By Dominique Melaragni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Lois and Clark search for the perfect gifts to exchange.
I thought about writing this in October but decided that it would work better as a Christmas fanfic. Most of the gift ideas come from the department store where I work and except for the tie, they are all real presents. Thanks to Anne for encouraging me and reading the first half in draft form. Please let me know what you all think - there are several LOISCLA 'jokes' in there and I'd like to know if I went over the top with them or not. Enjoy!
Twas the week before Christmas and all through the Planet, not a creature was still, not even a mouse, except for the figure of Lois Lane who was sitting, gazing at her computer monitor.
Perry looked up from his desk and chuckled as he watched everyone run around. Perry loved Christmas but the Christmas week issues of the Planet had so many special supplements that he was a touch irritable and the newsroom knew it.
He noticed Lois and gave her the benefit of the doubt - she rarely saw his doghouse. Heck, she was probably trying to think of another take on yet another headless corpse story - they had become two a penny recently and new angles were hard to come by!
He turned back to his desk and the pile of articles for submission, and groaned when he saw the one on the top of the pile - Superman tops Metropolis' Women's Xmas Wish List - another of Jimmy's attempts at a Christmas fluff piece.
Lois hadn't moved and contrary to what Perry thought, it wasn't the headless corpse that was foremost in her thoughts. She was desperately trying to think of what to buy Clark for Christmas. She hated buying presents but had made a firm resolution to start early this year and she had. But events had conspired against her and now there were only 6 shopping days left until Christmas and she still had nothing for Clark. She had dragged herself out once or twice and had discovered that buying presents for people you cared about could be fun. She'd found great presents for her parents, for Lucy and for Martha and Jonathan but Clark's was proving difficult. She wanted something special to mark their first Christmas together as a couple and knowing Clark, she knew that he would've found something wonderful for her. Lois wanted to get him something equally as wonderful even though deep inside she knew he would love whatever she gave him.
Perry finished Jimmy's article - didn't they teach kids to spell anymore these days?- and reflected that with a bit of work, it might do as a spacefiller on Christmas Eve when the real news was thinner on the ground than happy turkeys. He glanced up to check on the newsroom, leapt out of his chair and stalked out into the newsroom.
"There's a week until Christmas so put that mistletoe away. We've got a newspaper to put out!"
On his way back to the office, he saw that Lois was actually just sitting in front of a blank monitor and hadn't even glanced up during his diatribe.
"Lois!" He said … no answer; the kid was lost in space!
"LO - IS!" he shouted. She started and looked up. "If you don't have an angle on the corpse story, leave it and find something fresh to do."
"OK, Perry", she turned back to the monitor
"Judas Priest, woman, get out of here! Stories don't just fall down chimneys you know!"
Lois stood outside the Planet again. She had been to all her usual haunts, bought a Christmas Lunch special with all the trimmings for Bobby Bigmouth and still had no story. Truth be told, Metropolis was in festive spirit and there was little news. Clark was busy at Metropolis Zoo, helping the keepers refit the entire Zoo to more natural surroundings for the animals. He was even there officially, Perry thought that the environmentally friendly, politically correct move would make an interesting feature. Now that she didn't have to watch Bobby guzzling, Lois found she was quite hungry and decided to go for lunch and hope for inspiration.
While waiting for her Cafe Belgian Mocha to arrive, she thumbed through a woman's magazine that someone had left on the chair beside her. Idly, she noticed that it was the current Christmas edition and they had a section on gift ideas. 'Presents for the Man in Your Life! - if you can't find a gift here, then he must already have everything!'- "This is what I need!", she grinned and settled down to read …
'If your man's taste in neckwear is dull, why not jazz up his outfits with a snazzy silk tie with an outrageous design' - "Nope," thought Lois, "that's no good, no one could ever describe Clark's ties as boring."
'If your man does a lot of outdoor activities' - "promising," thought Lois "I suppose that being Superman could be described as outdoor activity" - ' why not buy him a pair of Calvin Klein longjohn style pants to keep him warm on frosty nights?' - "Hmm, no good, Clark doesn't get cold and if he did, it'd be me warming him up. And besides he's already got tights."
'Why not give the man in your life, the gift of peace, quiet and tranquillity?' -" Now Clark would like that!" - ' let him drift through the clouds in a hot air balloon!'
Lois threw the magazine down onto the table in disgust. "Huh, what do I get the man who has everything?" The back of the magazine had the answer - 'Where do you find the perfect gift for the man who has everything? In Bon Marche, the department store that has everything!'. "OK", thought Lois, "I'll go there, maybe I'll even find a story!"
Clark leant against a rock in what had been the gorilla enclosure and enjoyed a moment's rest. Helping to move the gorilla family had been fun and because Superman had just walked the animals to their new enclosures, none of the animals had needed to be drugged. He only had one more task to do, superfreeze the penguins new habitat so they could move into it tonight and then he could be off and finish buying Lois' Christmas present. He had wondered long and hard about what to buy her for Christmas, he had given her a star from heaven last year, how was he supposed to top that? Give her the moon? But at last, he had had inspiration!
Lois wandered around the Bon Marche with a large shopping basket. The place was a treasure trove of presents and she had already picked up a few additional gifts for Martha, Jonathan and Lucy.
For Lucy, she had bought a Dalmatian fake fur hat that she knew Lucy would love, despite the fact that it looked ridiculous.
For Jonathan, she had found a glass jar filled with satsumas, soaked in caramelised Cointreau and a jar of tipsy Scottish marmalade.
She had found something great for Martha too, lots of little kitchen goodies, like Olive Oil with herbs in it, dried chillies and jars of spices layered in brightly coloured stripes. Even if Martha didn't use them to cook with, she could always paint them.
She had seen lots of little things that she knew Clark would like but nothing special, so she decided to make him up a stocking to open in bed on Christmas morning.
On the menswear department, she couldn't resist buying him a tie. There had been a big sign saying, 'Is your man a Superman?' above some Superman merchandise. She had considered getting him the briefs but then saw a tie, adorned with tiny, subtle 'S' shields and couldn't resist it - seeing as how she was the only woman in Metropolis who could truthfully answer the question with a 'yes!'. She had also seen a pair of figure hugging boxer briefs that she thought Clark would look good in and then she'd had to buy a Calvin Klein T-shirt 'cos she thought it was quite funny that it had CK written across it. She shook her head, she was in a strange mood, what had that cafe put in her coffee?
Wandering through the shop, she had also bought some other items for the stocking, a meditation CD and a couple of books that Clark had been meaning to buy for ages including 101 Reasons Why I'm Late For Work - with a few adaptations, it could work quite well, she thought.
On the gift foods section, whilst buying the items for the others, she had also been able to get a few things for Clark although she had debated for some time over one item. She had already picked up the little chest with a selection of teas from around the world, not only did it have Oolong and Lapsang Souchong, it also had her favourite, Orange Pekoe. Beside the chillies that she had bought for Martha, she found some other Mexican delicacies and decided to buy Clark a Nachos gift box which contained some spices, salsa and a large packet of crispy Fritos. But she wasn't sure who she was buying the pot of chocolate paint for. It had a little paintbrush and some instructions - 'place pot in a tub of hot water and allow to melt, then use your imagination'. Lois imagined opening the little pot of paint. In her mind's eye, she could see Clark like a big blank canvas waiting for her. She picked up the brush and slowly dipped it into the paint. The thick chocolate dripped from the end of the brush. Lois was jolted back into the present by a woman stretching over to look at the pots of paint. Lois caught her eye and grinned conspiratorially. Lois dropped a pot into her basket, she didn't know who would enjoy it more - her or Clark! Lois smiled to herself, they were both going to have fun finding out!
Clark whirled back into his street clothes and watched a penguin slide on its tummy down a fresh ice run and into the pool. Now he could go and buy one last thing for Lois' Christmas stocking. While he had been looking for inspiration for Lois' main present, he had seen lots of little things that he thought she might like so he had decided to make her up a stocking. He was really only shopping for that, he had bought everyone else's weeks beforehand. Clark loved Christmas and generally got into the Christmas spirit earlier rather than later.
He had already gotten a few things for the stocking, a cookery book, some underwear, though he wasn't quite sure who would appreciate it more and a chocaholics survival kit with hot chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate spread, a 70% cocoa chocolate bar and membership of the World Chocolate Lovers Society. He'd also bought a copy of Pocket Scrabble with an electronic dictionary to which he'd added the word, "chumpy", a Dinah Washington CD, a few strawberry liquorice twizzlers, a novel that Lois had been mentioning for ages and a few other knick knacks. He had seen this item last time he had gone shopping but hadn't been sure whether or not he should buy it. Finally, he decided to go ahead and get it - he knew Lois would like the idea of it but would she think that he was getting it for his own gratification. He had finally decided to get it - it would be fun finding out who appreciated it more.
He went into Tyrrels department store and wandered across to the novelty section. He picked up the pot of chocolate paint and went over to the cash register. While he was waiting in the queue, he overheard a worried conversation between two managerial looking people.
"Has anyone worked out how they got in yet?"
"No, the cameras all went off suddenly and came back pointing at the empty toy department."
"What about the security guards?"
"They were found fast asleep at the doors - it took us several coffees to wake them up properly and it's been proven that they weren't drunk"
"So it's a mystery?"
"Yes, and meanwhile, we've got lots of customers who had ordered items and aren't going to get them until later now!"
Clark was prodded in the ribs by the woman standing behind him to hurry up and make his purchase. "Probably nothing in it," he thought.
Lois decided to go down to the toy department and get some silly puzzles for Clark. He had such good hand to eye coordination that she knew that whatever she bought would have to be something difficult. She eventually settled on an Escher jigsaw which had a painting of a strange house which was on both sides and rotated through 90 degrees on one side. That should prove taxing enough even for his supermind!
Even although she hadn't found Clark's main present yet, she felt a little better, at least she had got some things for him.
Waiting in the queue, Lois listened to the woman in front of her arguing with the shop assistant. She was complaining that her order hadn't arrived yet. The shop assistant tried to explain that two entire lorry loads of stock had been stolen from the warehouse two nights before and they were having to try to get all the stock again from the suppliers. The woman didn't want to accept this explanation saying that two lorries don't just disappear. "But," said the assistant, "that's what happened, there's been no sign of them on any road and none of the stock has turned up and it was all very saleable Christmas present - type of stock."
Lois eventually got to the till point and was served. She asked the assistant, if the trucks hadn't been seen leaving the estate where the warehouse was. "No," said the assistant, "they just vanished, the cameras watching the loading bays just went dead and no one's seen them since."
Hah, thought Lois, perhaps the Bon Marche does have everything, even stories.
Lois was sitting back at her desk in the Planet, after dropping her purchases off at home. She tried to contact the security firm who watched the industrail estate that the Bon Marche's warehouse was in but got nowhere. She tried to get a statement from the shop but they were trying to keep such a breach in security quiet. She called Bobby Bigmouth, seeing as how he owed her for his Christmas Lunch earlier and extracted a promise to get information and fast. She sighed and put her head in her hands. Suddenly she felt a warm breath and a quick kiss on the nape of her neck. She turned round. "Clark!".
"Your monitor's blank, what *have* you been doing all day?"
"Looking for something to write about. How was the Zoo?"
"The animals are all safely rehoused. So, what've we got?"
"Well, there was a strange break in at the Bon Marche two nights ago. Two lorries of stock were stolen and no one has seen them since."
"Hmm, strange, Tyrrel's had a break in last night and it was equally mysterious. Maybe there's something in this!"
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get on it!"
Three hours later, Lois looked over at Clark's desk. He was engrossed in a document that Jimmy had dug up from the Planet archives. She glanced at her watch, it was late, very late. Most of the other staffers had gone home since it had been a very quiet news day. She knew that she and Clark wouldn't even have been interested in this story if there had been anything more exciting available. Lois decided that she was bored. Bobby wouldn't be in touch until the next day now and they had read over everything they had several times and nothing had jumped out at them. She wandered over to Clark's desk and kissed him lightly. He returned it and smiled.
"I need to go home. I've just read this page five times and I still don't know what it actually says."
"Likewise, perhaps there's nothing in this and the stores are just being ripped off by a clever insider who's good at manipulating camera evidence. Let's leave it until tomorrow"
"Agreed, so do you want to come back to my place … for dinner or something?"
"Can't I have both?" Lois grinned wickedly as Clark's face showed that he hadn't realised the implications of what he had asked. "Sure, Clark, you've probably got more edible things in your refrigerator than I have but just so long as you have dessert."
Lois leant her head on Clark's shoulder as they walked hand in hand along the road. It was a frosty but clear night and they had decided that it would be nice to walk home and get some fresh air. As they walked along, they looked at the shop windows all decked out in Christmas scenes and talked about Christmas.
"So are you all ready to come out to Smallville for Christmas?"
"Yes, I've even bought most of my presents and wrapped them."
"I'm impressed, Lois, you usually hate shopping for presents. So what did you get me?"
"It's a surprise," Lois didn't want to admit that she hadn't found his present yet, "and I'm planning on putting it in a leadlined box so you can't peek at it under the Christmas tree. Notice I haven't asked what you've bought me - I can wait and be surprised."
Clark laughed, "What happened to the woman who said that she only liked surprises when she knew about them in advance. So you're not the least bit curious about your present?"
"No, …well…yes but I'm not going to be spoiled. I'm just going to wait until Christmas."
"That's just as well, 'cos I wouldn't have told you anyway."
Lois playfully slapped Clark on the chest. "Huh!" she snorted and was about to reply when Clark suddenly stopped walking and stopped in front of the window of a Hi Fi shop.
"I really do need a new stereo. 'Cos my hearing's so sensitive it just picks up all the crackling from the speakers though I suppose that would happen no matter what machine I bought. Still it might not be as bad as it is at the moment."
Lois thought, "Hmmm, well if I get really stuck, then I know what to buy him but I want to get him something more personal that we can look back on with our grandchildren and say, that's what Lois bought me our first Christmas together."
Lois shivered as Clark looked in the window.
He glanced over. "Sorry, come on, Let's get home and into the warmth." This time he didn't take her hand but put his arm round her to try to heat her up.
Lois grinned, she wasn't really interested in hi-fi and her ploy to both get home quicker and get closer to Clark had worked perfectly.
Lois put her empty bowl down on the table and snuggled back into Clark's side on the sofa. They had decided to eat dessert an hour or so after dinner while watching the TV. "That vanilla ice cream was wonderful with the apple crumble. Thanks for a lovely dinner."
"You're welcome. I decided that chocolate didn't really go with apple crumble though I hope you appreciated the bits of flaked chocolate on the top."
"I did, it was gorgeous. Now why don't they make full bars of chocolate that taste that good? I mean, I suppose you could eat lots of little bits of it but it would be so much better if someone would sell it before they broke it all up."
Clark stood up and went over to the kitchen. He opened one of the cupboards and took out a pack of yellow wrapped chocolate bars. He took one out and went back over to the sofa. "Here, consider this an early Christmas present. In Britain, they sell chocolate that flakes apart but they sell it in a bar."
Lois looked at it. It was a long, thin six inch bar of chocolate. "Hey, they even call it a Flake"
"There is a knack to eating it, Lois, if you're not careful, it'll break up all over you. Just slide an inch or so out of the packet and eat it slowly but watch out, I don't want everything covered in little flakes of chocolate."
"Hmm, this is gorgeous," Lois closed her eyes as she began to eat the Flake.
Clark watched fascinated as her mouth closed around the end of the chocolate and mentally shook himself. He decided that he should go and tidy the kitchen before he lost what self control he had.
Lois stood in the elevator the next morning, smiling to herself. It was nearly Christmas and this year she was going to spend it with the man she loved. Now if she could only think of a suitable present. She looked up at Clark and smiled.
He glanced down and their eyes met and spoke volumes. She reached out for his hand and squeezed it. He grinned back and they walked out into the newsroom. Perry watched them enter hand in hand. He remembered a time when Lois wouldn't let a man near her but Clark had persevered and now he had got his reward. Perry had felt a bit like a successful matchmaker when they had announced their engagement seeing as how it was him who had forced them to work together. He smiled and walked out into the newsroom. "Lane! Kent! Come in here now!" he couldn't appear too happy after all.
Lois sat in the chair in Perry's office with Clark standing behind her, outlining the story they were working on.
Perry huffed, " Well, it's more than anyone else has got but it'd better be a good one! On you go!"
Jimmy came up to Lois' desk as she and Clark sat down with their coffee. "Have you guys heard about Mindy Church? She's responded to the wishes of Bill to try to help the world and she's announced that she's going to give Christmas presents to the old and needy of Metropolis. What a woman! I know that she's rich but it still must be going to cost her a lot of money."
Lois and Clark looked at each other, "Not necessarily! Thanks Jimmy," putting down their coffee, they ran for the elevator.
Jimmy was left standing in their wake looking very confused.
"So you're thinking what I'm thinking. Mindy Church has organised these thefts from the department stores so that she can look like a benevolent Mrs Claus on Christmas Eve."
"Well, Clark, it sounds feasible. Intergang probably has contacts in these stores that could arrange for blank tapes to be put in the cameras and to configure the security systems so that they don't respond to intruders."
"Right! So let's find Bobby and see if he's found anything out."
"Come on Bobby, I bought you Christmas dinner yesterday for no info at all. You'd better have something for me today."
"OK, OK! I heard that another store was broken into last night. Fenbridges on Union St. Same situation, the camera went dead and the stuff just disappeared. No getaway vehicles were seen and they must've used something to move the stuff out with 'cos they got a lot."
"So there are two department stores left that haven't been hit, Bainwicks and Tiffindales. Thanks Bobby."
"Oh, yes and you never heard this from me but Fenbridges was owned by one of Intergang's buddies and they're not impressed with the culprit 'cos they had promised to protect his property if he joined them."
Lois slumped back in her chair at the Planet. "So d'you think that Mindy is double crossing her cohorts or do you think that she has nothing to do with the crimes?"
"Well, I know that there's a thieves code of honour but I don't think I'd trust a criminal to follow it. There's only one way to find out …"
"I know, a stakeout and I was looking forward to another evening in!"
"But there are two stores, which do we watch?"
"I think it's time for a shopping expedition. We'll each go to a store and find out which is expecting a delivery and if one's due one today, that one will probably be done tonight."
"Sounds reasonable. You take Bainwicks and I'll take Tiffindales."
"You take Tiffindales and I'll take Bainwicks", they said simultaneously and grinned at each other.
Jimmy, who had been passing smiled, "Did you guys practice that?"
Lois decided that her trip to Bainwicks might as well serve another purpose, so she intended to look for Clark's present while she was there. She walked around each floor, looking at promising displays but came up blank. She even went to look at the Hi fi displays that were playing to look at them but still felt that they were a little impersonal. She sighed and a shop assistant came over.
"You look a little confused! What are you looking for?"
"Um, I'm fine. I'm just trying to think of a present for my fiance and I can't. I want something special 'cos it's our first Christmas as a couple and I thought about a stereo but it's not personal enough and I want something that's never going to date and that we can look at in 50 years time, if he can put up with me that long, and remember this first Christmas by. Does that make sense at all to you?"
"Uh - huh! Well, are you living together?"
"No, well we spend most of our time together in one apartment or other but we're not officially living together."
"Well, why don't you buy something in anticipation of living together but that you know he'd particularly like?"
"You mean, like buy something for *our* place as opposed to *his* place?"
"Yes, but nothing functional that you'd have to buy anyway, something else like a good painting or something."
"That's a good idea! Thanks!"
Clark wandered around Tiffindales. He had found out that they weren't expecting a delivery until Wednesday night. They'd better find something out then. They were supposed to be going to Smallville on Friday night for Christmas and he knew that now that Intergang was involved, Lois wouldn't leave until she got to the bottom of the story.
It was still early and seeing as how they were probably going to have to sit on a stakeout tonight, Clark decided to wander around the Food Hall and make up a picnic basket for them.
He had gathered together a few bits and pieces when he considered getting a bottle of wine. He decided that they would be working and was leaving the drinks section when he noticed a bottle of flavoured vodka. Chocolate flavoured imported from the UK - seeing as how Lois had liked British chocolate, he decided to buy the bottle for her stocking.
Lois was wandering around the gifts section of Bainwicks. She didn't really like the paintings much but then she saw what she wanted. It was a dark bronze sculpture, about 15" high, of a stylised man and a woman. They were kneeling nude facing each other, their hands moving over the other's body and their lips just meeting. There was such emotion and love shown in it that it reminded Lois of herself and Clark and she knew that he would feel the same. She bought it.
Lois and Clark were sitting in the Jeep in front of Bainwicks. Lois had discovered that there had been a delivery that day and that the toy department was fully stocked. From the jeep, they could see right into the toys section and so far all was well.
Clark pulled out the hamper with all the goodies that he had bought earlier and they decided to eat.
"So what're we doing in Smallville?"
"Well, Saturday, we'll go into town and get the last minute shopping. Then we'll go out at night to the town Christmas party. Sunday, we'll go and cut down the tree and decorate it and Sunday night, we'll all spend together. Monday's Christmas. We'll open the presents in the morning, Mom can never wait until later, and then go for a walk while the turkey cooks."
"It sounds so Christmassy! We used to open the presents and have the turkey. No that's not right, Dad wouldn't let us open the presents until after Christmas lunch and we never used to get involved with all the other bits"
"Yeah, but that's part of what makes Christmas special"
"I know. Thanks for asking me to come with you. This will probably be the most perfect Christmas I'll ever have had."
Clark stared at Lois in disbelief, " Lois, you don't need to thank me! I love you and I'd spend Christmas anywhere as long as you were there and I should be thanking you for agreeing to come to Smallville and making my Christmas perfect."
Lois turned to him and kissed him with tears in her eyes.
Clark kissed the tears away and then returned his attention to her mouth.
She closed her eyes to enjoy his kiss and promptly fell asleep.
There was a knock on the jeep door. Lois opened her eyes and blinked in astonishment to see a policeman standing outside. She looked over at Clark and shook him awake before rolling down the window.
"May I ask what you're doing here, ma'am?"
"Um, we were just stopping off to have a bite to eat before going home, officer."
"You didn't see anything peculiar then?"
"No, why?" Lois looked into Bainwicks, the toy department had been emptied.
"Oh, no! We slept through a burglary!"
A few hours later, Lois and Clark were allowed to leave the police station.
"I can't believe they kept us there for so long!"
"We'd probably still be there, Lois, if you hadn't convinced them that we had fallen asleep and hadn't seen any of it."
"Yes, well, Inspector Henderson didn't have to laugh quite so hard when I said that I couldn't believe I'd fallen asleep kissing you before we had…"
"You did get yourself in a pickle but it got us out of there."
"Yes and despite that inopportune nap, I'm still tired. Let's just go home and get some sleep."
They arrived at Lois apartment.
"Clark, will you stay please? I'm just a little spooked about how we could both fall asleep and I don't want to be alone. I just want to be held and cuddled."
Clark nodded and followed her into the apartment. They got ready for bed and then climbed in. Clark pulled Lois to him and settled her against him, kissing the top of her head gently. Soon they were both asleep.
Lois woke up and glanced over at Clark who was still sleeping. He'd had to go out and be Superman so she decided to leave him to sleep. She went into the bathroom and had a shower. She still thought it was odd that they had fallen asleep in the car - maybe kissing Clark wasn't the thrill it had been before, even last night when they had got home, all she wanted was a cuddle.
She came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and noticed that Clark was awake and watching appreciatively.
She walked around to get to her underwear drawer but Clark grabbed her and pulled her down onto the bed. He kissed her, she tilted her head back and he deepened the kiss as her hands moved round to his back to caress him. Just as he was about to try to take the towel off, the phone rang.
It was Perry, "I've just heard about last night! I want you in here now!"
Lois grimaced, "We always get interrupted." Then she burst out laughing, "I guess we've just proved that there must've been an outside influence last night to make us fall asleep. I knew kissing you didn't make me sleepy."
Perry was not impressed! "You fell asleep while there was a robbery going on!"
"Well, yes chief, but we think that it was a part of the robbery. I mean, the guards have fallen asleep in every robbery and I think that we've just proved that they couldn't have been in on the burglary."
"So how are you going to find out?"
"Well there's another delivery planned tonight and we think that seeing as how the police are watching all the roads, we're going to be on the next roof where we might get a better view of everything."
"And if someone is gassing everyone, they won't suspect anyone being on the next roof so we should be awake."
"Good idea, Lois, Clark, I just hope that it works for your sakes!"
Lois and Clark were sitting on the edge of the roof of the building across the road from Tiffindales. They had brought a rug to sit on although Clark had heated up the concrete before they put the rug down.
Clark was sitting with his arm round Lois so that she kept warm.
"Do you think that we're going to see anything?"
"I don't know, Lois, I hope so. If we don't, well, it'll be too late. The Church Group is handing out all the gifts tomorrow afternoon so there'll be no need to steal anymore then."
A few hours passed while Lois and Clark sat enjoying each others nearness, making some conversation but mostly relaxing in a comfortable silence until Lois feet herself growing sleepy. "Clark, I think I need help staying awake, Could you give me a pick me up?"
Clark looked puzzled, "A pick me up?…Oh, sure!" He bent to her lips. As he kissed her, her hand reached up and cupped his head. He wondered if Lois was wearing a bracelet 'because he heard a slight jingle in the background.
The jingle rang again, Clark reluctantly pulled away from Lois and stared in disbelief. There on Tiffindales' roof was a sleigh with several reindeer.
Lois and Clark looked at each other. "Did we fall asleep again?"
Clark stood up and spun into Superman. Picking Lois up, he flew them across to the top of Tiffindales.
The sleigh was half loaded with presents. As they looked at the sleigh, they saw a short, fat man appear from inside the shop with a sackful of gifts.
"Santa Claus?" they chorused.
"Superman! How did you avoid the pixie dust that I borrowed from the sandman to make everyone fall asleep?"
"Santa, you're the one who's been stealing all the gifts. But why?"
"Well, I've had no choice. My elves went on strike because they felt that no one gave them any recognition, it was only myself and Rudolf that were remembered. Some people remember the names of the other reindeer but no one knows the elves. I tried to convince them to keep working but I was short of presents and I had to get them from somewhere. You won't tell anyone, will you?"
"Santa, I don't think anyone would believe us if we tried but how did you get in and out without anyone seeing you?"
"The same way as I get into houses without chimneys and how I know what everyone wants for Christmas … magic!"
"But what about the stores that have lost all their stock?"
"Well, I was going to pay for it but I didn't know how. I've got lots of gold that I've had for centuries but you can't leave a crockful of gold on people's doorsteps."
Clark thought for a moment, "OK, give me the gold and I'll go and see the people concerned and sort this out."
"Would you, Superman? , Thank you so much! I've got to fly. It's Christmas Eve in three days and I've got 17 million parcels to wrap." With that, the man jumped into the sleigh and cracked his whip, the reindeer leapt into the air and were soon out of sight.
Lois shook her head, "Did we just see what I thought we just saw?"
Clark nodded, "Yes, but how're we going to explain this one to Perry?"
Lois and Clark had got away from Metropolis early on Friday after turning in their story on Thursday.
Superman had taken the gold to the owners of the department stores and told them the truth on the condition that they couldn't mention it and had to say that they had been mistaken and the stock had been mislaid, sent to another shop by accident or been moved as part of an elaborate practical joke. They had looked disbelievingly until he pointed out that they were talking to a man who could fly and decided to use the practical joke excuse because it made them seem less inept.
Clark and Lois had written a story about how Christmas spirit could make people devise crazy plans and made up a fictional account of how the tricks had been accomplished that the Metropolis readership was only too happy to lap up.
Lois did wish that they'd been able to use the real version. Definitive proof of Santa would've been worth a Pulitzer!
It was Christmas morning. Lois and Clark were lying asleep in Clark's room in Kansas. The faint morning sun shone through the window and woke them up.
"Merry Christmas," said Lois, giving Clark a kiss.
"Merry Christmas, yourself," he replied.
Lois felt something lying across her legs and sat up. There was a stocking lying across her feet. Lois laughed, "Well at least now we've got a stocking each to open."
Clark laughed and leaning down, picking them both up, he handed Lois' to her. They sat each putting their hand in and pulling something out.
"Chocolate Vodka! - well that might be fun to try, where did you find it?"
"This jigsaw puzzle is impossible!"
"Hmm, the Chocolate Club! You do know my weaknesses, don't you?"
"A *Superman* tie! Very funny."
"A snowflake tree ornament?"
"What? I didn't buy that, I've got one too!"
"It's engraved 'Many thanks for keeping my secret, I'll keep yours. Season's Greetings, Santa Claus.' Hey, at least now we know we weren't dreaming."
Soon the stockings were empty except for one bulge at the toe. They looked at each other and both stretched their arms in to pull it out. Out came identical pots of chocolate paint! Lois and Clark looked at each other and burst out laughing!
"To think I agonised over whether I should buy it or not!" chuckled Lois
"You did? So did I!" grinned Clark.
"So do we get to try it out?"
"I'm game if you are!"
Just then there was a knock at the door. "Merry Christmas, you two! Breakfast is ready!"
"Later!" they promised each other.
There were two gifts left under the tree. The Kents and Lois were sitting surrounded by wrapping paper and parcels. Lois' gifts had been well appreciated by Martha and Jonathan and she had been equally delighted with hers from them.
Martha picked up the last two parcels. "One for Clark from Lois and one for Lois from Clark."
Lois peeled open the paper slowly and found a jewelry box. She opened it to find a slender gold chain with a strange pendant. It was two strips of gold twisted around each other and if you looked closely enough, the strips seemed to look human. "It's beautiful, Thank you, Clark!"
Clark stood up and put the necklace on. As he brushed the hair at her neck away, he whispered in her ear, "You can see the pendant as both halves of me linked or as the two of us, joined together forever."
Lois looked down at it and then raised her face to his and kissed him, "I think it's the two of us."
Clark went over to the box and opened his gift. As he pulled out the sculpture his face broke into a smile.
Lois spoke, "Do you like it? I didn't know what to buy and I wanted to get something special so that we'd always remember this Christmas and I thought it would look nice in our apartment when we get it …"
Clark stopped her torrent with a kiss. "It's perfect", he said, "it speaks volumes and all of them about a love like ours. Thank you."
Lois smiled, "No Clark, thank you, this has been the best Christmas of my life."