By Wendy Richards <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2000
Summary: A romantic continuation of the episode "Seasons' Greedings," picking up where the show left off.
Lois stood by Clark's side, gazing down out of her large picture window at the scene below as the carollers sang their Christmas message. In the space of less than half an hour her Christmas Eve had changed from a lonely, miserable experience to perhaps the best Christmas she had ever had. All through December, Clark had been trying to convince her that Christmas could be wonderful, even magical, but she had refused to believe him. And yet now…
Now, as the notes and harmonies echoed upwards, she knew what Clark had meant about Christmas magic. It had all started when she'd opened her door to find him there, when he should have been in Smallville with his family. Oh, he'd muttered something about the planes being grounded because of snow, but that had been such a patent lie. She'd known it, and he'd known she knew it too, but she hadn't dared ask him why he'd given up his Christmas with his parents for her. She knew the answer, though: because she would have been alone otherwise, and Clark cared too much for her to allow that to happen.
So he'd come to be with her, and he'd even brought her a Christmas present, which had surprised her since they'd already exchanged presents the previous evening. That star, which he'd said was from both him and Superman; it was beautiful, and it had brought a lump to her throat, because it was a sign that both men cared enough for her to choose something special, something which could not simply be *bought*. It looked ice- cold, and yet was strangely warm to the touch, and was less fragile than it appeared at first sight, and when she'd put it on the top of her poor bedraggled tree it somehow seemed to make the tree itself look more proud. She would have to ask Superman, next time she saw him, exactly where he'd got it or how he had made it; Clark's simple upward gesture with his finger had not been that informative.
She hoped Clark would be able to get another flight first thing in the morning, though. It wouldn't be fair if he didn't get a chance to see his folks at all because of her. Perhaps she would ask him later.
But not now. Now… her hand, almost of its own volition, slipped into his, and his fingers closed around hers as if the gesture was entirely natural. But why had she done that? Lois had no idea — but it had seemed the right thing, the natural thing to do. Like moving closer to her best friend, too, and even laying her head on his shoulder. He returned that gesture by resting his own head on top of hers.
They stayed in that position for what seemed like a very long time; the carollers, almost as if they knew that this was a very special moment for their audience, lingered long enough to sing a second carol. As the final verse of 'God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen' faded away, Lois was suddenly conscious of the sheer proximity of her partner, her friend. Oh, being physically close to Clark was nothing new: they were both people who tended to reinforce words with gestures and even touches, and besides, they had been exchanging hugs on occasion since their friendship became openly acknowledged between them. But this… this was somehow different. She was holding his hand, and their heads rested together, and she knew very well that any outsider seeing them would automatically assume that they were an established couple. Which they weren't… but right now that possibility suddenly didn't feel unpleasant. Far from it.
In fact, as the music died away entirely, she knew that it would be the most natural thing in the world right now for her to turn to Clark, and he to her, and for them to kiss. Which was exactly why it would not happen, she knew. They were best friends, and their friendship had survived a number of traumas — including Clark telling her back before the summer that he was in love with her. She had rejected his love then, and had prepared to marry another man, stopping the wedding only at the altar. Clark had later retracted his declaration of love, just at the point at which she'd been prepared to tell him that her feelings for him were stronger than she'd thought. That entire incident had made her realise that perhaps it was safer if she and Clark remained close friends. If they allowed anything else, such as sexual attraction, to get in the way, it would destroy their friendship. He'd clearly come to the same conclusion, she had decided.
But… as Clark moved slightly away from her, she was conscious of a sense of loss, a regret for what might have been, an opportunity lost. She must have uttered some tiny whimper of protest, however, for suddenly he was looking down at her, concern in his soft brown eyes.
She gazed up at him, her own eyes liquid, and she saw in his expression something… longing? Her lips parted involuntarily as she continued to stare up at him, and her free hand raised itself almost of its own accord to rest on his chest.
Afterwards, she could never tell which one of them had moved first. All she knew was that suddenly his lips were on hers and her arms had looped themselves loosely around his neck, her fingers touching the ends of his hair. The first touch of his lips almost had the power of an electric shock; with an inarticulate cry, she parted her lips further under his, allowing him access.
His kiss was at first tentative, as if he was afraid she would push him away, but as her response let him know that she wasn't objecting, he grew more confident. His hands came up to cup her face, holding her tenderly as his mouth continued to explore her, nibbling at her lips, his tongue darting forward to tease her.
Suddenly Lois knew that all her earlier rationalisations about maintaining a platonic friendship with Clark were a complete fallacy. The reason she felt so close to this man, the reason he had become essential to her life, was that she was in love with him. And she had probably been in love with him for a very long time. And he loved her too, she was sure of it. She had no idea why he'd told her he didn't that day outside the Planet, but that didn't matter now. They were meant to be together, lovers as well as friends.
Kissing him back with all the love she felt for him, Lois realised that she knew something else too, and she would have some questions for Clark once they ended the kiss. For instance, why had he decided to come to her as Clark rather than Superman tonight? Although she could guess the answer to that one. He wanted her to accept him as Clark, the man he thought he really was, rather than the flashy Super-hero in the costume. And yet, now that she'd realised the truth, she could see that Clark *was* the Super-hero too, in so many ways. But he was also the kind, gentle, caring, humorous guy she worked beside, and loved.
Why had she suddenly realised the truth tonight, when she'd known Clark for a year and a half and had never guessed? She wasn't sure exactly; perhaps it was a combination of things. Before Clark had knocked at her door, she'd heard the rush of wind which usually preceded Superman's appearance at her window, for one. And perhaps she'd finally seen through the coincidences of Clark's disappearances and Superman's arrival on the scene. And perhaps the truth had been revealed in their kiss, when Clark had kissed her for the first time in a way which laid his heart bare before her.
Perhaps. And perhaps it was all part of the true magic of Christmas.
Clark raised his head then, smiling warmly, lovingly, down at her and drew her back into the centre of the room, near the tree. Still holding her close to him, his hand caressed her hair as he gazed at her, his love blazing from his eyes. "Merry Christmas, Lois," he whispered huskily.
She smiled up at him then, reaching up to caress his jaw. "Thanks to you, it is, Clark," she told him softly. "I love you — both of you."
Before his jaw could hit the floor, she had reached up and silenced his questions with her kiss.
- The End, and Christmas Greetings to All -