"Superman is a true hero, and despite his origins, is an American of the first degree. It is my pride and pleasure to present Superman with the Key to the United States, so that he knows he will always be welcomed here."
Superman forced a smile as he shook the President's hand. It was ironic really, that the President would choose him to receive this award.
If only he knew the truth.
Cameras flashed as Superman gingerly accepted the plaque from the President. He looked down at the bulky wood and glass, and couldn't help but wince as he read the gold inlaid script.
"'Superman, A True American Hero"
There were many other people much more heroic than he. Fire fighters, police officers, doctors, they all helped people in need every day and without the benefit of super powers. Awards like this should be theirs.
When he had first been notified of the planned ceremony he had been uncertain. Superman didn't take accolades for doing what he saw to be his responsibility. He didn't seek acknowledgment for his deeds.
But he was more than just Superman. He was Clark too, and though sometimes his two sides almost seemed separate, in the end they were one man.
One man who needed to make a point.
Superman flashed a last smile at the President as he moved up to the podium to deliver his carefully prepared speech.
"Every man, woman, and child, has the potential to be a hero. This Key belongs to all of us. Parents, law enforcement workers, our men and women of the military... "
The President flashed him a thumbs up, as the speech continued.
It had been a long day for Lex. Sometimes being in charge of a large corporation made him feel like some kind of grand scale baby sitter. He wanted a long shower and to have a scotch or two. But mostly he wanted Clark. Or even better Clark with him in a long shower. Yes, that was certainly a good idea.
Lex hung his keys on the welcome home key-holder sign that hung above the table next to the door. Clark had insisted they buy the sign when they first moved in together, Lex had protested, but eventually he gave in. He couldn't deny Clark anything for long, and had known it at the time. He had mostly complained to make a statement, and not because he thought it would actually save him from the decor mistake. Somehow though, over time, the sign had actually come to represent a welcome. It reminded him of Clark, and of home.
"In here," came the subdued answer from deeper in the penthouse.
Lex took off his jacket and hung it in the closet. He had hoped Clark would be home. "Long day?" he inquired over his shoulder.
"You could say that," Clark answered distractedly. His quiet voice came from the living room, and was almost completely drowned out by the volume of the television playing in the same room.
"What's wrong?" Lex asked as he finally settled himself on the couch next to his lover.
Clark smiled reassuringly and silently pointed at the TV, which was tuned into CNN news.
"Today is National Coming Out Day, and all over the country gays, lesbians and bisexuals have congregated in marches and impromptu pride parades. Some have also organized protests against the forthcoming `National Marriage Protection Week', which according to a White House press release is to begin next week, only one day after the annual Mathew Shepard memorial."
"Clark..." Lex began.
"Wait." Clark cut Lex off, his hand reaching out to take Lex's, and a pleading expression on his face. "There's more."
"Earlier today, in Metropolis Kansas, Superman made an appearance at one such protest, only days after accepting an unprecedented `Key to the United States' from President Bush."
Lex stared in shock as he watched Clark on the television step up to the podium as Superman, much as he had weeks before when he had reluctantly accepted the Key to the United States.
"Every person deserves the right to love. It is a gift given to all of us. No one can live and say that they have not loved at least one person. And it is my heartfelt belief that love can only make us better.
Yet in this country that prides itself on individuality, and humanitarianism, many, including myself, are being sent a message that our love is tainted because of whom we bestow it upon.
Marriage is the embodiment of love among two consenting adults, and the right to marry should not be withheld from anyone based on whom they love.
Be it man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman. Each union is sacred, because each union is a reflection of love."
"Clark..." Lex said in complete shock. Such a proclamation would not have been surprising from Clark, but from Superman, it was a whole different matter.
"Let me get this right...You had Superman come out of the closet after receiving an award from the President basically stating that Superman is the ultimate American?"
"That's right." Clark answered simply, a small smile playing on his lips.
"How...very Luthor of you," Lex said with grudging pride, using the hand still in Clark's to pull him close.
"You think?" Clark whispered against Lex's lips before leaning forward to capture them in a soft kiss.
"Mmm..." Lex responded as he licked across the warm lips on his, "Yes, very...but not in the bad Luthor way," he joked.
"Good." Clark smiled as he pulled on Lex's tie, loosening it to expose more skin before kissing a trail down Lex's neck. Lex shivered in response. Even the simplest touches from Clark could set him on edge. But as much as he wanted that right now, he really needed to say something to Clark, before it got beyond the point where either man would be able to speak.
"Yes?" Clark said, pulling back to look at Lex, his green eyes wide and intense.
"What you did was right," Lex said honestly. He may have joked about the move being Luthoresque but he knew how important it was to Clark.
"I did it for you, for us," Clark whispered.
"Thank you," Lex said quietly, pulling Clark into his arms. "Thank you."
Also, why not join
Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?