Summary: Jonathan hears something that changes his opinion of Lex
Categories: POV Outsider, Humor, Established Relationship
Notes: Special thanks to Nora Charles for discussing Jonathan's behaviour and reactions with me. Thanks to Nora Charles, Carolin and Amy for the beta'ing- wonderful work all of you.
CHALLENGE: Alright, we've all read stories were Jonathan finds out about Clark and Lex and gets pissy, but what if Jonathan actually *liked* the idea? (Christine)
"What?" came the whispered reply.
Jonathan stopped with one foot on the stairs. It was late and out of habit more than need, he was checking up on his son, Clark, who was obviously not alone in his 'Fortress of Solitude'.
"Nothing," Clark whispered, "I just thought I heard something."
"I don't think anyone's there."
"Clark," a deep sigh. "Don't make fun of this. Unless you plan on visiting me in jail."
Jonathan frowned. He had no trouble recognizing the voice.
"Don't worry Lex, it won't come to that."
"No?" A moment of silence was followed by a loud gasp. "Clark!"
"Hush, Lex. No, if my father finds out about this, he'll just shoot you and dispose of the body."
"Oh, that makes me feel *so* much better, Clark." A loud *smack* and a muffled outcry, almost had Jonathan running up the stairs, but the heartfelt laughter that followed stopped him.
"Suits you for not keeping your hands to yourself, Clark."
"Ouch, meanie." The audible pouting in his son's voice had Jonathan rolling his eyes.
"Maybe I should just keep my hands off you altogether?" Clark was trying hard to sound wounded, far from succeeding.
"Is that a threat, farm boy?"
"If it is?"
"I'm leaving you this minute."
Jonathan frowned as the noises of a struggle drifted down to him. Finally, he dared a look above the stairs, hoping the dark would hide him, praying that Clark was too distracted to notice him... What was he saying? He didn't even want to think about *what* was distracting Clark at the moment.
"Kinda hard to do right now, isn't it, Lex?"
In the middle of the floor, he could make out two bodies. The one on top was definitely Clark's. In the pale moonlight it wasn't hard to see, dressed only in a pair of jeans, hair falling into his eyes. The other figure was pinned to the floor, shirt pushed halfway down his arms. Lex Luthor. Jonathan should have known it from the very beginning. The looks Lex always gave Clark. The looks that had been so clearly there that he hadn't noticed the similar interest in his own son's eyes.
And he really should be mad. Should be angry that Clark had brought, of all people, Lex Luthor, up to his hideout. Should be furious that Lex Luthor had seduced his...
A low chuckle brought Jonathan's attention back.
"Clark, please - you're too heavy for this, you big mpfhhh..."
Jonathan quickly turned away, going back down two steps. The last thing he needed was seeing his teenage son kissing a man Jonathan would have preferred to never have come to the town. And as much as his first impulse had been to part them and ban Lex from ever seeing Clark again, he knew better. First thing that would happen would be awkwardness. Not just for the boys, but for himself as well. Second, even with Clark not being human, his behaviour was that of a typical teenager, he'd be embarrassed at first then angry and if Jonathan wasn't careful, he could very well create a gap between them. And Jonathan suspected that such a gap would be hard to heal, if not impossible.
"Ow! What was that for?"
"As much as I *do* love you, Clark, The floor is hard, you're heavy and this was a bad idea from the beginning."
"Want me to stop?" Part serious question part amusement.
A strangled noise and a low moan. "God, Clark, you're the world's biggest tease."
"Really? Speaking from experience?"
"I, my friend, wrote the book on teasing."
A low growl and Jonathan decided to leave before he actually became witness to something he did *not* need to know. As he made his way down the stairs, he tried without luck to ignore the rest of the conversation above.
"Clark, I really don't think this place is the best for what we're doing here."
"What? Making out?" Another moment of silence. "Lex?"
"When we... when I first..." The audible sigh had Jonathan stopping at the bottom of the stairs.
"Yes, Clark?" Jonathan was surprised to hear a softness in the voice.
"When I first kissed you," Clark finally forced out.
"What... what went through you head?"
"Not much, really."
"No?" Clark sounded a little disappointed.
"You surprised me, Clark."
A chuckle. "Yeah, me too."
"But seriously, Clark. Once past the initial surprise of having you kiss me so suddenly, I had trouble believing that it was actually happening."
"Oh?" In the silence that followed, Jonathan could easily imagine the blush that must have been coloring Clark's features.
Soft laughter drifted down to Jonathan. "I can't believe it can still make you blush, Clark, not like that."
"Well, I hadn't exactly been planning it - I mean... I'd been... thinking about it, wondering." Seemingly warming to the topic, Clark's voice became surer. "Every time you gave me that look. Like there was something you wanted but didn't dare ask. I just wasn't sure if I was reading you right or not."
A light shuffling and Lex answered. "You scared me a little."
"I wasn't thinking about it in the beginning, Clark, not consciously anyway. It was something that gradually dawned on me." A pause. "You're rare, Clark, you're beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. You sought my friendship without asking questions, without expecting money or favors from me."
"I still don't get it. That it scared you."
"Clark, you started reacting to it, flirting back. I mean, I was flattered but scared of what it might mean - or not mean. You seemed so... clueless sometimes. And at other times I had to be careful how I looked at you, what I said around you. I kept praying it wasn't just a dream. But I'd never imagined you taking the first step."
"Why not?" Clark's voice was quiet, almost inaudible.
"Come on, Clark. Like I said, you seemed pretty clueless most of the time, pining over Lana..."
"I know, I know, I'm sorry."
"What would you have done if I'd never kissed you, if I'd never taken the first step?"
"Tried to live with it, I guess. At some point I would probably just have left Smallville, tried to forget."
"Will you? Leave, I mean."
"No, not now. At least not without you. But if you hadn't been feeling the same way, I would have had to. I don't think I could've kept it on a mere friendship level for too long."
A contented sigh escaped Clark. "So we're both glad I did it then."
"Yeah, but make no mistake, Clark. Not everybody's going to accept this relationship."
"I know, Lex. It's not like I haven't been thinking about it."
"Good. And I don't think it's fair to keep this from your parents either."
A moan escaped Clark. "I know - I don't think mom's gonna be a problem, but dad's gonna be difficult to convince."
"I know, Clark. I know that he doesn't like me, but it won't make things any easier if we wait too long."
Jonathan cringed. Was he really that bad? How had his son gone from feeling he could share anything with him to this, keeping secrets, afraid of Jonathan's reaction?
"Lex?" Clark's voice was soft and low. "If he can't handle it, accept it, I want to leave Smallville, I can't stay around here knowing that what I've had is off-limits to me just because my father says so."
Jonathan almost opened his mouth, turned around to interrupt. He couldn't allow Clark to make such radical choices.
"Clark, no." Jonathan was surprised to hear the exasperated reply from Lex. "Such talk will only divide your family - and take it from someone who knows, you don't want that, especially not if you're gonna be in a relationship with me - besides, it would do nothing to help with your father disliking me."
"I'm sorry, Lex. I know you're right, but it just seems so..."
"Clark, nothing's impossible, just varying levels of difficulty, that's all."
Jonathan decided he'd heard enough, though the last sentences followed him as he crossed to the barn door.
"Clark, what did I tell you about our friendship?"
"That it would be the stuff of legend?"
"That too, but also that I would let nothing get in the way - and I mean it, Clark, no matter who I have to fight, trust me, I will."
"I... I know, thank you Lex. I... I love you."
"I know, Clark, I love you too."
Jonathan closed the door behind him, slowly and noiselessly. This, overhearing the conversation had been... enlightening. Wandering slowly back to the house, he kept replaying parts of it in his mind.
"Well?" Martha came around the kitchen counter, offering him a cup of steaming coffee. "Everything ok?"
Jonathan sat down, wondering how his wife managed to always be there at the right moments, always knowing what to do, what to say. "I went to check on Clark."
"Don't you think he's getting a little too old for that?"
"Yeah, well, it was more out of habit than need."
"Part of me is glad that I did - part of me would have preferred to be without."
"Was something wrong?" Martha's voice was calm and strong, but Jonathan had known her long enough to make out the light undercurrent of worry.
"Yes... and no." Jonathan frowned. How could he break this to his wife without it sounding all wrong? Not that it was right, but he couldn't help the little flicker of delight at the memory of Lex reassuring Clark, letting him know that all was right, how he felt about him. Now how had he gone from loathing this man to actually liking him? "Lex was there." Maybe he wasn't as bad as Jonathan had expected. As much as they'd heard on the news, read in the papers, journalism was more often than not about sensations, not the truth.
"Oh dear." Her expression changed from mild worry to full mothering mode and her words surprised him and... they hurt a little. "You didn't do anything rash, I hope?"
"I... of course not, Martha! How can you even ask?" Why did everyone expect him to throw a fit because of this? "I just want Clark to be happy! It's only natural that I worry about his well-being."
"Well, you've certainly never gone out of your way to *hide* what you thought of Lex and his friendship with our son."
"I know, but..." Jonathan was beginning to think that everyone thought he was the big bad villain here. And he had to admit it hurt a little. Something finally clicked. "Martha, do you have any idea of the extend of their friendship?"
"I... I suspect, yes."
"And you didn't tell me?"
"Jonathan," she sighed. "What would you have done if I'd aired my suspicions?"
"You would have gone and done something rash."
Jonathan blinked. Getting angry, dividing the boys, that *had* been his first thought. Right until he'd realized that he couldn't do that. What it would do to Clark, what it would do their relationship. Family bonds were strong, but not indestructible. "Have a little faith in me, Martha. I'll admit that in the beginning I judged Lex because of his name, not because of the man. I guess I was just... afraid of what he might do to Clark, manipulate him into doing something he doesn't want to do. Clark's powers in the hands of an older man, in the hands of a Luthor - that's a pretty scary thought."
"Well, I think he's safe, as long as he's with Lex - though I dread what might happen if Lionel ever finds out.
"Me too. And that's why I think we should have a little talk with Clark, as soon as possible. Who knows when he'd gonna tell Lex about his abilities?"
A light breeze passed behind Jonathan. Then the other way. "Clark?"
The answer was silence, then the kitchen door was opened, painfully slowly. "Ye-yeah?"
Jonathan motioned at the chair opposite his. "Sit down for a moment, Clark."
Martha joined them, as Clark seemed to try and make himself as small as possible.
"Is there something you'd like to share with us?" Jonathan hoped Clark wouldn't try to lie to them. His hopes faltered for a moment as a variety of possible answers crossed Clark's face.
"You were in the barn." Not a question, just a simple statement.
Jonathan nodded. There was no reason to deny it. "That's why we'd like to talk to you."
"Dad, if you're gonna..."
Jonathan put up a hand to stop him. "I'm not going to lecture you on who you can have over and who you can't. I don't have to like it, but I *would* have preferred knowing about it a little earlier."
"I... I'm sorry, dad, it never seemed the right moment for it."
"For how long has it been going on?"
"Um... three weeks."
"Dad, we really wanted to tell you, please believe me - I was just..."
"You were afraid what I might do," Jonathan finished for him. He continued before Clark could answer. "Had I found out any other way - I might have done something..." he dared a quick glance at Martha, who was watching the conversation with great interest. "Rash."
Clark nodded, visibly surprised by his father's understanding. It made Jonathan wince internally. Was he really that bad? Did his own son really find him too intimidating to share such things?
"But Clark," Martha put in. "What we really wanted to talk to you about, was keeping your powers a secret around Lex."
Clark blushed deeply. "I... I sorta just... told him. A moment ago." He looked pleadingly at both his parents, almost falling over the words to get them out before either of them could stop him. "He'd guessed most of it anyway."
"Did you tell him..." Jonathan blanched. He'd never imagined Clark giving up all his secrets so easily.
"I didn't tell him about the ship - he thinks I'm just another mutant." Clark sighed miserably. "But I'd like to tell him - I really would. I... I don't think it's fair keeping it from him."
"Clark, you can't just tell him!" As much as Jonathan was trying to accept the thought of his teenage son in a relationship with an older man, he also feared for Clark if his alien heritage was ever known.
"Well, I don't think it's fair to him, what if I'm not good for him? What if I'm... poisonous or something..."
Jonathan blinked in confusion. Then saw the blush on his wife's face, and almost choked on his coffee. Martha, thankfully, found this a good time to take over, patting Jonathan's back.
"Clark, are you saying...?"
"I..." Clark's face had taken on an interesting color of red. "Mom, please... we haven't... *done* anything - except kissing and... um... touching. It's not like we've had sex - no-not really," Clark stammered.
Jonathan buried his face in his hands. "God," he muttered. "We're *not* having this conversation right now."
"Honey, don't you think you should go get Lex. He must be wondering what's keeping you so long."
"Oh, yeah, sure, mom." With that and a relieved look on his face, Clark sped out to door.
"Please don't tell me we're gonna have this conversation at..." Jonathan quickly looked up at the clock on the wall, "1AM?"
"I'd prefer being without this talk as well as you, dear, but I'm afraid it's necessary."
Jonathan nodded. "I guess, yes."
Five minutes later and a nervously looking Clark pulled an equally nervously looking Lex through the door. They sat down at the table, and Martha put a mug in front of both the boys.
"Well?" Jonathan looked expectantly at them both.
Lex squirmed in the chair, trying to get his face into the usual business-like mask. He almost succeeded until Clark's hand came up to cover his, on the table for all to see. The hard, thin lines of his lips softened into a light, unconscious smile and his blue eyes lit up. Then he caught Jonathan looking at him and looked like he'd prefer to be anywhere but the Kent kitchen. Still, he was the first to break the awkward silence. "Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent..."
"Martha, Lex, it's Martha."
Lex blinked a couple of times, processing it. "Thank you, Mrs... Martha." He finally straightened and drew a deep breath. "I'm sorry we didn't tell you about this earlier, but the opportunity, the right moment, just didn't seem to occur."
"So what you're saying is, that if the right moment hadn't come along like it did." Jonathan frowned to hide his smile as the boys gave each other a quick glance then looked down into the table. "You would simply have kept it to yourselves?"
Lex looked up, directly at Jonathan. "Mr. Kent, I can assure you..."
"Dad, please!" Clark cut in. "We would have eventually told you - it's just that we were both trying to adjust to the situation."
"Lex?" Martha reached across the table, resting her hand gently on top of theirs.
"I..." Lex hesitated. "I guess we were both coming to terms with our feelings for each other." He paused for a moment. "And I wanted Clark to be absolutely sure about this, before, irreversibly, coming out to his family."
"A wise decision, though we'd have preferred being let in on it a little earlier." They all seemed to silently notice the light tone of approval in Jonathan's voice. And it surprised them - most of all Jonathan himself. "Please don't keep such things secret from us again, ok?"
A quietly mumbled, 'yes sir,' and 'yeah, dad,' was the reply. Jonathan nodded, just about to suggest that they all went to their *own* beds. As much as he could eventually live with his son's choice of lover, he wasn't ready to allow a sleep-over.
"Clark?" Martha broke the silence, as she watched their son shuffling his feet under the chair.
"Lex, there's something I need to tell you."
"Clark, if it's the thing with your abilities, you've already revealed more than you should - far more than I need to know."
Clark snorted, a light grin grazing his face. "Yeah, right - says the scientist in disguise."
Lex relaxed visibly. "I'm serious, though. I don't need to know any more - you're a mutant, that's it."
"It's not, Lex. You simply deduced that I was a mutant, I'm not."
Jonathan closed his eyes. He'd hoped Clark would keep it to himself, but he knew better than to interfere. After such civil behaviour on all parts, they really didn't need a fight.
"Clark, please think this through before you reveal this." Martha's voice was warm, with a light note of warning beneath it.
"I have, mom, I really have." He shot both his parents a pleading look. "Please trust me." Clark then turned to Lex, his hand tightening on his friend's. "I'm not a mutant, if anything I'm partly to blame for the mutations."
"You're what?" Lex's eyebrows rose.
"I came down in the meteor shower, back when..." Clark's voice faltered as his other hand rose to ghost over Lex's bare scalp.
"You came down?" Lex's hand turned under Clark's to hold it in a strong grip. "You're from..."
"I'm an alien, Lex. I... I just thought it was best if you knew the whole truth, instead of just fragments."
"Then what do you mean with you causing the mutations? If you came down in the meteor shower that also left me with a lot less hair, you weren't much more than a baby. How could you possibly be faulted for the current mutations?"
"Thank you, Lex," Jonathan muttered. He hoped sincerely that Clark would someday believe that he was in no way to be blamed for what had happened that day.
Lex shot him an odd questioning look, but stayed silent. Clark sat hunched in his chair, looking a little miserable. Coming to a conclusion, Lex slid out of the chair and kneeled next to him. After a split second of hesitating, probably more because of Martha's and Jonathan's presence, than what Clark had just revealed to him, he slid his arms around the teenager, holding him close.
Gradually Clark seemed to relax, a small smile on his lips. "I love you, Lex," he whispered, then realized his parents where there and blushed deeply.
Jonathan was surprised to see his son relax and smile like he hadn't since he'd learned that he was an alien. And the last of Jonathan's beliefs that Lex was doing this only for his own good, faded as he watched the same silly, soft smile on his face as on Clark's. Perhaps, Jonathan mused, the things Lex had tried to do for them hadn't been with ulterior motives. He had really felt like he should help them - for their sakes, for Clark's sake, not for his own.
"You boys need sleep," Martha finally said, standing. "And so do we," she added, motioning for Jonathan to follow her example. When he opened his mouth to voice his request for Lex to go home, she shook her head, then dragged him off toward the stairs.
The two boys didn't even notice them leave. Clark's arms had dropped to hold Lex close, both of them looking more contended than ever.
Jonathan shook his head, but didn't say anything until they were alone in their bedroom. "Martha, I really think we should have sent Lex home."
"Jonathan, don't start now," she sighed, getting ready for bed. "You've done so marvelous all night, don't go and spoil your new image."
Jonathan couldn't help smiling at it. "New image?"
"Yes," she smiled up at him as she slipped beneath the blankets. "You should be nominated for the Father-of-the-Year-Award after this."
"Why thank you, Mrs. Kent." He slid in next to her, kissing her cheek before turning off the lights. "I'm just not too thrilled about leaving them alone."
"Jonathan, please, think for a moment." She snuggled against him. "What would you prefer? To have them here, where they know we're around, or chase them both off to the mansion, where you have *no* idea of what they're doing?"
Jonathan went silent. He hadn't really thought of it that way. He shrugged mentally. Once again his wife had thought farther ahead than him. As he slipped his arms around her, he thanked God that she was on his side.