Author's Notes: This is my first time participating in the Livejournal community 12Days_of_clois Christmas Challenge and I'm very excited about it. I hope you like it. Thanks to my wonderful beta, Hanakt, for looking this over for me. I appreciate it!! Happy Holidays, everyone!

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A New Beginning

Lois and Clark would call this 'a new day' in their relationship and they could not be more pleased about it, which was pretty evident by the smiles on their faces. As they walked down the street towards their coffee bar, each unwilling to let go of the other's hand, they both had the same thought ... this time will be different.

Clark gave her hand a squeeze, as she smiled at him. "Clark, you can let go of my hand now."

He looked down at their joined hands, admitting to himself how much he liked it. "Not quite yet, Lois," he said as he returned her smile.

They were in line waiting to give their coffee orders. Was Clark squinting? She just shook her head at him. "Go ahead, put 'em on."

"Put what on?" Clark asked confused.

"Your glasses, Clark, you need them, so wear them."

"Oh, I don't really need them," Clark replied and went back to squinting at the coffee menu on the wall.

Lois sighed and went about searching for them. "I know they're here." She patted his back pant pockets and then his front pant pockets too.

"Lois, what are you doing?" Clark glanced around and everyone was looking at them. "Stop that." He then sighed defeated. "Alright, alright, I'll wear them." He took them out of his shirt pocket and put them on. "Happy now?"

She smiled at his adorable face. "Yes, very." Lois couldn't explain it, but she was very happy about it and it wasn't only about the glasses. This is strange but I like it. This is a new beginning for us, but I'm not complaining. It feels right.

After getting their coffee and still holding hands, they headed back to the office. Suddenly, Clark heard a high pitched scream in his head. Someone was in trouble. He stopped and turned to Lois. "Umm, Lois, I have to … umm … I forgot to feed Shelby."

"Really?" She asked, wondering again why poor Shelby couldn't be fed properly.

"Yes, I'll meet you back at the office in a little while. Sorry." He reluctantly let go of her hand and wondered again, and not for the first time, how they were going to make this work. He hailed a cab for appearances, and then turned back to Lois. He couldn't help himself. He leaned down and kissed her, just a quick kiss, but Lois liked it a lot. "Bye, Lois."

"Bye, Clark." Lois could sense his reluctance to leave her and she thought it was very sweet. "Give Shelby a hug for me." She smiled and waved goodbye, but then she frowned.

##

Six months later:

Lois couldn't put that incident out of her mind. She had looked at that moment as a new beginning for them, but Clark's excuses were not ringing true to her anymore. The more she thought about it, the more she wondered again about his disappearances and his lame excuses. He really was a terrible liar and there was something else she noticed about his constant disappearances, that he would get these strange looks like he was waiting for something to happen and then he would disappear. He really is a strange bird, but a cute one, she thought, grinning to herself.

Then one morning, Clark had come back from one of his ridiculous errands looking flushed and windblown, and the expression on his face sent up warning bells in Lois' brain. Where had he been really? He looked different somehow. Was he on some assignment? What is he up to? I hate this, just ask him.

"Clark?" She asked as he went back to smoothing his hair and straightening his tie.

"Yes, Lois?" He asked distractedly, while booting up his computer.

"Where were you just now?" Lois asked and watched him closely for his answer.

"I told you, I went to check out a source," he answered, not looking at her.

"And what story are you working on?"

"You know, the follow-up piece on the new D.A."

"Oh, I see, but aren't we working on that one together? Show me your notes," Lois asked holding her hand out expectantly.

"Umm, let me type them up first, they're pretty unreadable right now."

Lois sighed. "Alright, Clark, but remember the article is due tomorrow, and I wanted to put it to bed before we head out for our holiday ski trip this afternoon."

"Is that this weekend?" Oh, boy…! He couldn't look at her.

Lois gaped at him. "You did not just say that. You forgot about our trip, didn't you? Clark, it's Christmas Eve tomorrow, and I'm really counting on this trip. We need to talk alone. There never seems to be enough time for us to do that."

Clark felt terrible. He went to her then, sat on the edge of her desk and took her hand. "I agree, Lois, we do need this time away. Is everything arranged?"

"Yes, Clark, I made the reservations a few weeks ago. We have separate rooms too, so no pressure," she teased.

Clark shook his head and chuckled. "Good one, Lois." He knew what she was talking about. He was the one who was reluctant for them to take that next step in their relationship, and Lois was the one who was ready and willing. I must be insane, but I meant what I said … I want us to do this right.

##

The chalet was a private resort community, located on top of a mountain with breathtaking views of six lakes and a swimming pool, with one indoors for winter months. The large wrap-around porch included a screened room. A foot of snow had fallen the previous night and the resort was covered in a beautiful white blanket of fresh snow.

The resort only had two bedroom units, so when Clark found out they would be in the same room, but in separate bedrooms, he couldn't be mad. They were technically in two separate rooms. He couldn't argue with her and besides it was nice having her so close. After checking into the chalet, they went in search of food. Instead of stopping for dinner on the way, they had decided to drive straight through to get to the resort in time for a late supper, but apparently, the dining room was closed for the night.

"Now what, Clark? I haven't eaten since lunch. I'm starved," Lois said as her stomach loudly agreed. "Sorry."

Just then, the dining room hostess came out from the back and took pity on them. "Excuse me, can I help you?"

"Is there some place close by to get some dinner?" Clark asked. "We just checked in."

"Sure, there's a diner about a mile away and I believe they're open until 10. Wait here and I'll get directions for you."

"Thank you," Lois said as her stomach growled again. "I can't help it," she chuckled.

"Come on, before you pass out from hunger," Clark said chuckling.

They arrived at the diner in plenty of time for dinner. It was a small but clean diner decorated for the holidays. Clark ordered soup and salad. Lois ordered a hamburger, fries, a milkshake and a side of cookies.

"You're going to be up all night if you eat all that," Clark chuckled.

Lois didn't even answer him, as she chewed her food and sighed in total bliss.

But just as they were about to leave and the diner was closing for the night, a pair of unsavory characters entered the diner. Clark's instincts were going crazy. It was pretty obvious what they were up to.

"Lois, I want you to call the police, wait in the car and I'll be right back."

"What are you going to do, Clark?" Does he always have to be the hero? He's going to get himself killed.

"Lois, you met the owners," he whispered. "They're just trying to get by and the last thing they need is for some hoodlums to come in here and take what they've worked so hard for their entire lives."

She could definitely understand what he was saying. "Alright, I'll call the police, but I'm not waiting in the car. I've got your back, Clark, always."

"Please, just wait outside, alright?" She nodded, pulled out her cell and dialed 911.

Clark went back inside, just as the hoodlums demanded money from the owners. He glanced through the front entrance and he could see Lois wasn't looking. The hoodlums' backs were turned, so he quickly ran up behind them, knocked their heads together, and took the weapon. He then asked the owners to get ropes to tie them up, and informed them that the police were on their way. Everything happened in a matter of moments.

Everyone stared and wondered what had just happened. Clark could hear sirens and decided it was best he leave. Lois came inside just then and watched as Clark gave the owners the weapon, apparently used in the holdup. They shook Clark's hand and thanked him profusely and told him to come back for dinner anytime. The next meal was on them.

As Clark came towards her, she couldn't help but be entranced by the look on his face. He really is a hero. I knew it. I've always known it.

##

Christmas Eve dawned bright and clear. They could not have asked for more perfect weather for skiing. Later that day, they took a walk along one of the iced-over lakes not far from the resort. Several of the large fir trees were decorated with Christmas bulbs and a few even had multi-colored lights. "Oh, Clark, the trees are lovely, aren't they?"

"Yes, very lovely."

Lois glanced at his face, and he had that look she was becoming very familiar with.

"I meant the Christmas trees," she smiled at him.

"Oh, yeah, they are very nice."

"You know, Clark, you never said what happened in the diner last night."

"Nothing really, I just got the jump on those two guys. It was easy. They had their backs to me."

"And they didn't hear you coming up behind them?"

"Nope, easy as pie," he said proud of himself.

"You are full of surprises, aren't you?"

Instead of answering her, he stopped walking and reached inside his coat pocket. "Well, how's this for a surprise?" He asked as he took her hand and put a small velvet box in her palm.

Lois gasped and put her hand over her mouth. "Clark, what is this?"

"Open it and see," he said smiling from ear to ear.

Lois' eyes filled with tears, but she managed to open the box. She could feel her heart pounding. She'd dreamed of this moment. She gasped again. It was a ring.

Clark got down on one knee. "Lois, I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?"

Lois was speechless for a moment or two, which wasn't a good thing. They hadn't even talked about marriage. "Oh, Clark, you know I love you, but …"

"But what? Is it too soon? I know we haven't dated that long, but I feel like we've known each other forever. There's nothing I can't talk to you about."

Lois looked at the beautiful ring. No, Clark, there is one thing. She had no choice now; she had to tell him what she knew.

She looked him in the eye then. "Clark, I know."

His smile faded as he stood up, knowing things were about to change forever. "You know what, Lois?"

She took a deep breath and looked into his yes. "I know you're the Blur, and please don't deny it. I saw you in the diner. Everything is clear to me now. Why couldn't you tell me the truth?" Lois pleaded with him, trying with everything in her not to be furious with him. He must have his reasons, but she couldn't fathom what they could be, especially after all they had been through in the past.

Clark sighed heavily. What could he say? That he wanted to protect her from his secret, that everyone he's ever known was hurt by it in some terrible way, and that he wouldn't allow that to happen to her. They were all flimsy excuses and he knew it, especially in light of the way he felt about her.

"Lois, let's go inside and we'll talk," Clark said hoping he could find the right words to make her understand.

She closed the velvet box and handed the ring back to him as they headed back to the resort.

##

As they entered their room, they were both deep in thought, so Clark tried to smooth the way a little. "I'll light a fire. Would you like something hot to drink, maybe some tea?"

"No, I'm fine," Lois said, and took off her coat, hat and gloves, feeling defeated and worried they wouldn't be able to get past all the lies and deceit.

After lighting the fire, he thought it best she take a seat. "Lois, please sit down and I'll try and explain why I never told you the truth about me. I hope you'll listen and please try and remember one thing … I love you, Lois, more than anything in the world. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you."

Lois closed her eyes, trying to stop the tears, but knowing he meant every word. "Go ahead," she managed to say.

Clark saw her tears and felt worse if that were possible. So, as he paced in front of her, he began his story about where he was from, how he arrived here on earth, how he was adopted, and how he didn't know he was different from everyone else on the planet until he was a teenager. He explained how his parents instilled in him the need that no one must ever know who or what he was. Only a handful of people knew, namely his childhood friends who knew him growing up in Smallville.

He stopped pacing, got down on his knee and took her hand. "Lois, the main reason why I never told you the truth is because I've always felt that you were the one person in the world I never wanted to see get hurt because of me, and if that were ever to happen, I wouldn't be able to go on."

"Oh, Clark," Lois said as her eyes filled with tears again. She smoothed his hair away from his forehead, then squeezed his hand. "I understand, because ... I feel the same way about you." She also knew to what lengths she would go to protect him and his secret, because there's nothing she wouldn't do for him either. Shaking her head at his amazing and unbelievable story, she only had one question. "You must have known I would find out eventually. We've gotten so close over the past several months. You do know me, don't you?" Lois asked teasing him just a little.

He sat down next to her then. "I do know you, Lois, and I had every intention of telling you … umm … after you accepted my proposal," Clark said realizing now it was a stupid idea.

"You're pretty sure of yourself, Smallville. I don't know if I should be insulted or pleased with your plan." She sighed. "Well, hand it over." She held up her left hand. "Let's see if you got one thing right," she said smiling at him.

Clark was so thrilled. He took the ring out of his pocket, kissed her hand, and then slipped it on her finger. "There, perfect fit," he said proud of himself.

Smiling, Lois took a good look at the ring. "It does look familiar. Clark, is it? It is, isn't it?"

"Yes, Lois, it's the ring from that fateful day when you admitted you loved me," he chuckled.

"Oh, boy, I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Nope, not while I'm alive, anyway," he laughed at the look on her face.

"Don't press your luck, buddy," Lois said as she grabbed him and kissed him thoroughly. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulled back after a few moments and said, "Merry Christmas, Clark."

He smiled. "Merry Christmas, Lois."

The end.

##

A/N: Well, you know our guy, I had to time jump this story just a little. And you probably noticed, my Muse went to LC:TNAoS with this story. It just happened!! I hope you liked it. Reviews are love!