December twenty-fifth arrived with a Christmas carol on the alarm clock radio, welcoming the festive holiday. It was Christmas Day, a time for family, togetherness, and merry-making. The Kent household was decorated both inside and outside in green and red. A berry wreath hung on the front door and a sprig of mistletoe dangled over the entryway. Garland ran along the banisters and white lights were wrapped around the poles on both sets of stairs. The scent of fresh pine filled the air from the Christmas tree standing decorated in the living room. Gaily wrapped presents overflowed from beneath the tree and from red and white stockings hanging from the front stair railing. Outside, snow fell gently in the pre-dawn light, adding to the white blanket that already covered the ground.
Jonathan Kent paused as he descended the stairs, fingers buttoning his flannel shirt. He sighed in resignation when he heard voices below despite the early hour of the morning.
It wasn’t a merry Christmas for Jonathan.
Clark was home for the holiday, but he hadn’t returned from Metropolis alone. He had called earlier in the week and had informed Jonathan and Martha that he was bringing the person whom he planned to make a future with home for Christmas and for their blessing on his choice. Jonathan had held on to the hopes that Clark would walk through the door with anyone other than Lex Luthor. His hopes, of course, were dashed.
Clark had been dating Lex exclusively for over two years. He had just finished his post-collegiate internship at the Daily Planet and had been hired on as a full-time staff reporter for the newspaper. With his education completed and employment set, he was ready to settle down and to Jonathan’s dismay it was Lex who Clark wanted to "wed." Although Kansas didn’t permit same-sex marriages, Jonathan knew that any commitment Clark made with Lex would be a permanent, ‘til-death-do-they-part relationship, legal paperwork notwithstanding.
Jonathan wasn’t happy with Clark’s choice of partner, but he wasn’t going to stand in the way. Clark was an adult, and he didn’t make important decisions lightly. If Lex was whom Clark loved, then he had to be a worthy human being in spite of his last name.
Jonathan descended the steps quietly and stopped at the jog in the stairway, overlooking the living room. He wanted a moment to watch the couple unobserved. Perhaps then he’d see whatever it was Clark saw in Lex.
Clark and Lex were snuggled on the couch with Clark in the corner and Lex ensconced between his legs. Their sock-clad feet were in a tangle on the opposite arm of the couch. The television and Christmas tree lights provided the only illumination in the room. The curtains over the picture window were open and Jonathan could see them in the reflection in the glass. Clark was wearing his usual sleepwear of navy sweats and a red pocket t-shirt. Lex was dressed similarly in pale blue cotton pajama bottoms and a plain white t-shirt. It was as casual as Jonathan had ever seen Lex dressed and the lack of silk or smoking jacket surprised him.
"Oh, come on," Lex said scornfully. He gestured towards the television. "He’s not even going to try CPR?"
"He’s a doctor. I think he knows if the guy’s dead," Clark commented.
"If he’s a doctor, he should be trying everything he can to save the guy," Lex said. "Brain death doesn’t occur for three to five minutes after the heart stops beating, any doctor knows that."
"It’s a TV show, Lex. You’re supposed to suspend your disbelief at the doctor’s incompetence because the guy needed to die in order to advance the plot."
"Suspend my disbelief at that?" Lex said. "Next, you’ll be telling me to suspend my disbelief that aliens exist on earth-"
"-Or to suspend my disbelief that your parents don’t mind that I’m here."
"Lex-," Clark sounded exasperated, as if they’d had this discussion many times before, "-they’re fine with you being here."
Lex snorted derisively. "Of course, Clark. Every parent is comfortable with their only child sleeping with his lover down the hall from them."
"They would’ve told me if they wanted us in separate beds," Clark said. "Besides, they know we’ve been living together since I graduated from college."
"I know," Lex sighed. "But this is the first time we’ve slept together under your parents’ roof, and I feel… dirty. Like we’re doing something illicit, even though we didn’t have sex. It’s disconcerting. The label of ‘lover’ has never really bothered me until now."
"Lex, you do know that you’re more than just a lover to me?" Clark said. When Lex said nothing, Clark added, "Don’t you?"
"Yes, Clark. I know."
"No, I don’t think you do." Clark shifted taller in his seat, inadvertently giving a clear view of his face, and Jonathan saw not the little boy he helped raised but the man Clark had become.
Jonathan swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and pride swelled in his chest. He felt rather than heard Martha behind him and held up his hand to signal for her silence. It was not the time to interrupt. Her hand curved over his shoulder as she joined him on the landing, but he didn’t turn from the scene below.
"Lex," Clark began, hugging Lex against him, chest to back. "I love you. I have for a very long time, first as a friend and then as something more."
"I know, Clark," Lex said more surely than before.
Clark brushed a kiss against Lex’s bare skull. "When you asked me to move in with you, I knew you were serious about our relationship. You guard your personal space fiercely, especially after having lived with your dad here in Smallville," he said. "For a year and a half we’ve shared a bed, and it’s nearly impossible to sleep without you now."
"I wasn’t saying that I didn’t want to share the bed with you while we’re here-"
"You know," Clark said, continuing over him. "During my final interview before I got hired by the Daily Planet, I was asked what I saw when I looked into the future. They were expecting an answer like ‘having a front page byline,’ or ‘winning a Pulitzer under the Daily Planet banner.’" Clark smiled softly and nuzzled the back of Lex’s head. "I told them that I saw you."
"Clark…," Lex whispered thickly.
On the landing, Martha squeezed Jonathan’s shoulder. Jonathan wrapped his arm around her waist and squeezed back.
Clark dipped his hand into his shirt pocket and then held his palm open in front of Lex. Neither Jonathan nor Martha could see what he held, but they saw Lex’s stunned profile clearly. His mouth parted and his eyes went wide as he looked down at Clark’s hand.
"I don’t need an official ceremony, or legal papers, or even promissory words from you," Clark said. "From this moment forward, if you accept, I am yours."
Immediately, Lex made a noise that might have been a laugh and nodded. His hands shook visibly in the window’s reflection as he took whatever Clark held.
"I’ve been carrying them around for weeks, but it never seemed like the right time to ask," Clark said. He nudged Lex’s bare head with his nose and added teasingly, "The smaller one is yours."
"I know, dingbat," Lex croaked, as if a frog had lodged in his throat. His actions were unclear in the reflection while he did something with their hands, but then he twisted agilely in Clark’s arms, slid his hand behind Clark’s head, and pulled him into a kiss.
Jonathan tore his gaze from the scene and looked at Martha. She smiled beatifically and had tears in her eyes. He leaned over and kissed her tenderly. "Love you, woman."
"Love you back," she replied with a soft, happy sigh.
Jonathan winked at her, cleared his throat loudly, and returned his focus to the two men in the living room. Clark and Lex pulled apart quickly and looked over at Jonathan, startled. "Good morning," Jonathan said with fake gruffness. He released Martha and clomped down the stairs.
"Morning, boys. Merry Christmas," Martha chimed, following him downstairs. She turned on a lamp as they entered the living room.
"Merry Christmas," Clark chirped brightly, with a blinding smile.
"Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent," Lex’s greeting was more subdued. He also had a light pink flush to his cheeks. He sat up, seemingly casually at ease with his butt between Clark’s thighs, knees hooked over Clark’s leg, and feet barely touching the floor, save for the fact he had fisted his hands in his lap.
Clark placed his hand on Lex’s thigh near his knee, drawing attention to the plain platinum band around his left ring finger. Clark looked anxiously at Jonathan, who stood beside the couch.
A quick glance at Lex’s left hand confirmed the presence of a matching ring, and Jonathan had to wrap his mind around the fact that his son had just basically married a Luthor a minute ago.
However, if Lex had been female and followed tradition, she’d now have the last name of Kent. If Jonathan applied that logic, Lex would now be a Kent, and Jonathan supposed he could deal with that.
"What are you guys doing up so early?" Clark asked.
"The cows don’t care that it’s Christmas," Jonathan said. He clapped his hand on Lex’s knee beneath Clark’s hand. "Why don’t you thrown on some clothes and give me a hand, son."
"Sure, Dad," Clark said. "Give me a sec-."
"I was speaking to Lex," Jonathan said, interrupting Clark. Lex’s gaze snapped to Jonathan in obvious surprise, though his expression was relatively blank. Jonathan looked expectantly at him in return. "Well, start moving. Family doesn’t get the luxury of lazing around like a guest."
Lex glanced at Clark, who urged him to his feet with a toothy grin. "I’ll be right back," Lex said, a hint of timidity coloring his tone.
"Bundle up," Jonathan called after Lex, as he headed upstairs. "It’s pretty cold outside."
The second Lex was out of sight Clark leapt to his feet and engulfed Jonathan in a hug. "Thank you!"
Jonathan patted Clark on the back, happy there was still some of the boy in this extraordinary man. "Congratulations, Clark." He stepped back from the embrace, but kept his hands on Clark’s shoulders. "Later, you and I are going to have a talk about how your mother and I have survived twenty years of marriage and counting. Although my advice on how the wife is always right, even when she’s not, doesn’t work here." He lifted a brow, and added teasingly, "Unless there’s something you’re not telling us, Clark."
Martha swatted Jonathan on the arm. "Behave."
Clark moved into a hug with her, bubbling happily over what had occurred. Jonathan retrieved his winter coat and hat from the hook by the back door. He grabbed an extra pair of workman’s gloves and called loudly, "C’mon, Lex!"
Lex came downstairs a moment later, dressed properly and sliding on his coat. A black watchcap was on his head.
Jonathan realized suddenly that this new aspect to Clark and Lex’s relationship might not be that bad. He got the pleasure of bossing a Luthor around, Kent name change application or not.
Jonathan grinned inwardly as he passed the gloves to Lex, opened the door, and led him outside into the lightly falling snow.
It was a merry Christmas for Jonathan, after all.