Author: SunRei (Sonia)
Song: Blue Christmas
"T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house," Lois mumbled around the tension wrench she held between her teeth. She slid a curtain pick into the lock on the front door and jiggled it to the left while turning another flat metal pick clockwise.
A satisfying click informed her that the lock was no longer an active opponent, and Lois pushed the door open with a bright grin. The smile immediately faded when she flipped the light switch and looked around.
"Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…" she sighed, sliding the scarf from around her neck and shrugging out of her coat.
She frowned as she reached behind her and closed the front door to the yellow farmhouse. Even though she knew the Kents weren't planning to be home for Christmas, she had expected the house to be decorated. The fact that it wasn't disappointed her. It was Christmas, for crying out loud!
She carelessly tossed her coat into the hall closet and put her hands on her hips, eyes squinting as she reconciled the reality of the empty Kent living room with the vision of sugarplums and hanging stockings that had been forefront in her mind during the drive over. There was something decidedly wrong about not having a candy cane-covered pine tree next to the bay window. She would have to fix that.
Lois was on a mission to save Christmas.
Oh, it was nothing sinister- Santa hadn't been sled-jacked or anything- it was more of a personal missive. She was saving Christmas for herself.
For the Lane clan, Christmas had never really been a big deal. For high level military officials, the holidays didn't present a break in routine. Certainly, there might be a change in the menu at the mess hall – an extra slice of turkey or something equally traditional – but for the most part, National Defense, much like Death, did not take a holiday. With that being the case for General Samuel Lane, Lois had simply learned to face the season of flying reindeer with indifference.
That, and it was eaiser to pretend the holiday didn't exist than to spend it like the Little Match Girl, watching other families enjoy what she didn't have through frost-glazed windows.
She was aware that most people didn't share her sentiment – or lack of – in regards to the holiday, so she always found reason to be scarce on Christmas. This year had been no exception to the rule. When everyone had started planning for the season of chestnuts and open fires, Lois had begun plotting her excuse.
Once her own plans were in place, Lois hadn't been overly concerned with what everyone else was getting into… Chloe was going off with Jimmy, Lana and Lex were doing something dark and mysterious at the mansion, and Martha had accepted an invitation on behalf of she and Clark to make their senatorial family debut at the White House Christmas party.
In the attempt to boycott Christmas, Lois had found an ally in Oliver Queen who like her, had reason to create a pretense about having no nostalgia for singing carols during this time of year. Together, they had created the mother of all anti-yuletide sessions, complete with lounge chairs and cabanas on a white sand beach.
Six months ago, that trip had been a vision of perfection – a delectable retreat from the cold shoulder that was Kansas in December – but something had happened in the interim that had changed it all. After a confusing and awkward discussion, Lois and Oliver had agreed to disagree on a number of things. In the end, there was one thing that they had consensus on: that they were no longer dating… and thus Lois's trip to paradise had become a solo gig.
Lois rolled her eyes as she pulled herself from the thoughts of how she should have been spending her Christmas vacation. She was an independent woman who had spent countless holidays on her own and she could definitely find a fair amount of trouble to get into on a beach by herself… but in a strange twist of character, instead of driving to the airport, she had driven to the farm.
Oh there's no place like home for the holidays…
When Lois thought of home, only one place seemed to fit the description. Only it would have been less complicated if she'd had a key.
Taking a final surveying look around the Kent's living room, Lois added items to her mental list of Things to Add Holiday Cheer. Then, with an arched eyebrow, she darted up the stairs with a determined gait.
Three hours later, the peaceful barrenness of an undecorated room had been replaced with festive bedlam. Every inch of floor space was covered with ornaments, lights, clumped tinsel, ribbon, and the stray pieces of a dismembered artificial Christmas tree. In the middle of the chaos, Lois stood next to the wooden pole that served as the tree's core. It had taken her two hours of ungraceful digging through the attic to produce the bevy of Christmas loot that was strewn around her. For the most part, everything had been clearly labeled and accessible as expected – this was Marta Kent's organization, here – but the damn tree had been impossible to find. Lois figured that it was her stubborn insistence that there just had to be a tree in there somewhere that had actually made one appear – albeit in the farthest, deepest, darkest cranny possible.
The amount of dirt, dust, and spider webs that Lois had encountered during her dive had required a shower - explaining why she was now wearing flannel boxers and a green wife-beater tee-shirt over a long-sleeved thermal top.
Brushing damp bangs from her face, she frowned down at the various sprigs of artificial pine. She had separated them into stacks according to size, but she had no clue of how to proceed from there. "What I wouldn't give for an instruction packet right now," she muttered to herself.
The frown on her lips twitched into a smile as a new song began playing on the old fashioned radio she had found during her search of the attic. Up to this point, the other songs that the DJ had been playing had been mocking her, tormenting her with their mirth – she couldn't very well rock around the Christmas tree if she couldn't get the thing up, now could she?
But this song on the other hand, was one she could definitely get into… it was Elvis, after all, and everyone knew that when Elvis was singing, you had to sing along.
I'll have a Blue Christmas without you…
Grabbing one of those useless branches from the nearest pile, Lois fashioned it as a mic and joined in. "I'll be so blue thinking about you…"
Yes, it was Elvis all right - souful, southern, and pouty. And everyone – everyone – knew that when Elvis sung it wasn't just singing, it was sanging, and that meant putting your whole body into it.
Lois thrust a hip out and curled her upper lip. "Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree…"
Oh yeah, now this is what it was all about.
Clark trudged along the icy path with his hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans. Washington D.C. was quite a sight to see on Christmas Eve. The buildings and monuments were lit with millions of colorful lights. The people making their way through the main streets of the city ranged from reveling tourists in Santa hats to classy political types in cocktail attire hopping from party to party.
The noise and the brightness he'd experienced there was a huge contrast to the quiet darkness that he faced now. He'd done his best to play the role of senatorial spawn at the White House party, but there was something about wearing a tuxedo suit and bow tie that made him feel completely out of place and clumsy. Still, he had done his best to hold up whatever wall was nearest to his mother with an upbeat attitude. The hall that the function was being held in was decorated lively and translated the holiday theme with ease, yet it still didn't feel like Christmas to him.
But then again, he wasn't sure how it possible could feel like Christmas without the man whose heart and soul had been poured into every detail of the occasion. Watching his mother mingle with ease, Clark had understood her desire to not be home on this, the first Christmas without his father. He had understood it and supported it wholeheartedly, agreeing to be the Senator's escort as needed, but when Lionel Luthor had stepped in to offer that assistance, Clark had guiltily realized that he was grateful to be out of the job. As much as his mother didn't want to spend the night in a house steeped with memories and tradition, Clark did.
As usual, his mother's intuition was spot on, and as she had accepted Lionel's elbow, she had caught Clark's eye and nodded. She understood. He had shot her a sheepish grin and had pulled the knot loose on that imposing choker by the time he had left the building. After that, he had raced home, only stopping at the hotel long enough to change his clothes. He intended to return to D.C. in the morning – at least he and his mother could spend Christmas day together.
As for now, Clark was content with walking leisurely through the fields that his father had worked so hard and long to cultivate. He kneeled and gathered a fistful of snow-mixed earth in his hand. This land was an inert testament to his father's legacy. As his son, Clark was now the living one.
…I'll have a blue, blue Christmas…
Clark stood, brushing the dirt from his hands as the strains of music caught his ear. His head tilted and his eyes narrowed as he started moving toward the direction it was coming from. As he rounded the stables, he noticed a light on in the house… a house that was supposed to be empty.
The song moved into its instrumental break and Lois took the opportunity to try out some of those hip shaking gyrations that had gotten Elvis banned from doing his act in the church. She nearly jumped out of her skin when a loud peal of laughter sounded over the music.
"Smallville!" she exclaimed once she had turned to see who her audience consisted of. "What are you doing here?"
Instead of answering, Clark appeared to double over, resting his hands on his knees as he struggled to overcome his hysterics. Lois pursed her lips and waited in annoyance. "I'm glad you find it so funny."
Clark coughed and straightened, hitting his chest as if trying to clear it. Lois's eyes narrowed – he was still grinning. "My dad loved that song," he finally managed to say.
Lois grimaced as Elvis started singing with the music again. "Well, it is a classic."
"Even if it weren't, it would be after that performance. You should take it on the road – you'd make a mint in Vegas!"
Lois flared her nostrils and threw her makeshift microphone at him. "You're supposed to be in D.C.," she accused.
"I was," he replied off-handedly. He seemed to catch himself and then added somewhat haltingly, "I mean, I came back early. On a bus."
Lois frowned at the words. There was something that seemed off about the way he said it even though there was no reason to doubt him.
"Wait… what are you doing here?" Clark asked, finally shaking off the last of the hilarity from seeing Lois's Elvis impersonation. "What happened to your trip?"
She shrugged. "Snow delay."
Clark watched her curiously for any visible reaction that would contradict her words. The weather hadn't seemed too bad when he'd left D.C., but he'd been traveling on the ground as opposed to above the clouds, so it was possible that he could have missed a storm – possible, but unlikely. She hadn't talked to him about it, but Clark knew that the trip in question had initially been an excursion planned for two.
Ollie hadn't spoken to him about it either, and even though he had since moved back to Star City, Clark couldn't help but feel like he was in the middle of his two friends. He attributed that as the reason why he and Lois hadn't been around one another as much as they used to be. If he were honest, he would admit that there was another reason he'd avoided her, but who was being honest?
"Snow delay," Clark repeated. If she didn't want to talk about it, he wouldn't push. If she was having piteous feelings about her separation over Oliver, it would a very awkward conversation for him to take part in… Ollie was a friend – no matter how angry and distant he had become over the last few months. Clark sighed just thinking about it.
Lois heard him sigh and then she sighed. It was obvious to her that he was just going to be tip-toey about the Oliver thing and he would try to be Switzerland… which was fine if she and Oliver were warring nations – which they weren't.
Another year over, and a new one just begun…
She and Ollie were friends… at least she hoped they would be once he realized that her lack of desire to get serious with him had nothing to do with that ridiculous claim about some unrequited feelings for…
"I'm decorating," Lois announced, cutting off her thoughts and answering Clark's earlier question.
Clark blinked as he tried to make sense of her statement. "I thought you were anti-Christmas." It wasn't worth asking her how she had gotten into the locked house without a key. He had an idea.
"I never said that I was anti-Christmas," Lois replied, kneeling to inspect a pile of small artificial branches.
Clark scratched his head as he glanced around in confusion.
Lois looked up at him. "I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about," she explained softly. After a beat, she continued. "Imagine my shock when I found this place looking like the Grinch had cleaned it out."
The vulnerable expression had been covered by her trademark smart-ass smirk so quickly that Clark wondered if he had imagined it. "Mom wasn't feeling very decorative," he offered apologetically. "Usually, she starts decorating the place the day after Thanksgiving."
Lois glanced away. Of course Mrs. Kent hadn't been feeling festive. Lois knew how Thanksgiving had taken its toll on the Senator. It had reminded her why she tended to boycott holidays. "Well, I think this place could use a little Christmas cheer."
She watched as Clark's eyes took a wistful turn around the room. "I think you're right."
Lois smiled and jerked a thumb over her shoulder to indicate the bare wooden tree stand behind her. "Wanna help?"
Clark precariously made his way through the maze of ornaments and ribbon Lois had made in the living room. Finally arriving at her side, he frowned at the wooden stand. It seemed to have a definite lean to it. "Where'd you find this thing?"
Lois followed his look. "The attic, and it wasn't easy, let me tell you. I have to admit, Smallville, I would have taken your family for the buy a tree, plant a tree type."
Clark turned his head to look at her. "Me and dad used to pick out a real tree together every year." He saw Lois's expression shift and he realized that she was reacting to the mention of his father. For the first time he remembered that she had lost him too. "I'm sorry," he added quickly.
Lois blinked and schooled her face. She should have been apologizing to him – not the other way around. No one had ever acknowledged the fact that for a little while, Jonathan Kent had been a father to her as well. And since no one had acknowledged it, she hadn't believed she deserved to either… but Clark just had. "…I wasn't around for Christmas last year," she offered weakly.
Clark nodded and gave her a soft smile. "This was his favorite time of the year…"
Lois nodded back and they spent a quiet moment each lost in their own thoughts.
There'll be parties for hosting, Marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow…
Clark picked up a sprig from the tree. "So, where do we start?"
Lois smirked. "I have no idea. There were no instructions with this thing."
"And it was in the attic?" Clark asked incredulously. "Our attic?"
She laughed. "Yes, but from the sound of it, this is some ancient throwback from the pre-Clark era – which would explain why it was buried under absolutely everything." With her hands on her hips, she gave the tree stand a thoughtful look. "We should probably start at the bottom."
"No, the top, I think," Clark replied. He couldn't explain his need to be contrary; it was just natural when it came to Lois.
"The top?" Lois scoffed and shook her head. "Trees grow from bottom up. Come on Farm Boy, go with nature and you'll never go wrong."
"This isn't about nature, Lois. It's a fake tree," he pointed out.
Lois rolled her eyes. "Bottom."
He simply smiled when she glared at him.
"Just stick the damn things in the holes," she grumbled.
Stepping back to check their progress, Lois started laughing. Instead of the traditional triangular shape of a Christmas tree, their mass of pine needles looked more like an hour glass. Clark, in his insistence to start at the top of the tree, had started attaching branches in the opposite manner that she had. Now, the bottom branches were just as long as the top branches and there was nothing but fuzz left for the middle.
"What?" Clark asked, taking a step back himself. His nose scrunched as he looked at their handiwork. "Hmmm."
Lois turned her head to him and arched an eyebrow. "Probably should have started from the bottom, don't you think?"
Clark chuckled and put his hands in his pocket. "I kind of like it like that."
Shaking her head, Lois hopped onto the arm of the couch so she could reach the branches at the top of the tree.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm fixing it," she answered over her shoulder as she started pulling a branch from the stand. The action of the branch coming loose made the wooden stand teeter. "Crap!"
Grabbing for the nearest attached branch, Lois failed to realize that in her attempts to keep the tree upright, she was putting herself off balance. They were both going down.
Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore…
By the time Lois released a startled yelp as her foot slipped, Clark had moved to halt her plummet. Once she got over the momentary shock of not falling on her face, Lois glanced down. "Um… Smallville…?"
In his leap into action, Clark had miraculously avoided stepping on any of the ornaments that were scattered around. He now stood on one foot, the other held inches above a glass bulb his mother adored. With his attention focused on not smashing the sphere, he hadn't noticed much else. Hearing Lois call his name again, he looked up and blushed.
Lois was clutching the tree – obviously the only thing keeping it from crashing to the floor – while his hand was the only thing keeping her from doing the same. The hand in question had somehow ended up under her shirt.
"Uh… sorry," he choked out, his mind racing for a quick way to rectify the situation. His other hand was stretched out sideways to aid his precarious one-foot balancing act, so it took him a second before he came up with a good plan. "Sorry," he repeated, using his airborne foot to nudge the glass ornament out of the way.
Then slowly, in an effort to not cause anything else to shift, he lowered his foot and gained a sounder foundation. His free hand hovered over Lois's thigh area for a moment before he finally decided to grab the tree instead. He tilted both Lois and the Christmas tree back into standing positions. Clearing his throat, he retrieved his hand. "I… didn't… mean to…"
"It's okay," Lois interrupted. "No harm, no foul," she chided. His grip had been mostly on her side, so he hadn't gotten a feel of anything north of the Mason-Dixie line. She refused to let him get awkward and brooding about something that was essentially nothing. She hopped from the couch and forced a bright smile. "Now, about the tree…"
Clark smiled and turned to pull the branches from holes at the top of the tree. "I think we should probably start from the bottom."
Though the tree had taken its traditional shape once the pieces had been sufficiently rearranged, it was still quite pitiful looking. There were numerous gaps which they had tried to fill in with ornaments and tinsel. Even the ropes of lights failed to hide the fact that you could see straight through to the other side.
"I could go buy a tree at the lot on Main Street," Clark offered with a grimace.
"On Christmas Eve?" Lois asked, tossing a handful of tinsel at the tree. Given the scarcity of branches, most of it ended up on the floor. "Anything you would find would be even more Charlie Brownish than Old Faithful here." She stepped back and took in the sight. "Besides, I'm attached to it now."
Clark moved around the tree to stand next to her and nodded. "It does grow on you, doesn't it?"
Lois looked at him out the corner of her eye. His comment about things growing on someone struck an entirely different nerve. Even though she had insisted that there was no reason for him to feel awkward about the quasi-grope that had taken place earlier, Lois hadn't been able to convince herself of the same.
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow…
Silently, she cursed Ollie for putting that ridiculous spin on her relationship with Clark. There wasn't even a relationship!
But because Ollie had brought it up, she had started to question her every move when Clark was around. Second-guessing herself over nonsense had gotten so stifling that she had begun to limit their interaction. After a while, she had pushed it to the back of her mind.
Now it was back at the forefront with a vengeance. It annoyed her that she was having these feelings on her own – he wasn't even fazed, damnit! She was all confuzzled and he had only touched her belly button!
Lois shifted a little, subtly putting some space between she and Clark. It wasn't fair that he was unaffected and she was getting flushed just remembering. All because of a stupid belly button. She shifted again.
Belly buttons were strange things. They were one of the most innocent of the Lever 2000 parts… at least they were supposed to be – but if you asked anyone who had ever had that button pushed by someone else, well they could tell you how uninnocent those little things could actually be.
Take for instance the possible insinuation of such interaction: the imposition of a masculine finger in a crevice that was rarely seen and touched even less. Yep. You got it.
Lois cleared her throat and attempted to think of something else. "Juneau..."
Clark frowned. "Huh?"
"Alaska." Lois shrugged sheepishly. "It must be cold there."
When he grinned at her lame reply, she silently cursed him for being impervious. It wasn't fair. She was going to have to fix that.
Lois had a new mission.
Clark gulped as Lois sidestepped a stray ornament and brushed past his back. He had never known her to be so clumsy. She had touched him more over the past hour than in the past month. Then again, he realized, that was because he hadn't seen much of her in the past month.
As usual, he acted like nothing had happened.
It wasn't a difficult thing to do – he'd had a lot of practice. First, she was just Lois Lane - bossy, loud, and abrasive Lois Lane. Reluctant friendship had been all he'd seen in her until she started dating Queen. Then, suddenly, she was Lois Lane – woman. And that was the wrong thing to see in a friend who was dating a friend.
So, he pretended that nothing affected him. He was a virtual man of steel will.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful…
"How about a fire?" Clark asked moving toward the fireplace without waiting for an answer.
Lois sighed. Her attempt to make him feel as put out as she felt was not working. Nothing bothered him – and that fact aggravated her all the more. Pouting, she flopped onto the couch and watched as Clark got a fire going. After a few minutes, she had to pull her gaze from his hands. It wasn't helping her predicament.
Irritated, for more than one reason, Lois eyed Clark's back as she tried to think up a way to get under his skin.
"What do you want for Christmas, Smallville?"
"What do I want?"
Lois smirked. "That was the question."
He stood and brushed his hands on his jeans. His expression was thoughtful. "I don't know. I guess I hadn't really thought about wanting something… What about you?"
She shrugged. "This, I guess." She slid from the couch and crawled to the tree, lying underneath it with her hands laced behind her head. "You know, a house, a tree, a fire…" She gazed up at the lights. "I've always seen people do this in movies. I'm not sure what the draw is. Do you?" She patted the floor next to her.
When he moved to lie under the tree next to her, she hid a smile. Candy from a baby.
"So, what do you think?" she asked.
"I guess it's kind of magical," he answered after a moment.
Lois wasn't really paying attention to his reply. She was busy thinking ahead to her next move. "Hmmph. Maybe. You thirsty?" She placed a hand on his upper thigh and pushed herself up.
Queen to Knight's pawn. Check.
When she returned to the living room after getting a glass of milk from the kitchen, she realized that she may have outplayed her hand.
Clark was standing next to the tree with a disturbing look in his eye and semi-clenched fists. He wasn't as unaffected as she had assumed - that certainly wasn't an ornament in his pocket. She slowly licked the milk from her top lip. It excited her to see him… excited.
"Shit." And with that, she turned around and left the room.
The vein in Clark's neck twitched as he watched her leave. He was a little confused with her disappearance and he didn't know what to do about it. To his knowledge, his surface reaction was still benign to her accidental touches. There was a single thread of his willpower left, and he was holding on to it for dear life. He couldn't begin to guess what was going on in her head. She had just looked at him, uttered a curse under her breath, and left.
The possibilities were endless. She could have forgotten something in the kitchen. She could have had a sudden taste for cheese. Maybe she wanted cookies to go with her milk. Or… he glanced down and his eyes widened… she could have seen that. "Shit."
Clark launched himself toward the couch and covered his lap with a pillow. A few seconds later, Lois reappeared holding a bottle. Lowering herself to the couch a safe distance away, she arched an eyebrow at the pillow but didn't say anything about it. After taking a swig from the bottle and grimacing at the taste, she handed it to him.
I won't ask for much this Christmas, I won't even wish for snow…
He read the label and looked up in confusion. "Cooking Sherry?"
She nodded and indicated that he drink up.
"This won't affect me…" he started.
"Me either," Lois said, once again gesturing for him to drink. "We just need it as an excuse."
Clark frowned and took a drink. Wiping his mouth, he asked, "An excuse for what?"
Lois pulled the bottle from him and placed it on the end table behind her. When she turned back to him, she held a twig of mistletoe in her hand and her eyes were twinkling with mischief. "For what we're about to do."
It was just one kiss. Or at least, that was what it was supposed to be. One kiss – but Clark had discovered something. Kissing Lois Lane was like inhaling Red K laced with Crack. He was immediately addicted. Every time she pulled back to catch her breath, he went through withdrawals and sought to reclaim her lips.
He was insatiable – all he wanted was to get closer. He had never felt like this before in his life. And this was just from a kiss. Once his denial had been dissolved, there was no turning back. If he didn't stop the train, it was going to drag him under. In his foggy mindset, he couldn't decide if that was a bad thing.
With a struggle, he forced himself to pull back from Lois and found that he was practically lying on top of her. He couldn't think straight – he could barely even remember his name – but he knew that something wasn't right. When Lois's hand snaked to his hair, he jumped from the couch. He definitely wouldn't be able to think if she did that.
Lois blinked as Clark seemed to disappear into thin air. Pushing herself up to a sitting position, she turned her head from side to side looking for him. The sound of a door slamming upstairs alerted her to where he had gone off to.
She climbed the stairs slowly unsure of what to make of it all. Clark's sudden passion had surprised her and awakened something she had been keeping at bay for longer than she realized. Ollie just may have had a point.
She knocked on the bathroom door. "Clark?" She tried the handle and considered retrieving her lock picks from her coat downstairs. "Why did you lock yourself in the bathroom?"
She heard him clear his throat. "Um… I don't think I can do this."
"Do what? Kiss me?"
"Yes… and stuff," he replied. "It's a little much."
Laughing, Lois leaned against the wall outside of the door. "You can come out, Smallville. I won't jump you," she teased.
"I might," he croaked through the door. "I can't control myself around you. That's never happened before."
Lois felt a flush of heat go through her. His surprise announcement made her feel very powerful.
"Come on out, Clarkie," her voice beckoned huskily.
Clark gritted his teeth together and forced himself to step away from the door. That tone. That name. She was teasing him… and he was responding. His foot hit something and he looked down to see a pile of clothes. His eyes immediately shot up as he realized what that pile of clothes – or what one particular item in that pile of clothes meant.
Bracing his hands on the sink, he tried to clear his head. His life had always been complicated. Learning about new abilities and super powers tended to be jolting, but for the most part, all of those powers had turned out beneficial. At this moment, though, he couldn't for the life of him fathom how being super-horny was a good thing.
He'd known that she had showered and put on his clothes. That much had been obvious when he'd come in the house. What he hadn't realized was that she wasn't wearing anything else but his clothes.
A loud crack brought Lois to attention. Leaning an ear to the door she tried to get a gist of what was happening in the bathroom. "Smallville! What's going on in there? Are you okay?" She could hear a hissing sound.
"…fine!" His voice seemed muffled and panicked.
Lois frowned. His strained voice worried her. "Clark?"
The feeling of dampness seeping into her socks made her jump. Water was coming under the door. "That's it – I'm coming in!"
Lois kicked the door open to a curious sight. Clark was drenched from head to toe and standing with half of the ceramic sink in his hand while the room was filled with steam. She tried to piece the puzzling sight together. "The sink's broke?"
He gave her a sheepish shrug.
She stepped into the bathroom and looked at the floor. It was basically dry except for the small puddle that had made it to the hall. "The pipes burst?" She would have expected more water.
"I was able to turn the water off," Clark offered meekly. "I was really the only thing that got hit." The steam was steadily sifting out of the room through the open door but the humid air was still having an effect. Her hair was starting to frizz. Clark gulped – the image she presented was not helping his resolve.
She looked around the room in amusement. "Hmmm. A broken sink and a broken door. That must have been some powerful Sherry."
When he heard the throaty laugh that followed, he was done for. All of his barriers – including the bathroom door – had been licked. The section of the sink that he held fell to the floor with a thud.
Lois's laughter faltered with the loud sound. Clark was giving her a look. Not just any look… a look.
Knight to Queen's rook. Checkmate.
She swallowed slowly, almost afraid of the intensity in his eyes. He was wet all over, the red tee-shirt clinging to his skin in a way that left nothing to the imagination. Her eyes snapped back up to his face and she saw his nostrils flaring slightly. It was as if in one passing second, they had been boiled down to their base elements in the same way water became steam. They were no longer Lois and Clark but predator and prey.
Lois carefully shifted her weight onto her back leg, moving so slowly that it seemed that she wasn't moving at all. Certainly, she wasn't breathing. His eyes never left hers, but she could see that he was shifting his weight just as achingly slow as she was. They were both acting on instinct now. With a mere hint of a smirk, she bolted.
Anyone who has ever seen a cat run from a dog knows exactly what happened next.
Lois skidded to a stop at the front door, cursing her wardrobe… or the lack of, actually.
I really can't stay - Baby, it's cold outside…
She turned, putting her back against the door as her eyes darted around the room in search of a viable escape route. She spied Clark making his way across the room at a slow and controlled pace. Her own dash through the living room had caused a number of the unused Christmas bulbs to roll from their piles, creating a haphazard line of defense.
Her breathing was shallow and her chest heaved with the effort she was employing to keep it under control. Clark's eye sparkled as he made it past the first row of ornaments with no problem. She realized that the rest of her makeshift army would be defeated just as easily.
With a squeal, she leaped toward the couch in an attempt to make a final run for it.
Clark jumped a millisecond after she did – landing on the seat behind her and knocking them both off balance. She grabbed for him as she fell, and when the smoke cleared, he was lying on top of her and they were both laughing hysterically.
"You're getting me wet!" she exclaimed. They would have to add a soggy couch to the list of things they had ruined tonight.
"I know what I want for Christmas," Clark said, suddenly serious.
Lois sobered as she began to feel his interest growing… and her response building. She cleared her throat. "I don't know if you've been good enough for that," she challenged, pushing him off of her. He tumbled to the floor with thud.
Lois grimaced and propped herself up on an elbow to see where he had fallen. By some Christmas miracle, none of the ornaments had been on that part of the floor. She rolled herself off the couch and landed on his chest.
"You like to be on top. I get it," Clark said, smiling up at her.
Lois's always ready snarky comment died in her throat as she got caught in the brilliance of his grin. She didn't believe in love at first sight. That was a fairy tale contrivance that didn't leave room for all the complications that came along with getting to know someone.
Love at the same time, on the other hand, was something she might have to buy stock in. Whatever she had been thinking to say died under the weight of the unvoiced revelation.
Clark watched as her brow creased and immediately his ardor cooled. In that instant, reeling from what he read in her eyes, he finally found the one thing that was more powerful than what his body was feeling for her – what his heart was feeling for her.
And that's when he realized that that wasn't going to happen tonight after all. He wasn't disappointed - well not much anyway – he was more anticipatory, because he knew that eventually it was going to happen.
Christmas was about giving and receiving – and he had just gotten the best present in the world – Hope. After a bad year: his father's death, the incongruity that was Lionel Luthor, the fissure between he and Lex, the slow retreat of Lana to the dark side, the trip to and from the Phantom Zone, and the loss of his only tangible connection to Krypton in Raya... All of that, and yet she alone gave him reason to look forward to the next year.
Lois laid her head against his chest and they both silently gazed at the fire. The familiar strains of a song began playing, and she felt Clark's laughter through his chest. "This is my new favorite song," he teased.
I'll have a Blue Christmas, that's certain…
Lois lifted her head and looked at him with narrowed eyes. "I can do a hell of an impersonation lying down, you know."
Clark's hands darted to her hips, holding them firmly in place an inch above his mid-section.
Lois chuckled as his Adam's apple bobbed nervously. "But I won't," she simply added, patting his chest and returning to her previous position of repose. Her eyes fluttered closed.
"…Maybe next year… if you're good."