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After a great pain, a formal feeling comes (the Hour of Lead)

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After a great pain, a formal feeling comes

(the Hour of Lead)

 

1.

 

My name is Lena Kieran.

I am from Mullaghmore, Ireland, and my mom was hurt.

 

That was all Lena remembered from before she came to live with the Luthors.

She hadn’t been allowed to take anything from her previous life with her, or at least she didn’t think so. Her memories of what happened between the last day she saw her mother and the first day she became a Luthor have always been hazy. It was like one moment she was out with her mom, feeling a cool breeze on her face while they walked by the beach and the next, she was walking inside a gigantic house and being introduced as part of the family.

Whatever had happened that day, her 4-year-old former self had grabbed onto those words as if her life depended on that – and maybe it did, she wouldn’t know. She couldn’t remember.

She had repeated those words over and over again, for months, while she tried to figure out her new life, while she tried to figure out who she could trust – or a child version of those feelings. This was Lena Luthor, the adult, thinking back to when she was nothing but a lost little lamb, with big eyes and big fears, walking through the corridors of the Luthor mansion. Alone. Afraid. Cold.

 

She had always been cold in that house.

It didn’t matter the part of the day nor the season they were in, she was always wearing long sleeves and she would always feel a chill running up her spine on a daily basis. Maybe her clothes had had an impact on how pale her skin had become, but all the time she just felt… icy. Like she her body was always just a couples of degrees colder than what could be considered comfortable. At one point she had indulged herself in thoughts that she had some kind of sensitivity – and for a brief moment she wondered if she would be able to talk to her mother in any way –. She even had convinced herself that the mansion was always cold because spirits wondered the halls.

Until she made the mistake of letting Lillian overhear her telling this to the cook of the house, a nice man with a round belly who would always let her have the leftovers.

--

It was only a couple of years later that Lena Kieran, the child, realized that those few words wouldn’t help her to go back home and that she had made a terrible mistake: she didn’t know her mom’s name.

It was stupid, Lena – the Luthor – thought. Nowadays, one of the first things parents teach their children is information about their immediate family: it’s a widespread lesson, for safety purposes. But Lena – the Kieran – didn’t live in a big city. The only dangers she was faced with were the occasional visits of a badger passing by, or a curious red fox looking for food and, if they were really (un)lucky, some red deer might show itself in the middle of the roads during the winter months.

She knew her name was Lena, of course. But everyone else on that tiny city called her little pumpkin. They called her mother Miss or darling and Lena, well, Lena called her mother mom. Just mom.

It was lost on her whether she never knew her mother’s name or if she had forgotten it, so focused on her thoughts and confused with all the changes in her life, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was the, try as she might, her mind always came empty regarding a name.

When Lena Kieran realized that, she cried. Silently, of course. No one cried in the Luthor manor. Once she had tried to argue that she wasn’t a Luthor, not really, but Lillian had just looked at her, unimpressed. You are here now, the woman had said, and if you’re not able to behave like a Luthor then you should be somewhere else.

She didn’t have anywhere else to be.

So, on the day of her realization, she wept silently the whole night.

When she woke up the next morning, her face was impeccable, all traces of her weakness gone.

--

Lex Luthor was a brilliant boy. that much Lena was able to realize in only a few days of being around him. That wasn’t the first thing she noticed about him, no. The first thing she realized about the older boy was that he was… warm.

Not in an openly and outspoken way, no, he was a Luthor after all. But she could see it in his eyes, that were always shining when he looked at her. She could see it in the small smile that always played at the corner of his lips. She could see it in the way he would look at her, and talk to her, and address her. She could see it in the way he let her in.

Alexander Joseph Luthor was warmth in that icy place, and Lena was never cold around him.

He taught her how to play chess.

They were very different, she soon realized. He loved to play with the Queen, and she loved the Knights. He loved to barge in and plan a massive destructive move, and she was happy enough to plan small but effective attacks. She always lost a lot of pieces, but made his game as hard as it could be with the few pieces she still had left.

She never did beat him, but she could see that he struggled to play against her. And he loved it.

He started calling her Ace not long after that.

-

Lex was the only one that treated her like family.

Well, there was Lionel, who was always kind when he was there, when being the imperative word. He was always traveling, always working and she could never enjoy his presence more than a couple of days in a row. So yeah, Lex became her beloved big brother, the only family she had.

He was there when she started having nightmares every night. After the first few times, he wouldn’t even say anything anymore, he would just go into her bedroom and they would read books together, or he would teach her some science. Then, he would lie down next to her on her bed and continue reading while she slept.

More often than not, the nightmares would come. He would shift her closer to him, put one arm around her while the other still held his book. After a while, he would get up, put some more blankets around her make sure all the windows were closed and not one single air current was passing through.

He always remembered how chilly she was.

-

A few months later, Lena – the Kieran – finally found the strength to ask him if it was possible to find a person if you didn’t know their name.

Nothing is impossible, Ace, he had replied, sounding like he wasn’t talking only about what she had asked – and her heart got a little bit warmer because that was so like him. If something cannot be done, you just have to try harder.

-

And then suddenly Lena was sent to boarding school.

She didn’t know how to feel about that. It wasn’t like she loved the Luthor mansion and would miss it terribly, no. But she had gotten used to dealing with Lillian, she knew the whole staff that worked there and she had developed a routine. Living there was something familiar, and Lena, the Kieran, craved familiarity. And, on top of that, she had Lex.

Being whisked away to a boarding school in Ireland was something new, unknown – and she had always feared the unknown. It had never been a good thing to Lena Kieran when things changed, and the only silver lining she could think of was that this new school was in Ireland – Ireland! My home!

I have never been closer to my mom than now, she had though at the time. Soon she would find out that she had never been more wrong.

Lillian wouldn’t just send her away and leave her be, after all, and on her first attempt at trying to flee the school grounds she discovered that the Luthor matriarch had hired some security guards to keep an eye on her.

That was when she learned that being watched the whole time was worse than being ignored the whole time.

As soon as realization fell upon her that she would be like a prisoner in that school, she felt her body become even colder. Lena started wearing another layer of clothes, just to be safe.

-

Lex was the only one who visited her. Not even Lionel appeared anymore – and that was something that was always in her mind - but Lex was always there, in every holiday, every vacation.

Sometimes he would just appear out of nowhere, and would take her away on an impromptu sibling’s trip, not even the guard’s protests being able to stop him.

It was in one of those trips that she was able to witness the Northern Lights, while he talked excitedly about solar winds, the brevity of beauty and the battle between good and evil, so inherent to human’s nature and as old as humanity itself.

That was one of her favorite memories: the two of them, together, enjoying each other’s company in the middle of the ice and engulfed in darkness. They were surrounded by miles and miles of ice, with just some tents and some lukewarm coffee, and yet, she had never felt warmer in her whole life.

In another one of those trips they went to Japan and, between one gastronomic adventure and the other, they visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. After the visit, while they walked together and Lena thought about the horrors of wars, Lex started talking about how monumental it would be to have absolute control of something so powerful as radiation.

Lena thought it was something incredibly risky to think of, due to the immense destruction it could cause, but he kept talking about all the ways they could improve technology with a better management of those energy emissions. Lena had to agree to that, even though there was a nagging feeling inside her head telling her that that wasn’t quite right.

Finally, there was that one time where they sat the whole night on the balcony of a hotel overlooking the Vltava River in Prague - she was having hot chocolate and Lex was drinking his favorite brand of scotch, a sight that she had come to get used to.

That night he held her while she cried when she first admitted out loud that she couldn’t remember her mother’s face anymore. He embraced her silently for hours until her shakings had subsided and then, when she was almost falling asleep, she heard him say you are a Luthor now, Lena, you need to toughen up and be better.

That was the first time that his presence made her feel colder.

It was also the last time they went on a trip together.

-

And then she finished boarding school, went straight away to university and some day Lionel was dead.

Her feelings were so conflicted that, for a moment, she thought she was going mad.

Throughout her childhood, she had loved him dearly. He was the one who gave her a shelter when she’d lost hers; he was the one who’d vouched for her in front of Lillian. He gave her affection and love whenever he was around. He always smiled gently when he saw her.

 

The days when he got home after being away for some time were her favorite ones. He would always bring her gifts and souvenirs from his trips, but that wasn’t what she loved about it. It was what would come after.

She would run towards him and hold him tightly – those were the only moments she felt bold enough to show such strong emotions in that mansion. He would pick her up and she would immediately smell what she had become to refer to as father’s scent: a mix of expensive perfume, a trace of smoke from his fancy cigars and a delicious whiff of dried fruits and vanilla that she knew came from his favorite scotch. She loved it.

Then, he would take her to his office, where he would immediately light the fireplace for her. She would sit on the carpet – this is not an acceptable behavior from a girl, specially not a Luthor she would always hear Lillian’s voice in her head – and she would look at him, eager and transfixed, while he poured himself a glass of scotch and proceeded to walk around the room, telling her all about his adventures.

She would hear all of the stories behind every gift she got and often she would feel her eyes burning with tears, because the thought of someone seeing something and immediately thinking of her and caring enough about her to buy it and then give it to her just… just… made her chest hurt for reasons that she didn’t understand at the time.

Eventually, she would feel herself getting sleepy and then she would wake up the next day, on her bed, with blankets all around her and a small origami bird on her bedside.

On those nights, she was never old. Not even her recurring nightmares dared to disturb her sleep.

She loved Lionel with all her heart.

--

That was why it hurt so much when she was abruptly sent away to boarding school and he never visited.

At first, she would call him and they would talk, although she could realize something wasn’t quite right. She always asked him if he could come and see her, and he always said he would try, but he was busy. She knew better, though.

Until she stopped asking.

Their conversation became distant and filled with long silences, until he stopped answering her. He wouldn’t pick up, and later he would leave her a message giving some made up excuse.

But she had always been a stupid hopeful person, and she tried writing many letters to him, to no avail. Every week, on the day the mail came, she would be anxiously pacing around her room, only to feel exhausted at night when no letter came back.

All she could do then was cry under her blankets wondering what she did wrong this time, and she hated that! She hated that she was weak and, somehow, she ruined everything she cared about!

It didn’t help that one older girl in boarding school – Veronica Sinclair – looked like a wild animal preying upon younger girls and sniffing out their weaknesses and just wouldn’t leave her alone.

I admit that I may be wrong about you, Luthor she would always say to her. After all, you must have done something really bad to be dumped here in this hellhole.

At some point, Lena started believing her.

At some point, Veronica’s words were the least harmful thing that Lena learned to expect.

(It wasn’t lost on her that she never corrected Veronica when the girl called her Luthor either.)

-

So, when Lionel passed away, Lena Luthor loved him and hated him at the same time. Her resentment was like acid running through her veins, and no amount of clothes would keep her warm anymore, so she just got used to being cold.

(If one thing good had ever come from Veronica, though, was how she taught Lena that the right amount of scotch could numb away almost everything)

Lena had always planned to confront him about the reason he abandoned her once she finished boarding school, but then she went to college straight away and between frequenting several classes and figuring out her new life, time was quickly passing by.

And then it was too late.

That was when it hit her – the one person who might know who her biological mother was and what had happened to her had just died.

And she was so hurt and so angry at herself for failing her mother that she started pulling up all-nighters trying to find out some information on her own. She had learned some hacking and she poached around, trying to dig everything on her adoption as she could without alerting her mother – she knew the family had some high-tech protection system.

One day, she met one funny guy with an accent named Jack and a calm and soft girl named Sam and they bonded over endless hours of lab work and cold coffee. Somehow, she started trusting them and they also helped with her investigation – even though she never shared the details with them.

If they ever felt hurt by her lack of sharing, they never commented on it.

No real progress was ever made, though. It was like her mother had never existed, because there was no information anywhere and Lena didn’t know her name and didn’t even remembered her face anymore and I am so tired.

Lena’s mother could very well have been a ghost – an invisible presence that she could feel, but she couldn’t see nor prove its existence and she started thinking that she was going mad and she was sure that her two friends thought the same thing.

They did their best to not let her only food intake be coffee, scotch and quick sandwiches, both of them always by her side with their opposite behaviors. Sometimes she wondered how they all could get long so well having completely different personalities. Jack was snarky and always inflicted humor in every conversation, even if his humor wasn’t the healthiest one; Sam was always more level-headed and calmer, which didn’t prevent her for giving lectures and showing some tough love when needed; and Lena was… well, a mess, most of the times, but always willing to help first and ask questions later.

None of that made her hurt any less though, and still bitter and angry, all she did for a couple of years was study, try to look for leads about her origin and collect bad choices in her personal life.

-

Until Lex made his way back into her world.

It started with a call, asking her how she was doing, telling her that he missed her and asking if he could visit. Then, he started coming over to the campus, spending tie with her and asking about all she was up to, science-wise.

One day, after she explained what she was researching in her PhD thesis – yes, she was already halfway in the process of getting her first one – he told her how proud he was of her academic accomplishments and how the thing he wanted most was for her to go and work with him at LuthorCorp.

Being the idiot that she was, still yearning love and affection, she thought that maybe this was Lex apologizing for everything, in his own way. Maybe he had realized his mistakes and maybe, just maybe, he had missed her as much as she had missed him.

And that hope, that stupid feeling that made her weak, was enough for her to ignore the way that his eyes were always distant, that his smile wasn’t as sweet anymore and how she still felt old around him, even when they were supposedly having a good time.

It was stupid fucking hope that made her ignore all the warning bells sounding in her mind and, as soon as she got her PhD, she went to work with her brother at 21.

While working in the LuthorCorp labs, she got another PhD at 22 and by the time she was 23, she was already the head of the research department.

She had just turned 24 when she started tracing a plan to resume her investigation about her mother, now that she was able to control her own money and didn’t have to worry about Lillian anymore.

Until the day that Lena Luthor found out about Lex’s crimes.

Fuck.

--

After getting swept up in a whirlwind of shitty events and being thrusted into the spotlight with absolutely no control over her life anymore, Lena was able to start cleaning up after the mess Lex left behind him.

She had no option but success, and all she did was work and plan her company’s next steps.

Her company.

With Lionel dead Lex in prison, Lillian had nominated her as the new CEO of LuthorCorp. The woman told her that her own face was too public and too attached to Lex and that Lena, being practically anonymous, was their only chance in saving their family legacy.

The first thing she did was relocate LuthorCorp to National City. Then, she changed its name to L-Corp and started distancing herself and her company from Lex’s image. The situation wasn’t ideal yet, but it wasn’t chaos anymore so there was that.

Despite all that, Lena still made bad choices in her personal life and Veronica had become a somewhat recurring… presence.

She was still bitter.

The hurt had spread through her entire body and, she had become so used to it that she was starting to believe this was normal.

If all you know is hurt, then how will you realize you are still in pain?

--

And then one late night she found herself in Lionel’s office after what felt like an eternity.

She had flown to Metropolis to sort out some bureaucracy, and Lillian decided it was a good idea to arrange a dinner in their mansion with some of LuthorCorp’s former clients. Lena didn’t want to go, but L-Corp would be benefitted immensely if she could at least get one or two clients back.

Lena went to the dinner, dressed impeccably, and she was the perfect image of the Luthor heiress. She said all the right words and expressed all the correct reactions and at the end of the night, after winning back five clients, Lillian had looked at her with something other than contempt.

Very good, she tilted her head sideways, taking Lena in, and retreated herself silently.

For some reason, Lillian’s praise left a bitter taste on her mouth, and she wandered around the corridors until she found herself inside Lionel’s office, staring at the collection of scotch that was still untouched.

She looked through the several bottles stored there until she found his favorite one. Opening the cabinet glass, she grabbed the bottle and poured herself a generous dose using a regular rocks glass that she found there.

She sat on his office chair and, taking a gulp of the strong liquid, she started going through the drawers of his desk, taking in the room from a very different perspective than when she was a child.

Combing through several folders full of LuthorCorp old documents, she stopped suddenly, her glass midway to her mouth and an incredulous look on her face.

There, hidden between financial reports of several years back, she found an empty white envelope. No stamps, no date, nothing to indicate when it was left there.

The only thing noteworthy was a post-it attached to the back and, in faded pencil letters, there was an address of a post office in Ireland. But what caught Lena’s attention was the asterisk next to it, where she could read with full clarity

Closest one to Mullaghmore.

.

All of a sudden, Lena could feel her pain come back in full force.

--

That had been 5 days ago.

Now, back in National City, Lena parked her car in front of a regular looking house and looked again at the address Sam had given her. This was the right place.

She got out of the car and, wearing jeans ana a T-shirt in an attempt to be as inconspicuous as possible, she walked towards the front door of the house.

Inhaling deeply and felling the cold air fill her lungs and calm her hart a little bit, she closed her eyes for a moment. What she was about to do would probably change her life again and Lena never liked changes.

My name was Lena Kieran. I am from Mullaghmore, Ireland, and my mom was hurt. I need to find her.

And then she opened her eyes and knocked on the door before her, reading the small office board that said

Danvers & Associates

Private Investigation.

Chapter Text

2.

Kara Danvers knew from a very young age that what she wanted to do for life was bring the truth to whoever may need it.

At the young age of 13, her parents died under suspicious circumstances and she went to live with the family of her distant cousin for a while, until things could be sorted out. When a tragedy like this happens, specially in the life of a 13-year-old, everyone thinks about the emotional scars that must leave, and feelings like sadness, anger and even violence are the ones people most worry about.

Kara felt none of these, though, at least not at first. All she wanted was to just know what had happened. It wasn’t a car crash, they weren’t sick, nothing. One day she just came home from school and they were dead. And she needed to know why.

No one would tell her anything. This was in big part due to the ‘suspicious’ part of their deaths: not even the authorities knew exactly what had happened. Coming from a small town, her parents’ death had shaken up the local community and they were baffled as the investigation went on, but they were struggling.

The other reason no one would give her information was because they all thought she was just a girl and she couldn’t handle the weight of all of this, but they were wrong. Well, while she was just a girl, she was already facing a situation that would be hard on anyone: the least she deserved was an explanation. She couldn’t just try to move on without knowing the full picture; it would be impossible for her to grieve and heal if there was a big dark interrogation mark surrounding the event that changed her life forever. She couldn’t just bury it.

So, she started reading every newspaper she could, online and printed ones. Her cousin didn’t want her to have access to media reports, but she always found a way: she would discover where they hid the newspapers, she would walk to the local library because they had a variety of small and big news reports and she would stop at several cafes and restaurants to watch TV in peace.

However, not long after it happened, she found out she was going to live with another family, on the west coast. She still remembers the day her cousin sat with her to tell her that as if it were yesterday. It was an ordinary Friday evening and she was sitting outside on the grass. The sky was still clear because of the long summer days and she could smell the water in the air and feel it stick to her skin.

Her cousin Clark had called her in and, not being able to look at her properly in the eyes, told her that she would live with another family, one that he personally knew and that would welcome her with open arms. He told her that they had a big house, more space and that they would be able to care for her in ways that he couldn’t. She would even gain a new big sister, as they already had another daughter.

And Clark had talked and talked but all she could hear was that the only living relative she had didn’t want her, that she would be sent away to live with strangers, that he didn’t love her and that she would be so far away that she would never know the truth behind her parents’ death.

All those thoughts raced through her mind and she felt like something was gripping her chest so hard that she couldn’t breathe. That feeling started going up towards her throat and, not being able to utter a word, she chose to stay silent.

And she stopped talking whatsoever.

The next day, when he was driving her to her new home, she could see he was trying to talk to her and that he was worried but she just… didn’t have the strength to say anything. After some time trying to talk to her, he just gave up and they finished the trip in silence.

--

And then she had met the Danvers family. Jeremiah and Eliza greeted her with big smiles, but kept a polite distance as to not overwhelm her. Kara knew that Clark must have talked to them about her ‘silence’, because they didn’t comment on it, instead choosing to just talk to her in a laid-back way and show her around.

With their daughter, Alex, it was a different story. The teenage girl was upset because suddenly she had to share everything with another teen who wasn’t even her relative!

Kara would listen to her remarks and her rants in silence, until one day, lying in bed in the dark after Alex had asked her what is wrong with you and your silence?, Kara had just whispered into the darkness.

If your parents had died suddenly, wouldn’t you want to know why? Would you be able to move on without knowing the truth?  

When, a few days later, Alex had walked towards her and handed her a folder full of articles and notes on her parents’ case, Kara just looked at her, mouth agape.

I know someone, Alex offered with a shrug as if they were in a movie, and then grinned.

(To be honest, Alex did know someone: a boy with a crush on her whose father worked for the FBI)

(How this boy had access to his father’s tools, Kara had no idea.)

That was when Kara and Alex had become sisters.

--

So, Kara had always known she wanted to be a journalist.

She just didn’t know how biased this field was.

After she had graduated, she started working for CatCo Magazine, known for its highly critic coverage of political affairs. Kara had been ecstatic, but excitement quickly faded away and turned into disappointment when she realized the bias with which they analyzed and reported events.

She had confronted Cat Grant once – yes, the Cat Grant, who somehow seemed to listen to her.

There is no such thing as political neutrality, Kiera, and even this belief itself carries a political weight to it.

Cat Grant was right, as always, and Kara had been too naïve back then. Journalism would always be biased because people were always biased, even if they tried not to be; there would always be an underlying belief that drove people’s actions, even if they couldn’t realize that.

That was when clarity hit her, and Kara Danvers quit journalism to become a PI. At least in that way, she could bring truth to people who needed it. Only the naked, crude truth – Kara always reported back everything she could find, regardless of what it might mean. It was their clients’ role to interpret those facts in any way they seemed fit.

--

That was the reason Kara knew what the woman before her was feeling. She could relate to her in a level that the woman had absolutely no idea. Kara Danvers understood the pain, the questions and how the not knowing could affect all aspects of your life, until you were just a shadow of what you could be.

Kara Danvers understood the desperation the woman must have been feeling. She could see it in those clear green eyes.

Eyes that belonged to Lena Luthor.

At first, when Kara had opened the door to her 10am possible future client, she stopped dead in her tracks. The woman was gorgeous and her eyes were the first thing she noticed. If this woman’s face was a neutral mask, her eyes, on the other hand, were anything but neutral, and Kara suddenly understood why they say the eyes are the windows to the soul.

Through those intense green eyes, Kara could see sadness.

She must have stared too long, because the woman – Lena – cleared her throat, and Kara was brought back to reality only to stumble upon another realization.

That gorgeous woman with sad green eyes was Lena Luthor. Sure, she was wearing a plain T-shirt and jeans and her hair was down, a very different image than the one she used to see on the TV on a daily basis, but Kara would recognize that face anywhere.

Breathtaking.

That hadn’t been the name Kara was given on the call, when she had scheduled this meeting, but there she was, standing on the door of her office with Lena Luthor waiting to come in.

Controlling her reaction better now, she hesitated only a fraction of second more before she stepped aside and let her in. Kara offered her a glass of water, to which Lena nervously said yes, please, thank you, and then they went in her room.

Kara let Lena free to look around while they waited for Alex to join them – she and her sister had created this team together, and they shared equal say in everything.

They always assessed their prospect cases together. Kara, as an ex-journalist, had a knack for understanding and following the story, whereas Alex – as a former government agent – would assess the client itself, the other people involved in the case and help tracking people down. Besides that, with her sister’s medical degree, she was always welcomed into any situation: they had encountered their fair share of misfortune where Alex had to patch one of them up.

By them Kara meant the other members of her team. Kelly Olsen, Alex’s girlfriend, is a psychologist and she helps with clients that have some kind of trauma – which are most of them – and she also helps them deal with the emotional and mental aspect of cases. James Olsen, Kelly’s brother, is a former photojournalist; super talented and with a knack for enhancing and recreating images, he deals with old pictures and documents during investigation, as well as finding and matching images from unknown locations. Finally, the last member of the team is Winn Schott, a computer genius that does all their online investigation and info scavenging.

They are a well-oiled machine, and that’s mainly due to Alex and Kara’s leadership.

When Alex entered the room, she did a quick double take, but went on to greet Lena and indicate that they were ready to start. As always, Alex would start with basic questions and Kara would pinch in when she thought about something.

“Well” Alex started “let me start by explaining some things to you about how we work. We have a very strict secrecy policy here, and that includes this first non-binding meeting as well, which means that we are forbidden to reveal any information discussed and/or discovered through the course of our investigation, and this is valid for life. We also reserve the right to refuse service even after this initial meeting, and if we do accept it, we will call you back.” Pausing for just a moment to take a breath, Kara’s sister soon followed.

“Due to protocol, we record every formal meeting we have in order for us to have access to all information at all times. So, I’m gonna turn on the recorder now, do you agree with that?” Alex asked, eyes smart and assessing every inch of Lena’s posture.

To Lena’s credit, she was the personification of calm and gave nothing away, and Kara thought that even Alex was having a hard time reading her. That made Kara want to smile at the woman before her.

“I agree, yes” Lena answered.

“Very well” Alex turned on the recorder and continued. “This is Alex Danvers and we are about to start the Preliminary Interview to assess the case. I am in the room with Kara Danvers, associate, and Lena Kieran, the possible client, who have all agreed to the recording of this meeting. Could you state your names out loud and your agreement, please?”

Kara could see that Alex using the name Lena had given them pleased the woman. For some reason, the CEO hadn’t revealed her true name during her all, but that was up to Lena clarify, and not them.

“Yes, sir” Lena answered, a twinkling of amusement to this formal approach shining in her eyes. “Lena Kieran was the name I gave on the phone, although my legal name now is Lena Luthor. And yes, I agree to the recording.”

Kara couldn’t help but let a smile appear at her face, and Lena caught her eyes and gave her a smirk of her own, despite going back to her controlled self almost immediately. The blonde noticed an accent on the woman’s voice that she couldn’t quite place, but found it was very charming.

“And I am Kara Danvers, also agreeing to everything.”

Alex shot her a look and Kara chuckled. Her sister always got annoyed when Kara didn’t state things plainly, specially during these recordings. You will regret this when something goes wrong and we get sued because you didn’t bother to be direct and just say the words correctly, the older Danvers would say, to which Kara just retorted that her time working as an agent has made her paranoid. Better paranoid and free than not paranoid and in jail, Alex would spat back, and that would always finish the argument.

“Sorry. I am Kara Danvers, and I agree to the recording of this meeting.” Kara corrected, shaking her head in amusement.

“Thank you” Alex said pointedly, and then turned to Lena. “Ahm, Lena, Ms. Luthor, that is. You told us that your legal name is Lena Luthor, and yet, you gave the name Lena Kieran over the phone. Why is that?”

Kara winced slightly at the sharp tone her sister was using, and she saw Lena’s jaw clench unconsciously. Between thoughts of damn, that jawline, the blonde was quick enough to intervene.

“Ahm, ha, sorry for my sister’s manners” she said lightheartedly and chuckled. “She still behaves like an agent, even though she is not one” a look towards the short-haired brunette made her point, and then Kara continued. “So, you can share as much or as little with us as you’d like. Although, if it comes to a point where we feel like some information is needed, we will ask you about it”. She finished and nodded to herself, pleased with how she managed not to stumble upon her own words.

“Yes” Alex added. “I’m sorry if I came across too…”

“Inquisitive?” Lena offered, and a ghost of a smile appeared on her lips.

“Yeah, that”

Lena took a deep breath and, in an instant, all the tension she had built the last few minutes seeped out of her body. “It’s fine, I get it. But, uhm, you probably know why I did it. My last name is… very popular. And this is personal, so personal that I didn’t want to risk someone leaking something. I’m not saying that I think you would, you were very well recommended, but…”

“We get it” Kara reassured. “You just wanted to be safe.”

And Kara didn’t know why, but a quick thought made its way into her mind. I want you to be safe.

“I did” Lena said, relieved. “And, for the record, Lena Kieran is my real name. Or at least, I think it is.”

The two sisters shared a curious look and turned to her; the question written on her faces.

“I’m not a real Luthor. I was adopted when I was four, my mom…” she paused, unsure, but then continued. “And then Lionel brought me to the States and the Luthors took me in.”

Ireland, Kara observed. So that was where the accent was from.

“I’m… so sorry about your loss.” Kara offered, empathetically.

“Thanks, but… that’s the thing. I don’t know if my biological mother has died or not. In fact, I know nothing about the circumstances around my adoption… that’s why I contacted you.” Lena said, looking down for a moment and then regaining visual contact.

“Oh… tell us all you know, then” Kara said softly.

And Lena did.

She gave them everything she knew, which wasn’t a lot, and she also gave her own insight into possible motives and the minds of the Luthors. She handed them all the documents that showed her own investigation from the last couple of years, but those weren’t very helpful either.

Lena talked, and Alex asked questions and Kara confirmed some details, but it seemed like Lena’s mother was a ghost. The CEO couldn’t find any document, any paperwork that linked her or Lionel to any woman, and even though Winn was really good at what he did, Kara didn’t have much faith that they would find some kind of breakthrough, given that Lena herself had many resources and she had found nothing.

At some point, Lena had even admitted that she had to consider the possibility that all of that was in her head and that she had spent her whole life chasing ghosts, and Kara could notice right then how years of not knowing had made the woman start doubting herself, and Kara had been there before.

“I don’t think it’s all in your head” Kara had said, and Alex looked at her cautiously. In their line of work, they couldn’t offer baseless hope, but that wasn’t what Kara was trying to do. “I believe that there was a reason for you to think that and to hold onto those words when you were a child. And even if it turns out to be… not what you thought it was, you deserve to know. The bottom line is that, above everything, you don’t know who your biological mother is, and you deserve to know.”

And then Lena looked at her. Really looked at her, and staring at those green eyes was like being sucked into a storm, dangerous and beautiful. “Thank you”, she whispered, being uncharacteristically open for one moment.

Alex was quick to agree. “Yeah, Kara’s right. At the very least, this is will be just you discovering your biological mother’s identity. Or it could lead us to…” she trailed off for a moment, and then chose a different approach. “Lena, I have already told you that there is a very strict secrecy policy that we have in place, and that everything here is protected, right?”

Lena nodded, and Alex continued.

“Good. But, if by a chance, we find signs that point to a crime being committed, or that was committed, we are obligated by law to report it to authorities, okay?”

“Yes, absolutely, I figured as much.” Lena said, and then fidgeted unconsciously with her fingers.

Kara then felt an inkling inside her, and decided to chip in.

“Lena, you are a very intelligent woman. What you are doing at L-Corp is amazing and what you did before that was also amazing” she started, and then felt a blush creeping up at her admission that she knew more about this woman’s work than what was common for people to know. Lena didn’t seem to mind, though, and gave her a small smile. “I think you have something on your mind…” Kara finished, trying to sound the least accusing as possible.

Lena kept breathing for a while, and both sisters allowed her a moment to collect her thoughts.

“I do, actually.” She finally offered. “I think… I think our only chance of finding something is if we go to Ireland.”


 

“Well, she does have a point, Alex” Kara said and sighed, running her hand through her head.

They had told Lena that they would consider the topic and review the information they had before making their decision, and ever since she left, they were having this argument. Really, all it did was give Kara a migraine.

“If Lena hasn’t found anything yet and she thinks our best option would be flying to Ireland, then she’s probably right. She does know how the Luthors are, doesn’t she?” the blonde concluded, waving her hand around and looking for a pain killer.

“Well, apparently not.” Alex said back and Kara knew that it was only her sister’s sarcastic personality and not some kind of personal hostility towards Lena.

Their whole team was gathered in the room now, their usual brainstorming being sidetracked by the notorious woman requesting their services.

James clenched and unclenched his fists, clearly bothered by the situation. Kara knew that he was personally affected by Lex Luthor’s actions, but he never got into many details about that. “That’s not how we work, we don’t travel to another location to investigate.”

“Well, no client has ever asked us that, that’s why we never did it” Kara pointed, shaking her head at the obviousness of this.

“What do you think, Winn?” Alex asked, noticing how their resident genius as weirdly still, staring straight ahead, for an uncanny amount of time.

He blinked a few times, as if noticing where they were and what they were doing. “Did you say Lena Luthor?”

James spoke right after him, not giving a chance for Winn to get an answer. “Did she say that our best chance is if we go to Ireland? Since when we let clients be that involved in our investigation, anyway?”

“Yes, Winn, Lena Luthor.” Kelly answered, and then looked at every one, before fixing her gaze on her brother. “Lena is a powerful woman, James. She is never going to not be involved in anything she does.”

“Just because she is powerful doesn’t mean we have to cater to her whims.” He retorted.

“Wait, guys, like…Lena Luthor, as in the billionaire genius that is revolutionizing the bioengineering field and is rupturing health monopolies by releasing their results to public knowledge Lena Luthor?” Winn asked again, not following the conversation completely.

“Yes, Winn, that Lena Luthor” Alex answered and sighed. “And it’s not a whim, James. Lena spent her whole life with this anguish, she has been looking for answers for years. Now that she realized she can’t do it on her own, she’s not gonna just hand over everything and stay out of it.”

Kara looked at her sister, who looked back at her and nodded. The blonde knew that Alex was thinking about her own situation all those years ago and about how broken Kara had been regarding her parents’ death.

“This feeling of not being useful, this helplessness…” Kara started. “It cripples you. It’s like a hand is constantly squeezing your throat and you can never breathe right…” she trailed off for one moment, and it was obvious to everyone that Kara was talking about her own experience. “Lena would never let this go.”

And before James could say anything else, Kara added. “And she is right. I would do the same thing.”

“Guys, I think that you are letting this woman’s family reputation cloud your assessment of this.” Kelly offered, in a calm voice. “A client has requested our services. Is this request a bit unconventional? Yes. But the point is: is it doable? Will she pay for our hourly fees plus all the expenses with this overseas investigation? Will we have the means and the resources to do our jobs? If the answer to everything is yes, then what is the problem here?” she finished, patiently.

Alex grinned and walked towards her girlfriend, engulfing her in a hug. “And we do know that she has the money for it.”, she lightly joked, trying to defuse the tension.

Kara sighed, relieved. “Then it’s settled. I’ll call her back to let her know, and we should start preparing ourselves. We are going to Ireland.”

Her final tone left no room for arguments, and they all started leaving the room.

Every one except Winn, who was still staring ahead, not aware of his surroundings.

“I mean… The Lena Luthor?”


 

Lena sighed and rested her head on her hands for a few moments. The last couple of days had been hard and chaotic at L-Corp, as they usually were, but the arrangements for her upcoming trip to Ireland added a highly stressing level of anxiety and mental distress.

She had spent almost every hour of her days dealing with leaving L-Corp for an indefinite period of time. That included passing on every detail to her executive assistant, Jess, and to Sam – the only person Lena trusted to occupy her place while she was gone.

As the current CFO of L-Corp, Sam already knew almost everything there was to know. However, Sam herself had to deal with leaving her position vacant, and the transition hadn’t been easy, but they were handling it.

Sighing, she got up from her high, leathered ergonomic chair, and went to the cabinet she kept in her office with some drinks. She needed a good Scotch right now if she wanted to finish work today. It was 10pm and she was nowhere ready to go home and pack her things.

She was leaving for Ireland early in the morning, after all.

Sighing one more time, she downed the dose she had poured herself and got some more, filling up half the cup, classic beverage measurements be damned. 

Suddenly, the door to her office was opened and she heard her assistant’s angry voice before she could even turn around to see what was happening.

“I’m sorry Miss Luthor, but she just blazed through me with no regards to the fact that she doesn’t have an appointment scheduled nor to how late it is.” Jess said, slightly out of breath.

Lena finally turned around, her cup still on her hands, and it was only her Luthor training that kept her mask intact and prevented her from scowling.

Veronica Sinclair.

One eyebrow lifting, she looked at her assistant and proceeded to reassure her.

“It’s fine, Jess. You can go home, it’s late and we have to be up very early tomorrow.”

Jess looked from her to her unwanted guest, as if thinking if it was really okay for her to leave. “Okay, Miss Luthor. I am just cleaning up my desk and then I will leave”, and Lena’s features softened at that. That was Jess’s way of telling her she would be around a while longer, if she needed anything.

“Thanks”, Lena replied. “Oh, and after I leave tomorrow, you can take the day off. I’ve already issued a memo to everyone telling them that no one is required to come in tomorrow, and Ms. Arias is aware that you should be ready to resume work the only the day after tomorrow.”

Jess nodded politely and, with one more unsure glance towards Veronica, left the office.

Lena then looked back at Veronica Sinclair. The woman was as imposing as Lena remembered from their last encounter: tall and slender and with her tattoos always on display, she had her signature smirk plastered on her face.

When Lena had first arrived at boarding school, that smirk – which Veronica had already mastered – scared her and gave her chills.

The chills were still there, but not out of fear anymore.

The CEO kept looking at Sinclair, while she drank her scotch. Lillian had taught her from a young age to never start a conversation. Always let them show their hand first, Lena. Information is power.

She was taught by the best, and she never lost.

“So,” Veronica started. “I’ve just got here in National City, but it looks like you are leaving tomorrow.”

“Yes, I am” was all Lena offered. She went to take another sip from her glass, only to notice it was already empty. She didn’t refill it, though, not wanting to break eye contact.

Veronica Sinclair was a leopard, she attacked when other people's guards were down, and Lena did not want to be her prey.

Finally, the woman shrugged and turned to look around her office, and Lena decided to use this moment to fill up her glass once more. She would need the extra help to face this conversation.

“Well, that’s too bad then” Veronica said and turned to look at her, her eyes glinting in a dangerous and yet familiar way. “Here I was hoping we could… spend some time together.”, she sat on the chair in front of Lena’s desk, and the Luthor walked slowly towards her own armchair.

“And what exactly do you mean by… spend some time together?” Lena asked, cocking her head to the side and taking another sip of her drink.

She could see how Veronica looked at her, and then at her lips, and then back at her eyes. Hell, Lena knew what was going on through the older woman’s mind and if it were any other day, Lena would be more guarded.

But in her hazy, half-drunk mind Lena thought that Veronica was probably the only constant thing in her life, since her boarding school days.

And she’s probably the only one who’s never lied to me, she couldn’t help thinking.

Veronica Sinclair, despite her treacherous and cunning behavior, had never tried to hide who she was. Lena knew, from the moment she stepped foot inside that school in Ireland, that she would never get anything good from her.

And Lena had never been disappointed by the woman because she had never expected anything from her. This relationship, if Lena could even call it that, was the most honest one she ever had.

Obviously interpreting the look in Lena’s eyes as something other than what it really was, Veronica smirked again and leaned forward in the chair, leaning herself a little bit on the desk between them.

“Oh, you know. Just catching up, for old time’s sake and all.” She looked at Lena’s lips again, and then continued. “We do have a nice… history, don’t we?”

Lena shook her head and laughed. “Just spill it, Veronica. I would like to go home soon.”

Sinclair sighed and Lena rolled her eyes. She didn’t have the patience to her antics. “Well, Luthor, I have just moved to National City, for good.” She started, and Lena groaned internally. “I thought that my business and your business could… work together. You know, just like you and I have worked together in a very beneficial way over the years.”

The tattooed woman, then, licked her lips and smirked. “You know that we could take good care of each other.”

Lena downed the rest of her drink and stood up, turning her back on Veronica to look at the windows of her office. This revealed to be a poor decision as she felt her world spin suddenly and she put her hand on the back of her chair for support.

She walked forward until she was very close to the windows, her body almost touching the glass that went from the floor all the way up to the ceiling. Lena loved watching the city this time at night, from high up. She could see an endless sea of city lights, but almost no movement on the streets.

It was at his time of night, while everyone else slept, that Lena Luthor preferred to think.

“Come on, Veronica” she said, still looking at the world below her. “We both know that, although we do have history together, we do not exactly care about each other”

And Lena didn’t hear a sound, but she could feel that Veronica had stood up and was approaching her. She could sense every hair on her skin stand on end and a chill ran up from the base of her spine until the top of her neck.

Veronica was so close behind her that Lena felt the phantom touch of the woman’s body on her back.

And then the voice of the woman who had tormented Lena’s life sounded low in her right ear, and the breath on Lena’s neck made her shiver.

So much for not being the prey, Lena thought, but then, she was a fool if she thought she could be anything other than that.

“Oh, Lena, but I do care about you.” Veronica said, and then her hands were running down on each of Lena’s arms so lightly that it could have been only in her imagination. “I am the only one who cares about you, Luthor. When have I ever lied to you?”

And Lena knew those words were laced with danger, but she couldn’t avoid how she put her hand on the glass to hold herself better. Veronica was right, wasn’t she?

Lena felt one hand come up around her neck and then caress her jaw on her right side, while the other one ran up and down her left thigh.

“I was there for you on that hell of a school” Veronica slurred in her right ear, and then moved her head, caressing the back of her neck with her nose until she reached her left ear. “I was here for you after your dear father passed away” she whispered and nipped at her left hear, and Lena let out a heavy breath when Veronica did the same motion with her head, back to her right ear. “I was also here for you when you were heartbroken because of that girl… Samantha, was it?”

And Lena opened her eyes suddenly, her jaw clenching, but she stayed where she was. “Yes, that was her name” Veronica said, and Lena could hear the smirk on her voice.

But still, everything Veronica was saying was true.

“And now that I am in National City for good, I think we can establish a more… stable, but equally beneficial arrangement.” Sinclair finished, and placed a kiss on the junction where Lena’s neck met her shoulder.

And Lena knew she wouldn’t be able to stop this. It didn’t matter that she felt dirty, nor that her body was already hurting in anticipation of what was coming. That was what she had, and she would never have more than that.

Veronica grabbed her ponytail, wrapping it around her hand, and pulled her head to the left, while placing another kiss to Lena’s neck.

Lena was as still as a statue, but the older woman wasn’t bothered by that, and used her free hand to start sliding down the zipper on the back of her red dress. “You remember the rules, don’t you?”

As soon as Lena felt her dress falling down at her feet, Veronica had her pressed against the glass only in her underwear, and Lena shivered as her breasts made contact with the cold glass.

“Still as gorgeous as ever, Luthor”

Lena hissed a little as she felt fingernails scratch her whole back, and she knew that her skin would be immediately red and that the scratches would be on her for a few days.

That was Veronica’s deal.

“Don’t worry, I won’t leave marks on a Luthor’s body”

Veronica liked to mark her body, so Lena would carry for several days the reminder of what Sinclair had done, like some kind of brand. “At least, not visible ones.” She concluded, and bit Lena’s shoulders painfully, kissing it immediately after.

And as Lena’s eyes watered, her own body betrayed her and she shivered again, feeling the woman smile on her back, as if this was a green flag.

That was it, and a part of Lena was resigned to this. She couldn’t trust anyone, not even her own body, and this was what she deserved. Lena was about to board a plane and fly across the world looking for a mother that she wasn’t sure she would find, surrounded by people that she didn’t know. She would fly across the world hoping to find one person that had loved her, but there was always a voice in the back of her mind telling her that maybe her biological mother had abandoned her too.

Lena felt her bra being unclasped and then tossed away, and Veronica turned her roughly and pushed her against the glass. Lena’s head bumped against the hard surface behind her and she found herself staring at eyes that were glazy, shining bright and taking pleasure in this position of power.

At least with Veronica she always knew what to expect.

Then a cold hand grabbed her exposed breast and squeezed. “What happened, Luthor? Cat got your tongue?” Veronica teased, and lowered her head to envelop her other breast with her mouth.

Lena lifted her head up and moaned, closing her eyes.

But the worst part was that Lena kind of… liked the pain that Veronica inflicted on her body. It kept her from getting in her mind too much, it grounded her, it gave her another thing to focus on besides her thoughts. Physical pain was much easier to deal with and…

Lena whimpered as she felt teeth biting her nipple a little too hard, and she knew it would be sore for the next days.

… she didn’t deserve better. After all, she was a Luthor and she could have done something to stop her brother if she wasn’t so caught up in her own life to…

Her breath caught in her throat when she felt Veronica’s hand sliding into her panties. Veronica stood up again, getting so close to Lena that their noses were touching.

Then, Lena felt a finger caressing the whole of her and she gulped.

“Soaked” Veronica said bluntly and, without warning, thrusted three fingers in and it hurt. And against her will, she closed her eyes and moaned again.

… actually pay attention to what Lex was doing and…

God, Veronica pinched her breast with her other hand and grinned when Lena’s eyes focused back on her.

“Good.”, the woman said, glad that she had Lena’s attention again, and started thrusting faster.

With the same hand that pinched her, Sinclair started caressing her face while keeping the rhythm inside her and, for one moment, Lena got lost in the pleasure that she was feeling grow inside her.

Maybe Veronica did care, in her own way.

“That’s right, Luthor. I can feel you around my fingers.”

Even if Veronica was still fully clothed, even if Lena had never touched the other woman back. She was still there.

“God, Luthor, I always knew you were something else…” – and Lena could hear the hoarseness in Veronica’s voice in response to Lena’s hard breathing.

Sinclair always came back, and she was so close, and Lena was never in control of this. In an action that was pure instinct, she moved her head forward and kissed the woman’s lips.

And as all movement suddenly stopped, Lena muttered under her breath. Fuck.

Veronica Sinclair wasn’t amused anymore.

“Do you remember the rules, Luthor?” and Lena was barely able to nod, mortified because of what she had done and still dizzy because she was so close and it seemed that her whole body was pulsating.

“Then you know what you did wrong” the woman said coolly and removed her hand from inside Lena, stepping away quickly.

Lena’s knees almost buckled and she was still disoriented due to the sudden lack of contact and, god, she felt the painful pressure of unreleased tension. Mustering up the little strength she still had, Lena looked up at Veronica and shivered as the cold air hit her body.

“Kissing, really?” the woman chuckled, and cleaned her fingers casually on her own dress. “When have I ever let you kiss me, Luthor?”

And Lena should have known better. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Sinclair sighed, and looked at her in a condescending way. “I’ll be in touch.”  - and then she left.

And Lena just stood there, still a little bit out of herself, leaning on her window, naked and wet.

Shivering (that was all she seemed to be able to do lately), she took a deep breath and put on her dress again, stopping abruptly when she realized she wouldn’t be able to pull the zipper all the way up on her own. Not letting the tears on her eyes fall, she walked slowly towards her desk, acutely aware of the throbbing between her legs, and put on her long coat over her still open dress.

And the cold was almost unbearable.

.

The walk towards her car was one of the longest ones in her life.

Her driver opened the back door to her and she got in, managing a small nod in his direction. With the privacy repartition up, she was engulfed in darkness as the car sped up through the city towards her penthouse.

And she was completely alone.


 

Kara and her team were gathered on the waiting area of a private airstrip on the outskirts of National City – and of course Lena Luthor had her own airport and her own jet.

At first, they were jokingly talking about how cool it would be if they could travel first class, but when they had gotten the address and realized that they would fly on a private jet they were dumbfounded.

Winn, of course, was excitedly talking about aviation engineering to a slightly bored James, while Alex, Kelly and Kara were sitting at a table together enjoying some tea. Lena had texted them earlier apologizing and saying she would be a few minutes late, and that they could enjoy everything in the cafeteria – yeah, Lena had her own cafeteria in her own private airport.

For the past few days, Kara’s interest in Lena Luthor had grown, and she couldn’t say it was strictly a professional interest. Hearing the story the CEO had told them with details that weren’t public knowledge made her reevaluate every assumption she had about the brunette.

She couldn’t even begin to fathom the immense burden the woman must carry every day – the burden of something that she wasn’t even responsible for.

Sighing, Kara took a sip of her tea and look at her watch. The woman was almost forty minutes late and signs of unrest were beginning to show through the constant tapping of the blonde’s foot on the floor.

When Alex was about to comment on her sister’s agitation, the sound of steps approaching caught everyone’s attention and they all looked up to see three women walking towards them.

Kara’s heart skipped a beat when her eyes locked on Lena’s figure.

Lena Luthor was walking confidently towards them, wearing a black button up shirt and a blue navy striped suit. Her blaze was open and the top two buttons of her shirt were unbuttoned, revealing a piece of cleavage and Kara forced her eyes not to stare. Her dark hair was up in a slightly messy, wavy ponytail and she was wearing dark sunglasses and god, Kara really needed to stop staring.

Only when everyone gathered closer together thar Kara took notice of the other two women on each side of Lena – a short woman carrying a tablet and some folders and a taller one, carrying only a briefcase.

“Good morning, I’m sorry for the wait” Lena said as they all met in the middle of the lobby. “I had to deal with some last-minute issues, but we will be boarding shortly.”

As she talked, Kara could see a vein pulsing on her forehead above her left eye and she just –

Cleaning her throat, she shook her head lightly. “It’s fine, we’ve been enjoying some tea during this time, it’s delicious.”

Lena smiled politely. “I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it, feel free to get anything you want. This is Jess, my executive assistant, and this is Samantha Arias, my best friend and my replacement at L-Corp during this… trip”

They all greeted each other politely, and then Lena nodded her head to something behind them.

“These men will get your luggage and you can get in the jet; I’ll be there shortly”

They looked behind them and three uniformed men were already getting their bags and asked them to follow suit.

Kara smiled at Lena one more time and turned to follow everyone.

-

“Kara, look, this seat does a 180º turn” Winn said, as he turned his seat round a few times.

“Great, I’m sure that’s very… useful” the blonde replied and chuckled. The jet was more luxurious than her apartment (not that her apartment was luxurious in any way) and they all spread themselves on the seats.

Kara looked out the window and saw that Lena was right outside the stairs to the jet, apparently still talking business because the other two women were nodding along and the shorter one – Jess, the assistant – was taking notes. Then, having finished their conversation, Jess nodded and walked away, leaving Lena with Samantha Arias, the friend.

They appeared to be having a heart to heart now, because Kara could see Lena’s face soften, and then they hugged for a long time, with Samantha’s hands going up and down Lena’s back.

Kara was drawn to the gesture for some time, until she heard Alex clear her throat beside her. Tearing her eyes away from the scene, she looked at her sister.

“Do you think they are something… you know… else?” the redhead asked, and Kara bit her lips nervously.

“I don’t know, no, maybe, I mean, why?”

“Nothing in particular, just trying to fill in the web of relationships in my mind, that’s all.”

And they didn’t have time to talk more, because suddenly Lena was inside, greeting the crew.

“Welcome back, Miss Luthor, may I take your coat?” the flight attendant asked, grinning truthfully.

“Oh, hi Brian, how are your parents?” Lena answered, the first real smile of the day lighting up her eyes – she had removed her sunglasses upon boarding the jet, and Kara noticed they were a bit red.

Had she been crying?

“Oh, they are great! My father asked me to thank you for that bottle of Whiskey and he wanted you to know that he loved it!” Brian said, and chuckled.

“I’m very glad to know, but tell him that if he loved that brand, he will absolutely rejoice himself with the next one that I’m sending him.” Lena laughed back, removing her coat, staying only with only her button up shirt.

“Please, he’s gonna be insufferable talking on and on about flavors and smells! Would you like me to get you your usual?” The young man asked, grabbing Lena’s coat.

“Then it seems your father and I need to have a good talk over whiskey some time. Yes, the usual, please, thank you.”

Brian nodded and then walked to the back of the jet, towards where Kara assumed the bar would be.

Lena then folded the sleeves of her shirt up to her elbows and smiled again.

“So, feel free to sit anywhere and to ask for anything you want from the bar. We also have some food onboard, and you can call out for Brian at any time. There are also a few beds on the back, in case you would like to get some sleep because, well, we do have an 11-hour flight ahead of us.”

“Ohhh, cool, beds!” Kara heard Winn say and chuckled, as she observed Lena proceed to sit on the seat before her.

“Would you mind if I sit here?” Lena asked, and Kara stuttered a little bit.

“Of-of course! It is your jet, you can sit anywhere you’d like” the blonde answered, sounding so confused that Lena chuckled a little bit.

“Yes, well, I don’t want to impose either way.”

Kara’s eyes followed as Lena sat down on the seat and put on her seatbelt.

“You’re not.” The PI answered, and they stared at each other for some time, until Brian returned carrying on a tray a bottle of sparkling water, another of scotch and two glasses.

Lena set up the tray attached to the seat in front of her, and the flight attendant poured a generous glass of the alcoholic beverage, setting down the sparkling water right next to it.

“Would you like some, Kara?” Lena asked, and the blonde loved how her name sounded on the other woman’s voice, her accent a little more visible on the R.

“No, thanks, it’s too early to… ahm, I mean, I’m fine, thank you” and yeah, Kara was blushing again.

Lena laughed a little more at that and took a long sip of her drink, extending her arm so Brian could fill up her glass again. “Thanks, Brian.”

He, then, proceeded to tell everyone to buckle up their seatbelts, as they were about to take off.

“It’s okay, Kara, and you’re right, it is too early to drink scotch for most people.”, she said, and cocked her head a little bit. “I am not most people, though.”

And Kara’s lips got dry suddenly, while Lena took a sip, and then she continued. “My schedule is a bit crazy, so I don’t really follow the regular sleeping-eating-drinking hours.”

The engines of the jet roared to life, and Kara noticed the slightly nervous look on Lena’s face, as she put the hand that was not holding the glass on the armrest, clutching at it a little bit.

“Have you ever been to Ireland, Miss Danvers?” and Kara realized the sudden change of subject at the same time understanding washed upon her.

Lena is afraid of flying.

And suddenly, the scotch made more sense.

“Ahm, no, never” Kara answered, and continued talking, hoping to distract Lena enough during the take off.

The jet started running through the airstrip, and Kara continued.

“I have never left the country, actually, this is my first time.”

The jet inclined and Kara felt the adrenalin on the pit of her stomach as they left the ground. Lena closed her eyes for a moment, and Kara tried to catch her attention again.

“So, what do you think about Ireland?”

Lena opened her eyes and gave her a small smile, albeit a tense one.

“The country is gorgeous. There is so much green and so many mountains. The air is fresher, life is calmer and the people…” she trailed off.

Kara thought that she almost said something more personal.

“So, could you tell me about our itinerary, please?” She asked instead, hoping that the focus on remember a routine would take Lena’s mind off of the plane soaring up the sky.

The plane shook, and Lena’s grip on the armrest tightened.

“Well, since this is a private jet, we will fly straight to Sligo Airport, and then there will be a car waiting for us.” She said, and took a deep breath. “Then, it is only a 40-minute drive to Mullaghmore, where I set up a house in which we will be based on.”

“And is this car big enough for all of us?” Kara asked, making a silly face, and Lena chuckled.

“Yes, don’t worry. I guess it is more of a minivan than a car?”

“Are you telling me or are you asking me?”

Lena chuckled again, taking another sip of her Scotch, and looked outside her window. They were already on a steady course in the right altitude.

“Telling you. Don’t worry, it’s a very comfortable minivan” she answered softly.

It wasn’t that Lena hadn’t been nervous and hadn’t been paying attention to their ascent, because she had. But talking to Kara prevented her from getting lost in her own mind, and for that she was thankful.

After a few moments in comfortable silence, Kara yawned and unbuckled her seatbelt.

“I think I’m gonna take up on your offer and try to sleep on one of those beds in the back.”

“Yes, sure, if you need something just call Brian” Lena smiled, and Kara thought that her smile was hypnotizing.

“Thank you” the blonde whispered, standing up and turning to walk away. When she heard Lena calling her, though, she turned back again.

“Thank you.” The brunette said, and Kara frowned, her brow crinkling. Lena thought it was adorable.

“For what?”

Once more, a wave of gratitude flooded Lena’s chest and she smiled earnestly.

“Kara, I emailed you all the details of our itinerary two days ago.”

The blonde smiled sheepishly and adjusted her glasses. “Oh, yeah, I guess I forgot?”

“Are you telling me or asking me, Miss Danvers?” Lena said, and couldn’t help but grin at the redness around Kara’s collarbone.

When Kara stuttered a response, Lena chuckled again.

“Have a good sleep, Kara.”, and the blonde waved at her.

Lena sighed and finished her glass, her vision blurring a little bit, and she remembered that she had been drinking on an empty stomach.

Besides that, after getting home the night before, she wasn’t really ready to go to sleep. After an almost scalding bath, she had put on her robe and sat in front of the windows of her apartment, cradling another bottle of Scotch.

So maybe the alcohol still hadn’t left her body completely, and the added dose in the plane also contributed to how she was feeling a little bit tipsy.

Sighing, Lena winced a little when the shoulder straps of her braw slipped over the bite mark that Veronica had left on her. It was still reddish and sore, and Lena briefly wished she could have worn something that didn’t touch the wound all the time. However, she couldn’t let the marks be visible to the world.

And she needed the pain.

It kept her grounded.

It kept her focused.

The physical pain she could handle.

.

Lena didn’t realize at which point she fell asleep, but exhaustion took over her and, when she came to, her seat was on a more horizontal position and she had a soft blanket over her. Frowning in confusion, she looked around trying to discover what had awoken her. A few seconds later, she understood.

The plane had started its descent.

They had arrived in Ireland.