Title: Christmas Eve with the Kents
Authors: KalaLaneKent and anissa7118 (a.k.a. SRWidow, Maryse Bardolph, She of a Thousand Freakin’ Names)
Category: Superman movieverse
Word Count: 4460
Summary: Set in the future of Little Secrets, this is the first Christmas for Lois, Clark, and the twins, finally together. Our story begins on Christmas Eve…
Spoilers: Superman Returns, Superman II, Superman II the Donner Cut, but especially “Little Secrets” fanfic – this is basically a possible future for the LS storyline. And our Lois has known his secret for a long time now.
Downstairs, Bing Crosby crooning “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” should’ve been soothing, but the atmosphere in the living was frustrated instead. Lois tossed the instructions that came with Kala’s new bike into the air and snarled, “Who writes these directions?”
Clark, halfway done putting Jason’s matching bike together, looked down to hide his smile and said, “From the look of them, they were translated into English from Korean by a Mexican. The grammar is… Want me to finish hers?”
“Just leave off the tassel thingies on the handlebars.” Lois flung herself backward against the sofa, surveying the room. At Clark’s insistence, she had sprinkled red and white glitter near the chimney and made fake reindeer tracks outside, while he pressed a large boot into the fireplace ash and gingerly tracked soot onto the carpet. Picking up the glass of milk that rested on the coffee table next to a platter of cookies, Lois took a sip and said with an arched brow, “You know you’re eating these cookies, right?”
“Lois, no one’s eating those cookies,” Clark said, fiddling with the bike chain. “Blasted thing… Honey, the twins misread the recipe and used a quarter-cup of baking powder instead of a quarter-teaspoon. They’re kind of…”
“Awful?” Lois whispered, mindful of Kala’s hearing, unable to help a small smile.
Clark nodded. “I’ll drop them off at the duck pond.”
“You sure it won’t make the ducks explode? Alka-Seltzer does, you know.”
“Lois!” He was ready to scold her, but saw the sparkle of laughter in her eyes. “I know you never did that. You’re kind to animals. Except Gazeera.”
“Hey, that doesn’t count, Mr. Perfect. That scaly little bugger isn’t an animal, he’s a four-legged menace,” Lois said, sipping the milk again and glancing unobtrusively behind her at the couch. The iguana loved to perch there, and even though he hadn’t escaped his cage in over a month, Lois didn’t trust him. “Tell you what, Kent. In the spirit of Christmas, I won’t try to flush Jason’s lizard tomorrow.”
“Or vacuum it up,” Clark reminded her. He was already done with Jason’s bike and starting on Kala’s. Super-speed was a lovely thing to have when assembling children’s gifts on Christmas Eve.
“Or force it down the garbage disposal, or lock it in the freezer,” Lois sighed dramatically. “Why couldn’t Perry have gotten them goldfish?”
“Kids need pets, Lois.”
“I didn’t. My father only ever let us have a watchdog, and Nero was nobody’s pet.”
Clark glanced at her while bolting the front wheel on. “Lois… Let’s just say your father isn’t the best example. Your mom, on the other hand, loves Captain Jack and Gazeera.”
Lois rolled her eyes. If it had been anyone else, she’d have claimed senile dementia, but this was her mother. “I have no idea why Mom likes the weasel and the dinosaur. Probably because she doesn’t have to clean up after them.”
Chuckling, Clark attached the seat of the bicycle. “There, I’m finished.”
“Showoff,” she grumbled, but was clearly amused. “Break a cookie in half and hide the rest. I’m just about ready for bed.” One dark eyebrow lifted momentarily, as if to say, Notice, observant reporter, that I didn’t say sleep.
The nuance appeared to bypass Clark entirely. He was searching through his pockets with a worried frown. “Uh-oh.”
“What is it?”
“Lois, I think I forgot a present.”
She could only look at him with a stunned expression for a moment before closing her eyes heavily, groaning. The savior of the human race, ladies and gentlemen. “Please tell me you’re kidding me.”
He got up and went to the door, looking through his jacket pockets as well. “Nope. I’m missing one.”
“Well, forget about it at this point! It’ll be fine, Clark. It’s not like the kids will notice with both grandmas spoiling them.”
“No, Lois, this one’s important. C’mon, it’ll only take a few minutes to go get it.”
The raven-haired woman groaned at him, sighing heavily. Well, there go my plans for the evening. “Need I remind you it’s almost midnight on Christmas Eve and it’s snowing out? No. Absolutely not. If you need it that badly, go get it. But I’m not going with you and you’d better be back in half an hour, tops.” She frowned defiantly up at him, but it was hard to look fierce when she wearing his flannel, which was three sizes too big for her.
He looked down at her, brilliant blue eyes woeful, that pleading expression she couldn’t resist. “Just a couple of minutes, Lois. Come with me. Please?”
Oh, she hated when he did that. Lois gritted her teeth. What’s wrong with me? That I’m even considering this… “Fine. Let me get a pair of jeans and a coat; I’ll meet you at the car. This had better be good, Kal-El. And I mean spectacular.”
Clark’s smile was worth going out into the blustery night, worth driving God-knows-where on Christmas Eve. Lois quickly changed and pulled on her long black coat. The twins would be fine; Martha and Ben were staying in the guest rooms just up the hall from their bedroom.
But when Lois got to her Audi, Clark wasn’t waiting there. Grumbling in frustration, she turned back toward the house, and he was there, the deep colors of the suit shining through the whirling snow. “Lois,” he said, and smiled. “As fast as you drive, I can fly faster. Come here, love.”
“And you’re going to go shopping in the uniform?” Lois said, arching an eyebrow as she walked toward him. After all this time, the sight of him in the suit still made her heart beat faster, almost as fast as it did with him out of it.
He only chuckled and wrapped his cape around her. “Who said we were going shopping?”
“But you said…” Lois tried to glare at him, but it was impossible not to smile with his arms around her, his warm body shielding her from the cold night. “Fine. Where are we going to pick up this present you forgot, wise guy?”
He kissed her forehead gently. “You’ll see.”
Sighing in annoyance, Lois started to pull away, “Okay, be cute, keep secrets…” Then she glanced down. They were already rising, the roof of the house several feet below. She clung to him out of sheer reflex for a moment, feeling him laugh quietly under his breath.
“Very funny,” Lois muttered, forcing herself to relax. “What next, you pretend to drop me as an excuse to hold me tighter?”
Still spiraling up, he smiled and whispered, “Do I need an excuse?”
Lois swatted his shoulder, muttering, “You’re just determined to be a wiseacre tonight, aren’t you?”
“Love you, too, honey,” he replied.
“Okay, they’re gone,” Kala said, leaning back against her pillows.
“Are you sure?” Jason asked.
Kala just glared and pointed at her ear.
Jason sighed. “Fine,” he said. “Do you think she’ll say yes?”
“Of course she will,” Kala replied. “She’s not stupid.”
Her brother plucked at the comforter. “Daddy says not even he knows what she’ll say.”
“Mommy says no man ever could figure what a woman was thinking,” Kala retorted proudly.
Jason thought about it for a few minutes, and then his eyes brightened. “Hey! D’ya think they’ll see Santa Claus?”
The gentle ascent brought them above the heavy, snow-laden clouds, into the clear, cold air of higher altitudes. Lois’ breath smoked and she nestled closer to him, glad of her coat and his cape and the constant warmth of his skin. At this height, they seemed to be in a fantastic landscape; the clouds underfoot completely blotted out the city lights far below, and the star-strewn sky seemed almost close enough to touch. Lois felt almost as if she and Kal-El were the last two people on earth.
“Many men give diamonds to the women they love,” he said quietly, those amazing eyes regarding her so warmly. The smooth cadence of his voice told her he had rehearsed this moment for quite some time. “But those are only stones whose spark is dim. My gift to you is the light of the stars, whose fire burns like your spirit, shining across miles and years, and whose beauty comes close to your own.” He smiled then, the memorized lines finished. “I’ll bring you up here to see them any time you want, Lois.”
His words touched her deeply, taking her by complete surprise, the when and where and annoyance of only moments ago utterly forgotten as she watched him with wide eyes. It even now awed her, the way he saw her. Sometimes she felt undeserving of it, wanting to argue that she wasn’t quite what he made of her. He’d only smile at her like he was even now. But as romantic as he was capable of being, her lover was not the type to just randomly make proclamations like this. Ordinarily she would be looking around in wonder, even now stunned by these amazing things he was able to share with her.
But now she couldn’t take her eyes off him, smiling up at him as she touched his cheek. Again there was that feeling of déjà vu she had felt so often with him in the past six months. Something’s about to happen… “What can I say to that? Except I love you and what are you up to, Kal-El? I sense an ulterior motive. And I know your plays better than anybody, remember?” Her eyes twinkled with an impish amusement, even as she felt herself grow nervous.
“Nosy reporter,” he said gently, kissing the palm of her hand. “I love you, too, Lois, even if you do tend to spoil a surprise by over-thinking everything.”
“Oh, hush,” she groused. And while she was gearing up to say something sarcastic and witty, desperate to deny that anxious feeling in the pit of her stomach, he was taking one hand off her waist and reaching into the pocket in his cape. Lois’ eyes fastened on the black velvet box he held out to her, her breath caught in her throat. “Oh. My. God,” she whispered. He couldn’t be … he can’t be asking…
“Lois,” Kal-El said softly, and his true self was speaking to her, neither of his disguises. He opened the box deftly, revealing a platinum ring with a large emerald and two diamonds. “We can’t stay up here forever, looking at the stars together, and I want you to have something to remind you of my love when we come back down to earth. Because I always love you, no matter where we are or what I’m doing or who I have to be at the moment. Lois Lane, will you marry me?”
The dark-haired woman could only stare at him, stunned beyond speech. The unreality washed over her to such an extreme, she had to close her eyes just to get her bearings. In spite of everything the last month had brought her, in spite of the way their lives had fallen together so almost perfectly, this ring was the last thing she had begun to suspect when he had asked her to come with him. And hearing him say those words… Standing there in his arms, silver moonlight shining down on them and only the stars as their witness, she started to shiver even as she bit her lip, overwhelmed by the strength of the emotion building in her chest. Oh my God. Oh my God…
A part of her cried out Yes! ecstatically, leaping for joy that this most treasured of her dreams had come true. But another part hesitated, wondering, Does he feel obligated, because of the twins? Would he have ever asked if not for them? “Kal-El … you don’t have to do this. I mean, I don’t necessarily need to be married.”
“Lois,” Superman said, and his voice was stern. “All kidding aside, I’m asking you because I want to marry you. Not because I think you want me to, or because I want the kids to have my name, and certainly not because I think you need to get married. All you really need in life are a few simple things: the twins healthy and happy, a story to chase, and the knowledge that if you really, totally, completely, absolutely, utterly have to have one … you can smoke a cigarette.”
“Since you know that,” Lois grinned, still a little teary-eyed from the wonder and surprise of his proposal, “I guess I’d better marry you.”
The expression on his face was one she’d treasure for the rest of her life. Relief, a little surprise, and overwhelming joy. He hugged her even tighter and kissed her hard, kissed her laughing smile. And then, with a strange combination of delight and solemnity, he slipped the ring onto her finger.
Lois looked down at it on her hand, then looked a little closer and laughed. “An emerald? You have a very strange sense of humor, Kal-El. Give me a ring that looks a lot like the one thing on this earth that can harm you.”
“Losing you would be worse than getting stabbed with a kryptonite shiv,” he said seriously, kissing her forehead.
She kissed him back, adding with a gleam in her eyes, “For the record, I didn’t see that coming.”
“I know,” he replied, “that’s why they call it a surprise, Lois.” He changed his hold on her and began to fly northward.
A sudden thought distracted Lois. “What are we going to tell the twins?”
Kal-El smiled broadly. “They know. They’ve known since I bought the ring.”
“But … how? They never said a word…”
“They’re good at keeping secrets. Wonder who they get that from?”
Lois punched his arm lightly. “Both of us, Mr. Kent. But they get their eccentricity from you.”
He chuckled, cuddling her close to his side. “No, that’s from you, love. Just look at your acceptance there. It’s traditional to answer the proposal with yes, no, or maybe, but you couldn’t be that normal. Even a ‘heck no’ would count as an answer.”
She closed her eyes a moment, still having trouble believing that this was real. Trying for her usual snarky tone, she said, “Well, what made you think I wanted to get married?”
“I didn’t know, that’s why I asked, silly.” Kal-El kissed the bridge of her nose. “Besides, I wanted to marry you practically since I met you. But I won’t make you take my name if you don’t want it. There’s another reason right there – as Jimmy would say, the Kents don’t leave ‘baby mamas’ running around.”
Lois threw her head back and laughed so hard she nearly fell from his grasp. Slang had always sounded so awkward from his lips, but that was… There’s something to put on your resume, Lois – ‘I was Superman’s baby-mama’. Holy crap! “Oh … oh, my God don’t say that again, I’ll die laughing!”
“If you insist – but I’m warning you, Lois, we’re actually going to have this wedding, if my mother has to prod you down the aisle with a shotgun. No more indefinite engagements.”
She socked his shoulder, but gently. “Hey, the main reason I kept stalling was because I didn’t want to get married then. No one gave me a chance to say yes, no, or maybe – he proposed at the office Christmas party! How could I say ‘I like you a lot but let’s wait’ in front of all those people? No, you did this the right way: no witnesses, no guilt.”
He only smiled slightly. “No witnesses? Lois, we were right above the house, and barely a mile up.”
At first she didn’t understand, and then Lois slowly smiled and kissed his cheek. “I guess it’s fitting that the twins are the first to know.”
Far below and behind them, Kala frowned and said, “Jason, we gotta remember to ask Uncle Jimmy what a baby-mama is.”
Lois curved herself to his side as they flew, snowy landscapes flashing past beneath them. Tundra replaced mountains, and gradually gave way to ice. By that time Lois knew where they were headed, and looked askance at him. “What are you up to?” she whispered.
Kal-El smiled at her. “I do have one more gift for you.”
“Can I get a hint?” Please tell me it has nothing to do with your father … unless you’ve somehow rewritten the crystals so that he approves of me.
“It’s something you have to unwrap first.”
“Something we have to fly to the Arctic for me to unwrap?”
They were nearly at the Fortress, and he kissed her brow as he murmured, “This gift isn’t one you want to play with anywhere in Kala’s hearing.”
Lois’ eyebrows shot up. “Oh. You’ve been hanging around me way too long, Kent. Sounds like something I’d say.”
“I know,” he laughed, and they drifted down through the interlocking crystals.
Lois looked around curiously. The last time they’d come here, the twins were missing, and they discovered Luthor’s theft. Everything had been dark and cold, desolate looking. Combined with the memories they both had of this place, it was not a comfortable visit. Now the Fortress was welcoming again, a warm light suffusing the giant crystals.
That wasn’t the only change. The table at which they’d eaten that dinner together so long ago was now glittering with crystal and china. Lois felt her stomach rumble eagerly as she saw array of finger-foods he’d laid out. “Hmm … snacks we can feed each other. I think I see where this is going.”
He didn’t answer, grinning as he lifted a bottle from the table. “Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, 1996. And yes, I know you don’t like it too dry.”
Lois couldn’t help grinning. “What, no Dom Perignon?”
“This was rated higher by Wine Spectator, actually,” he said, gently working the champagne cork loose. No loud pop this time, just the faint hiss of escaping bubbles. Kal-El poured into a pair of tall fluted glasses and watched Lois closely as she took the first sip.
“Mmm,” she sighed. “Perfect.”
“Glad you like it,” he replied, sipping from his own glass.
Lois looked at the glass in her hand, at the table with its hors d’ouvres, and at him, then chuckled. Oh, now I definitely know what he’s up to. How can I not love this man? Teasingly looking at him over the rim of the glass, she quoted herself from that night, remembering how the conversation had gone. “Must be tough being Clark Kent, isn’t it?”
He laughed. “No, actually I kind of like it sometimes. Even if I do make a fool of myself. And even if my fiancée does tend to pick on me for having such a good memory.”
“As if I could forget that night. Without assistance.” Lois arched an eyebrow at him over the rim of the glass as she said it.
“So nice to see you joking about it instead of trying to verbally slaughter me.”
Lois crossed her arms as well as she could with a champagne glass in one hand, and said archly, “Are you trying to fix the past or just piss me off again?”
“I love you,” he replied. “Want a strawberry?”
“Is that your idea of a peace offering?” she said with a smile.
His grin, which had been pretty much constant since she accepted the ring, grew wider and more wicked. “The peace offering is for later. You might call it dessert.”
She burst out laughing again. “My God, you salacious… You’re awful!”
“I am not,” he protested. “I’m practically the definition of a good man. Including a healthy sexual desire for the woman I love.”
Lois hid her face in her hands, unable to stop blushing in spite of herself. Get a grip, Lane, you had his twins! Stop acting like a dithering idiot. “Okay, okay. It’s one thing out of uniform, but this is like, ‘Oh my God, Superman is hitting on me!’ I feel like I should squeal like a high school girl or something.”
When she looked up, he was standing very close to her, those amazing eyes looking intensely down at hers. Very softly, he said, “Oh, so you want me out of the uniform, is that it?”
All the laughter was gone, the teasing melting away almost instantly. Lois’ reply came in a small, husky voice as she locked her hazel eyes to his rich blue, “Thought you brought me up here for dinner.”
“It’ll keep,” he said, and kissed her again, the rich taste of the champagne on his lips.
At that she smiled against his lips, willingly deepening the kiss as she slid her arms around his neck. “You do have a point. Too bad I didn’t bring a change of clothes,” she whispered against the movement of their lips. It was working, this little rewrite on history he had planned. Everything felt just the way it should, his hand curled into the hair at her nape, his arm around her lower back, and the taste of the Veuve on his mouth as they began to lose themselves in each other.
“I don’t think you’ll need clothes for what I have planned,” he whispered, pulling back from her slightly. Before Lois could question, he swept her up into his arms and carried her from the room.
Lois tried not to yelp; she’d always hated being picked up, paranoid about being dropped. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” she said as she tightened her arms around his neck.
“Having dessert before dinner,” Kal-El replied, kissing the bridge of her nose again. “I promise it won’t spoil my appetite.”
Lois’ eyes widened again. “All of a sudden I’m reminded of Perry’s cheesecake comment the other day. Try and make it sound a little less scandalous, would ya?”
Kal-El couldn’t help laughing at her. “Lois, I can’t help it. The look on your face is priceless.” When she just narrowed her eyes at him, he added teasingly, “Consider this revenge for all those sarcastic little remarks you made to Clark back in the day. Especially the one about going to the Gold Room if you were a good girl, and getting Jimmy to take the pictures if you weren’t.”
Lois’ impish grin was just as he remembered from long ago. “Nice to see you remembered.”
“As if I could forget,” he replied, setting her down. Here was another room full of memories, though the sheets on the circular bed were now ivory instead of silver. More candles on every horizontal surface, their amber light reflecting off the crystal. Nuzzling her neck, Kal-El began to loosen her coat and slide it from her shoulders.
All of a sudden, Lois felt shy again. In this room six years ago, the love between herself and this amazing man had reached its fulfillment; Jason and Kala had been conceived. Her life, and his, had changed forever. But now she thought of all the changes six years had wrought. He was certainly more confident, but other than that time had not touched him. Lois, on the other hand, was acutely aware of the fact that this body had borne his twins. She’d kept herself in shape, but couldn’t help wondering nervously if she still looked good enough.
Get a frikkin’ grip already! the General’s Daughter and Romantic yelled in unison. You’ve already been to bed with him again, you twit! Not like he can’t see you naked any time he wants. If he didn’t like the view, he wouldn’t be unbuttoning your shirt right now! Speaking of which…
Just then he opened the flannel shirt to slide it off her shoulders … and stopped, staring. Those fantastic eyes came up to meet hers, and he grinned wickedly. “Hmm, I think now I know why you didn’t want to go out shopping.”
“Sorry it’s not pink,” she teased, some of her boldness coming back, as he bent his head to kiss the tops of her breasts in the black lace corset. Lois purred, leaning her head back, and murmured, “As a matter of fact, the underwear I wore during that interview weren’t supposed to be pink, either… Mmm, that’s nice… I’d washed them with my red blouse…”
He unbuttoned her jeans, glancing back up into her eyes to say, “Only you would wear lingerie under my shirt and a pair of jeans, Lois…”
“Damn right,” she whispered huskily, getting tense again. “Somebody has to keep you guessing.”
“You’re good at that,” he replied, running his hands lightly up her sides. “And quite a few other things, as I recall.”
“That was a loaded comment,” the dark-haired woman murmured, running her fingers along the neckline of his uniform. Skin tight. This thing is going to be an absolute bitch to get off him. The belt, on the other hand… Lois had the satisfaction of seeing him shiver as she started to unbuckle it.
They undressed each other unhurriedly, as if they had been together hundreds of times instead of only a few. Their intimacy came from having saved each other’s lives, from having worked so closely together for so long, and not just from being lovers. Lois was on edge until the moment she stood naked before him, her loose black hair shining down past her shoulders, the warm light tracing every curve, and Kal-El simply gathered her in his arms with a sigh of longing. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are, Lois?”
Her doubts shrank away, even as she replied, “I think you’re just the slightest bit biased, Kal-El.”
“Lois,” he scolded gently, brushing the tips of his fingers over her belly, “You are incredibly lovely. And I never lie, so don’t argue that with me.”
“No, you don’t lie,” she whispered teasingly, kissing his collarbone. “You just omit like hell.”
“I’m not the only one,” Kal-El said, running his hands through her hair, and then down her back, making her shiver.
“I only ever omitted … once…” Lois’ eyes began to slip closed, her entire body atremble and she found it hard to speak.
And then he lifted her gently and laid her on the bed, and joined her there with a kiss to the hollow of her hip that made her gasp. Hazel eyes met cerulean and there were no more words between them until the candles had burned down…