Martha was in the kitchen getting ready to make dinner. It used to be her favorite part of the day but had become a chore in the last few months. She heard the door open and heard Jonathan sit at the table.


"Hello Jonathan."

"Martha, where is Clark?"

"He went to take some food to Whitney. He should be home in an hour or so."


"Yes, he is in town. Jonathan, please talk to Clark, it has been months."

"Martha...I try but I can't get past the' I told you so' part before he explodes."

"Jon, you have to try. He is depressed and doesn't talk to anyone. I'm glad Whitney is in town because maybe Clark will talk to him."

"Maybe we have already lost him."

"Jonathan Kent! He is your son regardless if he is gay or not!"

"Martha! This has nothing to do with his...his being gay. He lied to us for two years. He snuck around and had a relationship with Lex despite the fact that Lex is older."

"Do you think it had ANYTHING to do with the fact that you had treated Lex horribly since Clark met him?"

"Dammit Martha, he is a Luthor and you can't trust them. Look at what he did to Clark!"

"And you had nothing to do with that? Jon, why should Clark have come to us when he KNEW you would react badly?"

"Martha...I was trying to protect Clark...I didn't want him to get hurt."

"And yet he still got hurt. Jon...please try to talk to him. Walls, once they go up, may never come down. I haven't seen him smile since Lex left."

"I'll try but...its hard because..."

"DO NOT say `I told you so' that will not make things better."

"I'll talk to him. I miss him too."

Jon got up and walked upstairs. Martha heard her car pulling into the drive and she saw that Clark was home and he had brought Whitney with him. She noticed that he was limping slightly and her maternal instincts kicked in. She walked back to the counter and waited for them to enter the kitchen.

"Hi Mom, I brought Whitney over."

Martha turned and gave Whitney a smile, "Hello Whitney, how are you?"

Whitney was about to respond with a standard `fine' but he saw the look she was giving him and knew that honesty was called for. "Tired and sore Mrs. Kent."

"Sit down, dinner will be ready in half an hour."

Clark sat down next and tried not to fidget but he could tell his mom had a million questions for Whitney.

"So Whitney, what brings you to town, wanting to surprise your mother?"

"Something like that Mrs. Kent."

"Please call me Martha, Jonathan will be down in a minute. So how are things in the Marines?"

Whitney looked down and then at Clark before he answered. "I'm no longer a Marine. I was injured and discharged."

Martha looked at him and then at Clark. "I insist you stay with us until your mother gets home." Martha looked up and saw Jonathan walk into the room.

"Hello Whitney." Jon walked over and shook his hand. He noticed the pain lines and grimace as he stood to great him. "You okay?"

"No sir, I'm recovering from an accident. I was just telling Mrs....Martha that I'm no longer in the service."

"Jon, I told him that he could stay here until Betty returns from her trip."

"Good idea. Clark, you think you can help Whitney pack some things and get him in the guest room?

Clark looked up at his dad, "Yes sir."

"Not right now, dinner is almost ready. Come to the kitchen and I'll set the table. Whitney, do you like sun tea?"

"Yes I do."

"Good. Well I hope that you are hungry because I made chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and steam broccoli."

"Thank you. Do you know when my Mom will be back?"

"She should be home early next week. You'll pleased to know that the store is doing well and so is your mom." Martha turned and walked to the kitchen to finish up dinner. Jonathan followed Martha and they left Clark and Whitney in the living room.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah Clark, I'm fine. Thanks for the massage earlier, it helped a great deal."

Clark got up and sat down next to Whitney. He dropped a hand down to Whit's lower back and began to trace light circles around the injured areas. Whitney was leaning into the touch and was biting his lower lip to keep from moaning.

"Clark," he whispered, "please stop. I don't want to have to explain to your parents what is going on."

"Dinner's ready!" called Martha from the kitchen.

"See, you are saved by my Mom."

Dinner proceeded with light conversation about the changes, or lack of, during Whitney's absence.

"Well things have been quieter without Lex Luthor around."

"Dad, why did you bring him up?"

"I didn't say anything other than it was quieter. You have to admit he was not the friend you thought he was."


"Actually Mr. Kent, from what I know and remember, Lex was a good friend. He was different but that is a good thing."


"Clark, told me what happened and I am not going to judge but I can tell Clark was in love. He seized a moment he had and it gave him two years of happiness, well almost."

Jonathan looked at Whitney and then at Clark. Clark had his head hung low and would not look up at anyone. He noticed Martha glaring at him.

"Whitney, what happened to you?"

"Perhaps a new lease on life but I don't know. All I know is I have far too many questions that lack answers. Clark is my friend and I know this is none of my business but you and he need to talk. I miss my father more than anything right now. Clark be glad yours is still here and he loves you despite everything. Mr. Kent, you can't make Clark be anything that he is not and you can't pick who he loves."

"Does he love you?"

Whitney looked at Jonathan, his jaw open but no words would issue forth.

"You would have to ask him that. He is my best friend and has been there for two years. I know I'd trust him with my life, but other than that I'm not sure of anything."

Martha had been watching Clark while Jon and Whitney talked and noticed small winces as Whitney explained the nature of their relationship. She placed a hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. He gave her a shy smile as a result.

"Well, certainly an interesting discussion at dinner. Clark, you and your father need to look at the south pasture's fence."

Jon was about to protest but saw the look in her eye. "Come on Clark, let's get this done before it rains."

Clark and Jonathan stood up and walked out the door together. Whitney was left with Martha and suddenly felt like he was back in basic training.

"So Whitney, I suspect that your mother also does not know that you are injured."

"No ma'am, she does not. I did not want to burden her with my problems."

"As a mother I will tell you that she would probably beat you to knock some sense into you. Mothers worry regardless and not telling her is not going to spare her anything. Whitney, she loves and you are all she has left. You ran away to find yourself, did you?"

"I have more questions but I know more about me than I did before I left."

"I still insist that you stay here until your mom gets back from her trip. I shouldn't say anything but I have a feeling that Clark likes you."

"Martha, um...I'm his friend and I'll leave it at that."

"Okay Whitney I'll leave it at that. So, what are your future plans."

"Get better and head to school in two months, figure out what's wrong with me."

"Sometimes there are no answers to be found but simply to live life to its fullest extent."

Whitney nodded his head and thought about what she said and then smiled at her.

Clark and Jon walked out to the pasture in silence.

"Clark, I want you to know that I love you. You are my son."


"I don't know what to say. I'm disappointed in you but not for the reasons you think."

"Because I'm gay."

"No, because you lied to us for two years Clark."

"Like I could tell you that I was dating Lex! You couldn't stand it if I even mentioned his name and I was not supposed to sneak around!"

"Clark, I'm trying but the Luthors have always meant trouble, I didn't want you to get hurt."

"Well I'll never know how things could have been, will I?"


"No! Dad, you never gave him a chance and I loved him and it was ruined because people WANTED to assume the worst. YOU didn't ask or talk to me. It hurts because I was happy. No I did not like sneaking around but I did what I had to do."

"Clark, I can't tell you who to love and I increasingly feel like I can't help with much of anything. Clark, please, talk to me and your mother, I don't want to look back and wonder when I lost my son."

" hurts, it hurts a lot but I'm hoping that having Whitney around will help."

"Are you and he?"

"DAD! I really don't know but..."

"Okay Clark, I understand but I would like to know if you are seeing someone. Contrary to what you may think, I do want you to be happy."

"Okay. Shall we go back so Mom won't worry that we killed each other?"

"Sure, maybe she'll give us dessert."

The Kent men walked back into the kitchen and saw a fresh apple pie beginning to cool on the table. Clark looked around the kitchen but only his mother was there. "Mom, where's Whitney?"

"He's in the living room, resting. He told me about his injuries and I told him to go relax."

Clark walked into the living room and saw Whit leaning back on the couch half asleep. Clark sat down near him and ran a hand over Whit's hand.

"Don't stop."

Clark smiled, "I'm going to wear down your resistance aren't I?"

"I never stood a chance Clark. But I stand by what I've been saying, give me some time."

Clark leaned over and kissed Whitney's cheek. "I'll give you want you need and maybe it will be a great deal more than what you want."

Whitney opened his eyes and looked at Clark. "Maybe."


Next part, Ascending Paths 

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