By Jana L. Officer <4EverLnC@journalist.com>
Submitted: January 2004
Summary: Lois writes her very own Christmas list.
Author's Note: This is my response to LabRat's Christmas Carol challenge on the Fanfic Mbs (http://www.lcficmbs.com/). Grown-Up Christmas List isn't a Christmas carol in the truest sense, but it is a great Christmas song, so I thought I'd use it. This is set at the same time as Seasons' Greedings, but for the sake of my own sanity, I didn't try to work the episode in with my fic. Basically, the two are happening simultaneously, I just don't have the skill to write that! :-)
Many thanks to Shelley for being an awesome BR for me. Also, thanks to Sas, for wanting to see what I was writing and then acting as BR, even though my intention had been to give her a break. <g> I appreciate the time you both put in to help me on this challenge fic.
Also, a very happy birthday to Karen. I wanted to surprise her by posting this on her birthday, but I will be out of town. Happy birthday, Karen. I hope you don't mind that it's early.
*"There'd be no more lives torn apart, that wars would never start and time would heal all hearts. Everyone would have a friend, that would right would always win, and love would never end. This is my grown-up Christmas list."*
Lois sighed as she sat up in bed. Christmas Eve. Ugh. She couldn't think of any two days she dreaded more than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Holidays weren't really her thing anyway, but Christmas was the worst. Best to get to work early, she thought. The investigation into the Atomic Space Rats was coming right down to the wire. And to complicate matters, Perry had dropped an assignment on all Planet employees yesterday. One of the powers that be had decided the Christmas pullout section needed an extra touch. Something to give it a homier feel. They decided that it would be "neat" if the entire Planet staff wrote up a "grown-up Christmas list" to include in the special Christmas section of the paper. There were no real requirements. It could be an actual list, an essay, or a letter to Santa. Everyone else seemed to think the assignment was a piece of cake. Clark and Jimmy had both turned in their lists right away.
Lois thought it was a terrible idea, but no one bothered to ask her opinion. She tried whining her way out of the assignment, however Perry wouldn't hear of it. If he had to do one, that meant everyone else did too. Didn't anyone understand that she could barely tolerate Christmas already? Having it shoved in her face didn't help. It just made her more annoyed. She couldn't blame anyone. It wasn't Perry or Clark's fault that they had fond memories of Christmas from when they were younger. Nor was it their fault she had bad memories. It was just how things had turned out. Sad, but true. She couldn't remember ever having a really good Christmas.
"That's what I should put on my list," she mumbled. "A nice Christmas. That would be a first." She grinned as she contemplated how short that "list" would be. She couldn't help adding wistfully, "A really nice first."
Lois marched into Perry's office with a printed copy of her list. She had to do this now, or she would change her mind. "Chief?"
Perry looked up from what he was reading to smile at her. "I hope that's your Christmas list, Lois. I want to put this thing to bed."
"Yes, it is." She gathered her courage and continued on, "I'd prefer to remain anonymous on this one."
He raised his eyebrows. "Okay, honey. If that's what you want."
He nodded, then took the paper from her hand and turned his attention to it. Lois didn't need to see it as he read silently. She had spent so much time crafting the few paragraphs on that paper that she knew the words by heart.
"I've never really been a big fan of Christmas. I could say it's because the holiday has become too commercialized. That's the excuse most people use when asked why they hate Christmas. I have to admit that I have even dusted off that excuse from time to time. It's not true, but it is an easy answer. The real answer is too complicated.
"A grown-up Christmas list. I don't even know where to start. I guess that's because I never really had a child's Christmas list. All my Christmas lists, at least as far back as I can remember, have included things that are very grown-up. I wanted a nice, intact family like most of my friends had. I wanted my parents to be able to stop screaming at one another long enough to have a Christmas dinner in peace. I wanted to not have to be the go between for my sister and my mom. I wanted to know where my dad was on Christmas without having to worry about whether he was safe, lonely. I wanted to be loved for who I was, not who my parents expected me to be.
"I remember, how by the time Christmas break ended, I was more than ready to go back to school. Inevitably though, when school started again, the hot topic would be what everyone did and didn't get for Christmas. Toys, clothes, etc., and I would think, 'Who cares?' All I wanted was something most of my classmates just didn't understand. My Christmas wishes and lists were beyond their realm of understanding. All my Christmases have been grown-up. How, then, do I differentiate between the childish but very adult wishes from when I was younger and the wishes I have now? I don't know. Maybe my list now isn't all that different from when I was younger. Now though, my wish doesn't just apply to me and my family. My grown-up Christmas list is really rather simple: peace, love, acceptance. Maybe even a day off for Superman. In growing up, my list hasn't changed, it just encompasses everyone. I guess I was a smart kid."
"Lois, honey, this is beautiful." Perry was honestly touched, she could see it in the way his eyes had misted over as he read. "Are you sure you don't mind if this is published?"
"No, as long as it stays anonymous."
Perry nodded. "Deal."
"Okay," Lois said softly. She leaned across Perry's desk and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Merry Christmas, Chief."
"Merry Christmas, Lois."
Lois sighed happily as she leaned against Clark's shoulder. This was the perfect Christmas Eve. He had chosen to miss "the biggest party in Smallville" and spend the holiday with her. Since that realization, she couldn't get rid of this lump in her throat. He probably had no idea how much what he had done meant to her. It was just Clark being Clark. But by *choosing* to spend Christmas Eve with her, he had given her an amazing gift.
"Clark?" She didn't move her head from his shoulder.
There was so much she wanted to say to him, but she just couldn't bring herself to say it. "Oh, you know, for coming."
"You don't have to thank me, Lois." He said it so earnestly that she smiled. "I stayed because I wanted to spend Christmas Eve with you." He hesitated, "Lois, I— I saw your Christmas list."
Lois felt her heart leap and her pulse accelerate at the mention of her list. She had no idea how he had managed to see it, that didn't matter. It was such a personal thing, and yet, it was hard to care at the moment. "Oh. Clark, I—"
He cut her off. "I just wish that I had the power to make something on your Christmas list come true."
She turned to face him, then laid her forehead against his chest. "You already did, Clark," she whispered. "You already did."