By Mary Lovee <email@example.com>
Submitted: December 2002
Summary: Lois ponders the meaning of Christmas in her apartment amidst the dinner and decorations we see at the end of the episode "Season's Greedings." Will Lois celebrate the holidays alone this year? Or will some unexpected visitors help her understand the true Christmas spirit?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: After a wonderful day of exchanging gifts, spending time with family and friends, and singing the traditional carols at our parish, the quiet of Christmas night settled in like it normally did. Everyone had gone home, and my husband went to sleep early to prepare for work the next morning. Sitting alone with carols humming on my stereo, I finally had the time to soak in the peace of Christmas and appreciate the friends and loved ones who always make the holidays so special for us. "That Christmas Night" was born out of my reflections.
DISCLAIMER: The principal characters and concepts, and one or two instances of dialogue in this story were taken from the "Lois & Clark" series and are therefore the rightful property of DC Comics, December 3 Productions, etc. The author realizes that the basic premise for this story has already been used by other fan fiction authors and wants to give them proper credit. She hopes her "take" on their premise does their stories justice.
"O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior's birth!"
It was late Christmas Eve. Silver garland hung over the window that looked out over the unusually peaceful streets of the city of Metropolis. The tiny tree was decorated as much as it could be with graceful white lights and the ornaments Lois had collected throughout her childhood and adolescence. Settled comfortably in the middle of her coffee table, the tree was layered with soft, cotton snow at its base and was kept company by the lone present that was yet unwrapped by its recipient. The manger scene, which Lois's mother had given to her that first Christmas after she graduated college, adorned the mantle where she kept her three treasured Kerth Awards. But the apartment still seemed empty. No voices of family filled her living room that Christmas night and even the laughter of friends was strangely absent from her home. The carols on her stereo were the only holiday guests.
Still, Lois was undaunted. Dressed in her expensive black dress and silver pumps, she lit two solitary ivory candles in their golden antique holders. The catered dinner of rotisserie chicken, gourmet vegetables in a light butter sauce, fresh-baked french and sourdough bread, and chocolate mousse dessert that embellished her table was worthy of any celebration. Finally satisfied with the last details of her Christmas feast, she sat down ready to eat.
But before Lois could even serve herself, her mind filled with the irony of what she was doing. In true Lane fashion, she had stubbornly refused to cancel her plans, even when everyone else had cancelled on her. Lois wasn't going to let anything or anyone ruin her holiday, even if that meant spending it alone. Not a mother who refused to leave her needy friends for even one day in whatever exotic location they were occupying this year; not a father who was buried up to his ears in the latest medical experiment craze; not even an insensitive younger sister who would rather have her newest boyfriend all to herself for the holidays.
The Daily Planet's top investigative reporter was determined not to let this get to her. Who needed family at Christmas? If she could handle corporate scandals, drug intrigues, political investigations, killings, shootings, kidnappings and all sorts of natural disasters, Lois Lane could certainly survive one lousy…lonely…horrible…holiday…
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'til He appeared and the soul felt its worth…"
The classic hymn continued to swell softly from across the room. Huh, pining. That's what she was reduced to. Moping, pining, *wallowing*, she thought to herself in mild disgust. I think not. Determined to enjoy her food before it got cold, Lois helped herself to a generous portion of chicken and vegetables. The food, though delicious and made by one of the city's best catering companies, tasted like sawdust in her mouth. After a few bites, she put down her fork and walked over to the sofa. *What* is wrong with me tonight?
While her family's absence was inexcusable in her mind, the absence of her friends she at least understood. The Whites were planning on coming until Perry and Alice's son received a last minute holiday vacation and asked them to come visit him at Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis. All along, Clark was going home to Smallville to be with his parents and their friends, the Irigs. They had already wished each other "Merry Christmas," and he regretted not being able to be with her. Jimmy was going to make an appearance at Lois's with his new girlfriend Angela, but Angela's family had to move their usual Christmas morning celebration to the night before for one reason or another. To make a good impression, Jimmy couldn't refuse their invitation, and Lois had graciously told him to go with a thumbs up for good luck.
So here she was all alone during the 'most wonderful time of the year' as the old song liked to proclaim. Lois's mind began to wander back to happier times, before her parents' fighting had escalated enough to completely ruin birthdays, Easters, Thanksgivings, and yes, even Christmases. Her last bright memory of the winter holiday must have been when she was 11. Ellen Lane had left Lois solely in charge of her sister Lucy for the first time while she was doing some last minute shopping for the girls. Dr. Sam was working late as usual, but had promised to be home in time for Christmas Eve service and then later for dinner and the usual unwrapping of gifts.
Lois remembered how proud she felt that her mom and dad had finally trusted her enough to look after her nine-year-old sister. Wanting to do things right, she insisted that they should help their parents clean up for the celebration that night. Lucy was having none of that. She wanted to sneak into her parents' room and see if they could find out what they were getting for Christmas. Lois, not having quite developed the sneaky skills that would later hallmark her journalistic career, was having none of that. Instead, the two girls decided to sing Christmas carols. Lucy had already been taking piano lessons for over two years now and was really talented for her age. Although Lois couldn't play a note, and Lucy couldn't sing worth a darn, together their different musical talents melded together quite well.
After serenading an audience of stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes, Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and G.I. Joe action figures (Lois's contribution of course) with "Jingle Bells" and "Here Comes Santa Claus," Lucy insisted on playing her recital piece, "O Holy Night." Although it was a difficult song to both play and sing, the two sisters did it justice. Unbeknownst to them at the time, their middle- aged neighbors, the Sampsons, were walking back into their house, when the strains of the hymn reached them. With tears in their eyes, they clung lovingly to each other and provided the different harmonies to the girls' song. The couple's contribution to their makeshift choir wasn't revealed to them until years later after Ellen and Sam broke up and the Lane family was scattered to the four winds.
"…A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"
Sentimental tears came to Lois's own eyes at the memory as the hymn continued in the present time from her radio. She wondered if Lucy remembered that day like she did. Walking wearily back to her now-cold feast, Lois decided she deserved chocolate. Taking a spoon and digging straight into the mousse, she recalled the rest of her family's last idyllic Christmas together.
As promised, Dr. Sam walked into the house just in time to greet Ellen with a hug and a peck on the cheek exclaiming, "Ellen! I think I've finally made a breakthrough in my research! What a Christmas present! Where are my girls?"
"Daddy! Daddy! Do we get to go sing now?" Lois cried out excitedly as she rushed into her father's waiting arms. Even though Christmas Eve Mass was hard for two young girls to sit through, the promise of bright lights and decorations, the life-sized manger and especially the wonderful carols made it worthwhile.
"We sure do, Princess! We sure do! Lois, help Lucy get her coat on and we'll go straight away. And then we'll have your mother's wonderful dinner and of course—"
"Pwesents! Pwesents! And tomorrow Santy Cwaus!" Lucy lisped out.
Following the service at St. Therese Cathedral in downtown Metropolis, the Lanes completed their best and last Norman Rockwell Christmas with an unforgettable meal and a joyous time of opening gifts as a family.
"…Fall on your knees!"
By that time next year, Ellen had discovered that Sam's late working hours were only a cover-up for an infidelity with his secretary, the first of many affairs. Ellen's initial rage was taken out on everybody, including her daughters. After her anger failed to produce the desired results, she turned to alcoholism in despair, which of course didn't help or stop the aggression between the spouses. Finally, the two separated and divorced, pulling Lois and Lucy through an exhaustive tug-of-war battle in which no one was the winner.
Hence, the present state of things, Lois thought bitterly, throwing her dessert spoon in the direction of her window. Now openly sobbing, Lois stumbled to pick up the utensil she had thrown only a moment before. Holding it in her hand, she clung to it as if clinging to the one stable time in her life. A grown woman, once again a grieving girl, sank down to the floor beside her Christmas tree, and wrapped her arms around her knees as her tears freely fell.
"…Oh, hear the angel voices!"
Metropolis's only proclaimed "angel" was doing a last- minute patrol of the quiet city streets, when a woman's weeping caught his attention and caused his heart to catch in his chest. The invulnerable hero was just about to head for the snow-blanketed Mid-western farm that he called home, when her cries reached him, carried across town that clear winter night. It only took him an instant to recognize the sorrow as that of the woman he had loved in secret for over six months.
In a blur, Superman sliced through the cold air dotted with bright stars towards her home on Carter Avenue. He barely noticed the sonic boom that resulted from his sudden change in direction, which children across the great city gladly mistook for Santa's soaring sleigh.
Alighting on the ledge of Lois's window, he was shocked at what he found. There, his gutsy, ambitious, brilliant and beautiful partner was alone, torn in an indescribable and unexpected grief. The hero tapped hurriedly on her window, not wanting to scare her, but anxious to help his best friend in whatever way he could. Superman hadn't expected her to be alone. Where was her family? Or, at least Jimmy and the Whites. He never would have left her like this if he had known.
Tapping again a little louder, Lois still didn't seem to hear or notice him. He waited patiently for her to look up…
"…O night divine, O night when Christ was born…"
Lois wasn't sure how long she sat crying before a noise above her window broke her from her troubles. She quickly dashed a hope that was beginning to dwell there. If she was wrong, it would only make tonight worse. Yet, her stomach was doing somersaults at the thought that someone, anyone cared at that moment. Her dark eyes, bright with silver tears, met another pair of dark eyes, bright with concerned care.
"Lois! Lois, what's wrong? Can I help you?" he was saying just loud enough for her to hear through the window pane.
"S-superman! I-I wasn't…expecting anyone. I…"
"Can I come in for a minute? You look like you could really use a friend right now."
Nodding and standing up slowly, Lois's trembling hand was barely able to unlatch the lock. Superman alighted from the ledge into her home and just held out his arms to her. Crying at the unselfish gesture, when she had been surrounded by nothing except selfishness all week long, Lois flung herself into his embrace and sobbed until she had no tears left. This virtual stranger, whom she didn't even know the real name of, was showing her more kindness than her family had shown Lois in nearly 15 years.
He held her gently against him, guiding them both over to her couch. Long minutes later, when she had finally gotten control over her emotions, Lois offered Superman an appreciative smile. "I can't tell you what it means to have a friend here right now, Superman. My-my family isn't exactly like the Waltons-at least not anymore-and everyone at the Planet who was coming over tonight had a last minute change in plans. I-I mean, if I had a family who cared…well, I'd want to be with them, too. So I don't blame my friends. My *family* on the other hand…I'm not so happy with right now…"
"Lois, I am *so* sorry. I know what it feels like to be alone, and it's especially hard at this time of year. If I would have known, and I'm sure if Clark would have known, he or I would have been here with you, at least part of the holiday."
"I know, Superman, and thanks. I guess the loneliness finally just got to me, you know? But I'm glad you're here. And, if…if it's not asking too much, will you at least eat something? I have all this food, and I hate for it to go to waste…"
"Lois, I would be happy to! And, by the way, Merry Christmas!" he said cheerfully, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
Blushing slightly, Lois gestured for him to sit down for the feast of Christmas chicken with all the trimmings. She winced as she realized she was serving *Superman* of all people, cold food for Christmas! "Uh, Superman? I'm going have to make a few trips to the microwave, I'm sorry. You have time, don't you?"
"Lois, no need, let me-"
"I will *not* let my one and only guest work and…oh-" She watched in amazement as he stared intently at the food, treating each dish with a gentle wave of heat vision.
"I figured it would help-" he offered shyly, not used to using his powers openly for small tasks like this except in front of his Mom and Dad.
"Hey, that sure beats the microwave! You know, you're pretty handy around the kitchen."
"One of my many talents, Lois," he kidded her. He suddenly took her hand and asked her if he could say the blessing. Nodding her head in surprise, her hero began, "God, we would like to give thanks for this food and friendship, on this special night, and for all the blessings you have given us and our loved ones during this year. Amen."
Superman *prayed?* Well, I guess that isn't too out of the ordinary, considering he's the world's oldest Boy Scout! "Thanks, Superman, that was really nice. Now… let's eat!"
During the course of the meal, he did his best to keep Lois's spirits up. He brought her up to date on all the various charity functions he'd been helping out with over the holidays and some of the more humorous aspects of being a superhero. Lois responded with various anecdotes from work-especially about her and Clark's more bizarre assignments. All too soon, the two friends had to part. It was about eight o'clock in the evening and Superman said he had one last Christmas "duty" to attend to.
"Lois, I hate to leave you alone again on Christmas Eve, but-"
She interrupted him. "Superman, I'll be OK, really. You're needed out there, big guy, so no stalling! Seriously, though, I really appreciate you coming by. I really enjoyed having you here and thank you for being such a caring friend. I-I really needed one tonight."
"I'll see you again soon, Lois. Maybe we can go flying? I would like to reciprocate…and I haven't given you a gift yet."
"I would love that Superman. But I beg to differ! Tonight was the best Christmas gift, really."
Superman once again hugged Lois, before soaring off into the night's sky towards a certain loving couple in Kansas…
"O night, O holy night, O night divine!"
She expected her apartment to be lonely after Superman left, but unlike before, it was filled with the warmth of their friendship. For the first Christmas in a long time, Lois was beginning to understand and appreciate what the holiday truly meant. Beyond the crazy rush to buy the latest and greatest presents, parties and festivities, the man in the red and white suit, and the city full of lights, was a deeper spirit of giving, unselfishness…and yes, even joy, despite her earlier grief. The spirit that was born that night in the manger at Bethlehem so long ago still had the power to touch her life-and the lives of so many others-even today.
Smiling and humming happily to herself, Lois began to clear the rest of the dinner. It was about half past eight when she heard an unexpected knock at her door. Curious as to whom it could be at this hour, Lois rushed to the entrance. Barely containing a yell of excitement at seeing who it was, she flung the door open and rushed into the waiting arms of-Clark!
For the umpteenth time that night, tears streamed down the young woman's face, but now for a totally different reason. "How… What… Why!? You know, I don't even care anymore. I'm just so glad you're here!"
Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice called out, "Clark, if you don't quit squeezing the poor girl to death, she's going to think you weren't raised right!"
The cheerful scolding came from a petite, blonde woman of about fifty. She and her husband, a stout middle-aged man standing nearly at Clark's height, filed into Lois's apartment carrying a sack of presents larger than her Christmas tree!
"Lois, may I introduce my parents, Jonathon and Martha Kent. Mom and Dad, this is Lois Lane."
"I would sure hope so, son. Otherwise, we've come to the wrong house!" Jonathon teased, his eyes twinkling. "It's a pleasure to meet you Ms. Lane," he added extending his hand in greeting.
"Please, call me Lois. Ms. Lane is what the Planet lawyers call me when they don't like my stories!"
"Lois, then you'll have to call us Martha and Jonathon. *Mrs. Kent* is my mother-in-law, not me! Come here, sweetie!" Martha said, giving Lois a hug.
Keeping her arm around Martha, she turned to her partner, "Clark, are you going to tell me why you're here, instead of half a country away in Kansas? Don't get me wrong, now that you're here, you're not leaving until you eat the rest of my dinner, but…"
"Lois, it's simple. You know that *duty* Superman said he had? Well, *we* are it! He flew out to Smallville and told us you were alone for Christmas, and-"
"That's all it took, Lois!" Clark's mom interrupted. "I demanded he fly us all Metropolis and that was the end of it!"
"I guess even Superman knows not to argue with my wife," Jonathon said smiling.
Glancing mischievously at her son, before winking at her husband, Martha exclaimed, "You got *that* right, honey!"
"You are the best, Clark! And Martha and Jonathon, you are going to get the best feast you ever tasted."
"Lo-is. You didn't actually cook it did you?" her partner asked warily.
"Clark Jerome Kent! Don't be rude-"
"Mom, let me explain something to you about Lois and *food*…"
O Holy Night ~ Words by Chappeau de Roquemaure; Translated by John S. Dwight
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born; O night, O holy night, O night divine! O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, Now come the wise men from out of the Orient land. The King of kings lay thus lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friends. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim! His power and glory ever more proclaim!