By Catherine Bruce <email@example.com>
Submitted: January 2007
Summary: It's the night of the Kents' annual Infamous Christmas Gala in Smallville, but Clark can think of nothing but Metropolis — and the feisty reporter he left there for the holidays. What's a love-sick Kryptonian to do?
Author's Notes: I blame this on Dean Cain. No, seriously! I was watching the commentary he did for the episode 'Season's Greedings,' and he said something about a scene that he wishes had been included. Or something. But anyway, that's why I wrote this. So blame him if you don't like it. There we go. =D
Thanks to KSaraSara for reading this over, and for helping me with a snag at the beginning. You're just the bestest!
'*' replaced italics, whether its through thoughts or emphasized words.
It felt good to be home for the holidays.
"Just come along, Marty. You're part of our family, too."
Clark had been refilling his glass from the punch bowl his mother had set out, surrounded by green and red decorations and platters that had been in the family for as long as he could remember, when he overheard his father's telephone conversation. He smiled slightly to himself as Jonathan tried to convince the embittered widower to come over for Christmas dinner.
Earlier that year, Marty's wife, Abigail, passed away after a painful battle with Melanoma. When his mother had told him about it during one of their many phone conversations, he had felt guilty. For all that he could do, for all the people he could save, there were some things that even he couldn't stop. Truth be told, if he allowed himself to think about it, that fact terrified him. Should something like that happen to his mother, or father, or *Lois,* he didn't know *what* he would do.
He sighed and sipped on the fruity tang of the punch and pushed thoughts away best not mulled over during the holidays. Instead, he let his mind wander to his partner, and in turn her childish antics over the past couple days. He grinned at the memory of her chasing down Superman, trying to get her precious, dreaded Space Rats away from him and back into her longing arms. He then winced, because of course his mind would remember the way his mother had dragged him into the office by the ear. While it didn't *physically* hurt him, the fact that *his mother* had dragged him around by the ear, *angry* at him, *had* hurt.
"Hey honey, how was your flight?" As though reading his mind, she appeared beside him. Her hands gently gripped his arm and shoulder, and he bent down so she could press her lips against his cheek.
"It was fine, Mom. Not nearly as bumpy as you would think."
"And everything in Metropolis is alright now, right? No more rats making my boy misbehave?" She arched a teasing brow at him, causing Clark to blush slightly and grin with self deprecation.
"No, everything's fine." He hugged her with his free arm. "Looks like I'm safe from a tanned hide, after all."
Martha chuckled. "Good, I'm glad." She hugged him back tightly before she pulled back. "Now, dinner's going to start just as soon as Marty gets here. Don't eat too many cookies, or you'll spoil your appetite."
Clark chuckled. "Yes, Mom. And you seem awfully convinced of Dad's power of persuasion."
"Well, honey, Marty's just being stubborn. It's been hard for him, but he'll come around."
And of course, his mother was right. His mother was *always* right, as his father had once pointed out when he was ten. *Son, you need to learn a very important secret. Moms are always right. Especially yours. The same goes for when you're married. Wives are always right. Especially yours.*
It really wasn't a surprise to Clark when, twenty minutes later, a rather dejected looking Marty showed up at the front door, alone. For years he and his wife would come to the Kents' Infamous Christmas Gala, as it had teasingly been labeled by the neighbors.
There were over twenty people who came this year, all crowded in the cozy farm house. Some families brought tables, others brought chairs, and some even brought pie. There were even children, and he had to watch his step when a group ran past him, their giggles filling the room, and he knew he wasn't the only one to smile.
Finally, Martha called for everyone to sit down for dinner. It was a bit of a show, watching everyone find a spot where wife and husband could sit next to each other — or away from each other, as the case was with Trina and Dylan Goran — but eventually everyone found a place where they were comfortable. Martha squeezed his elbow lovingly when he sat next to her.
There was a prayer, of course. It was tradition for the party, and probably really the only time his father would insist. Growing up, they'd only really ever went to the small church for Easter Sunday and the occasional Christmas.
As his father spoke about the holiday being more about family and friends than about religion to them, Clark looked around. These were people he had grown up with, could probably tell you with great detail about each of their lives. But as much as he loved being here, felt at home even, there was a part of Clark that wasn't even in Kansas. It was back in New Troy with a woman who took in stray, bedraggled little trees that would never have found tinsel and decoration without her.
It was late in Metropolis, perhaps even too late for a visit, but suddenly it was where he wanted to be. As the prayer ended and the quiet ceased, and people started passing around food, he turned towards Martha.
"Mom, I really hate to do this…" He gave her an apologetic look as he started to scoot his chair away from the table.
"What's the matter, honey? Do you hear something?" She whispered worriedly, careful to not let the merry people around them hear.
"No, no. Its nothing like that," he quickly assured her. He glanced towards the wall, in the direction of Metropolis, and even though he couldn't see her, or even the large city, it held him. "But, Lois…" He stopped, not really sure how to go on.
Martha smiled in that knowing way she had. "Its okay, honey. Go ahead and go."
Relief swept through him, but then he paused before getting up. "But what about…" He motioned towards the crowd.
"We've been your parents for over twenty-five years, Clark. I'm sure we can come up with a believable excuse." She patted his arm and chuckled.
He smiled, grateful, and kissed her cheek. "Thanks, Mom. I love you." He squeezed his father's shoulder as he passed his chair.
Twenty minutes later he was flying through Metropolis. He would have been there nineteen minutes and forty-five seconds before that, but the memory of the little tree caused him to make a detour along the way.
He flew past her window and changed clothes before knocking on the door. After a couple of seconds it opened, and she stood for a second, in shock. He watched her face as it went from looking almost dejected to having a large, beautiful smile, and then he was holding her. And as corny as he knew it would sound if he ever said it out loud, it felt great to be home for the holidays.