Title: DIETARY RESTRICTIONS (Nourishment 2.7)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, angst, Martha POV
Spoilers: Post-ep for "Ryan" (takes place before "Dichotic")
Rating: R for language and implications of m/m sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: A possible explanation for upcoming events

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 NOTES: The rest of "The Nourishment Series" can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

DEDICATION: For Tiff, because she didn't hate it after all.

COPYRIGHT: (C) January 19, 2003, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, 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.


Clark isn't going to like this.

None of this is my fault, but I'm sure he's going to blame me for it, at least somewhat. Lionel is standing here chewing out his son, and all I can do is watch as Lex's heart breaks visibly before me.

If only we'd known he was in earshot when Lex gave me that shirt Clark had left here over the weekend. It was so innocent, just a friend returning an article of clothing left behind from a sleepover. I was sure that only Lex and I would understand that it had been left on the floor next to his bed. Unfortunately, we were overheard and understood all too clearly.

"I thought I told you to stop fucking that boy!" the older man's voice rings out, echoing off of the finely-polished wood paneling.

"Since when do I ever do anything you tell me?" the boy protests, but I can hear a quaver in his voice that I'm sure his father detects as well.

"Starting when I have you arrested for sodomy! I'm sure that will be a lovely addition to your police record!"

"...which has been spotless since I moved here to Smallville!" Lex argues back, conveniently avoiding mention of a couple of murder investigations, a recent case of harboring a fugitive, and at least one suspected robbery, of which he was exonerated.

He sits in his favorite chair, out of my reach, or I'd try to give him some silent support with a touch to his shoulder or something. Instead, he is in the catbird seat, while Lionel paces back and forth, waving his cane around wildly without hitting anything.

"Just how old was your pretty little boyfriend when you first took advantage of him? Should I have them arrest you for coercion of a minor, too? Or how about statutory rape?"

"Clark was of age when we first became lovers. I made sure of that. He has always been a consenting adult in our relationship, and never needed to be coerced, as you so delicately put it."

The ranting grows quieter as he pauses in front of Lex's chair. "Have I taught you nothing? The business world won't accept your 'alternative lifestyle', especially in this little backwater town." I should object to his demeaning of my home, but now is not the best time. "I want you to stop seeing him. I thought you were just good friends after I talked some sense into both of you. However, it is obvious you cannot be trusted to abide by my wishes when you are together. That's it, Lex. Break off your 'relationship', as you call it, or I'm turning you in. Now I need to go make a personal call. I'll be back in a few moments." Unassisted, he stalks off down the hall.

Lex looks very small in his armchair, his face toward the room, but his eyes focused deep inside. He swallows what I imagine is a stronger emotion, and speaks to me quietly. "I'm sorry you had to see that."

This finally stirs me from my seat, and I am by his side at once, a comforting hand on his arm. "Oh, Lex! Are you all right? He has no right to speak to you like that!"

"He's my father. He thinks it gives him every right in the world. I should apologize for his aspersions against Clark, too."

"You don't have to do that for him, Lex." I crouch down beside his chair so I can try to look him in the eye. "You love my son, don't you?" I say, more for confirmation than as a question.

A quick run of his tongue over his front teeth behind closed lips, and his eyes fix on me. "More than anything else in this world. But if it's going to be a matter of public record, I will let him go. I don't want all of you dragged through the courts and your name plastered across the papers because of my private life..."

Grasping his arm more tightly in lieu of the hug I'm sure he needs, I interrupt him. "Now stop that right now, Lex Luthor! I know Clark loves you, too, and I don't want to see either of you hurt by your father's bigoted notions. Do you want me to talk to him?"

"Talk to who about what?" The voice comes from behind me. I turn, and there is Clark, still in his jacket and carrying a cardboard box. "What's going on?"

"What are you doing here, Clark?" Lex asks, shrugging my hand away gently and rising to greet him.

"I was just at the hospital. They gave me these comics you'd given to Ryan, and I figured you'd want them back..." Oh, God. After losing his surrogate brother, the last thing he needs is Lex breaking up with him just to satisfy his father's tyrannical desires.

"Thank you, Clark," Lex says sweetly. "Let's put these away. I need to talk to you..." He leads him out into the hall, kissing him softly just as soon as he thinks I'm not watching anymore. It's apparent that Lex is not familiar with Mom-style x-ray vision.

Lionel comes bustling in a few minutes later. "Let me guess," he begins, "Lex walked off in a huff."

"No," I answer, "Clark came to return the comics that Lex had lent to Ryan. They've just gone to put them upstairs."

"Together?" he bellows, a small speck of spittle flying from his mouth. "Go get them and make them come down here where you can keep an eye on them!" he demands.

This may be my one chance to fix things before they get any worse. I take a deep breath and prepare my brave challenge. "No, Lionel. I am not going to help you break those boys' hearts."

"I beg your pardon?" he asks, his voice laced with sarcasm, turning slowly as if to look at me incredulously. "You knew about this, didn't you? You mean you were aware of their indecent behavior and turned a blind eye to it? Well, I'm going to put a stop to it if you won't!"

"I'm sorry," I address him, moving directly in front of him, suddenly feeling pathetically tiny before his tall frame. "I can't let you order my son around. What he does in private is no business of mine, and it certainly is no business of yours."

"Even if it impugns the character of my son?" he barks, with a shake of his mane that makes him look more like an angry rooster than usual.

"Nobody said anything about character here. We're talking about two young men who have found something precious together, who care a great deal for one another, and who aren't hurting anyone else by loving each other."

"What will people say? What they're doing is still illegal." Some of his original head of steam has boiled off, and he's finally discussing this calmly, albeit from his own wrongheaded point of view.

"There are people in this country who are trying to change that law, which is discriminatory and inequitably applied. It does nothing but persecute people who are different. How would you feel if there were a law on the books that discriminated against the blind?"

It's an obvious maneuver, but it works. Looking extremely cowed, he smiles bitterly and dips his head as if to avoid my gaze. "That's right. You were almost a lawyer, weren't you? It shows."

He's merely avoiding my question, so I try once again to reason with him. "What does it matter what they do behind closed doors? They've both reached their majority, so it doesn't concern us anymore."

"For a man to be a financial success, he must know when to behave conservatively. A businessman needs a wife on his arm. It's what is expected of him in the community, where appearances are everything. If you're not in the performing arts, it's very difficult for a homosexual to rise to the same heights as an apparently happy married man. This is just the way things are. I'm just concerned for Lex's future."

Reluctantly, I find myself appreciating his point, though I don't agree with it. "You're saying that you want your son to abandon the one thing in this world that makes him truly happy just to guarantee his financial aspirations? Might that be too high a price to pay?"

There is just a ghost of regret in his unseeing eyes that hints at a similar tradeoff in his past, but as soon as it appears, it is gone. "He's a Luthor," he states authoritatively. "No price is too high for success."

"I'm sorry, but I don't agree." Rather than shooting me down, he looks ready for further explanation, so I go on. "Lex and Clark are young--they may break up on their own when they get a little older. People change. You must admit that the boys are different people with very different backgrounds, but they seem to have something in common that brings them together. I don't see any harm in letting them have their happiness with each other now."

"Don't I have any say in this at all? I happen to find homosexuality repugnant, and I'm supposed to just sit idly by and let my son dally with another boy, against the word of the Bible and everything I stand for?"

Touching his arm almost like I did Lex's, I object quietly. "I don't think it's up to us, Lionel. You've raised a bright, independent son who thinks for himself: so have I. If they don't agree with your trying to separate them, don't you think they will go behind your back and see each other anyway? They've been doing it for this long, after all..."

After a long silence, he turns and moves away from me, so I can no longer watch his expression. "Perhaps there is room in this for a little compromise..."

I am about to ask him what he has in mind when two sets of footsteps come barging in from the hall. Clark, obviously livid from what Lex has told him, looks nearly ready to ignite Lionel's head without a second thought. Lex follows immediately on his heels, his hands outstretched as if to grab Clark back if he attempts anything foolish, which I hope he doesn't have to do.

"You are not going to make Lex break up with me, Mr. Luthor!" Clark hollers. "I love him, and he loves me, and nothing you can say will change that!"

Before Lex or I can say anything, Lionel turns on his toe and faces Clark fearlessly, as I suspect he would do even if he could see the glare in his eyes. "I know that, son, and that's why I'm not even going to try."

"What?" Lex and Clark ask in unison, while I think exactly the same thing.

"Mr. Kent," he begins, stalking right around where Clark stands in the middle of the room, "your mother has made some excellent points in our discussion of your private life, so I have reconsidered my previous pronouncement. I do not expect you to dissolve your partnership if it is that important to you." I am amused by his avoidance of any words of romance or affection about their affair. "You may continue your alliance unchallenged by me on one condition."

Clark just stands there with his mouth hanging open, while Lex warily asks, "What is that?"

"You are going to find girlfriends, with an eye towards getting married and settling down."

"WHAT???" Lex yells, though Clark looks too stunned even to react to his outburst, instead fidgeting with the pinky ring he thinks I don't know about.

Lionel continues his random pacing around his listeners with impressive accuracy. "Now, I don't like your perversions one little bit, but I've been convinced that you intend to pursue them no matter what I say or do. Lex: if I recall correctly, you used to spend rather a lot of time with women of one sort or another. I'm just encouraging you to keep your options open in that area. You will want to look respectable to others in the business community, no matter what you do in your spare time, so you will find yourself a suitable wife. Mr. Kent, it's probably best to learn this early that appearances count for a lot, so you will wish to keep any impropriety under wraps. You do like girls, at least a little, don't you?"

His pacing has brought him in very close proximity to Clark, which I attribute to the man's tightly-focused hearing, so he stands nearly before him, awaiting his answer.

"Yeah--um, yes," Clark says at last.

"Very good," Lionel nods, then includes us all in his regard, whatever sense that that may involve. "Then it's settled. You will both begin dating women seriously, and I will leave you alone if you still want to do whatever it is that you do. You may tell the girls about this arrangement or not, as you see fit. Refuse my conditions, and I'll file charges. Are we understood here?"

Clark fumbles an unwilling "uh-huh" at him, but Lex glowers silently, his lips pursed angrily. I cannot say anything. Somehow it still feels like this is all my fault.

"Good. That will be all," calls Lionel over his shoulder as he strides out of the room.

Lex shutters down and stalks off to the liquor cabinet, and Clark just looks stricken.

I was right. Clark doesn't like this turn of events at all. I can't say I'm too thrilled with them myself.


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