Be Your Man
Author: DebC
E-mail: debchilson@yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13
Keywords: farming, romance, Martha pov, Jonathan pov
Pairing: Jonathan/Martha
Series: None
Spoilers: None
Disclaimers: The Kent family, farm, and other denizens of Smallville herein mentioned belong to... well, not me, that's for sure! ;-) The quote in the beginning is from "Tonight I Wanna be Your Man" as sung by Andy Griggs and written by Rivers Rutherford and Troy Verges. Complete lyrics will follow at end of story.
Summary: It's been one of those days on the Kent farm

Author's Notes: This is written for my best friend and her J/M web site "God, I Hope He Marries Me." http://jjxpfc.crosswinds.net/smallville/index.html. Oh, and this story assumes the Kent's still have cows. Maybe they bought new at auction. Doesn't matter, though; they have cows. And lastly, thanks to LaCasta for the beta job and the additional comments. :-)

"Be Your Man"

~*~
It hit me just this morning, when I passed you in the hall.
I swear I caught you lookin', like you don't know me at all.
Well, let me show you who I am.
All week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.
~*~

Before the impending sun could so much as turn the sky a dull shade of gray, Martha knew it was going to be one of those days. The kind every farmer's wife wishes would never come, but knows are laying in wait for the most perfectly ill-timed moment imaginable to rear its ugly head.

And as far those days go, this one was shaping up to be a real beaut, Martha noted sarcastically as a sharp sound filled her ears. It was a high-pitched whine crossed with a sickening revving noise and was coming from the grain bin. A few seconds later, her son loped out of the barn towards her.

"Hey, Mom!" he called out, not smiling. "Dad needs to know where that belt is--the one we bought for the motor on the grain chute last year. Do you know where it is?" The boy looked hopeful, but uncertain.

Martha wasn't sure if they still had that belt. "Didn't we use it back in September when the other one burnt up?" she asked Clark.

"That's what I thought, too, but Dad swears we didn't. You know how he is."
Yeah, Martha did know how her husband could be. Stubborn to a fault. This was why they were still wasting time buying new belts when what they really needed to do was replace the motor that kept burning them up. She sighed heavily. If she and Clark were right--and it was likely they were--today was going to be a long, long day. And it wasn't even daylight, yet.

"I'll go look for it, Clark. Why don't you see how much of the other chores you can get done before you need to get ready for school?" The boy nodded tiredly and sprinted off. It was at times like these when Martha thanked God for his abilities, no matter where they might have come from.

She headed off to look for the missing belt, although she was still certain it wasn't missing. It was likely lying on the floor in the barn by her husband's feet and completely unusable. Not that she'd ever convince Jonathan of that.

After searching the house, the garage and storage shed, she headed back to the barn. Clark had just finished feeding the cows by hand, and she was again grateful for his super-speed. If she or Jonathan had been left to do it alone, it would have taken way too much time, even with their small herd. For Clark, it'd taken only a few minutes.

"You'd better get going, son," she heard Jonathan tell him. "You'll be late for the bus if you don't hurry and get your shower."

"I was gonna start the milking, Dad. You're still--"

"Your mother and I can manage without you, Clark. You have a test today. Now, go." Jonathan's voice was cross.

"Good luck today, Mom," Clark whispered as he passed her on the way to the house. She could only smile weakly back at him.

She hated days like this.

~*~*~

Jonathan dodged quickly as the cow in front of him lashed out with her long hind legs. But not quite quickly enough and her fist-sized hoof connected with his mid-section, forcing the farmer backwards. Another kick and the hoof hit the wall just above Jonathan's head.

"Damn it, Legs!" he swore as he shouted at the cow. The animal in question--named Legs by her previous owners because of her long, lethal legs--turned and blinked docilely at him and went back to chewing her cud. The glare that the farmer aimed at his bovine nemesis faded away, however, when a hand appeared in front of him. A clean, well-manicured hand... expensive watch on the attached wrist... tailored cloth of a designer suit just above that.

Lex Luthor.

"You know," Lex commented dryly as Jonathan ignored the proffered hand--steadying himself against the wall--and slowly rose to his feet. "I thought cows were fairly mild-mannered."

"Usually, they are... for the most part," Martha supplied, tossing a smile at Lex that made her husband frown. He hated it when she smiled at Lex Luthor, even though he knew she smiled at everyone pretty much the same way. "But Jonathan just bought a few new cows at auction. They're still afraid of us and this one--" She indicated to Legs. "--is especially high-strung. Also, animals can sense human emotions... like anger and fear... and it hasn't really been the best of mornings."

"I'm sure Mr. Luthor has better things to do than listen to how our morning has gone, Martha," Jonathan said, jumping in before she told him about the belt, motor and the rest of their problems. His words were emphasized with a dark glare in Lex's direction. "Clark's not here, by the way," he added, hoping his son's absence would make the billionaire's son leave.

"I know," the younger man replied glibly. "I'm not here to see Clark. I came to see you."

"Me?" The farmer's eyes narrowed. He wondered if his son had stopped by the mansion on his way to school that morning. "Did Clark say anything to you? Is that why you're here?" he accused. "Because if it is, let me tell you right now that we don't want *your* charity."

The bald man looked from husband to wife and back again, an expressionless look on his face. "Charity?" He chuckled slightly, apparently amused. "I'm hardly here in my capacity as a benevolent god, Mr. Kent." He pulled a slip of paper from the inner pocket of his suit coat. Handing the paper to Jonathan, he said, "I came to make a few changes in my produce order. I'm having a few guests over and want to make sure we have enough for them as well."

Jonathan was silent as he scanned the list he'd been given.

"You *can* fill the order, can't you?" The question sounded superior in the farmer's ears.

"Yes," he replied gruffly.

"Good," Lex told him smugly. "My guests will be arriving at the end of the week. I expect the increase to begin on Friday, in anticipation of their arrival. I don't know how long they're staying, so please continue with this order until I change it."

Jonathan nodded, the sheer extent of his anger muting him. He didn't like being talked to like a servant by anyone, let alone a Luthor. And especially not a *young* Luthor.

As if on cue, out came Lex's chequebook. "Seeing as how this is on such short notice, I'll being paying in advance." He tore off a cheque that had already been filled in and held it out to the Kents.

Jonathan stared at the paper as if it were deadly to touch. Of all the nerve of this spoiled, pompous, arrogant--boy! "No," he said sudden and with much venom.

"No?" Lex echoed. "I'm not sure I follow you."

"You think I don't know what this is? You think I'm too stupid to see what you're doing? Is that it?"

"I assure you, I wasn't thinking anything of the sort, Mr. Kent. I'm quite positive I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, you don't, huh? You actually expect me to believe that Clark didn't tell you about this morning? I know that's why you're here. To make yourself feel better about lording it over everyone by dropping crumbs for us to--"

"Jonathan!" Martha interrupted. "I'm sorry, Lex," she said in a fawning voice. "It's really been one of *those* days, and Jonathan's just stressed. I'm sure you can relate."

"Yes, I can, actually. Although..." a smirk flashed across the young man's face. "I prefer to throw objects--rather than accusations--when I'm--"

"Oh, that's it!" Jonathan Kent couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Out! Get out of my barn... and out of my son's life. Stay the hell away from us!"

"Jonathan!" Martha exclaimed for a second time. This time, the angry man heard a note of warning in her voice. He chose not to heed it.

"Then you won't be taking the money?" Lex inquired, seemingly not phased by the outburst.

"No, we won't be," Jonathan informed him.

"Hmmm... " Lex slipped the cheque back into his coat. "I suppose this means our business together is finished. A shame really, as I was quite enjoying your produce."

"That's fine by me! Just get out now before I throw you out!"

"Jonathan!" The man in question was surprised when his wife grabbed him by the shirt collar and forced him to look at her. "I've had enough of this! Lex hasn't done anything to you... to us! He can pay in advance if he wants to." He was even more shocked when she released him and turned to Lex Luthor. "Give me the cheque." The young man nodded and did as he was told. "Thank you, Lex. I hope your guests enjoy their stay," she added with the best peacekeeper smile Jonathan had ever seen. If he wasn't so angry, he might have found it endearing. Her kind heart, after, was one of the things that had made him fall so hard for her back in college.

"Thank you, Mrs. Kent. I'm sure they will," Lex told her, choosing now to make his exit.

As the young heir left, the two Kents rounded on each other. "How could you do that?" they both blurted out in unison.

~*~*~

Dinner was a quiet affair that night. Clark had tried at first to lighten the mood with an account of how his day went. When neither parent responded beyond his father's "That's nice, son," he stopped trying.

Jonathan felt sorry for the boy. He'd only wanted to break the ice, make it not so cold in the usually friendly kitchen. And the infamous Kent stubbornness had foiled his attempt. Jonathan sighed as he watched Clark grab his schoolbooks and head for the door.

"I'm going out to the Fortress for a while," Clark told him, sounding weary. "I've, uh, got a lot of homework tonight."

And you can't do it here because it's so awkward in this house you can cut the tension with a plastic knife, Jonathan thought bitterly as he nodded to his son. "Sure, Clark," he said absently.

He walked into the living room and flopped down on the couch. From the kitchen, he heard the clink of dishes and cutlery as Martha cleaned up, and felt a stab of guilt. After Luthor left, they'd argued. Jonathan had felt that his wife had betrayed him, siding with the wealthy *boy* over her own husband. Chosen to side with Lex instead of himself. The thought of it hurt him more than the thought of taking pity money from Lex. Which she'd also done, despite Lex's lame excuse.

They'd fought, and Martha'd accused him of changing--of not being the same she'd married. The man who said he preferred to believe in people. The man she fell in love with.

Jonathan groaned, inwardly kicking himself for letting this get so out of hand. If he wasn't such a stubborn bonehead, he'd have seen she was right. Somewhere along the line, he'd stopped believing in the people who'd mattered the most--his family. He'd been so quick to judge... so quick to assume that Clark had gone to Lex for help... and even quicker to accuse Martha of turning against him at the mere sight of a little extra money.

He should have known them better than that.

In the kitchen, he can hear the water draining in the sink.

~*~*~

Martha looked from the romance novel she was reading when she heard the bedroom door open. Her husband stood awkwardly in the doorway. "I'm such a heel," he said quietly, running a hand through his hair self-consciously.

"Yes, you are," she told him matter-of-factly, but she also ventured a smile.

"I'm sorry, Martha," Jonathan told her, coming into the room. He approached the side of the bed, and slid to one knee beside her. "I've been such a jerk all day; I don't blame you for being mad."

Martha allowed him to take her hands in his own, gently stroking them as he spoke. She couldn't stay mad at him, not when he was being so apologetic. So sincere.

"Can you ever forgive a jerk like me?" he asked, leaning down to nuzzle her hand like a puppy seeking affection.

"I think I can," Martha whispered softly, and she knew she could. Jonathan may be many things, but a bad person he was not. She knew that deep down, he only wanted what was best for the people he loved. He kissed the hand he was nuzzling, and a shiver raced through her. "Jonathan?" she patted the bed next to her when he looked up.

He scrambled onto the bed in an instant, wrapping his arms around her as he did so. "I'm sorry I let my dumb hick nature get the better of me. Things were so bad this morning and he was so smug, I--"

Martha stopped him with a kiss. "I know. I understand... and you are *not* a dumb hick. You're the man I love."

"Are you sure about that? Cuz I haven't felt all that lovable today."

"Well, you certainly weren't lovable earlier today," Martha agreed with a slightly wicked grin, "but the day's not over with yet."

"Ooh! So there's still time to redeem myself in your eyes? Is that it?"

"Mm-hmmm."

"Well, then," Jonathan whispered into her ear before nuzzling the spot just below her earlobe that always made her crazy. "I'd better get started with my penance. I've got a lot to make up for."

(end)

~*~
Tonight I Wanna Be Your Man
Sung by Andy Griggs
Written by Rivers Rutherford and Troy Verges
~*~

Baby, light a couple of candles; lock the bedroom door.
Put on some sweet soul music, throw a blanket on the floor.
Surrender to my patient hands.
All week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.

It hit me just this morning, when I passed you in the hall.
I swear I caught you lookin', like you don't know me at all.
Well, let me show you who I am.
All week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.

And I'll always be, your cover when you're cold.
And when the world lines up against you,
I'm a safe place you can go.
But now and then, we need to find some time to be in love.
Just be in love.

Now the whole world's in bed sleepin'; I think we're finally alone.
And if the telephone starts ringing', we'll pretend like we're not home.
'Cos any fool would understand,
That all week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.

Mmmm.

[Instrumental break]

So let me show you who I am.
All week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.

Just forget about that wedding band.
All week, I've been your husband: tonight I wanna be your man.

Mmmmmmm

*fin*