By Lote (The Hawk) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2001
Summary: Clark had left for New Krypton, and as time passed by, the hope of his return grew dimmer. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Lois tried to organize a dinner to show her appreciation of the people still with her and in remembrance of Clark who was far away.
Author's note: This is a story of hope…that one day, those separated from their loved ones will be able to reunite. I'd like to thank Ann for her help in straightening out the episodes alluded to in this story. I'd also like to thank my fantastic beta readers, Tricia and Merry for their comments and suggestions on this story and on Wounded Angels.
The turkey didn't look appetizing at all. Lois sighed as she wondered why she was even bothering to cook anything this Thanksgiving. No one was coming, anyway. Her parents had called separately, each complaining about the other. It seemed that they had another argument and were not speaking to each other. Lucy had called that afternoon to say that her newest boyfriend really wanted her to meet his parents for Thanksgiving, so she wasn't coming. Perry had just gotten back with Alice and they had decided to take a second honeymoon over the long weekend. Jimmy was down with flu. 'And Clark…' she thought, holding back her tears as she remembered the reason she was trying to organize this Thanksgiving dinner.
Clark had been gone these past few months, gone to save the New Kryptonians. She had heard nothing from him since. As far as the world was concerned, Clark was a missing person. When he didn't turn up for work the day after Superman left, Perry had Jimmy and her go out looking for him. When all avenues seemed to lead to nowhere, he finally filed a missing person's report to the police and gently broke the news to the Kents.
Martha, who had been like a rock to Lois for the first few days, broke down and cried. Even though the Kents knew that Clark was off fighting a war it was not easy for them to accept his decision. The missing person report was just another nail in the coffin; it brought home to Martha, and also to Lois, the stark reality that Clark might not come back. As Lois watched Martha crying, she felt tears roll down her own cheeks. The two women cried together as Perry and Jonathan tried to comfort them.
As days, then weeks, and later months passed by, the hope that Clark was ever returning grew slimmer and slimmer. In her lonelier moments, Lois questioned whether he would ever come home to her. Time helped to lessen the pain of separation, as did the whirlwind of activities she found herself in. To help occupy her time, in order not to dwell too much on his absence, Lois worked longer hours, and even volunteered to help organize a lot of the office functions and other events. Perry tried to make her slow down without much success. However, in the dark of the night, when she found herself alone in the newsroom or in bed, there was nothing that kept the reality of his absence at bay. She often found herself turning over her shoulder to ask for his opinion on the draft she was writing or just his opinion in general. When that happened, she found an empty spot where Clark used to be. It was the same with her heart. An empty, lonely spot.
But life goes on, or so they say. If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. So, she tried to. She had written a great expose on corruption in the military, which Perry predicted would be the one to win her that Pulitzer. An effort she made all by herself, even though she wished that it were otherwise. She kept up with the Kents, calling Martha and Jonathan at least once a week. Like Lois, they too tried to go on with their lives. However, Martha would catch herself stocking up on Clark's favorite food. Jonathan, likewise, caught himself reminding an absent Clark to do a particularly difficult chore at the farm. The three helped each other cope with their mutual loss. Lois drew a lot of strength from the Kents as she watched them forge on without Clark.
It was this strength that had made her organize this dinner. The Kents had invited her for Thanksgiving. She had declined, not because she hadn't felt comfortable joining them, but because she wanted to start her own tradition. She had never had a Thanksgiving dinner in her life, that she was aware of; her family was just never thankful enough for each other. She hoped that this year would be different. That this year, with her parents reconciled, they could finally come together as a family. She was grateful to have family and friends, even if she was missing the one person she loved the most. So, her intentions were to gather those closest to her in a celebration of thanks for the ones who were present, and in remembrance of those who were absent.
It didn't work out that way. She was stuck now, all alone with a gigantic burnt turkey, and a soggy pumpkin pie. No one was coming. Perhaps she should have taken up the Kents' offer in the first place. Martha had been disappointed that Lois turned her down. But she supported Lois's decision about gathering her family together for their very first Thanksgiving. She even shared the recipe for the turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Lois wondered what to do with the food. She didn't think that anyone would want to eat her cooking, even if it was edible. Perhaps she could cut up the turkey into smaller pieces and throw it into the trash. She wished Clark were there. He'd have done what she was contemplating in a matter of seconds.
Her thoughts drifted back to her missing fianc‚. It would have been nice if he was around. She remembered last Christmas when her parents were there. Clark had given her a lot of support then. She missed that support. In fact, she missed him badly. Sighing, she went about cleaning up the mess. The mess wasn't going to clean itself up while she daydreamed about Clark. As she went about cleaning, her stomach growled.
"Sounds like someone is starving, and on Thanksgiving Night, no less," a very familiar voice came from behind her.
She whirled around, knocking a glass to the floor. However, the glass was saved from a death by shattering when a man's hand caught it. Lois followed the hand as it raised the glass to the man's face. She watched in fascination as he scrutinized the glass. "Clark?" she finally managed to find her voice enough to whisper.
He immediately abandoned his pretense at scrutinizing the glass and focused on the reason for him being there. "Yes, Lois. It's me," he said, putting down the glass.
She raised her arms to touch him before letting them go again. She couldn't quite believe her senses. Perhaps if she touched him, he'd be gone and she would be left with nothing. Had she missed him so much that she was conjuring him up? Or did she have too much to drink? Strange, but she hadn't had a drop.
Clark, on the other hand, wondered if there was something wrong when she dropped her hand. Had things changed since he left? Was she cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for someone special? He couldn't bear to think that she found another person to replace him. "Lois? Honey, aren't you glad that I'm back?" He touched her cheeks softly with the tips of his fingers.
That brought her to back to reality. Feeling the caress, she finally managed to believe that he was real, not a figment of her imagination. "Clark? You're here? Oh Clark!" she sighed, as she melted into his embrace. She buried her face in his chest, inhaling deeply Clark's unique scent. Something she wasn't aware that she missed until now. Without knowing why, she started crying.
He held her tightly, relief running through him as her actions told him that she hadn't change her mind about them. "I'm here, Lois. I'm here," he kept repeating as he stroked her hair in a comforting gesture. He continued until her sobs stopped and she moved to step out of the embrace.
She looked up at the face she had so longed to behold once more. As she gazed at him, she realized how imperfect memories could be. While she had missed him so much those past few months, her memory of his face had faded. But now, looking at him brought it all back. Like a blind person, she used both of her hands to trace the contours of his face: the beautiful mouth, the nose, the lush eyebrows and the stubbled jaws. Obviously he hadn't bothered to shave.
As her explorations ended, the reality slowly sank in; he was here at last. On Thanksgiving Day. Her eyes closed, once again trying to hold back tears. This time, it was tears of joy. What a happy Thanksgiving Day this was turning out to be. To be once more reunited with her beloved was a blessing she had almost given up on.
Similar thoughts ran through Clark's mind as he let her hands touch his face as if to memorize it. He had almost given up trying to get home. The war had taken its toll on him and so did the political bickering of the New Kryptonians. He was glad to finally be able to return home: to return to Lois. Home was wherever Lois was. Once he had called his parents' farm his home, but now he qualified that statement with the word 'childhood', his childhood home. Ever since he found Lois, his home was with her. He was especially thankful that he still had a home with her. Truly, a time to give thanks.
Their contemplation of each other was interrupted by another growl issued from the vicinity of Lois's stomach. That broke the solemn mood they were in, and both started to giggle, soon the giggles turned to pure joyful laughter.
"We'd better feed that stomach of yours, honey," said Clark, grinning widely.
"Seems so," Lois agreed. Impulsively, she gave him a big hug. "Oh, Clark, how I missed you."
"I did too, honey," Clark said softly. "Now, shall we get out of here? I'm sure my parents wouldn't mind us dropping by, do you?"
She looked up at him, surprised. She hadn't realized that he had not contacted his parents yet. "Do your parents know you're back? When did you get here? Why didn't you give us any warning? Clark, we were all so worried. We almost gave up on you ever returning. Please tell me you're not leaving again. Clark, I can't bear another separation. I really can't. I don't think your parents would be too thrilled either," she started to babble.
Clark smiled, thrilled to once more hear her babble. He had missed the way she could go on in a single breath. But if he let her go on, they wouldn't be able to make it to Smallville in time. "Whoa, honey. I promise to answer all your questions when we get to my parents' place. But, just to reassure you, I'm here to stay. That is, if you want me?" he said almost hesitantly.
"Of course, you silly man! Of course I want you."
"Well, then. Let's go to Smallville. My parents don't know that I'm back yet," he said, grinning.
"They'll be so thrilled! You know, this is turning out to be a great Thanksgiving, after all." Lois beamed at him.
He leaned down to kiss her. Meeting him halfway, their lips met in a sweet reunion as they drifted upwards. "I love you," she whispered softly against his lips.
"I love you too," Clark replied in almost reverent tones before their lips met once more in a heartwarming kiss.
They slowly drifted down again, and after Clark helped her clean up, they left to join the elder Kents for a night of celebration and thanks to the One above.