By Beth Freeman (BethF99@aol.com)
Summary: The Lanes and the Kents gather together in Smallville for the holidays, where Lois and Clark plan to share some very special news. But Intergang has come to Smallville too, and finds something interesting in a treehouse on the Kent Farm. (Episode # 10 of The Unaired Fifth Season)
The crowded Metropolis department store looked the same as every other store the week before Christmas. Crowds of holiday shoppers pushed their way up and down aisles that glittered with festive decorations, debating over each item in an attempt to find that perfect gift, and bombarding the exhausted store employees with questions when their attempts failed.
And somewhere in the middle of all this holiday chaos, Clark Kent had lost his wife.
Not finding her in the sea of holiday shoppers that surrounded him, he finally lowered his glasses and scanned through the crowd until he spotted her a few aisles back, looking at a display of Christmas ornaments. He edged his way through the crowd until he was standing next to her. "Lois?"
She stood, staring lovingly at the small ornament she held in her hand. With the other hand, she reached for her husband. "Kind of unbelievable, isn't it," she said, still gazing at the ornament.
"What is?" he asked softly, also looking down at it.
"That next year, we'll have one of these on our tree." She sighed, then placed the delicate glass ball inscribed with the phrase "Baby's First Christmas" back on the display.
"Yeah," he said, still looking at the ornament. "It's amazing to think that next year at this time, we'll be parents." He turned and smiled down at Lois.
She smiled back, still lost in her own thoughts for a moment, then said, "Speaking of parents, I was thinking …"
"What?" he asked, still smiling.
"Well, maybe it's time to tell them about the baby. It would be the perfect time, with all of us together for Christmas. And it's not going to be long before they'll be able to figure it out for themselves." She paused for a moment and giggled as Clark patted her stomach, then continued. "Besides, you know they'll kill us if we keep them in the dark about it too much long. So, what do you think?"
"I think … it'll be some Christmas present," he replied, laughing.
"I'm glad you see it that way, because I had an idea …" she said as she grabbed his hand and led him further into the store.
Mindy Church glanced out the window of her Metropolis penthouse before turning her attention once again to the files piled on the desk in front of her. Her attention was again averted from the papers a few minutes later when there was a knock on the door. Without waiting for an answer, the man on the other side opened the door and walked in.
"We just heard from the boys in Kansas, Boss," he said.
"And?" she asked impatiently, her voice revealing none of the sugary sweetness most of Metropolis heard.
"Nothin' yet, Boss. Ya think there's really somethin' to what that crazy dude Trask said?"
"You just tell the boys to keep looking," she answered, turning back to her files. "I want the town of Smallville thoroughly searched. If there is some connection between it and Superman, I want to know."
"Sure thing, Boss," he said as he made a beeline for the door.
"Idiot," she muttered under her breath as she shuffled through the stacks of papers. Flipping through some of the pages, something caught her eye. A messy handwritten note was stuck into the virtual sea of typed pages. She glanced over it, her eyes widening a bit in excitement. Reaching for the intercom on her desk, she pressed the button and said, "Martin, tell the boys we have a new area of Smallville to search."
THE UNAIRED FIFTH SEASON
"A VERY SMALLVILLE CHRISTMAS"
Written By Beth Freeman (BethF99@aol.com)
Clark landed in front of the old farmhouse holding Lois in his arms. As he set her down, Jonathan and Martha ran from the front porch, where they had been waiting for Lois and Clark's arrival, and promptly hustled the two younger Kents into the house amid a flurry of greetings and hugs. Lois glanced around the familiar farmhouse, amazed at its holiday transformation. Everywhere she looked, there were candles, garlands, wreaths, and other decorations. A fire was crackling in the fireplace, and she could hear Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song" softly in the background. She felt Clark wrap his arms around her from behind and leaned into his chest, breathing in the cinnamon and evergreen smell that whispered Christmas to her even if it had never existed in her own home.
"We Kents kind of go all out for Christmas," Clark said, chuckling softly.
"Well, now I know why you love the holiday so much, growing up with this to look forward to every year." She sighed, then noticed something missing. "Clark, where's the tree?"
"Ah," he answered, turning her around to face him. "That is a family tradition. Every year, we all go up into the woods together and find the perfect Christmas tree. We used to do it earlier than this, but when I moved out, Mom and Dad always waited until I came home."
"And now we have one more Kent in the family to add to the traditional family quarrel over which tree is the best," Martha piped in, giving Lois and Clark a joint squeeze as she passed by them.
"Only one more Kent?" Clark whispered in Lois's ear, then kissed her softly on the cheek. She smiled as she watched Martha and Jonathan. She was growing more and more excited about telling them of their soon-to-be grandparenthood.
"So when are your parents coming in, dear?" Martha asked Lois as the family was setting the table for supper that night.
"Oh, they won't be coming in until late Christmas Eve," she said, handing a plate to Clark across the table. "Daddy's working until the last minute, as usual, and Mother should be starting her annual bout of holiday depression right about now." She gave Clark a wistful smile before heading into the kitchen for the silverware.
When she was out of earshot, Martha whispered to Clark, "She looks so sad, honey."
"I know, Mom. Let me go talk to her." He quickly laid down the rest of the plates in his hand and walked into the kitchen. Lois was looking out the window, lost in thought. She jumped a little when Clark wrapped his arms around her from behind. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
"No, it's okay. I'm sorry I'm being such a party pooper." She turned around in Clark's embrace and laid her head against his chest before continuing. "It's just that I come here and see what a beautiful Christmas… what a beautiful life you had here, and I guess I'm just a little envious." She ducked her head down a little and added, "I didn't have that as a kid."
Clark folded her a little tighter into his arms, kissing her on the top of her head before saying quietly, "I know you didn't. Maybe that's part of the reason I was so excited about all of us coming here for Christmas. I just wanted to make you a part of what I had growing up… what I have now." He paused and lifted Lois's chin so that their eyes met. "I just wanted you to see that this is yours now too."
Blinking back tears, Lois smiled up at her husband and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Thanks. I guess I just needed to hear that." She took a deep breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. Grabbing Clark's hand, she started walking toward the door to the dining room saying, "Now come on, farmboy, before whatever your mom cooked that smells so good gets cold." Clark smiled at his wife's back as she dragged him into the dining room.
"Martha, that was the best meal I have had in a long time. Actually, since the last time we came to eat dinner with you," Lois said, wishing she had room for just one more piece of apple pie.
"Well, thank you, dear!" Martha replied, picking up her empty plate and heading toward the kitchen. The rest of the family quickly did the same. Clark paused in front of the window and looked up into the quickly darkening sky.
"It sure is getting cloudy out there. Who knows, maybe we'll have a white Christmas." He opened his mouth to say something else when something out the window caught his attention. "Um, Dad … there are some people out there."
Jonathan came up beside his son and squinted as he tried to look out the window against the glare of the kitchen light. "I don't see anything, son."
"They are really far off in the distance, near Wayne Irig's back field. Have you noticed anyone out here?"
"A couple of days ago, there were some men on the other side of town. We never heard what they were there for, only that someone had called the police on them for trespassing," Jonathan answered. "You think they could be the same people?"
"I don't know, Dad," Clark replied, watching them as they headed back toward their car. "Well, whoever they are, they're leaving now. I'll give Rachel Harris a call, see what I can find out about it."
"What do you mean, they just left?" Mindy shot at her henchman, pacing around the room.
"Well, Boss, they said they didn't find nothin', so they took off."
"I am surrounded by idiots," she muttered to herself. Turning to the man in front of her, she said, "They are not just supposed to leave. This is unacceptable. I hired them to find out something about Superman. They have been there for weeks and have found nothing!"
"Well, Boss, maybe they ain't found nothin' 'cause there ain't nothin' to find," the man replied. Pointing to the stacks of files on Mindy's desk, he added, "This dude Trask was supposed to be some kinda nutcase, ya know. Maybe he was just off his rocker, makin' all this stuff up."
Mindy stared out the window a minute, briefly considering this statement before dismissing it. "No, there's just too much evidence to back him up. I mean, according to this, he knew about Kryptonite before anyone else. He's the one that originally found the spaceship. He just knew too much for this to be wrong." Turning toward the henchman once again, she said, "Get those morons out of Smallville. I want a new team. And make sure this one knows that they better deliver."
With a smirk, the henchman replied, "Sure thing, Boss," and was out the door.
The sun's morning rays hit Lois's face through the window of Clark's childhood bedroom, waking her. She turned in Clark's embrace to face him, watching him sleep for a few precious moments before he, too, began to stir. She smiled as his eyes opened to meet hers and a sleepy grin appeared on his face. Reaching out to brush away a stray lock of hair from his face, she whispered a good morning to him. Without warning, he rolled over onto his back, taking her along until she lay sprawled on top of him before returning the greeting.
"Didn't fall off the bed last night, did you?" Clark asked. His sly grin let her know that he had not forgotten their first overnight trip to Smallville as husband and wife, when she, being used to their queen sized bed at home, very nearly did fall off his old full sized bed.
"Nope, you kept a pretty tight hold on me last night," she answered with a kiss and a sly grin of her own.
"Ah, the wonders of sharing a smaller bed," he laughed, pulling her a little tighter to his chest, where she planted a kiss before laying her head down. Taking a deep breath, he said, "Hmmmm … I smell coffee. Mom and Dad have probably been up for hours already, and I have the guarantee of an extremely reliable source that there are blueberry waffles down there waiting for us."
"Well then," Lois rolled off Clark and reached for her robe, "what am I hanging around here for?" With a backward glance at Clark and a wiggle of her eyebrows, she left the bedroom and headed for the kitchen.
At the bottom of the stairs, Clark caught up with her and tugged her back into the stairway just as she was rounding the corner. Pulling her to him, he leaned down and gave her a long, soulful kiss. Pulling away only slightly, he whispered against her lips, "Good morning." Then, to Lois's surprise, he dropped to his knees in front of her. Placing a kiss on her stomach, he whispered another good morning.
Lois smiled and ruffled his hair. "You know, he or she can't hear you yet." She bent down to his level and he grinned sheepishly at her. She gave him one more kiss before pulling him to his feet. Together, they walked into the kitchen.
As Clark had predicted, Martha was already there, along with a fresh pot of coffee and a virtual tower of blueberry waffles. She greeted them both with a good morning and a kiss on the cheek. "Jonathan should be back in a few minutes, and we can have breakfast." She handed Clark a cup of coffee, but Lois politely refused hers, sharing an amused smile with Clark as she poured herself a glass of milk. When Jonathan walked in a few moments later, the sight of Clark and Lois trying not to giggle and his wife eyeing them suspiciously greeted him.
"Well, good morning, you two!" he said, breaking the silence in the room.
"Good morning, Jonathan!" Lois said, giving Clark her best spill-our- secret-now-and-die look. Clark cleared his throat, greeted his father, and looked anywhere except at his wife.
As the family began passing plates of waffles around the table, Jonathan said, "Clark, there were some people out there again this morning, over near the road. They headed back to their truck pretty quick when they saw me, but I have a feeling they are going to be back."
"Well, Lois and I gave Rachel a call last night," Clark answered as he drizzled syrup over his waffles. "She had some more calls a couple of days ago, but since then, it's been pretty quiet. She thought they had just given up on whatever they were looking for until I said that we had seen them down here last night. She'll be on the lookout for them, but beyond that, there isn't really much she can do. I'll have a look around this afternoon too — see if I can't spot them. But first," he added, looking at Lois and grinning, "we have to go get the tree."
"What about this one?" Clark called out, standing next to a fat, little cedar.
"That's too short, Clark," Martha yelled back. "Besides, it has a big hole on this side."
"Okay, well, how about this one?" Lois yelled from a little down the hill. She circled the fir, looking for any holes. When she didn't find any, she looked expectantly up at the Kents.
Martha nodded approvingly, but Clark scrunched his nose a little and shook his head. "It's kinda skinny." Jonathan agreed.
They walked a little further. Each went their own direction as they spotted a tree, then pointed it out for the others to approve or disapprove of.
Lois was checking out another fir when she glanced up the hill. There, just a few feet ahead of her, was the perfect pine. Not too tall or too short. Nice and fat with no holes, at least none that she could see. She jogged up to the tree, calling out for the others just as she heard Clark's voice doing the same. She looked up to see her husband headed for the same pine as she was. When he saw her and realized that they had just discovered the same tree, they both started laughing.
"So," Clark said, still laughing. "Any holes on your side?"
"Not a one!" Lois said triumphantly. She then circled around the tree and leaned against Clark, who wrapped her in his arms. Martha and Jonathan came up behind them, both saying how much they loved the little tree.
As Clark and Jonathan cut the tree down, Martha came and circled her arm around Lois's shoulder. "They have never let me help them cut down the tree. I think it's their annual father-son bonding moment to wrestle the poor thing to the ground by themselves." Both women started laughing as they watched their husbands do just that.
"I had so much fun doing this, Martha," Lois said. "I never thought picking out a Christmas tree would be this hard!" She looked off into the distance, then continued a little wistfully. "Daddy used to drag our old fake one out of the attic every year while Lucy and I were in school. We hated that thing! Luce and I used to love to go over to the neighbors' house every year because they always bought a real tree. I think we begged every year to get a real one, but Mother never wanted to bother. Said they shed needles." Blinking out of her reflective state, she noticed that Clark and Jonathan had finished with the tree. "Oh, look, they've finished!" She smiled at Martha, then with the excitement of a child, said, "Let's go decorate it!"
Martha watched her take off towards Clark and Jonathan, who had already started down the hill with the tree. She smiled as Lois grabbed the tree in the middle and helped the two men as they trudged back toward the house.
The two men crept around the barn outside the Kents' house, hiding in the long shadows that played across the ground in the Kansas sunset. They reached the side facing away from the house and allowed themselves a small sigh of relief.
"We've been searching this place all day, and I haven't seen anything to link this farm to Superman," one whispered, rubbing the back of his neck wearily.
"Yeah, we searched everywhere, and nothing," the other agreed. He looked out across the expanse of farmland when something caught his eye. "Hey, what's that?"
His companion squinted into the setting sun, then said, "Looks like some kid's old treehouse. Think there's anything there?"
"Well, it's worth a shot," the other said, already making his approach. The two moved swiftly, and soon were climbing up into the childhood hideout. "There isn't anything here," the man said, taking a swift look around. The tiny space was littered with leaves and dust. Here and there were relics of the child who had spent countless hours in this fortress of solitude.
"What's that?" his partner said, pointing to a cloth draped over an old crate. In the middle of the cloth, it bulged slightly, and when the men looked closely, they could see a slightly bluish tint on the cloth around the bulge. The man walked over and yanked the cloth off, dust and dirt rushing into the air around them. When it cleared, they saw a glowing globe of the planet Earth sitting on the crate. The man reached to pick it up, and jumped back when the globe floated up to hover several inches about the crate's surface. "Call the boss," he whispered hoarsely. "We got it."
Lois was standing on the porch, gazing into the night sky, when she heard the door behind her open and close. "Can I join you?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her body. He snaked a hand between the folds of the thick coat she was wearing and rubbed her stomach softly, an act that had become almost second nature to him since finding out about the baby. She smiled.
"Always." She leaned back into his arms, and closed her eyes, letting her mind drift and her defenses fall in a way that she only did around Clark.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked.
A few moments passed before she opened her eyes. She took a deep breath and said, "Let's take a walk."
He allowed himself to be led without question into the yard, knowing that she would confide in him when she was ready.
It wasn't until they reached the tool shed on the other side of the barn that Lois stopped. With a deep breath, she said in typical Lois fashion, "Do you want to raise our kids in Smallville?"
Clark looked at her for a moment, certain he had heard wrong. "What?" he asked, confusion blanketing his features.
"Well, it's just that I see the way you and your parents have this wonderful relationship, and how you had this really great life here, and I was just thinking that maybe you look at your perfect Smallville childhood and my dysfunctional Metropolis childhood, and want to go with the Smallville childhood for our kids." She took a deep breath and looked as if she was about to once again enter into babble mood when the clouds that had been hovering overhead all day finally gave way. But instead of the snow that would be expected on a chilly December night, fat, piercing raindrops began falling from the sky. Clark looked around for shelter. He was considering flying back to the house when he spotted his old treehouse out of the corner of his eye. Without a word, he scooped her up and flew toward the shelter. Once inside, he set Lois down on her feet. Steam rose around her as he used his heat vision to dry her soaking clothes. He saw an old blanket in the corner, and after shaking off all the dust, he wrapped Lois in it.
"Sorry, I just didn't want to go back to the house yet. Not until we've settled this." Clark walked over to the corner and sat down on one of the old crates he had used as chairs and tables, in the days when he had spent hours each day up there, lost in his own world.
Lois paced around the tiny space. She had been here before with Clark, but hadn't really looked around all that much. She now took in the collection of keepsakes from her husband's childhood. She had failed to see them on her first visit here, being far too interested in the relic from another world that Clark had brought her here to show her. It was as she was looking at these things that she noticed something missing. It was the very thing that had brought her to this place the first time.
Clark took a deep breath. "Lois …" he began, but she interrupted him.
"Clark, where is the globe?"
"What?" he asked distractedly, his mind still focused elsewhere.
"The globe," she said, her voice rising a little in worry. "The globe isn't here anymore. Did you move it?"
He got up and looked all the way around the interior of the little building. "No, I didn't move it." When his eyes reached Lois again, he met her gaze with panic starting to build in his eyes. "Where could it be?"
Mindy's face was illuminated by the small, glowing orb in her hands. Ever so slowly, she let her hands fall away from its bottom surface. The sphere hovered in midair a few moments before gently floating back down into her waiting hands. "Where did you find it?"
One of the men stepped forward. "It was at that farm you told us to search, in some old treehouse."
Mindy glanced up briefly and focused on her henchman. "Show these gentlemen out, and make sure they receive their pay."
"Sure thing, Boss."
When she was alone, Mindy returned her gaze to the globe. It was remarkable. It seemed to be solid, and yet, when she really looked at it, the whole surface of it seemed to move in soft waves. It glowed a beautiful green and blue, and yet there was no apparent source of illumination. But the most remarkable thing about it was the way it would float in the air, almost like Superman himself. She had no doubt that this beautiful replica of Earth was connected to the Man of Steel. She only had to figure out how.
She had set the globe aside for a moment to reach for some of Trask's notes when she noticed it. The change was almost imperceptible at first, but as she watched, the colors of the globe began to slowly change. She reached out and picked up the globe, and suddenly, there were images flashing in front of her. She watched, mesmerized, as what appeared to be star charts were projected into the air in front of her desk, each one appearing for only a few seconds before being replaced. The final map, though, remained, and as she watched, it zoomed in on one of six planets floating around a brilliant red sun. Suddenly, the image disappeared, and the globe ceased glowing. When Mindy looked down at it again, it was not the image of Earth it had been a few minutes earlier, but an entirely new planet, it continents bright red against the blue oceans.
"Krypton," she whispered.
"It has to be those people we saw yesterday!" Clark said, pacing nervously around the kitchen. "Maybe that's what they were looking for."
"Clark, how would anyone know about the globe?" Lois questioned from her spot at the kitchen table, where she sat with Martha and Jonathan. "The only person who has seen it besides us is Jack, and I can't imagine him telling anyone about it. It just doesn't make sense for anyone to be looking for it."
Clark sighed and fell into the other chair at the table, running his hands through his hair before leaning back and looking at his family. "Okay, then what were they doing here?"
"Well," Lois began, "maybe they just found it, like Jack did, and thought it would be worth something. Maybe they are just common criminals looking to make a buck."
"Lois, this isn't Metropolis. I mean, this kind of stuff, it just doesn't happen here every day." Clark sighed again, then put his head in his hands. "We don't even know how the globe works."
Martha reached over and took Clark's hand. "Okay, then, let's figure out how it works. Now you said it was attuned to you. So maybe that means that it won't display messages for anyone else."
"But Mom," Clark argued, "last time it did."
"Yeah, but last time was the first time anyone had touched it. And after it played the messages, it wouldn't replay them, right?" Lois asked.
"Right …" Clark said tentatively.
"So … maybe that was it. Maybe it would only play them once, and then it would kind of shut itself off."
Clark looked at each of the people at the table, then said, "But why would it do that?"
"Well, son," Jonathan ventured, "maybe it was to prevent this kind of thing from happening. I mean, your parents knew when they sent you here that you would be different. Maybe this was their way of protecting you."
Clark nodded his head slightly. "Maybe so." He lifted his head and looked at Lois, his eyes wide. "But we still have to get it back. I mean, we don't know what it might do now." He looked across the room, his eyes focusing on some unseen object. "Besides, it's all I have left of Krypton, of Jor-El and Lara."
Lois reached over and took Clark's hands, holding them between hers. "We'll find it, Clark." She looked at him tenderly for a moment before sitting up and taking a deep breath. In an instant, she was in reporter mode. "Okay, first of all, we have to find out who those people were. We can't exactly get the police to track them down, but if we can find out something about them, I'm sure we'll be able to locate them … with a little 'super' help, of course," she added with a smile.
Clark got up from the table, already looking a bit more optimistic. "Okay, I'll go give Rachel a call."
"Why isn't it doing anything?" Mindy practically screamed at her henchman. For the past few hours, Mindy had watched the little globe intently, looking for any sign at all that it was the extraterrestrial navigation device she had seen earlier. At the moment, it reminded her more of one of those "educational" puzzle toys she had seen so many advertisements for during the holiday season — the ones that initially intrigued you with their challenge to unlock their secrets, but soon became nothing more than frustrating chunks of plastic as you tried and failed to find that certain combination of twists and turns to solve the puzzle.
"I don't get it, Boss," the henchman said, also staring at the globe. "Why would a globe that came from Krypton tell you how to get to Krypton?"
Mindy stared at the man for a moment, her eyes growing wide with sudden understanding. "That's it!" she yelled, grabbing the globe and leaping from her seat. She ran over to the wall and pushed a button. Instantly, a panel of the wall slid up to reveal a hidden room. She practically ran to the middle where, in a sealed case, lay the tiny spaceship which had first brought Clark to Earth so many years ago.
"What's it, Boss?" the man yelled, running after her.
"Jason Trask said that he found the globe with the spaceship. Now, when he had it with the ship, it didn't portray any images, and was in the shape of what he assumed to be Superman's home planet. But when I received it, it was in the shape of Earth. After displaying those maps, it changed back into Krypton. So maybe it was more than just a collection of maps. Maybe it was the entire navigational system for this ship. So, by putting it back into the ship…" She paused and placed the globe into the hollowed out semi-circle on the front of the craft. Instantly, it began glowing again. Reaching out, she gently placed her hands on the globe's surface. Just as before, it began to rapidly project images. As they slowed, she saw nine specks floating around a yellow sun. The image zeroed in on the third of these, and began zooming in. As Earth became larger and larger in the projected image, she said softly to her henchman, "Tell the men to get back to Smallville. I want to know everything there is to know about the farm where they found this globe and Superman."
"Sure thing, Boss," he said, heading for the door.
"Wait!" she yelled as the image faded and the globe morphed back into Earth. She picked it up and handed to the man. "Tell them to take this with them. If being near the ship makes the Krypton images come alive, maybe being near Smallville will make the Earth images come alive."
The man looked at her for a moment, then said, "You know, you're a lot smarter than I thought you were when you and Mr. Church first got hitched."
Mindy smiled slyly, then she put on her best pouty expression and said in a saccharine sweet voice, "I'm just trying to run my Hunkie's business and be best friends with everyone in Metropolis." As soon as it appeared, the lobotomy-patient act disappeared and she said, "Now get to work."
Clark hung up the phone and turned toward Lois, who was searching through the Planet's mainframe on her laptop. "Rachel said that no one knows who they were. They just showed up a couple of weeks ago. She pretty much came to the same conclusion that we did, that the men were looking for something, although Rachel had no clue as to what they could be looking for. But she did say something that kinda caught my attention."
Lois looked up and saw Clark's worried expression. "What?"
Clark rubbed his eyes, then looked at Lois. "She said it reminded her a little of when Jason Trask first came to town."
Lois's eyes grew wide. "You don't think …"
"I don't know what to think." He sat down on the bed next to Lois, who put her arm around him and pulled him to her. They sat there a moment before Clark finally noticed Lois's screen. "What are you doing?"
"I was looking through the Planet files. I got to thinking about what I said earlier, about the only person besides us that knew about the globe was Jack. Well, that's not true. Jack sold the globe to someone. That someone saw the projections from the globe the same as you did. So I was looking through the Planet's files, trying to find anyone who might have some connection to the globe."
"And?" Clark asked, looking up at her.
"And … nothing," she sighed. "Whoever bought the globe from Jack did not want to be known. As far as I can tell, no one knows of its existence."
"Well, that's a little bit of a relief. At least its not some huge crime organization trying to get their hands on it." Clark opened his mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by the phone ringing. Clark picked it up. He said very little, but when he hung up a few moments later, he looked terrified. "That was Rachel," he said quietly. "The police just spotted them. They are in Shuster's field."
"I don't know what we are supposed to be looking for. There isn't anything here!" one of the men cried out in exasperation. They had been trudging through Shuster's field for hours, and so far had come up with nothing.
"And what exactly is this thing supposed to do?" the other man said, nodding his head toward the globe he held in his hand.
"You got me. The boss just said bring it and see if it did anything." The man looked around once again. "Man, I've got a bad feeling about this. We've been out here in the open for way too long. The cops have never left us alone this long." He glanced down the road running in front of the field, then up into the sky at the beginnings of sunset. "Let's get out of here. We'll come back tomorrow."
His partner was about to agree when the men heard a familiar whoosh, followed by an even more familiar voice saying, "Not so fast, boys. I think the good people of Smallville have enjoyed your company long enough." Suddenly, the men found themselves being lifted into the air. Within minutes, Superman set them down in front of the police station, where Sheriff Rachel Harris was waiting to take them into custody.
"Wait a minute!" one of the men said. "You can't arrest us. We haven't done anything!"
"Oh, come on now, boys," Rachel said. "The last time I checked, robbery was against the law. And I've got a few witnesses here all ready to testify that what you have there in your possession," she pointed to the globe, "is the property of Superman, given to the Kents for safekeeping. Now I don't know about you, but I'd be a little scared if I just stole something from Superman." She reached over and took the globe, then handed it back to Superman. Then, leading the men up the steps into the station, she said, "Okay, boys, you know the drill. You have the right to remain silent …"
Clark walked into the house several hours later, globe in hand. Jonathan, Martha, and Lois all turned their attention to him, asking without words the question that they had been worrying about all day. "The police questioned them for two hours," Clark said. "As far as anyone can tell, they don't work for anyone, and had no idea what they had picked up."
"But you don't believe them, do you?" Martha said.
Clark sat down on the couch next to Lois. "I don't know what to believe. I mean, I really want to believe that what they are saying is true."
"But …" Lois prodded gently.
"But I'm afraid that they are lying. That they were sent here by someone out to get Superman." He looked at the globe in his hand. "Maybe I'm just being paranoid."
"Well, the important thing is that we got the globe back …" Jonathan trailed off as he saw Lois's eyes widen. When he looked down at the globe, his eyes began widening as well. The little orb began glowing a beautiful blue-green, illuminating the colors of the Earth. Instantly before them were projections of hundreds of star maps popping up in rapid procession. The final map stayed floating, and once again began to draw toward one planet circling the red sun in the picture. But this time, Jor-El's voice reached across the galaxies to say, "My son, these are the maps with which your ship will be guided to your new home, Earth. Before you is the planet of your birth, Krypton. I show you these things now so that you may know of where you have been. For it is only in knowing where we have been that we can hope to understand where we are going." As Jor-El's words ended, so did the projection, and as the four family members looked down, they saw that the globe had once again changed to Krypton.
"The boys are in custody in Smallville, but apparently, they're pretty smart. They hadn't said nothin' about who hired them," the henchman told Mindy.
"And the globe," she asked.
"Superman's got it back. I don't get it. Why'd you want some globe anyway?"
Mindy looked at the man for a moment, then said, "Superman and his little reporter friends have been a thorn in my side far too long. If I'm going to start up Intergang again, I am going to have to get them out of the way."
"But how's knowing about Superman's past gonna help you destroy him?" the man questioned.
"A man I once knew very well had a saying. 'If you want to win the game, you must understand its players.' In order to destroy Superman, I need to know him. What his strengths and weaknesses are. And with Mr. Trask's help," she added, gesturing to the pile of Trask's notes, "I'll soon be able to do just that."
On Christmas Eve night, Clark and Lois were curled up on the couch watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" when two familiar voices drifted in from the kitchen. "Sam, I told you we should have let Lois and Clark pick us up. You have no sense of direction. Martha, he had us driving down all these little back roads, half of which we had to turn around and drive back down when they led nowhere!"
"Oh Ellen, please, you had no clue where we were either!"
Lois turned to Clark. "Great, Mother and Daddy are here. You think if we hide now they'll forget we're here?"
Clark smiled as he listened to his mother tried to calm the Lanes down. Clark pulled Lois to her feet, but before they could make it into the kitchen, Sam and Ellen burst into the living room and bombarded them with hugs and handshakes.
The room was soon buzzing with activity as both sets of parents greeted each other and tried to move luggage around, and it took a moment of Clark to realize that Lois was no longer standing beside him. He looked across the room to find Lois standing in the doorway between the living room and the hall. She was leaning against the door frame, quietly observing the scene before her. Clark quickly made his way over to her, and grabbing her hand, he silently led her upstairs. "I think," he said as he walked into his old bedroom, "that it's time we finish that talk."
Lois sat down on the bed and pulled him down with her. "I think you're right."
"Lois," Clark began, "I want to raise our children in our home. And our home is in Metropolis." Seeing Lois's smile, he continued. "Yes, I had a really great childhood here, but that had a lot more to do with my parents than it did this town. And our kids," he said, lifting her chin so that her eyes met his, "are going to have a really great childhood in Metropolis."
Lois smiled again, then leaned over and kissed him. "I think I just needed to hear that. To know that you thought we could do as good of a job as parents there as we could here. Besides," she added, "I don't think Perry and Jimmy would let us live it down if we took our kids away from them. I have a feeling that Perry is going to be making plans for a new investigative reporter as soon as he finds out about this baby."
Clark laughed and pulled her into his embrace. "So, you think you're ready to face the downstairs crowd yet?"
"Let's stay up here just a few more minutes," she answered, pulling his arms tighter around her.
He kissed the top of her forehead, then leaned back against the bed's headboard with her in his arms. "Whatever you want, Lois."
Christmas morning found the entire Lane-Kent clan sitting around the Christmas tree, passing around presents and watching the snow just beginning to fall outside the window. Above the commotion in the room, it was only Clark who heard the knock at the door. Smiling, he excused himself. When he returned a moment later, he didn't sit down. Instead he cleared his throat until the noise in the room had ceased.
"Clark, who was at the door?" Martha asked, giving him a funny look.
Clark simply smiled mysteriously, then said, "Lois, Sam, Ellen, Merry Christmas." From around the corner, a young woman walked into the room. She was dressed in jeans and an old worn sweatshirt proclaiming "Metropolis High." Her curly brown hair was pulled into a ponytail, and a duffle bag was slung over her shoulder.
"Lucy!" Lois leapt from her chair to hug her baby sister. It took Sam and Ellen a few seconds to recover before they did the same. "How did you get here?" Lois asked.
Lucy smiled at Clark. "I found out last week that I would be able to get the time off from work and school to come. Clark answered the phone when I called to tell you, and he and I decided to surprise all of you. I don't know, Clark, you think it worked?"
Clark looked around at the three stunned Lanes. "I think we got 'em pretty good."
The rest of the morning was spent opening presents and, in the case of the Lanes, catching up. When the final gift had been unwrapped, Lois looked at Clark, her eyes sparkling. Quietly, he got up and walked into the kitchen. When he returned a few moments later, he held two gifts, each wrapped identically. He handed one to Lois, who said, "Um, Clark and I have two more gifts." Without another word, they each handed a box to their parents. Both Martha and Ellen looked at Lois and Clark curiously before carefully unwrapping the presents. Simultaneously, they pulled identical baby rattles out of the tissue-lines boxes.
Ellen caught on immediately. She jumped up and ran to Lois, shouting, "My baby's having a baby!" Sam and Lucy were right on her heels. For Jonathan and Martha, who knew the results of Dr. Klein's tests, the news took a little longer to sink in. Martha looked over the people between them to catch her son's eye. He saw the uncertainty on his parents' faces, and with a smile and a nod of his head, gave them all the assurance they needed that it was true. At a speed that would have rivaled Clark at his fastest, they were by his side, hugging him.
"So, how do you feel about being a grandmother?" Clark whispered in Martha's ear.
"Well, that depends," she whispered back. "How do you feel about being a father?" She smiled up at him, and he wrapped her up in another hug. "I love you, Clark."
"I love you too, Mom."
That afternoon, Lois and Clark finally managed to steal away from their families for a few minutes. Tiptoeing outside, they managed to make it to the front porch without attracting attention to their whereabouts. They both breathed a sigh of relief, then looked at each other and laughed. "Well, I think that went well," Clark said, pulling Lois to him.
She settled into his arms, then said, "Oh yes, I think that went very well." She pulled away slightly, then looked up at him. "Thank you for bringing Lucy."
Clark smiled, then kissed her. "Well, I had a little help there. You know, that Santa guy must really like you." Lois laughed and hugged him again. Clark kissed the top of her head, then pulled away. "Wait right here," he told her, walking toward the side of the house. He returned a second later carrying a tiny Christmas tree. It looked strikingly like the one she had bought the first Christmas she and Clark had spent together several years ago. The little tree was covered in lights, tinsel, and ornaments, and perched on its top was the little star Clark had given her that year.
Lois ran over to him, taking the little tree and setting it down on a wicker table. Reaching over to the utility outlet on the porch, she plugged in the strand of lights. Instantly, the tree began twinkling merrily. She looked back at Clark. "Merry Christmas, Clark," she said, holding out her hand and pulling him to her when he took it.
"Merry Christmas, Lois," he said against her lips an instant before he kissed her. Then he drew away slightly and slid down her body until he was on his knees. He planted a kiss on her stomach, and whispered, "Merry Christmas to you too." He drew her to him, leaning his head against her stomach and wrapping his arms around her. She circled her own arms around him, then reached up and began to softly stroke his hair. They stayed that way a long time, watching the snow slowly blanket the Kansas farm.
A VERY SMALLVILLE ADDENDUM
An Afterword By Beth Freeman
I would first of all like to thank my incredible editors, Genevieve Clemens and Kat Picson, for finding all the grammar mistakes in the mess I sent them (and believe me, there were lots!), and for helping me develop, clarify, and expand so many parts of the story. I would also like to thank Craig Byrne, who was my sounding board for many of the ideas for this episode, and who named it. And finally, to Beth Washington, who's contribution to the final part of "A Very Smallville Christmas" I appreciate more than words can say.
When Craig and Matt insisted that I have an A-plot to this episode, I almost immediately (after whining just a little bit about not wanting an A- plot) thought of the globe simply because I always thought it was such an interesting part of Clark's heritage, and it was so rarely used. Plus, it always bothered me that it started glowing at the end of "Foundling" and we never saw why. The idea to make the globe attuned to the spaceship and to Clark came as I was writing the story, and was a combination of things said on the show, things said by FoLCs, and that scene in "Strange Visitor" where the globe changes from Earth to Krypton as soon as Clark touches it.
Many of the ideas in this story came from my own life. The annual Kent family tree argument is based on the annual Freeman family tree argument. Every year, my parents and I pile into my dad's truck and head to the Christmas tree farm, where we spend forever inspecting each and every tree. My mom and I have extremely strict criteria for the perfect Christmas tree, and we never rest until we find it. And yes, I have hunted down a Chrismas tree in the woods, with my godmother several years ago. I have not, however, seen a white Christmas. The closest I have been to that is seeing snow flurries on Christmas morning. But I have always loved the idea of waking up on Christmas to the world blanketed in snow, so the Lanes and Kents got to do it instead.
I would like to dedicate this story to my parents, who have put up with countless questions beginning with "Suppose you lived in Kansas" and "Let's say you were from another planet," who have always encouraged me to write, who can't let the holiday season go by without playing Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song, and who have never, ever bought a fake Christmas tree.
I wish everyone love and laughter this holiday season. And if you need any help getting into the holiday spirit, watch "Season's Greedings." It works every time!
Beth Freeman :-)