heroes

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"Did you really think you could avoid me forever?"

Lillian Luthor's eyes flashed—the same steely grey she'd passed on to her son—with a hunger that made Lena sick to her stomach. In her peripheral vision, Lena saw one of Lillian's companions—a broad-shouldered man with a green glowing stone in his chest—stalking over to Kara, and it seemed like his very presence had a physical effect on her. Kara's face twisted with discomfort as he pulled her to her knees and jerked her arms behind her back.

Kryptonite.

Because of course Lillian had Kryptonite.

Lena dragged her eyes away from Kara's face, maintaining a completely neutral stance save for a clenched jaw and tightened fist.

A Luthor never shows weakness.

"After two years without so much as a Christmas card, or a 'happy birthday', or even a 'how's it going, kid?', I'd more or less come to accept the fact what you weren't a part of my life anymore," Lena replied coolly, giving her own mother a run for her money when it came to icy glares. "It was actually kind of nice, for a while there. Bringing the company back from the brink of ruin after Lex's trial, fending lawyers off as they came after the estate, all while defending the Luthor name in the press—completely on my own, no less—it was a real treat. Very character building, as you would say," Lena remarked dryly.

Lillian's face was a granite mask, save for a slight twitch at the corner of her mouth. "Sarcasm never was attractive on you, Lena. I thought we'd trained that ugly little habit out years ago," she noted, tutting her tongue.

Lena narrowed her eyes, suddenly feeling like a teenager again, and God she hated that Lillian could transport her back to her most vulnerable, smallest moments with just a look. She grit her teeth and buried that feeling deep down inside of her, where most of her Lillian-related feelings lived.

"Well you've got my attention now, Mother. What do you want?" Lena asked, despite knowing full well just what that was.

Lillian smiled—or at least, did what she thought was smiling. Her lips curved upwards, sure, and the skin around her eyes pinched closer, but the motion was completely mechanical and there was absolutely no feeling in her eyes. The final result was...disturbing, to say the least. She could really stand to take a few pointers from Kara Danvers. Now that, was a smile.

"Lena, honey, I just want to help you," Lillian said, voice coated in sickly sweet syrup.

Lena scoffed, not buying it for even a second. "By blowing a giant hole in the building? Excuse me if I fail to see how that's even remotely helpful," she drawled, deciding she would be as sarcastic as she damn well pleased.

Lillian wasn't deterred—in fact, she pulled her weird robot smile even higher on her cheeks. "I'm here because you seem to have...lost your way. I may not have been the most present mother these past few years, but I have been keeping an eye on you. I do care about you, Lena."

Lena couldn't contain an eye roll as the words she'd craved so much all her young life now came out of Lillian's mouth, mechanical and rusty, like she'd rehearsed them for hours. It was almost funny to her, how much she'd yearned for this woman's approval, every single day she'd spent living under the Luthor roof. And now, here she was, finally telling her she cared, and it just felt...cold. Not like how it felt when Kara said she cared—like she was wrapping her up in a blanket and tucking her in, keeping her safe and warm and protected. This was absolutely nothing like that, and that realisation pulled at Lena's stomach in a way that didn't hurt for the first time in weeks.

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