A/N: This story is the result of a challenge by Firechild and is somewhat different from my usual, so please keep an open mind.
Jonathon's Big Surprise
Jonathon Kent opened the back door of his kitchen and was surprised by the cool night air that assaulted him. Walking with his usual long stride he moved with a great deal of purpose and no small amount of anger towards his barn. Once he arrived there he climbed the stairs to his son's loft and stood looking across to the house. He could see Clark pulling off his shirt and getting ready for bed. Even from here he could read the young man's face and what he saw infuriated him to say the least. Times like these made him wonder if he had ever really made any impact on his son at all.
He had waited until Clark had come home from Lana's to talk to him. The conversation in the kitchen the other day after Clark had tried to sneak Lana out of his room hadn't gone as Jonathon would have liked. He couldn't believe that his son would ever think that he would have no problem with having Lana stay the night for a sleep over that probably didn't actually include much sleep. He and Martha had always known and accepted that some day Clark would become sexually active and they just wanted him to use good judgment and be respectful. But respect was noticeably absent in this little scenario.
His temper had made an appearance and like she always did Martha had tried to smooth things over for their son. But Jonathon had known then that he and Clark would be having the discussion that he wanted to have about the situation and his choices. The farmer ran a hand through his hair and sighed. The conversation with Clark hadn't gone as he had hoped at all. For starters Clark was openly defending his position and would not be convinced otherwise.
Rarely if ever did Jonathon not prevail in these father son discussions. If all else failed he would just put the boy across his knee and paddle him until he had seen the error of his ways. But he realized that Clark was now well beyond the age where spanking would be the answer to this problem. Even knowing this, when his son had told him that he was going to continue to see and sleep with Lana and keep whatever hours that involved, his hand had all but itched to set a familiar fire on Clarks defiant behind. But of course he hadn't and had come up here to cool off.
Why was it that sons just didn't do as they were told. All he was asking was that Clark be respectful and let them know where he was and when he was coming home. He had no illusions that Clark was going to become a priest and he would never expect that. But he didn't want the boy to continue to have sleepovers with his girlfriend under their roof out of respect for both himself and Martha. Although Jon realized that Martha wasn't having nearly the problem with this that he was. He had always demanded respect from his son and luckily had always gotten it, but this well this was a brand new situation. And frankly it had hurt him that Clark had just out and out refused to do this his way. Sitting down on the couch he leaned his head back and sighed.
Jonathon was unsure how much time had passed when he opened his eyes realizing that he must have fallen asleep. He looked around the dark room and realized that he had heard a tread on the step and that must have been why he had woken up. It was probably Martha coming to find him and chase him back to bed. He was surprised when the figure got to the top of the stairs and he realized that it was a man.
who are you and what are you doing here on my property?" he asked jumping to his feet.
The figure stepped out of the shadows and for a moment Jonathon felt like he couldn't take a breath. "Dad?"
Hiram Kent stepped closer to his son and smiled. "Yes son it's me, surprised to see me?"
Jonathon shook his head as if the sight would go away. "But Dad you're dead."
Now Hiram laughed and the sound of it sent chills down Jonathon's back. How could he have forgotten how his own fathers laugh sounded? "Don't worry big guy I'm still dead."
Hearing this caused Jonathon to sit back down on the couch not knowing exactly what else to do. "So this must be a dream then?"
He saw a grim look cross his father's features and he shook his head no in answer to the question. "While you were sitting here stewing about your son's poor choices and what you see as poor behavior I was somewhere else doing the same thing. And I realized that you and I need to have a little discussion about your life Jonathon. So here I am."
Jonathon still couldn't believe that his father was standing in front of him. "Can I touch you?"
Hiram nodded and the look on his face for some reason made Jonathon nervous. "Yup you can touch me and I can touch you. That part was something that I insisted on."
Jonathon took in what his father had just said without really understanding it. Standing up he walked to where his father stood. He realized that this was how his father had looked in his fifties. He stood face to face with him and felt himself being pulled into a tight hug and for once in his life he hugged back happy for the chance again.
He took a deep breath and his head was filled with his father's scent a smell that he hadn't even thought about in years. "I've missed you Dad and now that I'm a father I always wanted to tell you that I was sorry for the way I used to be with you."
Hiram tipped his son's chin up and looked into eyes as blue as his own. "I always knew that you loved me Jon ever when you were trying to drive me crazy with your stunts."
Both father and son stood in a comfortable embrace for a few minutes until Jonathon found himself fidgeting and suddenly felt like Clark. As if he knew just what he was thinking Hiram released his hold on his son and pointed to the couch. "Sit. I need to talk to you about some things regarding my grandson and then some things about you."
Jonathon wasn't sure why his father's tone made him uneasy but it did. The more he thought about it the more he realized that it reminded him of the way he used to sound when he was in trouble. Jonathon almost laughed out loud at the thought of being in trouble at his age.
"Something amusing you son?"
Damn there it was that tone of voice again. "No sir."
No sir- where in hell did that come from what was he twelve again? Looking at his father with confusion evident on his face he saw Hiram point again to the couch and being unsure what else to do at this point he just sat down and his father joined him. Putting what felt like a solid hand on his knee he felt his fathers gaze upon him. "So are you trying to screw up your life son or is that just an accident?"
Jonathon looked at his father and again recognized the tone and the gesture and the familiar feeling in his chest of being put on the defensive. "My life is just fine Dad. Martha and I are very happy, and Clark is a great kid."
To which his father nodded and again smiled. "Yes you are and yes he is, so why are you trying your level best to ruin all that hard work?"
It occurred to Jonathon in that moment that he had been in the room with his father again for less than ten minutes and already the roles they had always played were present yet again. "I am not trying my level best to ruin anything Dad. Clark and I are just going through some difficult things right now."
The hand was back on his knee again. "I know that son and that's one of the reasons why I came. I know that you are frustrated with him and the situation with Lana."
Jonathon looked at his father incredulous that he knew so much of what was going on in their life. "Don't look so surprised son I check on you all from time to time. And the way that you are handling this situation with Clark is all wrong."
Jonathon put his head into his hands and sighed. "I know I should come down harder with him and make him stop this but I tried tonight and for once he wasn't willing to give in about this. He threatened to move out if he had to. He was adamant about it all."
"And as he should be Jonathon he is in love with this girl and always has been. This is just a normal step in their relationship."
Jonathon got a strange look on his face and turned to his father. "Don't even try to tell me that you approve of him sleeping with his girlfriend under my roof!"
Hiram shook his head. "You know that a physical relationship is an important part of life son. Why your mother and I
Before he could go any further Jonathon leapt to his feet in dismay the grimace evident on his face. "Please Dad don't finish that sentence
. not ever."
Hiram chuckled at his son and again patted the couch next to where he sat. "Sit down son we are a long way from finished here."
Jonathon sat down thinking that even now as a full grown adult and then some he didn't want to think about his parents' sex life or even if they had a sex life. He sat down on the couch next to his father and thought about just how strange this dream was. "Now Jonathon you need to accept that Clark is growing up and going to manage his own life soon. And that is going to include relationships and even physical relationships."
Jonathon turned to look at his father with disbelief. "Do you know what you would have done to me if I had slept with a girl under your roof?"
He saw his fathers features tighten in a look that he suddenly remembered well. "I would think that even now you wouldn't be stupid enough to lie to me son. How many times did Martha spend the whole night cuddled up next to you in that old twin bed that used to be in your room before you were married?"
He had barely even gotten it out his son has responded. "Now Dad I would have never
"Bullshit Jonathon I know exactly how many times it was and unless I missed my guess you were doing more than sleeping too."
Jonathon was amazed to feel the flush of embarrassment come over his face and stood up walking to the window. "How do you know about that now?"
His father snorted "Now- hell I knew about it then and I'm just dead now son not stupid. Your mother and I stayed out of it because we knew that you were in love with the girl. But it did really tick me off that you lied to me about it and still are even after all this time. At least your son had the decency and respect to come to you and be honest which is something that you still haven't done."
Now Jonathon felt a sharp stab of conscience at his father's words but his pride prevented him even now from apologizing, even under these strange circumstances. "Sit back down here now young man."
Turning to look at his father with amazement he spoke "Dad I'm forty eight years old now."
And as if to prove that it didn't matter Hiram spoke through gritted teeth. "Sit, boy."
And of course Jonathon sat down and hoped that soon he would wake up. Because as much as he had enjoyed seeing his father he had been reminded all too well of how much he and Hiram had butted heads.
"Now look son you have been a wonderful dad and Clark is living proof of that. But now you need to step back and trust that he has learned all the lessons that you have taught him and that he now has the tools that he needs to make his own decisions. I know that it isn't easy. I surely had a hard time when you were his age as well. But it is important that you show him that you trust him to make the right decisions."
Now Jonathon was the one to snort. "Yeah like you trusted me when I bought my motorcycle?"
Hiram shook his head and sighed "I never said that I was perfect Jonathon, I was wrong about that."
The younger Kent sat in silence for a moment surprised at how much it meant to him to hear that. "Thank you for that Dad." He also couldn't believe that he was suddenly fighting tears.
"Your welcome, just promise me that you will try and trust my grandson a little more okay? I know that you have had some difficult times because of his unique talents but sometimes he just needs to be a normal young man no different than anyone else without special powers would be. And he needs to know that you and Martha love and trust him. Will you try to do that for me son?"
Jonathon nodded that he would indeed try, knowing even as he did it wouldn't be easy. "Good now believe it or not that was the easy part of our discussion. Now that we have talked about Clark lets talk about Martha."
Jon couldn't believe what he had just heard and became angry. "I don't need to talk about Martha Dad, I love her and she loves me and we are happy. I am a good husband you know."
He shrank back a little when he saw the furious look on his father's face. "Did I say that you are a bad husband son? No I don't believe that I did. I realize that you are a good father and husband or Clark wouldn't be the person that he is. Fathers are exactly what I wanted to talk about."
Now Jonathon was just confused. "What are you talking about dad?"
He saw Hiram take a deep breath and wondered if he even needed to breath anymore and forced himself to listen to whatever he was going to say. "I want to talk about Martha's father son."
Once again the younger farmer got to his feet. "No. I won't discuss him with you. He is a closed chapter in our life."
"She misses him Jonathon and has for twenty years. I'm not suggesting that you and he become best friends but I am suggesting that you encourage her to have a relationship with him before its too late. She needs that son and so does Clark."
"He doesn't deserve either of them."
"Maybe not but they need to fix this to some degree or they will always regret it. And you will to some extent be responsible."
Jonathon turned again to his father with a furious glance. "Everything is always my fault with you Dad."
Unfortunately for Jonathon that didn't even get a rise out of his father. "This is about your stubborn pride son. And while we are on the issue of stubborn pride let's talk about your plans to become a senator."
"I don't suppose I could hope that you are bursting with pride or anything." As he said it Jonathon was surprised to hear how hateful he sounded. And wondered why even now he couldn't seem to stop the pointless arguing that had been a big part of their relationship for the bigger part of his life.
"I am proud of you son and always have been even long before this campaign. I am just wondering how much of this is wanting to see Lex Luthor lose rather than wanting to help the fine people of the state of Kansas. Or how much is wanting to be in the spotlight. Are you willing to pay the price that this will cost to your family? And what of Clark haven't you spent his whole life trying to keep him out of the spotlight and now suddenly because it's something that you want its all okay."
With long purposeful strides Jonathon headed for the stairs. "I don't have to listen to this crap old man, for one thing because you're dead, and for another because I am perfectly able to make my own decisions without your help because I am a full grown man now."
As Jon reached the stair suddenly his father was standing in front of him. Hating this dream completely he felt his father push him in the direction of the couch. "I knew it would have to be the hard way with you son you never would accept anything but that and why I thought twenty five years would have changed anything I'm still not sure."
The first thing that Jon noticed was that for some strange reason his father was suddenly pretty strong and the second thing was that he had in his hand the strap that he had practically worn out on Jonathon's behind during his teenage years of rebellion. He felt his heart rate pick up and he kept telling himself only a dream, only a dream. But his father was all but marching him back over to the sofa and Jon had played the father in this little drama often enough to know what was about to happen. But surely if this was a dream it wouldn't hurt and maybe this was just his guilty conscience about all the things that his dream father had lectured him over.
He felt himself being bent over the back of the couch and thought about just how many times he had done the same with Clark. He had the thought that as much as he hated to punish the boy that was far preferable to this. He heard the strap land and of a moment he held the thought that being a dream it wouldn't hurt. And then he felt the sting streak across the seat of his pants and he muttered a curse word that he rarely used. "Fuck".
As if in reply his father landed two more onto the target and the farmer was chagrined to find himself already dodging the strap. And he had spent enough time in this position with his father in his youth to know that he would let the strap do his talking and it would be hard and fast and nothing was gonna stop him until the lesson was learned. He had forgotten just how damn much this hurt and felt a knot of emotion in his chest. He wished like hell that he would just wake up because the heat and sting were becoming something to be reckoned with and his dad had just started.
But as always there was no way he was going to beg him to stop or admit fault as his own son often did. He would just take it and not give his father the satisfaction of letting him know it hurt. Two more hard swats made him rethink that idea and he wondered how in his youth he had ever allowed this to happen more than once. Two more across the back of his legs and he couldn't seem to stop the tears that filled his eyes. And two more directly across his behind and he began to openly weep. "I'm sorry Dad please you're right
But as he had in life Hiram continued until he thought his point had been made. And Jonathon couldn't remember the last time that he had cried like this. The punishment finally stopped and Jon felt himself being pulled to standing and then walked to the front of the couch where Hiram sat him down and then down beside him. Much too the younger man's surprise he felt himself being wrapped in a warm hug and he held on for dear life seemingly unable to stop weeping.
"Now I just want you to remember not to let pride ruin your life son. Because it isn't just your life it is Martha and Clarks life too. You have turned into a man that any father would be proud of Jonathon but you still have alittle way to go with your temper and the matter of pride."
Feeling like just a kid again Jon finally managed to stop crying but he continued to keep a tight hold on his father. Even if it was a dream he felt so solid and it felt so good to let him have control again for what ever amount of time. "I'm sorry Dad; I was a terrible son, always doing exactly what you told me not too."
Much to his amazement he felt Hiram place a soft kiss on the top of his head. "Hush now Jon you were my pride and joy and still are."
For once allowing himself the privilege of tears he cried into his father's strong shoulder and felt a consoling hand on his back as he began letting go of so many old burdens and feeling confident in his father's love again.
Jonathon felt someone softly shaking his shoulder and slowly opened his eyes only to find himself face to face with Clark. "Dad, are you all right, you were crying?"
Jonathon pushed himself up from a reclining position on the couch. And as soon as his behind made direct contact with the cushions he winced. "Dad are you all right, are you hurt?"
The farmer couldn't believe that the dream had been so real about his father that he was actually feeling what he was feeling but there was no other explanation. "I must have hurt my back alittle with the position I was sleeping in I guess and I was just having a dream that's all."
Jonathon wiped his face with his hand and was surprised to find tears there still. "What are you doing up here Clark?"
Clark looked at the floor for just a moment before looking back into his father's eyes. "I was feeling really badly about how we left things Dad I don't want to disappoint you but
Jonathon silenced him with a gentle hand over his mouth. "Hush now Clark you are my pride and joy and always will be. I realize that you have to grow up and find your own way. I said some things that I shouldn't have said and I'm sorry. We will figure this out together son. Now how about we go back to bed before Mom comes out here and kicks both our butts."
He was almost knocked over by the hug that his son gave him and once again tears filled his eyes. He was very thankful for the dream of his father and how it had helped him to realize that his behavior could stand with some modification.
Both father and son stood and walked to the landing and then something on the table caught the farmer's attention. He looked at it with eyes wide and looked to Clark. "Did you bring this up here Clark?"
Clark looked dumbfounded and shook his head no. "What is that?"
Jonathon kept telling himself that it couldn't be. "It's grandpa's strap."
Now Clark grimaced. "Is that what he used to use to
Jonathon swallowed hard and nodded. "Boy I bet that thing hurt like the devil."
Not able to help himself the farmer reached around and rubbed his behind. "Yeah no kidding. C'mon lets go back to the house."
Clark walked down the stairs and Jonathon paused on the landing for a moment and looked at the darkness, smiling and speaking softly "Thanks Dad and I love you."
And somewhere Hiram Kent returned the smile.
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