“I think Eureka’s name is really pretty!” Lara protested.
“If I have time I will check on the Jones family,” Batman said. “And if they check out, then you may go. Provided that Luthor has not made another move and we feel you would be safe.” Lara rolled her eyes. “Do not roll your eyes at me, young lady. You are a superhero. We all have to make sacrifices.”
“Yes Batman,” she grumbled.
“The others are arriving for training, and Black Canary will be expecting you. After that, you can begin packing.”
“It’s my turn to make dinner,” Lara pointed out.
“Then after dinner,” Superwoman explained, brushing some hair out of her face.
“Why does everyone always do that?” Lara asked, pulling away. Superwoman’s hand hung in the air for a moment before she let it fall. “Sorry, it’s just everyone really likes touching my hair.”
“And who is everyone?” Superwoman asked.
“My friends as school and the team,” Lara explained. “Wally’s the worst. He used to tug on it, but now he only does that to Artemis. What should I pack for?”
“A Kansas spring,” Superwoman replied. “I’m taking you home to Smallville.”
“She’s taking you to Kansas?” Wally asked.
“Shh!” Lara hissed at him. M’gann and Artemis were sparring under Black Canary’s watchful eye, so Lara did not want them getting too loud. “They think it would be best if I stayed out of Metropolis for a while, so Superwoman is taking me home to meet her parents. She says that I can catch up on school while I’m there, and she’ll teach me to handle some of my abilities better. And they have a piano.”
“Dude, I know piano is important to you, but we need you here!” Robin said.
“You know if you tell Batman that, he’ll just say that it will be good for you to balance out the team with one less member,” Lara said, crossing her arms in front of her. “Besides, everyone is going away for spring break in less than a week. Even M’gann is going back to Mars to visit her family, and Kaldur, you’re spending the week in Atlantis. Why can’t I spend some time with my grandparents?” The three boys shared a look. “What?”
“Lara, we are more concerned for your…mental health,” Kaldur explained slowly. “You and Superwoman have had a tumultuous relationship, and have spent almost a year ignoring one another. It seems strange now that you would so easily come together. We worry that this may not live up to your expectations.”
“I don’t have…expectations,” Lara said.
“I hate to break this to you, K-girl,” Wally said. “But I think you’re already starting to think of them as your family.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Lara asked. “I mean they kind of are, aren’t they? And Superwoman said that the Kents would love me, and that they’ll probably insist that I call them Grandma and Grandpa. I’m just trying to get used to the idea.”
“If you think you will be all right, then we will trust you,” Kaldur said. “But, did Batman or Superwoman tell you as to if they had any speculation about what Luthor said to you?”
“No, not yet,” Lara said. “I’m not sure they know what to think of it themselves.”
“Well, I think they knew it could happen,” Robin said.
“Why would they think this could happen?” Wally asked. “How would Luthor know that Lara even exists?” Robin paused and looked between them, probably knowing he had said too much. But, he also knew he could not keep too much from his friends.
“He’s the primary share holder in Cadmus Labs,” Robin said. “And considering Luthor’s shady past, he probably knew about some of their underground projects. But it’s going to be hard to test you for something, considering you know the whole invincibility thing.”
“They can always use blue kryptonite,” Lara said, her mind reeling. “It doesn’t poison me, like green kryptonite, but it also takes away my abilities when I’m near it.”
“How do you know that?” the group looked up and saw Superwoman standing in the training room.
“The computers have a lot of information on your abilities,” Lara said. “I figured the same things would apply to me.”
“Kryptongirl, Aqualad,” Black Canary called. M’gann and Artemis, both panting, left the ring, the fight undeclared. Lara reached down and pulled off her boots and socks before she stepped into the ring with Kaldur. “Begin.” Kaldur rushed her, and Lara struggled to grapple with him. She pushed back off of him, managing to gain a little ground. She swung at him, and Kaldur caught her punch, as she suspected and then she kneed him. Kaldur gasped with the air knocked out of him, but did not let him be knocked back too much.
“How is she doing?”
“Well, mostly. I still think she has a lot to learn, and it’s good that you’re going to teach, Superwoman. Who knows when her powers are going to start developing more?”
Before she knew it Lara was on the ground, and Kaldur was standing over her.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked. “You did not roll like you should have.”
“I’m fine, I just…didn’t see that coming, I guess,” Lara said, taking Kaldur’s hand, and bracing herself against his weight to stand.
“Kryptongirl, what happened?” Black Canary asked. “You’ve never let yourself get caught off guard like that.”
“I heard you talking,” Lara explained. “But you were too far away for me to really be able to properly hear.” Canary and Superwoman shared a look. “Is this a new ability?”
“Yes,” Superwoman said. “If you are anything like me, that means you’ll probably develop x-ray vision and then heat vision next, but you might surprise us.”
“Let’s break for today,” Canary said. “All of you are improving, but still practice more and in different match ups, so that you learn how to fight against opponents with different skills.”
Lara grabbed her boots and moved toward the entertainment center to sit on one of the couches as she pulled them back on.
“Kaldur, are you staying for dinner? And anyone else, for that matter?” she asked.
“If it would not be too much trouble,” Kaldur replied.
“My parents would maybe kill me if I didn’t come home for dinner,” Wally said. “Maybe later.”
“Yeah, I have to go too,” Artemis told them, with a wave. “But thanks for the invite.”
“I’m probably expected for dinner,” Robin said. “I’ll see you guys later.”
“Bye!” Lara called, standing up. It was then she noticed Superwoman standing near the entrance to the entertainment/kitchen area.
“I would like to stay if you don’t mind,” she said. “I can help you with dinner too.”
“Um, okay,” Lara said. “But I shouldn’t need too much help.”
“It’s spaghetti night!” M’gann declared cheerfully. “Are you sure that you won’t need help, Lara? I need to finish my mathematics. Earth math is much different from the way we do it on Mars.”
“I’ll be fine,” Lara said, pulling back her hair and then turning on the tap to wash her hands.
“I believe I need to swim for a time,” Kaldur said. “If you would excuse me.” Superwoman seated herself on one of the barstools, and Lara thought that she looked a little funny. Certainly, Batman or Black Canary or Red Tornado had never tried to sit down with them, and Superwoman’s bright costume seemed so strange against the homey setting. The team was usually out of uniform when they were just staying around Mt. Justice. It made Lara smiled as she pulled the sausage and the sauce from the fridge.
“What’s so funny?” Superwoman asked.
“Oh, nothing. It only makes sense in my head,” Lara said, turning back to reach for the noodles. Superwoman only watched her as she pulled out the pots and pans and set the noodles to boil and then began cooking up the sausage.
“Did you make the sauce yourself, or was that left over?” Superwoman asked, nodding to the sauce in a container.
“M’gann wanted to try a recipe and so we made it one afternoon,” Lara explained. “She really likes Earth food, especially cookies.”
“We’ll have to ask Ma for a few recipes then, won’t we?” Superwoman asked. “She’s a very seasoned baker, so she’ll have more than a few for you to copy and bring back.” Lara turned the sausages over in the pan and added some salt to the noodle pot as they began to boil. She set the timer, so she would remember to check everything, before she turned back to Superwoman.
“Are you just being nice to me because I need protection?” Lara asked softly.
“No! No of course not, Lara!” Superwoman assured her. “I’m acting the way I’m acting right now, because you’ve become this wonderful young woman, and I can’t believe I’ve been so blind so far. I can’t believe that I didn’t try and get to know you before now. This… this is the way I should have acted all along.”
“Then why didn’t you?” Lara asked.
“I was confused,” Superwoman said with a shrug. “I didn’t know what to think about being handed a sixteen-year-old, and being told I was a mother. You know, I always wanted to have children, but over the years it’s looked like it would be less and less likely. I think I had come to accept that, and then there was you. I didn’t know how to react or what to think, or what to do with this person who was and should have been my responsibility.” Superwoman reached out her hand, and took hold of Lara’s. “I am sorry Lara. And I don’t know how things are going to go from here, but I’m going to try and do the best I can by you. Can you forgive me?”
“I can try,” Lara replied, gripping her hand. “But it will be hard for me too. Batman and Canary give me a lot of free range so long as I’m good.”
“I can learn to live with that. Uh, but dear, I think you might need to turn the sausage.” Lara turned back to the sausage, seeing that one side was browned a little too much. She rolled the links over in the pan, until the pink sides of all four were seared by the iron. Lara checked the noodles as well, and after stirring them, she turned back to Superwoman. “I think I might have distracted you.”
“It’s fine, nothing’s ruined,” Lara said. “When I started cooking, I ruined everything at first, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better.”
“I’ll bet,” Superwoman said. “It smells delicious.” The conversation hung in the air unspoken for a moment before Super woman said, “Batman tells me that you taught yourself how to play the piano and you’ve gotten quite good.”
“Yes, it helped because I picked music as one of my school’s concentrations, and you have to play an instrument or sing, and since I already played the piano I didn’t have to learn anything new,” Lara explained. “They’re having a recital at the school soon.”
“Really?” Superwoman asked. “I’ll have to see if I can’t come? When is it?”
“The first Friday in April,” Lara said. “You don’t have to come though. There are going to be a bunch of kids performing, and we only get one song.”
“It shouldn’t be any trouble,” Superwoman told her. “And after all, if they’re as good as you are, than it certainly won’t be a waste of time. I’ll take off that night and make sure I’m there on time.”
“Okay,” Lara agreed. “I’ll see you there I guess.” They let the conversation drop as Lara put the sauce on to warm up. Superwoman hummed behind her and drummed her nails against the counter top. When the pasta and sausages were cooked through, Lara called Kaldur and M’gann through the intercom, and began to set out plates.