Spoilers: This story contains spoilers for Superman: The Movie, Superman II, and Superman Returns. Also includes spoilers for my story, Home Is Where the Heart Is, though nothing here should come as a surprise.
Disclaimer: All rights to the Superman characters from the films, books and comics belong to Warner Brothers, DC Comics, et. al. I make nothing off of this. I'm just playing in their sandbox for fun.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 2:45PM Metropolis, Daily Planet Editorial Floor
The typical post-deadline lull in the hubbub of the Daily Planet bullpen was subdued on this eve of the American Thanksgiving holiday. The journalists who could had filed their reports early, in the hopes of sneaking out early for the holiday, with a handful of volunteers and draftees covering for the holiday. Among those anxiously waiting to join the mass exodus was Lois Lane-Kent, who had both of her children with her. Her seven-year-old son, Jason, had been released from school at noon, and Lois had picked up her nineteen-month-old daughter, Rosie, from daycare, intending to take her family home after a last minute check of their articles. However, a variety of issues had come up with the articles, keeping the family in the office as Lois desperately tried to keep Rosie corralled with help from Jason. They were waiting for Clark to return from an errand before finally heading home, while scanning the large wall-mounted televisions for reports of Superman.
As Lois' attention drifted to the department store advertisement broadcast during a commercial break, she found herself thinking ahead to the Christmas season, and at a loss to come up with an appropriate gift for her husband. Given the damage his wardrobe took in the line of duty, practical gifts of shirts and ties would be too easy. Perhaps the kids can give him those things, Lois pondered. But it should be something more meaningful from me. Her former fiancé, Richard White had suggested the gift last year. After marrying his wife, Christine, Richard had legally adopted her five year old son, Eric. Richard suggested allowing Clark to do the same, and had signed the necessary documents relinquishing his parental claim over Jason to his former rival. Clark had been greatly moved by the gesture that symbolically made his family complete. How do I top that? Lois wondered. She was pulled from her reverie as she noticed that her daughter was pulling the cap off of a magic marker, and quickly pulled it from the toddler's hands. The entire bullpen cringed at the ear-piercing shriek that the little girl offered in protest.
Lois picked up her daughter and was unsuccessfully trying to calm her, when Rosie was suddenly lifted from her mother's arms by her father, who had just returned. "Good timing," Lois commented in relief.
"Timing, nothing," Clark replied dryly in a low voice. "You could probably hear her all the way to Gotham without superhearing." After quickly quieting his daughter by blowing some raspberries against her cheeks, Clark looked up at his wife and gently asked, "Are you ready to head home?"
Just as the Kent family reached the outer doors of the elevator lobby, Perry White's bellow brought them back in. "Kents! My office!" After the Kent clan reported to Perry's office, where their editor waited along with his nephew, Richard, and the Planet's young photographer, Jimmy Olsen. "Legal's a little nervous over this InterGang story," Perry informed them. He turned his attention to Jimmy, who was inching towards the door. "Don't even think about going anywhere, Olsen!" Perry barked. "I'll look over those pictures from that charity fundraiser in just a minute."
Returning his attention to the Kents, Perry asked, "How certain are you of your sources here?"
"We've got more collaborating evidence on that InterGang story than almost anything we've published since the Luthor financials," Lois insisted. "It's air-tight."
Perry brashly suggested, "I still need you to document the corroborating sources before legal lets us go forward with it. I'll need that in time for Friday's morning edition."
"Does that have to be right now?" Lois pleaded, as she looked over at her nineteen-month-old daughter, Rosie, squirming in her father's arms. "We've got our hands full at the moment."
"Lois, there won't be anyone from legal around to review it tomorrow," Perry insisted. "We need it before they leave for the day, and for the love of God, please tell me that that stench isn't what I think it is." The older man was suspiciously eying Rosie Kent's bottom as he finished speaking.
Clark took the hint, moving slowly towards the door as he informed the group, "I think that maybe we have more important priorities to worry about right now…"
"Get back here, Kent!" Perry ordered. "We need that source summary tonight!"
Clark obediently returned to his spot at the edge of Perry's desk, as Lois replied, "Are we even sure that legal will be here? Everyone's trying to sneak out early on account of the holiday." As she said this, her husband slid a changing mat out of the diaper bag slung across his shoulder, and set it on the corner of Perry's desk. As he laid his daughter down on the pad, she continued. "We can email the summary from home after we get the kids settled."
Perry was so focused on his argument with Lois that he didn't notice that Clark was changing his daughter's diaper on the corner of his desk, until the foul smelling package was set to the child's side, closer to Perry, as Clark got the little girl's bottom cleaned up. "Kent! What the hell do you think you're doing?" Perry hollered, as he looked in horror and the rancid mess in front of him.
"Um, almost done, sir," Clark offered meekly, as he looked up at the editor in feigned shock at the man's reaction.
"You didn't want him to leave yet, remember?" Richard reminded his uncle, as he smirked at the man's reaction.
"Oh, God!" Perry gagged, as he covered his mouth and violently swung his head away. "What kind of toxic waste are you feeding that kid!"
"Cereal, vegetables, crackers, macaroni and cheese…" Clark began seriously, as he finished cleaning up his daughter's bottom with wipes from the diaper bag. He quickly finished the job as Rosie attempted to roll over, kicking the soiled diaper.
Perry jumped back in horror as the putrid bundle skittered to a stop just a few inches shy of the edge of the desk. Perry jumped out of his seat, screaming, "Kent!"
"All done, sir," Clark assured him as he powdered Rosie's bottom and fastened the fresh diaper. Turning to Perry, Clark offered, "Is there anything else, sir?"
"Out!" Perry screamed, as he walked around and held open his door. "Everyone out!"
"Yes, sir," Clark responded humbly, covertly throwing the soiled diaper in Perry's wastebasket as he turned around and headed out the door with his family. Richard and Jimmy were close behind, smirking as they attempted to conceal their amusement at the exchange.
Perry ushered everyone out of his office, and hollered after the Kents, "I want that summary before you leave!" As they made their way through the bullpen, Clark heard Perry desperate plea to his receptionist, "Maggie, can you get facilities to bring a fan up here to clear the air…"
"I'll write up the summary for Perry, and meet you at home," Clark offered as he escorted his family to the elevators.
"I don't know how you kept a straight face through that," Lois whispered quietly as she giggled. "Though, it'd probably be best to avoid an encore performance."
"It got us out of there, didn't it?" Clark pointed out as he gave his wife a chaste kiss goodbye and withdrew to his desk.
Thursday, November 27, 2008, 4:00PM, Metropolis, Kent Family Home
The peaceful post-meal inertia at the Kent house was abruptly broken by a toddler's high-pitched squeal as her Grandpa Sam playfully chased Rosie around the living room. Clark chuckled along with the other adults at his daughter's delight as he looked on. He had never imagined that he'd see this side of Lieutenant General Sam Lane when he'd first met the man shortly before marrying the man's daughter, and several weeks after his own daughter had been conceived. The general had disapproved of Clark, and it had taken some time for the two men to make their peace with each other. Those disagreements were now far behind them, and they enjoyed a cordial relationship.
As Sam kept the little girl entertained, the rest of the family lounged around the living room discussing the Black Friday sales that would launch the Christmas shopping season. Clark's thoughts turned to Lois as he listened. After the lovingly sentimental gift Lois had arranged for him last year, he had to come up with something significant to properly express how much she meant to him. Practical gifts like the flannel pajamas he'd gotten her the previous year just wouldn't do. Maybe the kids can get her those things, but I need to do better, he thought.
Clark reflected on how their lives had changed from the initial flirtatious encounters to the domestic bliss they now enjoyed. He couldn't imagine being happier than he was now surrounded by that family. He thought back over the history of their relationship as he sought out the tipping point: That one moment when they passed the point of no return and their destinies had finally been bound together. He would need to find some way of commemorating that moment.
Thursday, December 25, 2008, 7:30AM, Metropolis, Kent Family Home
Lois looked on happily as her children played with their Christmas presents. The two kids had made out like bandits, and Jason was excitedly exploring the virtual world of his new video game while his sister Rosie pushed her new stuffed Tweety doll around in a pint-sized baby buggy. At least they were easy to shop for, Lois thought, as she returned her attention to the two remaining presents under the tree: One was her gift to Clark and the other was his gift to her. The final review was postponed as Rosie decided that her brother's game looked like fun, and shrieked as she tried to take it from him as he protested as well. Her husband distracted the little girl, pulling her close with her back to him, as he did barrow rolls floating five feet in the air, which had her giggling loudly and her brother's game forgotten.
Lois looked at the sea of discarded wrapping paper across her living room floor, wondering how two children could make such a mess. "We've got to get this mess cleaned up before company arrives," Lois declared as she started to stand.
"They won't be here until this afternoon and we still have two more gifts to open," Clark reminded her as he grabbed her hand and coaxed her back on the couch. "Why don't we see what's inside those boxes first?"
"You go first," Lois insisted nervously, as Clark pulled out the last two gifts from under the tree. Jason turned from his game to watch as his father slowly removed the wrapping paper from the large box. After what seemed a small eternity, Clark finally opened the box and burst out laughing at the pink polar bear rug inside it.
"It wasn't supposed to be funny!" Lois protested. "That's the rug from the room we spent our wedding night in at Niagara Falls. I wanted to get the one from our first night there, when I first learned your secret, but some idiot already bought it."
"It's perfect," Clark told her as he swallowed down his laughter.
As he squeezed her hand affectionately, Lois told him irritably, "It was because you tripped over that stupid rug that first time, and lost your glasses in the fire, that set us on our lives together, and gave us this beautiful family - all because of those few precious seconds. It wasn't supposed to be a joke."
"Believe me, it wasn't taken as a joke, Lois," Clark assured her. "Open yours, now."
Lois removed the wrapping from the box, still a bit upset at Clark's reaction to what was supposed to be a sentimental gift. Her jaw dropped open in shock as she opened the box to discover another pink polar bear rug staring back at her. "I'm the idiot that bought the rug from our first night," Clark explained as he pointed at the rug. "Because it was those few precious seconds that it took to trip over that silly thing that bound our destinies together and gave us this family, for which I'll always be grateful."
Finally breaking free of her shock, Lois launched herself at her husband, wrapping her arms around him, and capturing his lips in a tender kiss. When they broke from the kiss a moment later, Lois mirthfully told him, "Thank you for being an idiot. Merry Christmas, Mister Kent."