By Karen Thompkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2003
Summary: Superman grants a child's wish on Christmas Day.
Author's note: I have to admit, this is one story that comes straight from the heart. My eldest brother is being deployed this December, and he won't be able to spend Christmas with us. A few comments made by my younger brother when he heard the news gave me some ideas for this story. Thanks to Wendy for reading this on such short notice, and giving me some great ideas and comments.
Dedication: Yes, there is one. To all the service men and women overseas and their families this Christmas season. And especially to my brothers: Jim, wherever they send you, be safe; and Tim, I wish I could make this true for you.
Lois groaned as she set another letter in a large pile next to the kitchen table. "Who do they think you are, Santa Claus? Or Bill Gates?"
Clark laughed as he read another letter. "I'm not sure. Kids don't realize that toys cost money, most of the time." Superman had offered to fulfill ten children's wishes "within reason" to help the local Christmas charities. He had told them he would go through the letters himself, as sometimes the charities weren't sure exactly *which* wishes Superman could make come true. Which was the reason Lois and Clark were going through mailbags of letters.
Lois plucked another one out of the bag. "Here's one. 'Dear Superman. This year for Christmas I want a dolly, and a toy truck like Bobby has, and a kitty. Love Sally, age 7.' I'm sure he'll just fly right up to the North Pole, he's good friends with Santa."
"They aren't all like that, you know." Clark waved a letter at her. "'Dear Superman. All I want this year is my Daddy back. Mommy said he went up to Heaven, but I know you can fly really high. Can you bring him back for me?' Those are the ones that get to me. And the ones that want me to make someone well." He added that letter to a pile to be forwarded back to the charities.
Lois let out a sigh as she read the next letter. "Here's one you might be able to do. 'Dear Superman. This year, I don't want toys or presents or clothes or anything. I'm asking Santa for those, because I know he can't bring me what I really want. You see, the only thing I want for Christmas this year is my brother. Lee is being '— I think he was trying to write deployed here, but he couldn't spell it — 'sent over to where the fighting is this month. I'm afraid he's not going to come back, or I'll never see him again. Please, Superman, is there any way you can get my brother here for Christmas? Thank you very very very very very much, Timmy, age 11.'"
"Put that in the keep pile. We can have Jimmy track down the information and see if we can't get in touch with his commanding officer or someone. Here's another one who just wants to fly. We can keep that one in, too."
"Whew, last one. And that one wants toys too. That part's done. What's next?" Lois looked around at all the papers lying on and around the table.
"Well, we've got a few more than ten kids here in the keep pile, so we probably need to whittle that down a bit. Here, hold these down." Clark set two piles of papers on the table, and whirled around the room. Papers magically disappeared from the floor and reappeared in the mailbags as the miniature tornado flew around the room. A minute later, order triumphed over chaos to reign again.
"That's better. Now, I'll take that pile to give back to the charity tomorrow." Clark took one pile and set it on the counter, out of the way. The room was silent for the next few minutes as they pored over the letters again, trying to determine which children would receive their special wishes that year.
Timothy looked around the dining room at his family sitting around the table, talking happily and eating breakfast. Every other year was a big treat for him, since that was when his big brother and sister came and spent Christmas with the rest of the family. Everyone was there this year. Everyone but Lee. It scared him to think that his brother was way on the other side of the world surrounded by people he didn't know. Timmy had heard enough on the news to know it was a scary place. He let out a big sigh at the thought of it.
His sister reached over and squeezed him in a hug. "Don't worry, he's fine. We might even be able to call him later."
"I know, sissy, but it's not the same. I want him here."
"So do we." She hugged him again, and dropped a kiss on the top of his head. Timmy glared up at her for the kiss, which only made her laugh. Sisters. Suddenly, she cocked her head, listening to something. "Wait a minute…what in the world? Is that what I think it is?"
A moment later, the jingling of bells could be heard above the house. Even in a small town, bells weren't something that were normally heard. Suddenly, the bells stopped, and a knocking at the door was heard.
Timmy knocked over his chair in his haste to get to the door, and was first one there to open it. Standing there was a large man in a blue suit and a red cape. It was really him, it was really Superman!
"Mr. Timothy Jones?" Timmy nodded, afraid that if he spoke, the man in front of him would disappear. "I've got a present for you." The rest of his family stood behind him, unable to believe their eyes, unsure if that really was the Man of Steel in front of them. Superman stepped to the side, revealing a young man dressed in an army field uniform, a red bow on his head instead of a green cap.
"BUBBY!" Timmy launched himself at his brother, nearly knocking him back as hugged him tight. After a moment, everyone else got over their surprise and crowded around the young serviceman.
Once they'd gotten the initial hugs out of the way, Timmy's dad looked at Superman. "I don't understand. How…?"
"Timmy wrote me a letter about wanting his brother home for Christmas. Luckily, it was one wish I was able to grant. I flew over and spoke to his superiors, and they were kind enough to let him come home for the day." Superman knelt down next to Timmy. "I'll have to fly him back later, but you'll have a few hours together. Is that okay?"
Timmy nodded. "Yeah." He glanced up at his brother, then threw his arms around Superman's neck. "Thank you so much."
"You're welcome. Have a good Christmas."
"I will, now that my brother's here. Hey, you wanna come in for some breakfast?"
Superman grinned. "No, thank you, I still have things to do and places to be. Yours wasn't the only wish on my list today. I'll see you later."
Superman got his own round of hugs and handshakes before he was allowed to leave. He waved at the Jones family as he rose into the air, a big smile on his face.
Clark looked down at the happy family below before starting his flight back. He had actually "granted" most of the wishes the day before, leaving only the Christmas-specific ones for that morning. The lucky ten kids had actually turned into seventeen by the time he was through. He wished he could grant every child their wish, but the ones that he could made a big difference. It was worth it to see the happy smiles on their shining faces.
Clark pulled a paper out of a hidden pocket in his suit, and noted the last wish on his list. A little girl in Florida wanted a snowball for Christmas. All he had to do was first stop by his house and pick up a cooler before heading south via Vermont. Once that was done, he could spend the rest of the day in Smallville, where his parents and Lois were just waking up. He was very thankful that he could spend a semi-quiet day surrounded by his whole family, and was looking forward to it. He just hoped that one day he would be able to share it with his own children.