Joyeux Noel

By Joy Sowell <>

Rated PG

Submitted November 1999

Summary: When Lois' Christmas plans fall through, Clark invites Lois to spend Christmas with him and his parents in Smallville. A sweet, WAFFy Christmas tale.

This story is the first of two that are in response to a fanfic suggestion on the list last Spring. The story is mine, the idea is Debby's, and the characters belong to their owners. I'd like to thank Debby for her editorial assistance and her countless suggestions, most of which I used. Also, I'd like to thank everyone who gave feedback before I released this to the archive. I'd also like to thank Lara Blasingame for her help in actually getting this to the archive.

Daily Planet: A few days before Christmas, prior to, and in lieu of "Season's Greedings" in Season 2. Lois and Clark had just finished a story uncovering a major embezzlement scandal at the orphanage. They LAN'ed it to the evening editor, and they were getting ready to leave for a well-deserved vacation.


Clark bounced up to Lois's desk, grinning from ear to ear. "Lois, cheer up. It's Christmas!!"

Lois grumpily replied, " SO WHAT? Do I come hopping up to you like the Easter Bunny on Arbor Day?"

Clark, concerned about her lack of the Christmas Spirit, asked, " 'So what?' Christmas is absolutely the best time of the year. The way that everyone is filled with the spirit of peace, happiness, and goodwill towards men is almost magical."

Lois replied in a tone that showed her exasperation, "You mean the way that everyone is filled with the spirit of greed and conspicuous consumerism."

"I thought that you were looking forward to seeing Lucy. You haven't seen her in a while, and the holidays are about spending time with family and loved ones."

Disappointed, Lois answered, "She just called. She can't make it after all." She forced a smile and continued. "It seems that her latest boyfriend wanted to take her to Aspen to go skiing with his fraternity brothers and their girlfriends."

Trying to cheer her up, Clark told her, "Well, in that case, you are coming home with me to Smallville."

Lois smiled at Clark, but told him, "Clark, that's sweet. Really, it is. You just said that Christmas is a time for family; I wouldn't want to intrude. Please, give my best to Martha and Jonathan."

Clark hoped he could persuade her to come, so he grinned at her in that special way that made her insides melt, even though she wouldn't admit it. She thought to herself that it was probably a good thing that he didn't know what that look did to her. "Lois, they'd love to have you. I can't stand the thought of you spending Christmas alone. I did say that Christmas is a time for family and loved ones. You are my best friend, and that qualifies you as a loved one," he said aloud, but he thought, 'Lois, I do love you. Stop whining Clark.'

Lois answered resignedly, "Okay, but only if you call your parents and make sure it's okay first. I don't want to impose."

Cheerfully, Clark replied, "I'll call them right now." He picked up the phone, dialed, and Martha answered it.

"Hi, mom."

"Clark! It's good to hear from you. Is everything okay?"

"Yes. Lucy can't make it to Metropolis, so I asked Lois to join us in Smallville for Christmas. She doesn't want to impose, so she says she doesn't want to come."

"Let me speak to her."

Clark grinned an "I told you so" grin at Lois. "She wants to talk to you."

"Hi, Martha."

"Hi, Lois. What is this nonsense that Clark was telling me about you not wanting to impose?"

"I tried to tell Clark that Christmas is a time for family, and that you and Jonathan would probably like to spend it alone with him." She shot Clark a look that would mortally wound any other guy. "But, you know how stubborn your son can be."

Martha laughed and responded, "Lois, whether or not you realize it, you are family. I've never seen my boy as happy as he has been since he started working with you."

This statement intrigued Lois. "Oh really?"

"Yes, really. Don't tell him I told you this, but he was disappointed when you told him Lucy was going to visit you." (Lois's mouth started to twitch upward.) "He even got tickets to see "The Nutcracker" in Kansas City on Christmas Eve."

Lois grinned broadly in spite of herself. "Really? I didn't know that."

"Yes. He gave the tickets to Jonathan and me, but I'm sure he'd let me give them to you."

"Martha, that's really not necessary. You don't have to bribe me to visit. I just didn't want to impose. Anyway, you two deserve a little time to yourselves."

"Trust me, it is no imposition. So, you'll come?"

"Okay, I'll come."

"Great! We're looking forward to seeing you soon."

"You too, Martha. Bye."

"Bye, Lois."

Lois grinned at Clark and said, "Okay, Kent. It looks like you are going to have one more for Christmas. I'd better call the airlines now so I can get a flight."

"Lois, you don't need to do that."

"Clark, Kansas is a bit too far to drive."

Clark replied with a sheepish grin, "Lois, I don't plan on driving." She gave him a confused look. "I asked Superman to give me a lift. He was happy to do it. You know, he really likes my mom's homemade brownies. I'll have him give you a lift, and then come back for me. How soon can you be ready?"

"I need to pack, so have him meet me at my apartment in an hour. Clark, by the way, thanks for asking me to spend Christmas with you. It really does mean a lot to me."

"It means a lot to me that it means a lot to you, Lois." He hugged her briefly and then walked her to the elevator. He then noticed that they were under the mistletoe. He nodded in its direction, and without warning, kissed her playfully on the lips. "I'll see you in Smallville."

"See ya." She stepped into the elevator. After the doors closed, she let out the breath she did not know she had been holding. Since she was alone, she thought out loud, "WOW! Who would have thought that Clark's kisses could affect me like that? WOW!"

Clark, still tuned into Lois, heard her heart beating faster than usual. Then he heard her musings and grinned. Since he was not alone in the newsroom, he muttered under his breath, "Maybe, this will be a very special Christmas after all."

Lois hurried around her apartment getting ready to leave. It didn't take too long to pack only a few days' worth of clothes, but she didn't want to leave her apartment until she had picked it up a bit. She was ready fifteen minutes before Superman arrived. While she waited on Superman, she flipped on the television. She laughed at the program she found. "Why can't Rachel SEE that Ross is more than a friend? They are so obviously MEANT for each other."

Superman arrived at her open window at that moment. He heard her comment and laughed. "Sometimes it's hard to see what is right in front of you, Lois."

Lois, startled by Superman's arrival, and embarrassed at being caught watching "Friends", blushed. "Hi, Superman. You're a few minutes early."

Superman stifled a grin and replied, "I can always come back later if you aren't ready."

"No. I'm ready. I was watching television until you arrived."

"It's okay. I like 'Friends' too. I just wish Rachel would see Ross for who he really is."

"Or that Ross would tell Rachel how he really feels," Lois replied, shocked that the super hero liked that show. She didn't want to embarrass herself by babbling about it; after all, she was a great reporter. "So, Superman, what other shows do you enjoy watching?"

"Lois, I rarely have time for television. I do like LNN; that way I can find out if I am needed in another part of the world."

"What do you have planned for the holidays? Even super heroes deserve some time to relax."

Superman decided that while he needed to be honest, he should also help his case as Clark. "I will be spending it where I am needed most."

"Oh, where are you needed most at Christmas?"

Clark knew that the best way to stop Lois when she was in "Mad Dog Lane' mode was to throw her a bone. A chocolate bone.

"I'm glad you are going to be with Clark over Christmas. He's so excited about your visit. The last time I saw Mrs. Kent, she was making another batch of brownies because Clark said that you love them so much."

"I'm looking forward to it myself. I really do like Smallville more than I let Clark know. It's a small town, but I understand that the indoor plumbing is reliable, and they've paved some of the streets within the past year. So, I guess it's livable. It has a big heart, too. Everyone is friendly. Not the fake kind of friendly like most people in Metropolis, but those people really do care about each other."

"I know what you mean. It's like an extended family."

"That's what Clark said about it."

"Well, Lois. Great minds do think alike. Are you ready to go?"

"Yes." He scooped her and her suitcase up, and flew them to Smallville.

Martha was waiting on the porch. Before Superman flew away, Lois noticed Martha look at him in awe. She thought that the folks in Smallville probably didn't get to see Superman very often.

Superman flew off as Lois walked up the steps. He thought that his mom looked appropriately awed.

Martha thought that Clark looked great in his suit, even though he was unsure about it at first. "Hi, Lois. It is so good to see you." Martha hugged the younger woman who had so totally captured her son's heart.

"It's good to see you too. I'm really looking forward to spending a few days here."

Clark walked outside to greet his guest and he teased her, "Just think, Lois, a few hours ago you were dreading Christmas."

His arrival startled Lois. "Clark! I didn't realize you were here already."

"Superman brought me earlier. I wanted to be here when you arrived." He handed her a freshly baked homemade double chocolate brownie. It was a chocolate brownie with chocolate frosting, and it had chocolate chips in it. It was still warm.

Lois happily accepted the decadent treat. "Mmmm. I love these. Martha, do I taste two types of dark chocolate in the brownie, and a third in the frosting?"

Clark grinned. "I know you like them, Lois. That is why I told mom to make sure she made plenty of them."

"Lois, I do believe that you are the first person to guess that."

"Mom, Lois is the queen of all things chocolate. If there are three types of dark chocolate in the brownies, why do you call them double chocolate brownies?"

Lois laughed. "Duh, Clark. The brownies themselves have the two types of dark chocolate. The frosting is just a little something extra. Right, Martha?"

Martha looked at the two and smiled. "Lois, you do know your chocolate. I only use this frosting during the holidays. Why don't we go inside? Jonathan built a lovely fire before he went into town. He'll be back any minute, and I have some good old-fashioned eggnog ready for you."

Martha walked toward the front door, ahead of Lois and Clark. As soon as they crossed the threshold, she pointed to the doorframe. "Clark, Lois, look above you."

They looked up to see a fresh sprig of mistletoe above the door. Lois and Clark both blushed, not at the thought of kissing each other, but at the warm tingly-feeling that they each remembered from earlier that day.

"Mom!" "Martha!" they exclaimed at the same time.

"Come on, you two—it's tradition," Martha argued.

"It is a long-standing tradition, Lois," Clark told Lois hopefully.

"Yes, it is," Lois agreed.

They shared a brief, albeit sweet, tender kiss. As they pulled apart they each thought WOW, and they grinned at each other like teenagers!

Jonathan entered the house, clearing his throat.

"Hi, dad." "Hi, Jonathan," the two partners said at once. Martha exited the room under the guise of getting every one some eggnog.

Lois couldn't hear Martha's laughter in the kitchen, but Clark could. He knew that his mom really wanted Lois to fall for him, almost as much as he did. On one hand, he appreciated the matchmaking attempts, but on the other hand, he didn't want his mother doing everything for him.

"It's good to see you two again." Jonathan hugged his son, and then Lois.

"Clark, I hate that we need to leave so soon after your arrival, but we don't want to be late. Traffic will be bad tonight in Kansas City, so we'll stay overnight and get an early start in the morning. Tomorrow we'll all spend the day together. Are you ready, Martha?"

Martha walked back into the living room dressed for an evening out, and not for an evening by the fire at home. She handed cups of eggnog to both Lois and Clark. "I'm ready if you are, dear," she told Jonathan. They walked hand in hand to the front door. They shared a brief kiss under the mistletoe. "We'll see you two tomorrow." She then left with her husband to go see 'The Nutcracker.'

Lois watched them as they got into the truck and drove up the road. "I smell a set up." She grinned at Clark, who grinned back.

"I forgot that those tickets were for tonight, honest. I originally got them for us because I know that you like that ballet. When I found out that Lucy was going to come to spend a few days with you, I gave them to my parents. I haven't thought about it since."

"Clark, it's okay. We're two adults. It's not like we've never spent any time alone together. At least this time we don't have a megalomaniac sociopath after us."

"We could go into Smallville and catch a movie, if you like."

"Clark, your parents have a satellite that gets a thousand channels. I'm sure that we can find something to watch here. Also, unless you can suddenly fly, we don't have transportation."

Clark looked at her. "Huh?"

"Your parents took the truck to Kansas City. Remember?"

He grinned sheepishly. "Oh, yeah. I didn't think about that. I guess you're stuck with me, then."

"Clark, you are my best friend, and believe it or not, I actually enjoy spending time with you."

"I know, and I like to spend time with you, Lois. I hate that we rarely get to spend much time together, outside of work."

"Well, we are definitely outside of work now. Why don't you pick a movie, and I'll go find more of those brownies."

"Or, you can take your things upstairs to my room. By the time you get back, I'll have us a plate of those brownies. I know where my mom hides them. I'll also have something for us to watch."

"Clark, I'm not going to kick you out of your room; I'll sleep on the couch."

"You'll do no such thing. You are the guest. Mom would kill me if I let you sleep on the couch." In a teasing tone he added, wiggling his eyebrows, "Or, if you want, we could share the bed—it is a really big bed."

"CLARK KENT! What would your parents say?"

"Mom would say that it is about time, and dad would agree with her."

Laughing, Lois agreed. "You're probably right."

A few minutes later, Lois joined Clark in the living room. He was sitting on the couch. He had brownies and cream soda on the coffee table. The fire was still crackling in the fireplace, and there was a nativity scene on the mantle. Lois noticed family pictures on the end table by the television, and on the wall. She instantly felt comfortable, more at home than at her own home.

They spent the night talking, laughing, and watching cable. At 1:30 a.m., Lois began to yawn.

"Lois, it's getting pretty late. We're both tired. Why don't you go upstairs and go to bed? I'll see you in the morning."

"Okay, Clark. I do want to thank you again for letting me spend Christmas here. I had a good time tonight, and I really didn't want to be alone over the holidays."

He got up and walked with her to his room so he could change clothes and brush his teeth.

"I'm really glad you came, Lois. I didn't think you'd believe I was snowed in, which is what I was going to tell you." He smiled at her. "Give me five minutes, and the bathroom will be all yours." He brushed his teeth, and changed into a pair of black flannel sleep shorts, an old pair of shorts, the kind that are soft from repeated washings.

When he exited the bathroom, he noticed yet another sprig of mistletoe. "Lois, I wonder if there is any mistletoe in Smallville other than what is in this house." He leaned in and kissed her tenderly, not like he WANTED to kiss her, but in a way that was more than the friendly way he kissed her earlier.

When Lois pulled away, she smiled at him. "Goodnight, Clark."

Clark smiled back at her, happy that she seemed so happy. "Goodnight, Lois."

After she had brushed her teeth and changed into her pajamas, she reflected upon the day. "I'm actually spending three days in Smallville with Clark. Wow, those kisses! Maybe I should let him know that I do want to be more than 'just friends.' What does he want? He said that he didn't love me back in September, but I wonder if he still feels that way—those kisses, mmmmm." She fell asleep, thinking about the implications of dating her partner and best friend.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Clark had cleaned up the living room, and pulled out the sofa-bed. He, too, was pondering the day's events. "Wow! What a day. Lois is actually here, to be with me, and not on a story, and those kisses, mmmmm. Maybe I should tell her that I want to be more than her 'best friend.' She told me that she loves me like a friend. But after today, who knows?"

In the morning, Clark woke up early. He pushed the bed back into the couch. He took a shower in the downstairs bathroom at super speed, and cooked an old-fashioned country breakfast. The smells of fresh coffee, bacon, and Belgian waffles woke Lois from a very good dream.

Lois thought out loud, "After a dream like that, Clark and I really need to talk." She brushed her teeth, and put her hair into a ponytail. She then joined Clark downstairs for breakfast. When she walked into the kitchen, what she saw stopped her. Just like in her dream, Clark was wearing a pair of black flannel sleep shorts, and a smile.

Clark greeted her cheerfully. "Good morning, Lois."

Lois smiled at the very handsome man in front of her. "Yes, it is a very good morning. It's my day off, and I'm up and going before eight o'clock. It must be something about being in the country that helped me sleep so well."

Clark, in a teasing voice, asked, "Coffee, tea, or me?" as he handed her a cup of coffee, fixed just the way she liked it.

"You mean I have to choose? It is Christmas Eve, you know." Lois knew that she could tease with the best of them. She may have been quite bold in her dream, but in the light of day, she wanted to keep things light. At least for now.

Clark decided that he did not want to carry the tease any further, so he just smiled as she enjoyed that first sip of morning rejuvenation. "Lois, Mom and Dad will probably be in shortly." He heard the car come up the road, so he knew that they would be there quite soon. "I thought after breakfast, we could all go pick out the tree. Then we could eat lunch in town. I need to pick up a few last minute items anyway."

"Me too, Clark. By the way, do you have any suggestions on what I can get your parents?"

"Lois, you don't need to get them anything."

"I know, but I want to. I already got them a Christmas gift, but it is not very personal. I would like to get them something special to thank them for their hospitality, and I think that I should get them something nicer. After all, it is Christmas, and they are always so good to me. I never really had a family Christmas as a kid. Even before my parents got divorced, dad would work all day, and mother would complain."

"Lois, I'm sure we can find something. You are going to have that wonderful Christmas this year. I guarantee it. Now, how many waffles do you want?"

"Two, with powdered sugar, please." She smiled at him.

He returned the smile, and because he was staring at her, staring at him, the bacon began to smoke a bit. He turned back to his cooking. As he did this, she admired his fine masculine physique. Her eyes drifted to where his boxers clung to his taught, well muscled, rear end. 'Now that's what I want for Christmas,' Lois said to herself. As soon as her brain registered that thought, she shook her head. 'No, it can't be. Can it?' Right then, voices coming from the living room interrupted her thoughts.

"Martha, Jonathan. How did you two like the ballet?" Martha and Jonathan entered the kitchen dressed casually in jeans. Martha was wearing a bright red and green sweater with 'Merry Christmas' written on it. Jonathan was wearing a bright flannel shirt.

"Lois, it was wonderful. Clark, thanks again for the tickets. The weather was clear, and we got an early start. That way, we were able to beat all of the Christmas Eve traffic. We had a marvelous time," Martha said as she hugged her son and Lois hello. "I see that you have breakfast almost ready." The smell of slightly overdone bacon hit her nose. "Lois, did you help cook breakfast?"

"I've only been up for three minutes. Clark here deserves all the credit. He loves to eat big country breakfasts. Personally, I don't know how he does it, or where he puts it. I guess you can take the boy off of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy."

Martha laughed. "I know. We got up early this morning, even though we could have slept a bit later. But, we wanted to get back here to see you two."

Jonathan smiled at his wife. "She felt a bit guilty about leaving right after you two got here last night."

Clark saw the conspiratorial look passing between his parents. "Breakfast is ready. Why don't you put your suitcases in your room, and I'll have it on the table by the time you get back."

Martha and Jonathan walked upstairs, and Clark set the table. "Lois, I think Mom and Dad stayed overnight to give us some privacy. Did you see the way they looked at each other just now?"

Lois took a deep breath, and then released it. 'Okay, Lane. Just spill it,' Lois told herself. "Clark, I'm an investigative journalist, of course I know what they are doing. I think it is sweet that they want us to be happy. I just wish I knew what you want."

"What do you mean, Lois?"

"I mean one minute you are attentive and caring, and then, poof, you disappear. We haven't had more than a handful of uninterrupted conversations since we met. After I told you that Lex proposed, you told me that you loved me. Then, you took it back. You said that you just wanted us to be friends. Then, last night, you kissed me in a way that was more than just very friendly. Clark, what do you want?"

"Lois, I know what I want. I'm looking at it." He reached up and caressed her cheek. "I want to be with you, as more than just 'best friends'. I also don't want to lose what we have. Tell me what you want, Lois."

"This." She closed the distance between them and kissed him passionately. She backed slightly away, and stared into his eyes. "Clark, if you are going to run away, tell me now."

"Lois, I'm not running anywhere, unless it's with you." He kissed her again, pulling back when he heard his parents coming down the creaky steps. "We'll definitely continue this conversation."

True to his word, breakfast was on the table when Martha and Jonathan came back to the kitchen.

"Mmm. This is delicious, son," Jonathan complimented Clark as Martha watched Lois and Clark glance at each other.

"Yes, dear, they're just right." Martha thought that both the waffles and the young couple in front of her were sweet.

Martha decided that she needed to talk to Lois. She knew that the young woman liked her son, but did Lois know that yet? "Lois, I have a few last-minute things I need to pick up in town. How would you like to join me?"

Lois smiled at her best friend's mother. "That sounds great Martha. Clark and I were just talking about going into town after getting the tree. Maybe we should go shopping first."

Martha thought quickly. "Sounds great. Clark, your father could really use your help on a few things around the farm. Why don't you two meet us at Maise's for a late lunch. Say around 12:30?"

Never able to say no to his mom, but wanting to spend time with Lois, without parental supervision, Clark agreed. "Sure, Mom. Twelve-thirty it is. But, before we leave town, I'll need Lois's help with something."

Martha got up and took her now empty plate to the sink. "I'm sure you will."

As they shopped in the Men's section at Belks, Martha noticed how much Lois talked about Clark. When Martha looked at getting a new pair of jeans for Jonathan, Lois remarked that Clark has a "really great pair of black jeans." When Martha tried on a charcoal gray sweater, Lois mentioned that "Clark looks REALLY good in charcoal gray."

"So, Lois. How are things going between you and Clark? I mean REALLY going?" Martha paid for her purchases, and then she and Lois walked toward Maise's diner, a two-block walk from the department store.

"Honestly, Martha, I have no idea. He told me last spring, after Lex proposed, that he loved me. When I was about to tell him that he was more than just a friend, he took it back. This morning he told me that he wants to be more than best friends. I don't think I could take it if he changed his mind again. I do know that when he kissed me this morning, I felt something that I've never felt before."

"Oh, honey. You need to tell him how you feel. He values your friendship above all else. He would never do anything to jeopardize that. I'm sure that Clark felt that you needed a friend at the time, and that you did not want to be rushed into another relationship. It is obvious that you care a great deal more about him than you let on."

"It is?"

"Yes, dear. It is. 'Clark has a great pair of black jeans. Clark looks REALLY good in gray.' Every time we saw something new, you mentioned his name. You've got it bad, honey." Martha grinned.

"Martha, I do love Clark. There, I said it. That felt good. I LOVE Clark Kent." She smiled like she just found out that she won the Metropolis Power Ball lottery.

Martha told Lois stories of Clark's childhood as they walked down the street and entered the diner.

Clark and Jonathan entered the diner at this point. He talked quietly so that he was not overheard. "Dad, it's a wonder that we were able to land and not one person seemed to notice us. It's almost as if everyone in town is lost in their own world."

The women did not see the men as they approached the back booth where they were sitting.

"Lois, tell him that you love him. Tie him down if you have to."

"Tie whom down, Mom?" Clark inquired, totally unable to wipe a huge smile off of his face.

"Nothing, Clark. It's just girl talk," Lois told him. Since her back was to her son, Martha winked at Lois, causing them to both break out in a fit of giggles.

Martha had an idea. She stood up and mentioned that she had to talk to Maise about something. She winked at Jonathan. He kissed her on the cheek as she passed him.

When Martha returned, they all enjoyed a quick sandwich. After lunch, Martha asked Jonathan to accompany her on her last errand. "Lois, Clark, I just remembered that I had one last errand that I need to run. Can we meet the two of you back here in an hour?"

"Uh, okay," Clark told his mother as he looked at her with curiosity. "Lois and I had a few things to do anyway."

As the four of them left the diner, Martha pointed out a freshly hung sprig of mistletoe above the door. Lois looked to Clark, almost expectantly. He didn't disappoint her. He pulled her to him and kissed her passionately on the lips. Lois wondered what had come over Clark, but she did not question it. Instead she deepened the kiss, and their tongues engaged in a game of tag.

The diner, pretty much empty at this point, was forgotten momentarily as the partners enjoyed a new aspect of their relationship.

After they separated, Martha exclaimed, "It's about time you two kissed like you meant it."

Lois and Clark's eyes locked and they smiled. For a moment they saw only each other. As they realized that Martha and Jonathan were talking to them, they forced their attention to the older couple.

Clark looked apologetically at Martha. "I'm sorry, Mom. I didn't hear you. What did you say?"

Martha rolled her eyes at her son. "Clark, you've heard everything else I've ever said to you. Never mind. We'll be back in an hour. Okay?"

"Okay," Lois and Clark said simultaneously.

The two couples went their own way.

After they were out of earshot, Martha told Jonathan that she had Maise plant the mistletoe where Clark and Lois would have to go. Jonathan chuckled at his wife's matchmaking.

"Let me guess," he said. "There are no last-minute errands."

"You know me so well, Mr. Kent."

"I hope so, Mrs. Kent. We have been together for thirty-five Christmases now. "

"Actually, I do need to pick up the item I ordered for Lois. I knew this would be the right thing to get her."

While Jonathan and Martha strolled down Main street looking at all of the decorations and reminiscing about past holiday seasons, Lois and Clark walked into Mr. Jones' ice cream parlor. When their banana split arrived, they started to talk at once, as they pushed the dessert around the plate with their spoons.



They each took a deep breath, then, "Me first," they said at the same time.

"Clark," Lois began, "I need to tell you something."

"*I* need to tell you something."

"No, Clark. I'm going first this time. You have always been there for me when I needed someone the most. Your unconditional support has been a pillar of strength when I felt weak. You are my best friend, and I love you for it—"

Clark thought that Lois was about to give him the "we can still be friends speech," so he tried to stop her by starting to stand up. "Lois, I don't want to hear you say that you only love me as a friend, okay? I think that you made that perfectly clear a few months ago."

"Clark, listen. I'm trying to tell you something."

"No, Lois. Don't." He looked at her as though she had just slapped him.

Lois, unsure of what happened, but sure that he was off base regardless, took a deep breath. "Clark, damn it! You are going to stay in this booth right here, and listen. You are not going to run off to return a library book, or get your teeth cleaned. You will, however, finish this conversation." She pulled him back down to the booth. "Clark, I have been thinking about us a lot lately. Today, when I was talking with Martha, I realized something. Something I've known subconsciously for a while now. I love you. Not just as a friend, either. I really do love you. I'm IN love with you."

That said, Lois took a deep breath. However, that breath was short lived as Clark hugged her to him and kissed her like he has never kissed anyone before.

"Wow!" they both said, and then they laughed.

"Now, Clark. What did you want to say?"

"I was going to say the same thing. Then I thought that you were going to give me the same response that you gave me that day in the park. We had just sat on the bench, kinda like we are sitting in this booth right now. I don't think that I could take hearing that from you again. I had just told you I loved you, and you rejected me. You rejected me for not one, but two different men. You told me to contact Superman for you."

Lois remembered that horrible day last spring, and appeared appropriately contrite. "Clark, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that it sounded like that. You know, I guess we are even."


"Yes, even. That day outside the Planet, I wanted to tell you that I felt more than friendship towards you. Then, you took back what you had said earlier. That hurt, Clark. It hurt a lot."

"Oh, Lois. I wish I had known. If it makes you feel any better, I had my fingers crossed the whole time. I have loved you from the moment you stormed into Perry's office during my interview. I never stopped loving you."

She needed to say something. He had his fingers crossed? What was this, elementary school? "Clark, do you realize that because you lied that day, we have both missed out on what we really want? If you want to play the 'but I crossed my fingers' game like an eight year old, then you don't get to play the same games as a twenty-eight year old. Understand?"

"Tell me about these twenty-eight year old games."

"Well, they take place long after naughty eight year olds are in bed, asleep."

"In that case, I'm glad I'm twenty-eight." He grinned a lopsided grin at her.

"Oh, Clark." She kissed him. He fed her a mouthful of ice cream, and then licked the residue off her lips.

"Clark, I still need to get something for your parents. Do you have any suggestions?"

He picked up her hand, and he laced his fingers through hers. "Actually, how about if we get them something from both of us?"

"That's a great idea, but what?"

"My dad was saying how much he would like to take a long vacation this year. With the farm, week long vacations are few and far between. Would you be willing to spend your vacation this July helping me on the farm this year so that they can have a full week off? They've always wanted to really get away, and this would give them that opportunity. By then, the crops will be in the ground. We'll just have to maintain them. We do have a hot tub, so it won't all be work."

"Clark, that is the nicest, most unselfish thing I have ever heard. I'd love to do it. Why don't we get them a few of those disposable cameras, and a photo album? Then we can go to Hallmark and design a card that tells them what we are going to do."

"That sounds like a plan to me. Lois, are you sure? It will be a lot of work, you know."

"Yes, I know. I'll also have a very good-looking farmboy to help me out. Clark, did you ever go skinny dipping in the lake?"



"Yes, but I've never been in it with you."

They walked from store to store happily discussing their plan. Neither of them noticed the knowing looks that all of the long-time residents gave them. After an hour, they met back at the diner. Clark and Lois got there before Martha and Jonathan. They had the present for the older couple wrapped and tucked neatly in a shopping bag. When Martha and Jonathan returned, a couple of minutes late, Lois and Clark were under the mistletoe, kissing.

Jonathan squeezed his wife's hand as he looked at the younger couple. "Martha, I think you've created a monster. If I didn't see the bag in Clark's hand, I'd swear they never moved. I'd like to talk with our son before he leaves in a couple of days, assuming he can tear himself away from Lois long enough to carry on a conversation."

Martha noticed how Clark seemed to be tuning them out, so she teased her husband. "Jonathan, they are young and in love. I remember how you were when we first got together. Besides, he's wanted Lois to notice him for a year and a half. I guess he got what he wanted for Christmas this year."

"You're right, dear. However, we do need to get going. The Christmas tree isn't going to cut itself down, you know."

Lois and Clark came up for oxygen, and realized for the first time that they were not alone. They were usually the first to notice every detail, no matter how small. However, this time they were too busy exploring their new relationship to become completely focused on anything besides each other.

Lois was the first to recover her voice. "Hi, you two. Are you ready to go? I'm so excited about picking out a tree. I've never actually seen one being cut down before."

Clark grinned at his girlfriend, and then at his parents. "Mom, Dad, you'd never believe that this is the same person who ranks Christmas on the same level as Arbor Day."

Lois poked him. "Hey, trees play a major role in both."

The four of them laughed as they walked toward the truck. Lois pondered that the Kents only had one vehicle, but decided that Clark and Jonathan must have caught a ride with someone, probably their neighbor, Mr. Irig. They all piled into the truck's extended cab and headed towards the farm to pick out a tree.

Later that evening, after they were almost finished decorating the tree, Martha pulled out a small box and placed it on the fireplace hearth before she went into the other room for a moment. Lois's curiosity won out over her manners. She walked over to Clark, and put her arms around his neck. She whispered softly into his ear, "Clark, what's in the box?"

"It's a family tradition, you'll see." He then kissed her lightly on the lips. "I have a surprise for you."

"A surprise? For me?"

"No, Lois. It's for Lucy," he told her with a hint of sarcasm. With a smile he said, "Of course it's for you."

Her eyes lit up like the Christmas tree behind her. He called to the other room. "Mom, are you ready?"

Martha came back into the living room with a small box. "Lois, this is for you, from all of us."

She accepted the box from Martha with a smile. "Thank you, everyone." She opened it up to find a beautiful, hand-blown crystal ornament engraved with her name and the year. She held it up to the light to examine it more closely. "This is gorgeous! I'll treasure it always." She hugged Martha, then Jonathan, then lastly, Clark. She lingered with Clark for a moment, before Martha explained this tradition. Martha carefully picked up the box from the hearth as she began her explanation.

"You see, Lois, every year we put our own ornaments on the tree last. There is one for every member of the family."

She passed Jonathan their ornament. "Jonathan's and mine from our first Christmas together thirty-five years ago," and she kissed him lightly on the lips. He hung the beautiful object with 'Jonathan and Martha, Our First Christmas' inscribed on it, on the tree. He smiled at his wife, and he recalled the day he bought the ornament.

"Martha, I always knew that I would spend the rest of my life with you. I thought that our first Christmas together deserved something special that would always remind us of that time." Jonathan walked back to Martha, and gave her a hug and a kiss.

Then, Martha handed Clark his ornament. Like the other two, it was crystal. Its inscription read 'Clark Kent, Christmas 1966.' "Clark's is from his first Christmas," she said, kissing her son the cheek.

He hung it on the tree below his parents' ornament. "I've always loved this ornament. It is similar to other crystal ornaments, but it's unique too."

"Lois, now you hang yours."

Lois walked over to the tree and hung her ornament next to Clark's. Lois wiped the tears of joy out of her eyes. "Oh, Martha." She went over to hug this woman who was as much of a mother to her as her own mom. "This is the best present anyone has ever given me. No wonder Clark loves this season so much. He has a wonderful family with whom he can share it."

Clark walked over to Lois, and put his arms around her. "Now you do too, Lois."

She turned in his arms and kissed him tenderly. He whispered, "I love you."

She smiled back at him and whispered, "I love you too."

Jonathan put on some Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra Christmas music. They put the festively-wrapped presents under the tree. Afterwards, the two couples danced for a while. As the evening deepened, Martha and Jonathan became sleepy.

Martha yawned, and then exclaimed, "As much as we'd like to stay up a bit later, we are getting tired. We'll see you two in the morning. Good night."

"Good night, Martha, good night, Jonathan."

"Good night, Mom, good night, Dad."

The two older Kents went upstairs to bed, leaving the younger couple alone. Lois grinned at Clark and asked, "So, do you want to join me upstairs?"

Clark grinned back. "More than you know, honey. However, I think we should take things slow."

Lois, surprised, asked, "What did you say?"

"That I think we should—"

"No, before that. You called me 'honey.' No one has ever called me that. Surprisingly enough, I like it."

"Good. If you like it, I'll use it."

"There is something else that I like."

"What's that?"

"This." She closed the distance between them and kissed him tenderly. "Exactly how slow do you want to go, Clark?" she teased.

"Lois, some things are definitely worth the wait and should not be done at super speed."

Lois sighed. "Clark, you aren't jealous of my old crush on Superman, are you?" She noticed him grimace slightly. "You are. Well, let me tell you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Yes, I've always been attracted to Superman. Yes, I was even a little bit in love with him; I guess I always will be to some extent. Clark, I have never felt anything for anyone, even remotely like what I feel for you."

"Lois, I need to tell you something. You need to promise me, though, that you'll listen to me, and let me explain."

"Clark, I love you. You can tell me anything. You know that." She looked deeply into his eyes, and she saw her own sincerity reflected back to her. "What I'm about to tell you, I've never told a soul. As far as I know, only my parents know this, and it must remain a secret. I trust you, Lois. This is a dangerous secret, but you deserve to know this before we take our relationship any farther."

"Clark, you're scaring me. You aren't a spy or anything, are you?"

"No, Lois. I'm not a spy. I'm Superman." He looked into her eyes, waiting for the inevitable explosion.

"Funny, Kent. Seriously, what is it?" She considered his expression, and stood a bit in awe as she watched him.

He took off his glasses, and ran his hands through his hair, combing it off of his face. "Look closely, Lois."

"You are Superman!" She began pacing back and forth a few times. Suddenly, she stopped and faced him. "Clark, how could you keep this from me? I thought I was your best friend! I thought you loved me! How could you keep this from me?" She dropped her glance away momentarily, before returning her focus to his eyes. "I thought you trusted me."

"Lois, I do love you. I love you with every fiber of my being, so much that it hurts sometimes." He put his hands on her shoulders, and rubbed them gently. "You are my best friend. I did not tell you sooner, because knowing puts you at risk. Lois, on a regular basis, you are shot at, kidnapped, and lowered into vats of flesh-eating acid. If a criminal found out about me, you would become an even greater target."

"Yeah, and those are the good weeks. You have a point. It makes sense. It's even thoughtful. It explains all of the bad excuses, and the running off. However, you talked to me as though you were two different people. I told you things about your other persona that I wouldn't have said had I known. Oh, God, Clark. You must have been hurt terribly when I rejected you, and then threw myself at Superman. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay, Lois. If I had not led you on as Superman on occasion, then I wouldn't have been in that predicament in the first place."

"Yes, Clark. Why did you treat me like I was someone special sometimes, and then ignore me at others? That hurt, a lot."

"I wanted to be with you. You seemed to like the super hero a lot, but you could barely stand the 'hack from nowheresville.'"

She looked deeply into his chocolate-colored eyes. "Clark, I'm so sorry. I know that I should probably be furious with you, and break something, a lot of somethings. I can't, though. You are my best friend, and I hurt you. No wonder you didn't tell me. I didn't believe you when you tried to warn me about Lex, so of course, you wouldn't have wanted me to know this then." She hugged him tightly, as though he were a lifeline in a stormy sea.

"Lois, how would you like to go on a midnight flight? The stars are bright tonight, and I've always wanted to show them to you above the clouds, where we could get a better view."

"I'd love to, Clark. What did I ever do to deserve you?"

"That's funny. I was going to ask you the same thing."

He spun into Superman, as Lois watched, awestruck. "Wow, Clark. That was pretty amazing."

Clark caressed her cheek with the palm of his hand. "Lois, you are pretty amazing." She grabbed her coat, and the two of them went outside. Clark lifted Lois into his arms.

As they ascended to the stars, Lois whispered, "I've flown with you dozens of times before, yet it seems like this is the first time."

"Well, Lois, in a way it is the first time. It is the first time that you know me for who I really am, and how I really feel."

They drifted along the cloudless sky for a while in a companionable silence, relishing in the nearness of the other. Finally, Lois spoke up. "Clark, you've given me all I really want for Christmas by being here for me."

"Lois, that is precisely what I was thinking." He kissed her lightly, then continued. "As much as I'd like to stay up here with you all night, we'd better get back.

"You're right. I guess I just don't want the day to end."

They flew back down to the farmhouse. When they arrived, they walked back into the family room, and he spun back into his Clark clothes. Then, they sat side-by-side in front of the tree.

"Clark, this has definitely been the best Christmas I have ever had. I want to thank you for that."

"Mine too, honey. When you told me that you loved me, for me, and not my powers, I felt as though I finally belonged. For years I have always felt like an outsider, just slightly different, just slightly out of place, alone."

"Clark, you don't need to feel like that ever again. You are not alone any more, and you certainly belong." She hugged him and unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn.

Clark spoke softly in her ear as he held her. "Lois, it's late. It's been a wonderful, but long day. Why don't you go upstairs to bed. I'll see you in the morning. Okay?"

"Okay, Clark. Under one condition."

"What's that, honey?"

She smiled at the endearment. "That you carry me. I think I might just be too tired to walk up the stairs."

"I think I can do that." He scooped her into his arms, and carried her to his old bedroom. He then set her gently down by the door, and kissed her goodnight. "Door-to-door service."

"Mmm. Good night, Clark. I love you."

"Good night, Lois. I love you too." He kissed her one last time, and then went downstairs. After a brief errand, he went to bed, as well. They both slept better than they had in a long time.

Christmas morning dawned clear and cold in Smallville, Kansas. Martha and Jonathan awoke early, and started the traditional Kent Christmas breakfast. As they passed through the living room in route to the kitchen, they noticed their son floating about six inches above the couch with a smile on his face as they walked into the kitchen.

"Jonathan, he looks more peaceful than I think I've ever seen him."

"He sure does, Martha. I think we'd better wake him up before Lois comes down, though. I don't think that she's ready to see him sleep floating just yet."

"Don't worry, dear. Clark usually gets up pretty early, and Lois may enjoy being able to sleep in. It is her vacation, after all."

Meanwhile, upstairs, Lois started to stir. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee beckoned her awake. She opened her eyes and smiled. She tiptoed out of bed, not wanting to disturb the peaceful quiet of the morning. She put on her robe and slippers and started downstairs.

At the same time downstairs, Clark opened his eyes. The memories of the previous day come back to him and he smiled. He floated down to the couch and sat up. He contemplated waking up Lois, when he felt two arms wrap around his neck.

"Merry Christmas, Lois." He turned around and kissed her firmly.

"And a very Merry Christmas to you too, Clark. I do need to tell you something."

"What's that?" he asked, a bit concerned.

"You look really good in this outfit. You should wear it more often."

Clark looked down and only saw an old pair of black sleep shorts. "Huh?"

"I admired these shorts on you yesterday. Black is a good color for you, and they do show off your physique quite well." She kissed his shoulder and neck, while she ran her hands up his side, and then down his back.

They walked into the kitchen and joined Martha and Jonathan for breakfast. Martha saw the two walk arm in arm into the kitchen. "Merry Christmas, you two! We didn't expect you to be up for at least another hour."

Clark smiled at Lois, who smiled back. Lois spoke up first. "Merry Christmas. We only have two more days of vacation, so we didn't want to waste the time sleeping."

Martha and Jonathan looked at each other and wondered if Lois knew yet. Jonathan poured a cup of coffee for Clark and handed it to him. "Son, it's mighty chilly this morning. I bet you'd really love a hot cup of coffee."

Clark understood what his dad was trying to say, so he replied with a grin. "Thanks, Dad. But, you know that the cold doesn't bother me."

"Okay, son. Lois, how do you like your coffee?"

Before she could reply, Clark answered for her. "Nonfat creamer, artificial sweetener, extra caffeine."

Lois smiled at Clark. "He knows me too well, Jonathan." Jonathan handed her a cup, which she gratefully accepted. "Thanks, Jonathan."

The four sat down to a breakfast of Martha's special pancakes. "These are delicious, Martha!"

Clark explained, "It's another Kent family tradition, honey. We have a big pancake breakfast, then we go into the living room and open the gifts."

Lois smiled at him. She got a pleasant shock at being called 'honey' in front of his parents, and on being included in these family traditions. Martha and Jonathan did not miss the term of endearment, and they smiled warmly at the young couple.

"Mom, Dad, would you excuse Lois and me for a minute?" His parents nodded at him, and he led Lois into the living room. "Lois, I don't want to rush you, and I know that this is fast, but I feel like Harry in 'When Harry Met Sally.' He said when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want to start the rest of your life right away. That is exactly how I feel about you. Would you possibly consider marrying me? You don't have to say yes right away, but would you at least think about it?"

"No. No, I don't need to think about it."

Clark's expression of hope fell into one of disappointment. "I'm sorry. I knew that this was too fast."

"No, Clark. I don't need to think about it. I would love to marry you. I know that I love you, and that you love me. The rest is just details. Now shut up and kiss me." Clark pulled his fiancee to him and kissed her in a way that left them both gasping for air when they finally pulled apart minutes later. Clark zipped over to the table by the couch, where he left his things the night before, and then zipped back to Lois. He slipped a beautiful ring on her finger, and they shared another long and intense kiss.

"Lois, we'd better go back to the kitchen before Mom and Dad come looking for us."

"Okay, if we must."

"We must. Lois, we do need to eat breakfast. Besides, Mom loves weddings. She will be able to help with the plans after breakfast. We do need to decide on the date."

"How about this summer, right before your parents leave? We can do it here. If it's here, Mother won't feel quite as controlling. Naah."

"Honey, that sounds great. But, do you really want to spend your honeymoon working on a farm?"

"Well, how about a week before they leave? That will give us some time alone. Besides, we can have Superman help with some of the work, giving us a bit more free time."

"That sounds perfect."

They walked into the kitchen. Clark cleared his throat to get his parents' attention. "We have an announcement to make." Lois held up her hand. "We're getting married."

Martha and Jonathan hugged both Lois and Clark and congratulated them.

Breakfast conversation revolved around talk of the upcoming wedding. After breakfast, the four walked into the room with steaming mugs of hot chocolate. They began to unwrap all of the gifts. When Martha and Jonathan got to the last two presents, they reached for the one from Lois first.

"Wait!" Martha and Jonathan looked at Lois, wondering why she would tell them to wait. "I want you to open the one from Clark and me together, first." Clark looked at her quizzically, because she never told him what she got for them, only that she wanted to get them something more. Martha and Jonathan opened the gift. They read the card, which told them that they were going on a vacation away from the farm this summer. The card also said that Lois and Clark would take one of their vacation weeks then, and fill in for them. They delightedly looked through the basket filled with two disposable cameras, a picture album, sun block, travel sized toothbrushes, and other goodies.

Martha got up and hugged first Clark, and then Lois. "You guys didn't need to do all this. We love it. Thank you."

Jonathan, smiling at his son and Lois, reached over to hug them both. "This is the most thoughtful gift you've ever given us, son. You are the best kids that we could have ever wanted. Thank you. Lois, welcome to the family."

"Thank you, Jonathan. You and Martha have always treated me so well, and I really appreciate that. Now, you can open my gift to you. It is more of a thank you for your hospitality gift, but it goes with the other one."

Martha opened the little box wrapped in bright red paper. She looked inside and saw a credit card-sized item with little Supermen flying around on it.

"I know that you two call Clark a lot, so I thought that I would pick up the tab for a few hours. After we decided to send you on a vacation, I figured that you could call us from anywhere, without having to worry about having change. The little Supermen were so cute. I thought that it was just a Metropolis thing when I bought it, but now, I guess it is even more appropriate."

Martha hugged her future daughter-in-law. "Lois, it's perfect." They relaxed by the tree, enjoying the Christmas music on the radio, Christmas candy, and being with each other.

That night, snow started to fall. When the older couple went up to bed, they pointed out that the snow was really coming down pretty hard. Lois and Clark sat by the fire, with their arms wrapped around each other, kissing. As they started to get a bit carried away, they didn't notice the radio turn off. Their focus was only on each other, until Clark pulled away.

"Lois, if we don't stop now, I don't think I'll be able to."

Lois looked into his passion-filled eyes, even more sexy than usual in the firelight. "Do you really want to stop? Clark, I would love nothing more than to make you as happy as you've made me today. I want to show you how much I love you." She closed the distance between them and kissed him lightly. "Clark, do you want to stop? After all, 'slow' is subjective."

"No, honey, I don't. However, I don't want to rush you, and my parents' room is next to mine."

"Clark, they went upstairs an hour ago. I'm sure they are asleep. If they aren't, they certainly won't be listening in on us."

"LOIS! That is not an image that I want in my head. It's bad enough knowing that they do certain things, without having my fiancee give me a play by play. There is not that much counseling in the entire state of Kansas."

"Clark, forget about your parents. I hope we are still that close when we are their age."

"You mean this close?" He leaned forward and kissed her deeply.

"Clark," Lois began to kiss his neck every few words. "Take me" (kiss) "upstairs," (kiss) "and" (kiss) "make love" (kiss) "to me."

Clark scooped Lois into his arms and did as he was told.

The next morning, Jonathan and Martha awoke and reached over to turn on their lamps, but they didn't work. "Well, Martha, it looks like we've lost power. I'll get the generator cranked up."

"Okay, dear. I'll go down and wake up Clark. He can survey the area and find out how many homes lost electricity. It's rough to be without power over the holidays, and I know that some of the people who may be visiting are not used to roughing it."

Martha walked down to the living room, but Clark was not there. Jonathan walked into the room to ask his son a question and noticed the same thing. Jonathan suggested to Martha that Clark probably had to leave. "He probably had to go be Superman and didn't have time to write a note."

"He didn't have time to write a note, but he had time to make up the couch? I don't think so." Martha grinned and walked up to Clark's room. She knocked on the door, but no one answered. She opened the door to find her son floating six inches above the bed, with Lois laying on top of him, and the down comforter draped over them both. She smiled at the young lovers and walked out of the room.

"Jonathan, I don't think that Clark will want to patrol Smallville this morning. He is floating, and he's taken Lois with him."

"I thought that he only sleep floats when he is extremely tired."

"Exactly. That, or extremely happy."

"Or both," Jonathan agreed with a grin. "It appears that my boy has really found his place. I guess he really did get what he wanted most this year. On Christmas Eve, while you and Lois were shopping, we had a long talk."

"About what?"

"Martha, he's the strongest man in the world, but he can also be quite timid. He's waited for the right woman. Well, he had concerns about losing control and accidentally hurting Lois." He grinned at his wife. "I guess that's a moot point now."

An hour later, Lois woke up in the warm embrace of her fiance. Clark had since lowered them both back to the bed. She snuggled even closer to Clark. Clark, feeling her move in his arms, woke up. He looked at his fiancee, and kissed her forehead. He whispered softly in her ear. "Good morning."

Lois, now ready to face the day, looked into his warm, chocolate-brown eyes. "Good morning to you, too." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "Clark, I guess we'd better get up. I'm sure your parents have figured out by now that you are not in the living room."

Clark grinned. "Yeah, and I'm sure that they are quite happy for us. They have never let me stay in bed this long, and I can hear them talking downstairs."

"About us?"

"Yep. Mom keeps saying 'finally,' and dad keeps saying 'now, Martha.' It's really cute. The radio said that the power is out all over Smallville. I guess if they've gotten out the battery-powered radio, they'll be cranking up the generator as well. We should be getting up."

They both threw on sweats, but neither was able to wipe the tell-tale grins off their faces. They walked downstairs. Jonathan looked up, and was the first to see them.

"Good morning, you two. I've got the generator going now, so at least we have power."

Martha smiled at the couple before her. "I'm glad you two decided to make an appearance."

Clark heard a cry for help. Lois noticed that Clark looked distracted. "Clark, what's wrong? You have that look on your face like you get when you remember that you suddenly have to return a video."

Clark half smiled at Lois, then frowned. "Honey, I heard a car crash. It might be ten, fifteen miles up the road. I'll be back."

"That look, that look that I've seen a hundred times. Now it makes sense. Go, Clark. We'll be here when you get back."

"Okay, and Lois, I love you." He leaned in to kiss her briefly, a mere whisper of a kiss.

"I love you too. Now go."

He dashed out of the room, and returned as Superman. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared through the back door.

Lois, in awe, looked to Jonathan and Martha. "Do you ever get used to that?"

An hour later, Clark returned. "The accident was no big deal. A car slid off the road and into a tree, but no one got hurt. Ice-covered trees had knocked down power lines all over town. Superman managed to clear the debris, but it will take the power company the rest of the day to restore power to everyone."

Lois walked over to Clark, and hugged him. "I'm sure everyone appreciates Superman's help."

"You know, now that you mention it, everyone did seem more friendly than a lot of the people I've helped in Metropolis this winter. They all said thank you, offered me cookies, and told me that I should be spending the day with my family. Some of them told me thanks, but that they could handle it because this wasn't a real emergency. It's almost like they knew I would rather be here. I'm not used to people thinking of Superman as having a family."

Martha handed him a cup of hot chocolate. "I'm glad you are back. We only have one more day together before you two go back to Metropolis."

Lois looked at him, and smiled. "I know I'm glad to have my fiance back." The four sat down to a lunch of leftovers. After every one ate, and they'd done the dishes, they played Monopoly and enjoyed each other's company. The next day, Lois and Clark flew back to Metropolis.


Only the beginning…