In the middle of a busy Starbucks, 40C outside, a ticket to see Looney Tunes in 1 and a half hours, a chocolate frappuccino, sausage roll, and a blank page of paper. This is the result. Fourth fic in the last week, I'm making up for lost time in the last 6 months of study! Hehehe...

 

Thanks to BobbieJo for betaing!! Any other mistakes, they're all mine! MINE! My precious... um... yeah.

 

Disclaimers: Not mine. So broke that I have to start selling my stuff. Instead of suing me, offer me a job instead, it's a good deed. ;)

 

Dec 2003

 

~ * ~

He Left At Dawn

by Genie Chua

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."

 

A chaotic chorus of "Mr. President" and "President Luthor" assaulted his ears the moment he stepped up to the podium.

 

He couldn't do it. Facing the press and the world this soon after...

 

"White tux or black?"

 

"For the Prime Minister's visit?"

 

"Yeah,"

 

"White. After all, why break tradition?" Clark's smile was infectious.

 

Lex didn't want to think about it. He wants to shove it aside and drink himself into oblivion, but he had a duty that demanded him not to. It was the whole point of this press conference.

 

He readied himself, waiting for the crowd to quiet down. They managed to do so after a few minutes.

 

"I'm sure everyone here today, as well as people all over the world, are well aware of what's been happening for the last four days." His voice was as steady as ever, not a hint of his current emotional state showing.

 

"What? Not even a kiss?" his lover teased.

 

"Oh, I dunno. It might offend the Prime Minister. Being British and all, didn't think they're that big on PDA," a playful retort.

 

"Come here you bastard. You're not going anywhere before I get my kiss."

 

"The reason I'm here today is not to make a speech, but to answer any questions you might have." He would've made a joke at this point under normal circumstances, but circumstances were far from normal. "Mr. Roberts," Lex indicated to the blond man in the second row. White House correspondent form the Daily Planet.

 

"Mr. President, is it true that Superman volunteered to go with the aliens?"

 

"Yes."

 

"He wasn't ordered then? As some of my sources suggest."

 

"Don't do it. I won't let you!"

 

"Lex, it's the only way."

 

"I'm the President, I'm ordering you not to!"

 

"I don't know who your sources are, Mr. Roberts, but they are wrong. I did not order Superman to go with the aliens." Lex bit out the words. At the corner of his eyes, he saw Martha Kent take a step closer towards him, a sign of support he desperately needed. "Ms. Jones." Lex pointed at another reporter.

 

"Mr. President, who exactly are the aliens and what did they want with Superman?"

 

"They are Kryptonians," Lex replied.

 

"Wasn't the planet Krypton destroyed when their sun went supernova?" Jones question was no doubt going through everyone else's mind.

 

"Yes. The home system of Krypton was annihilated, but years before that happened, they had managed to colonize another planet approximately five light years away from Krypton. These Kryptonians are the colonists."

 

"And what did they want with Superman?" Jones repeated her question.

 

"We require the knowledge he possess. We require him."

 

"You can have all the data you want, but we are not giving you Superman."

 

"We require the Last Son of Krypton."

 

"He's not the Last Son! You are all Kryptonians!"

 

"He is the last that was born on the Mother Planet. We require him."

 

"They wanted the knowledge passed on to Kal-El by his parents, and in turn, they did not want Earth to possess it. As for why, I don't know." But what the Kryptonians didn't know was that Lex already knew everything. Technologies years beyond any human scientist's imagination, ideologies, philosophy. Secrets that could build or ruin empires; Lex knew them all. "Miss Ling." New York Times.

 

"Mr. President, do you know what they're planning to do with Superman?"

 

A reasonable question, but one he didn't want to think about. "No." He answered truthfully, wishing otherwise. At least that way, his imagination wouldn't be working over time.

 

"As your arch-nemesis for so many years, are you pleased to see Superman gone?"

 

For the first time since he became President, the press room was eerily silent, anticipating.

 

Lex searched the room for the speaker, his anger barely contained. His eyes finally landed on Mike Thomas, a top name for one of the best selling sensationalist tabloid papers in the country. He was going to shoot whomever it was that issued the press pass to Thomas.

 

His touch was gentle on his skin. Loving as it has always been.

 

Lex dare not close his eyes, not wanting to miss a single precious second for what may be their last night together.

 

"How dare you," the voice of Martha Kent was quiet, but even the deaf could hear the rage in it. She walked up to the podium, standing beside Lex, her silver hair seem to glow under the light. The secret service agents knew better than to get into the way of the First Mother. "How dare you," she repeated, louder this time.

 

"Martha," Lex started, not wanting to make a scene in front of the entire world, but Martha Kent would have none of it.

 

"No, Lex." She was the only person now who'd called him by his first name. "You've sacrificed enough for this family over the years, not anymore. It's time that they know." With that, she turned to face the press and the cameras. "Most of you know that my son, President Luthor's life partner, Clark Kent, is a good friend of Superman's."

 

"Martha, please," he tried to get her to back down. What good would it do now to reveal a 25-year-old secret?

 

"You may have also noticed Clark's absence for the past couple of days," Martha continued, ignoring Lex. "That is because Clark is Superman." Lex could picture the shocked faces of people sitting in front of their television. Not a hard thing to do considering that everyone else in the room, barred for Vice-President Ross, had the same expression. "We have kept that secret for the last 25 years to protect Clark, to protect our family, from the eye of the media, and the people who would not hesitate to use us against Superman," Martha continued. "And through out the years, we as a family, have made sacrifices in order to keep this secret, but none more so than President Luthor." Lex wanted to tell her to stop, that it was enough, but his voice refused to co-operate. "He let the world think him a villain, an enemy against the world's beloved Superman, when the truth is he loved and cherished my son more than anyone in the world."

 

"That's a stupid plan." Clark was pouting.

 

"It's a brilliant plan," he countered.

 

"Of course you'd think it's brilliant, you came up with it. But it's a stupid plan."

 

"Come on Clark, the public knows that we're together. If we make Superman my enemy who keeps foiling my plan for world domination, no one would draw the connection between you and him. It's brilliant!"

 

"If it had been up to me, I would've locked Clark in a room with Kryptonite until the aliens leave, but Lex is stronger than I could ever be." No, he wasn't, he wanted to shout. He wasn't strong enough to go against the aliens, he wasn't smart enough to come up with another plan. All he did was let Clark leave with them. "And for the people of America, for the people of Earth, he sacrificed his greatest love. So to answer your question, Mr. Thomas, no. President Luthor is not pleased." Martha finished, her eyes burning holes into the now pale reporter.

 

"Don't do it. I won't let you!"

 

"Lex, it's the only way."

 

"I'm the President, I'm ordering you not to!"

 

"Lex --"

 

"I don't think I can go on without you." He held onto Clark, hoping, knowing. "I love you."

 

"Martha," Lex finally managed. She turned to face him and without a word, gathered him into a hug. He lowered his head to lean on her shoulder, receiving and lending support, finally letting his mask slipped. Conscious of their audience, Lex reluctantly disengaged himself from Martha's comforting embrace and face the press once again. "Vice-President Ross will answer any other question you might have. Have a good day." Pete was going to kill him for it later, but there was no way he could continue the conference without breaking down in front of everybody.

 

His words seemed to revive the shocked journalists, and the never-ending chorus of "Mr. Presidents" and "President Luthors" once again assaulted his ears even as he left the press room with Martha by his side.

 

"I love you, and I'm sorry, Lex."

 

The End

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