened her mouth to say something, but was cut off when Kara inhaled sharply and turned to her.

“How have you been, Sam?” she asked, but her eyes asked a different question entirely.

Letting out an understanding smile, Sam answered, “She’s been okay. There have been times throughout the years I’ve been worried about her, but she’s okay, Kara. I would never let anything happen to her.”

“I- I wasn’t-” Kara started to defend, and Sam held her hands up to stop her.

“You don’t have to,” she assured her quietly. “It’s okay to still care about her, you know,” Sam then started quietly, treading carefully through what she was sure was a dangerous subject. “She still cares about you.”

Kara quirked eyebrows at this, unsure if she was questioning whether Sam was right or what that meant for her and Lena. Finally she let out a little puff of air and turned to watch the commotion at the dinner table quietly, letting several minutes pass before she whispered, “But that doesn’t really mean anything, does it?”

Lena had waited for her, and Kara never went after her. The guilt weighed in her stomach as her mind flashed back to not an hour before when Lena had disclosed this. The pain and the loneliness that flashed through her eyes when she-

Kara wasn’t sure if Lena caring about her could mean anything. She still divorced her. She still went fifteen years without making any real kind of contact. Maybe Lena caring for Kara was just some kind of bad habit she couldn’t shake. It might mean nothing at all.

“Liza would do anything for Lena,” Sam pointed out a moment later, and Kara looked up at her confused. “I don’t think Lena realizes it, but if she had ever once implied she was uncomfortable or unsettled by Liza being obsessed with Supergirl, Liza would have dropped it in an instant. But she didn’t. She still wanted you in their lives in some small form,” she explained before shrugging. “Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but she cares about you, and more specifically, she cares about having you in her life.”

Kara opened her mouth to respond and was surprised to find tears building her eyes. Before she could form any words however, Lily’s voice popped up from the dining room requesting a snack for their game. Kara was left a bit at a loss, so Sam stood with a sunny smile and a thumbs up, pivoting on her feet and going to rummage through the cabinets to see what she could find for the players.

Lena seemed to be the only one to glance up from the game and notice Kara frozen in her spot, looking a bit off. Her eyes narrowed a bit before flicking to Sam, and an expression of fear came over her face as she began to put together what might have happened.

Quickly planting a smile on her face and forcing her posture to loosen a bit, Kara tried to snap out of her trance and got up to help Sam, attempting to put the woman’s words out of her head. If she thought about them too much, she would overthink to some devastating conclusions that would destroy her come morning when Lena left. Best to not think of it at all. Lena cared for her from afar; Kara in turn cared for her from afar as well. That was the way of things now.

Kara eventually brought out their popcorn maker and made a large batch for the players who would surely be at it for hours yet. Sam and Kara rejoined the table, laughing at their antics throughout the rest of the game, and Kara pointedly ignored the blatant stares from Sam and worried glances from Lena.

This would be the girls’ last time together with all of them for a while. She had to let them enjoy it without bringing any of her jumbled emotions into it.

In the end, almost three hours later, Liza ended up being victorious, taking almost everyone by surprise. Lily had been knocked out a little beforehand, her over eager attitude setting a target on her back. Then, when Lena and Alex turned their attention to each other, ready to settle their rivalry once and for all, Liza’s waiting game paid off, as she quickly caught them both off guard and defeated them efficiently.

She beamed with pride as both Alex and Lena suffered their defeats and eventually congratulated her in full, pride filling both of their eyes as Lily cheered her on.

“Okay, Luthor. Truce?” Alex offered as they were cleaning up the table, and Lena swallowed thickly before holding out her hand to shake Alex’s.

“Truce,” she murmured, and Alex smirked in acceptance.

Kara promptly sent the girls to bed, as it was much later past their bedtime than she had ever anticipated letting them stay up considering they were still technically grounded. They went up with almost no protest, yawning as they hugged everyone and said goodnight.

“I think I’m going to spend the night at Alex’s,” Sam finally announced as they almost had the dining room cleaned up, and both Kara and Lena looked up at them before smirking slightly.

“Use protection,” Kara then commented, before picking up their poker set and turning to return it to the closet.

Scoffing as Sam let out a small giggle, Alex rolled her eyes and commented, “Thanks, Mom.”

They left promptly a few minutes later, leaving Kara and Lena standing in the hallway, alone for the first time since their conversation earlier. Kara cleared her throat slightly, and rocked nervously on her feet. Lena furrowed her eyebrows, already exhausted by whatever had Kara nervous. She just wanted to deal with whatever had Kara all pent up in the morning so right now she could go to-

Right. There was only one bed. In Kara’s room. One bed in Kara’s room and two of them. Right.

Sucking in a breath, Kara quickly assured her, “You can take the bed, I’ll take the couch.”

Immediately Lena protested, “I’m not going to take your bed, Kara.”

“But you’re the one going on a flight tomorrow. You should be more comfortable and get the bed,” Kara shot back easily, the earnestness in her eyes.

“Kara, it’s your house,” Lena insisted, and before she could continue her argument, she had to stop.

The look in Kara’s eyes… she had wiped it away quickly, but not quickly enough for Lena to not see it, not interpret it. And from the guilty look that followed Kara’s original expression, Lena knew she was right.

Kara wanted to protest Lena’s statement because she had built this house for them.

Swallowing thickly, Lena pushed past Kara into the living room and murmured, “I’m fine on the couch, really.”

Kara didn’t respond and instead silently brought her a blanket and pillow and gave her one passing look as if she wanted to say something else before she retreated up to her own room. Lena sat on the couch, staring out the window at National City in the distance, suddenly feeling very small in Kara’s house and just wanting to go back to London.

Finally, she bit back her tears and curled up on the couch. The last thought that passed through her mind before she fell asleep was how the blanket smelled like Kara.

Lena woke up to a crick in her neck and the smell of eggs and bacon. As she blinked to awareness, she could hear chattering in the kitchen, as silverware and plates seemed to be clattering on the bar counter. Sitting up, Lena let out a loud yawn, and turned around on the couch for her eyes to soften immediately.

Both girls were up, giggling and working around each other in the kitchen making breakfast presumably for the whole family. Lena’s heart tugged a little at the sight, and she longed to stay and watch the scene as long as possible, but Lily’s eyes happened to catch the movement on the couch, and she immediately perked up.

“Hey Mom! Breakfast is almost ready; can you go wake up Yeyu?” she asked easily, before turning back to her bacon, which began letting off smoke. Yelping, Lily quickly shut off the heat from the stovetop, and Liza laughed at her as she flipped the eggs in her pan.

Lena let out a little chuckle, before she realized what she had been agreed to and froze a bit. Going upstairs and seeing Kara peacefully passed out-

“No need to wake me, I have mom-senses for when my child is about to burn down the house to wake me up, remember?” Kara joked from the other room as the group could hear her bounding down the stairs. Lena held her breath as Kara came around the corner, looking as frustratingly and effortlessly beautiful in the mornings as always. Lena had complained about it endlessly when they had been together.

As if she could feel Lena staring at her, Kara’s eyes scanned over to her and she paused as their eyes met. Finally blinking, the moment passed and Kara asked, “How’d you all sleep?” But her eyes never left Lena’s.

“Lily kept kicking me throughout the night,” Liza reported, still diligently paying attention to her eggs.

Lily looked up in surprise and immediately started protesting, “Only because she kept stealing the blanket!”

Letting out a good natured chuckle, Kara ruffled her girls’ hair before turning back to look at Lena who was now standing from the couch, wrapped in the blanket and walking over to join the rest of them. “And how about you?” she asked them, a bit quieter than she had before.

“I slept well,” Lena offered, ducking her eyes and signaling she wouldn’t provide anymore information.

The breakfast ended up being impressively better than either adult expected. The bacon was albeit a little burnt on one side, but other than that, it had a perfect crunch; the oven roasted home fries were perfectly seasoned; the eggs cooked just how everyone liked theirs.

But the most impressive part of the breakfast was how easily everyone slid into conversation with each other, bantering around the room and chatting as if it were a normal day, while Lena and Liza’s departure loomed over them like a dark shadow in the corner of the room. And the longer the conversation and the normalcy continued, the more something nagged at Lena.

Twenty minutes after they had finished eating and the conversation began to lull, however, it was time to face reality again. Letting out the sigh they had all been dreading, Lena’s eyes met Liza’s.

“Darling, it’s time to go get packed,” she instructed softly, and Liza stiffened. She could tell by the look in her eye that she wanted to fight her mom on this. She could see the protest in her jaw clench, but before she could, Kara backed Lena up.

“Is’kah, go help your sister. We’ll clean up down here,” she told Lily, already collecting the dishes and beginning to stack them along the sink.

The girls shared a long mournful look before they both conceded and began moping as they dragged themselves upstairs, Kara and Lena watching them from the corner of their eyes as they went.

They both stayed silent for a few minutes after the girls retreated upstairs. Kara busied herself with washing dishes as Lena dried and put them away. When they had finished, Kara went to pour herself another mug of coffee and Lena stared at her lamely from across the room, her hands falling helplessly to the sides.

“I didn’t,” she finally blurted out, wishing for the nagging to end, and Kara stopped what she was doing and turned to Lena with a confused frown.

When it was clear Lena wasn’t about to elaborate, Kara cleared her throat and asked, “You didn’t, uh, what exactly?”

Biting down on her cheek to keep her tears at bay, Lena stared at Kara for a long moment, who stepped back from the counter she was at, as if she were realizing what Lena was saying was important and she needed to physically prepare for it.

“I didn’t want to get divorced,” she eventually answered softly, the words barely able to leave her lips, and Kara stiffened a bit as her mouth hung open at the admission.

Shifting uncomfortably on her weight, Kara tried to absorb this information, but kept hitting a block as she attempted too. She wasn’t sure how she should respond to that, how she should interpret that. The night before she had thought the answer to that question would bring her so much more clarity, but this morning it just made everything more muddled, more confusing. Lena was pulling away and opening up at the same time, and Kara couldn’t process any of it. How did this fit into their situation now? How did this fit in with what Sam had said the night before?

“Okay,” Kara nodded, swallowing as she tried to reason her way through this, as if reason ever had anything to do with her feelings towards Lena. “What now?” she asked simply, hoping Lena would clarify what she was looking for from Kara in this instance.

Averting her eyes to the ground, Lena responded, “There is no ‘now’, Kara.” Her voice sounded like it was being gritted out, as if it was painful for Lena to say, but that also could be because of the ringing sound in Kara’s ears at this point.

“What?” Kara finally asked a bit forlorn, struggling to keep up. “But you-”

“It’s been fifteen years,” Lena reasoned, and Kara recognized her tone as her business voice. The one she used when she didn’t want to get emotionally involved in something. Kara wanted to slam her hand on the table and demand Lena get emotionally involved just this once. Just this one time before it was too late.

“We don’t even know if we fit into each other’s lives anymore,” Lena continued, with a pointed look, as if she were delivering a reason for a budget point for her board, and Kara gritted her teeth in frustration. “We fell apart for a reason, Kara. Do you want to relive that again?” she finished.

Kara paused. Lena was right, she realized. Kara didn’t think she was strong enough to lose her again. They could be completely different people now. Maybe this couldn’t work anymore. Maybe it was never meant to work in the first place.

Maybe trying to make it work again would irreparably destroy Kara.

“You’re right,” she finally choked out, unable to look at Lena. “The girls are together again; that’s all I could’ve asked for,” she admitted softly, and Lena stiffened a bit at the words before nodding and fleeing the room to pack her things.

It was thirty minutes later when Lena silently escaped the house through the front door to wait for Sam and Alex to arrive on her own. Except, of course, Kara followed her out, not receiving the message. Or needing to make sure she was okay. Or any of the other millions of confusing reasons that were running through Lena’s brain.

She stayed closed off to her, pointedly staring away from her, and Kara seemed okay to not say anything at all as well. Just to sit by her in these last few moments. It was almost maddening, and Lena felt like she was at her wits end.

Breathing in sharply, Lena spoke suddenly, breaking the understood silence between the two of them. “Do you remember when I went to see Lex in prison?” she asked before clenching her jaw together and looking over at Kara apprehensively.

Kara blinked, a bit startled by the question before she furrowed her eyebrows and answered, “Yeah? You refused to let me go with you.”

Lena flicked her eyes forward, not wanting to meet Kara’s gaze as she wrapped her arms around herself. “Do you still resent me for that?” she murmured.

Gaping a bit, Kara tried to connect the question in her mind, pausing as she considered. After everything they had- This was what Lena thought she was hung up on?

“I don’t think I ever resented you for that to begin with,” she finally answered truthfully, the question in her voice.

Lena took a sharp breath in at this, and Kara noticed her shake a bit. It was painful for her, Kara realized. To bring up the past. To talk about the things they should have talked about fifteen years too late, and Kara was realizing maybe she did still know Lena too well. Maybe she knew that Lena had to focus on the small details of a problem to ever work her way up to the main issue.

“Do you know why I refused to let you go?” Lena questioned slowly, her eyes wandering back over to Kara’s briefly.

Letting a sigh out and deciding to play Lena’s game for the time being and see where it led her, Kara relented and offered, “Am I supposed to?”

At this answer, Lena closed herself off again, rubbing her arms and mumbling, “I guess not.”

“Can I guess though?” Kara started as soon as she saw the reaction. If Lena shut down, then they wouldn’t get anywhere at all. She wasn’t going to waste her first chance in fifteen years to get any type of clarity if she could help it. “I would’ve outed myself to him. As Supergirl,” she stated simply, as if it were obvious.

Lena was silent for a long moment, and Kara held her breath to see if she would get any type of response at all.

“Yeah,” she finally responded softly. “That was kind of it.”

A surge of relief swept through Kara’s body as she nodded, determined to see the conversation to its end even if she had to drag it out of Lena. “Well if it makes you feel any better now, I think you made the right call,” she commented, trying to keep a light tone to her voice. “Lex knowing would have made everything so much harder. I mean, we only just shut down his control of CADMUS a few years ago; who knows what he would’ve done if he had known his sister was married to me.”

Swallowing thickly, Lena nodded, her chest suddenly feeling heavy. “Yeah,” she agreed, biting her cheek and attempting to keep her tone neutral.

“Lena?” Kara probed, her eyes narrowing as she watched her reaction closely. Something about her was off. Something was-

“Yeah?” Lena responded a bit breathlessly, refusing to meet Kara’s eye.

“Why are you bringing this up now?” Kara leveled, hoping it would cut some of the back and forth from their conversation without scaring Lena too much. When Lena still stared forward and only continued to blink the tears away from her eyes, Kara sighed and tried again. “Are you trying to tell me that was the day we started to fall apart? Because I fought you so much on the visit?”

At this, Lena relented, relaxing her shoulders a bit and shaking her head. “I would never fault you for your endless hope in people, Kara,” she promised softly. “Even my brother.”

“Then?”

Lena’s eyes met Kara’s, and Kara’s heart dropped a bit when she read the expression in her eyes. “When I visited my brother, he was so-” Lena began, before the words got caught in her throat. She clenched her jaw down for several long seconds before she took a shaky breath and steeled herself to continue. “I lost all hope in people that day,” Lena finished, her voice slipping into a professional tone, and Kara bristled at the change. “Us falling apart was all on me; I wasn’t who you thought I was anymore. I’m still not. I just feel like I owe you some type of clarity on what I mean when I say we’re too different to try this again.”

“Don’t do this,” Kara protested softly, her hand grazing Lena’s forearm softly, causing her to stiffen slightly. “Don’t treat this like some kind of failed business transaction. I should have never let you visit Lex in prison like that, and that’s on me. I’m sorry.”

Looking up at Kara with a hint of confusion, Lena shook her head and defended, “He was my brother, Kara. It was my responsibility to go-”

Shaking her head firmly, Kara insisted, “He was my brother too, and neither of us had any responsibility towards him. We should have never done anything for him whatsoever, and I know I’m more guilty of that than you. And if that put some kind of pressure on you or our marriage, then that’s on me, not you.”

Lena turned to Kara and opened her mouth to respond, but before she could, Sam and Alex pulled up into the driveway, and Lily and Liza came out onto the porch, dragging Liza’s suitcase behind them and sporting their best pouting faces.

“Hey, no long faces now,” Kara chided softly, as she stood quickly from her spot on the porch step and held her arms out to accept Liza in a tight hug. Liza clung to her mother tightly as Kara stroked her hair and hummed softly. “You’re going to have so much work to do with those charities of yours, two weeks are going to pass before you even know it,” she comforted with a cheery smile. “So there’s no reason for those crocodile tears, is’kah,” she continued, softly wiping the tears from her daughter’s face as she tried to bite back her own tears. “I’ll be nagging you again in no time.”

Liza tried to force a smile onto her face before she became serious again. “I don’t want to leave you again, Yeyu,” she whispered, and Kara had her wrapped back into a hug before she could say anything else.

“Hey, that’s not what’s happening, okay? You couldn’t leave me if you tried,” she stated sincerely and after a long moment, she felt Liza’s head bob in a nod into her chest.

When she pulled away from her mother, she seemed less distraught than before, and Kara wrapped her arm around her, turning around to find Lily and Lena hugging and whispering softly to each other. Kara squeezed into Liza a little at the sight before kissing her on the forehead and motioning to Lily when she looked over at her.

“Help get them loaded up, bug,” she murmured, and Lily nodded, grabbing her mom’s bag while Liza grabbed her own and they made their way out to their aunts to load them up. Lena went to step off the porch to help them, when Kara impulsively reached out and stopped her, surprising even herself at the action.

“You know,” Kara finally stammered after a moment, her cheeks pinking a bit, “the Lena I’ve spent the last couple days with is the same one I knew. Brilliant mother, ruthless poker player, sly prankster. I don’t think as much has changed as you think.” She paused for a moment, before clearing her throat slightly and continuing, “But if it really has, I’d still like to get to know the real you, if you’d let me.”

Kara’s eyes met Lena’s in a wide, vulnerable sincerity, and Lena stared at her, caught aback and floundering to find any response in her. Her mouth hung open as she stilled a bit before shuffling out of Kara’s grasp as Sam walked up to them.

“I think everything’s loaded,” she announced, looking back and forth between the two women as if she were trying to discern what they had been discussing. Eventually however, she shrugged it off, turning to Lena. “We’re all ready to go.”

Pressing her lips together, Lena nodded shortly before passing a fleeting look towards Kara and turning towards the car, stopping only to give Lily one last hug before slipping in.

“See you around, Danvers,” Sam murmured, pulling Kara into a tight hug. Then passing her an understanding and sad smile, she retreated to the car following Liza inside and pulled the door shut behind her.

Kara watched the car pull out of the driveway, decidedly trying to ignore the tugging feeling in her chest as she watched Lena and her daughter leave once again. She spent several moments staring off at nothing once the car had disappeared into the distance composing herself and telling herself that this was how things were supposed to be before she was able to turn back towards the house and begin to make her way inside, ready to drown her feelings in ice cream and a Disney movie marathon with her sister and daughter.

When she did turn, however, she was immediately met with Lily’s affronted and helpless look as she stared at her mother with tears in her eyes. “What is that look for, is’kah?” Kara finally sighed tiredly, emotionally drained from all the mixed signals and jumbled emotions of hope she had been feeling the past two days. It felt rather anticlimactic, didn’t it? Seeing Lena after all those years and then just… watching her leave again as if nothing had happened.

“You’re just going to let her go?” Lily protested, her eyebrows raised incredulously.

“As opposed to what exactly?” Kara lamented. She knew she should have leveled with Lily sooner instead of letting her hope for so long that this whole scheme of hers was going to churn up some kind of result for their families. But she had let herself be swept away with her daughters. Thinking back on how her and Lena fell apart, she realized she was different, more mature now. She let herself think they could work things out because the problems that existed back then had been dealt with with time.

But apparently Lena remembered things differently.

“Were you not listening to her last night?” Lily pushed on, her voice becoming aggravated as her body tensed some before her eyes widened as her mother turned to glare at her sharply.

“Lily, were you eavesdropping on us?” Kara questioned, her voice hard so as to keep it from wobbling.

Lily pouted her lip out a bit and became apologetic, suddenly remembering how fragile her relationship with her mother had felt the past few days. “It wasn’t on purpose, okay?” she apologized, her eyes wide. “You guys were out on the balcony, and Mom started yelling about how you didn’t follow her to London. That’s all I heard, I swear.”

Kara opened her mouth to respond, but quickly shut it again, shaking her head sadly and deciding it wasn’t worth fighting her daughter on in this moment. Finally she took a shuddering breath and shrugged her shoulders, stating, “Well no matter what you heard: your mom doesn’t want me to follow her anymore.”

“You need to tell her you want to, though,” Lily pleaded sincerely, begging her mother to not give up yet. She couldn’t stand to see them all go back to normal after all of this. Not yet. Not when they hadn’t even tried yet.

“Lil-”

“Did you tell her you want her back?” she demanded, clenching her fists desperately, and her mother pressed her lips together.

“I told her I would be willing to try again,” Kara responded definitely, not wanting any further input on the topic. “She needs space, is’kah. If she decides she wants to come back and try again, then we’ll-”

“No you aren’t getting it!” Lily nearly yelled hysterically. Kara flinched a bit at the outburst and her expression became more closed off as Lily continued. “She wants you to fight for her. She doesn’t want you to leave it up to her or seem like you’re okay either way. She wants the truth. She’ll never fight for something she doesn’t think she deserves. You have to go after her; you have to show her that you-”

“Is’kah, your mom left!” Kara finally shouted, her voice desperate as her eyes filled with tears. “Okay? I’m sorry. I’m sorry I can’t get her back for you. We fell apart, but she decided to leave, and I can’t fix that,” she continued, crying now.

Lily visibly closed off at the outburst, clearly in shock from her mother’s tone. Her shoulders raised a bit as her breathing increased and she tried to keep herself calm, but had to quickly wipe away the tears falling from her eyes, so as to not show her reaction to her mother.

Seeing this, Kara nearly collapsed in on herself and stared at Lily helplessly, swallowing thickly as she tried to think of anything to say. Finally, she walked up to her slowly as Lily held her breath, and gently kissed her on the forehead. “I’m sorry, is’kah,” she whispered, wishing she could say so much more, offer so much more than what she was at that moment. She paused for a moment, waiting for Lily to say something, anything. But when her daughter remained silent, she sighed, bit back her tears, and began to walk away, back into the house.

“What if there was something else?” Lily called out, not moving from where she was frozen. The words left her lips before she could fully process them, but they stopped her mother in her tracks.

Kara was quiet for a long moment before turning around and asking, “What?”

“Liza thinks there’s something else,” Lily reported, unable to let go of even the tiniest sliver of hope. “Something Mom isn’t saying; some kind of reason she left.”

Lily remained completely still as her eyes flicked up to her mother’s and she watched her work through something quickly in her head.

“Lily?” Kara finally inquired.

“Yeah?” she responded breathlessly.

“Pack a bag.”

Lena, Sam and Liza traveled back to London in almost complete silence.

Sam broke the uncomfortable quiet once in the jet, asking Liza if she had lost her Noonan’s virginity. Liza let out a small smile and proclaimed she would go back to National City just for the food there, even if she couldn’t see her mother and sister while she visited. Lena stared out the window a bit uncomfortably, and Sam and Liza tried to keep up the small talk for a few more moments, but eventually they both fell silent.

Because the real elephant in the room was the question neither of them could ask: why were they leaving? After all that, why were they on a plane back to London as if there was no other choice?

But Lena was making it clear just from her demeanor that she wasn’t in the mood to answer any questions. So instead, Liza and Sam shared a pointed look, and then spent the whole jet ride silently doing their own things.

When they arrived back at the airport, Lena must have called a driver to take them home because she wasn’t feeling up to driving herself, Liza concluded as she noted the van already waiting for them upon their arrival. All three girls climbed into the back, the seats facing each other, prompting Liza to sit opposite of her mom and stare at her fingers which were carefully shredding her shoelaces, as the driver loaded their luggage before climbing into the front and beginning their journey back to their house.

“So what’s the full story as to why the two of you broke up?” Liza finally asked after she couldn’t take the silence anymore. Sam shot Lena a worried side eyed look before turning away from the conversation and staring out the window disinterested, as if to give them some semblance of privacy.

Lena merely stiffened slightly at the question before letting out a long sigh and shaking her head. “Liza-” she started, before she was quickly cut off.

“Mom,” Liza leveled seriously. “I saw the way you looked at her when we left. And I just spent a whole week with her and know she’s perfect for you. So why did we leave?”

Lena bit her lip nervously, but eventually relented, scooting forward on her seat and leaning towards Liza, who was now holding her breath. “When you were only a few months old, your uncle Lex went insane,” she explained softly, as if this were new information to Liza. “He tried and almost succeeded at killing your uncle Clark and killed thirty-two people in the process. I had to take over L Corp, and your mother came out as Supergirl, and just- neither of us were really trying to take care of ourselves,” she admitted a bit ashamed. “I was mad she debuted as the same type of alien everyone was then trying to kill; she was mad I was taking unnecessary safety risks to get L Corp back on track. Eventually I just couldn’t take watching each other almost die, and so I left.”

Liza was silent for a long moment, taking in her mom’s story, before she finally nodded. "That's the version we heard from Alex,” she confirmed. “I never realized L Corp was getting attacked after Lex was arrested. Did they ever catch who was doing it?”

Biting her cheek, Lena shook her head. “No, I don’t think they did,” she reflected solemnly, her eyes averting downward. Something in her voice, however, caused Liza to pause for a moment and reflect on the statement.

“You knew who it was though, right?” she finally guessed, causing both her and Sam to flick their eyes over to Liza’s in a bit of surprise. After taking in the conviction in Liza’s face for a mere moment, however, Sam moved her gaze back over to Lena.

Pressing her lips together, Lena shook her head. “No,” she answered simply, but Liza gritted her teeth.

“Liar. You know who bombed L Corp that day, don’t you?” she asserted, trying to stop the frustration she felt in her chest from making its way up into her tone. She kept catching her mom in lies, and she was tired of it. Why wouldn’t she just tell them the truth about what happened all those years ago? She knew more than she was letting on, Liza was sure of it.

Sam furrowed her eyebrows. “Lena, what is she talking about?” she questioned, looking between the two and trying to work out the tension between them.

“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Lena finally answered a moment later, her eyes never leaving Liza’s.

Liza huffed a bit at this and gritted her teeth down. “Why were you and Yeyu attacked at the same time?” she demanded, but the only answer she received was a stone cold stare. “And why move to London instead of Metropolis?”

Her mom still refused to answer, but there were tears now filling her eyes that she refused to let fall. Sam seemed to be holding her breath, but tried her best to intervene on her friend’s behalf.

“Liza, sweetheart, I know you’re trying to-”

“Why does everyone keep saying you’re the only one who knows why the two of you split up?” Liza continued, her voice rising again so as to cut Sam off. “And why was L Corp never attacked after we moved?”

“Liza,” Sam tried again, but her conviction was faltering and her voice too soft to impact the girl at all.

“Why did you tell Yeyu you never wanted to divorce her this morning?” she accused, and Lena flinched at the question.

“How did you know-”

“I left my phone on the counter and when I went back down to get it, I overheard you,” Liza admitted with the tiniest shred of remorse.

“Liza, that was a private conversation between me and your mother,” Lena reprimanded, her cheeks pinkening, but Liza pointedly ignored her mom’s arguments and pressed on.

“Why do you keep acting like we don’t have a choice?” she continued indignantly. “Why couldn’t we have stayed? Why did you tell Lily you left to protect us? What are you protecting us from? What are you afraid of-”

Liza!” Lena shouted, causing both Sam and Liza to jump slightly at both her volume and tone. The message was clear. Liza was to stop her prodding immediately. Lena almost never raised her voice towards her daughter. To do so now meant she was wading in very dangerous territory.

Liza paused for a moment, a bit caught aback by the outburst. She stared hard at her mom, who seemed almost surprised herself that she had lashed out like that, but held her stoney expression as her eyes met her daughters.

“There’s something else, isn’t there?” Liza finally pushed, her voice shaky, but unable to let her mom deter her from her real question. “Something besides Lex and your near miss. You didn’t just fall apart, did you?” The question came out more like an accusation than Liza had wanted, but she held firm, her body tense in anticipation of her mom’s response.

Lena took a sharp breath in, as if she were going to retaliate, but she stopped at the last second, holding her breath before she finally dropped her head in her hands and began weeping.

All of Liza’s pent up anger seeped out of her bones immediately. Suddenly, her throat felt thick, as she took a staggering breath and clenched her fists at the realization of what she had done. She had pushed too far, and now she had hurt her mom, the person who had been there for her through everything. She didn’t even register the tears beginning to stream down her cheeks as she stared helplessly at the woman sitting across from her letting out a sob as she curled up into her knees. Liza wanted to look over at Sam in desperation, but found herself petrified and staring at her mom.

The pit of her stomach seemed to sink. She couldn’t even begin to register that this probably meant she was right. Pulling her knees up to her chest, Liza wrapped her arms around them so tightly, she felt as if she were physically holding herself together.

The air in the car was heavy, as no one seemed able to make a move besides watch horrified as Lena’s composed demeanor from the past few days disintegrated in front of them. They all stayed like that for several minutes, until Lena sat up slightly and messily tried to wipe the tears away from her eyes.

Slowly, her eyes met Liza’s as she sunk to the floor of the car on her knees, and scooted across until she was in front of her daughter. Gently she guided Liza’s arms away from her knees and motioned for Liza to put her legs down so she could address her daughter more clearly.

She was still silent for several more seconds before she spoke.

“I’m sorry,” she began, and Liza felt her chest constricting as she tried to read all the emotions in her mom’s eyes. “I’m sorry this can’t be what you and your sister wanted this to be. I’m sorry that I made a whole situation that sucked for all of us. I’m sorry I still can’t fix what I broke all those years ago. But Liza, darling… There was nothing else. Lex and our near miss are the reason we fell apart and I eventually left your mother. ”

Liza held her breath at this, searching her mom’s expression, scanning it over and over again, before she finally furrowed her eyebrows and shook her head. “No, that’s not- No-” she began, but Lena nodded and sat up a bit to wipe some of the tears off her desperate daughter’s face, and Liza stared at her stunned.

Her mom had told the truth.

There was no other reason she had left.

“I’m so sorry, Liza,” Lena whispered again, and Liza numbly buried herself in her mom’s hug as her mind caught up with the new revelation.

Lily had been right. She had just been trying to make excuses and justify her mom’s decision. And now that she had to face the reality that they had just been under too much stress and had fallen apart, she had to accept the truth: her family may never be whole again. There was no secret issue to fix so they could all just effortlessly slide back together; they were all just messy pieces that maybe didn’t belong to the same puzzle in the first place.

Liza buried her head into her mom’s neck and let out a sob.

The rest of the car ride passed in relative silence, with Lena holding onto Liza tightly, and Sam passing her friend an unreadable expression every so often. When they finally pulled up in front of Lena’s house, she looked at her friend almost warily.

“You and Liza get some rest,” Sam finally relented softly. “I have to get home and check on Ruby. We’ll talk later,” she promised with a leveled look, and Lena pursed her lips together and nodded quietly, before turning to grab her luggage that was already unloaded from the car and making her way into the house with Liza.

Liza seemed lost in her thoughts, staring at the house apprehensively, and Lena knew the feeling, stopping behind her briefly, feeling more overwhelmed than she thought she would. It was going to feel empty, she realized. Just the two of them would no longer feel whole for a while.

“Come on,” she whispered softly, wrapping her arm around her daughter. “I have leftover eggplant parm, and I’ve been saving season two of Killing Eve to watch with you,” she offered.

Liza leaned her head on her mom’s shoulder briefly before nodding and responding softly, “I miss them.”

Lena tried to swallow her guilt and her tears as she watched her daughter quietly enter their house and head straight toward her bedroom. She followed, but instead of heading upstairs to her room, she tiredly dumped all of her luggage off in the entryway and made her way towards the kitchen.

When she flipped on the lights, she froze immediately. Everything seemed to be as she left it, except something was off. Something wasn’t right.

Her eyes landed on the dirty fork laying by the sink. She hadn’t left that there. She wouldn’t have left that there. She froze and held her breath. How did it-

“Hey Mom!” Lily’s voice came from behind her, and Lena whirled around in surprise to face her daughter. “I hope you don’t mind, I had some of that leftover eggplant parm while I waited for you, which was a while. Did you know I can fly around the world way faster than a plane?” she questioned, a chipper and mischievous grin painted on her face as she took in her mom’s confusion.

“I- I did know that,” Lena stammered to respond, blinking a bit as she tried to process her daughter’s presence. “What are you doing here, darling? Does your mother know where you are?” After the past week’s events, Lena couldn’t imagine Kara would be too impressed with their daughter’s continued antics. She didn’t even have the mental energy to try to guess which angle Lily was trying to play at now.

To her surprise however, Lily didn’t look sheepish or a bit ashamed at the question, rather shrugging it off quite confidently. “Of course she does,” she answered easily, as Liza came up on the scene and sent Lily a wildly questioning look as to inquire what she was doing back in London. “Yeyu’s the one who brought me.”

It took a long moment for the statement to hit the woman in front of her, Lena wrinkling her eyebrows a bit before her eyes widened in alarm. Before she could say anything, however, Kara stepped out of the room to their side with a soft yet determined look on her face, her eyes immediately going towards Lena whose mouth formed a small ‘o’ as she stood frozen.

“I messed up not following you all those years ago, Lena,” Kara admitted, ashamed but her jaw was still set with conviction. “I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.”

Lena stared at her a bit stunned before she shook her head. “Kara, you can’t just- it’s been fifteen years,” Lena huffed, but everyone in the room could see that her carefully built defenses were slowly crumbling as she repeated her same mantra over again. “We fell apart; we can’t just-”

“I’ve been thinking about our conversations the past few days though, and I can’t help but think there was something else back then. Something I missed; something you’ve been trying to tell me,” Kara pushed, her voice not insistent or demanding, but rather far more patient and knowing than it had any right being.

Both Lena and Liza stiffened at the statement, and Liza’s eyes flashed to Lily’s with a warning look as she realized what had happened. Lily had gotten desperate. She had told Yeyu about her theory, and now everyone believed something she now knew wasn’t the case, setting her mom up for more emotional strain in the process. When Lily caught her eye however, she eagerly dismissed Liza’s concern with a look that proudly said ‘look what I did’ as she hurried over to Liza’s side with a grin.

Lena was quiet for a long moment, exhaustion showing in every crevice of her face as she let out a long breath. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she finally answered, her voice even and cool, and yet it didn’t deter Kara in the least.

“Tell me there wasn’t something else, and I'll leave,” Kara answered simply, a challenge in her eyes that Lena raised her eyebrows to just slightly. “I'll leave this moment and drop this and never see you again if you just look me in the eye and tell me we only fell apart."

The offer hung thickly in the air as Lena considered Kara and everyone seemed to hold their breath. “I forgot how relentless you Danvers women can be,” Lena muttered after a moment, and Kara shook her head at the statement.

“I’m not being relentless,” she promised softly. Her eyes were sincere, and she wore her heart on her sleeve. Hearing Lena tell her to leave her alone would hurt like hell, and she wanted to stay and fight for her, but… “Tell me to leave and I’m gone.”

She would respect Lena’s boundaries. She just had to give this one last fight.

Kara stared at Lena expectantly, waiting to hear the words she dreaded. While the theory of there being something else definitely made sense to Kara in how Lena had been acting the past week, her girls were also incredibly optimistic. They had gotten that from her. She had to be okay with the reality that Lena probably just left because of the stress from back then. Maybe they had just grown apart, and Kara had been too busy to notice it.

At some point however, too much silence passed before Lena gave her answer. Kara narrowed her eyes a bit at Lena, who was staring at her with her mouth open, trying to form a word, but all her thoughts were being stopped. Kara quirked her eyebrow a little bit, as if in question and opened her own mouth to reassure Lena that she could just tell her she could go, when a flash of shame swept through Lena’s expression. Kara felt her stomach drop as she froze, and Lena immediately knew Kara knew.

There was something else.

Something Lena was afraid to say, even all these years later.

It felt like hours had passed before Kara could form any words. “Will the two of you give us a moment?” Kara finally asked, forcing the question from her mouth, still a bit stunned and reluctantly removing her eyes from Lena and glancing over at their daughters.

“Mom?” Liza questioned softly, grasping onto the situation quickly. If what her mom had told her in the car was true, why wasn’t she just telling Yeyu the same thing now? Taking a step forward and trying to blink away the concerned tears in her eyes, Liza began shaking.

Her mom had been holding something back all these years, and whatever it was was likely tearing her up inside. Every instinct in Liza’s body screamed at her to run forward, comfort her mom, protect her from the rest of the world that never understood. It had always been the two of them; her mom needed her now.

She felt a light hand tug gently on her arm, and she didn’t even glance over to acknowledge Lily's concerned look to her side. Her eyes only focused on her mom’s, which were now pointedly staring at the ground, overcome with guilt.

A split second before she knelt down in front of her, Liza registered Yeyu walking up to her softly. Liza fought to focus only on her mom, but when Yeyu pulled her into a tight hug and began stroking her fingers through her hair soothingly, Liza’s resolve broke just enough that she allowed herself to bury her head into her mother’s shoulder and let out one singular, shuddering sob.

She was terrified, she realized. Something hurt her mom, hurt her family, and Liza may not be able to do anything to fix it. All this work, all this time trying to make sure her mom would find some happiness again, and it may all be hopeless because of something out of her control. What would she do then? She always helped her mom; what did she do when everything was wrong and there was nothing to fix?

“Hey,” she heard Yeyu comfort her softly, and Lily’s hand slipped down into hers comfortingly. “It’s okay, Liza. It’s okay,” she promised, whispering the words reverently, as if saying them enough times would get her daughter to believe them.

Liza pulled back to protest, to insist to go over to her mom and hear her out and do anything and everything to make it all okay again. Because it wasn’t right now. It wasn’t okay.

“Thank you,” Yeyu murmured slightly before Liza could make a move, and she paused and furrowed her eyebrows, registering her mother’s words. “You’ve done such a great job looking after your mom all these years, is’kah,” she continued, and Liza quickly tried to bite down the lump forming in her throat. “I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to have been there for her when I couldn’t be.”

Tears started streaming down Liza’s face as she bit her cheek to try to get herself to stop. It felt like a silly show of weakness, to react to her mother’s words like this. She had done what any other daughter would have done. She had been there through every other rough patch and made it to the other side with her mom. Why wouldn’t Yeyu just let her go to her now?

“But it’s okay now,” Kara insisted softly, stroking her daughter’s cheek. “You don’t have to take all of this on by yourself. I know you want to fight me on this. You wouldn’t be a Danvers if you didn’t love Lena Luthor to the point of wanting to lay everything down for her. And you wouldn’t be a Luthor if you didn’t rise spectacularly to all of life’s challenges and make it look easy. You grew up protecting your mom in the face of a world who distrusted and despised her, and I am so proud of you.” Kara pushed back a strand of Liza’s hair, and Liza met her eyes with her own wide and tear-filled gaze. “But you can pass it off to me now, is’kah,” Kara whispered sincerely. “Let me take care of her and you. You don’t have to do this alone anymore.”

Every wall Liza had built up was now crumbling down. She let out a choked sob as Yeyu pulled her back into another tight hug, burying her face into her mother’s chest and sobbing freely now.

They stayed like that for several moments, Liza clinging to her mother, and Kara holding onto her, softly stroking her back. Finally, as Liza began to pull back, Kara kissed her forehead gently, before pushing her hair back from her face and wiping the tears from her cheeks. Keeping her one hand on Liza, she turned then and motioned towards Lily, who quickly hugged her mother from her other side, a few tears of her own slipping from her eyes.

When they all pulled away from each other then, both girls let out shaky breaths as Kara managed to muster up a smile to offer them. “It’ll be okay,” she whispered. “Your mom and I just have to discuss some things in private; it’s going to be okay.”

Lily and Liza both looked up at their mother with uncertainty, Liza chewing on her lip debating whether or not she wanted to question her mother’s statement before Lily finally piped up.

“Yeah, Yeyu,” she agreed finally. “We’ll give you two a moment.” As the words left her lips, she reached out for Liza’s arm and began tugging her away backwards and out of the room. Lena watched on at the scene before her a bit numbly, and the girls caught her eye and offered her strained, encouraging smiles as they turned towards the door, and silently made their exit.

“And girls?” Kara called after them quietly, her mouth flattening into a straight line as she steeled herself for what she was about to ask. Both Lily and Liza turned and looked at their mother a bit with apprehension. “Necklaces,” Kara finally instructed softly, a little bit of regret flashing in her eyes, but they both knew what she meant.

She wanted their mom alone. Completely alone. No eavesdropping allowed.

Liza immediately opened her mouth to protest, about to cite that if something happened back then, she wanted to know the instant Yeyu knew so she could be there, but Lily stopped her before she could even start.

When she felt the hand on her arm squeeze a little, Liza paused and glanced over at her sister who was looking at her grimly. She could see it in her eyes: Lily wanted to fight her mother’s wish as much as her but in the same breath…

Yeyu had never asked Lily to wear her necklace around her. Not once in sixteen years. If she was asking now-

“Okay,” Liza finally responded with a shuddering breath, and Kara flashed a grateful look before they both turned and walked out the door.

The room was eerily silent as Kara and Lena watched their daughters go, and as the door shut behind them, Kara was somehow able to let out the breath Lena was still holding. Turning back to Lena, slowly and softly, as if she would scare her off if she made too sudden of a movement, Kara swallowed thickly, composing herself before she began.

“Lena,” Kara started softly. “What happened-”

“Why aren’t you angry?” Lena cut her off, looking at Kara sharply, and Kara fumbled to respond.

Furrowing her eyebrows, Kara waited a beat to organize her thoughts. “Should I be?” she finally asked, her voice coming out slow, almost as if she were trying not to sneak up on Lena or make any sudden movements.

Lena almost let out a comical laugh at this. “Should you be?” she asked incredulously. “Should you be angry at the woman who left you? Who didn’t even tell you she was leaving after she planned it for months? Who sent you divorce papers and nothing else?”

“Stop,” Kara whispered, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. “Lena, just stop. That’s all in the past. It’s not constructive for me to be angry about that anymore.”

Fuck being constructive, Kara!” Lena lashed out before she could say anything else, and Kara flinched at her harsh words. “Be angry! Stop being patient and cautious and caring like you have been the past three days, and just be angry!”

“Why is it so important to you that I’m angry at you?” Kara inquired, a bit affronted. Her tone was harder, but anywhere near what Lena was looking for. “What if I don’t want to be angry at you anymore? What if being angry at you is just exhausting and pointless because at the end of the day, I’ll still always love you?”

A sob escaped Lena’s lips then as she stared at Kara helplessly and shook her head. “Don’t say that,” she whispered. “I don’t deserve that.”

“Well, whether you deserve it or not,” Kara insisted, “it’s true.”

Kara stared at Lena for a few long moments, waiting for her to meet her eyes and just look at her, but finally she sighed and stated, “Lena, I want to know what happened between us.” When Lena didn’t answer immediately, she added softly, “I deserve to know what happened.”

Clenching her eyes shut, Lena wrapped herself in her own arms as if to hold herself together. “Lex,” she finally mumbled through her sobs. “Lex happened.”

Kara’s eyebrows furrowed a bit, taking in this response before responding slowly, “His attack? Is that what you were worried about?”

Lena took a shaky breath and gritted her teeth and clenched her eyes shut. “Yes,” she confided, before completely back tracking. “No,” she answered again. “Yes and no,” she finally settled on, her body shaking as Kara studied her.

“Lena?” Kara inquired breathlessly, her voice softer and more worried now. “What about Lex?”

Lena buried her head in her hands as she let out a sob.

*****

Lena fought back a shiver as she sat quietly in the visiting room of Stryker’s Island. It almost felt surreal, and Lena bit down a humorless laugh, trying to get a grip on the turmoil of emotions coursing through her.

She hadn’t wanted to come. It had only been a few weeks since Lex… since the incident, and Lena was still having trouble processing that her brother was responsible for so much pain and misery. It took everything in her to swallow down the bile that entered her mouth every time she thought of all those people, and how maybe if she had just paid more attention, tried harder to get into her brother’s inner circle, she could have stopped this. Maybe then all those innocent civilians would still be alive, and Lena wouldn’t be visiting her brother in one of the most high security prisons in the world.

But Lena knew if she didn’t bite the bullet and come to see Lex, Kara would. And with recent superhero-related developments and her wife’s infuriating insistence that Lex would have a change of heart if he just knew that Kara was Kryptonian, she knew it wasn’t safe to let Kara around her brother right now. Lex would figure it out and it would break Kara’s heart, and she knew her wife couldn’t take much more. She was here for one purpose and one purpose only: to cut all ties with Lex.

She heard the door open at the other end of the room, and Lena looked up, pulled from her thoughts. Her heart nearly stuttered to a stop when her eyes met that used to be so familiar, but now were those of a stranger’s.

Despite being led to the table by guards with large guns and in a heavy duty pair of handcuffs, Lex was still sauntering like he owned the damn place, and Lena nearly bit through her cheek trying to keep the impassive expression on her face as her brother reached the table and took the seat across from her.

“Knew you couldn’t stay away from me long, little sis,” he greeted her smugly, but not unkindly, which made Lena’s skin crawl. She wanted to come here and see a monster, not someone who still resembled the older brother who raised her. She needed to put him to rest, give him up, so she could move on with her life hating the man sitting in front of her. “There are so many things to discuss, so we have to be quick,” Lex continued, his face becoming impassioned and serious, and Lena furrowed her eyebrows.

She cut him off softly, not able to fully meet his eye as her eyebrows furrowed slightly. “What do you think I’m here for?”

Lex smiled at Lena, a lilt of confusion coming through his eyes as if he was trying to discern if his sister was pulling a prank on him or not. “You’re here to join the cause, right? My men are out there waiting for orders, and you have to take the helm while I’m away,” he explained, as if it were simple.

Lena stared at him with her mouth open a little and she finally shook her head forcefully. “I’m not here to continue whatever crazed idea you have for the world,” she spat out, and Lex almost looked taken aback.

Her brother paused for a moment, considering his sister, and then let out a little laugh. “Oh come on, Lena. That high and mighty attitude you always put on never fooled anyone. You’ve always known you’re one of us,” Lex instructed, his tone becoming slightly forceful and a shadow crossing his eyes. “I mean, look at the state of the world. Every day more and more aliens come here to live among us, and we’re defenseless. And it was bad enough when we just had Superman to worry about turning on us, but now there’s another one too? Some blonde wannabe destroying lives in National City in the name of justice like a time bomb ready to turn on the good people of this planet at any moment.”

Lena fought off the chills crawling up her spine as she listened to her brother talk about Kara like she was a villain, an enemy, a target. She swallowed thickly and let out an even breath, repeating to herself over and over again that it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that Supergirl was on Lex’s radar because he was in prison and not getting out any time soon. Kara was safe, and Lex was crazy, and this whole nightmare would be over soon.

“I can’t say I share the same sentiment as you,” Lena finally responded coolly, hoping to divert her brother from the topic at hand. “I rather like having a hero to keep our city safe. But Lex, I’m here to talk about Luthor Corp. There’s been a substantial-”

“I never took you for a hero-type, sis,” Lex cut her off with a roll of his eyes. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s gorgeous, and she’s got that blonde, muscular thing going that you love. But you’ve never been a big one for the vigilantes. Kara must be really getting to you recently, huh?” he asked, scoffing a bit and Lena held her breath trying to think of anything to say to move on from where Lex was going. “I bet all that Supergirl bullshit is sending that overeager, social justice prat to the moon. You and I, we were always the practical ones. We know and protect our own. But Kara and Clark were always so stupidly naïve and hopeful; I’d bet them and the Supers would be-”

When Lex cut himself off, it took everything in Lena not to cringe. Not to let on to him that he may have stumbled onto something big. Something she had been hiding right under his nose.

Lena focused every nerve in her body to stay completely still and relaxed. Years of living in the Luthor house, and it all had to be good for something. It had to save her now. Because if she let down any wall, let slip any inkling of emotion, Lex would latch onto this moment. He would figure it out, and Lena couldn’t be the reason-

“Oh my god,” Lex started with a little disbelieving laugh, before he gritted his teeth angrily and slammed his hands down forcefully on the table. Lena flinched involuntarily at the sound, but kept her face calm as she queried her eyebrows at Lex. “How long have you known, you little snake?” he growled, his voice rising as his furious glare beat into her.

“Known what?” Lena asked after a moment, taking a confused pause and making sure her voice remained steady. Her whole body wanted to shake, but she stilled it, closed herself off, and kept her demeanor distant.

Leaning forward across the table, Lex instructed lowly, “You do not want to play this game with me, Lena. You will lose, and it will be worse than if you just answer me.” Lena swallowed thickly, still refusing to give up.

“Lex,” Lena pleaded, the confusion still written on her face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Sitting back, Lex was almost impressed as he shook his head and smirked at Lena, making her feel sick to her stomach. “How did you get it past me all these years,” he inquired with a dangerous awe. “I should have seen it. You never let me get too close to the pregnancy, and you insisted you and Kara move all the way across the country to start your lives together. You never fully let me into your life, even after I was the one who introduced you. You didn’t really think you would get away with it, did you sis?”

Lena gritted her teeth and still knitted her eyebrows together, as if she were trying to make sense of what Lex was saying. “What do you mean-”

“Okay, I’m done with this,” Lex announced sternly, and Lena’s skin crawled at the look on his face. “Let’s talk about this like adults or I will have my men deliver a healthy amount of kryptonite to National City for tomorrow’s crime repertoire.”

Lena breathed evenly and tried to maintain her confident composure as she shook her head and pointed out, “Lex, I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but we’re in Stryker’s Island right now, and you’re a prisoner. You can’t get orders out to your men anymore.”

It wasn’t meant to be a confirmation, but by Lex’s sly smile that was crossing his lips, Lena’s stomach dropped as she realized it was.

“Lena, Lena, Lena,” he chastised, shaking his head while narrowing his eyes. “You know how many friends I have in high places. I don’t think it’s in your best interests right now to question the credibility of my threats.”

Lena shut her eyes tightly to try to compose herself. She couldn’t just let Lex win, but if he were telling the truth, if he could get kryptonite to Kara’s enemies…

“Okay, sis. Let’s talk about your wife,” Lex finally started after a moment, his expression hard and Lena cringed as she waited for whatever he said next. “Lucky for you, Supergirl is not high on my list of priorities right now, or at least, she wasn’t until I found out she’s corrupting my little sister.”

“Stop it, Lex,” Lena whispered, tears threatening the corners of her eyes as she tried to cling to her last bits of composure.

“Do the girls have powers?” he demanded, and Lena licked her lips.

“No,” she finally answered slowly. “We couldn’t figure out how to create a Kryptonian-human hybrid without potentially harming me in the pregnancy. We used a donor egg,” she explained as a tear fell down her cheek. She prayed to any god out there that Lex bought it, bought her story. If she couldn’t protect Kara, she would be damned if she put her daughters in danger.

Lena nearly wept in relief when Lex seemed to relax at her words and nod. “Then they can still be saved,” he spoke to himself, and Lena bit her cheek. “Take them and leave Kara. I can’t have my men finding out you’re married to a Super. They might get ideas in their heads about what to do about that,” he threatened sweetly, and Lena shook her head.

“Kara would never let me disappear with the girls, you know that,” she protested, trying not to let the terror take over her body. She couldn’t let this happen. Lex wasn’t going to get to destroy her family like it was nothing.

Slamming his hand down on the table again, Lex growled, “Don’t do this, Lena. Don’t make me have to target you too.”

“Why are you targeting anyone?” Lena asked, her voice raising a bit. “We’re your family, Lex.”

“No, you’re my family. They’re just some people we thought we could trust,” Lex insisted, and Lena let out a laugh.

“They’re the ones we can’t trust?” she asked incredulously. “I’ll take heroes of justice as my family any day over a psychopath with a god complex that’s killed thirty-two people.”

Lex stilled a bit at this, his face hardening, and Lena tried not to let her fear show.

“When are you going to understand, Lena?” he finally asked. “You don’t get a choice. You’ve never had a choice. I’ve always been the only family you’ve had.” Lena bit back her heated response, knowing it would just make Lex angrier. “Lillian always resented you; Lionel saw you as a pet, but I made them see you as more. I made Clark introduce you to his cousin, and when she was having doubts about proposing, I’m the one who talked her into it. I made the procedure to combine the eggs and make your girls. I gave you your family; I can take them away too.”

Lena’s head was spinning as she shook it firmly. “Lex, just stop it. You lost.”

“I’m the one you’re loyal to, not them. How do you think your precious Kara would feel when she finds out you were lying to her all this time?” he asked, ignoring her words.

Pausing Lena swallowed thickly and defended, “I never lied to her.”

“Of course you did. Or did you tell her she couldn’t come out to me because I would have killed her on the spot?”

A wave of nausea hit Lena and she closed her eyes and tried to recount when Lex had gotten this bad. She had known about his anti-alien rhetoric, but he wouldn’t have actually… would he have?

“What will your poor wife think when she finds out you knew all along? That you let me try to kill her cousin?” Lex continued to goad, and Lena felt like she couldn’t breathe.

“I- I didn’t know-”

“Of course you did. Of course you knew Lena. You’ve always known, and everyone is going to figure it out. You can play the innocent card as long as you want, but at the end of the day, you’re my loyal sister. And you knew,” he insisted, watching Lena carefully as she tried to steady her breathing.

He was just trying to get in her head, Lena told herself. Her knuckles were gripped white as she tried to ignore her body’s urge to throw up. She hadn’t known anything. She would have stopped him. Yes, she knew he was bigoted but that didn’t mean she knew-

“Listen, sis, they’re going to eat you alive out there. Let me help you,” Lex began, letting out a large breath that Lena knew always proceeded an offer. “If you can’t take both the girls, then just take one. I don’t care which one, so long as there’s a Luthor heir and you aren’t with Kara; you’ll still be under my protection, and my men will receive the order to hold off of Supergirl for the time being.”

“You’re sick,” Lena cried out after listening to his speech, her mind unable to stop itself from comparing this man in front of her to the one who helped her rock her daughters to sleep not one month ago.

“If you don’t, consider yourselves my first priority,” Lex growled, and Lena gritted her teeth and stood sharply from the table.

“I hope you fucking rot, Lex,” she spat, and then turned on her heels to walk away.

As she was almost out the door, she heard Lex call out from behind her.

“You’re either with them or me, Lena. Choose wisely!”

*****

“Lex knew,” Lena choked out, still able to hear Lex’s voice so clearly in her head all these years later. “He figured out I was married to Supergirl when I went to visit him at Stryker’s Island, and he threatened us if I didn’t leave you. I’m so sorry, Kara. I let this happen.”

“Lena,” Kara let out breathlessly, staring in shock, wide-eyed and helpless at the woman who was falling apart at the seams in front of her. Her ears felt like they were ringing as she tried to process what Lena just said.

“It’s all my fault,” Lena whispered before Kara could say anything else, and when Kara stepped forward to comfort her, Lena shuffled away ungracefully, unwilling to accept her touch. “No, don’t! It was my fault!” she cried out. “I- I gave away your identity. I didn’t tell you we were in danger. He almost killed you, Kara. You almost died because of me. You should be angry at me!”

“Lena, I’m not-”

“No you don’t get it!” Lena shouted. “I knew he hated aliens. I knew he said really horrible things sometimes; some of them were scary but I never thought…” Her voice trailed off as she swallowed thickly, and shook her head back to her train of thought. “But it was just to me. Always only to me. He told me it was because he thought I was the only one who’d understand. And I didn’t, I didn’t ever understand, but it had to say something about me that he thought I would, right? So when I found out you were an alien, I hid you away, lied to you, told you Lex would just exploit you,” she continued, unable to stop herself now that all her confessions from the past had begun spilling out of her. “I knew how much danger I was putting you in from the start, and I just selfishly kept it to myself because I thought, ‘If we’re across the country, we’re fine. Lex can’t touch us here.’ But instead I just left him alone in Metropolis; I just left him to his own devices, and he killed thirty-two people, and I could have done something. I could have stopped him, or talked him out of it, or-”

“Lena,” Kara finally cut her off firmly, not accepting any form of protest as she pulled Lena into a tight hug. “Lex’s sins are for him to bear, not you.”

“Of course they’re mine,” Lena scoffed, causing Kara to pull back from her and frown. “Lex’s sins are ones I will always bear.”

Kara opened her mouth to respond to this, a million thoughts fighting to come out, but instead she bit her cheek and let out a shaky breath. “How about we sit down? Do you have tea? You still like tea, right?” Kara asked softly, gently tugging Lena towards the kitchen table, hoping to calm her down a bit more so they could have an actual conversation. Lena followed her reluctantly after a moment, her body still tense and defensive, expecting Kara to lash out at any minute. Kara’s head still seemed to be ringing and not properly processing everything Lena had said, and she needed a moment before she could start to address any of it coherently.

“Yeah,” Lena finally answered softly. “Tea’s in the cabinet on the left,” she informed her, gesturing to a cabinet above the stove.

Kara looked over to where she was pointed and nodded eagerly, leaving Lena to sit down quietly while she began to boil the tea in the kettle. Lena watched her intently as Kara had her back towards her, intently making the two cups for both of them. When she finished and turned back to Lena, she quickly averted her eyes as the cup was passed to Lena, and she took a seat at the opposite end of the table.

They both sat in a suffocating silence for several minutes then, Lena staring intently at her tea while she felt Kara’s eyes on her. Eventually however, Kara’s thoughts became sorted enough to begin addressing them.

“Why didn’t you come home that day and tell me right away what had happened?” Kara asked quietly after several moments, breaking the silence as her eyes turned downwards to stare at her cup of tea.

Lena huddled closer into herself as she answered, “I thought I was protecting you. You loved Lex so much, and he was in one of the most high secure prisons. I figured he couldn’t touch us and telling you would only upset you; you were barely coping as it was.”

“Lena-”

“And I was ashamed okay?” she finally admitted, her hands clenched tightly around the cup as she refused to meet Kara’s eyes. “And terrified. I was scared Lex was right; you would hate me for not telling you sooner that I had known about him the whole time. I still am.” The words left Lena’s lips softly, vulnerably, and she took a sip of her tea as if to busy herself from saying anything else.

The silence that stretched between them seemed to take up the whole room, and Lena’s body remained tense as she waited for Kara to say anything.

“I don’t,” she finally answered quietly. Lena pursed her lips together at the response and bit down on her cheek to fight back the tears in her eyes.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about his threats though,” she murmured, electing to continue her reasoning rather than dwell on Kara’s statement. “I became so paranoid. I started making all those inventions, locking myself away in Luthor Corp and ignoring the company. You were so annoyed with me for it,” she recalled, glancing up at Kara with a humorless chuckle, but Kara only stared back at her a bit at a loss and cringed at the memory. Looking back down, Lena sighed and her demeanor became heavy again as she continued, “But I couldn’t stop because what if the thing I created next was the thing that saved you? What if I stopped and Lex attacked, and I once again did nothing in advance to stop him? Of course then he did attack, and we both almost died, and I realized no matter how much I fucking did, I couldn’t save you from him.”

Kara’s eyes widened at the confession as she sat up a little straighter. “You knew that attack was Lex? Why didn’t you-”

“Because it was too late then,” Lena cut her off, frustrated, burying her hand in her hair. “You barely looked me in the eye, let alone had a civil conversation with me. I didn’t believe Lex when he told me I only had a family because of him, okay? Up until then, I had thought I could hold us all together myself, but…” Lena trailed off as her eyes met Kara’s helplessly. “My mother stopped talking to me. Alex didn’t trust me anymore. You were frustrated and angry at me all the time. I just- I let it go too far, and I couldn’t fix it anymore. I had no idea what to do besides run and put it all to an end. Maybe Lex was right after all. Maybe I just couldn’t have a family without him.”

“Of course you-” Kara started her voice thick, a few tears spilling from her eyes. “You always had a family without him,” she finished a moment later, her voice heavy, but Lena was back to avoiding her gaze and didn’t seem too keen to comment on the subject any further. “Why leave so quickly then?” she finally questioned instead, needing more of her questions answered. “If you had been planning it for months and knew it had to be done, why not take more time?”

Lean chewed on her lip quietly. “The letter,” she finally answered softly, and Kara furrowed her eyebrows a bit before she realized what Lena was referring to. “Lex asked about the girls, and-”

“You thought he was threatening them,” Kara answered for her, nodding a bit as she connected the dots in her head.

“I know he was,” she responded. “I had been stalling, trying to figure out if there was any way for me to still fix it, any way for us still to make it work because the idea of leaving you, even in the state we were in, felt like ripping a part of me out, but… I couldn’t risk the girls.”

Kara pressed her lips together at this, trying to tense her body so as to keep it from shaking and breaking down into sobs. It was a lot of new, horrible information to retain at once. Kara was no longer the twenty-four year old who was devastated about Lex’s attack and unable to cope. She saw him for the monster he was, but even so.

She never knew how much of a monster he truly was. A monster Lena had to face all by herself. The thought made her sick to her stomach.

“So after I never followed you, or fought for you, you thought we were a lost cause and sent out the divorce papers?” Kara asked shakily, not sure if she could handle the answer, but she wanted to get the story out of Lena tonight in its full form. There were a lot of things Kara was going to have to rectify. There was a lot of work to be done.

“No,” Lena answered softly after a moment, taking Kara a bit by surprise. “God, no. I wanted you to show up, I really did, but that was the small selfish part of me. The rest of me knew it would be dangerous if you did. It hurt like hell that you stayed away, but I knew you were better for it. I sent out the divorce papers because CADMUS breached our security; I don’t know what they were after or if Lex was even after anything at all, but it worked in scaring me enough to take further action. If they had dug deep enough, they would have figured out I was still technically married to you. Lex would assume I was still hoping to return to you someday, and he would go after you again. Being away from you physically wasn’t enough to protect you anymore. I had to let you go completely.”

“Well I didn’t,” Kara admitted, her ears ringing as she proclaimed her vulnerability. “I never let go of you completely.”

Lena couldn’t find the words to say anything to this. Instead her eyes met Kara’s and the message was received.

She hadn’t completely let go either.

“I’m actually quite tired now,” Lena announced abruptly after a moment, averting her eyes and starting to feel the emotional strain of the day wear down on her on top of the traveling. Her body felt heavier than normal, and the cords of stress tugged at every inch of her body. “Do you think we could continue to discuss this in the morning?” she asked quietly.

Kara nodded, relenting easily, now having the answers to most of her burning questions. “Of course,” she agreed quietly.

Nodding, Lena sat her cup down on the counter and pushed herself out of her chair, and began to shuffle her feet towards the stairs to her bedroom.

“You don’t have to-” she started, when she noticed Kara hopped up to help her up to her room.

“It’s okay, I want to,” Kara whispered softly, holding her arm out, but instead of taking it, Lena held her hand out and gently stroked her cheek.

“This doesn’t have to change anything, Kara,” she finally murmured, her voice cracking a little. “You don’t have to forgive me or- or help me or-”

“What if I want to?” Kara posed, determination and stubbornness sneaking back into her brow.

Lena considered her a long moment before she finally sadly whispered, “How about you sleep on it?” Kara’s skin seemed to burn at the suggestion, knowing Lena thought she would think differently given time.

Swallowing thickly, Kara refused to relent her position, setting her jaw stiffly. Lena watched her for a moment before letting out a soft sigh, but Kara didn’t protest when she turned to make her way upstairs by herself.

When she was halfway up the stairs, she stopped suddenly, turning around looking almost petrified, and her eyes caught Kara’s, who frowned.

Then Lena’s eyes flicked worriedly towards Liza’s door, and when Kara looked over with her, she understood what Lena was thinking. They had to tell the girls. They would be waiting for an update before falling asleep. Lena shifted nervously on the stairs, chewing her lip, and Kara could see in her eyes that she couldn’t tell the girls on top of her tonight.

“I can tell them, if you want,” Kara finally offered, watching Lena’s expression carefully.

Lena looked over at Kara a bit guarded and tense, but after a moment, she melted and let out a little nod. “Okay,” she whispered, and Kara tried to offer her an encouraging smile before Lena began to retreat to her room, leaving Kara staring after her with a strained smile until Lena was out of view.

When Kara saw Lena close the door to her bedroom, she pivoted on her feet, and turned to look at Liza’s door with a long sigh. The girls had to be told tonight. And Kara definitely had more mental energy to tell them, so it made sense she offered.

But as she stared at the door and tried to talk herself up to going it, she felt every bone in her body resist. This was Lena’s tale. Liza would want to hear it from their mom. Maybe she should just wait to tell them until the morning, even if they would protest relentlessly. She was about to go into the door, and break the news to the girls they would have to wait for an update, when Lena’s tired, thankful eyes flashed in her mind.

She could do this one thing for Lena, she thought determinedly.

Kara knocked softly on the door and peeked her head through, not wanting to startle her daughters. She could hear their soft murmurs coming from the room, confirming that they were in fact still awake, and she tried to force the most put together smile she could muster onto her face so as to not worry them immediately.

Both girls’ eyes shot up to the door at the sound of their mother entering, and Kara’s heart swelled at the sight of Liza clutching a pillow while she sat patiently as Lily knelt behind her and braided her hair. These were the evenings she had always imagined for her daughters when they were born, and yet for fifteen years she had thought it would be an impossibility.

“Yeyu?” Liza asked softly as her mother shut the door behind her, signalling their mom would not be joining them.

Not answering, however, Kara let out a long tired sigh and felt the full force of the information she had just learn hit her as she looked on at her daughters’ expectant eyes and fell short of coming up with an explanation to give them to tide them over for the evening until Lena and her could explain better in the morning. Instead, she quietly walked over to their bed and began to climb on it until she sat against the wall and motioned for the girls to come up and lay next to her.

Lily didn’t hesitate to scoot over to her mother’s right side and snuggle in tight to her body, but Liza hesitated, knowing that no immediate answer meant it was bad. Whatever it was that caused her mom to leave, it was bad.

Swallowing thickly after a moment, Liza finally relented as well and shuffled her body over to her mother’s left side to wait for the explanation.

Kara held her breath for a long moment, trying to center herself before she began.

“Girls,” she finally started softly, her voice wavering a little. “Sometimes, the people we love aren’t who we think they are.”

Both of her daughters paused at this, their eyes locking onto each other for a brief moment with a bit of fear. What had their mom told her?

“Your uncle Lex used to be one of my very best friends. When he killed all those people, it took me so off guard; I didn’t know how to react to it. It felt like my whole world was shifted off kilter,” Kara began explaining slowly, and Liza stiffened a bit at the mention of her disowned uncle. “I thought your mom was dealing with the same thing back then, but I didn’t know that he- he got in her head, and- and he-” Kara trailed off, unsure of how to deliver the news to their daughters.

Lily furrowed her eyebrows, trying to piece together what her mother was trying to tell them, but not quite able to get there. Liza however stared off into the distance as a single tear rolled down her cheek knowingly.

“He threatened her,” she stated simply, her voice thick. Kara and Lily’s eyes both looked over at her with a bit of surprise, and when Liza’s somber eyes met her mother’s uncomfortable ones, she knew she was right. “He told her to take me and leave you two and when she didn’t, he tried to kill her.”

Gently, Kara raised her hand to cup Liza’s cheek before she nodded and brushed some of her daughter’s tears away. “Yes, is’kah,” she admitted softly. “That’s exactly what he did.”

“Wait what?” Lily asked breathlessly, clenching her mother’s arm and staring at her sister’s distressed face. “Why would he-”

“Because he figured out Yeyu was Supergirl,” Liza answered simply, as if the answer were right in front of them.

Kara was silent for a moment before nodding. “When your mom went to visit him at Stryker’s Island,” she supplemented quietly.

“No. No!” Lily fought, tears now forming in her eyes. “No, because if that happened, why wouldn’t she just tell us-”

Kara went to free her arm from her daughter’s clutches and used her hand to stroke through Lily’s hair soothingly. Both of her daughters were now staring at her expectantly, the same question in their minds: if Lex had been threatening her, why only reveal that now?

“It’s complicated girls,” Kara finally relented, her mind still not fully wrapped around the situation. “What your uncle Lex did to all those people was a very scary thing and a side of him your mom never expected to see. He was the only person she trusted for a very long time, and he got in her head I guess, and just-”

Before she could even end her thought, Liza was off the bed in a flash, running to the other end of the room and slamming the door open loudly, leaving Kara and Lily stunned in her wake. She took the steps up to her mom’s room two at a time and rounded the corner, stomping to the end of the hallway.

Liza burst into her mom’s room with little ceremony, and Lena--who sat curled up on the bed--looked up a bit startled at her daughter’s crazed eyes and began to protest.

“Liza-” she began a bit warningly, but her daughter cut her off before she could continue.

“You’re not Lex,” Liza blurted out forcefully, a determination set in her jaw. “You don’t get to do this; I can’t believe you’ve let me let you do this all these years,” she continued, her voice cracking a bit as tears began to fill her eyes. “You don’t get to carry his shit as if it’s yours; you don’t get to convince yourself that you’re at fault when he threatened you.”

Swallowing thickly, Lena shook her head a bit and murmured, “Darling, I don’t expect you to understand-”

“No, don’t say I don’t understand! That’s bullshit!” Liza cried out. “I understand you better than anyone else! I have spent my life understanding you! You blame yourself. You blame yourself for Lex finding out Yeyu is Supergirl and that he tried to kill you. You’ve let yourself believe you’re just like him because Luthors always harm Supers, and you’re sitting here forgetting that you are a Super!”

Lena's eyes widened a bit at her daughter’s outburst, and her eyes flicked momentarily behind Liza, and breathlessly, her daughter turned to find Kara standing there, tears in her eyes as she stared sadly at her daughter. Lily peeked around Kara’s back worriedly, wanting to go to her sister, but their mother held her back.

“Is’kah, I don’t think this is the best way-”

“No, I don’t want to be the calm reasonable one right now, Yeyu,” Liza shot back defensively. “Mom’s been the ‘reasonable’ one for years, and she’s forgotten who she is,” she argued, shooting her mother a pointed look. “Tell her who she is,” Liza continued, almost pleading with Kara, and Kara let out a shuddering breath.

“Once a Super, always a Super,” she finally answered after a moment in the still room, and Liza nearly collapsed with relief.

El marayah,” Lily added from behind her, slipping past her mother a bit to look at her mom with sincerity.

Letting out a shaking breath, and releasing the tears at the corners of her eyes, Liza turned back to her mom and saw she had tears streaming down her face as she tried to hold in her sobs. Softly padding her way over to her, Liza gingerly sat on the bed and took her mom’s hand.

Looking her in the eye, she murmured reverently through her tears, “You have always been a superhero, Mom. Lex wasn’t targeting us because of you; he was targeting you because you’re one of us.”

“And we stick together no matter what. No matter how hard it gets,” Lily added, joining Liza with their mom on the bed and scooting closer to them before wrapping an arm around her mom.

Kara made her way forward then, stopping just in front of Lena with tears in her eyes and leaning down slightly.

“We can do this together, Lena. Let us do this together,” Kara pleaded, and the girls held their breath as Lena buried her head in her hands before sighing and looking back up at Kara.

She was silent for a moment until she murmured, “El marayah.”

Alex called the next day and demanded to know where Kara and Lily were now that they were off the DEO’s grid. After a bunch of back and forth of Kara trying to tell Alex they were fine without alerting her to where they were and what they were doing, Lena finally quietly took the phone from Kara’s hands and began murmuring an explanation to Alex as she walked into the other room.

When she came back, tears were staining her face as she held out the phone to Kara and whispered, “She wants to talk to you again.”

“Come get me right now,” Alex demanded, her voice wavered, and Kara tried to protest unsuccessfully. “Kara. I’m serious. Give me ten minutes to get home and pack a bag.” And before Kara could respond, Alex had hung up.

When Kara dropped the phone from her ear, she looked helplessly over at Lena who was watching her expectantly. “Alex wants to visit,” she finally informed her shakily, and Lena stiffened a bit at the prospect.

She went to assure her that she would just tell Alex that now wasn’t the best time, when Lena cut her off softly saying, “Okay.”

Kara’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, and instinctively, she walked over to Lena and kissed her on the forehead comfortingly. Lena stiffened at the contact, and then promptly melted into it, her nerves taking over her body before Kara shot her a small smile and turned to walk out the door to go pick up her sister.

When they returned and landed in the alley near Lena’s house, Alex immediately bolted, and Kara had to scramble to keep up with her sister, following behind her quickly as Alex pushed open the door and Kara protested with a soft, “Alex she’s going through a lot, just be patient-”

The moment Alex entered the house, Lena was standing in the hallway expectantly, a bit at a loss. For what felt like the first time in her life, she was standing with absolutely no guard up, and it was terrifying. Maybe the most terrifying thing she ever had to do in her life.

Alex’s eyes met her, and she stopped immediately, taking in a sharp breath and trying to fight off the tears forming in her eyes.

“When I said I didn’t know the whole story, I thought you had heiress shit or- or PTSD from the bomb, not-” Alex’s voice cut off then, not able to speak the actual culprit, and instead crossed the room without another word and pulled Lena in for a tight hug.

The action caught Lena off guard. She panicked for a moment, her eyes immediately flying up to Kara’s. The twins were now standing with their mother, and the trio of them seemed to already be crying as they looked on at the scene. With a surprised realization, Lena noticed she and Alex were crying as well. Instead of questioning it any longer, she clenched her eyes shut and buried her head in Alex’s shoulder.

“You are my little sister, not his,” Alex murmured forcefully, tightening the hug a bit, “and the next time he forgets that, I will personally bring down the entire force of the U.S. militia on him, you got that?”

Letting out a bit of choked sob, Lena nodded and clung to Alex tighter. And finally, after fifteen years, she let out the breath she had been holding.

The day after Alex’s arrival, Lily received her mom’s permission to take her aunt to see some of the labs at L Corp International. Along with Liza and Sam in tow, the group had set out, leaving Kara and Lena alone in the house.

“How long before Sam starts asking questions?” Lena asked with a sigh as she watched the group depart from the window, and Kara shrugged.

“I’m surprised she hasn’t already,” she answered softly. “I told her we were here to work things out between you and me, but that doesn’t really explain Alex’s presence, so I suspect she’s waiting to get you alone to ask.”

Lena considered this silently for a few moments before she inquired softly, “Are we?” Her eyes flashed up to Kara’s who looked at her with question. “Are we working things out between us?” Her voice was shaking despite her efforts to keep the fear out of her eyes. When Alex arrived the day before, they didn’t have the chance to address what it was exactly that Kara was staying to do.

Kara’s expression softened as she took Lena’s hand and kissed her softly on the forehead. “I’m here to help you heal, and if you decide after that you still want me around, well then we’ll figure that out from there.”

Lena bit down on her cheek and nodded stiffly, pushing down the protest in her throat. It felt unfair to Kara to uproot her life like this without knowing what the end goal for her would be, but something in Kara’s eyes stopped her from raising those concerns.

“I do have a condition though,” Kara started then, causing Lena’s heartbeat to stop momentarily as she waited for the other shoe to drop. “Tomorrow morning, we’re finding you a therapist,” she stated, and Lena nearly scoffed.

“Seriously, Kara?” she asked, raising her eyebrows as she felt a well of dread start to build in her chest. It was one thing to come clean to her family, but to a stranger? How would that help-

“Yes, seriously,” Kara instructed.

“Do you really think any kind of trained professional is going to be equipped to deal with-”

“If I can find someone to help me with watching my planet die, I’m sure we can find someone for you,” Kara cut her off with a levelled gaze, and Lena stopped herself as she processed Kara’s statement. “I’m here to help you and fight for you, but you have to be willing to do the same for yourself before anything I do is of consequence,” Kara continued with a pointed, unimpressed look, and Lena pressed her lips together, no longer willing to comment. If this was what it took to have Kara with her as she reassembled her life, then she supposed she had no other arguements.

Kara took her silence as a concedence and nodded shortly before wrapping Lena in a hug, who quickly buried her head in Kara’s neck but bit back her tears.

“You’re going to get through this,” Kara murmured, and Lena prayed that when she did, Kara would still be at her side.

A week passed in their new normal.

Lena took the week off from her work at L Corp, and once Sam understood the gravity of the situation, she easily agreed to take over for her while she was gone. Alex returned to National City, not being able to be away from the DEO for long, but promising Kara J’onn would cover for her unless the situation was dire. Kara slept on the couch and worked remotely as she could for CatCo. When the office couldn’t function without her, however, she would fly to National City for a few hours before coming back with Noonan’s for everyone. Lena, true to her word, set her first appointment to see a therapist. The girls began preparing for the inevitable start of school, and the family seemed to settle into a routine of living together.

“So, how are things going with you and Mom?” Lily cornered her mother one afternoon while Lena and Liza were out getting groceries, and Kara looked up from the stacks of paper to where Lily was standing beside her.

Blinking, Kara put down the paper in her hand and turned to face her daughter. “She’s working through it, is’kah. Slow and steady,” she informed her calmly with an understanding look.

“No, I mean like, between you two,” Lily clarified, furrowing her eyebrows. “How are things going with you two?”

Kara widened her eyes in realization of what her daughter was asking, and cleared her throat a little as her cheeks pinked slightly. “Bug, there’s a lot of other things we need to focus on right now. This process is going to take a long time-”

“But you’ve made your move right? You’ve made it clear you want this all to be permanent?” Lily asked a bit desperately.

Shaking her head, Kara sighed, “I’m giving her space, Lil.”

“Seriously?” Lily folded her arms and narrowed her eyes at her mother. “You haven’t even kissed her?” she inquired, and Kara glared at her daughter.

“Your mom needs time,” she responded sternly. “You girls need to stop rushing her. Lex messed up a lot of the way she views her life now, so we need to be more patient with her. This isn’t some cute rom-com or a Disney movie. She was traumatized, and we need to stand by her with no expectations at all so she can heal.”

Looking at least mildly ashamed, Lily sighed and nodded as her mother stood and wrapped her in a hug and kissed her forehead.

“I know, is’kah,” Kara whispered into her hair. “I wish we could make all the bad things go away too.”

After a few moments, Lily pulled away and sat down a bit defeated. “Is there anything we can do to help her? To let her know we’re not going anywhere?” she asked quietly.

Stroking her daughter’s cheek, Kara nodded and stated, “We can be here for her. No matter how long it takes.”

Setting her jaw, Lily straightened her shoulders and nodded in return. “Okay.”

The first morning Lena went back to L Corp seemed more chaotic than the other mornings from the previous week. Kara had lightly protested that Lena could take some more time off, but Lena insisted it was time to go back to her duties as CEO.

Both Liza and Lily had woken up early to make their mom breakfast before her big day, and Kara seemed as if she had been up all night at the kitchen table working for her deadline. Lena breezed into the kitchen, looking effortlessly like the CEO of a major science industry empire and not at all like she had spent the past week curled up on her couch in sweatpants playing Mario Party with her daughters.

“You’re sure you’re ready to go back?” Kara questioned as she looked up from her laptop, and Lena shushed her quietly from across the room as the girls began plating the breakfast.

“I wouldn’t go back if I weren’t ready; I promise,” Lena stated sincerely, and Kara visibly relaxed at the words.

“Food’s up!” Liza announced as everyone sat down at the table, and Lena leaned over and kissed her on the forehead softly before digging into her food.

Lena still had ten minutes before she had to leave when they finished eating, but despite her protest, the girls insisted on doing the dishes as well, leaving Kara to do her work and Lena to have a moment of calm before the shitstorm she was sure to encounter upon her arrival back at L Corp.

“What will you all be up to today?” Lena questioned as she finished her coffee, wanting some lighthearted discussion in preparation for her headache of meetings scheduled for the day.

“This,” Kara answered without hesitation, and Lena let out a small snort before turning towards her daughters.

“Maia and I are Facetiming at ten,” Lily informed her family excitedly. She had eagerly kept them updated on all things Maia the past week in-between begging to be able to visit National City to go on a real date with her, which her moms finally approved for the following weekend.

“You have a meeting at two with the R&D people about your part time position application, Lil,” Lena reminded her daughter gently as she effortlessly weaved her way around the girls to reach the coffee pot and pour some into her mug.

“I know,” Lily called back as Liza accidentally splashed her with water, and Lily immediately retaliated.

“Oh, and Nia wants to interview you Liza,” Kara cut in, putting an end to the girls fight quickly and looking up for a brief moment from her laptop as she took a sip of her coffee.

“Me?” Liza questioned with furrowed eyebrows. “I thought she wanted Lily for her women in STEM?”

Brushing Liza off, Kara frowned as she read something on her screen and responded absentmindedly, “No, no she wants you.”

Liza bit down and pointedly began dutifully washing the dishes again as Lily started to snicker, not missing Liza blush at her mother’s wording.

“Shit, I’m going to be late,” Lena said a moment later, looking at her watch.

“You can’t be late; you own the company,” Kara reminded her gently as she typed out an email, and Lena scoffed and rolled her eyes.

“There’s frozen pizza in the freezer and box mac and cheese in the cupboards,” she instructed the girls then. “Please do your best not to blow up the house trying to cook either one for lunch.”

“You set off fire alarms for boiling water once,” Kara muttered, and Lena giggled approvingly before making her way over to Kara.

“Have a good day at work,” Lena wished quietly, and Kara hummed and turned her head to acknowledge Lena as Lena leaned in to kiss her cheek goodbye.

When their lips briefly met, they both jumped away from each other, their eyes widening a bit as they stared at each other in shock. Kara wore a look of horror on her face, not believing the mistake she was just stupid enough to make and so intimately afraid she had just crossed a boundary.

“Did you guys just-” Lily asked, as her and Liza stood straight up, staring at their moms and wondering what they had just witnessed, as the tension held in the air with Lena still standing a breath away from Kara, frozen.

In a split second, the rest of Lena’s walls came crashing down. Letting out a choked sob, her head hung as she dropped the folders in her hands onto the floor as she began to weep. Kara immediately, instinctively reached out to her, but paused before making contact, wondering what would be best for Lena in the situation as she stared uncomfortably, guilt gnawing at her for letting this happen. She hadn’t been ready; she-

“I’ve missed you so much,” Lena mumbled out between her sobs, making Kara stop as she furrowed her eyebrows and tried to process the words.

Before she could, however, Lena’s hands softly cupped her cheeks and pulled her down so their lips met intently this time. Kara’s entire body stiffened for a split second, caught off guard from the action. But then a moment later her arms wrapped tightly around Lena as she tugged them flush together and kissed Lena soft and slow, like she had dreamed of doing for fifteen years. Lena melted into her embrace, still shaking as the tears flowed freely from her eyes and her arms wrapped around Kara’s neck.

“Oh my god,” Liza murmured breathlessly, looking over to Lily with wide eyes..

“We did it,” Lily announced with a soft reverence as her voice waver momentarily before she burst into her own, happy tears.

Liza threw her arm around her sister’s shoulders as she began crying herself, and the girls pulled themselves into a tight hug, vibrating with excitement.

“I can’t believe we did it,” Liza murmured a bit stunned this time, pulling away from Lily and looking over at their moms.

Kara let out a small hiccuped sob that broke the two apart momentarily before they buried their heads into each other’s necks and hugged tightly for several moments.

“I thought I’d lost you forever,” Lena whispered, straining her voice through her tears. “I thought-”

“Shh,” Kara soothed her, stroking Lena’s hair as she tried to blink away her own tears. “You never lost me. I’m right here. I’m right here,” she comforted, slowly rocking them back and forth in an effort to sooth Lena a bit.

Her efforts seemed to work, as a few moments later, Lena was pulling back, more calm than she had been before. “I love you, Kara,” she stated quietly, her voice shaking.

Kara let out a strained beam, a million emotions rushing through her as all she wanted to do was surge forward again and hold Lena for the rest of their lives.

“You think they remember we’re here?” Lily asked Liza softly, and both of their moms let out a little smirk at the statement, refusing to look over at them and give them the satisfaction.

Punching Lily softly in the side, Liza scolded her, “Shut up, or they’ll kick us out.”

Both Kara and Lena were now biting down their jaws trying to keep from laughing. “There’s just no privacy with them around,” Lena whispered softly, but her eyes were warm with affection.

Kara nodded in agreement when an idea struck her. Sending Lena a wink, Lena shot her a slightly confused look before Kara scooped her hands under Lena’s thighs and lifted her up to place her on the kitchen counter. Surprised by the action, Lena let out a little yelp that was quickly silenced by a hungry kiss.

“Okay!” Lily announced suddenly in a very clipped voice, her eyes turning to her sister’s to look for advice, and Liza cleared her throat.

“Yeah, we’re just gonna-” Liza started, as she slowly backed away.

“You two need some-” Lily tried to continue, before they both just gave up and scrambled to leave the room in a hurry to not see any more of their mothers making out on the counter. Both women broke down laughing the moment their daughters fled the room.

“Oh so that’s how parenting together works,” Lena mused with a raised eyebrow, and Kara grinned cheekily.

“Are you complaining about my methods?” Kara asked amused, a smirk upturning the corner of her lips.

Biting her cheek, Lena shook her head softly. “Absolutely not,” she promised, before she gently tugged Kara forward and pressed their lips together one again.

“Come home,” Kara whispered breathlessly as they broke apart. “Please, just- come back to National City with me.”

Wiping the new tears falling from her eyes, Lena let out a shuddering breath. For a brief moment, she thought about L Corp, the mess of relocating again, Liza’s schooling and friends, Sam and Ruby, all the things that said she shouldn’t be making this decision in a split second sitting on a counter in front of Kara who just waltzed back into her life just over a week ago.

But as quick as those worries came, the long nights she spent alone here in London for the past fifteen years, aching and thinking she could never go home again flooded her mind.

“Yes,” she whispered softly, and Kara’s eyes glowed as she kissed her on the forehead.

Everything else would get worked out, she conceded.

But she was finally going home.

Chapter Text

One Year Later

“Alright, does everyone have the lunch I made them?” Kara called out as Lena and her daughters eagerly chatted at the table, eating their breakfast and buzzing with the anxious energy in the household.

“Yeah, Yeyu!” Liza called out as she popped up from the table and brought her dirty dishes over to the sink before hugging her mother from behind the back excitedly and making her way back over to the table where she left her lunch.

Kara smiled as her heart swelled and she bit her cheek slightly, watching Lily and Lena talk animatedly about one of L Corps newest projects. A year ago the scene in front of her would have felt like a fever dream, but slowly, gratefully, she was allowing it to become her normal. A normal she was more than happy to get used to.

It was the first official day of summer, which meant a lot of beginnings for the three women in front of her. Liza was officially an intern through Catco’s high school summer internship program, and Lily was starting her full time job at L Corp after working part time throughout the week during the school year. Lena had taken the past nine months to make L Corp’s transition as smooth as possible, but today marked the first day she was here to stay. While L Corp’s international headquarters would remain operational in London, L Corp’s corporate office was officially relocated to National City.

Lena caught Kara’s eyes then, as if she could feel her watching her, and she smiled widely, as if she had read her thoughts. A year ago today they were sending their daughters off to a camp that would change all of their lives forever. It felt like a miracle, and yet it still felt so natural to have their family back together. Kara beamed back at Lena softly.

“Alright, bug. We should head out. Don’t want to be late for our first day,” Lena finally announced to Lily beside her, and Lily quickly scarfed down the rest of her food and ran her dishes to the sink before bounding up next to Lena as she grabbed her bag. Lena hugged Liza goodbye and murmured wishes of good luck into her hair before turning to Kara. “Have a good day at work,” she whispered, as she walked closer to Kara.

“You too,” Kara replied softly, before ducking her head planting a firm kiss on Lena’s lips. When Lena pulled away slightly flushed, Kara grinned at her as Lena rolled her eyes and turned to lead Lily out the door.

Watching them go, Liza hugged into her mother’s side as they stood peacefully for a second.

Finally Kara sighed and kissed her daughter’s forehead, looking down at her. “You ready to go, is’kah?” she asked softly, running her fingers through her hair, and Liza nodded and shot her mother a stiff smile.

Liza spent most of the car ride staring out the window silently as she fiddled with her fingers, and she was grateful her mother didn’t try to start a conversation with her. Currently, her nerves were ramping up, as she tried to bite her lip and quell them a little. This internship was a big deal, and while her mother insisted she had nothing to do with the board approving her for it, Liza couldn’t help but feel a little out of her depth. She had never done journalism before; how did she know if she was any good at it?

“Hey,” she finally heard her mother’s comforting voice, and Liza blinked and turned to her mother, realizing they were parked. “You ready?”

Liza chewed on her cheek as her emotions internally warred with themselves. “What if I’m not cut out for this, Yeyu?” she eventually asked, her voice small and her eyes not meeting her mother’s.

With a soft, understanding smile, Kara reached over and held her daughter’s hand as she gently responded, “Then you know what you don’t want to major in, and we figure something else out. It’s a high school internship program for a reason. There’s no way for you to screw it up, okay?”

Liza closed her eyes and silently thanked her mother for always knowing what to say to calm her fears. Nodding slightly, she let out a sigh, and then smiled at Kara to signal she was ready.

Kara grinned proudly back at her as they exited the car and made their way towards the building.

Liza had been to Catco several times over the past year, just to visit her mother, but the energy felt different today. Today, she was employed here. Today, she had a say here. It was a bit overwhelming, but she managed to keep a neutral expression on her face as she followed her mother to the elevator and they rode it all the way up.

When they arrived on their floor, they were only two steps out before Kara was called away by someone. She flashed her daughter an apologetic smile and pointed over towards where the interns were all supposed to meet, and then Liza watched her be swept away in a flurry by a group of people. Standing a bit at a loss, Liza glanced around, wondering if everyone was staring at her, but to her relief, everyone still seemed to be waking up as they pulled open their computers.

Gritting her teeth and pursing her lips in determination, Liza turned to where her mother had pointed to find her way to the interns. If she could walk around L Corp with ease and confidence, how much different could Catco really be?

Weaving her way through the rows of desks, Liza eventually found a conference room where a group of kids around her age were milling around, making coffee and snacking on some of the granola bars and muffins provided for them. Hoping to avoid attention as much as possible, Liza slipped into the back of the crowd and made her way towards the corner of the room, where she was hoping she could remain unbothered for the rest of the day. Making friends--good friends--wasn’t exactly her forte without Lily around, and the way she saw it, she didn’t really need to make friends if she could have lunch with Yeyu everyday. She would just keep to herself and avoid-

“Hey!” a voice excitedly called out beside her, and Liza whirled around when she felt a hand on her arm. “I know you right? I met you? Or wait, did I meet the twin?” Nia began rambling as she beamed at Liza curiously. “Ms. Danvers tried to explain it, but I honestly didn’t follow,” she concluded with a light laugh, and Liza stared at her a bit with her mouth hanging open.

Right. Her mother had reminded her a few weeks ago the cute girl from last summer would be returning for the internship program.

Becoming acutely aware how stupid she must’ve looked, Liza shook herself into action as she blushed lightly and stuttered, “I’m, um, Liza.” As she finished, she tried to prevent herself from cringing a bit as she realized that hadn’t answered Nia’s question at all, she scrambled to explain, “I mean, I’m the same person you met last summer, but I was secretly in my twin sister Lily’s place trying to meet my mother for the first time, but right after that we switched back, and it’s kind of confusing because I was Lily then, but I’m Liza now, and um, Lily still exists; she’s just working for our other mom this summer, so she won’t be, like, around here. It’ll just be me, and I’m just- I’m just Liza.”

Nia watched her a bit amusedly, before she let out a small laugh and held out her hand as she greeted, “Hi Just Liza. I’m Just Nia.”

Liza let out a louder than necessary relieved laugh at this, glad her rambling was put to an end and it seemed to be rather well received by Nia. Bonus points to Liza for not scaring off her one potential friend in the matter of a minute, she thought to herself sarcastically.

“Alright everyone,” someone called out from the front of the room. “How about you all take a seat and we’ll get your orientation underway.”

Nia took a seat and gestured for Liza to sit in the one next to her, and Liza let out a small breath before she sat down and relaxed a bit. Maybe this internship could be more than she expected.

A week into her new office, and Lena had to admit she had been worried at the beginning of all this she would inevitably miss the view from her London office. National City was a beautiful and up-and-coming city, but it definitely didn’t have as much going on as London or Metropolis. Lena had always liked that about National City, living there right after she graduated. There was enough going on to keep her busy, but also to not overwhelm her.

Over the past sixteen years, however, Lena had gotten used to living among the noise and anonymity of London. And while National City had certainly grown in that time, not nearly to the point to be considered an international hub.

But looking out the window on a sunny, cloudless afternoon, all those feelings she felt in adoration for National City slowly ebbed back into her. Part of it was because Lena could see the tall building with big, glowing letters that read CATCO, and she knew without ever having to inquire that Kara was listening to her heartbeat from that building. Kara had all but admitted she did as much a few weeks ago when her and the girls were debating how far their super hearing extended and she had fairly definitely ended the debate by stating “As soon as your mom is within two hundred and fifty miles of me, I can hear her heartbeat again.”

Even more than knowing Kara was just across the city, subconsciously listening and looking out for her, Lena felt like her life was finally sliding back into place here in National City. The progress was slow, but noticeable. She was much further along than she had been when she first walked through L Corp NC several months ago and eventually had to be dragged out by Kara after standing stricken with fear for a few long minutes. Getting arrested, the bomb, leaving Kara: there was a reason she had avoided this building for fifteen years.

But with Kara’s promise of taking care of Lex and Lily’s excitement at finally officially being able to work with her mom, the building that she knew all those years ago began to be replaced with something new altogether. She started being less paranoid and on edge, and instead started to relax into her new position. She even gave in to Kara’s pleas and promoted a few of her most trusted employees to begin delegating some of her role to ensure she wasn’t being overloaded with the move all at once.

So all in all, National City had the comfort it once had to her again. And she got to go home to her family at the end of the day and curl up in bed with Kara every night. If she didn’t think about it too much, her life was seemingly going perfectly now. If she didn’t think about-

“You’re going to have to take out life insurance for me,” Lily announced with a huff and she marched into her mom’s office and flopped down on the couch. She crossed her arms and looked over at Lena with a pout as she expectantly waited for her mom’s inquiry into what she was talking about.

With a small smirk at the dramatics, Lena paged her assistant to bring in their lunches as she stood and made her way over to the chair across from Lily. “And why would I have to get life insurance for my invincible, healthy sixteen year old?” she questioned, raising one of her eyebrows, and Lily immediately swung her legs down from the couch and looked at her mom with urgency.

“They’re going to kill me with boredom, Mom. You have to save me,” she pleaded, her eyes wide, as the assistant Angela walked in and dropped off several boxes of Thai food. “I was supposed to get my hands on more projects with the full time job, not filling out compliance sheets and safety records.”

Humming as she acknowledged her daughter’s complaints as she grabbed her food and began digging in. “Not all parts of the job are glamorous, dear,” Lena stated pointedly as she tried to hide the smirk at Lily’s obvious displeasure at that response.

“Okay, yes, I know, but I haven’t been in the labs all week,” she countered, struggling to frown as she too opened her food and began eating. “They’re wasting potential here!”

“I’m sure they’ll let you in soon. They hired you for a reason, bug. I told them we could make you an intern, but they wanted you for this job; it’ll just take time for them to get you settled in and figure out where you’re most helpful,” she explained patiently, and Lily slumped back in her seat as she picked around her fried rice.

With a loud sigh, she asked, “I felt like I was really proving myself throughout the school year being a lab assistant though. It just feels like I moved backward.”

Stopping eating, Lena let out a small breath before she stood up and sat beside her daughter, wrapping an arm around her. “They’re all professional engineers. You haven’t even gotten a degree; which in turn means you don’t qualify for the FE and can’t get your EIT license. They see potential in you and want to mentor you, but a lot of things come with being an engineer. It’s not just the design process; there’s paperwork, client relations, compliance rules, quality checks. They want your input and they want your presence, but you’re not an engineer, so they have to give you work you’re qualified for too.”

Groaning and throwing her head back as Lena chuckled, Lily finally relented. “Okay, I get it. I still just want to get into the lab every now and then, though,” she lamented, and Lena stroked through her hair comfortingly.

“Well, they’re in the process of clearing out an unused portion of the R&D to make my own personal lab, so how about we take lunch in there when it’s finally set up, and then you can make sure to have an hour in the lab each day?” she asked patiently, and her daughter immediately perked up a little.

Contemplating it for no more than ten seconds, Lily finally nodded and conceded, “Yeah. That would… That would be really good.”

Beaming at her, Lena picked up her food again in success and slipped off her shoes as she settled into the couch. “So compliance. What new and interesting things are happening there?” she inquired with a cheeky grin, and Lily rolled her eyes before she started to update her mom on what she had been working on before her lunch break.

By the end of the day, Lena made sure to chat with the head of R&D on the progress of her lab. He immediately began apologizing for the slow headway, to which Lena immediately shut him down and merely explained Lily was getting antsy without a space to be hands on. The response was a knowing and relieved chuckle that informed Lena he knew exactly what she was referring to before he promised the private lab space would be ready by the end of the week.

“Maia and Carol want to know if they can come out and visit later in the summer,” Lily informed her as they pulled out of the parking garage that evening and began to head back towards their home, which was a thought that still almost made Lena pause every time.

Lena nodded easily, not surprised by the request considering Lily had already mentioned inviting her friends out for a weekend. “They’re more than welcome,” she responded easily, and she noticed Lily hesitate for a moment. Lena stiffened slightly as she prepared herself for what inevitably was coming next.

“Do you think Liza and I could pick them up?” she asked shyly, and Lena sighed.

“Do they know?” she asked, knowing Kara always beat around the bush when she tried to confront the girls about how much their friends knew about their identities and deciding to take a more direct approach.

Chewing on her cheek, Lily contemplated her answer. “No,” she finally related, but her mom gave her a sharp look out of the corner of her eye, and Lily held her hands up to defend herself. “They really don’t, Mom. I swear,” she promised. “They’re just getting a little suspicious because of how often I fly out to see Maia.”

“Maybe we should limit how often you get to fly to see Maia,” Lena suggested with a teasing tone that Lily did not find amusing.

“No, Mom, just-” she started, and Lena let out a little laugh at her daughter’s frustration. “That’s not what you should be taking from this conversation,” she then argued, trying to keep her face serious as her mom was clearly trying not to laugh at her. “Listen there are reasons you should let us pick them up.”

“I would love to hear them,” Lena smirked, and Lily took a big breath before she started.

Shifting in her seat to face her mom more, she began, “It’s silly to make them pay for a plane ticket to come visit.”

“I’ll pay for the tickets,” Lena shot back easily, and Lily gritted her teeth.

“And pollute the air with more CO2?” Lily then argued.

“So now I’m a Bond villain for offering to buy your friends’ tickets?” Lena inquired, raising her eyebrows.

Shrugging, Lily responded, “Well when there’s an alternative, green option, you’re hardly acting as an activist, Mom.”

“Alright, alright,” Lena conceded. “How about this? You tell them since I’m Lena Luthor, I can use my connections to get Supergirl to pick them up. And then we have a conversation with Yeyu about maybe telling Maia at a different point, so you don’t have to hide it from your girlfriend anymore.”

Pursing her lips, Lily finally relaxed back into her seat. “That’s actually a really good plan,” she admitted, and Lena reached over and squeezed her daughter’s arm.

“It’s because I’m really smart,” she informed her, and Lily rolled her eyes slightly.

Kara and Liza beat them home that day, Liza already up in her room where Lily raced to join her, and Kara leaning over the kitchen counter concentrating on something on her phone.

“Hey!” Kara greeted her quickly, as she quickly rounded the counter to come up on Lena and steal a kiss. “How was your day?” she inquired eagerly.

Lena sighed and smiled softly at Kara as she sat down her bag. “It was good. Lily’s still getting settled into her role a bit,” she explained as Kara smirked. “I actually have to warn you about something though, before she brings it up to you,” she then diverted, needing to get her most recent conversation with their daughter off her chest.

Tilting her head a bit in concern, Kara nodded and acknowledged, “Okay, sure. What is it?”

Letting out a long breath, Lena sat down at one of the barstools and related, “Lily wants to tell Maia she’s Kryptonian.”

Kara watched Lena’s tense body language carefully before she began to respond. “It’s normal for her to want that,” she offered slowly. “I mean, I told you within the first week of dating, and they’ve been together for almost a year,” she tried to point out lightheartedly.

But Lena only became more visibly anxious at the reminder. “And I was the one who wouldn’t let you come out to anyone else,” she lamented, her hands clenched tightly together at this point, and Kara stepped quietly up into her space and took her hands into her own.

“Hey, those were different circumstances. And Maia’s great for Lily. She’s not telling a lot of people. Just her girlfriend. She’ll be okay, Lena,” Kara promised, and Lena stared off for a moment, before she shook herself out of it and glanced up at Kara with a tense smile.

“No, you’re right. I’m just letting myself be paranoid again,” Lena concluded, biting her cheek slightly as she averted her eyes again.

“You okay?” Kara then asked a moment later when she noticed Lena lost in thought, and Lena hummed quietly before she realized Kara wasn’t about to drop the subject unless she reassured her in some way that she truly was okay.

Letting out a long sigh, Lena buried her face in her hands before reaching up and dragging them through her hair. “I know everything’s been going well, and we worked hard for this, and we deserve this, but doesn’t it feel like it’s going a little too well for you?” she finally asked, an edge of fear apparent in her voice as she clearly tried to dance around the actual topic of the conversation.

Kara clenched her jaw a bit, immediately catching onto what Lena was apprehensive about. “This is about Lex, isn’t it?” she inquired, her voice firm yet patient. It was understandable. After everything he had done, it would be hard for Lena to believe he had just stopped.

“I know you said you upped his security, but Lex just has a way of weaseling himself out of places and punishments,” Lena confessed tiredly, and Kara could tell it had been weighing on her mind.

“We already dismantled CADMUS years ago,” Kara explained patiently, even though it was the same talking points she had used for the past year to assure Lena they were all safe. “He doesn’t have a network of people working for him anymore.”

Closing her eyes and ducking her head, Lena shook her head a bit as she murmured, “No, I know. And I trust you. And I want this to work, I really really do. I just don’t trust Lex.”

Kara studied Lena silently for a long moment, before taking a deep breath and offering, “I know last year you told me you didn’t want to know how Clark and I took care of the situation, but I think it would help you if you knew.”

Lena tried to steady her breathing as she considered this. She had requested when Kara had announced her and Clark had come up with a way for Lex to never bother them again that she would remain oblivious. Partially because Lena was afraid they would kill him (even though she knew even after everything neither Clark nor Kara would do so), but more than that she was afraid she would overthink whatever solution they came up with. Lex would find a way out and Lena would run herself into the ground trying to figure it out before him. And she knew more than anything that she trusted Kara and her decision, and that she needed to be free of worrying about her brother.

But her solution hadn’t worked. She was still worried and no closer to finding the peace she had hoped for. Every moment she was in National City, she felt on edge. That either L Corp would explode again, or she would get the call from Alex that Kara or one of her daughters had been attacked. She just needed it to end.

“Fine,” she finally whispered. “I want to know. I need to know he can’t touch us.”

“He can’t,” Kara murmured softly, as she pulled Lena into her arms, and Lena gratefully fell into them as Kara stroked her back comfortingly. “He’s in a maximum security prison where he can’t contact any of his little minions.”

“Stryker’s Island?” Lena questioned immediately, pulling back from Kara in confusion. Lex had been there, and it hadn’t-

“Fort Rozz,” Kara corrected immediately as Lena’s eyes widened. “Took some special accommodations and we owe Lucy, like, twenty years worth of her favorite pizza for winning us a legal case to quietly extradite him for crimes against Krypton, but he’s officially somewhere safe that he cannot touch us.”

Lena blinked as she stared at Kara in a bit of wonder. “Oh,” she finally stated, her mind still trying to catch up.

“I hope that’s alright?” Kara then backtracked. “You didn’t want to know, and Clark and I talked over it a lot, and it was the one solution that we thought would leave us the safest while allowing you to still know he was out there and accessible under your terms. We thought-”

Lena cut her off suddenly with a firm kiss before letting out a soft, relieved laugh. It was the perfect solution. It was infallible. Lex was in a prison tethered in space, his own personal hell. Lena let out a louder laugh at it as she hugged Kara tightly.

“I feel like I can breathe again,” she mused, reveling in the lightweight feeling of her chest. “Thank you, Kara,” she whispered as Kara kissed her forehead.

“Anything for you,” she responded quietly, as Lena clung onto her tightly and finally let out the breath she had been holding.

 

“You’re in a hurry to get out of here,” Nia observed a bit conspiratorially. “Big date tonight?” she then teased, but her eyes spoke of genuine curiosity.

Liza blushed as she furiously shook her head at Nia’s question. “No,” she scoffed quickly before ducking her eyes a bit. “Lily just has this surprise thing tonight that she’s kind of been planning for years, and I promised I’d get out of her a little early today to help her with it.”

Nia relaxed a bit at the answer and relaxed a bit as she flashed Liza an amused smile. “Well, from what I hear about Lily, whatever this surprise is, it ought to be pretty extravagant.”

“It is,” Liza confirmed easily with a giggle. “Our mother doesn’t know about it though, so you’re sworn to the sister secrecy now,” she then followed up with a serious gaze, and Nia sobered up easily, holding her right arm up.

“You can trust me,” she swore solemnly, and Liza smirked at her before letting out a small laugh as Nia joined her.

Finally Liza bowed her head as she gathered up the rest of her papers to put into her folder as she chewed on her lip nervously and mulled over the idea that just popped into her head. She had been wanting Lily to meet Nia for a while now, knowing they would hit it off immediately, but she hadn’t wanted to come on too strong or misread their friendship. There was always the possibility they were just friends within the internship and not anywhere outside this building, but when Nia caught her deep in her thoughts and raised her eyebrows as if to call her out and question her, Liza sighed.

“What are you doing in two weeks?” she blurted, and Nia seemed to freeze and hold her breath. “Lily and I are having some friends over for a big sleepover thing, and I was wondering if you wanted to come?”

Nia blinked and then relaxed and shot Liza a reassuring smile. “I’d love to come. I’ve been wanting to meet Lily,” she commented, and relief swept across Liza’s face.

“Cool. You can just come home with me that day then. I’m sure Lily will be stoked to meet you too,” Liza then offered with a shy smile.

“Talk about me a lot?” Nia teased, and Liza broke out into a full blush again.

Rolling her eyes, she grabbed her bag and shot Nia an annoyed look as she announced, “I have to go.”

“Sure thing, Liza,” Nia goaded as Liza grinned and hurried out the door.

The smile lasted on her lips for the entire flight to the DEO. The day seemed to be going exceptionally well, she prided herself, bouncing a little as she walked into the building confidently. She had managed to slip out of CatCo without her mother seeing her, invite Nia to hang out with her and all of her friends, and now she was finally going to be allowed to don her sister’s coveted suit and reveal to her moms what they had been hiding from them for so long.

“You look happy,” Lily smiled as she caught sight of her sister and immediately grabbed her hand and dragged her to the back lab. “Finally ask Nia out?”

Liza quickly punched her sister in the side and wrinkled her nose at her, defending, “We’re just friends.”

“Right, right,” Lily nodded with a conspiratorial smile. Then letting out a shaky sigh and becoming serious before Liza had the chance to respond, she jumped into her instructions. “Alex got Mom here to help with some of the Harun-El experiments, so she has no idea what’s coming, and Alex is going to signal for Yeyu when we’re ready. I’m going to let you do a quick test run; I’ll teach you all the in-depth features of the suit at a later time. This is just show and tell, you being ‘show’ and me being ‘tell’. Just stand and look pretty, and you’ll do your job.”

Liza bit her cheek a bit, holding back a soft laugh. Lily had given her the same instructions almost every day leading up to this. She could tell her sister was nervous about what their moms would think of the suit, which was why the reveal had been delayed so many times. She needed it to be perfect. She needed to impress both of them thoroughly, which was tough to do in Lily’s eyes when her moms were Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor.

Reaching out and grabbing Lily’s arm softly to pull her attention, Liza gave Lily a soft, proud look. “They’re going to love it, Lily. It’s the most advanced suit that’s ever been made. They’re impressed when you make scrambled eggs; this is going to absolutely blow them away,” she assured her sincerely, and Lily let out a relieved laugh as she tackled her sister in a tight hug.

“Okay!” Lily announced when she pulled away a moment later. “Let’s get you into that suit!”

The first moment Liza saw herself in the mirror in the super suit, her heart admittedly stopped for a moment. Lily smirked behind her, and Liza tore her eyes away from the image in front of her and confronted her.

“Lily, it’s incredible,” she whispered in awe.

Grinning as her eyes filled slightly with tears, Lily shot back, “It looks incredible on you, sis. I’m glad you’re here to do it justice.”

Slamming into another tight hug, both sisters began to laugh again as a few tears spilled from their eyes, and while neither of them said anything, they could both feel themselves thanking the universe that it had brought them back together.

“You guys ready?” Alex’s voice called out as she popped her head into the lab. “Your moms are starting to ask too many questions about where you two disappeared to,” she explained, before she stopped and took in Liza smiling at her a bit bashfully in the suit. Finally, she seemingly snapped out of it and held up her hand for a high five towards Lily, “It looks awesome, Lil.” Beaming, Lily then watched as Alex turned to Liza and seemingly swallowed the emotion in her throat before pulling her into a hug. “Seeing you in that crest...” she murmured quietly, trailing off before she pulled back, stroked her nieces cheek and continued, “A small piece of the world feels clicked back into place.”

Liza smiled widely, her eyes catching Lily’s gaze behind Alex’s shoulder, and she reached up to sheepishly wipe the tears away from her cheek. “We should show our moms,” she then announced softly, and Alex and Lily nodded decisively.

When Kara arrived at the DEO, Alex rounded her and Lena up and corralled them onto the balcony, ignoring their protests and confusion.

“Alex, what is this about?” Lena asked, concerned.

“Where are the girls?” Kara chimed in. “What’s going on-”

Turning on them sharply, Alex held up her hands in surrender. “Not my place to say what’s going on,” she explained quickly. “Gotta hand that torch over to your daughter.”

As she finished, Lily appeared from behind the group and eagerly took her place in front of her moms, who watched her curiously. “I have spent years on what I’m about to show you,” she began, and both of her moms began to hold their breath as they realized what was happening. “A lot has happened in the past year to delay this project, mostly having a whole new mom to impress. But today, I think I can finally, and confidently, say that it is finished to near perfection, and ready for you both to see. So without further ado, I’m going to ask my assistant to join me for the reveal.”

Biting her lip, Lily rocked on her feet a bit nervously as she took in her moms’ reactions, wanting to savor every minute. They were already looking at her with a mix of pride and apprehension, but she knew their expressions would change the moment Liza arrived. They continued to wait patiently, and Lily smirked slightly, knowing Liza was taking her time to build the moment up.

Just when Kara started to open her mouth to ask where Liza was, she stopped as her ears perked up and she clearly heard her daughter flying in from a distance. Her eyes squinted up into the sky, as she tried to search for her daughter’s descent, and in a moment, Liza was landing on the roof with flair.

Her red cape billowed around her as a determined look was painted on her face, and she did her absolute best to sell Lily’s suit completely. In a way, she had to do this for herself as well, and prove to her mother that she was ready to join her out in the field, especially now with her sister’s suit to protect her.

Both Kara and Lena’s jaws dropped as they took in Liza in the suit, and Lily nearly let out a sigh of relief.

“Lily-” Kara started trailing off as she shook her head in disbelief and walked up to Liza to examine the suit.

Lena followed right behind her, her eyes glancing to her daughter’s with pride before taking in the suit again and asking, “You designed this yourself?”

Nodding nervously, Lily breathed shakily before explaining, “It was just going to be a test suit before I asked Yeyu if I could design her a new one, but when I met Liza I realized I knew it had to be hers.”

Looking over at Lily, Kara asked a bit in awe, “Are you still interested in designing me a new suit?”

“Yes,” Lily answered quickly, her heart swelling. “Or, that is, if Mom agrees to help me,” she added, and Lena’s eyes flashed up to hers in surprise. “You designed the original suit; it would only feel right if the new suit was a combination of our efforts.”

“Of course, I’ll help,” Lena responded softly. “It’s high time we got your mother out of that old raggedy thing I made sixteen years ago.”

Turning her attention back to Liza with tears filling her eyes, Kara whispered, “It looks really great on you, is’kah. The House of El has never had a more worthy crest bearer.”

Liza's chest puffed up before her mother was pulling her into a tight hug, and she felt her mom and Lily tag on, surrounding her with their embrace.

When Lily first introduced the idea of Supergirl picking Maia and Carol, they were both ecstatic while also being a bit skeptical. As far reaching as Lena Luthor’s power may be, there was also the fact that her brother had infamously been not so fond of Kryptonians. How could Lena undoubtedly know Supergirl would do this random favor for her daughter?

After weeks of convincing them that they could trust her, they and their parents finally relented and agreed to let Supergirl pick them up and deliver them to the Danvers’ house for a sleepover. Lily could tell her friends were still skeptical about the situation, but when each of them landed in front of her house in Supergirl’s arms, both seemed far from it.

When both girls were safely on the ground, Supergirl bid them all goodbye and shot up into the air, and Carol and Maia watched after her in awe before excitedly turning to Lily.

“That was so cool!” Carol screamed, jumping up and down some, before she ran and slammed Lily into a tight hug, ecstatic to finally see her friend again after a year. “I knew you finding out Lena Luthor was your mom would have its perks, but that was one that never crossed my mind.”

Laughing a little, Lily brushed it off as if it were nothing. Then pulling back from her friend to really take her in, she excitedly pointed to Carol’s hair. “You chopped it! It looks so good!” Lily complimented, patting her friend’s pixie cut eagerly.

“Why thank you, thank you,” Carol accepted generously.

“She said she got bored of her old hair,” Maia explained with a small laugh, and Lily’s beam widened as she turned and finally acknowledged her girlfriend.

A small flutter ran through Lily’s chest, as they met each other and embraced in a tight hug. Pulling back, they kissed briefly, before intertwining their hands and laughing a little.

“Oh shoot! Did I miss Supergirl?” Lily heard a voice call out behind her, and she had to physically resist her urge to roll her eyes as she turned to find her mom redressed in her street clothes and glasses as she made her way out of their house. She heard Maia’s heart rate spike slightly, so she unconsciously began stroking her hand with her thumb to sooth her nerves slightly.

This wasn’t the first time Maia was meeting her mother; Lily and her moms had flown out to Metropolis a couple times to meet Maia and her family. Still, Lily couldn’t blame Maia for being nervous around her moms. Lily was still jumpy around Maia’s parents, and Todd and Laura weren’t two of the most powerful figures in the world.

“You just missed her, Miss Danvers,” Maia provided, doing an impressive job hiding her nerves, and Kara beamed at her.

“Hi, Maia! It’s good to see you again,” she greeted, immediately pulling her daughter’s girlfriend in for a hug. “And how many times do I have to tell you to call me Kara?” she inquired as she pulled back with raised eyebrows.

Maia bashfully averted her eyes as she shrugged and laughed awkwardly.

Deciding to release her from the attention, Kara then turned to Carol. “And you must be Carol! It’s so good to meet you; the girls have told me so much about you,” she informed her, and Carol nodded at Kara, but Lily could tell she was deep in thought. A small crinkle started to form in her forehead as she narrowed her eyes slightly and studied Kara’s face.

Realizing what was happening, Lily pulled their attention in hopes of diverting Carol’s train of thought. “Where’s Liza and Nia?” Lily questioned, noticing her mother’s van wasn’t in the driveway. She had expected Liza to excitedly come running out of the house when their friends arrived.

“Oh, they had some things to finish up before tomorrow, so I left them the van and just flew home,” Kara assured her easily, not catching her slip until she noticed Lily stiffen and widen her eyes. Quickly she jumped as if she were startled and clarified, “On a bus!” Putting her hands on her hips and turning to Lily’s friends, her expression turned to one of faux excitement, as she continued, “Because our public transportation in this city is just really impeccable. Number two in the nation, did you girls know that?”

Smirking as if she were holding back a laugh, Maia forced a neutral smile on her face and answered politely, “No, ma’am, I did not.”

“Well, it’s pretty crazy great,” Kara pressed on, overselling her explanation with her eyebrows raised. “Nothing like how backed up it gets in Metropolis. Our buses just fly you all over the city.”

“Like Supergirl,” Carol offered teasingly, and Kara balked at the comment for a moment before trying to recover.

As Kara let out a loud and exaggerated laugh, Lily cringed but tried to keep a supportive expression on her face for her mother. “Your friends are so funny, bug,” she commented as she pulled her daughter into a tight half hug and turned back to Carol and Maia. “Now if you excuse me, I think I hear Lena calling me from the house,” she diverted, and before anyone could question her, Kara bolted towards the house.

Lily watched her mother retreat to the house and stared after her as she blushed profusely and sent a prayer up to Rao that her mother hadn’t just blown their whole cover.

“So,” Carol started slowly, pulling Lily’s attention back to her and Maia. “I’m assuming we’re supposed to pretend we don’t know your mother is Supergirl?” she then inquired with a sneaky grin, and Lily froze as Maia elbowed Carol in the ribs. Yelping, Carol turned to her and muttered, “What? We’re supposed to believe the bus system runs this far out of the city?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Lily then tried to discredit, her voice jumping up several pitches as her body bounced a bit on the balls of her feet anxiously. “My mother? Supergirl? Come on, that’s- that’s just crazy. I mean-” Her voice started to falter as her hands started doing a waving motion, and she eventually argued, “Supergirl and Lex Luthor’s little sister getting married? That would never work.”

Maia and Carol watched Lily’s pathetic performance, raising their eyebrows and crossing their arms when Maia finally piped up, “I mean, historically, it didn’t work for about fifteen years.”

Biting her cheek Lily shook her head and defended, “That was other, weird family things; it wasn’t-”

“Listen, I’ll just take this as a yes,” Carol cut in, concluding the answer to her own question, and Lily’s face became even more red, her mind considering what it would be like to admit to her mom that her friends did know after all.

Deciding that was not a conversation she wanted to have, she doubled down on her protests. “Carol, Yeyu’s not- She’s not Supergirl,” she insisted.

“Of course she isn’t,” Carol agreed easily, following her statement up with an exaggerated wink, and Lily groaned and threw her head back in defeat.

Giving up on the debate, Lily relented and instead offered to give her friends a tour of the house, to which they both eagerly accepted. She showed them around the living area and kitchen before leading them up to her and Liza’s rooms. As she was taking them back downstairs to show them the spare room they had set up for the evening festivities, they ran into Lena as she exited the small, home lab Kara had set up for her.

After graciously greeting the girls, Lena informed them that Kara would be picking up their food in an hour and Liza had texted her that she would be home any minute. Lily shot her mom a thumbs up before finally dragging her friends back to their space so they could all start to set up camp. A few minutes in, Carol requested to know where the bathroom was, and after Lily gave her the directions, she and Maia finally had a few moments to themselves.

Wrapping each other in a longer, fuller kiss, when Lily pulled back, she was in a daze of sorts, smiling lopsidedly at her girlfriend. “I’m really glad you could come,” she murmured, softly pushing back Maia’s hair from her face as they lay across from each other on the ground, surrounded by an obscene amount of pillows.

“Well I’m really glad Supergirl offered to pick us up,” Maia responded, a small smirk in her eye, and Lily held her breath, knowing what was going to come next. “I know you can’t comment on this, but tell your mother I said thanks. She didn’t have to do that for us.”

Lily blushed slightly again, but stayed silent, which she knew was a confirmation in itself.

“And for the record, I figured it out before I met her,” Maia then leveled with Lily. “You know, telling me both your mother and your uncle who look suspiciously like the Supers have ‘unlimited frequent flyer points’ isn’t really as subtle as you think it is.”

“I wanted to tell you,” Lily then blurted, unable to hold it in anymore. She didn’t want Maia to think she was withholding information from her because she distrusted her.

Letting out a soft laugh, Maia shook her head amusedly and promised, “I know, Lil. I can’t imagine secret superhero aliases are much use if your daughter exposes them.” Lily agreed silently, averting her eyes before she suddenly looked back up at Maia with an intensity she didn’t use often.

“I love you,” Lily confessed, and Maia blinked. It wasn’t the first time it had been said between them, but it was the sincerity Maia saw in her eyes that caught her back slightly.

Finally, grinning, Maia shifted forward and planted another kiss on Lily’s lips before she murmured, “I love you too.”

“Look who I found!” Carol announced as she bounded through the door, clearly trying to be as obnoxious as possible so Maia and Lily would have a warning that she was coming in. “Your clone and some random girl she found on the street whom she convinced to come to prove to us that we’re not her only friends.”

Letting out a laugh at Carol’s antics, Lily sat up and watched Liza blush slightly as she rolled her eyes. The girl beside her seemed amused as she watched Liza’s reaction carefully, before being pulled away by Carol.

“Okay, so random girl, give us a name!” she prodded eagerly with a wink.

Nia responded with a grin, simply stating, “Nia.”

“Love it,” Carol approved with a serious nod. “Give us a star sign, Nia.”

“Like any, or my own?” she questioned, taking Carol’s request in stride.

Carol paused for a moment to consider the inquiry before she finally shrugged and responded, “You pick, but don’t tell us if it’s random or yours.”

“Taurus,” Nia responded without hesitation.

Letting out a low whistle, Carol nodded. “Okay, I approve of her; she can be our fifth member,” she related to everyone else in the room.

Pushing Carol away from teasing Nia slightly, Liza sidled up next to her a bit protectively. “Nia, this is Carol, Maia, and my sister Lily,” she introduced, and Nia waved at them all.

“Thanks for inviting me,” she greeted easily.

To Liza’s absolute relief, Nia seemingly fit perfectly into their friend group. Lily, Maia and Carol seemed to take to her straight away and after they inquired about her sufficiently and moved on to general banter and teasing, Nia wasn’t afraid to throw herself into the mix and join in.

By the time Kara dropped off the several orders of pizza and breadsticks a little over an hour later, the entire group felt like old friends. Eventually they threw on a movie and settled into their positions for the night: Lily and Maia cuddling on the couch, Carol splayed out on her stomach atop a bunch of pillows on the floor, and Liza and Nia sitting just close enough that their hands kept brushing each other on the loveseat.

The movie they had all opted for was The Half of It, even though they had each seen it ten times over. Lily and Maia nearly recited the opening monologue, causing the rest in the room to giggle and cheer for them as they finished. Since they were all familiar with the movie, their watching was