Lena quirked a brow and crossed her arms. "So you've been surveilling me. How thoughtful."

"Everything I've done has been out of caring for you," Lillian said flatly. "I couldn't help but notice the company you've been keeping lately. I mean, Supergirl? Really? Did you learn nothing from what happened to Lex?"

Lena frowned darkly, staring her mother down through defiant, green eyes. "Lex brought everything that happened to him on himself. He was driven by hatred, and anger, and he didn't listen to anyone except for the voices in his own head telling him that aliens were to be feared and mistrusted, not listened to and learned from. In the end, that's what destroyed him. Not Superman."

Lillian's face flashed with anger, the first true emotion Lena had seen from her. "You dare disrespect your brother like that?" she hissed. "He gave up everything to fight for humanity—he's a hero."

Lena shook her head sadly. "No, he's not. He was wrong. And so are you." She sighed wearily and slowly crouched down, placing her gun and tablet on the floor. "We don't have to do this, Mother. You could just walk away right now. Call of your men, and we'll just say this was all a big misunderstanding." Lena took slow steps forward with each calmly spoken word. Lillian watched her like a hawk, bristling and wary. "You can disappear again, and get on with your life. You don't have to finish what Lex started: it's over. Humans love Supers. They've proved time and time again that they're good, they're here to help us—and they're here to stay. I think even Lex is starting to understand that too, in his own way." Lena came to a stop right in front of Lillian and bit at her lower lip. "If you wanted, we could even spend some time together. Get coffee, go shopping. You know, normal mother-daughter things. We could visit Lex together. Rebuild. Be a family."

The words sounded strange as she said them, and stranger still were the images that accompanied them flooding Lena's brain. Her and Lillian discussing L-Corp's operations over lattes, groaning enduringly as they made fun of the more insufferable members of the board. The pair of them visiting Lex in prison, Lillian chiding Lex for losing so badly at chess to his sister, while secretly offering Lena an approving nod. These scenes played out in Lena's mind like a strange and distant dream, blurry and hazed at the edges of the frames.

Lena knew Lillian would never make this fantasy a reality. The version of her mother in Lena's dreams—the one who smiled on occasion, who respected her and loved her, albeit in a different way to any normal mother-daughter dynamic—was a different person entirely from the one standing in front of her.

Really, this was just a negotiation tactic: present a morally superior alternative your opponent is unlikely to accept in order to highlight the unscrupulous plan they themselves are pursuing. At best, you opponent accepts the alternative, and at worst, a seed of doubt may be planted, while you also secure claim to the moral highground.

Lena studied Lillian's face closely for any reaction to her proposal. She seemed conflicted—perhaps, even for the briefest of moments, entertaining Lena's suggestion. But all traces of doubt vanished as soon as they'd appeared with a swift shake of her head.

"You might not understand it yet, Lena, but I am doing this for my family. For our family. I can't do this without you, Lena. Just think of how strong we could be together: the last two Luthors," Lillian said, her eyes shining with that same madness Lena saw in Lex, towards the end. It chilled her to the bone.

She took a few steps back, shaking her head. "Lex told me everything, Mother. I know Lionel is my biological father, and the only reason you need me is because of my blood. You couldn't care less about what happens to me after you get what you want." Lena's voice was tight, a controlled whisper, and for the first time, she allowed herself to look at Kara.

I'M KARA DANVERSWhere stories live. Discover now