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Clark finally managed to drag himself out of bed when he heard Martha calling out for him. He pulled on his clothes faster than a speeding bullet and rushed out before Martha decided to come up to the loft herself.
Clark had created a very comfy abode for himself in the loft. And being the teenager that he was, it was still his Fortress of Solitude wherein very few people were allowed without his permission. Trespassers were severely prosecuted. All the more reason now to guard it with all his alien strength, now that Whitney was there.
//Whitney was there!//
Clark half skipped half flew towards his mom’s kitchen.
“What is it mom?”
Martha looked at Clark and hesitated. She didn’t know how to put this..
“Clark.. your father heard the noises coming from your loft a while ago.”
Martha sighed. “Clark, I know about you two and I accept it. I.. I am not sure I approve completely but I will support whatever you decide, whatever you think will make you happy. But… Jonathan.. well.. he…”
Clark’s face darkened. He knew what was coming.
Martha didn’t like doing this to her son. She shook her head and tried again.
“Well, lets just say your father is having a little trouble coming to terms with your.. relationship with Whitney.”
Clark was angry now.
“But why? I didn’t think he was homophobic!”
“I am not.”
Jonathan just then walked into the kitchen. The disapproval obvious on his face. The father and son stared each other down for a while, then Jonathan heaved a sigh and looked down. Tentatively he began,
“Clark.. I have to admit it’s a shock. Not unlike any parent faced with the same situation I’m sure..”
“Mom didn’t freak out Dad.”
“Your mother is an extraordinary woman. I am not.”
“Yeah well I never thought of you as an extraordinary woman either dad but at least you could be supportive of me and what I want.”
Jonathan scowled at his wry sense of humor while Martha couldn’t suppress a giggle. He stared her to silence while Clark continued.
“And why should this come as a shock to you after all the other extra-ordinary things you know about your son? Is being in love with another man wierder than x-ray vision? Or super-speed ? or.. hey.. let's say.. ALIEN SPACESHIP CRASHING TO EARTH!!”
“Stop it Clark.”
Martha was upset at the way he was speaking to his dad. Clark immediately regretted it. But Jonathan kept quiet. For a really long time. If there was one thing that caused Clark Kent jitters, it was when his dad got really really silent. Then he knew he’d really pissed him off. He sulked quietly, looked down at his feet, then back at up at his dad, then left then right, and back to his feet.
Jonathan sighed and rolled his eyes. With all his powers and going by what all he’d achieved in such a short time, Jonathan would sometimes forget that his son was after all, still just a kid.
“Clark I am NOT homophobic! This is NOT what this is about!”
“But you just said..”
“You didn’t let me complete!”
Clark folded his arms and looked intently at his dad.
//What could he possibly say? That its not safe? I haven’t been sick a day in my life. That it wasn’t normal? What the heck is not normal about me anyway? That being gay in this small town is scandalous and that I should try to blend in with the average people, try and be as inconspicuous as possible? Bullshit. Just to escape attention, I wouldn’t give up the one thing in life that’s made me the happiest I have been all my life! //
He waited for Jonathan to say something.
Jonathan stared back and began.
“As I was saying, yes, it does come as a shock to me. But I didn’t say that I disapprove…” Clark was taken aback. “and definitely not because of the relationship being homosexual.”
“I am only concerned about what your motivations are for this relationship Clark. Is it a one-off thing? Or do you have feelings for this boy?”
Clark wasn’t sure where this was going, so he kept quiet.
“I mean.. Clark you know how it is with you… you.. tend to develop a soft spot for people in distress. You like to take care of people and … you can be quite ..overbearing if you know what I’m saying.. its possible what you felt for Whitney was just friendship or maybe even a casual attraction towards an attractive person ..but now what is it..?”
It was a question. But Clark was too shocked to answer. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. His dad was totally mocking his feelings for Whitney! And he was expected to explain why or how or what he was feeling for the love of his life?
“And Whitney? What are his reasons?”
That hit home. Real hard.
“Clark, please don’t get me wrong. I am not doubting the sincerity of your feelings for Whitney. I just want you to ask yourself, if this is the real thing. If its for the right reasons. From what I heard and understood, Whitney is in a volatile state of mind right now. I hope whatever it is between the two of you, its … its not taking advantage of either of you… that’s all.”
Clark looked like he would just burst into tears. He was angry and hurt and totally stunned by what he’d just heard. He looked at Martha and she looked down. Did she think he was overbearing too? That he took advantage of Whitney in his current condition? And then he asked himself.. did he?
He turned around to walk out, slowly, lost in deep thought.
Clark stopped. Jonathan approached him from behind and placed his hands on his shoulders.
“Clark please don’t be angry. We just want you to be sure, that’s all! Just be sure. Before you do anything.”
Clark didn’t reply, he just stared away at nothing and resumed walking out and towards the loft. He looked up, scanning his favorite fortress, seeking out the bed and expecting to see his obsession, stretched out in human form.
He found an empty bed.
Clark panicked. He rushed towards the loft.
//Not again Whit-boy!//
He reached the top of the stairs and burst in. The bed was empty. But then he heard the shower. He let out a huge sigh of relief. Really Really huge. He blew off his CD player off its rack, and had to super-speed in order to catch it before it crashed to the floor.
“Ooofff” He rolled his eyes as he placed it back in its place and gingerly made it to his bathroom. The door was open. He went in, quietly.
Whitney was standing under the shower. His forehead rested against the wall before him, as also his hands placed flat on the sides of his head. The water washed away the last vestiges of soap on him as it made its way down his lean, elegant body. Clark licked his lips and stared. His dad’s hurtful interpretation of his love for Whitney playing in his mind, over and over. But he truly wondered if Whitney came to him out of something … other than love. If he had the reaction of someone who was victimized and starts to idolize and cling to, perhaps even love… his savior. Or was it gratitude?
Whitney raised his head and turned around then. He saw Clark standing there admiring him, and he smiled shyly.
He had woken up a while ago. He had panicked for a moment too, at not finding Clark beside him. Only to realize the silliness of the thought and brushed it away. He got up and headed for the bathroom. He was less sorer than the last time he was here, and decided to take that shower after all.
But while in the shower, all he could thing about was what they had done before. About ..Clark, his hands, his mouth, his limpid green eyes with which he looked at him like he were the most precious person in the whole world. The thought itself made Whitney feel so.. happy and content. He didn’t remember feeling that way in quite a while. He didn’t think he was even capable of handling so much joy.
The problem with Whitney Fordman? He worries too much. And specially since dad died, Whitney has always been quite wary of the littlest of happiness.
One moment the doctors had given him a clean bill of health and dad came home. They threw a bloody party even. And two days later, the world came crashing down around his feet. Similar things had happened with his football scholarship, with Lana. And recently, one moment he was the golden boy, returning to his home town and feeling pretty damn good about himself… and .. this happens.
But why does he complain now? Behind every cloud there’s a… something silver right? He had found Clark … and he couldn't have asked for anything more. He figured if Clark was in love with him, then he must have forgiven him too no? So that was good right?
See that’s just it. Things were way too good right now. Something was bound to go wrong. The police.. they were after him. Well even if they find out he and Clark were involved, Whitney didn’t think he or Clark could be prosecuted for what happened. But it sure would cause a lot of trouble for them both. It might also bring out what had transpired back with Wade. Whitney didn’t want it to be known publicly what they did to him. His mother would be crushed and cry and cry and not let him leave ever again. Could it cause trouble for him at the academy?
He didn’t wanna know.
And what about Clark? He couldn’t risk getting him into any trouble just because he came to his rescue. Whitney sighed deeply. And now, for the million dollar questions… One: How did Clark come to know about him being.. killed at Reiley field? And Two: How the HELL did he manage to rip off the guy’s whole fucking arm?
These were questions he’d just have to ask Clark.
He called out brightly. His voice brought Clark out of his reverie and he smiled back. He walked towards him and took him in his arms, all wet and dripping and kissed him. Whitney grinned into the kiss, obviously the boy didn’t care about getting his clothes wet.
“I had a dream about you.”
Clark let his lips free and nibbled his wet ear instead, rubbing the bare shoulder blades.
“Do you remember the football game you played? Your only one..”
His voice brimming with mischief. Clark knew how to play along too. He rolled his eyes upwards and frowned.
“Hmmm lets see..” Only to be rewarded with a punch in his gut.
“Ow.. yeah I remember .. how can I forget?”
He laughed at the not-so-distant memory. “The game that I won for the Crows, by the way..”
“Beginner’s luck freshman”
Clark scowled at him and dove in to nip playfully at his nose. Whitney laughed and let him.
“So what was this dream about?”
“Oh not much.. just.. you and me.. after the game, the game that you won for the Crows by the way.. everyone gathered around you to congratulate you .. guys hugging you and girls kissing you.. everyone cheering you on..”
Clark was sucking at his neck now, making him sigh.
Whitney pulled him backwards so that both were now standing under the running water and continued.
“You were the hero. All that adulation, all those people, teammates, cheerleaders, but you didn’t have eyes for any one… except one… me”
Clark was loving where this was going. He pressed his nose into the beautiful neck and took a deep deep whiff. Whitney smelt good. Of raindrops on roses. Red roses.
“It was raining you know… and then, right there in the middle of the stadium, in front of everyone… you came to me, your hair dripping in the rain, your uniform clinging to you in all the right places .. and .. I just stood there .. staring at you. And then ….”
“Then.. you were holding me .. and you took off my helmet…”
Clark raise his head to look at Whitney. “That’s it?”
Whitney shrugged oh-so-apologetically, a teasing smile on his lips. “I woke up then.”
“Talk about bad timing man”
And Whitney laughed. Clark dove back into his mouth before he could come up with a retort. They kissed.
Clark moved his hand down from Whitney’s back down to his butt. And he happened to rub exactly where Nigel had stabbed him. Whitney flinched.
“Woah.. I’m sorry.”
Clark looked at him concerned. Whitney quickly recovered.
“No.. its nothing. I guess.. I am coming out of the constant pain mode.. took me by surprise that’s all”
And he chuckled, leaning back in to resume the kiss. But Clark had already been reminded of his conversation with his father. He decided now was as good a time as any to bring it up.
“We need to talk.”
Whitney looked up into the green eyes. “Yeah I guess we do.”
He held on to Clark and lowered his lips to kiss his shoulder. He looked back up into those eyes but they still looked concerned and … far away. Clark smiled though.
He turned off the water and grabbed the towel from its hanger. He brought it around Whitney and gently rubbed his hair with it. Whitney could see something was the matter and his previous fears returned.
//See? I told you something had to go wrong!//
//Did I go too far with the stupid dream? Was it too mushy or somethin'?//
Whitney’s mind was plagued with apprehensions but he said nothing. Clark’s touch was still soft and loving, so he leaned into it. He grabbed the front of Clark’s shirt with both hands and then rested his head on the invitingly broad chest while Clark gently rubbed him dry. When he was done, Clark stepped back and wrapped the towel around Whitney’s waist, rested his hands there and looked anxiously at the boy. Whitney exhaled nervously too, raised his eyebrows in kind of a shrug and stepped out of the bath. He crossed his arms about him as he followed Clark out the bathroom.
Back in the room, he looked around once.
“Maybe I should get my stuff up here. I need clothes.”
“Take mine.” Clark said, automatically.
Whitney looked at him. “I need underwear.”
“Take mine.” Clark said, automatically.
Whitney smiled shyly and turned to Clark’s wardrobe. He took out what he needed, including a pair of jeans and a black shirt and dressed, feeling the other boy’s eyes on him all the time.
“You know a year ago, there was no way in hell you could get into those jeans.”
Whitney looked at Clark. “Well ..yeah.. we weren’t exactly best friends .. let alone…”
“No I mean, you really Really couldn’t have gotten into my pair of jeans.. you know with all that baby fat you sported back then.”
Clark was smiling so naughtily it was endearing. But Whit was too scandalized to see that right now.
“Wha.. the…? BABY FAT? Wherever do you pick up corny stuff like that from?”
Clark was laughing away. He paused to say one word… “Chhullloe” and started laughing again.
Whitney couldn’t resist either. “Funny Kent. I wasn’t ‘Fat’. You were scrawny. And you still are, going by these stupid pants..!”
“Tight around the butt huh?”
Clark was teasing again. Whitney remembered that morning, the lavish attention showered on his behind by his lover... and blushed.
“I like it like that... *just* like that.”
Clark’s voice full of sinful promises, his eyes dark with desire.
“I .. I really should get back home you know…”
Whitney said, almost recovering, smiling, sitting down to put on the runner shoes from before.
Clark walked up to his closet and took out a white and blue flannel to replace his wet shirt. He was now busy pulling it on.
“Yeah you should. I’m sure your mom is worried. I just .. thought maybe we could.. you know.. talk before you go.”
“Yeah that’s a good idea.”
“Yeah? You… you wanna talk about something?”
“Well.. its not too important. But.. you look like you have something important to say so why don’t you go first.”
Clark licked at his lips. This was going to be difficult.
“Whitney.. I .. I want you to know.. that.. I guess I just wanna ..”
“No nothing’s *wrong*..”
The stress of the word ‘wrong’ was significantly long and sarcastic. Clark got up to pace. And Whitney started to freak.
“Listen you obviously have something on your mind so why don’t you just say it?”
Clark stopped pacing. He placed his hands on his waist and stood looking at Whitney intently.
“I just had this conversation with my dad.”
Whitney understood now. Or so he thought. “And he doesn’t approve..”
“No no its not that… its not about our being together, actually it is, but their concerns are not about the... you know.. the gay thing.”
“Clark you’re blabbering. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“They think that you and me.. that this thing we have.. its… its unreal. That you are in a volatile state of mind, you were traumatized and might not be thinking straight. And that… that I might have taken advantage of you when you were… so.. vulnerable.”
Whitney was confused. Clark bit his lips then continued.
“Whit.. ok forget what they think. But I wanna be sure that.. I didn’t force you into anything did I? I mean… yeah.. sure I was… a little domineering ..”
“A little?” Whitney chuckled.
Clark looked up at him but he was smiling quite pleasantly. Okay, so he smiled too.
“Well.. you know..” And he shrugged and grinned brightly, obviously he was happy that way. But back to the point…
“Ahem, what I mean is, maybe you need to do a little introspection, as to why .. why you’re here.. with me.. were you really …attracted to me?”
There really wasn’t an easy way to say this.
“... and if the answer is yes... then.. was it just because.. you know.. because I was there and I got you out? Or does it run deeper than that?”
Whitney was not smiling anymore.
“I mean.. Whitney if this was gratitude…”
Whitney stood up, incredulous. “Gratitude?”
//Great going Kent. Bravo.//
Clark tried to retract but Whitney stopped him.
“Clark, to express gratitude you say thanks. You don’t let yourself be fucked out of your goddamn mind!”
“Whitney calm down.”
“Calm down? You stand there telling me that I wasn’t thinking straight when I… I practically *pledged* my love to you, and you want me to calm down? That I was returning the favor for saving my life… that I was whoring myself?? Is that what you’re saying Kent?”
“Jesus! no Whit..” Clark went to hold him but Whitney stepped back.
“I’m sorry okay, I was just… I just wanted to be sure, I don’t wanna see you hurt.”
“I *was* hurt. A lot. I nearly died. And while I was there hanging on the cross that night, wishing for death to come and take me soon as possible…”
“… you know what I was doing? All I could think of .. was you. I was thinking how badly I’d treated you and that this was my punishment, my penance for what I did to you. And I prayed to the God I don’t believe in, to save me. And that if he would give me just this one chance, the first thing I would do is… come and see you Clark. You.”
Clark was quiet. Whitney was in tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m REALLY sorry for EVERYTHING. And THIS is an apology.” Clark just stared, his own eyes brimming with tears.
“I’m also very VERY grateful to you for saving me from an undignified death. Thank You. And this… Clark.. THIS is gratitude.”
Clark closed his eyes. He was confused, his worst fears might have just been rendered true. So Whitney had felt guilty and grateful. Guilt and gratitude. What about love? Was it not love? He crossed his arms and just stood. Biting back whatever it was that was clawing at his throat, choking him.
“But..” Whitney spoke up again… Now what’s he saying…
“I’m also… I’m also … in love with you Clark Kent.”
“I .. I have been in love with you ever since the day I laid eyes on you. The day you walked into the school, nervous and uncomfortable, and yet with this quiet strength about you.. that.. sense of enigma?… I knew from day one that you would become my… my undoing. That you had it in you to destroy the life I had built for myself – my fame, my status, my girlfriend! And so, I replaced my instant attraction to you… with instant hatred. I did that Clark ... I hated you … because I loved you.”
Whitney was sobbing now. Clark opened his eyes.
“And then guess what? You looked right through me, only to develop a crush on my girlfriend? Lana?”
Whitney somehow found that very very amusing and he began to chuckle. Clark looked away.
“Don’t get me wrong man, I loved Lana too. With all my heart and soul. And I know that you loved her too. Its just one of those things you carry inside yourself forever and you might think its gone, but it never does. Just... takes a different form.”
Clark was biting his lips and nodding slightly in agreement.
“But at that time.. it was simply too much to bear. The two people that I wanted the most, that I loved the most, they loved each other and not me!?!”
And Whitney laughed again.
“It was too much man. Funny yeah.. like.. Quentin Tarantino funny.. but too much. So I was nasty. To you. You helped me so many times, it was plain hilarious, the more I tried to run from you, tried to be indifferent, the more you were around … helping me and Lana, saving my ass, covering for me. And I wondered, was that like a conscious effort on your part to make me indebted to you?”
He laughed again. Even Clark managed to smile sadly.
“Well I … I decided I wont fall for your cheap tricks.. no way.. and I refused to acknowledge you or your help at all! Perfunctorily yeah.. but.. you know..” He shrugged again and sneered at the memories. He wiped away at a tear fallen to his cheek.
“When .. when dad died, and I decided to follow in his footsteps and join the marines.. I thought about what I was gonna miss the most in Smallville. Clark do you know what denial is? I doubt it you’re always so… so true and sincere…”
Clark had to laugh at that. Yeah right.
“I.. I tried to deny it but I couldn’t.. you were what I missed the most about this town Kent. You are the one who made my life miserable and yet who do I remember most? You. I missed riding you”, he chuckled, “I missed talking to you, I missed being with you..”
Clark clasped himself harder. He wanted to pull Whitney into his arms and shut him up. Just shut him up!
“To this day, I have not been able to forgive myself. Clark…”
Clark looked up at him.
“My Guilt Is Because Of My Love, For You.”
“My Gratitude Is Because Of My Love, For You.”
“I Love You. Clark Kent.”
Clark went to Whitney and took him in his arms. “I love you too asshole.”
Whitney cried out with happiness. He held on tightly to the body in his arms, and buried his face into the shoulder. Clark had to laugh with so much happiness even as he wiped off his own tears, and rubbed Whitney’s back to soothe him.
“How does it feel to get finally everything out of your system?”
They kissed. They held each other and rocked each other for an eternity. And Clark silently thanked his dad. He was sure now. He was way sure.
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