Tis the Sidewalk Season

By Santa Tank <TankW1@aol.com>

Rated G

Uploaded December 2000 (written Dec. 1999; submitted July 2000)

Summary: It's Christmas Eve, and Lois and Clark's old friend Mike is there to make sure each of their loved ones has the Christmas spirit.

Author's note: Last Christmas season I made the mistake of writing several little Christmas vignettes for Zoomway's message boards. After I'd written and posted four of them, some of the gentle readers decided that I should logically write 12 stories, for the 12 days of Christmas, as it were. Of course, not being insane, I came up with a way out… this story. This tale is actually 8 small stories all wrapped up in a single framing sequence. The denizens of the board accepted it, as I hope you will also.

All characters are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective owners. All comments and feedback welcomed at TankW1@aol.com


Christmas Eve dawned bright and crisp. The newly risen sun did little to moderate the chill of the previous evening, but the air seemed to sparkle in the sun's rays. A thin blanket of clean, new snow and the gaily colored decorations on every shop and street corner completed the picture book scene of the impending holiday.

The pedestrian traffic was just beginning to get under way and sidewalk Santas everywhere were setting up shop for one last day of forced good cheer and charitable begging, except for one particular Santa. He seemed to be a person who genuinely embraced the brotherhood and good will towards all that was supposed to mark the season. He'd also been set up at his spot since before dawn. He hadn't waited. He didn't want to run the risk of not getting his desired spot: the location directly in front of the Daily Planet, Metropolis' greatest newspaper.

With a few last minute adjustments to his suit, and a final polish of his kettle, a smile of satisfaction spread across his already cheery face as he picked up his bell and made ready for the day.


Perry White blew on his unprotected hands in a futile effort to try and warm them, at least, just a little. He wanted to get to the Planet early. He knew that, even though the holiday party didn't start until this afternoon, he wouldn't get much work out of his charges this day. That was why he wanted to get in especially early, so that at least someone would get some work done today.

As Perry approached the Planet building he was mildly confused by the sound of a ringing bell. Funny, he thought to himself, that sidewalk Santa wasn't there yesterday? Perry shrugged once and reached into his pocket. He would have to pass right by the fellow and Perry would feel awkward if he didn't drop something into the pot as he went past. Perry stuffed the folded bill into Santa's kettle as he brushed by, heading for the front doors of his home away from home.

"Thank you, and Merry Christmas, Perry."

Perry took about three steps, stopped and looked back at the smiling Santa's helper. Perry wore the look of someone trying to remember something he thought he should know but had forgotten. He addressed the man.

"Do I know you, sir?"

The Santa just laughed, and tugged down on his beard. "Of course you do, Perry, we saw each other last at Lois and Clark's wedding."

It was like a light switch being turned on as recognition hit Perry. "Mike, is that you?"

"Yes, Perry, it is."

"Well, I'll be an Elvis impersonator. How the heck are you, Mike?"

"Doing just fine, Perry, yourself?"

Perry made a few aimless gestures with his hands. "You know how it is around the holidays. Trying to balance work with all the extra little things you need to get done. It really gets crazy this time of year."

"How are the boys?" Mike smiled as he asked.

"Good," Perry smiled himself. "Jerry is out of prison and is visiting his brother and family over Christmas. Then shortly after the new year they're all going to pack some bags and come visit Alice and me here in Metropolis." Perry gave a wistful shake of the head. "It'll sure be great to see 'em again, and the grand kids. My word, they are growing up so fast."

"That's terrific, Perry." Mike gave Perry a little punch in the shoulder. "I'll bet you and Alice have some plans for that time alone, eh, Perry?" Mike added a playful wink.

Perry momentarily froze in place and just stared at Mike for a few seconds. "Yeah … yeah, that's exactly right, Mike. I think Alice and I are going to get away, just the two of us, for a few days. Renew old ties, strengthen new ones, if you catch my drift?" Perry returned the wink.

"Oh, indeed I do."

Mike and Perry shared a hearty handshake and Perry headed off toward the doors to the Planet. Mike let his eyes follow Perry until he disappeared into the building. Smiling an even bigger smile than before, he turned back to the slowly gathering foot traffic and began ringing his bell.


Clark Kent straightened up from paying off the cabbie and took in the scene around him. The bright lights still shone in the early morning grayness and the decorations gracing window displays and hanging from street lamps stirred faintly in the whisper breeze of the frosty morning. Clark really loved this time of year. During the Christmas holidays people tended to act like they should all year round. Nearly everyone was a little extra courteous and a little extra tolerant than they were the other eleven months of the year. It was just too bad that folks couldn't take the lessons of the holiday season and keep them with them all the time.

Clark smiled as he spotted the sidewalk Santa ringing his bell, and tending his kettle, out in front of the Planet building. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a couple of bills and folded them neatly so they would slide into the slot in the kettle as he approached the jolly old elf.

"Merry Christmas, Santa." Clark stuck the bills into the kettle.

"Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you too, Clark."

Clark jerked his head around, he knew that voice. "Mike?"

"Hello, Clark."

Clark grabbed the red suited man's hand and pumped it vigorously. "Mike, it is you. It's so good to see you. What have you been up to lately?"

Mike shook his head. "Oh, a little of this and a little of that." He grinned. "How about you? That beautiful wife and child of yours keeping you busy?"

Clark laughed. "More than you can know, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything."

"So, what are the big holiday plans for the Kent household this year?" Mike grinned like he already knew the answer.

Clark's own smile was more rueful. "Well, it's going to be quite chaotic. My parents, Lois' parents, and even Lucy are all coming here for the holidays. It should be interesting." Clark laughed. "Lois is understandably a bit more apprehensive about it than I am, but then I believe that's what this season is all about, family. I'll get Lois into the proper Christmas spirit yet, even if I have to drag her kicking and screaming."

Mike echoed Clark's laugh. "Speaking of the lovely Ms. Lane," Mike made a show of peeking over Clark's shoulder. "I don't see her with you this morning?"

"No, she will be along a bit later. She volunteered to help out at Laura's day care this morning. They're having some sort of Christmas party there, complete with a Santa Claus." Clark noted the look on Mike's face and laughed again. "Yes, this is the same Lois, she's just mellowed a bit. Especially since having Laura." Clark's tone changed from mirthful to one filled with a father's pride. "This will be Laura's first Christmas where she'll be able to understand what's going on. I think that's why it was so easy to get all the in-laws to come this year."

"Sounds great, Clark." Mike favored Clark with a more thoughtful look. "There's something else, isn't there? You have a worried edge to your holiday happiness."

Clark sighed and shook his head. "Never was able to hide anything from you, Mike. Yeah, Lois has been feeling out of sorts lately, kind of moody and irritable. The takeout we had last night caused her to have an upset stomach, and she didn't seem to be over it completely yet this morning. Lois is afraid that she is getting the flu or some other bug just in time to ruin Christmas." Clark sighed again. "It would really put a damper on things if she was sick for Christmas, but I tried to tell her that it wouldn't matter. Everyone loves her and would understand given the circumstances."

"Isn't she worried about infecting the children if she thinks she might be getting sick?"

"No, when I asked her she told me that she wouldn't really have any contact with the children. She volunteered to be a shuttle bus for the presents, some Christmas scenery, and decorations from the storage site to the day care center. And help a little with setting up before most of the kids show up. Besides, she said she felt a lot better this morning, but I'm not so sure." Clark saw the questioning look on Mike's face. "Well, I made a doctor's appointment for her this morning, just to be sure, and she didn't argue with me about it."

Mike gave Clark a secret sort of smile and clasped his hand on his shoulder. "I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure that the doctor will give Lois good news and your holiday will be as joyous as can be." Mike winked at Clark.

Clark looked a bit puzzled as he shook the hand of the facsimile Santa. "Thanks, Mike, have a very Merry Christmas."

"And you also, Clark. Have a Merry Christmas."

Clark turned and slowly walked into building, alternately thinking and shaking his head.

A grinning Santa turned back to his bell and kettle.


Jimmy Olsen hurried around the corner and headed for the front doors of the Daily Planet. He knew Perry would be in early so he felt it best that he get there early also. A small smile came over his face as he spied the sidewalk Santa plying his trade in front of the building.

"Hey, Santa, how's it going today?"

"Just great, Jimmy, how's it going with you?"

"Well, not bad I guess, I…" Jimmy suddenly stopped and looked closer at the Santa impersonator. "How did you know my name?"

"I know all about you, Jimmy, I always have." A big smile broke out on the sidewalk Santa's face. "It's me, Mike."

"Mike? Oh, Mike! Hey man, it's great to see you again." Jimmy reached into his pocket and pulled out a little loose change. "Got a new gig, huh? Sorry I don't have much for you."

"Not a problem, Jim, every little bit helps." Mike cocked his head as he gave Jimmy a careful once over. "Seems to me you have something else on your mind this morning, let me guess, girl problems?"

Jimmy looked down as he scuffed his shoe against the sidewalk. "Well, yeah, I guess you could say that." Jimmy looked back up into Mike's face. "You remember Angela?" At his nod Jimmy rushed on. "She was really nice, we got along pretty well but she changed her name and moved to Hollywood. She was even in the last James Bond movie!"

"I thought you were seeing Penny nowadays?"

"That went bust too." Jimmy looked dejected. "She decided that it would be best if we didn't see each other anymore."

"Did she say why?"

"I think she thought I was too short for her."

"Really?" Mike's tone indicated that he didn't quite believe him.

Jimmy blushed. "Well, she did say that I spent too much time with my computer instead of her." Jimmy looked up as if pleading with Mike. "It's not like I excluded her. I tried to get her to join me on the IRC, the chat rooms, and the message boards. I tried to get her to play the latest virtual games together."

"She didn't go for that?"

"Nah, she kept saying that computers were a tool for business and that I wasted too much valuable time on frivolous activities."

Mike patted the dejected Jimmy on the shoulder. "Oh, well, I'm sure things will work out for the best. Sometimes you find what you didn't know you were looking for in those places where you'd least expect."

"Huh? You care to translate that for me?" Mike laughed as Jimmy found himself glancing at his watch. "Oh, hey, I've got to get going or the Chief'll have my hide, Christmas or no." Jimmy waved as he sprinted for the doors. "Have a happy holiday, Mike."

Mike returned the wave. "You, too, Jim," Mike chuckled, "you, too."


Jonathan and Martha Kent stepped out of the airport taxi and onto the curb in front of the Daily Planet building. Martha paid the cabbie as Jonathan pulled two suitcases out of the trunk, which had been remotely opened for his benefit. Having closed the taxi's trunk, he hoisted the cases and followed in his wife's wake.

"Oh look, Jonathan, it's one of those sidewalk Santa's."

She began to rummage in her purse for a bill to donate.

"Merry Christmas, Martha, Jonathan, thank you for the generous donation." said the Santa as Martha stuffed the bill into the kettle.

"Excuse me, sir, have we met?" Jonathan's voice was curious, if a bit gruff.

"Of course we have, though we haven't spoken since the wedding." The Santa beard was pulled down to reveal the pleasant round face.

"Mike!" Martha exclaimed, as she gave him a hug. "It's so good to see you again."

"Mike," Jonathan shook the other man's hand.

"So are you folks in Metropolis to see Clark and his lovely ladies this year?"

"Yeah, Clark thought it would be nice to get everyone together for Laura's first real Christmas. I know it took him quite a bit of effort and convincing, but he managed to pull it off." Martha laughed as she spoke.

Mike pointed his red mitten at Jonathan. "I hope you don't mind me saying so, Jonathan, but you look a might tired. Been working hard lately?"

Before Jonathan could answer Martha chimed in. "He's been working too hard if you ask me."

"It's a big farm," Jonathan shrugged…

Mike appeared to rub his bearded chin as if in deep thought. "You know, it's too bad you couldn't get some neighbor who needs the extra acreage to lease part of your land. Could make things a lot easier while still bringing in the needed income."

Jonathan shook his head. "No, Martha, would never have it."

"What?" She slapped him on the arm. "What do you mean I would never have it?"

"Well you were the one who told Wayne Irig that we weren't interested in renting any of our land to him." Jonathan had a wounded look on his face.

"Oh, Jonathan, that was twenty-some years ago." Martha gave Mike a look that said, 'What am I going to do with this man?' "We were both a lot younger then, and we had a young son to, er, watch out for."

Jonathan turned to Martha. "So, what are you saying? You wouldn't mind renting out some of out land?"

"Oh course not, if it would mean that I'd get to see you once in a while before dark, and an early bedtime, then I'm all for it." Martha shook her head. "Jonathan, just think what we would be able to do if we had more time to ourselves." Martha patted Mike on the arm, he smiled. "Thanks for the suggestion, Mike."

Jonathan shuffled his feet a bit. "Well, it's funny you have mentioned this now, Mike." Jonathan looked over at Martha. "But I had just such an offer last week for the coming spring planting season. A new guy, Jim Delacourt, bought the old Hanson place. He's got a ton of equipment, and three grown boys, farmers all, and he is looking for some more acreage to farm."

Martha looked up at Jonathan. "And you didn't think to tell me about it?"

"Well, ah, you know," Jonathan reached over quickly and shook Mike's hand. "It's been a pleasure seeing you again, Mike. Have a Merry Christmas." Jonathan grabbed the suitcases and headed for the doors.

Martha raised her eyes heavenward as she shook her head in wonderment. "That's where Clark gets it from." She reached over and gave Mike's arm a squeeze. "Merry Christmas, Mike." And she hurried off after her embarrassed husband.

Mike just smiled as he resumed his bell ringing.


The sun was about a quarter of the way through its daily journey when the Daily Planet's guardian Santa spied the couple approaching. They were an oddly matched pair. Her chin length blonde hair was beginning to be streaked with gray and her partner, a late middle-aged fellow who towered over her, had nearly no hair at all. The looks on their faces and the agitated manner in which they moved seemed to indicate that these two were not exactly in the Christmas mood.

"Oh, Sam, how could you, and on Christmas Eve too?"

"Ellen, I have no idea what you are talking about?"

"Oh sure, deny it. Deny that you were flirting with our waitress at breakfast this morning."

Sam sighed. "Ellen, I did no such thing. I was merely being polite."

"Polite! Is that what you call it now?" Ellen pointed at the Santa in front of the Daily Planet, which happened to be their destination. "Do something decent for a change, Sam. Give Santa some money for charity."

Sam sighed again as he reached for his wallet and extracted a bill, quickly folding it over so Ellen couldn't see the denomination. It wouldn't matter what he gave, she would find fault with it. He stuffed it into the kettle as they came up to Santa's spot.

"Merry Christmas, Sam, Ellen, and thanks."

Ellen stopped dead in her tracks, which almost caused Sam to run into her back. "Sam, he knows our names. How can he know our names?"

Sam gestured toward the sidewalk Santa. "Why don't we ask him?"

The Santa held up his hands as he chuckled. "No need for that, folks, I've known you two for a long time, and you know me too." He pushed aside the beard. "It's me, Mike. I know we haven't seen each other for a while but I hope you haven't forgotten me already?"

"Oh, of course not." Ellen seemed a bit flustered. "How are you, Mike?"

Sam reached out his hand. "Good to see you, Mike."

"So, I take it you're in town together to see Lois and Clark?"

Ellen laid her hand on Mike's arm. "Actually, I can't wait to see Laura opening presents under the tree." She gave Sam a dirty look. "It would be a lot merrier of a Christmas if I didn't have to put up with Sam's shenanigans." She redirected her attention toward Mike. "Tell me, Mike, what do I do with a man who works all the time, and if by chance he isn't working he's flirting with everything in a skirt."

Sam harrumphed. "Mike, tell her that some jobs require at lot of time from a person. And please, tell me what I can do about a paranoid ex-wife who sees indiscretions that aren't even there?"

Mike laughed, which surprised the couple enough to shut them up momentarily. "It seems to me that instead of talking to me, you two should be talking to each other." When they both made to protest his statement at the same time, Mike held up his hand. "Oh, I don't mean like you've been bickering about for the last hour or so. I mean really talk, alone. Somewhere where you won't be disturbed, perhaps?"

Both Sam and Ellen seemed to ponder this Santa sage's words. Sam looked over at Ellen. "I have a doctor friend who has a cabin up in the mountains. I'm sure he could be persuaded to let us use it for a few days."

Ellen looked up at Sam. "Really? That sounds nice."

"I guess I could take a few days away from work." Sam seemed to think some more. "It is kind of remote, though. We could be cut off from everyone and everything while we're up there."

"Sounds really nice." Ellen purred.

"Being remote like it is, I'm not sure that we could even make it up there this time of year? It might already be snowed in."

Seeing the look of disappointment of Ellen's face, Mike interrupted. "Well you know that Lois and especially Clark are good friends of Superman's. Maybe they could talk him into giving you a lift up there if that proves to be the case."

"I don't know …" Sam began.

"Oh come on, Sam, it won't hurt to ask." Ellen turned to Mike. "Are Lois and Clark here yet?"

"Clark is."

"Great, have a Merry Christmas, Mike." Ellen reached back and grabbed Sam by the elbow. "Come on, Sam, let's go ask."

Sam shrugged helplessly as he was dragged off toward the doors of the Daily Planet.

Mike smiled. "And a Merry Christmas to you also."


Lucy Lane took in a deep lungful of the crisp late morning air as she stopped for a minute to get her bearings. Having just minutes ago stepped off the bus, she had to make sure she was in the right spot. She smiled as she saw the very familiar Planet logo gracing the front facade of a building less than a block away. She picked up her somewhat battered suitcase and headed in that direction.

As she got closer she noticed the sidewalk Santa out in front of the building, right next to the front doors. She felt a moment of chagrined panic. She was going to have to walk right past him and she didn't have any extra money to drop into the kettle. She put her head down and made to hurry past him and into the building before she was even noticed.

"Merry Christmas, Lucy. Hope you have a joyous New Year."

Lucy stopped and addressed the red suited fellow. "Merry Christmas, Santa, I sorry but I don't have any change for you today, and did you just call me Lucy?" She asked as confusion showed on her face.

"That's quite all right, Lucy, I'm sure you'll get us next time. And, yes, I did call you Lucy, that is your name, isn't it?"

"Well, yes, it is, but how would you know that? We've never met before."

"Sure we have. It's been a while since you unfortunately missed Lois and Clark's wedding, but when you were small you and I had lots of talks."

Frowning, Lucy reached over and tugged down the beard. "Mike! Wow, I haven't seen you in ages, though I still think of you often."

Mike reached over and squeezed her hand. "I know, honey." He smiled at her. "So how have you been? I hear you'll be graduating from college soon?

Lucy gave Mike a sad sort of smile. "Yeah, I'll be getting my degree in computer science next spring."

"That's terrific, I would think that that would make you very happy."

"Oh, it does."


"Well, I see how happy Lois is with Clark, and I wonder if I will ever find the right guy."

"A little trouble along those lines, eh?"

"You could say that." Lucy chuckled a bit. "The last time I was in Metropolis I was dating a guy who turned out to be a freakin' cyborg gangster." She shook her head sadly. "My luck at school hasn't been much better. My last almost boyfriend just decided to move to New Orleans because he thought he'd have a better chance to promote his music career down there. What a jerk."

Mike gave her an understanding pat on the shoulder. "It seems to me that you don't seem to pick guys that have similar interests to yourself."

"Have you seen the type of guys that I meet in my classes? Most of them still wear their authentic Federation costumes to class and go around saying things like 'live long and prosper!'"


"Okay, maybe not most of them, but it sure seems like it at times. It would be nice to meet some guy who was into computers and such but actually liked other things too."

"Well I can't argue with that. All I can say is: be patient; you'll find what you're looking for yet." Mike patted her hand.

Lucy smiled at the Santa figure. "Thanks, Mike, and have a Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you, Lucy."

Lucy turned and went through the front doors of the Daily Planet.

Mike pursed his lips and had a bit of a guilty look on his face. He should have mentioned to Lucy that her parents were already there, but she had enough on her mind without thinking about that before she had to. Besides, she probably wouldn't have even gone in had she known, and that was something that Mike didn't want to have happen. This party could prove very interesting for Lucy, and others.

Mike picked up his bell and began ringing it again, and thanking those who dropped money into his kettle.


The sun was nearly at its zenith when the striking, auburn haired beauty approached the Daily Planet. Male heads turned to gaze at her as she walked by, including a particular sidewalk Santa camped out in front of the Planet's front doors. He gave his bell a little extra shake as she drew near in order to catch her attention. She smiled when she noticed him and pulled a bill out of her handbag.

She tucked the bill into the kettle and gave the Santa a little pat on the cheek. "There you go, Santa, Merry Christmas."

"Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you, Catherine."

Catherine "Cat" Grant was almost to the doors when she stopped and came back to where the jolly one was standing. "Did you just call me by my given name?"

He smiled. "Yes, I did; would you have preferred 'Cat?'"

Cat smiled. "It's nice to know that even though I've been gone for quite a while that my fans still recognize me."

"While I'm sure that might be true, I'm much more than a simple fan, Catherine." His grin got bigger. "Cat, it's me, Mike, you remember."

Cat's eyes got huge as her memory supplied the needed information. "Oh, my word, Mike, it is you. Gosh, Mike, it's been years since you and I had our little chats about boys and later about men, and the evil that they can do." Cat Grant had a twinkle in her eye as she said it. "So this is how you pass the time these days." She grinned as she indicated the Santa suit and trappings.

"Just something I like to do this time of year." Mike plucked at his attire. "How about you, Cat? Last I heard you were traveling the world for 'Travel-Style' magazine."

"That's true, and it's been great, but I found myself in Metropolis, on Christmas Eve, no less. I thought I'd crash the annual party and see how everyone is doing." A worried look came across Cat's face. "There are still some people there that I know, aren't there?"

"Oh yes, most of the people that you worked with are still around, though there have been some changes."

"I'll bet." A crafty look came over Cat. "Is Clarkie still around?"

"Yes, Clark's still here, but he's married now."

A frown spread over Cat's features. "Darn, though that doesn't rule out a little mistletoe action." Cat laughed. "I'll bet Lois is still pining away after Superman?"

"Not really; she married Clark."

Cat looked thunderstruck. "You're kidding, Clark actually wore little Miss Ironpants down. Wow, who'd've thought."

"That's not all. Lois and Clark have a delightful little girl named Laura."

Cat looked as if she were going to fall down. "Lois was fertile!"

It was Mike's turn to laugh. "Yes, but she's not here yet; she volunteered to help out at Laura's day care for a while so she won't be in for a little while bit yet."

Cat grabbed both Mike's arms. "Are you sure this is the real Lois Lane, and not some pod person, or a clone or something?"

"Well …"


"Never mind, I'll let Lois and Clark fill you in themselves." Mike gave Cat a searching look. "You know, Cat, they all miss you here. It's too bad you have such a great job. The fellow they hired to replace you just quit last week, and in all honesty he wasn't nearly as good as you were."

Cat looked startled by Mike's words. "Whoa, talk about your cosmic coincidences. Travel-Style just folded. The president embezzled it into bankruptcy, and I could use a job." She gave Mike her sultry stare. "Do you think … Perry … might believe I've still got it?"

"If anyone still has it, Cat, it's you. I would be surprised if Perry didn't rehire you on the spot." Mike spread his hands, palms out. "Only one way to find out."

"You're right!" Cat leaned over and gave Mike a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mike, and have a Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you also, Catherine."

She hurried through the doors and into the building as Mike rubbed at his cheek, grinning the whole time.


Lois Lane came around the corner muttering to herself. She was just teensy bit perturbed at the moment. "What's the matter with some people? It's Christmas Eve, for crying out loud. Just because I'm a little late, someone takes my spot in the garage and I'm forced to park out in the street. It's lucky for them that I found a spot close by or they would be feeling my Christmas spirit, right up the, oomph… "

Lois not watching where she was going had run right into a sidewalk Santa that had set up in front of the Daily Planet's front doors. Lois was ready to give this north pole interloper a piece of her mind for setting up right in the way when she got a good look at the fellow.

She threw her arms around the Santa. "Mike, it's great to see you."

Mike seemed a little stunned by her reaction. "Lois, you are the first person who has recognized me in this outfit."

"Mike, you presided over the happiest moment of my life. I won't ever forget that moment, or you for making it happen." Lois bent over to help him with his tipped over kettle. "Here, let me help you with that."

"That's okay, Lois, nothing spilled, and thank you," he said as Lois stuck one of her own bills into the slot.

"Don't mention it." Lois glanced up at the building. "I suppose most everyone's here already, huh?"

"Oh, yes, and maybe some you didn't expect." He laughed at the look on Lois face. "Lucy made it." At Lois' smile he continued. "And Cat Grant even showed up."

Lois smirked. "I suppose I'd better get up there and protect my naive husband from her attacks."

"Your parents are here too. Lois?"

Lois had turned and sprinted to the curb. "Taxi!" She had her hand raised trying to flag down a cab."

Mike ran out and gently guided her back. "Lo-is, you can't avoid this. What were you thinking? You drove."

"Yeah, well I'm not sure I'm up to speaking to my parents right now. I've got something on my mind."

Mike gave her a sly smile. "So the doctor came back with some unexpected news?"

Lois' guard instantly went up and just as quickly dropped as she remembered who she was talking to. "How did you…Of course, Clark probably told you all about my not feeling well and the doctor's appointment." Lois sighed but still had a smile on her face. "Yeah, you could say the diagnosis was unexpected."

"So tell me, Lois, are you excited?"

Lois looked at her life-long friend who never seemed to age, but that fact never seemed to dawn on her. "You know, don't you, Mike? How do you always know these things?"

"I have impeccable sources."

Lois laughed. "I'll just bet you do." She looked thoughtful. "I don't know, Mike, I guess I'm excited. I know Clark will be, but it's going to be a lot of added responsibility. I'm not sure if I'll be up to it."

Mike drew Lois into a hug. "Lois, believe me when I say everything will work out just fine." He held her out at arms length. "Now, don't you think that you should be getting upstairs? The party is just starting and I believe you not only have an announcement to make, but you have a husband to protect from those predatory holiday huntresses."

Lois laughed again. "You're right, Mike, I'd best get up there before Clark dies from embarrassment over all the Planet ladies trying to corner him under the mistletoe. If I'm there to guide him, I should be able to keep him out of some trouble." Lois gave Mike a lopsided smile. "And there is my little bombshell to drop. Merry Christmas, Mike, and have a glorious New Year."

"Thank you, Lois. May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and a joyous New Year."

As Lois disappeared through the glass double doors of the Daily Planet, Mike turned back to his appointed task, a warm feeling flowing through him, as he once again thanked those that mattered for allowing him the greatest job in the world. He began to ring his bell with renewed vigor as he called out in his best jolly bellow.

"Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to one and all."

And a Joyous Holiday Season to FoLC everywhere.