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Once in a lifetime

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Alex was watching the large screen monitors in the main DEO command floor, relishing the rare peace and quiet of the morning when her phone buzzed. Pulling it out of her pocket, she stared at the message for several moments before walking up the stairs, out onto the balcony and hitting speed dial.


“Why am I looking at a picture of a house?”


“Isn’t it great? I’ve set up a viewing for us this afternoon, if you can get away. I’ll text you the details.” Lena’s tone sounded like an excited toddler looking forward to her birthday party.  


“Are you…” Alex's voice trailed off and she found she was suddenly having trouble breathing. Was it warm in here? Nope, she was outside, Alex thought and realised she was spiralling. She cleared her throat and tried again.


“Are you asking me to move in with you?”


“Well, we practically live together now, we are at mine or yours almost every night and I am getting seriously fed up of whichever pair of shoes I want to wear being at the wrong apartment. Plus, we need a garden if we are going to get that dog. And children need space to run around. Actually, the garden would be an amazing place to hold the wedding.”


Lena was surprised to find herself greeted by complete silence in response.


“Alex? Alex, say something.”


“Lena? it’s Kara. What did you just say to my sister? I heard her heart rate spike from CatCo and I think she’s hyperventilating.”


“I just suggested we buy a house together. I sent her the listing.”


“I...think she might need to call you back.”


Lena strode into the medical bay of the DEO less than twenty minutes later to find a very pale Alex sitting up in a medical bed, Doctor Hamilton removing a blood pressure cuff from her arm.


Kara was holding her other hand and frowning.    


“Are you ok?” Lena sounded frantic and slightly breathless.


“I can’t believe you can run in those shoes.” Alex deflected.  


“I’m fine.” She smiled weakly.  


Doctor Hamilton smiled reassuringly at the three of them. “Director Danvers had a mild panic attack. She'll be fine, she just needs to take it easy for a bit. No excitement.” The doctor walked out of the room and left the three of them alone.


“Is the thought of moving in with me that terrifying?” Lena’s voice was small as she took the Doctor's place next to Alex’s bed, fidgeting with her fingers.


Alex put her hand over both of Lena’s, pulling them to her and linking her free hand with Lena’s left one.


“It wasn’t that...I just expected if you were going to propose it would be a little more...romantic than sending me a text message.” 


“You proposed ?” Kara squealed and there was a loud crack from one of the medical monitors.


Alex could see the cogs whirring for Lena as she re-ran their conversation.


“I just said that we practically already live together and we would need space for the dog, children and the garden would be perfect for the wedding….oh.” Lena’s eyes went wide.


“Oh, that was a lot for one sentence.” Kara said slowly, her own eyes wide. 


“I mean I know Alex likes to tease you about proposing, but...whoa.”


“Oh...Alex.” Lena put her hands to her face, covering her mouth. “I didn't mean...I just meant…” 


“You’re not proposing then?”


“I...well.. I mean…”


“Ok... breathe...” Alex said slowly.


“Oh, now I see what happened. Sorry.” Lena looked chagrined.


“I might have got a bit carried away.”


Alex huffed a laugh. 


“You think? We can still go and look at the house though. You’re right, we are practically living together and we have been for a while."


“Yay.” Kara leaned over the bed and tried to hug them both, unsuccessfully, knocking an equipment tray flying. 




Alex parked her bike on the street later that afternoon and climbed slowly off. The house was set back, with a broad sweep of a drive curving up to it. It was an usual style for California; lots of glass, concrete and deep grey metal window frames. Alex could immediately understand why it had caught Lena’s attention. All clean lines and modernist architecture, without being austere. 


As she pulled her helmet off and finger combed her hair, mental pictures flashed across her minds’ eye; Lena chasing after a big dopey dog, while she unloaded groceries. Kids running across the lawn. Pumpkins on the front patio. She could totally see them living here. Building a whole life together. The thought took her breath away and she blinked as reality returned. Lena waved at her from near the front door, where she stood with another woman, who was holding a clipboard and smiling. The realtor.


Alex walked up the driveway and realised how she must look; leather jacket over her suit, crash helmet in hand, lace up boots, ideal for riding a bike or chasing a suspect. Could she look any  more of a contrast to her girlfriend, in spike heels and a designer dress.


She was immediately taken back to the first day she had seen her; the LCorp rebranding ceremony. Alex had been on protection detail, but had a hard time keeping her eyes off Lena even then. She still couldn't, now.


Smiling at the thought, she approached the two women.




“You made it.” Lena’s comment betrayed her obvious concern, after the response she received to the initial suggestion that morning.


Alex responded by sliding her hand into Lena’s and linking their fingers together. She squeezed reassuringly.


The house was just as striking inside. The place stood empty, having been recently refurbished. It was neat without being clinical. Wood floors and accents gave it a sense of warmth. Floor to ceiling glass doors ran along the back of the house, overlooking a wrap around patio, which led onto a vast garden. Alex could already picture where the barbecue could go.


The estate agent had not stopped talking from the second she had arrived, but Alex had tuned her out, too transfixed by all the ways she could see they could make the place their own, and watching the utter joy and excitement lighting up her girlfriend’s face.


Few people got to see her like this and Alex thought it was captivating.


Now the real estate woman, Alex was surprised to realise she hadn’t caught her name, was talking about room configurations and potential office space for them both versus guest bedrooms.


Alex was amused by the idea. Whenever they brought work home they ended up sitting in bed, together, laptops open, papers everywhere, or spread over the couch, the dining table. It didn’t seem to matter where, as long as it was together.


Alex found herself smiling again at the memories.




Snapped out of her reverie by the sound of her name, Alex realised Lena was talking to her.  


“Hmm?” She hummed noncommittally, unsure what she had missed.


“I said we’ll discuss it and get back to them, right?”


“Yes.” Alex nodded automatically.


Lena thanked the woman for her time and watched her get into her car and leave. She turned to Alex just as the older woman’s phone buzzed.


“DEO.” She gestured with the phone and stepped away to answer it.   


“Dammit, really?” She sighed. “Fine, assemble a tactical team, I’ll be there soon and we can check it out.”


Ending the call she turned back to Lena.


“I’m sorry I’ve got to..”


“Go, yeah.” Lena nodded.


Alex kissed her cheek, mind already sifting tactics and deciding on equipment.


“I’ll text you later, when we’ve got it sorted.” She said distractedly.


“Sure.” Lena tried not to sound hurt.  




For the second time in two days, Lena strode into the DEO.


“Lena, a pleasure to see you as ever.” Brainy greeted her.


“Where’s Alex?” Lena skipped all pleasantries, anxiety making her brusque.


Her patience had worn thin after her girlfriend’s seeming lack of interest in the house viewing the previous day, racing off to deal with a DEO matter and then not texting her as promised.  


“She is not here at present.”


“I see that.” Lena’s tone lowered the temperature in the room by several degrees.


“Where is she?”


“I do not know. She is taking a, what’s the phrase, personal day.”




Brainy looked confused. “I do not know. She said it was personal.”


He thought for a moment. “Possibly a very long shower after the encounter with the cephalopod creature last night.” He shuddered. “So much ink.” 




He looked up at her. “Some species of cephalopod excrete ink when scared. Quite a lot of ink. We had to extract this poor humanoid version from an all night horror movie marathon. A few people thought we were in costume, and part of the experience. Quite a mess. In more ways than one. Why would you want to watch horror films if you are of a nervous disposition.” He mused to himself and shook his head.


“What does that have to do with why Alex isn’t here?”


“Oh, well, it was extremely late by the time we were able to sort it all out, so if she has not been in touch, she probably didn’t want to wake you. As for not being here...I do not know.”


“Her phone is switched off.”


“Perhaps she is sleeping?” 


“She’s not at her place.” 


Brainy looked blank. It was an unusual look for him and Lena was very much not reassured.


Leaving the DEO, she pulled out her phone and hit one of the few numbers on her speed dial.


“Kara, where’s your sister?”


“At work I would think, why?”


Lena pinched the bridge of her nose.


“How did the viewing go?”


“Well Alex barely said a word the entire time and now I can’t find her, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say not great.”


“Well there was this squid guy…”


Lena’s phone buzzed, saving her from another recounting of the previous night’s adventures. 


She peered at the screen. “It’s a text from Alex. Never mind.” 


Hanging up on one Danvers sister she read the text from the errant one.


Sorry about last night; it was a late one and I didn't want to wake you. 

Meet me tonight? x


Lena looked at the address Alex had texted her, convinced it was a mistake. It was for the house they had seen the previous day. Frowning, she tried calling, but Alex’s phone was off again. 


Lena headed back to LCorp. Clearly, she would just have to wait to find out what her girlfriend was up to. 




“I’m sorry I’m late.” Alex parked her bike and pulled her helmet off as she spoke. Smoothing her hair and picking up the cotton tote bag from her bike seat as she climbed off.


“Well, it seems you're not.” Lena gestured around her. “The realtor hasn’t shown up yet.” She looked frustrated.


“Actually.” Alex couldn’t help the small smirk that spread across her lips. “She’s not coming.” Holding up a set of keys, she jingled them.


“Why do you have the keys?”


“Being a federal agent tends to make you sound trustworthy. I managed to persuade her to let us have a private viewing.” She grinned broadly, winked at Lena and gestured towards the house. 


“Shall we?”


Lena gave her a doubtful look, suspecting her girlfriend was up to something. 


“Actually, why don't we check out the garden first.” Alex strode off towards the back gate and was reaching over the top, unlatching it before Lena had even moved.


Unzipping her bike jacket she pulled a small blanket out from where it had been tucked inside, and spread it on the lawn. Kneeling, she started to unpack the contents of the tote bag.


“A picnic?” Lena sounded hesitant, but knelt down carefully on the blanket, before sitting, and tucking her legs under her.


“A very Italian looking picnic.” Her tone was amused.


Alex grinned back at her. “I might have had help.”


Popping the cork on a bottle of prosecco, she poured some into a plastic cup and handed it to Lena.


“Plastic cups?” She faux sneered before taking a sip.


“Seriously? You think I could have got glasses here in one piece on my bike?”


Lena laughed. “Don’t you think it's a little weird having a picnic in the garden of a house we don’t even own? That you didn’t even seem to like, when we looked around it yesterday.” 


“Ah. About that.” Alex bit her lip. “It appears I...might have given you the wrong impression.”


Lena’s eyebrows rose.


“It really wasn’t intentional.” She added hastily.


“And when I said I used my credentials as a federal agent to blag the keys I might have been lying a little bit, actually.” She managed to look sheepish and amused at the same time. 


Lena looked worried.


“I might have told the realtor we wanted to put an offer in this morning.”


Lena continued to stare at her.


Alex glanced at her and reached into the inside pocket of her jacket. She placed something into Lena’s left hand, where it was resting in her lap. She left her hand on top of the object as she continued.


“You’re right. The house is perfect. I knew as soon as we saw it yesterday, and that you had clearly fallen in love with it.”


Alex removed her hand and let go of what she was holding.


“And it would be perfect for the wedding.” She said softly.


Lena looked down and realised she was holding a small deep blue ring box.


She carefully put her cup down and opened the box. Nested in the folds of the cushion was a diamond solitaire on a simple platinum band.


“Marry me.” Alex’s voice was quiet and a little shaky.


Lena looked up at her, eyes shining with tears.


“Oh, Alex. I thought after yesterday I’d scared you off. You had a panic attack when I suggested moving in together, for God's sake, and then you vanished for almost 24 hours. Where the hell have you been? I was worried sick. Even Kara didn’t know where you were.”


Alex took a deep breath. “I….had some things to sort out.” She sounded cagey.


“What ‘things’?” Lena narrowed her eyes at her. “And why were you late? You are never late.” 


Alex took a deep breath and bit the inside of her cheek, rubbing the back of her neck evasively.




“I went to see your mother.”


“What?” Lena exploded. 


“Why?” Her eyebrows shot up.


“Oh, please do not tell me you went to ask for her permission to ask me to marry you.” Her tone was low and threatening and Alex worried she was about to get the ring thrown at her.


“Um.. no.” She paused.


“Why don’t I just tell you what happened?” Alex reached for the bottle of sparkling wine and refilled both of their plastic cups, taking a large gulp of her own drink.


Earlier that day


The guard unlocked the door for Alex, who smiled her thanks and walked though.


Walking into the private visitors room, she felt decidedly uncomfortable at having surrendered her sidearm at reception.  


“Agent Danvers, a personal visit. I am honoured.” The woman’s tone indicated the absolute opposite of her words.


Alex grimaced and eased herself into the visitors’ chair. Her eyes never once leaving the prisoner. There was no point in social niceties, and she had no desire to prolong the visit any longer than absolutely necessary, so she came straight to the purpose of her visit.  


“I want to propose to Lena.”


Lillian laughed lightly, interrupting her. “And you are here to ask my permission? How patriarchal. Not what I expected from you.” 


“No, I am here to ask you to stop trying to kill Lena. And me, actually.”


“Oh, It wasn’t a serious attempt. I knew you’d stop her.” Lillian eased sideways in her chair and crossed her legs.


“You knowingly hired an incompetent assassin?” Alex spluttered.


“How else would my daughter know I still cared?”


“Send flowers! Like a normal person. Geez.” Alex’s eyes were wide, her face and voice utterly incredulous.


Lillian sat forward, conspiratorially,


“I’ve seen the media, I know you two are getting serious, so I had to check you were worthy of my daughter. It was never going to be much of a challenge for you to stop an inexperienced Luthor fan with a gun. I’m sure my daughter was suitably grateful that you saved her life. Again.”


She sat back, smiling haughtily.


Alex felt nauseous and swallowed thickly.


“I only seem to have to keep saving her life from you.”


Alex sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. She fixed Lillian with her best interrogation stare. It had broken many lesser victims.


“I’m here to ask you to stop trying to kill my family. Let us live our lives in peace. Let Lena. Please.”


Lillian’s demeanour changed completely, deflating slightly and suddenly looking so much smaller.




“What?” Alex was so shocked the word had fallen out before she could form a more coherent response. Her brain scrambled to catch up and she tried again.


“Really? It’s that simple? I just had to say please?”


“That wasn’t the word that changed my mind.”


Alex played the exchange back in her mind, but the older woman spoke before she could.


“You consider Lena your family?”


“Yes. She has been for a while. Any wedding is just a formality really. A chance to celebrate it. Make it official.”


Despite all her training Alex couldn't read the look that crossed the eldest Luthor’s face.


“Take care of her, Alexandra.” Her voice was small and quiet.


“I will.”


“I know.”


Alex finished relating her encounter and looked up to see tears streaming silently down her girlfriend’s face, her eyes wide, lip trembling.




“What?” Alex blinked, mind still on her visit with her potential future mother-in-law. 


“Yes, I’ll marry you.” Lena beamed at Alex past her tears.


“Oh my God.” Alex beamed back, tears glittering in her own eyes.


She leaned over and carefully plucked the ring from the cushioned box and, taking Lena’s hand, slid it gently onto her finger.


Looking up they smiled at each other, before Lena held her hand out to admire how the ring looked.


She touched her fingers to Alex’s cheek, leaned forward and kissed her gently, their tears mingling and making it a salty experience.


Lena rested her forehead against her fiancé’s.


“I love you.”


“I think I just said how much I love you.”


Lena laughed.


“I can’t believe you warned my mother off. I definitely can’t believe she listened.”


“I didn’t want to start our life together with the threat of her wrath eternally hanging over us.” 


“You faced the dragon to get your princess.”


Alex smiled. “I did.” She laughed softly.


“I love the house. I want to live here with you and our dog and our kids. I could totally picture it yesterday. And you looked so excited.” 


Lena sat up and fixed her with a thoughtful look.


“So why the panic attack yesterday when I suggested it”  


“It was...a lot. Having you offer me everything I've ever wanted all in one go? Honestly, I never thought it was going to happen for me. I mean, after…” She hesitated. “Everything.”


“You mean Maggie.”


“Yeah.” Alex took a breath and blew it out.


“I know I’ve been teasing you about it, but I was mostly testing it out, with both of us. The humour is a defence mechanism. I rushed into everything before, but this time. This time I wanted to get it right. For both of us to be sure, you know?”


“I’m all in, Alex. Kids, dogs, the whole thing. With you. I hope.” She huffed a small anxious laugh and bit her lip, eyes shining nervously.   


“Me too.” Alex smiled slowly.


There was a high pitched sound, followed by a loud crack. Lena looked shocked and they both looked back at the house, the plate glass of the patio door had a large fracture down it.


“Dammit, Kara. This is a private moment. And glass that size is expensive.”


There was silence for a few long moments. A whoosh of displaced air. Supergirl landed softly on the grass in front of them both.


“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help hearing.”


Lena narrowed her eyes at Alex.


“You told you sister.”


Alex glared at Kara. “No, my sister eavesdrops.”


“Lena said you were missing, I was listening out for you.” 


“And you spoke to my mother.” Lena continued.


“You went to see Lilian?” Kara’s eyes went wide, her voice heading towards squeakiness again.


Lena looked at Kara and then turned an amused grin on her girlfriend - fiancé, she corrected herself happily.


“Does anyone not know about your proposal?”


Alex blushed. “We need to call my Mom.”


Kara slowly started to levitate. “I could go get her…” She gestured towards Midvale.


Spotting the look on her sister’s face, the expression on her own rapidly morphed into fear. 


“Or I could leave. Now. I’m gonna go…” With another rush of air, she was gone again.




Alex was engrossed in paperwork on her tablet, a frown creasing her brow. The buzzing of her phone slowly infiltrated her consciousness. Pulling it out of her pocket, she prodded the answer button.


“Hey you.”




“What's up?”


“Are you busy?”


“I’m at work.”


“Well, yes, but are you busy?”


“Nothing urgent, just paperwork. Why?”


“Can you leave Brainy in charge for a couple of days?”


“I suppose. Things have been pretty quiet. Why?”


“Pack a bag. I’ll meet you outside your place in an hour.”


“Ok…” Alex was thinking of all the questions she wanted to ask when she realised the call had ended. 


She stared stupidly at her phone. “Ok, then.”


An hour later Alex was in street clothes, a small backpack slung over her shoulder. Her eyes roved up and down the street outside her apartment, as she wondered what Lena had in store for her.


Lena’s town car turned the corner and glided to a smooth halt in front of her. Alex tugged the door open and scrambled inelegantly inside, dumping her bag on the floor.


“Well this isn’t at all mysterious.” She kissed Lena and settled into the seat next to her.


“It’s not really. “ Lena slid her hand into Alex’s, interlinking their fingers.


“I thought Kara had a good idea the other night.”


“Seriously? Kara’s not generally known for her bright ideas.”


“She's your sister, be nice.”


“She crashed my proposal and I’ve seen the bill for the glass door.” Alex sounded sour.


“So you don’t want to know how she inspired me?” Lena’s tone was amused.


“Yes, I very much want to talk about you right now and not my sister. I am all yours.”


Lena nudged her with her shoulder, the idea still making her giddy.


“Yes, you are, aren’t you?” 


 Alex leaned over and swept the hair back from Lena’s neck, kissing it softly.


“Completely.” She murmured against her skin.


Lena hummed happily.


“Wait, stop distracting me.”


Alex grinned and sat up. “Not sorry.”


The car pulled to a stop, and after a moment the door was opened for them by Anderson, Lena’s driver. 


Alex stepped out first, shouldering her backpack and looking around her as she held out a hand to help Lena out of the car.


“Ok, we’re at the airport. Now I’m intrigued.” 


Anderson removed a small case from the boot and passed it to the ground crew, who loaded it onto the Gulfstream jet in front of them.


“You’re not the only one who can make covert plans.”


Alex turned to face her as she spoke, eyebrow quirked in question.


“I called Eliza, we’re going to Midvale for the weekend.”


“Oh.” Alex said, understanding dawning. “I prefer your idea, as fun as flying with Kara is, I think Mom would much rather we went to her. Did you tell her?”


“No, I just wanted to check it was ok to visit. She was delighted.”


“I bet. Neither of us gets out there as much as she, or we, would like.” 


“Shall we?” Lena took Alex's hand and tugged her gently towards the boarding steps. 


The pilot met them inside the plane door.


“We need to get going immediately, I’m afraid, last minute take-off slots are very much take what you can get, even for a private flight.”


Lena nodded and thanked him.


They quickly took their seats, the leather ridiculously soft, Alex noted, and buckled themselves in.


It wasn't many minutes before they were airborne and able to get up and move around and Alex was eager to explore the small, but luxurious, space.


“Well, this is a whole lot nicer than the DEO jet.” Alex ran her hand along the polished walnut cabinets.


“Bet it still has a gun safe though.” She grinned mischievously.


Looking up at her fiancé, the grin vanished.


“Are you ok? You look a little green around the gills.”


“I hate flying.”


“And yet, you have a beautiful private jet.”


“I need to fly to manage LCorp. Just because I hate it, doesn’t mean I can’t do it in comfort.”


Alex crossed the small cabin, slid her arms round Lena from behind and kissed the side of her neck.


“I could take your mind off it.”


Lena could hear the grin in her voice.


“I will not arrive at your mother’s looking ruffled.”


Alex nibbled her ear. “Mm...hmm..”


“I won’t.”


Alex kissed lower.


“I…” The word dissolved into a small moan.


“Well that put the colour back in your cheeks.” Alex laughed some time later.


Lena swatted her lightly on the shoulder. 


“You are incorrigible.” But she still smirked back.


“And yet, you agreed to marry me.”


“Oh, God, are you going to use that about everything now?” Lena rolled her eyes, laughing.


“Well, you did.”


Lena slid her arms round Alex’s neck and kissed her slowly. Alex felt her smile against her lips.


“I did, didn't I.”


A calm voice came over the intercom and interrupted them.


“We’ll be coming in to land shortly, if you’d like to make sure you are seated and buckled up. We should be on the ground in 30 minutes.”   


“We should probably get dressed.”


“I think so, yes.” Lena laughed.


“I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’ve had a crazy idea.”




“You know how I’ve always hated being a Luthor?”




“And now we’re getting married?”


“Yes.” Alex drew out the word, unsure where the conversation was heading.


“What if I took your name?”


Lena didn’t dare look up at Alex for several minutes, until she could bear the silence no longer. When she did look up, she burst out laughing.


Alex stood in the middle of the aisle, frozen, trousers pulled halfway up her legs, wildly patterned shorts on full view and mouth hanging open.


She blinked slowly at Lena.


“What?” She blinked again.


“What if I took your surname? I would be Mrs Lena Danvers.”


Alex’s eyes slowly widened and her mouth slowly closed.


Silence filled the cabin for long moments.


And then Alex tried to take a step forward towards Lena, tripped on her half mast trousers and crumpled to the floor.


“I’d like that.” Her voice was muffled, as she desperately tried to right herself and fix her clothing all at the same time.


Finally getting to her feet, and buttoning her trousers, she blew a stray lock of hair out of her face. Finding herself almost nose to nose with Lena.


“I’d like that very much.” Her eyes glittered with tears. 


“Mrs Lena Danvers.” She said softly and bit her lip, staring at Lena, before surging forward, taking Lena’s face in her hands and kissing her.


The seatbelt sign binged loudly above them.




Eliza beamed at them as they crossed the tarmac towards her.


“It’s so good to see you both.”


Alex smiled at her from behind her sunglasses and swung Lena’s hand in her own as they walked.


“Thanks for picking us up, Mom.” 


“It’s no trouble at all. I love surprise visits. I was delighted when Lena called. Does this mean I can expect more of them, now you're dating a woman with her own private jet?” Her tone was thoroughly mischievous.


Alex and Lena exchanged looks.


“I see where you get your sense of humour from.” Lena murmured.


Alex laughed.


“Or marrying one..?” Eliza said as she caught sight of Lena’s hand, where it swung, clasped in Alex’s. The sunshine glinting off the diamond of Lena’s ring.


“I take it you girls came to tell me something?”


“Mom, meet the future Mrs Lena Danvers.” Alex smiled so hard she thought her face might crack.


Eliza’s hands flew up to her mouth.


“Oh, my…” Wherever words were going to finish that sentence were lost, as she did a credible impression of her adoptive daughter, and tried to hug them both at the same time


“Congratulations!” She finally let them go and stepped back, clasping her hands in front of her, utterly delighted.


“Come on, let’s get home. This calls for champagne.”


Lena couldn't help but laugh, unsure which of the Danvers women was more excited. What was she getting herself into? Looking at her fiancé’s smiling face, she decided she was very much looking forward to finding out.