A Date With The President




Part Five



Clark and Lex's picture from the State dinner was splashed across the Sunday newspapers throughout the nation, causing an immediate uproar. There was no mistaking that the two were intimate, even though at the time Clark had been just accepting the date.

Clark's voice mail had close to fifty messages within an hour of the news hitting print, most of them from Lois. He spoke with no one but his parents. He advised them to use their own judgement when the reporters contacted them for information on both him and Lex. The phone call had been a joy he could have lived without. Clark loved them dearly, but they still had a prejudice against Lex, even after all these years.

They were definitely more than friends now, though, and Clark was very much the happy homo. On Sunday, he and Lex had sex repeatedly throughout the day, until body parts hurt. In between bouts of fornicating, they read the newspapers -- Lex had four delivered daily -- and explored the White House. Even though Lex had lived there for three full months, he hadn't been anywhere other than his bedroom and the study in the residential wing. When they had found a billiards table, Lex looked as though he wanted to squeal in delight.

Clark hadn't wanted to leave on Sunday night, but eventually he did with the promise of more phone contact and a return trip to DC in June. He also had promised monogamy, which wasn't a problem since his social calendar had been dismally empty since January, anyway.

No one was camped outside of Clark's apartment, thankfully, when he returned home. His address was unlisted, he used a P.O. Box for his mail, and the Daily Planet payroll department was fairly loyal to its employees and wouldn't give out his address without a sizable bribe, but that didn't guarantee his privacy, especially when there were reporters involved. He'd have to be exceptionally careful over the next few weeks, until he and Lex faded from the limelight.

Monday dawned and Clark made himself get up early to listen to the morning news on the radio. He and Lex were the last news story before sports and weather and a connection was made between the President dating a man and the newly passed Public Law Nos. 112-15 and 16. Clark hadn't thought about the perfect timing of the new laws, but now he recognized Lex's machinations in order to obtain what he wanted. In this case, he wanted Clark Kent, which made Clark's heart flip.

Clark remained in a good mood, even through the wholly embarrassing whistles, catcalls, and standing ovation he received when he arrived at the Daily Planet. His work area had been desecrated by the other reporters: multiple copies of the photograph from the paper were tacked up, along with condom balloons, crude signs and banners. Jimmy Olson gleefully snapped pictures of the pink-faced Clark in front of his work area until Clark threatened to shove the camera where the redhead didn't freckle.

"All right, you pervs, leave Kent alone," Lois ordered the bullpen reporters as she came down the stairs from the senior offices. "His candy-ass is mine."

"Ut-oh," Jimmy said. He gave Clark a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "I don't envy you, CK."

He hurried away as Lois stalked up to Clark and poked him hard in the chest. "You are dead meat, buster. Why didn't you tell me you were dating the President? I'm your partner, I should know these things!"

"Don't you mean: you're my partner and should exploit these things?" Clark said pointedly.

"Of course not," Lois protested. At Clark's look, she added, "Not much, anyway. C'mon, Clark, we're talking about you boning the President of the United States."

"Oh, nice language, Lois." Clark turned his back to her and began restoring order to his desk.

"I'm just reading the sign on the wall, Clark." Lois flicked one of the crude papers taped to the stairwell. "Besides, you're glowing like a well-laid virgin, so fess up."

Clark once again became red, but sighed exasperatedly, dropping the condom balloons in the wastebasket. "You're not going away, are you?"

"Nope."

"Fine," Clark gave in. "Off the record, I didn't even know Saturday was a date until after I got there."

"But you're happy that it was a date?" Lois inquired, comfortably crossing her arms and leaning a shoulder against the side of the stairs.

A thousand-watt smile bloomed on Clark's face. "Oh, yeah."

"That smile has me itching to go on the record, Clark."

Clark tapped a found box of Presidential brand condoms on the edge of the desk. "Tell you what, I'll give you exclusivity as long as I can edit all final articles about me and Lex."

Lois's predatory expression gave Clark goosebumps. "You're on," she said. She paused thoughtfully before asking, "Does that include your parents? Friends?"

"No." Clark shook his head. "My parents and friends will make their own choices on who they'll talk to."

"Fair enough," Lois agreed. She straightened. "Leave that crap and let's get started. I'll let you spring for coffee."




Spring warmed into summer, cooled into fall and early winter, and Clark and Lex were still dating. It had been difficult at first -- the press-hounds and public backlash had been vicious -- but they'd survived. Now, occasional blurbs appeared in the newspapers about them, but like all fantastical stories, theirs faded from the spotlight and was relegated to tabloid fodder. Superman, however, continued to avoid reporters and photographers as much as possible.

As the days continued to pass, Clark and Lex's relationship grew more comfortable, though they remained hundreds of miles apart. They were both workaholics, so distance didn't matter much. They kept their standing Sunday night telephone dates and called each other on really bad days. Clark tried to visit Lex at least once a month, whether there was a special Presidential event to attend or not. The sex also continued to be incredible, more so because of the length of time they were apart between visits.

Clark shifted in his seat, refocusing his attention outside the car. Thinking about sex while on a stake-out was a Very Bad Thing, especially with Jimmy sitting beside him in the passenger seat.

Jimmy had his feet propped on the dash, reading a paperback thriller by penlight. Jimmy was only a year younger than Clark, but he looked like a teenager and acted the same most of the time. He was an excellent photographer, though, and as insane as Lois when going after pictures for a story.

Jimmy glanced out the window as he turned the page, then went back to his reading. The stake-out was, as most stake-outs, boring as heck. Clark had received information from an ex-lover that a local low-level drug dealer was meeting with one of the established drug lords of Metropolis. The meeting itself wasn't worthy of DEA or police investigation, but Clark wanted to know who the players were, as Ricky had provided no names. Jimmy was with Clark to document the meeting, because Clark always ended up taking pictures of his thumb.

The cell phone in his breast pocket vibrated. "Kent," Clark answered, keeping his voice lowered so as not to bother Jimmy.

"Are you busy?"

A smile broke out on Clark's face, his heart leaping at the sound of Lex's voice. "Not entirely. Jimmy and I are on a stake-out... which would be so much more comfortable if we were in my Lamborghini."

"Sorry, still haven't found the keys," Lex responded automatically to the on-going joke.

"Uh-huh. A likely story." Clark switched the phone to his other ear, propped his elbow on the window edge of the door, and leaned his cheek against his fist. Outside, all was still quiet. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call?"

Jimmy snorted from beside him.

"I spoke with my father today," Lex said, sounding frustrated and tired. "He wants to have Thanksgiving with me."

Clark was surprised. "In Metropolis?"

Short bark of laughter. "Yeah, right," Lex said sarcastically. "No, he wants me to have Thanksgiving here, at the White House, and invite a few dozen close, personal friends of his."

"Your dad is a real piece of work," Clark said. "What did you tell him?"

Lex was quiet for a long minute before admitting with a resigned sigh, "I said I'd get back to him."

Clark sympathized with Lex. Lionel may be a jerk, but he was still Lex's father. "Tell him yes."

"What?"

"Tell him you'll do it and that you'll send out the invitations," Clark said. "Then, only invite him and his date of the week, my parents, Brad and Veranda, me, Lois--" Jimmy cleared his throat. "--and Jimmy. We'll sic Lois on him, while the rest of us have a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner."

"That's a great idea, Clark," Lex said with a chuckle. "Why didn't I think of it?"

"You're the President," Clark replied. "You aren't supposed to be devious."

"Says w--"

CRACK. CRACKCRACK.

The driver's side window exploded without warning and Clark felt the stinging slap of bullets hitting the side of his face and the back of his fist. Jimmy yelled in surprise, jerking fully upright in the passenger seat.

Clark dropped the cell phone, grabbed Jimmy's shoulder, and forced him to bend over. "Get down!"

Two bullets came through the passenger's side window right where Jimmy's head had been. One embedded itself in the headrest. The other hit Clark in the ear and bounced harmlessly to the seat.

"Hang on!" Clark jerked the key in the ignition and the car roared to life. Someone sprinted in front of the vehicle, spraying the windshield with a hail of bullets from an Uzi.

"CK! You're shot!" Jimmy shouted, panicked, eyes fixed on the tears in Clark's clothes.

"Keep down!" Clark slammed the gearshift into drive, jammed his foot on the accelerator, and the car leapt forward with a shriek of the tires. More bullets clinked against the rear of the vehicle as they tore down the street.

Clark didn't let up his speed until they neared downtown Metropolis. He looked over at Jimmy. "Are you hurt?"

"No," Jimmy replied shakily, sitting up. "You are, though."

Clark glanced down at his marred clothing. "Uh, no, I'm okay. Must've been the glass."

"How can you sound so calm?"

"It's an act," Clark lied, "to hide the fact that I crapped my pants."

Jimmy laughed a bit hysterically, rocking in his seat. His hand knocked Clark's cell phone onto the floor. It bounced and settled under Clark's feet.

"Oh, crud, Lex!" Clark reached for the phone, glanced at the display, and put it to his ear. "Lex?"

"Clark!" Lex exclaimed over the line, rushing over his words. "Oh, thank God. Are you okay? I heard Jimmy say you were shot. Are you shot? What happened? Are you hurt? You--"

"Lex-- Lex--," Clark spoke over him. "I'm not hurt. I'm okay. Deep breaths. Calm down."

Lex cursed, his voice shaky. "I need a drink. Many of them."

"Lex, I'm going to take Jimmy home, then I'll call you back, okay?" Clark said, glancing at the pale-faced photographer beside him.

"Okay," Lex agreed, though it didn't sound all right with him. "But if you don't call back within the hour, I'm sending out the National Guard."




The newsroom came stuttering to a halt as Lex Luthor stepped out of the elevator at the Daily Planet. Secret Service Agents fanned out as Lex approached the nearest person, a perky-looking blond wearing a colorful fisherman's hat. "Can you tell me where Clark Kent is?"

Molly juggled the items in her arms, lifted a hand, and pointed towards the stairs to the Senior Editors' offices. "He- he's under the stairs, Mr.- Mr. President," she stuttered.

"Thanks," he said. "Nice hat."

Molly giggled bashfully.

Lex wound his way through the unorganized clutter of desks towards the steps. It was 2:30 PM on a Thursday afternoon and very few desks were unoccupied. The reporters, pages, and interns stared in surprised curiosity or awe.

Lex was a bit surprised at himself, too. He never expected he would tell Charlene to cancel his afternoon, get on Air Force One, and fly to Metropolis without there being an emergency. However, after spending the morning fretting over what Clark had told him on the phone about what had happened the night before, Lex had given up the pretense of working, put love over duty, and now he was in Metropolis to see with his own eyes that Clark was all right.

"Oui. Oui. Il est quelque chose que..." Lex came to a stop beside Clark's work area and his brows climbed at the flow of perfect French coming from Clark. Clark was on his hands and knees under the desk and all that was visible were his legs and backside. Lex didn't hesitate in admiring the view.

A hand emerged and groped for something on the extremely messy surface of the desk. Thick fingers closed around a small Phillips screwdriver and disappeared beneath the desk again. The French continued.

The other reporters in the newsroom returned partially to work, keeping one eye on Lex. Tom, Lex's personal Secret Service Agent, gave Lex an irritated, pointed look. The building became less and less secure the longer Lex was at the Daily Planet, though the reporters wouldn't spread the word that he was there. He would, however, undoubtedly be the subject of a Daily Planet exclusive news story.

Lex lightly kicked Clark's leg, avoiding the temptation to pinch the wiggling, taut ass. Clark jumped, startled, the desk echoing when he smacked his head. He emerged wearing a scowl, cell phone in one hand and screwdriver in the other, his glasses at the very end of his nose. When he saw Lex, his face lit up immediately. "Lex!"

The overenthusiastic, gushing exclamation of Lex's name made him feel like the king of the world. His Presidential facade was washed away by pure happiness and love for Clark.

"Jean-Claude, je dois aller," Clark said into the phone, grinning like a giddy fool at Lex. He laughed at something Jean-Claude said. "Oui, I will. Au revoir." He terminated the call and tossed the phone and the screwdriver on his desk as he climbed to his feet.

"Hi!" Clark bubbled like a puppy, shoving his glasses back up his nose. "This is a surprise! What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to make sure you were really okay," Lex admitted without pause. He started to reach out to touch Clark, but reminded himself that they were in a newspaper office and dropped his hand again.

Clark's expression softened. "I'm fine, Lex."

Abruptly, his head whipped to the right and his scowl returned. "Jimmy!"

Across the sea of desks, Jimmy Olson lowered his camera. He smiled cockily and took off at a fast clip out of the bullpen.

Clark groaned, rubbing his forehead. "We're front page news for sure, with Jimmy's pictures."

"Can we get out of here, then? Your place would be fine." Lex's brows furrowed slightly. "You know, we've been dating for six months and I have no idea where in Metropolis you live."

"Um..." Clark scratched his ear. "It's not a very good neighborhood. I wouldn't advise us taking your limo or whatever car you came in. Maybe we should just go to your old place."

"No. Now you have me curious. I definitely want to see where you live," Lex stated unbudgingly.

"Okay," Clark shrugged. He slid on his overcoat and picked up his cell phone. "I guess we'll take my car. It's pretty much tanked now, anyway. If it gets stripped, it doesn't really matter."

Clark's cell phone began vibrating and he answered the call as they headed for the elevator. Tom and two other agents joined Lex in the building's lift. While Clark continued talking on the phone to Lois Lane, an argument ensued between Lex and Tom on the way to the parking garage. In the end, Lex was the boss, and he was going to Clark's house in Clark's car, and that was that.

Or that was that, until Lex saw Clark's car. He sucked in a sharp breath, staring at the bullet holes peppering the rear of the blue four-door sedan.

"It might be a little windy," Clark warned, opening the car door without needing to unlock it. Layers of Saran-wrap were taped over the driver's side window. "Lex, you should probably sit in the back."

Lex slowly rounded the vehicle, his eyes growing even wider when he saw the two bullet holes in the passenger side window. The spray of cracked holes decorating the windshield made him pale in horror. "Clark..."

"Hey, I'm all right," Clark reassured, quickly circling the vehicle to Lex's side. He slid a hand around the back of Lex's neck and touched their foreheads together. The Secret Service Agents were, as usual, ignored.

"How did you..." Lex couldn't finish his question, but Clark answered anyway.

"I ducked. They missed. End of story."

Lex swallowed around the knot of emotion choking him. "How far is it to your place?"

"Twenty minutes."

"Let's go," Lex said thickly. "Now."

The drive was made in tense silence. Tom sat in front with Clark, while the other two agents sat in the backseat on either side of Lex. Lex couldn't stop staring at the bullet holes in the windshield, his stomach churning in nausea. From the way Clark made it sound on the phone, Lex had though perhaps one or two shots had been fired, not this.

"We're here." Clark parked the car on a block with rundown buildings. Lex didn't recognize the neighborhood from the glimpse he saw as he was rushed into one of the six-story complexes.

The smell of stale cigarettes, mold, and garbage immediately hit Lex. Clark led the way up four flights of barely illuminated stairs and down a disgustingly stained hallway. There were eight apartments per floor, and televisions and shouting could be heard coming from behind each of the closed multi-locked doors.

Clark stopped before the last door on the left and unlocked it. He hesitated a moment, a flash of worry crossing his face, before opening the door. "Well, this is it," he said, entering the apartment, followed by Tom and Lex. He bent and quickly picked up some brightly colored clothing off the floor.

Tom pushed past Clark, ignoring his protest, and began a search of the living room. The other two agents positioned themselves outside the door. One of them called the President's driver, informed him of their location, and instructed him to drive around the area.

Clark ducked down a short hall and into the bedroom on the right. He emerged a few seconds later, sans bright clothing and overcoat. He crossed to the bathroom on the left side of the hall. Tom went to search the bedroom.

Lex stood in the front doorway, just inside the apartment. He was supposed to wait for Tom's "all clear" before venturing further inside, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to fully enter.

Clark Kent lived in a pigsty. There was junk everywhere. Lex couldn't see any visible grime or garbage, but the sheer amount of stuff in the tiny apartment, as far as Lex could see, was unreal. Boxes were piled on top of one another, some open and spilling out their contents. Clothing was strewn all over. Books and papers were balanced precariously in towering piles. Cleaning supplies, thankfully obviously used, were shoved in a corner just inside the open kitchen entryway. What looked to be a diorama of a disco club with a roach motel in the center was on the kitchen floor across from the refrigerator.

Tom returned, indicating Lex could enter. He positioned himself in the kitchen after conferring with the two other agents and closing the front door. Lex stepped carefully into the living room as Clark rejoined him.

"Sorry about the mess," Clark apologized, cleaning off the ratty green couch. "I rarely have company and I'm almost never here, except to sleep. I'm too busy working."

Lex sat warily on the edge of the sofa. He glanced around and grimaced. "Clark, just admit it, you're a slob."

Lopsided grin. "Well, maybe," Clark said, sitting beside Lex. He pushed up his glasses. "Though, I really am a workaholic."

"And that almost got you killed."

"I wasn't--" Clark was cut off by Lex's mouth covering his. Lex fisted a hand in Clark's hair, his lips moving over Clark's without finesse, fueled by raw emotion. He poured his anxiety, fear, and relief that Clark was truly unharmed into the kiss.

He was breathing heavily when he broke away. Eyes closed, he rested his forehead against Clark's, fingers stroking through the back of Clark's hair. "I love you, Clark, and I don't want to lose you," he said gruffly. "Promise me you'll be more careful."

"I am. I will." Clark's hands ran up and down Lex's sides, under his black coat. "And I l--"

"Mr. Kent." Tom's abrupt interruption startled both men and they jerked apart. "There's a Ricky Marino here to see you."

In the years Lex had known Clark, he rarely saw Clark get angry. It unnerved Lex to watch the black emotion wash over Clark's face and he felt very glad it wasn't directed at him.

Clark was off the couch and out the door in a flash. Lex leaned over the arm of the sofa to see Clark pin an olive-skinned, long-maned model-type man high against the hallway wall, gripping him by the front of his shirt. Clark's voice was loud and furious, and undoubtedly heard throughout the apartment complex.

"Ricky, sei uno stronzo! Mi volevi fare ammazzare!"

"Dai, amore-- " Ricky began. Clark cut him off.

"L'hai vista la macchina parcheggiata qua davanti che pare del formaggio svizzero? Io e Jimmy erevano nella macchina quando e' successo! Per poco ci ammazzavano a tutte e due!"

It took Lex a moment to figure out that Clark was speaking Italian. Fluently. How many languages did he know?

"Dimmi perche' non dovrei buttarti dalla finestra, Ricky?" Clark snarled.

"Perche' mi ami?"

"Sbagliato." Clark lowered Ricky to the ground, only to put him in a headlock and drag him into the apartment and over to the living room window. Clark slid the window open. Ricky squawked.

Tom positioned himself behind Lex, one hand on his holster. Lex continued to watch, fascinated by the change in Clark, even though he slightly understood what was going on.

"Gioa, no!" Ricky cried. "Non ho fatto niente! Ti ho detto quello che mi ha detto Antonio, ne piu' ne meno!!!"

"Antonio?"

"Si, Antonio, il mio amante. Ex-amante. Muove la droga per Illiana."

Clark abruptly released Ricky, who staggered and coughed. "You'd better not be lying."

"Mai, amore."

Clark snorted and closed the window. Ricky smoothed back his long, dark hair. He suddenly noticed Lex and Tom, and his black eyes widened. "Excuse me, I did not see you before, sir."

Clark swatted Ricky across the back of the head as he passed. He settled on the couch beside Lex, laying a hand on Lex's leg. "Ricky, I believe you know the President."

"I have seen pictures, yes," Ricky replied. He looked down, brushing off his shirt, and added under his breath, "Non e' tanto bono di persona."

Clark heard him. "I can still throw you out the window."

Ricky's gaze shot to Clark and he held up his hands. "Scusa. Scusa."

"What are you doing here, anyway?"

"I came for payment," Ricky replied. When Clark made a threatening move to rise, he added hastily, "Which I do not deserve, as my information was bad."

The pieces fell into place. "This is the person who almost got you killed," Lex said, his own anger swiftly mounting. "Tom-- shoot him."

Ricky squeaked. Clark chuckled darkly. "As much as that would entertain me, I need him alive. He's going to take me to see Antonio."

"Wait a minute," Lex said to Clark. "My Italian may be rusty, but isn't Antonio the one who fed information to this guy?" He jerked a thumb at Ricky. "The same information that gave you center seats to the bullet ballet?"

"Yeah?" Clark replied questioningly.

"You don't think that's a very stupid idea?"

"It's my job, Lex," Clark said, sounding miffed.

"No, it's not your job," Lex stated hotly. "The police should be arresting Ricky and this Antonio for attempted murder."

Ricky began inching towards the front door. Tom blocked his path.

"It's not worth MPD's time to investigate, especially since no one was hurt," Clark said. "Besides, I want to know why Illiana set me up, and the way to Illiana is through Antonio."

"Don't you even care that these people tried to kill you last night?" Lex asked incredulously.

"Yes, and that's why Ricky's taking me to Antonio."

"Unbelievable." Lex stood abruptly, hands clenching. "I just told you that I don't want to lose you and you're purposely going to put yourself in danger."

"I'll be careful, Lex," Clark said, trying to speak calmly. "But it's my job--"

"Then quit!"

Clark blinked, rising to his feet. "You don't mean that. You know I love being a reporter."

"Obviously more than you love your life," Lex said tightly. "And obviously more than you care for me."

"Lex--"

"I'm not going to give you an ultimatum, though I very much want to," Lex stared hard at Clark, "but if you die chasing a story, I will hate you forever."

Without letting Clark reply, he turned on his heel and stalked around the couch towards the door. "Let's go, Tom."

Tom gave Ricky and Clark a withering glare and followed the President. The door shook on its hinges as it slammed shut.





Part Six





Clark didn't run after Lex, though he wanted to use his superspeed to reach Lex before he even left the building. Logic, however, reared its ugly head, pointing out Ricky's presence, along with the presence of the Secret Service Agents surrounding Lex. By the time Clark made it onto the street, apartment door locked and Ricky in tow, the President's black sedan was almost out of sight.

"You will take me to Antonio when I get back," Clark told Ricky, before hopping into his car and speeding after Lex.

He caught up and followed Lex's vehicle to LuthorCorp Towers. Luckily, Clark's car was easily recognizable with the bullet holes, or he doubted he would have been able to tail Lex.

The expression on Lex's face warned Clark not to cause a scene -- not that he would -- as they made their way from the underground parking garage to Lex's apartment.

The luxury apartment was on the twenty-second floor of the high-rise, taking up one half of the floor level. Lex tolerated heights, but he preferred to avoid them if possible. The tewenty-second floor was the first level of residences in the Metropolis skyscraper.

Tom searched the apartment before allowing Lex and Clark inside. Clark indicated with a look that he wanted privacy and Lex led the way to the master bedroom. Clark closed the door behind them.

The master bedroom was starkly beige and modern, resembling a boardroom with a king-sized bed instead of a table. A line of sliding windows ran the length of the room, doubtfully ever opened in the climate-controlled apartment.

Lex tossed his black overcoat onto the bed, walked over to the single chest of drawers, and poured a drink from an array of bottles on the dresser.

Clark removed his glasses, tucked them in the breast pocket of his suit coat, crossed his arms, and leaned back against the closed bedroom door. "Can we skip the romance novel cliché where we don't talk for weeks and avoid each other, until we run into one another someplace and realize how stupid we've been?"

"You read romances?" Lex snorted derisively.

"Shut up."

"Kind of hard to skip the cliché, then."

Clark growled an obscenity, pushed off the door, and crossed to Lex. He plucked the glass from Lex's hand, set it on the dresser, grabbed him by the shoulders, and forced him to sit on the edge of the bed.

"Now, the truth," Clark said, ignoring Lex's annoyed glare. "Does my job really bother you that much?"

Lex's lips compressed in a thin line. It took him close to a minute to answer. "Yes."

"Why?" Clark asked, gingerly squeezing Lex's shoulders. "Your position puts your life in danger on a daily basis."

"But I don't go seeking danger," Lex said pointedly, a hint of fear for Clark reflecting in his eyes.

Clark lowered himself to his knees, sliding his hands down Lex's arms. He grasped Lex's hands, looking up at him with devotion. "Lex, I love you, and I want to spend my lifetime loving you."

Astonishment crept across Lex's features. "Are you... proposing to me?"

"No," Clark said, frowning slightly. "Well, maybe, but that part doesn't come yet. First, I have something important to tell you."

Concern and confusion appeared in Lex's eyes and Clark lowered his gaze. He focused on the pale hands trapped between his own. "There are three people on Earth who know this, Lex: my parents and myself. And I planned on telling only one more person: the person I committed myself to," he began.

"Clark," Lex uttered his name, squeezing Clark's hands, voice thick with emotion.

"You could destroy me, Lex," Clark said, raising his head, eyes conveying every fear. "Clark Kent would no longer exist and my parents' lives would be in constant jeopardy."

"If you're trying to tell me you've been infected by the meteors in Smallville, I won't be surprised, Clark," Lex said gently.

Clark shook his head. "It's a little bigger than that. I--"

A sharp rap on the bedroom door startled them both. The door was opened slightly and Tom spoke through the crack. "Mr. President, you have a Code One Priority call on the sat-phone."

Lex cursed. Immediately, Clark moved, and Lex left the bedroom quickly.

Rising to his feet, Clark dragged a hand through his dark locks and blew out a puff of air. He hadn't expected to confess his origins today. It felt almost like a knee-jerk reaction to their argument, which perhaps it was, but obviously Lex feared for Clark's life in association with his job, though Lex wouldn't force him to quit. Clark loved him all the more for that.

There wasn't any particular eureka moment when Clark realized he was in love with Lex Luthor. It just sort of happened gradually and now Clark couldn't imagine his life without Lex in it. He never thought to say, "Oh, yeah, by the way, Lex, I love you," but that could be attributed to being a male. He assumed Lex knew by his deeds and actions, just like he knew Lex loved him the same way.

Clark had thought about telling Lex that he was an alien; a Kryptonian, in fact, which he discovered over the summer after his first year of Junior College. Clark had decoded the tablet that had arrived with him on Earth and spent the summer at his new Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic, learning about his origins. He even had a different name, Kal-El, but that didn't sit right with him. He had grown up as Clark Kent and he would remain Clark Kent, unless Lex used his secret against him.

Clark was willing to take the chance that Lex would not hurt him, but he would have liked to talk with his parents first since they were also at risk. Although, he knew what they would say: his father would have been against it simply because of Lex's last name and his mom would be the voice of reason.

"Clark," Lex strode back into the room, his expression grim, "I need you to call Lois and find out if she knows how to get in touch with Superman."

Clark blinked slowly. An ironic smile twisted his lips. "That won't be necessary."

"You can summon him?" Lex asked with hope.

"I don't have to. As I was about to tell you, he's standing right in front of you."

Pause. "You're Superman."

"Yes."

Lex appeared confused and disbelieving. "I don't--"

Clark's outer clothes were gone in a flash. He stood before Lex in full costume, cape fluttering as it settled around him, and asked in a no-nonsense tone, "What's the emergency?"

Wide-eyed, Lex replied with stupefaction, "A NASA shuttle bounced re-entry and they're now on a direct collision course with Charleston, South Carolina."

"How long?"

Lex glanced at his watch. "Six minutes."

Clark nodded decisively. A split second later, he opened the window, popped out the screen, and was flying at superspeed to meet the shuttle.








Lex sat on the edge of the bed, holding his sat-phone, staring blankly at the open window across from him. After telling those he needed to that Superman was on his way, he had retreated to the bedroom again, to try and fathom what he'd just learned.

Clark Kent was Superman.

Clark -- his Clark -- the geeky, sometimes bumbling ex-farmboy, who thought Chinese take-out was a delicacy and sang TV theme songs off-key in the shower, was Superman, the cool, composed, and confident savior of Earth. Lex Luthor was in love with an alien.

A stray giggle escaped. It was like a tabloid headline come true. "President dates Kryptonian," or, better yet, "President in love triangle with Superman and Clark Kent."

Well, at least there was one benefit: Lex didn't have to worry anymore about Clark getting hurt on the job.

Another giggle, bordering on hysteric. Clark's secret was a teensy bit larger than being a Smallville meteor mutant, like Lex had suspected for years. Superman was Clark Kent. Clark Kent was not human. Lex had been lied to all these years, every time he asked for the truth. So, what was he going to do?

"Marry him," Lex whispered to himself. "I'm going to marry him."

After all, that's why he had the law changed. He wanted to commit himself, legally and publicly, to the boy he'd loved for more than a decade. In a nation of divorce, he wanted to be one of those couples who made it to Happily Ever After, and he couldn't picture being with anyone else but Clark, even if he sprouted antennae and began quacking like a duck.

"I'm a romantic fool," Lex sighed effusively. He dialed Kellett's direct number on the sat-phone.

"Kellett McBride."

"Kel, this is the President. How are you at writing engagement announcements?"

A light knock on the window preceded a rosy-cheeked Superman sticking his head into the bedroom. "Am I still welcome?" he asked nervously, quite uncharacteristic for the Man of Steel, but very much Clark.

Lex's smile answered better than words. He partially covered the phone receiver. "You're just in time, Clark. What do you think our marriage banns should say?"

Clark fully entered the room, closing the window behind him. He walked over to the bedroom door, closed and locked it, leaned back against it, apparently casual, and asked, "Are you proposing to me?"

"If the answer is yes, then I am." Lex propped a leg on the bed, turning so he could see Clark. He uncovered the receiver. "Kel, I'll call you later." He disconnected, tossed the sat-phone on the bed beside him, and looked expectantly at Clark. "Well?"

Clark was suddenly in front of him, cape snapping, wearing a smile so bright it could rival the sun. "Yes... but only if I get the keys to the Lamborghini."

Lex leaned past Clark, opened the nightstand drawer, pushed aside a few adult magazines, and removed a set of car keys. He dangled them enticingly. "You mean these keys?"

Clark's brows arched. "You keep your car keys in the same drawer as your porn?"

"They're for the Lamborghini, Clark, of course they're kept with the porn."

"Right. Silly me." Clark snatched they keys, cupped the back of Lex's skull with his other hand, and kissed him long and hard.

"We need... to talk...," Lex panted when Clark broke the kiss, arching his neck as Clark sucked and nibbled along his jaw.

"Abow wa?" Clark mumbled against Lex's skin.

"You, me... Superman." Lex tugged at the collar of Clark's costume as Clark latched on to Lex's earlobe. "This god-awful costume."

Clark leaned back. "I like my costume."

"Clark, it's..." Lex fumbled for a descriptive, eyeing the extra-bright uniform. "Faggy."

Clark chortled. "If the cape fits..."

Lex shoved playfully at him. Snickering, Clark moved to where his discarded slacks lay and put the Lamborghini keys in the pocket. He went still abruptly, trousers dangling from his fingers, and whispered in wonder, "I'm going to be the First Husband."

"Yes, you are." Lex had to smile at that. "Although, it's going to create all sorts of problems, what with you being Queen of the Sky."

Clark dropped the slacks without regard, a puzzled frown furrowing his brows. "You don't seem too concerned that I'm--"

"Color blind?"

"--not human," Clark finished, giving him a non-humored look.

Lex shrugged. "I already thought you were a meteor mutant and that you were afraid to tell me. Alien isn't too hard for me to wrap my mind around."

"So, you still... love me?"

"I gave you the keys to the Lamborghini, didn't I?"

Clark didn't laugh at the joke. "You gave me a truck when I saved your life."

"Clark, it's a Lamborghini," Lex said. "She's worth much more than my life." He held up his hands when Clark went to speak, answering his protest before it was voiced. "No, I'm not trying to buy your love. Love is something to be given and received freely." Lex smiled fondly. "You taught me that."

Clark sat down beside him on the edge of the bed and sighed. "I'm making this into a bigger deal than it is, aren't I?"

"No, it is a big deal," Lex said, laying his hand on Clark's thigh. "But as an alien, you out-human the humans. And I've been in love with you for a very long time."

"How long is very long?" Clark asked curiously.

A corner of Lex's mouth curled up in self-deprecation. "Since your senior year in high school."

"Wow."

"Pretty sad, huh?"

"No." Clark curved his hand around the back of Lex's head, moving in for a kiss. "It's pretty amazing, pretty wonderful, and pretty dang special."

Clark covered Lex's mouth with his and Lex vanished in the kiss. He opened under Clark's tender assault, feeling the emotions conveyed down to his toes. The slow, tangled dance of their tongues, however, was not long in igniting their passions. They fumbled with each other's clothes until Lex got frustrated and Clark took matters at his own speed. Lex felt motion sick, but then Clark was doing things between his bare thighs, and it was all good.

Curled together afterwards, sated and warm beneath the sheets, Lex murmured a question that had been nagging him. "How many languages do you speak?"

"Uh... 392."

"Fluently?"

"Yeah."

Lex yawned and snuggled closer. "I guess I'll never need an interpreter at functions."

Clark chuckled, kissed the top of Lex's head, and began telling Lex about his former home in the stars, until they both succumbed to sleep.



Epilogue



Both men wore white tuxedos, after months of mock-arguing over who got to be the bride. Brad was the Best Man and Veranda was the Matron of Honor. Lionel Luthor sat alone in the front row, opposite Jonathan and Martha Kent. Hundreds of reporters flocked around the White House, but the only three invited to the ceremony were Lois, Jimmy, and Perry White. Ricky Marino, invited both because of his invaluable assistance in bringing down Illiana and because he begged to come until Clark gave in, sobbed loudly the entire time.

The Wedding of the Century, as it had been dubbed by the press, went off with only a minor glitch with the music. Before family, friends, and political dignitaries from all over the world, Clark Kent and Lex Luthor promised to love, honor, and cherish each other throughout the lifetime ahead, and were united in marriage under the eyes of the law.

The reception was held outdoors, under white canopy tents on the back lawn of the White House, on the beautiful early summer day. Guests laughed, ate, danced, and enjoyed the celebration of love. At one point, Lionel gave a toast that had Lex choked up, squeezing Clark's hand tightly under the table.

"To my son, who I'm surprisingly proud of," Lionel said, looking directly at Lex and holding his champagne glass aloft. "You knew what you wanted and made it happen, proving that you really are worthy to bear the Luthor name, after all."

After a honeymoon at Camp David, Lex returned to the White House, Clark went back to Metropolis, and the two workaholics continued to work as they had before they married. Superman, however, made a lot of nighttime visits to DC.

Years later, after two terms in office, Lex took full control of LuthorCorp International when his father retired, the perfect post-political job. Clark continued to work at the Daily Planet, winning several Pulitzer Prizes, and enjoyed having a spouse to go home to, who also paid extra to have the housekeeper pick up after him. Superman was still the superhero of the nation, even when he disappeared for three years at one point in time.

And Lena Ghini Kent-Luthor was born into the world, one bright Arctic morning, after a long, frightening, alien technology-induced pregnancy, squalling her head off and making both parents cry.

One day, she'd learn her middle name was an abbreviation for her comparable worth, and she'd think her two dads were strange for naming her after a car.

They would never tell her that it was also a reminder of where she'd been conceived.





End







"Ricky, you jerk! You set me up!"

"Now, dear--" Ricky began. Clark cut him off.

"Did you see the car out front that looked like Swiss cheese? Me and Jimmy were in that car when it happened! You almost got us killed!"

It took Lex a moment to figure out that Clark was speaking Italian. Fluently. How many languages did the boy know?

"Tell me why I shouldn't throw you out my window, Ricky?" Clark snarled.

"Because you love me?"

"Wrong answer." Clark lowered Ricky to the ground, only to put him in a headlock and drag him into the apartment and over to the living room window. Clark slid the window open. Ricky squawked.

Tom positioned himself behind Lex, one hand on his holster. Lex continued to watch, fascinated by the change in Clark, even though he only slightly understood what was going on.

"Baby, no!" Ricky cried. "I did nothing! I told you what Antonio said to me, that is all!"

"Antonio?"

"Yes, Antonio, my lover. Ex-lover. He is a drug runner for Illiana. This is all I know. I would never cause you harm!"

Clark abruptly released Ricky, who staggered and coughed. "You better not be lying."

"Never to you, my heart."

Clark snorted and closed the window. Ricky smoothed back his long, dark hair. He suddenly noticed Lex and Tom, and his black eyes widened. "Excuse me, I did not see you before, sir."

Clark swatted Ricky across the back of the head as he passed the Italian model. He settled on the couch beside Lex, laying a hand on the bald man's leg. "Ricky, I believe you know the President."

"I have seen pictures, yes," Ricky replied. He looked down, brushing off his shirt, and added under his breath, "He's not as good looking in person."

Clark heard him. "I can still throw you out the window."

Ricky's gaze shot to Clark and he held up his hands. "Sorry. Sorry."


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