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Lena takes one last deep breath in, exhales shakily and puts on her best friendly smile, which, she knows, doesn’t mean much. She feels the way her cheeks hurt from the action, how unnatural it seems, so, when the curtains open for her and there’s a sudden flash of light straight to her eyes, she rests her lips against one another and goes with her usual smirk in place. 

Press conferences were a challenge, to say at least. Press conferences were her way of putting a giant target on her chest while begging for someone (most likely her family) to try to kill her, if the last couple of times were any indication. 

Yet, there she was. Standing tall and proud, head held high, hair in her usual tight bun, red lipstick and the confidence she learnt to have as someone in a position of such power as she finds herself in.  

She tries to scan the crowd, the blinding white light seeming to follow each and every movement. By now, she would think she was familiarized with the procedure: look straight forward, take strong steps to the podium, give her speech in an unwavering voice, receive the mix of applauses and jeers, leave the stage after a couple of questions. Throw in there the slight (high) possibility of a murder attempt stopped by Supergirl and it would be just another regular day on Lena Luthor’s life.  

Instead of the confidence she should feel after all her time as the acting CEO of L-Corp, all she actually feels is the annoying way her palms were sweating against the fabric of her pencil skirt and the increasing heart beat against her ribcage.  

It would never become an usual setting, since the thought of people caring about what she has to say and not judging her for her family’s mistake was not something she had a grasp on yet.  

A step forward is all it takes for her eyes to get used to the incredibly dark auditorium. A step forward is all it takes for her eyes to start searching familiar, supportive faces. She sees Alex and James by the middle. Winn just a few rows back and left.  

The next step comes with a widening of the smirk, red lips tugging at its corners as she distinguishes more and more people. A representative for Wayne Enterprises, who she is pretty sure is their CFO; a few reporters from CatCo she’s only seen a couple of times before; Sam Arias is standing by the front with Ruby by her side; Professor Wells from Star Labs; even Lois Lane had the grace of showing up. 

It’s cold inside the auditorium, she notices as the air hits her ankles and calf, and there’s this small part in her brain that chastises herself for not wearing a pantsuit.  

The absence of Kara Danvers doesn’t go unnoticed, though, there’s a falter in her breathing and a frantic search for assurance. But it only lasts until Lena gets the glimpse of a red cape standing a few yards away from the main crowd. It’s enough to keep her going. 

Lena readjusts the small, wireless mic on the lapel of her blazer then tugs her earpiece a little deeper, fidgets with the notes resting on the podium as she feels all sets of eyes landing on her. She clears her throat once, twice, the sounds dying progressively as she does so.  

“Well, first of all I’d like to thank you all for coming here in this lovely evening, I know it must be hard to leave your homes in such hostile weather. Let's hope there’s no attempt in no one’s life to ruin this pleasant atmosphere.” 

A chuckle courses through the people, she even allows one from herself. 

“The past couple of years haven’t been, exactly, easy for L-Corp. Trying to rebuild a company is easy, but changing its ideals and its image is hard. This comes from someone who knows how much everyone involved in this process is trying their best to clean a stained name, to try and lighten the darkness casted over the Luthor name because of our past mistakes. And this dedication, from all of our workers, is the reason why we are here tonight. This dedication brought us one step closer to the future. So, it’s with great pleasure that I announce L-Corp's newest launch: a Digital-to-Biological Converter." 

She feels the need to stop herself as the sound of applauses grow stronger and bolder, she smiles at herself, the warm feeling of pride blossoming through her chest. 

"The DBC, which is pretty much a fancy name for a DNA fax machine," She raises her voice to be heard over the muttering, hands coming to rest at the edge of the podium and giving it a hard squeeze to soothe her nervousness "has the potential of preventing massive outbreaks by mass-producing vaccines printed from genetic codes sent from anywhere, since it maximizes the distribution of the prevention and the treatment, and printing off personalized medical treatment for each patient, based on the specifics of their viruses. And our team is still working for the next level. In a not so distant timeline, maybe in a couple of years from now, the DBC can be used to transport organisms to other states, countries and planets, even." 

As soon as the last words leave her mouth, there is a chorus of shouted questions and raised hands as, once again, she loses the focus of the people in the room.  

For once, she's not all that worried. The DBC is a project she's been working on with her best engineers since her brother was still in charge of the company. It's a work she's always been proud of and she has made sure there were no mistakes this time, nothing that could be used to drag the image of L-Corp to the dirt once again.  

She smiles, despite the bundle of nerves growing against the pit of her stomach, and raises her hands, silently asking for their attention. She is met with an encouraging nod from Sam and enthusiastic claps from Ruby.  

She finds out, then, it's easier to bury her nerves once her eyes land again on National City's beloved hero. Supergirl has her arms crossed in front of her chest, long hair completely swept over one shoulder, and that look of concentration on her face. Still, there's this warm tug at her lips that give Lena all the encouragement she need.  

"Thank you. The first successful prototype has been synthesizing vaccines steadily for the past semester, the lab tests on animals started on the last quarter with the lowest rate of failure our company has ever seen. We were confident enough to move the testing stage to humans and I am very happy to announce we are yet to see a patient who hasn't been treated from their disease. Hopefully, if we continue working with the dedication we have now, the first DBC  will be released on the second semester of 2018. We have time for some questions, if you have them. Right, yes, Miss Lane with the Daily Planet, I believe?" 

"That would be correct, Miss Luthor. Congratulations on the announcement, it sounds like a revolution on the medical industry. That said, don't you think your new technology could be used to create and spread new epidemics around the world? Epidemics that would grow so fast we could not control?" 

"You are right, it could. Like any other human or technological improvement, it can be used, if in the wrong hands, to create chaos. And that’s why the DBC won’t be available to the market. L-Corp will be responsible for the allocation of all the machinery as well as providing access only to trained, trusted professionals in hospitals across the US. Along with Wayne Enterprises, we intend on not letting a breakthrough happen. Unfortunately, I can’t promise it won’t, I can only try my personal best to prevent it. We’ve achieved this technology, a very advanced one must I say, with dedication and hard work, which means someone else might do it too. Until then, I can’t hold back such development on science.” 

Lena doesn’t spare her another glance, thrown hands up in the air waiting for their time. She waves absently towards the front row. 

“Steve Raymond, from CatCo magazine, Miss Luthor, isn’t the concept of synthesizing vaccines already in use in our country? What advantages are you offering for us?” 

“Dynamics, cost.” She shrugs a bit, hopes no one could see the act. “The mass production of medication in slow and, overall, the demand tops the quantity available. Sometimes, our current medication doesn’t have the same effect on the same disease on different people. This could be our chance of optimizing our hospitals and bringing only the best for our citizens. Yes?” 

“Curtis Sykes, with Metro Times. What is the involvement of your brother in all this?” 

Her eyes stop in Supergirl, heart racing in a way it hasn’t done in days. It stings, she finds out, how things always get to that point, how people will always assume Lex was behind it all. She sighs, holds the podium tightly, fingers turning white from the use of her strength.  

“None. Lex is currently serving his time in jail and, as far as I am concerned, he has no news over what’s happening on the outside, on a company he is no longer associated with or welcomed in. That said, I'd like to thank you for your questions and for your presence, I’ll be more than happy to indulge in any doubts that lingers during the event.” 

Supergirl only gives her another nod before turning around and leaving. For the first time, she wasn’t needed when Lena was around, it didn’t mean the City didn’t need her still.  

As the lights fade out and away from her, she reaches up for her earpiece, already taking it off and turning around to walk down the platform, curtains closing behind her back. Just because she no longer had a speech to attend it didn’t mean she wasn’t needed still. Unfortunately, old, white men never waited, after all.  

Sometimes, duty never ends.  

Jess appears, tablet in one hand, phone in the other and talking rapidly on the set piece firmly on her ear. 

“Mister Wayne wants to know when you’ll be able to meet again.” 

“As soon as possible, Jess. Thank you.” Her fingers move to tug at the pins holding her hair tightly. She is smiling though, with no monthly assassination attempt and a bodyguard like Supergirl, it could be considered a good evening. God, she’s so hot. 

“Excuse me?” 

Lena looks forward once more, Jess is staring at her with a raised eyebrow and mischief in her eyes. She coughs, runs her fingers down the back of her neck. 

“Did I say that out loud?” A nod. “It was about Supergirl.” 

As if it was enough explanation, Jess only chuckles. Somehow, it made Lena have an urge to try and explain herself.  

Later, she will realize her impulsive decisions will be the death of her, right now, she will blame her need to overshare on the giddiness she's feeling over the acceptance of L-Corp new project. 

“I mean, she’s undoubted beautiful and her muscles are just so… I don’t even have the words to describe them, still even though she looks like a top, I bet it's not that hard to get her begging on her knees in that short skirt. I like to think I can be smooth, but how long does it take for Supergirl to understand you are politely asking her to be on top of you? Or like, subtly implying you want to ride her” 

“Miss Luthor.” 

“…and have your hands tugging at her hair, or just, I don’t know, have her thighs wrapped around your” 

“Miss Luthor.” 

“…while she shreds the sheets from how hard she's holding onto them, or maybe to have her bending you over your desk at the office” 

A hand over her mouth stops her from continuing. She doesn’t miss the widening eyes from her (Sam’s) assistant, or the red cheeks, or the giggles threatening to leave her lips. She hums against fingers, give the best nod she can under her circumstances. 

“Your mic is still on.” She tries to speak, blood rushing to her cheeks. “I’m taking my hand away now, okay?” 

Surely, resting wrapped on her lapel is the offending metal piece, apparently not off yet. 

“Is this still on?” 

“Yes.” 

“Did I just destroy my career?” 

“Probably not. But it’ll take some time for people to take you seriously after that." 

“Would it be too rude if I just left?” 

“Probably yes.” 

Lena starts walking, heels clicking loudly against her ears. It’s a great feature being able to hear it considering how loud her heart was beating and the amount of blood currently on her head. 

“Miss Luthor, where are you going?” 

“Nauru, beautiful place and I would only have to face eleven thousand people there. I have more employees at L-Crop and twice more with CatCo, it should be less humiliating."