So sit on top of the world, and tell me how you're feeling
What you feel is what I feel for you
Take My Hand - Dido
“No, absolutely not. Not today.” Lena pointed at Alex, her face scrunched in a frown.
“What?” Alex looked utterly perplexed.
“I am not having any alien invasions, assassination plots or mad bank robbing bombers. Not. Today.” Her tone was emphatic, as if she could stop any of these things by sheer force of will.
Looking at her, Alex thought that might be possible. Even she was starting to feel nervous confronted with that stare.
“Oh.” Alex drew out the word, realisation dawning.
“Oh. No. Nothing like that. I hope. Nope, I am here as a supportive girlfriend, interested observer and...” She nodded her head to the side. “Slightly officially in my faux FBI guise as protection as an excuse to be here.” She gestured at the fact she was wearing a pantsuit rather than a combat suit.
“I wanted to hear your keynote speech.”
“Nothing to do with the fact your mother is here.”
“Yeah. A little. I want you guys to get along. You’re not just my girlfriend, your Kara’s best friend too. You kinda matter a lot to us, so….” She shrugged slightly and gave Lena a small smile.
Lena huffed a laugh to cover her embarrassment. Even after the past few months the novelty of so much open affection wasn’t wearing off in a hurry.
“And I might be a little….” Alex held her thumb and forefinger a centimetre apart. “Bit proud of you for being the keynote speaker.”
Lena beamed and blushed at that.
“Well it is quite the honor. And I am the youngest speaker ever asked.”
Alex smiled back and they stared at each other for several long moments.
“Oh, hey.” Alex startled with realisation, breaking the spell. “I gotta go pick Mom up from the airport, but I wanted to drop by and say good luck. I’ll see you at the conference though. You’ll be brilliant. As always.”
Alex crossed the office and took Lena’s hand, pulling her into her arms.
“Is it working?”
Lena slowly kissed her. When she let her go Alex was flushed and flustered. Smoothing her hair down and tugging her shirt back into place she grinned at her girlfriend.
“Go get your Mom.”
“Oh. Shit. Yes. Mom. Airport.” She took a step towards the door before turning back and pointing at Lena.
“Later. Good luck.”
“Alex, Sweetie, you're doing it again.”
“Huh.” Alex sounded distracted as she stared at the traffic light. As if she could will it to change just by glaring at it. She drummed her thumb absentmindedly on the steering wheel.
“You’re doing it again.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Alex offered her a weak smile and gripped the wheel to stop her tapping.
“Why are you so nervous?”
“Well, I didn’t exactly want you to find out I was dating Lena from a tabloid.”
“Nice suit, by the way.” Eliza interrupted.
“Thanks. So I would quite like the first time you meet my girlfriend to be a little more traditional, maybe. Plus, Lena’s the keynote speaker so it’s kind of vicarious nerves. Even though she’s trying to pretend she’s totally unfazed by it. And I really don’t want to be late.”
Eliza placed her hand over Alex’s where she had unconsciously started drumming again.
“Does she make you happy?”
Alex turned to face her mother, the smile she gave her lighting up her whole face. “Yes.”
“Well, then I’m happy. And I'm sure she’ll be fine. She’s used to giving presentations. The light’s changed.”
Alex hastily put the car in drive and pulled away.
“You know, maybe I should be driving...”
“It’s fine. I’ve had training in tactical driving.”
“Not what I meant.” Eliza mumbled to her oblivious daughter.
The conference centre was buzzing, and crowded. Alex actually felt her anxiety ratchet up another notch at the sheer quantity of people milling about, mostly looking lost, as she shadowed her mother into the reception area.
Eliza was sorting out her registration and Alex was standing a few feet behind her, when she felt a touch on her shoulder. Training kicked in and she grabbed the wrist and twisted, turning to confront her attacker, fist raised.
“Geez, Alex, jumpy much?!”
“Kara! Sorry.” Alex looked sheepish and dropped her fist. “What are you doing here?”
“I blagged it with Snapper so I could cover the conference.” She pulled a face. “He had his usual levels of snide comments to make about blondes and science reporting. Some days I want to kick him into orbit. I could totally do that.”
“That wouldn’t really help your career, Sweetie.” Eliza’s tone was entirely reasonable as she hugged her adoptive daughter.
“Even if he deserved it?”
Eliza smiled at her and ignored the question, turning to face Alex. “Ready to go?”
Alex had her arms folded and was looking around them suspiciously. “Sure.”
“Are you actively expecting trouble?” Her mother frowned.
“Alex is always expecting trouble.” Kara laughed, following them towards the main conference room.
Kara and Eliza headed towards the front row and took their seats, leaving Alex to stand sentry.
She took up a position along the side of the room, between the door and the stage, mentally grumbling about all the signage and the number of hiding places it created. Blending in with the various staff, who were dotted about in case any of the delegates had queries or issues, her eyes roved constantly about through the introductory speeches.
“...And now our youngest ever keynote speaker, I am delighted to welcome, Ms Lena Luthor.”
Alex’s attention was drawn to the stage, mesmerized as her girlfriend strode up to the lectern. The blue three piece suit and black shirt she had chosen contrasted with her alabaster skin. The heeled boots giving her step an authoritative cadence.
The giant screen behind her flickered from the conference logo to black, ready for Lena’s opening remarks, and before the first slide came up. Alex knew it by heart, having been a practice audience on numerous occasions. She smiled remembering the number of evenings spent just listening to the gentle Irish lilt as Lena gradually got more tired, reading her notes over in bed.
Something caught Alex’s attention and snapped her out of her remembrance. Just a glint in the corner of her eye, a momentary flash on the screen behind Lena. A tiny reflection.
The kind of reflection you would get from a sniper rifle’s sighting scope.
Her gun was in her hand before she had even thought about it, turning to face the back of the hall.
Sighting, she fired once, synchronously yelling “Lee - get down.” And was immediately running. There was a dull thud as a rifle dropped to the main floor from the balcony.
The room erupted around her with shouts of “Gun.” And the crowd either froze or tried to run for the exits, causing utter pandemonium.
Alex had been faster than all of them, from her standing start. Vaulting onto the lighting rig at the back of the hall, the decorations were suddenly less an annoyance and more useful rope. Grabbing one of the pale swathes of material she braced a foot on the roof of the lighting scaffold and launched herself up the short wall of the mezzanine and flipping easily over the edge.
Fisting her hand in the black jacket of the figure she swung. Punch connected with jaw and the gunman - gun woman - Alex realised, hit the floor and rolled over unconscious.
Breathing heavily she glanced down, over the balcony to see if she could spot Lena, her mother and Kara. Eliza was on stage, an arm around Lena. Alex pulled out her cuffs and bent to restrain the unconscious would-be assassin. Kara appeared next to her, still in her street clothes, frowning.
“Are you ok? What happened? I couldn’t get out of the crowd to change…” She trailed off, her words tumbling over each other. Concern written all over face.
Alex pulled the now groaning figure to a sitting position and then to stand, her grip tight around the woman’s upper arm.
“I’m fine. Can you do me a favour and grab the rifle? I managed to shoot it out of her hands, and it fell into the main hall. And can you check on Mom and Lee?”
Kara stared at her sister. The use of the diminutive of her girlfriend’s name betraying her fear. It was something she rarely heard Alex use in public.
“Are you sure you’re ok?”
“I ..God, I just knew something was gonna happen, dammit.” Alex shook her head.
“All the people most important to me in one room, in a public space. Asking for trouble.”
Kara looked over the balcony before turning back to Alex and resting hand on her shoulder.
“I can see them both from here. Alex, Mom and Lena are both fine.” She hesitated. “I think the guy organising this thing might have a coronary if his heart rate keeps up like that though.” She huffed a nervous laugh.
Alex breathed out a sigh of relief and smiled weakly at her sister. “Thanks.”
She shoved her captive forward, now she had fully regained consciousness.
“I’m gonna take this one into the DEO and find out what the hell this was about. Keep an eye on them for me?”
“Of course.” Kara pulled her sister into an awkward one-armed hug, past the prisoner.
Alex opened her apartment door and dumped the keys on the drawer unit next to it much later that evening. Looking up she felt relief wash through her.
“Lena…” She breathed.
Crossing the room in two strides she pulled the younger woman into her arms, holding her tight.
Alex only let her go when she couldn’t make out the words being mumbled into her shoulder.
“What was that?”
“I said you saved my life. Again. Isn’t that how we met?” Lena smiled shyly at her.
“So… this happens to you guys a lot then?” Eliza attempted to joke, but her voice wavered slightly.
They both took a step towards each other and hugged fiercely.
“You’re both ok?”
“We’re fine, Sweetie. We’ve had Supergirl acting as bodyguard.” She smiled towards her youngest daughter.
Kara fidgeted with her cuffs, before pulling Alex into a hug.
“Thanks.” Alex whispered into her hair.
Kara nodded as she let her go.
“So what was my weekly assassination attempt about this time?” Lena’s tone tried for humour, but Alex could see the fear in the tightness around her eyes.
“Maybe we should all sit down.”
They sat at the dining table and Alex sighed deeply.
“Turns out your mother really was infuriated by our relationship.”
“Oh no….” Lena pressed her hands to her mouth.
“Oh yes. We were a twofer. The assassin was there for you and then me.”
“Thank God you were there.” Lena reached out and took Alex’s hand.
“For once, I would really like my paranoia to be just that.” Alex closed her eyes and shook her head.
“So…” She started, taking a deep breath and looking between her girlfriend and her mother. “You’ve met my Mom. This can’t possibly be as bad as your Mom’s reaction.”
Eliza barked out a surprised laugh.
“I think dinner.” Alex stood.
“Oooo since Eliza’s here, you can finally take us to this mysterious Giuseppe’s you’ve been refusing to take me to.” Kara was so excited she was already on her feet and most of the way to the door before Eliza and Lena had even stood up.
“Comfort food would be nice after today.” Lena grinned at Alex, her eyes glittering.
“You know I can’t resist anything you ask when you look at me like that.” Alex grinned back.
“Gross. I am standing right here.” Kara whined.
Eliza laughed as she stood. “Well, I’m going to be here for an extra couple of days, since they’ve had to rearrange the conference. Dinner with all my girls sounds wonderful.” She smiled at Lena.
“And Kara keeps going on at me about this restaurant you won’t take her to or tell her the location of.”
Alex rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Fine.” Pulling out her phone as she spoke. “I’ll check they have a table.”
Alex realised she needn’t have worried, Giuseppe was delighted to hear from her and promised her a table as soon as they were ready.
Her apprehension of the would be assassin had been on rotation on the news channels all day. The conference was being live streamed and the whole thing had been caught on camera.
She had taken hold of Lena’s hand before they had even left the apartment and not let go until they reached the restaurant. Not that her girlfriend had complained in the slightest.
Giuseppe had greeted them himself at the door when they arrived.
“Alexandra! I’ve seen you on the news all day. You are the big hero! But of course, when it’s Miss Lena. Are you ok?” He turned to the younger woman.
“I’m fine, Giuseppe. Really. It’s just a good thing Alex was there." She mumbled, looking a little overwhelmed.
He hugged both of the women in turn, and it was hard to tell which of the two was more embarrassed by his effusive welcome, but they were both smiling.
“We’re ok.” Alex reassured the older man, her hand on his arm.
“Of course, of course.”
Alex stepped out of the doorway, allowing Kara and Eliza to finally come inside.
“Giuseppe, this is my Mom and my sister, Kara.”
“Welcome, Alexandra’s family. Ah, those blue eyes. I see you on the TV too, no?” Kara looked startled and Alex shrugged at her, laughing.
Lena leaned over and whispered in Alex’s ear. “That man misses, nothing .”
“Doctor Danvers, is a pleasure.” Eliza was a little taken aback that he knew her title, but was clearly delighted at the welcome.
“Come, come, don’t stay in the doorway, I have you a nice safe table well away from anyone who means to do you any harm.” He frowned, swearing under his breath in Italian, clearly very unhappy about the day's events. “And we have a spaghetti special tonight. With my boy’s fresh made ciabatta. Is good.”
“I bet it’s wonderful as always Giuseppe, thanks for squeezing us in.”
“Is no trouble, you know that.” The old man was grinning, as she took Alex’s hands in his own, clearly pleased to have them safely under his roof.
“Sit, sit. I bring wine.”
Once they were settled, with wine poured and menus handed out, Eliza announced she needed to use the bathroom, and Kara went with her.
Alex glanced at Lena and took her hand again.
The light of the candle flickered and diners laughed and chatted around them.
“You’re not, are you?”
“Alex, my Mother tried to have us both killed. She and my brother are both in jail. Your mother is hardly going to think I am the perfect choice for her daughter’s life partner.”
Alex ducked her head to try and catch her girlfriend’s eye.
“Life partner, huh?” She laughed. “Don’t let Giuseppe hear you say that, I swear he hears wedding bells whenever we come in here.”
Alex leaned over the table and softly kissed Lena’s cheek.
“What if she thinks I’m not good enough for her eldest daughter?” Lena stared into her wine glass.
“You realise she came all the way from Midvale to hear your keynote speech.”
Lena looked up at her.
“She doesn’t go to many conferences.”
Lena sat back in her chair and sipped her wine.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You were already nervous. And don’t tell me you weren’t. I listened to you practice every night for two weeks. You might have tried to fool me, but…” She grinned.
“Trained agent.” Alex nodded. “I notice these things.”
“That’s nothing to do with being a trained agent and everything to do with the fact you like me.”
“I love you.”
“You do?” Lena blinked at her, surprised.
“Did I not say that already?”
“I thought climbing up a conference hall mezzanine and knocking out an assassin was a strong clue. Wanting you to meet my mother might also have been a giveaway.”
“You asked her to come?”
“Like I said, she doesn’t go to many conferences any more.” Alex smiled.
Lena bit her lip, staring at her girlfriend in the candle light. Leaning over the table she kissed her gently.
“I love you too.”
She sat back. “And not just because you keep saving my life.”
“Gotta help though.” Alex laughed. “Oh. It’s the pasta, isn’t it.”
Lena mock glowered at her and laughed.
“Yeah, that must be it.”
“What did we miss?” Kara glanced between them as she and Eliza sat back down.
“We were just wondering whether Mom likes Lena more than Lillian likes me.”
“You’re not funny Alexandra.” Eliza frowned at her.
“You make my daughter happy Lena, and that makes me happy.” She turned to face the woman next to her as she spoke.
“I’d be grateful if you could try and keep her out of trouble a bit more though, she is quite capable enough of finding that all on her own.” She laughed and nudged Lena gently with her shoulder.
Lena looked entirely bemused by the whole exchange, and gulped her wine.
Alex smirked. “On the upside at least I won't have to ask Lillian’s blessing when I want to propose.”
It was Lena’s turn to almost choke on her wine.