i have a notion and it's lena teaching little stella how to play chess and it's entirely different from lena playing chess in her own house because there's so much laughter and casual teasing and stella uses her powers to cheat and then vehEMENTLY DENYING IT WHEN ASKED and maybe i'm just being extra
its so funny bc i’ve had a v similar notion sO LET ME YELL ABT IT SOME
- stella is the only of the superbabies to show any interest in chess for more than a passing moment and is the only one to be able to sit still long enough for lena to teach her the game and lena’s like??? so excited when, one day when stella’s like four or five maybe, lena and kara are playing and stella nudges at lena’s arm until she moves it so she can crawl into her mom’s lap and she settles back against lena and studies the board with this v serious look and kara’s biting back a laugh until stella quietly requests show me mommy? and then kara’s softening and lena’s all but melting tbh like woah her kiddo want to play this game that lena loves a lot and she wants to learn?? she wants lena to teach her???
- so lena goes out and gets this little children’s chess set the very next day, gets this set bc it has little labels on the board to indicate where each piece goes and it’s got this pretty mother of pearl inlay around the edge of the board, around the base of the pieces and lena knows stella will love it
- they pick sunday afternoons for practice, lena lifting stella up to the big family calendar they keep in the kitchen so she can pick a day and put a little heart next to it. so every sunday afternoon, right after stella’s napped for a bit, she bounces into lena’s study and watches v carefully as lena sets up the board, explaining what each piece is, what they do, where they go. stella asks questions sometimes, but mostly she watches at first until she kind of gets an idea of what’s going on
- but then when they get into the game?? hoo boy, stella is hilarious and pretty savage, like she’ll look at some move that lena’s made that she apparently doesnt approve of and will look up at her mother with this one raised eyebrow and sort of sigh really? and it’s the cutest thing and lena cant help but laugh and stella’s rlly so sweet, she drops the look she’s giving her and starts laughing with lena and it will take them a fair few minutes to sort of reign it in
- and omg as stella gets older?? she starts learning a few basic strategies, she does, but she’s still losing to lena basically every time (though every once in a while, lena throws it just because the look of elation on stella’s face is probably one of the brightest, purest things lena’s ever experienced) so she takes to poking holes in lena’s strategies, gently harassing her to try and get her off her game, but lena throws it right back at her, sort of narrowing her eyes and quirking an eyebrow when stella goes to move her knight when she has a pawn in perfect position and stella just sort of snorts, nods like yeah okay ya got me there
- good god they laugh so so much during these games. like they rlly do and lena is so so happy abt it like?? this is literally all she’s ever wanted, all she’s ever dreamed of for her kids. they’re getting exactly what she never had, are able to feel safe enough that they poke fun at her like stella does when lena makes a careless mistake and leaves her king vulnerable (it’s not a mistake, it’s lena carefully working lessons into each of their games tbh, like she is nothing if not methodical)
- an excerpt:
- mom, oh my gosh, don’t you have, like, three advanced degrees?
- don’t you have a move to make, stelly-bean?
- and stella’ll groan at the nickname but she’s also grinning super wide, super bright and lena’s just?? basking in her happiness i guess
- omg and when stella learns to read minds, it’s hilarious bc she’s not slick abt it. like?? u can sort of feel her when she’s there, in ur head, like a little bump or nudge near the base of your skull, and lena thinks its hilarious that she’s trying that, that when she couldnt get a vibe for lena’s next move, she looked to lena’s mind and she sort of pokes a little fun at stella for it, asks we’re not cheating, are we? in such a gentle, teasing tone that has stella stammering, flushed, uh no of course not like why would you say that as i am perfect and have never done anything wrong in my entire life, ever
- when stella gets older, she gets a lot better at reading ppl without them knowing, but kara and lena can always tell (mostly bc of that first psychic connection?? like they’re slightly more attuned to stella too) and so stella thinks she’s Rlly being Slick but lena sort of rolls her eyes and groans stella and its hilarious watching her daughter’s reaction, going from shock to worry to vague annoyance to out and out laughter as she tries to deny it, puts up a good fight before she’s reduced to giggles
- like at some point its not even practice anymore, they just turn into weekly chess games, just for fun, just bc its calm and sweet and warm and when stella’s in college and Going Through Some Shit, it’s something to anchor her and lena loves that her daughter still likes the game, still likes spending time with her. like?? they’ve only ever missed one sunday, bc stella had the flu, but that was made up for on tuesday when she felt better
- and like?? chess sort of becomes this touchstone for them, like it always was for lena, but it also brought up some weird and painful things too, but now its just all good things, just stella and quiet sundays and laughing and messing up the board bc they needed to push the game to the side in order to set their ice cream bowls on the desk
- like it sort of becomes a thing between them, like one mother’s day, stella gets lena this truly horrendous cat chess board bc she thought it was hilarious and lena laughs so hard she cries when she opens it (she still keeps it in her office though, next to one of her #1 Mom mugs and the pencil holder finn made in preschool
- and then lena fires back with a fantasy inspired chess set for stella’s birthday, bc the dragon looks ridiculous and its just the thing stella loves to mock mercilessly
- without fail, one of them always gets the other something chess related for any gift giving event. one christmas, stella gets a purse shaped like a knight; on lena’s birthday one year, stella got her a set of bookends that looked like bishops, and so on and so forth
- and then, to get ~emotional~, lena gifts stella her very own custom made chess set for her college graduation and stella treasures it for the rest of her life tbh, like it makes her feel warm and safe like she always did in her mom’s study, sunday afternoons, sipping tea between moves and laughing until her stomach hurts. like ?? it’s just a tangible thing for all these good memories and honestly ??? im crying ????