The 6 foot 3 man towered over her with a gag in his hand, barely containing his smile.

Lois glared at him fiercely. "I swear, Clark, if you say one word, I'm going to take one of those cheap, plastic reindeer out there and bust it over your head."

He didn't look intimidated as he helped her to her feet. "Only you would get kidnapped on Christmas day."

She was still glaring. "Bad guys don't stop working on Christmas and you know it. If they did, you wouldn't have that Superman suit on right now."

He snapped her cuffs off. She removed the ropes around her feet herself.

Clark was staring at the door of the little storage room, clearly using his x-ray vision, with an amused expression on his face. "And not just any bad guys either, but elves. That's a new one even for you."

She smacked him. "They're running an illegal toy operation. The costumes help their sales by making them seem more innocent, but those elves are toting guns. As soon as I lifted my cell phone to call in the story and then the police, the creeps found me."

"You should have called me, the police, and then the Planet. When are you going to get your priorities straight?" he reprimanded gently. "It's fortunate I was looking for you." Then turning back toward the door, he asked, "Do you think this is a job for Superman?"

"I'm sure the police could handle it, but there's a lot of gun-packing elves out there. You'd better take their weapons and tie them up first. Better safe than sorry."

Before he went out, he asked her, "Are you okay?"

She rolled her eyes. "Don't pretend you haven't already x-rayed me."

He smiled. "It seemed the appropriate thing to say in a situation like this," then getting serious, "I don't want you to think I don't care about you."

"Clark, we dated for over a year and you entrusted me with your secret. Not to mention we've been friends forever. I know you care."

He put his hand tenderly on her cheek. "I really care though. I lo--"

She looked away. "We broke up for a reason. Now go get those elves before they make a break for the North Pole."

He looked like he wanted to say something, but he knew she was right about getting them before they took off somewhere.

They both waited until the police got there to answer questions and Lois used the time to call in the story and then mock the tied-up "elves".

Clark offered her a ride home after it was all over. She almost declined, but then she said, "What the heck, it's Christmas. Who knows, we might even spot Santa's sleigh up there."

"That was last night. Santa's made all his deliveries and is back at the North Pole, sleeping it off and getting ready for next year."

He scooped her up and her breath hitched. She was about to reconsider, but it was too late, they were already high in the air as if he had sensed her second thoughts about a Christmas flight.

He set her down in her apartment a few minutes later. She was hoping he would fly away immediately, but when he didn't she gave a resigned sigh, "I suppose you want to come in and get some hot cocoa and figgy pudding and all that crap?"

He smiled, relieved and happy that she had asked on her own. "It is the Christmassy thing to do."

"Fix the hot chocolate yourself."

"Don't worry. I wouldn't dream of letting you fix it."

"Watch it, Smallville."

She settled on the couch. It felt nice after sitting on the hard floor for an hour. He brought her a cup too. "I don't remember asking for any," she responded.

"That storage room was cold. I want to make sure you stay warm."

She still didn't look pleased, but she took a sip. Then she remembered something. She pulled 2 candy canes out of her pocket and gave one to Clark.

He looked at her strangely. "Where did these come from?"

"From my pocket."

"I mean what were you doing carrying them around like that?"

She had pulled the plastic off the bottom of her candy cane and was using it to stir the hot chocolate. She didn't answer, but the smile she gave him said it all.

"Lois, you stole these candy canes!"

"I didn't steal them. I deserved it after what I went through and somebody has to eat them. They'd have probably ended up in the trash."

"No, they'd have ended up in the evidence room."

"Oh, please, Clark. The candy canes have nothing to do with anything. It's sinful to waste things."

"What if they're poisoned?"

"Why would they poison them? They only cared about the money. They probably wouldn't have even killed me. And I saw one of the elves sucking on one."

"It was still the wrong thing to do. Did you know this is a religious piece of candy?"

She scoffed.

"I'm serious. If you turn it upside down, it's the letter J and right side up it looks like a shepherd's staff. The white is for purity and the red is for the blood that was shed."

She pulled the cane out of her mouth. "Thanks a lot. You've just ruined this for me."

"Go ahead and eat it," he said, giving in. "It is Christmas. Just don't make stealing candy from a crime scene a habit." He took the wrapper off of his own candy cane.

Lois finished off her hot chocolate and ate the rest of her candy cane. Clark flinched at the crunching sounds. He much preferring savoring his. "It's scary," Lois said out of the blue.

"What being kidnapped by elves?" he joked.

"No, how much you know about the holidays. I still remember your lecture about Miles Standish and the pilgrims all too well." She looked a little sad. "Boy, I'm going to miss your mother's turkey."

"Whether we're dating or not, you're always welcome at Mom's. You know that. She missed you by the way. She thought you might come over last night or this morning."

"I thought about it, but I was busy."

"Tracking down Santa's helpers?"

"You're dangerously close to getting slugged and I will put kryptonite in my fist."

"I almost forgot." He set his candy cane on the coffee table and twisting his cape around, he pulled a little box from the pocket on the inside of his cape.

Lois ignored the box and took the cape in her hands. "I didn't know you have a pocket in your cape. That'd make an interesting piece for the paper. I guess even Superman has to have somewhere to carry his credit cards."

"It's for you," he said, bringing the velvety black box closer to her.

She had tried to pretend she didn't see it, but it wasn't going to work. She took a deep breath before she opened it. It was 2 diamond-studded earrings. "Earrings," she said out loud, a mixture of relief and disappointment.

He smiled when she said this. It dawned on him what she thought it might have been and he moved a little closer as he asked teasingly. "Of course. What did you think it was?"

"Nothing," she said, her cheeks burning as she set the box down on the table. "They're lovely, but I didn't get you anything."

The smile faded. "There's only one thing I want from you."

"Clark," she said, shaking her head. "We've talked about this. We can't be together. I'm not right for you."

He was angry. They had talked about it before and she never listened to him. "You are right for me. You're the only one right for me. Just because a woman in the crowd made a stupid comment when I was rescuing you is no reason--"

The stern, unwavering look was still on her face. "It was true though. You can't marry someone like me."

"Then who should I marry?" he asked, still angry.

"I don't know," her own temper starting to flare. "An equal I guess. Someone like Wonder Woman who can keep up with you. I only slow you down."

"First of all, your kidnappings and near death experiences haven't gone down since we broke up. I know because I've kept track and believe it or not, you've saved my life on more than one occasion. Just look at today. You may have gotten kidnapped, but without you, that gang would have gotten away with their crimes. I wouldn't call that slowing me down. I'd call that helping. Second of all, Wonder Woman? I understand what you're trying to say. You think I need somebody with super powers, someone like me, but I don't and I have had the opportunity before. Remember Maxima?"

Lois frowned. "You mean that redheaded bimbo?"

"That's the one. It would have been easy to go off with her. Another alien with powers. She was good-looking too and when she kissed me, she really put a spell--"

"I get it!" she interrupted.

"The point I'm making is I didn't want her because she wasn't you. You're the only one in this whole universe who makes me feel normal. It's you I love and nobody else. I've never told you this, but Maxima knew it was you I wanted even way back then and it was you who broke me out of her spell. That's why she tried to kill you."

"She told me that too. Something about a connection between us."

"And she was right. Don't you feel that connection?" he said, taking her hands. "It's unbreakable. I'm not saying our life will be easy. I know it won't be and you know it too, but it'll be worse if we're not together. Can we please give it another try?"

Her eyes started to shine from her tears and from a happiness that had been missing for the past month. "Okay," she said, softly.

"Okay," he echoed with a smile and shine in his eyes that matched her own. He reached into his cape pocket and pulled something else out. It was mistletoe.

She asked suspiciously, "Where did you get that?"

"I might have borrowed it," he answered sheepishly.

"That could be evidence," she said, mimicking the same tone he had used earlier.

He dangled the mistletoe over her head. "It's sinful to let it go to waste," he said, quoting her with a grin.

She gave in and they made up for the past month that they had been apart. The mistletoe slipped unnoticed under the couch.

Later that night, they were snuggling on the couch. "You know there's some things about Christmas you have to like," Lois said. "Like mistletoe."

"Or candy canes," Clark added. They were taking turns sucking on Clark's candy cane. He leaned over and turned on the radio. It was playing Silent Night. She snuggled in closer and closed her eyes to the soothing melody. It was the perfect ending to a Christmas that hadn't started off so merry. He closed his eyes too and just listened.

Glories stream from Heaven afar

Heavenly host sing Hallelujah

Christ, the Savior is born

Christ, the Savior is born