Author: 1truelove/Leynalynn/mizhellfire
Season: 7 (everything up to Gemini but without BizarroClark being involved)
Prompt: Pain
SS For: Mauve
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Song lyrics are written by Dan Fogelberg
A/N: Another year, another holiday Smallville fic. This is my first attempt at writing anything of a mature rating level so I hope everything seems erm… realistic/entertaining? A slightly more explicit version can be found on my LJ if anyone is interested (the link can be found in my profile). This one-shot is a part of the 2007 DI Holiday Ficstravaganza. I hope everyone enjoys! Happy holidays!

Another Auld Lang Syne

2007 Xmas SS fic for Mauve

"Lois? Is that you?"

A woman bundled up in layers of mismatched clothing spun around the frozen food section trying to find the person who had just called out, but failed miserably due to the fuzzy scarf that obstructed the view of everything except the pile of microwave dinners that were stacked up precariously in her arms.

Clark Kent grinned for the first time in more than a week as he watched Lois Lane slip on the wet linoleum floor and tumble to the ground, sending frozen dinners in every direction. "Where is a video camera when you really need one?" he laughed as he strode from the far end of aisle thirteen over to where Lois had crashed to the ground. He extended his hand to help her to her feet but instead he received a glare that made him extremely grateful to be the only one who could shoot fire from his eyes.

"What are you doing here?" she grumbled as she eased herself off the ground.

"I am frantically searching for frozen vegetables because for some odd reason Lana can't have Christmas dinner without assorted frozen vegetables," Clark rolled his eyes. "I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you're here because you're preparing for a trip to the North Pole?"

"You're a regular riot, Smallville. I'm here because I'm trying to find something edible for my low budget Christmas dinner," Lois snapped as she bent down to gather the contents of her purse which had spilled out onto the floor when she fell.

"I see," Clark said while eyeing her apparel in confusion.

"I'm wearing this disaster because I told Chloe that I was sick when she insisted on inviting me to her fancy Christmas dinner with Jimmy to prevent me from spending Christmas by myself. I finally convinced her that I was too ill to join in the festivities and that I was just going to pick up something easy for dinner but she wouldn't let me leave until I was practically dressed in my entire closet. This is me protecting myself from the cold while shopping in the frozen food aisle."

"Is there a reason why none of your winter clothing matches? The pink mittens and the bumblebee colored earmuffs don't exactly mesh together," Clark tried to sound casual as he joined Lois in her search for the spilled items that had rolled down aisle thirteen.

"Since when did you become the fashion police, Smallville?" Lois stuffed change, pens, and a handful of tissues back into her purse.

"After a few years with you around to constantly criticize my wardrobe I have learned to be slightly more fashion conscious. I now have four shirts that aren't plaid. You should be very proud," Clark smirked.

"Clark Kent's closet is not completely dominated by plaid. It's official, hell is freezing over and Shelby and I are going to Vegas to elope," Lois teased.

"You have to send me pictures from the honeymoon. My mom will definitely want to see them if she ever gets a flight home from DC," Clark laughed.

"Will she make it home for your big dinner feast?" Lois' expression became sympathetic.

"No, she just called when I left to pick up the vegetables. She said that with all the snow she doesn't think she'll be able to make it home until late tomorrow night." Clark's smile faded away and Lois saw the warning signs of his typical brooding displays.

"Look on the bright side, you get to spend a romantic Christmas evening with Lana. You're the sentimental type, you should love the prospect of cuddling by the fire and doing whatever you two do underneath the mistletoe," Lois tried desperately to smile despite her unexplainable urge to gag. To her surprise, a small grimace passed over Clark's features as well. "You don't look exactly thrilled about that idea, Smallville."

Clark's expression suddenly resembled a deer caught in the headlights. "Thrilled? Of course I am. I was just really looking forward to seeing my mom today and I'm a little sad that she's going to miss Christmas. Lana made this huge dinner and decorated the entire farm. She actually went a bit overboard. I think we're going to have to throw most of the leftovers away. There's no way that it will all fit in the fridge."

Lois rolled her eyes as she shoved a tube of lipstick into her purse and made sure that it was zipped up tightly. "Are you seriously brooding over the fact that you have too much food? Consider your audience here, Smallville. I'm going home to eat questionable microwave dinners and the last chocolate chip cookie from Chloe's baking spree last week. Things could be a lot worse than eating ham and mashed potatoes for the next few days."

"Would you like to eat dinner with us?" Clark asked suddenly.

"Clark, I was not trying to guilt you into inviting me to disrupt your romantic Christmas. I was simply suggesting that you stop moping around and be appreciative of what you have."

"You didn't guilt me into anything, Lois. I'm just solving both of our problems. I have too much food and you don't have enough. Come back to the farm with me and have dinner with us. It pains me to admit this, but you're good company. It'll be fun!" Clark smiled warmly and was now starting to look like a child who just saw the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.

"Fun? You do realize that the whole point of me dressing like a color blind Eskimo was because I was trying to avoid being a third wheel?"

"You won't be a third wheel, Lois. You'll be a guest who will get to have a nice warm meal that hasn't been packaged or covered in preservatives."

"Somehow I'm still not convinced." Lois mentally groaned at the idea of spending her evening with moody Clark and Mrs. Claus a.k.a. Lana, especially if they would be making those hideous lovey dovey faces at each other from across the dinner table.

"Please, Lois? Lana was looking forward to being the hostess and now she'll still get to have the Christmas dinner she spent all that time planning."

"Couldn't you have brought in one of the cows or something? You live on a farm and yet she still feels the need to overfeed poor, defenseless creatures?"

"Lois, you definitely do not qualify as a poor, defenseless creature," Clark grinned.

"I was thinking of your mother. There's only so much holiday cheer and baked goods a person can handle before they die of sugar shock or something."

"Lois, are you coming or not?"

Lois made a face. "Do I have to?"

"If you don't I might have to call Chloe and tell her you were skipping around the grocery store without your earmuffs," Clark smiled innocently.

"You are pure evil, Kent. People think that smile is so charming but I know better. You are pure evil," Lois grumbled as she began to walk down the aisle toward the exit.

"Well, I have learned from the best," Clark shouted from behind her.

Lois turned back to face him. "Of course you have," she grinned and locked her arm around his.


"Yeah, Smallville?"

"Aren't you going to pick up all those microwave dinners?"

Lois smiled mischievously up at him. "Cleanup on aisle thirteen!" she shouted as she pulled him toward the exit.

"Don't be surprised when you get piles of coal in your stocking this year, Chlo."

"Come on, Lois, it won't be that bad," Chloe smiled in amusement at her cousin's idea of saying hello.

"Are you kidding? Have you seen the farm since Lana started decorating? This is going to be a holly jolly hell on Earth," Lois snapped into her cell phone.

"Lana just wants to be festive."

"Well, I'm glad Mrs. Kent is stuck in Washington so she doesn't have to subject herself to what Lana thinks is festivity. You can see the farm for miles with all of those lights. It's absolutely ridiculous."

"When were you at the farm?" Chloe was accustomed to Lois' frequent trips to the Kent house but ever since Clark and Lana started dating she noticed that Lois seemed to avoid the place like the plague.

"Clark stopped by the other day to fix the cable so I decided to drop in to say thanks."

"You just felt like stopping by?" Chloe was glad Lois couldn't see her Cheshire cat grin.

"Yes, Chlo. I was grateful to finally see more than static on the morning news so I thought I'd give Smallville a pumpkin pie to show my extreme gratitude."

"You made pumpkin pie?" Chloe asked with mixed astonishment and horror.

"Of course not, Chloe! I bought it at the store beforehand. I was trying to thank the guy, not give him food poisoning."

"That was very nice of you. Now would you care to enlighten me about how you miraculously feel better enough to go to the farm for Christmas dinner? You were the one saying how badly you wanted to stay home under a pile of warm blankets to hide from all the Christmas cheer."

"I was blackmailed," Lois grumbled.

"Well, I'm glad someone managed to get you out of the apartment. You've been brooding around for the past two weeks and hopefully being exposed to holiday spirit will snap you out of whatever rut you've fallen in to."

"I'm not in a rut, Chloe. I'm just not in the holiday mood this year. After I'm finished spending the evening being bombarded by carols and Lana Lang I'm fairly certain that I won't be in the holiday mood next year either."

"I'm sure you'll have fun," Chloe said in a motherly voice.

"Yeah, I'm sure it'll be a night to remember. I'm just getting in, eating as much as I can, and getting home to begin working on my newest article 'How Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent Stole Christmas.'"


"Chloe, I have to go. I'll see you when I get home. We're pulling in now and I have to focus to make sure I don't ram into the back of Smallville's truck. He drives like an old lady!" Lois flipped her cell phone shut and leaned on the horn while shouting out the window. "It's called the gas pedal, Smallville! Use it!"

The aroma of gingerbread and pine tree emanated from inside the Kent house. Lois stood behind Clark debating whether or not she should try to run back to her car as he opened the door, releasing another wave of the scent of baked goods into the crisp, winter air.

Lana stood in the kitchen staring intently at the oven as Lois and Clark trudged inside. "Clark, did you get the mixed vegetables?" she shouted without looking up from whatever was cooking inside the oven.

"They were all out, Lana," Clark said apologetically, looking somewhat like a dejected puppy.

Lana spun around toward Clark and for a moment Lois was certain she saw a flash of anger in her eyes but as soon as she saw that they had company, her eyes lit up with childlike excitement and she broke into a broad, beaming smile. "Lois!" she chirped. "What are you doing here?"

Lois looked uneasily back and forth between Lana and Clark trying to remember why she ever agreed to coming to the Kent farm to spend her Christmas evening. "I ran into Clark at the store and since you seemed to have some extra room at your table he was nice enough to invite me," Lois replied while wondering why her response sounded more like a question than an actual answer.

"That's wonderful! Dinner is just about ready. Go ahead and sit down and I'll be right over with the ham," Lana grinned even wider as she turned, gave Clark a chaste peck on the cheek and pranced off into the kitchen.

"Clark, are you sure this is okay?" Lois asked with genuine concern as soon as Lana was out of earshot.

"Of course it is! Didn't you see how happy she was to have company?" Clark smiled as he motioned her toward one end of the table.

"Smallville, her eye was twitching just a little bit and that level of pep is just unhealthy. Are you sure she isn't about to go on a killing spree?"

"Lois, she's fine. She's really happy to see you. If she's upset about anything it's about me not coming back with those mixed vegetables. Dinner will be fun! Here, let me take some of your layers of jackets before you start to melt."

Lois yanked off three jackets, her pink mittens, the fuzzy red scarf, and the bumblebee earmuffs and launched them into Clark's arms. She was just about to yank off a sweatshirt that looked a little snug but hesitated and decided against it. "I'm feeling a little chilly. I'll keep this layer on," she tugged the sweater closer to her chest.

An hour and several odd minutes later Lois had barricaded herself in the Kent bathroom and was trying to figure out a way to escape the farm without having to make any more small talk with Lana. They had spent the entire dinner staring awkwardly at each other and talking about how long it took Lana to put up the thousands of lights that covered every square inch of the barn and the outside of the house. Lois got to a point where she completely zoned out and started trying to count how many times Lana blinked as she raved animatedly about the advantages of icicle lights versus the classic bulbs. The only thing she gained from the whole experience was the knowledge that Lana Lang either needs to blink more or invest in eye drops to prevent her eyes from drying out.

After Lana finally stopped talking Lois was fairly positive she heard crickets chirping as the awkwardness level of the dinner rose to impossibly high levels. If it wasn't crickets, Lois figured that it must be the sound of the electric bill going through the roof from the sheer abundance of lights that lit up the Kansas countryside. To Lois' great irritation Clark did absolutely nothing throughout the entire meal. Lana would gesture wildly toward the windows or the pine tree in the living room waiting for a response and all Clark would do is nod or smile idiotically. Clark's inability to do anything except eat and smile forced Lois to actually contribute to the conversation when it seemed like Lana was actually waiting for some kind of intelligible answer. As soon as her plate was cleared Lois made a mad dash for the bathroom in hopes that it could somehow transport her out of whatever hell she had found herself in.

When all plans of escape were deemed unfeasible, Lois timidly ventured away from the bathroom and practically tiptoed back to the kitchen and dining area. Clark had somehow managed to disappear and Lana was happily scrubbing dishes in the kitchen while humming Christmas carols.

"I'm going to kill Clark Kent," Lois muttered underneath her breath.

"Oh, Lois!" Lana cried out in surprise. "I didn't hear you come in!"

"You know me," Lois faked a smile. "Quiet as a mouse."

Lana giggled for a moment and then frowned slightly. "Clark said he needed to finish something in the barn and Nell called and asked if I could drive to Metropolis to help her set up her big Christmas party. I'm so sorry to have to leave before we got to chat some more but Nell sounded like she needed help right away. I'm heading out as soon as I finish these dishes but you're welcome to stay and have dessert with Clark if you'd like."

"You have to leave so soon?" Lois could barely contain her excitement at being so close to freedom.

"Sadly, yes. Apparently Nell invited too many people and now she's frantic about what to do. Hopefully I can help her manage everything before all of her guests arrive."

"Lana, the dinner was great. Thank you so much. I probably should be going too. I'm going to go say goodbye to Clark before I go. I hope you have fun at the party." Lois scooped up her layers of clothing and rushed out the door.

After not finding Clark working on anything in the barn, Lois made her way up to the loft to find him sitting on the couch staring out the window at the stars. "I suppose no holiday dinner can be complete without you sneaking off to brood in the loft for hours on end."

"Merry Christmas to you too, Lois,"

"That does not sound like happiness to see me."

"What do you want, Lois?"

"Blame the reporter in me, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you're not exactly overflowing with holiday cheer."

"You haven't been running around singing Christmas carols either."

"That is because I know I could be having a grand old time at a bar in Metropolis right about now, but instead you guilted me into coming here for what I can easily describe as the most awkward Christmas dinner ever."

"Well, you've survived the main event. I think you could skip out on dessert and still make it to that bar in time to get a nice holiday buzz."

"As tempting as that sounds I think I'll stick around to keep you company. Lana is about to leave for Nell's and I'm determined to find out the reason behind why you refused to say a word while I struggled through making small talk with your girlfriend."

"Lana's leaving?"

"Didn't she tell you? She said that she needed to meet up with Nell to help set up for her big Christmas bash."

"It must've slipped my mind."


"Yes, Lois. As difficult as it may be for you to believe it, my world is not completely centered on Lana Lang."

"I sense some hostility, Smallville. Trouble in paradise?"

"Why do you care, Lois?"

"I'd like to be prepared for the New Year's party. There is no way I'm coming to another dinner here unless I'm one hundred percent positive that your mom or my cousin are present so Lana can focus all that cheer on someone besides myself. I can't handle any more talk about blinky lights or how to make ham that has that special home cooked shine. Can you believe that she actually talked to me about cooking? Me, Smallville!"

"There won't be any New Year's party, Lois. You won't be inconvenienced," Clark said with a sigh.

"Why would that be?" Lois prodded.

"My mom has to be in DC that night," Clark answered simply.

"Well, that sure didn't stop Lana from spreading the holiday cheer tonight."

"Lana won't be here either," Clark added.

"Another party at Nell's?"

"I have no idea."

"Am I missing something?"

"Lana and I broke up," Clark answered dully.

"While I was in the bathroom?" Lois raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"Last week."

"So all the cheer and festivity?"

"Lana's way over overcompensating."


"We still wanted everyone to have a good holiday so we decided to act like we were still a couple until after Christmas was over. It was a way to keep things pleasant and stress free."

"Again, why?"

"Just leave it alone, Lois. Lana and I decided we were better as friends. There's nothing more to it."

"I highly doubt that," Lois laughed as she plopped down next to him.

"I'd rather not discuss my reasons behind breaking it off with Lana. What's done is done. I don't need any sympathy and I would just like to be alone now," Clark snapped.

Lois furrowed her brow and scooted closer to Clark. He jumped slightly as she touched her cool hands to his face and forced him to meet her gaze. "Firstly, you invited me here for a reason and I'm pretty certain that it wasn't so you could show off your falsely cheerful ex-girlfriend. Secondly, I'm a little lost on why you broke it off with Lana if you intended on coming up here to feel miserable about yourself. Lastly, I'd like to know why you couldn't tell anyone about this. You know you can always call me if you need something. I may not be the easiest person to chat with but I can put sarcasm aside when it is something really important. I've always been here for you, Clark."

"I invited you here because I thought you might be able to take my mind off of everything else. You have this way of understanding me when I can't even begin to try. When I saw you at the store I thought that maybe I wouldn't have to endure an awkward dinner with Lana. Instead I got an awkward dinner with you which I know we'll be able to joke about later once you stop hating me for dragging you here," Clark paused for a moment to gauge Lois' reaction.

"I don't hate you. I'm more than a little irritated at you about not telling me sooner because we could have saved a lot of trouble and kicked Lana out so we could have had a nice, quiet the dinner to ourselves. You really need to think these things through, Smallville."

"To answer your second and third question, I broke up with Lana because I finally saw how different we were. We were so fake and everything we did was so organized that there was nothing fun about us. There was no spontaneity in anything we did. I realized that our whole relationship was based off of what we should have been in high school and how we have grown into two completely different people with two completely different futures. I couldn't see her being that big of a part in mine. Now I'm just wondering if anyone will be with me in my future. I didn't tell anyone because everyone was just so busy with everything going on in their lives that I didn't feel the need to add more drama. I didn't call you because for some reason you've been either locked away in your apartment or buried in work for the Planet."

"Clark, I would have been there for you. Work has been really crazy recently but I would have been there to help," Lois smiled apologetically and pulled his hand into hers.

"Are you sure, Lois? You've seemed kind of upset lately."

"Upset? No, I'm fine, Smallville. I've just been really busy," Lois smiled reassuringly.

"Lois, you make that face when you're trying to keep something bottled up inside. You refuse to show any weakness but there's a small part of you that wants to say something that is probably very important."

"I don't make a face, Smallville," Lois replied agitatedly.

"Yes, you do," Clark insisted. He reached out and brushed his fingers by her eyes and down her jaw line. "You get tense, you clench your jaw, and you get a little line right by your eyes that make you look so lost. I see you make that face all the time and you never say anything. You always keep that stuff bottled inside, just like you're doing now." Clark pulled a strand of hair behind her ear and stared intently into her eyes.

"Clark," Lois said with warning. Her eyes darted from where his hand came to rest on her shoulder back to meet his eyes which were relentlessly searching for a response. In the background, the sound of Lana backing down the driveway made the fact that they were very much alone seem very significant. Lois knew that she made most of her mistakes when she was positive no one else was around.

"Lois," he replied with a surge of assurance. He knew she was wavering.

"I'm just a little sad," she said, her voice cracking slightly as she averted her gaze and squared her shoulders.

"Why? Is it because that guy?"

"What guy?" she asked defensively.

"That Grant guy. Chloe mentioned him once. She said he was your boss and that she advised you to break it off before it started affecting your career. Because I think I know you fairly well, I'm going to assume that you told Chloe that you broke it off but you really didn't. Am I close?"

"When did you become aware of a world outside of Lana? I'm actually astonished that you remembered the name of my editor."

"You are trying to change the subject," Clark smirked.

"I was not. I was just expressing my astonishment. I'd also like to know how you suddenly know me so well?"

"I'm going to take that as an acknowledgement to my prior statement. I'm also going to venture a guess that whatever did or did not go on between you and the Grant guy has now come to an end and you are not feeling as cheerful as everyone expects you to be."

Lois looked up and stared intently at Clark, gauging the safety of making any further statements and wondering how he was able to see through the walls that everyone else had been blind to for the past two weeks. Continuing this conversation would put her in a position she did not want to be in. She prided herself on her independence and having a heart-to-heart with Clark Kent of all people went against every rational thought she ever had about the plaid wearing farmboy.

"I'll be right back," she whispered before leaping to her feet and darting out of the loft leaving Clark completely clueless and severely doubting everything he had just said.

"I bet she's coming back with a gun," he muttered to himself. "This is what happens to people who get too close. They are never heard from again."

Several minutes later Lois ran back up to the loft carrying a large paper bag. "I'm back with reinforcements," she said solemnly as she plopped back down on the couch.

"I'm slightly terrified," Clark admitted staring warily at the bag.

Lois smirked at him mischievously and pulled a jar filled with cherries from the bag. "Reasonably so," she agreed while tugging at the lid.

"I'm legitimately confused, Lois."

"Smallville, you need to live a little. These are marinated cherries and if you want me to say anything about the Grant guy I'm going to need to have a couple of these first."

"Marinated cherries?"

"Cherries soaked in whiskey."

"Where did you get those?"

"I stashed them here when I brought over the pumpkin pie so that I could have them during the New Year's party and since there's no party I might as well have some fun now."

"I don't think alcohol is the solution to either of our problems, Lois."

"I think you're wrong and if you want this conversation to continue we are going to have to open this jar so I can snack on some cherries," Lois grinned as the lid popped off and cherry juice splashed onto her hands. She licked each of her fingers and then took a swig of the cherry juice straight from the jar.

"Lois, I really don't think this is a very good idea," Clark pleaded with his eyes as he wrapped his hands around hers even though they were clutching the cherry jar.

Lois pulled her hand away from his and reached into the jar, pulled out a cherry, and popped it into her mouth. "He broke up with me and I really don't understand why." Lois extended the jar to Clark and waited expectantly. "Now, it's your turn. Speak to me, farmboy. Tell me your Christmas woes."

Clark weighed his options. The cherries looked harmless enough. How much could one little cherry hurt? Just because he had one, it didn't mean they had to go through the whole enormous jar. After another moment of hesitation, he grabbed a cherry and popped it into his mouth. "I miss the way Christmas used to be and spending the past few weeks with Lana made me realize that what I liked about Christmas was the freedom of it. I liked being able to put my favorite ornaments on the tree even if they were the faded craft ones I made as a little kid. I want to be able to sing Christmas carols without knowing all the words. I want to look forward to kissing the woman I love underneath the mistletoe."

Another cherry, another truth. Once the words started the truths would get longer and longer and no words were needed to acknowledge the importance of what was being shared. Understanding came from the simple gestures of Clark running his fingers through Lois' hair as she struggled to find the words to describe how she felt when she realized she'd be spending Christmas alone. Acceptance came from the intensity in Lois' eyes when Clark admitted how he never felt loved by Lana.

"We really should stop eating these cherries," Clark sighed, unwilling to break the connection that had appeared between them as they shared the things that were dampening their Christmas.

"I'm not done yet. We still have more than half the jar left."

"That is because you bought the cherries in bulk."

"Keep going. Make this one count."

Clark's face grew serious in an instant. "I'm afraid of being alone. I wonder if I'm destined to lose the people I love the most. Everyone who loves me gets hurt. I don't know how I'd go on if my mom, Chloe or you weren't there. Christmastime is so hard because I constantly wonder if I'll ever be able to find someone. Maybe some of us are destined to be alone."

"Clark, that is absolutely ridiculous!"

"I thought we weren't judging each other's problems."

"This isn't judging this is plain common sense! Here, have a cherry," she pushed a cherry into his mouth. "People aren't destined to be alone. You are a wonderful, handsome guy! You are the sweetest person I have ever met and I know that once you start getting your head out of the clouds and start focusing on what really matters you'll find someone who makes your heart soar. Don't settle for just anyone, Clark. When you find her you'll know and you'll sweep her off her feet. Those epic love stories revolve around guys like you. Those love stories take time but they are always the ones that leave you feeling breathless. You have to know that she'll be worth it in the end."

Lois leaned her head on Clark's shoulder and sighed deeply before continuing. "You don't have to start worrying until you get like me. Everyone I date either leaves me for no apparent reason or turns out to be a psycho killer. I can't even keep up with it anymore. As soon as I feel comfortable in a relationship the guy runs off like he's being chased by a stampede of raging bulls. Am I really so unlovable? Is there something about me that repels all decent people and attracts the ones that kill the decent people?"

"Lois, listen to what you just told me. Everything you said about me applies to you. You have so many people who love you and there are probably so many more than you can even imagine. You just need to wait for the right one. You need someone who appreciates the little things that make you special. Before you know it you'll find the guy who grins just from thinking about you. You'll find the guy that appreciates your ability to fight for what is right and who loves those bunny slippers you wear around all the time. That guy will worship the ground you walk on and you'll make him the happiest person alive just by being you. Forget Oliver and Grant and all those other guys who couldn't see what was right in front of them. One day when you least expect it you'll find the one and everything else will just seem to fit."

Clark stared silently at Lois as she contemplated his response. Her mouth curved into a softer, more carefree smile and her eyes glimmered with emotion that caused his stomach to tighten. Tiny droplets of cherry juice still lingered on her lips and he suddenly felt compelled to lean in closer, wanting to taste the sweetness of the sticky liquid that stuck out like morning dew on fallen leaves.

Lois sat lost in bewilderment wondering how Clark Kent knew the way to say the most compassionate, heartfelt sentiments at exactly the right moment. She could hear the sincerity in his husky voice and see how much he believed what he was saying just by the way he refused to break eye contact. She barely registered the way she shifted closer to breathe in the scent of the whiskey and fruit juice on his breath. She felt her head swirl in a way the she could not attribute to the alcohol. The increased drumming inside her chest pulled her out of the silent moment and caused her to jump to her feet.

Clark's eyes widened, startled by her sudden movement, and perplexed by the electricity that surged between them just moments before.

"Why don't we put on some Christmas music?" Lois questioned at a pitch slightly higher than the one she had been using during their revelations.

"I thought you weren't in the mood for Christmas," Clark responded, scooting back to where he had been seated before he became fascinated with Lois' lips.

"I changed my mind," Lois replied with conviction as she flicked on the small radio stationed on a nearby table. The sounds of Christmas crooning floated through the air and Lois sighed with unexplainable relief. "I like this song," she commented as she eased back to her previous position on the couch. She pulled her legs up and sat facing Clark with her legs crossed in front of her. "Do you want another cherry?" Lois plucked a plump cherry from the jar and held it up, inspecting it before sucking on the cherry and the juice that was sliding down onto her fingers.

We drank a toast to innocence,
We drank a toast to now.

Clark shook his head and removed the jar of cherries from its spot between the two of them, setting it safely out of reach on the floor. The image of cherries sent his brain spiraling toward thoughts of Lois' lips and how sweet they must taste from all of the cherry juice. His memories of what happened on Valentine's Day were still prevalent in his thoughts and dreams in spite of how he frequently tried to pretend that he felt nothing during those blissful moments when he held Lois in his arms. He could still see the fire that burned in her eyes when they kissed as if the whole incident had only happened yesterday. This night and these feelings of vulnerability were bringing everything he had been trying to ignore up to the forefront of his mind. His sudden desire to feel the sensation of her lips against his dulled the rest of his rational thoughts.

"Lois, could you do me a favor?" His voice came out huskier than he intended.

"Hmm?" Lois' train of thought had drifted to the curves of Clark's muscles that were accentuated by the dark red shirt he was wearing which coincidently was one of the four non-plaid shirts he had mentioned earlier. Her eyes drifted back up to his and widened slightly at the smoldering look he was giving her. She chuckled awkwardly, unsure of what he had just said and bit down nervously on her lower lip.

The innocent action of Lois nibbling on her rosy red lips was enough to push him over the edge. Throwing caution and all normal brain function to the wind, Clark leaned in and captured her tantalizing lips with his own. Lois only had enough time to breathe a whispery gasp as Clark opened his mouth slightly, kissing her upper lip lightly at first but then with more force. He then pulled her lower lip with his teeth, nibbling on the tender flesh, sending sensations down her spine that caused her to shiver instinctively. He circled her waist with his arm and pulled her closer as his other hand slipped through her hair and caressed her cheek.

In a daze, Lois pressed her hand against the soft fabric of his shirt, feeling his rippling pectorals as he strained to pull her closer for better access to her lips. He continued to massage her lips with his own, tasting the succulent juices from the cherries mixed with something that was uniquely Lois. Everything he had imagined and even the memories he relived in the depths of his sleep paled in comparison to what he was feeling now. He moaned in protest as his brain registered that he would have to pull away to allow Lois to catch her breath.

He reluctantly pulled away, but his eyes remained focused on hers, searching for any sign that she felt the incredible passion that existed in their kiss. Her eyes had closed in pure exaltation and her lips were pouty and plump from being so thoroughly kissed.

The loss of contact caused her eyes to flutter open. She could still feel his arm firmly wrapped around her, but now his other hand was removed from her cheek and her lips tingled with electricity, longing to resume the pleasant game that lit a fire throughout her body.

Clark looked at her with a dreadful anticipation. She appeared to have emerged from a trance but he wasn't sure if it was from the kiss or an alcohol-induced euphoria. She stared back at him with a hunger in her eyes but Clark couldn't determine whether it was to kiss him or to inflict serious damage on his pride and his heart.

The seconds of silence seemed like hours as they sat in astonishment over what had just happened. "You had cherry juice on your lips," Clark mumbled apologetically under his breath.

"What?" Lois asked softly.

"You had cherry juice on your lips," Clark replied slightly louder. He reached his hand out tentatively and wiped at a stain from a droplet that he had somehow missed when he was kissing her.

And tried to reach beyond the emptiness,
But neither one knew how.

"Oh." Lois' breath caught in her throat at the heat that sprang through her insides at the exact moment Clark's thumb pressed against the side of her mouth. Her body craved his touch and the feel of his finger against her face was no longer enough. In a flash she shifted herself from her original position on the couch so that she was now seated straddling Clark's lap, feeling the growing bulge in his jeans press firmly into her center.

"Smallville?" she whispered, her voice raspy from emotions that were completely new to her.

Yeah, Lois?" Clark looked down in shock from her eyes to his lap where he felt his erection strain against the confines of his jeans.

Lois' smile turned cat-like and she kissed him fully; sliding her tongue into his mouth; tasting him as their tongues dueled for dominance.

He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, allowing his hands to slide up and down sensually on her back. His kisses traveled away from her lips down the sensitive path of her jaw line. He suckled at her pulse point and felt her heart rate rise as she groaned and called his name. He continued to move his kisses higher until he could suck luxuriously on her earlobe and feel the rumbles of pleasure as he found that special spot beneath the ear.

"Too many clothes," Lois purred as she slipped her fingers beneath his shirt and began to tug it to free his expansive muscles. They pulled apart only long enough for her pull it over his head and to remove her own sweatshirt and toss it onto the floor.

Clark moved to continue his assault on Lois' neck when he realized that instead of a bra Lois had another layer of clothing beneath the sweatshirt. More specifically she was wearing a very familiar plaid shirt that had disappeared from his room years ago.

Lois groaned in protest as she felt him still and pulled back slightly to meet his gaze. "What's wrong?" she rasped.

"You're wearing plaid."

"What?" Lois pulled away further.

"You're wearing my shirt," Clark explained as he let his fingers fall gently down above her breast.

Lois' head snapped down to stare at Clark's hand as it rose and fell with her erratic breathing. "Oh. I forgot."

"You forgot?"

"I wear it sometimes," she said softly, avoiding eye contact.

"I thought you hated my plaid and flannel," he said with equal softness and tenderness.

"It's really warm," she shrugged. "It makes a great nightshirt and I guess it has kind of grown on me."

"Really?" Clark chuckled creating vibrations that elicited a low moan from Lois.

"It reminds me of you," she mumbled underneath her breath.

We drank a toast to innocence,
We drank a toast to time.

Clark inhaled sharply at her words and in one swift movement scooped her into his arms and laid her back on the couch. In another instant the flannel shirt was in a pile on the floor with the other articles of clothing.

Lois let out a startled gasp and gripped tightly to his shoulders. The feeling of warmth emanating from his skin felt heavenly and she smoothed her fingers up his arms, across his chest and down to his lower abdomen to tug at his jeans.

"This is so amazingly wrong," she groaned as she gripped Clark's shoulders.

Lois arched her head back, reveling in the waves of pleasure Clark's movements were sending through her body. She could feel his arousal pressing harder against her crotch and the pressure intensified the heat that was already building between her thighs. Her only thought was to get rid of the jeans that separated them; to feel his skin against hers; to feel him inside of her.

"Oh, God, Smallville…"

Each kiss was fuel to the fire that burned between them.

"Oh, Clark…"

"You're so beautiful," he whispered, watching her body spasm with euphoric pleasure.

Lois' groaned in satisfaction as Clark kissed her further. "God, Smallville." She ran her fingers through his dark locks and pulled him in for a deep, soul-searing kiss.

"I want this. I want us, right now." It had never felt so right.

"Demanding aren't we?" Clark smiled through his ragged breaths.

Lois beamed back at him, kissing him hard against the lips. "Damn straight."

The heat built steadily in the loft as the two stared longingly at each other; each was lost in a haze of passion wondering how they had made it to this moment.

Reliving in our eloquence,
Another 'auld lang syne'

The melody of the Christmas music swelled to a crescendo as they came together. Each thrust brought them closer and closer to release and further and further away from the broken relationships and dreams that brought them together that night. The sounds of their climaxes echoed through the rafters of the barn. Warmth and loving expressions transferred between the two mixed with the music to form a Christmas lullaby as they drifted off to peaceful sleep wrapped in each other's arms.

The morning rays of sunlight cascaded down into the loft and settled directly over Clark's eyes. The warmth of the sun, the soft music of the radio that continued to play throughout the night and the sound of creaking floorboards served as his wake-up call.

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired,
And running out of things to say.

It was only then that he realized that something extremely significant had happened the night before and now something even more significant was missing from the couch and was quickly retreating from the loft.

"Lois?" he called out, jumping up from the couch and searching frantically around the room; only his clothing remained. The feeling of his heart dropping to the floor was his response.

He dressed at super speed and raced down the stairs and out of the barn in less than a second. Snow flurries were falling gently from the sky as he emerged from the barn in time to see Lois slam the door of her car and turn the key in the ignition. Without thinking he was opening the passenger side door and throwing himself inside.

"Smallville? What the hell…"

"Don't leave," Clark begged, trying to sound breathless.

"Clark, I need to go back to my apartment," Lois said dismissively, refusing to make eye contact.

"What about what happened?"

"We were drunk, Smallville. Let's just leave it at that," she said simply.

"I don't get drunk," he responded impulsively.

Lois sneered, "Sure, you don't. Now can you just get out of the car? I need to go home."

Clark shook his head vehemently. "Last night was spontaneous. It was impulsive and we were both vulnerable, but it doesn't have to be a mistake. We have everything laid out on the table. We can start fresh and get this right. We can start the New Year early and resolve to see where this could go. Please don't run away, Lois."

Lois turned to face him and tried to keep her voice from trembling. "Don't make this harder than it is, Smallville. This is you and me we're talking about. We fight all the time and we drive each other crazy. The year is almost over and maybe we can start fresh like you said but that means forgetting the past. This can be something we leave behind. I don't want to lose your friendship."

"What if this was it, Lois? What if this is what we were talking about last night; what we were waiting for? We aren't meant to be alone. Maybe it was in front of us the whole time."

"Then I'm making a big mistake," Lois whispered softly. "It'll hurt too much, Smallville. You and I are meant to be friends and anything more will just cause us both pain that I can't handle right now."

"Lois, please. I won't give up."

"Merry Christmas, Smallville," she said with a sigh. She kissed him tenderly on the cheek and turned to face the steering wheel.

She gave a kiss to me as I got out,
And I watched her drive away.

She revved the engine once and sighed again. "Clark, please. Just go."

Clark slowly stepped away from the car and closed the door. The engine revved again and Lois sped down the drive and off into the distance.

"Merry Christmas, Lo," he whispered as he went inside to prepare for the upcoming year and to think of how to become the man he now knew he was destined to be.

Just for a moment I was back at school,
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home,
The snow turned into rain