Title: Home Cooking (Nourishment: Second Helpings 3)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, Martha POV
Spoilers: Moving beyond season 3 as it should have been done
Rating: PG for suggestions of m/m relationship
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Where he belongs

DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: "The Nourishment Series", which precedes this series, can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

AUTHOR'S WARNING: I no longer accept the "canon" of Smallville Season 4 as the true history of our heroes. From here on in, my use of canon points from episodes after the end of "Covenant" will be entirely arbitrary and mostly non-existent. Thank you for continuing to read my stories anyway. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

DEDICATION: For Tiff, who is a kind of home.

COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, February 14, 2005, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.



Lex got sent home from the hospital today. In spite of his assertions that he always heals quickly, he's been there for a month recovering from the poisoning that I would wish had been accidental, but was nothing of the kind.

This is why there was an ambulance on the gravel drive and a large contingent of medical staff trooping in and out of our house this morning. Clark was trying to be helpful, directing traffic as they maneuvered the stretcher upstairs to his room, and I ran interference, catching things that had gotten bumped off of shelves as they passed. Lex seemed uncharacteristically subdued as he was delivered to his temporary lodgings like so much freight, while Jonathan just sat in his easy chair and watched dispassionately from the front room, finishing his coffee and not even pretending to read the newspaper he held in his hand.

Clark got the idea to invite Lex to stay here a few days ago. "He can't go home," he insisted to his father and me.

"Why not?"

"It's not safe. He needs to hire people to go over everything before he moves back in. Who knows what other traps Lionel has left behind?"

"Shouldn't he be there to figure it out himself?" I argued.

"He's got to screen new staff for people he can trust, and his doctors don't want him staying there alone while he does it."

"So why does he have to stay here?" Jonathan asked.

An irresistible force and an immovable object stared each other down over the kitchen table. "Because I love him and I want to take care of him. Please?" he begged, his eyes full of longing and sincerity.

I tried to offer valid arguments against the plan. "We aren't equipped to take in an invalid, Clark. It will mean a lot more work for you, especially since it's the height of the summer growing season. Are you willing to make that kind of sacrifice?"

Just then, though, Jonathan offered another idea. "You've gotta admit that the fresh air of the farm would be better for him than that damp, drafty castle. Besides, we'd be able to keep an eye on him better if he lived under our roof..."

"Hey," I protested, "whose side are you on?" My husband looked sheepish, and my son looked triumphant, knowing that since he'd won over his father, the war was as good as decided. "Well, you'll be the one who has to take him on walks, and take him his food until he can use the stairs, and clean up after him..." I teased my boy.

"Thanks, Mom!" Clark beamed, jumping up and squeezing my breath out in a sudden hug.

Of course, Lex himself took some convincing to go along with the plan. He sat up in bed addressing Clark and me as if he wouldn't collapse like a paper fan if he set foot on the floor. "Look, it's not that I don't appreciate the offer, but it would be far too much of an imposition."

Clark piped up. "You said yourself that you don't know if you feel safe in your own house anymore. You're not 100% yet. I'd be worried about letting you go back there to stay all by yourself. I mean, what if something should happen? Could you even protect yourself?"

I got up from the chair where I sat and moved to my son perched on the foot of his boyfriend's hospital bed. "Lex, it's the least we can do. You helped us when we thought we'd lose the farm, so we want to take care of you now. After all," I added, ruffling Clark's hair, "you're family."

At my words, Lex went a little paler than usual, and his mouth worked the air, though no sound came out. He looked genuinely dumbfounded, and deeply moved. Clark glanced up at me, concerned, so I stepped to the other end of the bed, touching Lex's shoulder gently. Without a word, he reached for me, so I carefully took him in my arms and held him close, petting his back and trying to disregard how his hands shook and his jaw trembled. He tucked his chin over my shoulder and pressed his mouth against my ear, breathing the words "Thank you" so softly that I'm sure Clark didn't hear them.

Soon, paperwork was signed, and a date was set, all while Clark gabbed a mile a minute, and Lex regarded me wistfully with a dreamy smile just hovering at the corner of his mouth.

Less than 48 hours later, orderlies in white trudged back down our stairs with the folded stretcher under their arms while a visiting nurse gave us detailed instructions for dealing with our new house guest. As soon as she was done, she shook our hands, and then we were four.

The crunch of the ambulance tires on the gravel was barely a memory when Clark started dancing around from foot to foot, then announced suddenly, "I'm going to my room to take a nap."

Before he could spring back upstairs, probably in a single bound, if his coiled energy level were anything to go by, I lightly scolded him, "You leave Lex alone! He needs his rest!"

"I'll be good, Mom--I promise!" he swore from the landing, then sprinted back down to kiss me on the cheek. "Thanks for everything. I love you!" Then he vanished, calling back down to us, "You, too, Dad!"

Jonathan and I stared at each other, barely-contained snickers hiding behind the indulgent grins on our faces. "Well," I exhaled at last, "we've got a big responsibility up there..."

"And his recuperating boyfriend, too," he added with an amused twitch of his eyebrows. "I think we can handle it."

I hugged him in thanks for his confidence, then started putting together some lunch.

"They're sure queer for each other, aren't they?" he exclaimed out of the blue.

With a dismayed noise, I smacked him on the head teasingly with a long-handled wooden spoon, then turned back to the stove.

Lex came home today. While I may have my doubts about what care we can really provide for him, I'm sure he'll benefit from more than just the roof over his head here.



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