Summary: Clark asks Lois to join him and his parents for a Christmas in Kansas.
Computer keyboards clicked and phones rang as the Daily Planet was getting ready for Christmas. Everyone seemed to be in the Christmas spirit except for Lois, who was complaining left and right about how miserable she was.
"I just can not believe that Christmas is so soon," Lois said to Clark, who was trying to finish typing a story. "I am totally mobbed!"
Clark lost his concentration and turned around. He would definitely have to listen to Lois whine for hours if he didn't do something. "Relax," he told her. "At least Perry was nice enough to give us Christmas off."
"Oh, sure, you can be happy. *You* won't be spending Christmas all alone in your apartment eating a frozen dinner." She got up and began pacing back and forth behind Clark.
Clark sighed. "Lois-" he began. But he was cut off by the sight of Perry coming down the stairs, a Santa hat in his hand. Perry was grinning and had a reason to do so. Christmas was his favorite time of year, next to the annual Elvis festival the Metropolis Civic Center sponsored every year.
"All right, listen up everyone," Perry directed. "It's time for the Secret Santa exchange. Everyone who wants to participate, put your name in this hat."
Lois groaned and turned to Clark. "Not this again…"
"Come on, Lois, it'll be fun," Clark urged. "It's part of the whole 'Christmas Spirit' thing."
"*You* might think it's fun to buy some impersonal gift for a complete stranger, but I don't."
"We're not complete strangers," said Clark. "We're your colleagues. Your friends."
Lois looked thoughtful for a second. "Oh, I guess you're right," she replied finally. She watched Clark fish around in his desk for a piece of paper.
When he finally found one, she asked, "Can I have half of that?"
"Of course," Clark told her and ripped the sheet in half. They each wrote down their name and dropped them in the hat as Perry walked by. He held out the hat for the two and they each picked a name.
"Now remember, these names are to be kept secret," Perry said to Clark and Lois.
"Of course," Lois said, looking at her paper. Clark looked at his, folded it up, and put it in his pocket.
A few minutes later, after Clark had returned to typing, Lois casually walked up to him.
"So, Clark, who'd you get?" Lois asked innocently.
Clark turned around once again. He would never finish the story at this rate. "You heard what Perry said," Clark replied.
Lois' face scrunched up. "That's right, you're Mr. Boy Scout. Who follows these rules, anyway?"
Clark paused. "Fine, who did *you* get?"
Lois backed away, as if she'd been stung. "I can't tell you that!" she said.
Clark laughed and returned to his computer screen. Luckily, Lois seemed to have gotten over her Christmas disaster, at least for a few minutes. He was able to finish the story.
When lunch break arrived, Clark approached Lois. "You want to go to your uncle's cafe for lunch?" he asked. "I want to talk to you about something."
Lois appeared worried. "It's not about that last story, is it? I swear, I had no idea-"
"No, no it's totally unprofessional," Clark interrupted. "So what do you say?"
Lois smiled a little. "Sure. Let me get my coat."
They left minutes later. Taking Lois' car, they went to the other side of Metropolis. It seemed almost like a postcard. The sidewalks were covered in snow, and Christmas decorations were everywhere. Lois stared dreamily out the window as Clark drove through the icy streets watching the buildings and people go by. She really did love Christmas. It was just that everything had been going wrong…
First, her sister had called to inform her that she could not spend Christmas with her like they'd planned. She was having dinner with her new boyfriend. Imagine that! Lois thought. My own baby sister dumps me for some guy.
Then, on top of everything, Clark was going to be gone. Off to Smallville, he had said. Sure, Clark had a family who actually cared about him. He was her last resort, in order to keep Christmas from being a total disaster. And now it turns out that he won't even be in Metropolis!
Once they arrived, Lois tried to step out of the car and onto the sidewalk. But she was wearing heels, and the ground was frozen. Lois slipped almost immediately but Clark was able to run quickly around the car and catch her.
"Thanks," Lois said, looking curiously at Clark. "Let's… go inside."
It was warm inside and smelled like bread. They sat down and the waitress brought them their menus. After ordering, Lois turned to Clark.
"So, what did you want to talk to me about?"
Clark paused. "Would you like to come to Smallville with me for Christmas?" he asked. "We could leave on Christmas morning and come back on Christmas night.
Lois paused, caught off-guard. It was exactly what she wanted but somehow she could not get the words out to accept. "Oh! Well… I … I mean…" "Lois?"
She smiled. She knew that Clark would come through for her. "That would be wonderful. Thank you."
That evening, Clark called his parents in Smallville to inform them of their guest. Martha was talking on the regular phone and Jonathan had the cordless.
"I invited Lois to come down with me for Christmas," Clark told Jonathan and Martha. "We'll come up Christmas morning and leave that evening."
"That's wonderful!" Martha exclaimed enthusiastically. "I'm making a special ham." But Jonathan was more concerned.
"There's supposed to be a storm coming Christmas morning," he said. "You'll have to actually drive, and I don't know if the roads will be closed of not."
"Oh…" Clark said, thinking.
"Wait a minute," Martha interjected. "You two can come on Christmas Eve right after work! Lois can sleep on the sofa bed."
"That's a great idea, Mom," Clark replied.
"Have you talked to her about how you feel, son?" Jonathan inquired.
"Oh, Jonathan, don't pressure him," Martha told her husband.
"No, Mom, it's okay," Clark said. "I figure there will be a right time." He paused. "It's just that I don't know when."
"Well, we're glad she's coming," Martha said.
The next morning, Clark arrived at work to find a dozen yellow roses on his desk. The bouquet sat in a red and white striped Christmas vase. He opened up the small white card that was attached. "From your secret Santa," the card read.
Suddenly, Clark blinked and remembered the yellow roses that Lois had trashed. She had been so upset about them. He let his eyes drift towards Lois, but she was typing busily at her desk and didn't catch his glance.
But Lois did see Clark's look, and she looked back at him as he typed while smiling to herself.
Both Lois and Clark were rather high-strung and cheerful that day, mostly due to the upcoming vacation. In fact, the whole building had a certain glow to it that Clark always noticed around Christmas time. Everything was just going so perfectly. He had always wanted to spend Christmas with Lois, possibly snuggled up by the fire, and now maybe this would be possible.
Jimmy approached Clark a minute later. "Hey, nice gift C.K.!" he exclaimed. "Do you know who it's from?"
Clark sort of half-smiled to himself. "No clue," he replied. Then he turned to look at Lois again. But she wasn't there. She was behind him.
"Daydreaming again?" Lois asked. Clark turned around, embarrassed. "So, what are we going to do on Christmas?"
"Oh, I forgot to tell you," Clark said. "There's been a change in plans."
"Yeah. My mom said that we should leave tomorrow so we don't hit the storm Christmas morning. We have room for you to stay."
"Oh!" Lois said. She paused for a moment and digested this. "That's fine."
"I was thinking we could drive up after work, and then that evening we could go to the Smallville Christmas party…"
Lois interrupted by rolling her eyes. "Let me guess, square dancing?"
Clark grinned. "I thought you liked square dancing!"
"Don't worry, there's no square dancing at the Christmas party," Clark assured her. "And whatever we do, we're going to have fun." Lois smiled. "I know that."
That evening, Lois sat on the floor of her apartment wrapping Christmas presents. She had five to wrap total and had already completed four which sat next to her in a pile. Scissors, paper, tape, and ribbons surrounded her. It was an awful lot of junk for just five boxes, but Lois wanted them to look perfect.
Just as she was finishing, Superman came in through the window.
"Hi, Lois," he greeted her.
Lois stood up. "Hi!"
"Wrapping presents?" he asked, although that was obvious.
"Yeah, I'm pretty much finished," Lois replied. "Speaking of presents, I'll be right back." She disappeared into her bedroom while Superman decided to help Lois clean up the mess of paper on the floor. In a split second, the area was clean and everything was put away. Then he spotted a box marked "Clark". Being the curious little Superman he was, he could not resist looking inside the box with his x-ray vision. What it revealed was a tie with Santa on it. He laughed to himself.
A moment later, Lois appeared holding a rectangular box of chocolates. She paused for a second to survey the clean floor, then realized what Superman had done.
"Thanks," she said with an amused smile, handing him the box. "This is for you."
"Oh, thank you," Superman replied, accepting the gift. He lifted the lid and smiled. "I haven't forgotten about you, Lois. I'm delivering all of my presents on Christmas eve." Actually that was a total lie, he *had* forgotten about giving Lois a gift as Superman. Clark did not especially like shopping, and around Christmas was the worst. But he had done it, he never put it off. For Lois he had gotten a mystery novel that she had been eyeing for quite some time but never got around to buying. But giving her a gift as Superman, that would be harder. It could not imply anything romantic for she was already infatuated with him enough as it was.
"Like Santa?" Lois asked, giggling.
"Like Santa." Superman moved towards the window. "Good-bye, Lois. Have a great Christmas."
"Bye…" She looked out the window as he flew into the night sky. She would be having a wonderful Christmas, with Clark.
The next day, Lois and Clark both left work early to drive to Smallville. Perry, being the Christmas person that he was, knew of their plans and had allowed them to leave early. Clark had to stop by his place first in order to pick up a few items for the trip, and afterwards he went to Lois' apartment and rang the bell. She answered a moment later, holding her toothbrush and toothpaste in her hand.
"I'll be one minute," Lois assured him. "Could you help with some of my stuff?" She pointed to the large pile of suitcases, bags, and presents by the door.
Clark stared at all of the stuff. "You're bringing your whole closet for less than two days?"
Lois looked at him as though he didn't get it. "That's not my *whole* closet, Clark. And besides, I have to be prepared for anything. I guess it's just one difference between men and women…"
"All women don't pack their entire apartment for *less* than two days," Clark pointed out.
Lois decided not to respond to that. Instead, she wandered off to collect more items. Clark picked up the whole pile of stuff and brought it to the car in a second. Then he waited patiently in the doorway.
When Lois reappeared, she looked at the space where the luggage had been, then at the car which was packed up, then at Clark. "You didn't have to carry everything," Lois said.
"It's no problem," Clark told her.
Lois grabbed her purse, locked her apartment, and they left.
Clark and Lois pulled up in front of the Kent's farmhouse as Martha and Jonathan rushed outside to greet them.
"Hi! Glad you could make it!" Martha exclaimed. She hugged Clark, then Lois.
Jonathan surveyed the mass load of luggage in amusement. "Well, let's get this stuff inside," he said.
So they went inside. Clark took his one duffel bag into his old bedroom, and everyone helped carry Lois' stuff. There were four pieces; one large suitcase, two duffel bags, and a large makeup bag.
"You can sleep on the sofa bed," Martha told Lois.
"Okay," Lois replied, setting her stuff on the sofa.
Clark appeared in the living room just then. At the same time, Jonathan come out of the kitchen.
"Clark, could you give me a hand with something in here?" Jonathan asked, gesturing to the kitchen. He gave Clark an urgent look.
"Sure, Dad," Clark replied, following his father into the kitchen.
Once they were alone, Jonathan said in a lowered voice, "You haven't told her about you, have you son?" He was concerned that Clark's casual use of his powers, especially around Lois, would make her suspicious.
Clark sighed. "No, of course not."
"Because I just want to make sure that these days won't be… difficult."
"Difficult?" Clark asked.
Jonathan looked at his son. He knows what to do, he thought. He doesn't need my help. "Just be careful."
"Don't worry," Clark assured him. "Want me to make some tea?"
Before Jonathan could reply, Clark had four cups of tea on the counter. He boiled the water with his laser eyes and put everything on a tray.
"Sure," Jonathan said.
That evening was the annual Smallville Christmas party. There were about forty people in the dance hall, and everyone was having a great time. Lois was enjoying being Clark's date. She stood there and smiled as Clark introduced her to old friends, people that Clark had known since he was just a little kid.
"So Lois, this isn't as bad as you thought, is it?" Clark asked grinning.
"I never said anything!" Lois responded.
"Oh, sure. Okay."
"Yes, I'm having a good time," she said. They were about to walk over to where some friends were when Lois looked up.
"Well, look where we are," Lois said, giggling. They were under a small sprig of mistletoe in a doorway. Clark smiled, embarrassed.
"So, I suppose you want me to kiss you," he said.
Lois stared into his eyes. "Yes," she said.
So he did. The kiss was long, and there was definitely more to it than just friendship.
She paused. "Well…"
Clark just smiled and Lois shifted nervously. What was that supposed to mean? Lois wondered. They didn't move, they just stood staring at each other.
It was Clark's parents who finally brought the two down to earth.
"The party's thinning out," Jonathan told them. "Should we head back?"
Clark recovered from his hypnosis and nodded. "Yeah, we should go."
Lois, who was still a little dazed, looked at him once more. "I'll… uh… go get my sweater."
When they arrived at the farmhouse it was past ten. Jonathan and Martha announced that they were retiring. Clark turned to Lois. "Do you want to go for a walk?" he asked.
"Sure," she replied. So they set off. The ground was covered in untouched snow which crunched under their feet. It was cold out, and Lois was wearing only a dress and a sweater. Clark could tell she was freezing.
"Are you cold?" he asked.
"No," Lois lied, her teeth chattering. "I'm okay.
"Are you sure? Do you want my jacket?"
"No," she said again. "I'm fine, really."
Even so, Clark took off his jacket and helped her into it. It was much too big, of course, but Clark didn't need it.
"Thank you," Lois said. "You know… I really love it out here. The snow is so much different. In Metropolis it's always slushy and… it's just not the same. It's never as beautiful there. It's so… peaceful here."
"Yeah," Clark said, completely agreeing with her little speech. "That's one of the reasons I like Smallville. No one's in a hurry."
Lois laughed. "I can't imagine not always rushing to get everything done. I'm so used to the deadlines, traffic jams, it seems like there's never a spare minute…"
They both stopped. Clark looked into Lois' eyes. He kissed her for the second time that evening. And neither of them ever wanted it to end. They stood outside in the middle of nowhere and knew that there was only each other.
When they returned to the farmhouse, they said goodnight and Lois went into the bathroom to change. When she was done, she knocked on Clark's door.
"Could you help me with the sofa bed?" she asked.
"Sure," Clark said. They both had on flannel p.j.'s; Clark's were blue plaid and Lois' were white with red flowers. Once they had the fixed the sofa and put sheets on it, Lois paused.
"It's really cold in here," she said. "Isn't there heating?"
"No," Clark replied. "But that's what hot chocolate and fires are for."
Lois gave him a puzzled look. So he led her into the kitchen where Clark made two mugs of hot chocolate. Then he got out a bag of large marshmallows.
"They make the chocolate taste better," Clark explained.
Lois, who loved marshmallows and chocolate, was very happy. They carried their mugs into the living room and Clark lit a fire. It crackled and sparkled and soon the room was nice and toasty. Lois and Clark sat together on the sofa bed and sipped their drinks. Clark took the quilt which folded up on the ground and draped it over them.
They finished their hot chocolate and now Lois was very very happy. She snuggled up against Clark, he was so warm. Clark kissed her head and then brushed her hair off of her face while Lois smiled and fell asleep in his arms.
Martha Kent thought she heard a noise in the middle of the night and got up. She was in the doorway of the living room when she saw Lois and Clark asleep. She turned to Jonathan, who had followed her, and winked. Then they both went back to sleep.
The next morning Clark woke up to the smell of his parents making pancakes. He got up and changed into his clothes for the day. He let Lois sleep, she liked to sleep in. Plus she looked so adorable when she was asleep.
"Morning," Clark said to his parents as he entered the kitchen.
"Merry Christmas," they said in unison. Clark, in an effort to help out with breakfast, fried some of the pancakes with his heat vision. Unfortunately he was distracted by Lois waking up and turned the pancakes black. They had to be thrown out.
Once Lois got up they had breakfast and then went into the living room to open presents. Clark received a piece of Martha's artwork from his parents ("Creative") and a Santa tie from Lois ("It's very… Christmas-y"). The Kent's got a set of nifty oven mitts from Lois ("How adorable, a cow!") and a new coffee maker from Clark. Lois received a different piece of artwork from the Kent's ("Very… interesting") and the mystery novel from Clark.
"Oh, thank you!" Lois exclaimed. "I've been wanting this!"
"You're welcome," Clark replied, glad that his present had made her so happy.
When everyone was finished opening presents and they were about to clean up, Jonathan spotted something under the tree. He picked it up and read the envelope to the card.
"What's this?" he wondered. It was a small box wrapped in blue paper. "It's for you, Lois."
"What?" Lois took the box and opened up the card. "To Lois, from Superman," she read. "It's a present from… Superman."
Martha and Jonathan exchanged unsure glances as Lois proceeded to open up the box.
"Oh… look!" Lois exclaimed. She revealed the contents of the box; a small gold pin of the Superman emblem. Lois pinned it to her white sweater as everyone else was throwing away wrapping paper.
It wasn't until the car ride home that night that Lois began to wonder. I never mentioned anything about my Christmas plans to Superman, Lois thought. How did he know I was going to be in Smallville? And with Clark, of all people! Oh, what did he think…
Clark stopped in front of Lois' apartment. He leaned over and kissed her. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said.
"Tomorrow," Lois repeated. "Well, good-night." She climbed out of the car and walked up to the building.
"Good-night Lois," Clark said softly after her.
The next morning, Clark expected to see a bunch of withered yellow roses in the vase on his desk. But to his surprise they were not there. They had been replaced with a single red rose. Clark took the rose out of the vase and looked around for Lois.
She was sitting at her desk. As Clark's gaze moved towards her, Lois looked up and caught his eyes this time. She smiled at him and he grinned.
"All right, people," Perry said as he entered down the stairs. "Secret Santa's, reveal yourselves."
Clark went over to his person and told him. When he got back, Lois was waiting for him.
"I was your Secret Santa," Lois told him. She giggled.
"The red rose… that was you too."
"Yes…" Lois got really quiet. She looked up and noticed that Perry was staring at them with a smile. She blushed. "Well… we should get back to work. Deadlines…"
"Oh, right," Clark said. "Deadlines."
Lois suddenly burst into laughter. "What would you do without me, Clark?" It was not meant to be a self-centered remark, and Clark didn't take it as one.
Seriously, he replied, "I have no idea."