Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: CLex (Clark/Lex)
Challenge/Prompt: clexmas True Love Fest: Day Seven: Wish
Word Count: 1,338
Date Written: 13 February 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
Clark tries to focus on a spot way beyond the crowd. He may save these people day after day, and never regret doing so, but he still doesn't feel comfortable standing in front of them. He can hear Lex's voice in his mind now, warning him that they're like a sea full of sharks, just waiting to sniff out the first hint of blood or weakness before beginning a feeding frenzy. He's lived with Lex long enough now, too, to know that Lex isn't making this up. His lover is constantly hounded by civilians and press alike.
"Yes, Miss Lane," he answers the reporter's question, "I'm very eager to meet this young man. What did you say his name is again?"
"Alex Underwood," Lois speaks into her microphone. "Come on down, Alex!"
She shrugs as Clark shoots her a glance as if to ask, Really? This isn't a game show.
I'm new to this, too, her eyes remind him. They're both new to this, and even Lois isn't as comfortable today as she normally is in front of an audience, but they're here for a good cause. They're all here for a good cause, Clark reminds himself, including the people gathered before them.
He notices two men wearing identical suits part as a young child walks forward. His big eyes are glued on Clark, who kneels down on the stage as he approaches. "Hi," he tells the boy. "I'm -- "
"Superman!" Beaming, the kid races into his hero's strong arms.
Clark picks him up gently. The boy seems so bright and eager to be as sick as he is.
"Alex," Lois says, speaking into her microphone again, "when you were asked to make your wish, you said there were two people you wanted to meet more than anything else in the world. Why did you choose Superman?"
"Everybody knows why I chose Superman," Alex says, not afraid to speak right into the mike. "He's everybody's favorite hero."
"But the other man you chose," Lois continues, "is some one very much different from Superman."
"He's not that different," the boy protests, causing Lois to frown in puzzlement. "They're more alike than anybody knows, and he's not really that much of a bad guy. He's helped a lot of people before."
"Most people believe that the things Mister Luthor have done to help others are, in truth, to help himself."
Now Alex looks puzzled. "Don't you grown ups know anything?"
"Alex!" one of the men on the far side of the stage hisses. The other man, Superman notes, has a silly grin on his well-groomed face.
"It's okay, Dad," Alex says, looking at the man, "but really, they should know better!" He looks back to Lois. "You don't help somebody to help yourself! You help them to help them!"
The other man, the one standing beside the one Alex called Dad, smiles. "That's my boy." Superman's superior hearing picks up his whisper.
"At any rate," Lois says, glancing in confusion at the child, "here is Mister Lex Luthor." She politely joins the crowd's applause. Superman would clap as well, if his hands weren't full of the boy.
Alex grins as Lex approaches. To the outside world, the business tycoon appears calm and collected, but Clark sees the truth in his eyes. Lex is more nervous approaching this one, small child than he's ever seen him before. He has to bite his bottom lip to keep from telling him it's okay. He remembers their debate earlier and knows well that Lex is only here now because he convinced him to come. Like the crowd, he doesn't understand why the boy has chosen him.
But like the smooth public figure he is, Lex extends his hand to Alex with a bright smile the moment he reaches them. "Thank you for asking to meet with me, Mister Underwood."
The kid laughs -- a beautiful sound, Clark thinks -- and takes Lex's hand in his. "It's okay, Mister Luthor. You can call me Alex."
As they shake hands, Lex tells him with a growing grin, "Only if you call me Lex, Alex. Is that why you wanted to meet?" he questions more softly. "Our names are so similar."
Alex giggles. "You're funny! No," he answers a moment later, growing more serious, "I wanted to meet you because of all the good work you do. I know you're working on those fancy robots to protect us all from alien invasion."
Laughter rings through the crowd, but Lex, Superman, and even Alex all ignore it. "Would you like to see those robots, Alex?" Lex asks.
"I'm sure we all would, Mister Luthor," Lois speaks up and into her microphone.
"I wasn't asking the press, Miss Lane. I was asking my young friend here."
"Boy, would I! And give him a break, Miss Lane! He's a good guy!"
More laughter resounds. Even Lex has to grin in a self-depreciating gesture. "I don't think any one's ever called me that before, Alex," he murmurs gently, but Lois' microphone, pointed as always to catch the juiciest tidbits, picks up his sentence as clear as daylight. The continued laughter burns Lex's high cheekbones.
"It's okay, Mister Luthor. It doesn't matter what they think. What matters is the truth."
Superman nods. "You're right about that, Alex."
"Yes, but the truth is . . . "
A quick shot of Superman's heat vision behind the podium melts the cord to Lois' microphone, silencing the rest of her words about Lex. The four of them can hear her as can, Superman suspects, Alex's father and his friend, but they're the only ones. "May I go with you to see those robots?" Superman asks Lex, raising his voice so all can hear.
"Yes, Superman," Lex answers without hesitation, surprising the crowd, "you may."
They start to leave the stage together, Superman still carrying Alex, and are met by the two men wearing identical suits. "Thank you," Alex's father's friend speaks first, extending his hand to Lex.
Lex looks at the offered hand in surprise but then shakes it warmly. "You're quite welcome. I've . . . never met any one quite like our young friend here."
Alex laughs. "That's not my friend," he says. "That's my Dad!"
"I thought you said he was your dad?" Clark asks, indicating the other man in confusion.
"He is! They're both my Dads!"
"Oh," Superman comments, unable to hide his surprise.
Lex smiles as he looks at the other men. "I see where Alex gets his good taste from."
"Thank you," the second man says again.
The first man clears his throat. "Thank you, both," he says, "for doing this."
"It's our pleasure," Superman answers before Lex can.
"I'm Bernard." The first man extends his hand to Lex, who shakes it this time without hesitation. "And this is my husband, Timothy."
"Don't they look good together?" Alex asks, beaming and surprising all four adults.
"Alex!" Bernard scolds.
"It's okay." Clark grins and shrugs. "You do look good together."
"You two look good together, too," Alex says, indicating Superman and Lex.
Superman's mouth opens. His lips works, but no sound emits.
Lex looks over in surprise, also stunned silent.
"Alex!" Bernard scolds. "How many times do we have to tell you that not every one is like us?!"
"That's okay, Dad. Being different is a good thing."
Lex chuckles, warming to the child. "Being different is a good thing," he agrees, looking up at Superman but seeing the man he loves. "Mister Underwood," he continues, looking back at Bernard, "I'd like to discuss your child's care with you. I'd like to make certain he receives the very best care and all he needs."
This time, it's Bernard's mouth that works soundlessly.
"See?" Timmy asks, elbowing his beloved. "I told you to trust our boy's instincts."
"He really is a special child," Bernard agrees after a moment, his eyes misting over.
"Yes," Lex says, looking back over to the child who's seen what the rest of the world could have seen but refuses to witness. "Yes, he is, and we're going to help you get him better."