Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: CLex (Clark/Lex), Martha
Challenge/Prompt: fffc Summer Bingo: Hay Fever
Word Count: 1,496
Date Written: 6 June 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
"You should have told me," Clark says, pausing in his pacing to shoot Lex a deep, worried frown. "It's not like I wouldn't have understood."
"I did not . . . " Lex struggles to speak, "say you wouldn't, but there are too many things -- ACHOO!"
"Is that the last one?" Clark asks, looking at the box Lex holds. His boyfriend nods miserably. "I'll be right back."
Clark zips out the door even as Lex protests, "Don't -- " Lex sighs and dots tenderly at his sore nose. A second later, Clark is back, his strong arms loaded with shopping bags.
"Clark, please -- "
Clark shakes his head. "I'm not hearing it, Lex. You're sick because of me and your own stubbornness -- " Clark cuts eyes at his mother who's just walked into their living room, carrying a tray of chicken soup, heard her son was saying, and burst out laughing. "Mother!"
"Oh, hush up, Clark! The poor boy's only as stubborn as the rest of us!" Martha tisks as Clark's face turns a little pink. "Honestly, Lex, with as stubborn as you are, you might as well be one of us!" She sets the tray down in front of him and reaches out to help him sit up.
"I'm fine, Missus Kent, honestly." Lex blushes this time. "I can surely sit up by my-- my-- myself. ACHOO!" Lex takes the Kleenex Clark hands him and holds it to his nose. "And I can feed myself," Lex hurriedly adds as Martha reaches for the spoon next to the bowl of steaming, homemade chicken soup.
"It won't hurt you to allow an old woman to dote on you, Lex," Martha speaks gently, almost teasingly, but instead of picking up the spoon, she moves instead to make sure the table is comfortably close to the couch. She hands Lex the spoon, then moves around him and starts tucking the quilt her grandmother made in around him and making sure his pillows are fluffy enough. "I know this is hardly the treatment you're used to."
Lex sighs after the bite of food he's had all day. "You're right," he says, waving the spoon in the air for emphasis. "I am not at all accustomed to such kindness."
"Lex," Martha returns gently, "you know that's not what I meant."
He looks up into her sad and compassionate eyes and nods. "I-- I know -- ACHOO!" Again, his empty hand takes a Kleenex from Clark, who's now perched on the far end of the couch. "It's nonetheless true, however, and I have never in all my life -- ACHOO!" He pauses again to dab at his nose with another fresh Kleenex. "Tasted chicken soup as good as yours." He takes another bite. "Mmm! We could market this, you know."
"And you know I'm not interested in that, young man."
Lex smiles coyly and takes another bite before admitting, "I know. You can scarcely blame a Luthor for -- for trying, though. ACHOO!" This time, he takes both the Kleenex from Clark's outstretched hand and the box itself from his other. He lays the box down beside the tray on which Martha has his food and a cold glass of her homemade sweet tea.
"You're much more than your bloodline, Lex," Martha says gently. "You should know that by now, and you, young man," she continues before Lex can comment, looking pointedly up at her son, "should know why Lex did not tell you, although you should have told him, Lex."
Clark's mouth works soundlessly. It's Lex who manages to ask, with a note of amusement to his voice, "Are you scolding us both, Missus Kent?"
"Yes, I am! You should know by now, young man, that you can tell Clark or myself anything, and we will not hold it against you, least of all that you're allergic to hay! Honestly!"
"Well, if I had known he was planning on giving the local kids a hay ride today, I would have taken my medicine before coming out. I admit I usually do just for the chance that he's going to be in the barn when I arrive, but I was especially busy this morning, running late, and managed to leave my pen at home. Had it simply been a few sniffles, I would have been fine, but -- "
"You should have told us," Martha cuts in on Lex's excuses as his nose starts to wriggle, "and that's that."
"And you," her eyes narrow in on her son, who's now grinning at her rather sheepishly. "You know Lex doesn't like to admit what he feels is failures!"
"Being allergic isn't something anybody can help! Allergies aren't failures!"
"Thanks to his father," Martha counters, reaching over and stroking Lex's back comfortingly through the quilt, "Lex has a misconception about what actually constitutes as a failure. We all know that! And we all know -- "
" -- that the poor dear feels like he misses out on sharing too much of your life with you now. There are things you can do, Clark, things you do every day and -- "
" -- take for granted, that we can never share in."
"But that's not his, or your, fault."
"It's not, but you still know better than to fuss at the poor dear -- "
" -- when he's already sick for not telling you something we all know he prefers -- "
" -- not to have to admit."
"And my fussing at him is any different than your -- "
" -- fussing at him?"
"Yes! I'm fussing over him, Clark, like a mother should!"
"Try to eat your soup, dear," she adds, stroking Lex's bald head soothingly, "before it gets cold."
"I'm trying -- " Lex mutters, rubbing his sore nose.
"Where's your EpiPen?" she asks him.
"ACHOO! It's -- ACHOO! -- in the top drawer of my nightstand by my bed."
"Go fetch it for him, Clark," Martha instructs, "and don't be so angry at him for not confiding in you when you know the reasons why he's loathe to admit his human downfalls!"
Clark doesn't have to be told twice. He could argue with his mother, but he enjoys watching her care for Lex. It's a warm reminder that she loves the man he loves and wholly supports their relationship. He sets the bags down on the end of the couch and races out for Lex's mansion and the much needed EpiPen.
"Th-Thank you, M-- Mi-- ACHOO! -- Missus Kent."
Martha again tenderly rubs Lex's head. "Don't worry about it," she urges. She pauses, hearing her husband's old truck pull up into the yard. She leans down and places a chaste kiss on his head before standing erect. "Now eat your soup," she commands gently, "and let me go deal with the old bear of the woods." Wrapping her hands on her apron, she heads out to meet her husband and his objections to Lex taking over their couch.
Left alone, Lex finally manages to take another bite of the soup. It seems to warm him all the way from his lips down through the very bottom of his starving belly, but he's already feeling a lot warmer than he has ever since he rode with Clark and the kids. Having hay fever isn't so bad, he thinks, if there's some one to care for you like Martha and Clark Kent. He's lucky to have both of them.
"ACHOO!" He leans back as his head swims and only opens his eyes when he feels a sharp jab on his arm. Clark's back and shooting him with his own pen. He smiles, though his lips tremble with the urge to sneeze yet again. "I'm sorry," he whispers and then sneezes again.
Clark hands him another Kleenex, and as Lex accepts it, their hands brush. Their eyes lock. "It's okay," Clark says as Lex feels a familiar and altogether different heat uncurling in his belly. "I understand. But is there anything else you're allergic to?"
Lex starts to shake his head but stops as the room swims around him. "Not that I'm aware of."
"Good." Clark lifts a spoon full of soup to Lex's lips with a smile. "Now eat up."
Lex's lips quirk up into a teasing grin. "Yes, nurse." He takes the bite and barely manages to swallow it before he sneezes again. When he's done wiping his nose, Clark's ready with another bite of food. Lex beams, lips the spoon, and sucks up the soup. His eyes again meet Clark's, and though the room spins, Lex barely notices it this time. Ah, yes, being sick isn't that bad at all as long as he's got this sweet and wonderful boy -- and his kind and gracious mother -- to care for him. He's luckier, Lex knows as he leans forward and takes another bite from the spoon Clark holds, than any Luthor alive, and he always will be as long as Clark loves him.