Title: Christmas Day with the Kents
Authors: KalaLaneKent and anissa7118 (a.k.a. SRWidow, Maryse Bardolph, She of a Thousand Freakin’ Names)
Category: Superman movieverse
Word Count: 4629
Summary: Set in the future of Little Secrets, this is the first Christmas for Lois, Clark, and the twins, finally together. Our story continues on Christmas Day…
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 the secret for a long time now.
She would have missed it, but for a sudden chill in the room that made her shiver. Burrowed down into the warmth of the bed, Lois whimpered softly in her sleep, moving to curl into her lover and chase the cold away. When she encountered the distinct absence of another being in the bed, one eyelid cracked open slightly. Frowning as she opened her eyes, Lois woke fully to the sound of the one voice she least wanted to hear.
“Again you would defy me? Did you learn nothing from your prior mistake, my son?”
“Father, I love her,” and the warning was clear in his tone.
Jor-El. What kind of time warp is this? Lois thought grumpily, scrambling out of the circular bed and looking for her clothes. She only paused a moment to glance down at the emerald ring on her finger with a look of continued awe and determination. If that frikkin’ hologram convinces him to … if he’s that stupid again, especially after last night, I’ll just strangle him and do the whole world a favor. Oh, one of these days I’m going to use that damn father crystal for target practice! Unfortunately, most of her clothes were no longer in the room. In desperation, she snatched up the uniform top and yanked it over her head. It fell to mid-thigh, and she hurried out into the main chamber, rolling up the sleeves and thinking, Now I really feel tiny. Jeez, how long are his arms anyway?
Kal-El was standing in front of the control panel, his arms crossed, his expression thunderous. “Why can I not have both? The woman I love and the mission I’m sworn to fulfill?”
“The world needs you,” Jor-El’s disembodied head scolded. “Will you turn your back on them yet again?”
“They need me, but I need her,” Kal-El argued. “How can you deny me this, Father, when even you were married? Your marriage didn’t interfere with your calling, and neither should mine. It is through loving her that I come to love all of humanity even more.”
“You are not one of them,” Jor-El replied. “Loving a mortal will not make you mortal, either. Even if you sacrifice your powers, you can never truly be one of them. Your Kryptonian heritage will always set you apart.”
“You’re wrong,” Kal-El retorted, and Lois watched silently, her breath caught somewhere in her chest. “I can never forget where I’ve come from or the legacy you bequeathed to me, but this is my world, Father. This is my home, and these are my people.” He sighed heavily, looking down, then turned resolute eyes to his father’s visage. “I am not asking your permission, Father. I am telling you, as one grown man to another. Lois is the woman I love, and the mother of my children. Yes, the legacy of Krypton lives on in my son and daughter. I am going to marry her, and raise our twins. This is my will.”
Jor-El’s expression seemed caught between surprise, distaste, and anger. “You cannot…” he began, and then the hologram flickered. “Not one of them … not…”
Kal-El winced as his father’s image vanished. Apparently he had just exceeded the limits of the artificial intelligence programmed into the crystals. Sadly, he started to turn away, his heart aching for some kind of resolution.
He whirled around, and Lois on the balcony above stepped forward in surprise. The hologram before them was a beautiful woman, and though Lois had never seen her before, Kal-El knew her. “Mother…”
“Your father does not know I am recording this,” she said, and her voice was slightly rushed. “He has great plans for you, but he is a man of logic and science. Perhaps he has not thought enough about the state of your heart.” She paused, and glanced away, then back. “Very well. He has considered that you may think yourself in love with one of these humans, and he has devised a plan to discourage you. But I am your mother, and I think this idea will fail. If you are seeing this recording … it has already failed. You have lost your powers once, and regained them. Perhaps you have learned that the effects of our sun are not permanent, and can be reversed by high-intensity exposure to the rays of a yellow sun. Most importantly, you have come here again to question your father about this woman you love.”
“If she has been with you through these trials and remains at your side, then your relationship can stand the many tests you will face together. It will not be easy to balance the needs of the world against the demands of your heart, but your love is strong enough to defy your father’s will. It shall be strong enough to endure all else. And there is one more thing…”
The image flickered. “So you have spoken of children. My grandchildren, whose dear faces I will never see, whose voices I will never hear. Know that they may inherit your great powers, my son, and see to it that they also inherit your mission, your responsibilities.” She sighed, and the smile she gave her son was heartbreakingly beautiful. “Through you, Kal-El, our glory lives on in your new home. Upon you and your family, I bestow a mother’s blessing of love. Love is the key that unlocks so many doors, my son. Cherish it…”
Lara faded, but just before her holographic projection disappeared, she turned her head to glance up and to her left. Kal-El followed her gaze, and saw Lois standing there above them, one hand pressed to her lips as she watched. In the last instant before her image disappeared, his mother’s blue eyes seemed to be locked on the pair of hazel ones he adored.
For a moment, neither could speak; this was so far from anything they ever expected to hear. Kal-El was struck speechless by the sight of her there, her rumpled hair, wearing only his uniform shirt, most especially when she smiled at him and shrugged a little guiltily. All he wanted was to take her in his arms and tell her he loved her, forever and ever…
His exquisite hearing picked up another sound, though, that made him turn pale. “Lois, we need to go,” he began, and seeing the frightened expression on her face his tone provoked, he laughed. “No, no, it’s nothing bad. It’s just that the twins are waking up.”
“You can hear …” she started to say, then rolled her eyes in irritation of herself. Idiot. “Of course you can. Damn! What time is it? They usually sleep in until seven!” Lois turned away to start back toward the other room, already muttering, “Where are my clothes?”
“We have a little time,” he said, flying up to her side and landing soundlessly. “Their heartbeats are just a little faster, not all the way up to fully conscious speed.” He caught the sleeve of his own uniform before she had gone more than two steps and pulled Lois into his arms, kissing her quickly. “I love you, beauty.”
“And I love you,” she replied with a soft smile, forgetting all else as clung to him for a long, breathless moment. “So what are we waiting for?”
“Lois, I need my shirt.”
Both raven brows rose at that, his deadpan tone breaking the romantic mood slightly, “I’m wearing it!”
“Yes? And I need it. Hand it over.”
“Kal-El, holograms of your parents were just right there. Get the thought of me stripping right here out of your head,” she muttered, squirming out of his embrace and heading back to the bedroom. He followed, padding barefoot in the spare clothes he kept at the Fortress.
“Lois, c’mon, I really need that…” Just as he reached the threshold, his uniform came flying at him, the shirt catching him right in the face.
“She shoots, she scores!” Lois crowed, scrambling into her clothes. “Now hurry up, will you?”
He sighed. “All of a sudden I remember why I don’t argue with you.”
“Because I always win?”
They made it home while everyone seemed to still be asleep, and they crept quietly into the house. Clark frowned and headed for the living room. Lois followed, his expression making her tense.
The first thing Lois saw on entering the living room was Jason, sprawled asleep by the tree. But where was Kala?
Clark eased toward the boy, not wanting to startle him awake, and never even saw the string stretched a few inches above the floor. As his foot brushed it, the bell wreath that had been on the twins’ door started jingling.
Kala herself jumped up off the couch, wild-eyed, swinging a skillet. “Get ‘way from our presents, Grinch!”
Her yell woke Jason up just in time to hear the bong noise as the skillet hit Clark’s leg and reverberated. Kala had to drop it, feeling suddenly wobbly, and while Clark and Jason stared at her, Lois slumped against the wall, wheezing. She would’ve yelled at Kala for setting up a Grinch trap and catching Daddy, but she was too busy laughing hard enough to cry.
“Daddy’s the Grinch?” Jason said confusedly, and then Lois broke down into another round of helpless laughter.
“No, Jason, Daddy’s not the Grinch,” Clark whispered. “You know perfectly well who I am. Kala, what’s the meaning of this?”
“Jason said since you weren’t home we hadta protect the presents,” Kala said. “Daddy, is the Grinch real?”
“No, honey, the Grinch isn’t real,” Clark sighed, looking at her hands. Thankfully she hadn’t hit him hard enough to hurt herself. Then he glanced over at Lois and said with annoyance, “They get this from you, you know.”
She straightened up enough to point at Jason. “Oh, no. You see your son over there looking innocent? He’s the one who started it. He gets that ‘please, underestimate me, I’m cute and clueless’ look from you.” Before Jason could try to figure out exactly what that meant, Lois had scooped him up. “You two are going back to bed. You can get up and open presents later, okay?”
“But we’re awake now!” Kala protested, yawning hugely as her father picked her up.
“Don’t argue with your mother, sweetheart,” Clark said.
Jason snuggled in his mother’s arms, but felt something hard and angular on her hand. He patted it blearily, then sat up in excitement. “Kala! Kala, she’s wearin’ the ring! She said yes!”
“Told you so last night,” Kala yawned.
“Told you we were in her range,” Clark said to Lois, and she stuck her tongue out at him in return.
They got the twins back in bed just as Martha and Ben were waking up. Martha started coffee and glanced slyly at her son, then at the clock, which read 5:34 AM. “Good to see you still keep farmer’s hours, son,” she said gently.
“Yes, well, I do tend to get up early,” Clark said.
Neither Ben nor Martha saw Lois twiddle her engagement ring around so that the stone was hidden. She yawned, a little melodramatically, and said, “Not this city girl. I’m not fully awake until I’m showered and had coffee. Since the one is brewing, I’ll go take care of the other. See you in a few.”
Martha cut Clark a knowing look, but didn’t say anything more. Her point had been made.
Ben, however, unwittingly scored it a little deeper. “So, did you sleep well?” he asked, still a bit uncomfortable talking to his sweetheart’s son and searching for a neutral topic.
Somewhere up the hallway, Lois stifled laughter as Clark simply replied, “About as well as expected.”
After the twins came downstairs for the fourth time between six o’clock and six thirty, Lois gave in and let them start opening presents. The matching sweaters that Martha knitted for Captain Jack and Ignatius were a particular favorite, but the grand finale was of course the two bicycles that Clark had hidden in the garage before they left last night. For Lois, watching Clark beam with paternal pride was worth all the times she’d had to stop him from drastically spoiling the twins with gifts.
She smiled as she remembered that day in the giant toy store, Clark trying to sneak action figures into the cart when she wasn’t looking. At last she had caught his face in her hands and looked directly into those blue eyes. “Clark, m’love, I don’t care if you’re paying for this trip, stop trying to single-handedly keep the store in business.”
“Lois…” he began, and in that one word she read everything, and hushed him with a finger over his lips.
“Clark, listen to me. It doesn’t matter what you buy them, you can’t make up for missing the first six years of the twins’ lives. But that wasn’t your fault. You’re part of their lives now, that’s what matters. And having you for a dad is the coolest gift they’ll ever get. Honestly, it does wonders for me, too.”
He had smiled, and they’d leaned in a little closer to each other, and just before they kissed a kid in the next aisle had started wailing for a toy. “Mommmmmeeeeeeee … I wanna wanna wanna…” Lois and Clark had started laughing, glad they’d left the twins with Ella even though they were better behaved than that little monster…
“Mommy, look!” Kala’s voice brought Lois back to the present. “It snowed last night! Can we go make a snowman?”
“I don’t know, honey. It’s awfully cold, and I don’t want you to get sick.”
“Sweetheart, they’ll be all right,” Clark soothed, winking at her. “I’ll make sure they both stay warm.”
Lois rolled her eyes but didn’t even try to hide her smile. “Admit it, Kent, you just want an excuse to make a snowman. Fine, go. We need to start dinner soon anyway.” Clark kissed her forehead, the twins each gave her a peck on the cheek, and then they were hurrying to get dressed and go outside.
“Oh, no, Lois, I’ve got that handled,” Martha said smoothly. “You go out and keep the kids – including the big one – occupied. Ben and I will get the turkey started.”
That earned her a raised eyebrow. “Did your son say something about my cooking, Martha?”
The older woman gently took hold of her shoulders with a sweet smile. “He said you make a fabulous soufflé and the pies this year will be fantastic because you baked them. But he did ask me to use my famous secret recipe herbed butter rub on the turkey this year, and I can’t let you see exactly what goes into it.”
Hazel eyes narrowed, and Lois thought, You’re a better b.s. artist than your son, Mrs. Kent. “In that case, I won’t mind telling you I only tried cooking a turkey once. My mom begged me never to do it again after she had to make dinner for the firefighters.”
Martha laughed. “Darling, I love your sense of humor. Now shoo. It’s Christmas. Relax and have fun.”
After putting on her coat and gloves, Lois stepped outside and shook her head with silent amusement at the scene before her. Jason and Kala were ganging up on Clark in a snowball fight, and he was laughing as he tried to defend himself. If you’d told me seven years ago that I would be watching my twins play in the snow with their father, Superman, right after my soon-to-be-mother-in-law – Superman’s Mom, the sweet little old lady from Kansas – chased me out of my own kitchen… I’d have been too busy laughing myself nauseous to have you committed. My God, my life hasn’t turned out at all like I expected. I thought I’d be on top of the world and thoroughly burned out by now. As it is…
A snowball striking her shoulder interrupted her musings. “C’mon, Mom!” Jason yelled. “Let’s get Dad!”
“Hey, no fair!” Clark called back, lobbing a snowball at his son. His son. The words still sent strange and marvelous echoes through him. The only thing more weirdly wonderful than that was his daughter. In a way, he’d imagined having a son even when he thought it was impossible, a boy to whom he could pass on his legacy as Jor-El had passed on his own knowledge. But he’d never envisioned Kala, never realized how much a man could love his daughter.
“Mommy says all’s fair in love an’ war an’ th’ front page!” Kala yelled, getting him in the face with a snowball.
Spitting snow, Clark grinned and thought, Oh, yeah, she’s her mother’s child. And I love her for it. “Lois, a little help here? Kids against adults?”
The dark-haired woman laughed, quickly making a snowball behind her back. “I’d love to, honey, but let’s have girls against boys instead. Okay, Kala?”
The snowballs hit Clark and Jason simultaneously.
They built a whole snow family instead of just one snowman, and made snow angels, and had another snowball fight, all of it interspersed with brief breaks for hot cocoa. At last, Clark and the kids seemed a little worn out, and Lois was personally more than ready for a nap by the fire.
Ella’s car was pulling into the drive as they headed inside, so they helped her unload casserole and gifts. Martha introduced Ella to Ben, and the two women took over management of the kitchen while Lois got the twins out of their wet outer clothing. Melted snow was already puddling in the foyer, but for the moment, Lois didn’t care…
As the twins scampered off to change clothes, strong arms encircled Lois’ waist, and warm lips touched her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned back against Clark, sighing. “Hello, love.”
“Hello, beautiful. Is this the typical Lane family gathering?”
“Hectic and enjoyable at the same time? Yeah, pretty much. Wait ‘til Lucy and her brood get here.”
He snuggled her a little tighter. “Do you have any idea how much I love you, Lois Lane?”
Tipping her head back for a kiss, she murmured, “Well, last night was a bit of a hint… So was this morning.”
Clark smiled as Lois put her hand up to touch his cheek, bring him closer for another kiss. At that exact moment, the front door opened and Lucy walked in, followed by Ron and the three kids. “No making out in the hall, lovebirds!” she teased, and then her blue eyes got very wide. “Lois Joanne Lane, is that a ring on your finger?”
“Lucy, shut up! I was trying to keep it… Shit.” Lois frantically twisted the ring back around, cursing the fact that it had evidently turned when she took her gloves off, but she was too late. Ella and Martha had both seen the Troupes’ car pull up, and they were already coming into the foyer.
As Lucy grabbed Lois’ hand and started showing it around like a courtroom exhibit, and Lois scowled like a cat dropped into the bathtub, Clark met Ron’s eyes above the excited women’s heads. The other Lane husband just grinned and gave him a thumbs’ up. From the mutter of excited voices, Ella’s was suddenly clear. “Good Lord, Lois, you aren’t pregnant again … are you? Two more babies within a year – that’s all we need!”
Upstairs, Jason hurriedly yanked the new Christmas sweater over his head and rushed downstairs into the general hubbub. Kala waited a moment longer, pausing by Ignatius’ cage.
The iguana, already three feet long, looked at the girl with interest. Kala stared back, then lifted her chin in the manner of a haughty princess. The lizard lifted himself up off the perch and nodded his head back at her.
Kala nodded, and Ignatius bobbed his head from side to side. Listening carefully to make sure no one else heard her, the little girl unlatched the cage and reached in, gently scratching the lizard’s scaly chin. He closed his eyes in apparent bliss. “Ugly ol’ dinosaur-wannabe,” Kala murmured in fond tones. “Jason’d kill me if he caught me pettin’ his stupid lizard.”
After a moment, she reluctantly closed the cage door, but didn’t latch it. Then as she was leaving the room, Kala turned with a wicked grin, flung her hands out, and hissed, “Gazeera!”
Four pounds of iguana hit the cage door with a thud and clung there, bobbing his head frantically as it swung open under his weight.
Even Houdini needed some help with his famous escapes.
“Dinner!” Lois called out there, and five children rushed inside. There was no ‘kids’ table’ in this house; the ridiculously large dining room table could seat all of them.
Everything looked and smelled delicious, but before anyone could pick up a serving spoon, Martha Kent cleared her throat gently. “If we could all join hands for the blessing?”
Lois and Ella exchanged a look. General Sam Lane had never had time for the trappings of religion; they went to church a few times a year, on holidays, and kept a Bible in the house, but that was about it. Everyone was joining hands, this was a familiar ritual for the Troupes, so Lois went along.
Martha’s voice was steady, but it sank into Lois’ mind like a polished stone dropped into a clear stream. “Lord, we thank You for this food which we are about to receive, and ask that You bless it for our use. We thank You for this time that we have together, and for the joy that You give us when we are gathered here. Most of all, we thank You for this glorious day, the anniversary of our Savior’s birth, when we are reminded of the greatest gift of all: Your love, and its echo in the love we have for each other and our families. In Your name, Amen.”
“Amen,” everyone said quietly, and slowly let go of each other’s hands.
Martha’s eyes twinkled merrily. “Well, dig in!”
Conversation soon rose around the delicious aromas of the meal. The topic of choice since lunch had been Lois and Clark getting engaged. Speculations on the date of the marriage had ranged from ‘next week in the courthouse’ to ‘right after the twins graduate’. “I’m just glad the kids are finally going to be respectable,” Ella said with a wink at Lois.
“Mother!” Hazel eyes rolled. “I’m over thirty and I have two children. ‘The kids’ are getting engaged? Please!”
“Just because you’re old doesn’t make you a grownup,” Lucy teased.
“Just because you’re finally bigger than your older sister,” Lois growled, raising her fork threateningly. “What’re you carrying there, one and a playhouse? Mine was just two and a swing set.”
While Lucy looked embarrassed, Clark gently put his hand over Lois’. “Don’t threaten your sister, sweetheart. I know you’re still angry about not getting to announce this the way you wanted.”
“I wanted to announce the marriage, not the engagement,” she muttered. “I hate all this attention.”
“Well, darling, I guess I’ll have to help you with that,” Martha said sweetly. “Ben?”
The older man laughed nervously, glancing at Clark. “Um, yes. Martha and I … we’re engaged, too.”
Clark’s jaw dropped. Lois’ head smacked into her palm. “What else?” the dark-haired woman muttered. “Mom? You shackin’ up with the mailman or something?”
“Lois!” Clark, Ella, and Lucy all said at once.
“Does this mean you’re our granddad now?” Kala asked Ben, who turned pale.
Martha sat back, laughing, and rolled her eyes. “I try to take the attention off her, and she just jumps right back in for another serving of drama.”
A hush fell over the household, the quiet of full stomachs. Only the fireplace popped; all five children had woken early to open presents and were now sound asleep, sprawled on the floor. Martha, Ella, and Ben were in the kitchen talking quietly as they divided up leftovers. Lois leaned against Clark’s chest, put her feet up on the coffee table, and gazed sleepily at the tree.
The tree on which several ornaments were askew.
Unfortunately, now that she’d seen it, she couldn’t un-see it. One of the painted and glitter-covered stars Kala had made was about to fall off, and if it got stepped on she’d be devastated. Lois reluctantly got up from the sofa and went to straighten the ornament.
Just as she reached for the branch on which it hung, something in the tree hissed at her.
Lois staggered backward, almost tripping over Nora, as Ignatius stuck his head out of the branches and hissed again.
“CLARK! Jason! Get this god … forsaken lizard out of my tree!”
Sometime later, after the iguana was captured and returned to his cage, the rudely-awakened children were settled back down, and Lois herself was calmed by a cup of hot tea liberally laced with brandy. In the other room she could still hear Jason protesting that he had latched the door, really. “Mommy scared Ignatius,” he whimpered as Martha soothed him. Kala was sniffling, too; Lois figured it was one of those twin things.
Clark was with Lois in the kitchen, rubbing the tension out of her shoulders. “Thank you so much for not killing the iguana, honey.”
“It was a struggle,” Lois muttered, sipping tea. “I swear that little bastard can get out of anything. I’m half tempted to send the beast to Perry’s for a while out of revenge.”
“Lois, that would be too cruel.”
“To Perry or the dinosaur?”
“To Jason,” Clark scolded gently. “You know he loves Ignatius.”
“Glad somebody does,” Lois groused. “I’d ask why we can’t just have a normal Christmas, but I know this family.”
“It doesn’t have to be normal to be good,” he told her, kissing her hair. “I didn’t get, um, called in at all today. Isn’t that blessing enough for one day?”
“That I get to share it with you?” Lois asked, looking up at him, and her face softened into one of her rare, completely open smiles. “Yes, that’s enough of a Christmas miracle for me … Kal-El.” Her voice dropped to a whisper on the final words.
The radio on the kitchen counter had been playing Christmas songs all day, but now one came on that Lois hadn’t heard in a long time. Ella Fitzgerald sang, “I really can’t stay,” and Louis Armstrong answered her, “Baby, it’s cold outside.”
Lois grinned, not least because Fitzgerald’s rendition of ‘Heart and Soul’ had gotten her in trouble in the past. “I love this song,” she remarked pointedly, reminded of those old photos Jimmy had found.
Clark lifted her out of the chair easily, one arm sliding around her waist. “So let’s dance.”
“In the kitchen?”
“Famous Midwestern tradition, dancing in the kitchen after a big meal.”
“Cute,” Lois said, and they were already swaying to the music.
I simply must go Baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no Ooh baby, it’s cold outside
This welcome has been I’m lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm Look out the window at that storm
The song was almost finished when Lois leaned up to kiss him, and just before their lips met she thought, Now this is a perfect moment.
Two seconds later, she faintly heard Lucy gasp, shortly followed by Ron calling, “Lois! You’ve got four-wheel drive. Get the car warmed up, we need to get to the hospital, now!”
Suddenly realizing what was happening, Lois called back, “Relax, Ron! It’s not like Lucy hasn’t done this all before … several times.” Her head thudded onto Clark’s chest, and she lowered her voice. “But never on a major holiday. God. Christmas with the Lanes, ladies and gentlemen.”
Clark chuckled and hugged her briefly. “Would it be any less crazy if it was Christmas with the Kents next year?”
“I doubt it. Anywhere I go, chaos follows,” Lois chuckled.
“It’s why I love you, sweetheart,” he replied, kissing her again. “You keep me on my toes.”
There was only a moment for them to share a contented grin before Ron yelled again, “Lois, come on!”
“Go, love,” Clark said softly. His mouth curved up in a quirky grin as he added with a wink, “For once I’ll stay home and keep an eye on the kids while you go save the world. Ron’s world, anyway.”
“Very cute, Kent,” Lois said, trying to look angry, but she was smiling too broadly. With another quick kiss, she hurried out to the living room before Ron could yell again.