Summary: Two of the world's most powerful men are reunited on a day in the future...
Categories: Second chances, Romance, Literary Challenge
Notes: Done for the Literary Challenge (see end notes for actual challenge)
(See the end of the work for more notes)
"Okay, out with it."
"What?" Superman looked innocently at his red spandex clad colleague.
Wally shot him a murderous look. "Gloat, man, gloat all you can."
A light smile graced the strong features. "I don't... gloat, Flash."
The Flash snorted. "Right."
Batman turned from the window. "You *do* gloat -- that look on your face says it all."
The eyes under the hood were nothing but narrow slits. "Yes, and the fact that we're here," the Dark Knight gestured at the room. "You may as well say 'told you so'."
Superman shrugged. "It was simply a fair guess."
Wally rolled his eyes. "Somehow I just can't believe there shouldn't be dirty work at play with this election, considering who won."
Eyes narrowing, Superman frowned. "So you judge him for his name and who he was, instead of the man he has become?"
"Come on, Superman, a man with a past like that? Disappears into small town life for a few years, comes back a changed man?"
"Stranger things have happened," was all the answer he got.
"Yes." Batman nodded slowly. "He is definitely a different man than he used to be, though what changed him, I have no idea."
Had he been anyone but the Man of Steel, Superman would have squirmed... or shuffled his feet.
A secret service agent opened the door. "Please, follow me, the President will see you now."
The three men didn't look at each other, but Batman and the Flash simple fell into step behind the man, with Superman bringing up the rear.
"Remind me again why the three of us are doing this?" Wally whispered.
"Hawk Girl and Wonder Woman are busy, our Martian and Green Lantern are currently somewhere in outer space -- busy as well. So we're stuck with it."
"Yeah, the only one pleased about being here is Supes..."
Superman chose to ignore the comment.
They were shown into the Oval Office and at first they thought no one was there, until a figure by the window turned around. "You may leave."
The agent hesitated.
And suddenly the face was so familiar that Superman felt the old well-known tightening in his chest.
With a smirk, the agent was dismissed. "I am surrounded by almost half of the Justice League -- I believe I'm more... safe than I've been for years." He turned his attention to the three men. "I am honored by your presence, gentlemen."
"Mr. President," Batman began, "we felt it our duty to pay our respect to the new President."
"Why, thank you, Batman -- I am deeply touched by this action. Believe me, I am most... impressed with your Brotherhood of...," Lex's eyes did a wide sweep and he was obviously looking at the brightly colored costumes and Batman's leather ensemble. "Power."
Batman shot him a suspicious look, the Flash looked slightly confused and Superman's stone face was perfectly civil.
Except on the inside, Clark Kent was torn between being annoyed and laughing out loud. There were things that never changed. Not that Lex was really trying to be rude -- it was simple the way he was around most people. Diplomatic, correct and still, he always managed to make you feel like there was a joke somewhere that he and no one else got.
A few more pleasantries were exchanged and Superman could see his colleagues were just waiting for the first opportunity to get out. Handshakes were exchanged and the three heroes turned to leave, as the President cleared his throat. "Superman, may I have a word with you in private?"
Superman gave the two other men a raised eyebrow, motioning for them to go ahead and leave. "Sir?" The door closed behind black leather and red spandex.
Two of the worlds most powerful men stood in silence, watching each other.
Then the Man of Steel disappeared as a tentative smile spread on the stoic face. "You've come a long way... Mr. Luthor."
"Thank you... Superman."
Clark broke their locked gazes and went to the large desk, picking up the issue of the Daily Planet. He didn't really have to look at it -- he knew what he was holding, dated July 1st, 2010 -- the current date.
Lex went to stand next to him. "Thank you for the kind words."
"I..." It wasn't like he harbored any illusions thinking that Lex didn't know who he was. "I had no reason to write otherwise."
Lex shook his head. "I'll never understand you... Clark. I pushed you away until even our correspondence ended."
"I'm sure you had your reasons, but..."
Clark didn't continue.
Lex sighed deeply. "I was... getting too close to you and you to me. Had we stayed close friends, I would have either become dependent upon you or destroyed you... or both." Lex took the paper, but didn't seem to be looking at it. "I got away from my father, stopped being dependent upon him and our name as I left Smallville -- I couldn't afford using you as an... emotional crutch."
"I thought it might have been something like that," Clark replied dryly.
Lex looked at him with a little surprise. "You've grown to be a remarkable man, Clark." His voice was soft.
"Thank you, Lex -- you're not so bad yourself."
"I'm still amazed that you seem to hold no grudge against me."
"I... I did in the beginning. I... I missed you, hated you for leaving, then started blaming myself for it."
"Whoa, no Clark, it was never your fault. But what I had to do, I had to do alone."
"I know... and I realize now that it benefited me as well -- we wouldn't be... us, where we are now, if we hadn't parted back then."
They stood in silence and somehow Lex allowed Clark to pull him into a light embrace.
"I missed you too, Clark." Lex rested his head on Clark's shoulder. "Our paths divided in the past, think we can keep them in the same direction for a while?"
"Are you sure?"
"No, but I'd like to give it a try."
Clark nodded. "I still don't think I should have told you how I felt that night."
"No, Clark, it's okay -- like I said back then, we weren't meant to be together."
"Yeah, I'm just glad you forgave me that little... misstep."
Lex snorted. "Seriously, Clark, if you hadn't backed down as quickly as you did, I would have caved and just jumped you."
"Oh yeah -- I've wanted to do that since the day you returned the truck."
Clark laughed lightly. "Wow."
"Yeah, I know."
"Remember that night?"
A deep sigh. "Like it was yesterday."
"We were hiding from your father, in the garden."
"Behind the large cluster of Bamboo, yes -- I remember."
Clark smiled as Lex finally pulled back and looked up at him. "It's in bloom this summer."
"Yeah, which means it'll die afterwards."
"I'd love to see it one last time before it disappears -- I have fond memories of that night."
"Yeah..." Lex sounded like he was light years away.
"I don't think the Secret Service would be too thrilled about you disappearing to Smallville, even for a short visit."
"You're right, but that doesn't mean..." Lex went to his desk and pushed a button the speaker system. "Miss Jones, how does my schedule for the coming weekend look?" The answer was muffled. "Postpone the dinner with my father -- I'm sure he'll understand that things... can get in the way. Yes, I'll be going... home this Sunday, for a short visit -- make sure everything's ready for it and notify the Secret Service."
Clark put his hand on Lex's arm. "Come to dinner?" he whispered.
Lex disconnected and turned to Clark again. "Are you serious?"
"Of course!" Clark grinned broadly. "My parents would love it."
"Even your dad?"
Clark leaned forward. "Let me tell you a secret, Lex, my dad voted for you." He laughed at the surprised look on Lex's face. "Just don't tell him I told you."
Lex couldn't help answering the smile. Then he nodded. "I'd love to, Clark."
Clark took the chance, leaned in and pressed his lips lightly to Lex's.
"Promise me something, Clark?"
"We won't just disappear like the bamboo?"
"Never -- stuff of legend, remember?"
Lex grinned. "And... um..."
"No spandex on Sunday, please?"