A Kent Christmas
"Mommy, when is Daddy coming home?"
Diana looked down at her five-year-old daughter, Lara. The child stared at her mother with her shiny blue eyes and glossy black hair pulled up in a ponytail. This was the fifth time the little girl asked her mother when her Daddy was coming home.
It was ten minutes to eight and her father promised to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with her and her brother, Jon. Almost a century since it premiered on television and it was still popular.
"Daddy's gonna be here in time," Jon came from the kitchen eating a Christmas cookie Clark prepared earlier that day. "He never misses it. When is Uncle Bruce coming, Mom?"
"There's a snow storm in Gotham, Jon. Your Uncle Bruce will be delayed a few hours." Diana turned and saw Jon eating his cookie. "Jon, that's your fifth cookie. You're not to have anymore tonight."
"But it tastes so good," Eight-year-old Jon complained.
"No more." Diana was firm and when she was Jon knew he was in trouble if he defied her.
"I bet I know what's keeping Dad," Thirteen-year-old Lyta and the second oldest, came downstairs holding her baby brother, ten-month-old, Bruce in her arms. "Kai is testing his speed and strength on Dad… again." Lyta shook her head. "He thinks he can beat Dad."
"And you didn't challenge me to a sparring match last week, young lady?" Diana asked her daughter and gave her son an affectionate kiss on his cheek.
"I've learned my lesson. I have some ways to go before I can beat you, Mother."
"Some ways?" Diana mocked. "How about years?"
Lyta shifted Bruce so he could rest his head on her other shoulder. Bruce's pacifier slipped out but Diana caught it and placed it back in his mouth. "Bruce is getting cranky, Mother. I think it's feeding time."
"Want some help?" Diana asked.
"No, I got it." Lyta gestured to Jon and Lara who were picking through the gifts under the Christmas tree. "You have those two to worry about."
Diana turned and saw Jon and Lara looking at the gifts, trying to use their x-ray vision. "Those two," she chuckled. "I told them they can't see it."
"They don't know it's lined with lead foil," Lyta whispered and asked her mother, "Did Grandma and Grandpa really do that with Dad's gifts?"
Diana nodded with a giggle. "Yes! I still have to do that with him."
Lyta laughed as she put her brother in the high chair. Of all the high chairs that passed through the Kent Household, this was the most durable one. When Kai was a baby, he broke seven high chairs his godfather Bruce bought in two weeks. Bruce was certain each high chair was more durable than the next but even he was amazed at the strength of the child. Clark had to make one using material that built the palace on Themyscira and metal from an off world weapon he had in his collection. It was the sturdiest high chair and survived all five Kent children.
With their children, everything had to be super childproof. When Clark and Diana were expecting their first child, they left their apartment in Metropolis and purchased a stretch of land near the mountains in North America where the nearest neighbor was a mile away. They built the house using the strongest material on Earth and Themyscira. Bruce joked it was probably the most secured home in the North America.
"No, Bruce!" Lyta chided her baby brother after he threw a tumbler. The baby was entertaining himself by throwing his tumbler and watching his big sister catch it. Lyta wasn't so amused. She caught the tumbler before it hit the wall with her quick speed and waved a spoon at him, "Do that again and you will get popped."
"You know the spoon is harmless on him," Diana reminded her daughter.
"I know," Lyta said and with a smirk, "But he doesn't know that."
Diana watched her daughter with great pride. Lyta Phillipus Kent was the oldest girl and even though she was thirteen, she was very mature for her age. Lyta was a second mother to the children, babysitting her younger siblings whenever her parents had to go out as Superman and Wonder Woman and making sure they did their chores like feeding their three dogs and two cats. Lyta was more domestic than Diana thought her daughters would be. Lyta helped her father in the kitchen and helped cleaned up around the house. Lyta kept up with her Amazon training and her studies of Amazonian and Kryptonian history but she hadn't expressed interest in putting on a suit and fighting crime but Diana could see her daughter as an ambassador.
It was too early to wonder what kind of child Bruce Wayne Kent would be but Diana couldn't help thinking he would grow up to be the world's greatest detective like his godfather if he had any say in it.
Hearing laughter in the living room, Diana turned to see what Jon and Lara were up to. They gave up trying to peek at the gifts and were playing with their pet dogs and cats. Jonathon Jor-El Kent was a prodigy like his siblings but he was more of a free spirit. Jon wasn't serious in his studies as his older brother and sister were at his age. He was more interested in learning his abilities. A month ago, Jon tried jumping off the roof of his home. His father caught him but and after a serious scolding from his parents, Jon hasn't tried flying since.
Lara Martha Kent was five and had a year to go before her Amazon training began. She would sit in on Diana and Lyta's lessons and was anxious to start hers and play with the weapons in her mother's training room much to her father's displeasure. Clark thought six was too young for his girls to learn how to fight (not that he wanted them to anyway) but Clark knew it was a losing argument with his wife. But at least he knew when his girls were learning how to fight. He didn't know Bruce was sneaking lessons onto Kai until he was almost seven years old; nearly a year after Bruce started his secret lessons.
Kairos Van-El Kent was Clark and Diana's oldest child. Never in her wildest dreams did Diana think she could get pregnant. There was always a special bond between Kai and his father. Kai looked so much like the child Clark dreamt of when he was under the powers of the black mercy that he gave Kairos Van-El for his middle name in remembrance of the child.
Kai was a lot like his father. He had strong morals, a strong sense of justice, astute but a playful side. With his parents' keen mind, Kai was a straight A student. He was graduating high school two years early and already enrolled in a program that allowed him to take college classes in his senior year. Kai was popular with his friends and excelled in all sports. He was allowed to play high school basketball when his parents said no to football.
In his free time, when Kai wasn't helping his father in the Fortress of Solitude and studying the crystals from Krypton, he was in Gotham with Bruce. Clark and Diana didn't know what professional career their son would take, but they knew Kai was going to follow in their heroic footsteps. Kai announced his decision at fourteen with a very accurate plan on achieving his goals. Clark and Diana knew Kai's godfather had some influence on this decision. They reluctantly agreed since Kai was so determined but maintained he finished school and do some solo traveling before starting the life of a superhero.
"We're home!" Kai announced as he stepped in the house, carrying two suitcases. "Guess who we found at the airport!"
Diana noticed the suitcases in her son's hands as he went up the stairs. "Bruce?"
Bruce Wayne stepped into the house. "Right here."
In his seventies, with a head full of white hair and a fair share of wrinkles on his still handsome face, Bruce's body wasn't as strong as in his youth, but he was in good health for his age and his mind was as sharp as ever.
"Bruce!" Diana gave her longtime friend a hug and kiss on the cheek. "What are you doing here so soon? I thought the weather was delaying your plane."
Clark stepped in his home, "Oh, a couple of flyboys decided to clear the skies in Gotham before a certain upstart wanted to show off his training to his old man."
"Daddy! Uncle Bruce!" Lara and Jon ran in the room. Clark picked up Lara and Bruce picked up Jon.
"Daddy, it's almost time for Charlie Brown."
"We don't want to miss that," Clark said carrying Lara into the living room.
"You want to watch, Uncle Bruce?" Jon asked his godfather.
Bruce lowered his godson back on his feet. "Go with your, Dad, kid. I'll join you later." As Jon followed his Dad and sister into the living room, Bruce sat at the kitchen table watching Lyta feed his namesake. "May I?"
"Sure, Uncle Bruce." Lyta kissed Bruce's temple and handed gave him the spoon. Kai came downstairs and went straight for the cookie jar.
"You lost to Dad again, didn't you?" Lyta teased.
"I'll beat him next time."
Diana laughed. "You've been saying that since you were twelve, dear. It's going to be a while before you can beat your father."
"It's not Kai's fault his father is a super powered battery," Bruce joked as he gave a spoonful of food to his namesake.
Diana watched Bruce feed his godson. She never thought she would see the day Bruce Wayne would feed a child. She never thought she would see him change diapers but he did with all his god children. Bruce didn't have any children on his own but he treated Clark and Diana's children like his own.
Diana lost her train of thought when she saw Bruce taunting his godson with his meal. "Bruce, what are you doing?"
"Testing Bruce's skills." He moved the spoon around and the baby moved his eyes following his godfather. "I'm trying to see if he will guess my next move. It's called keeping one step ahead of your enemy."
"Kal's not going to be happy you're starting Bruce's training so early."
"Hey, I'm getting older," Bruce joked. "I don't have time to wait."
Diana placed a hand over Bruce's. "You're going to be here for quite a while, my friend."
Medicines in the middle of the twenty-first century were prolonging human life and Bruce knew Clark and Kai were scanning his body each time they saw him, looking for any signs of future health problems but Bruce knew he wasn't going to be around forever.
"Maybe not as long as you and Clark, but I'll be here as long as I can."
By nine, Lara and Jon were in bed. Ten Lyta retired for the night. Kai followed his sister after he put together Jon's bike. Clark sat on the floor putting the finishing touches on Lara's bicycle. Diana sat on the floor beside her husband wrapping presents.
Most of the evening was spent talking of the past, recalling adventures together but they talked of the present, too, and what was going on in their lives and their cities.
"How is everything in Gotham, Bruce? You didn't tell us some Joker fanatics created a gang and was causing trouble in the city."
Bruce kept his poker face up. He knew what Diana was getting at. "Joker's been dead for years but his legacy lives on. They're a bunch of street punks who got their hands on some powerful weapons. They've been causing trouble for a few months. My robots are keeping an adequate control of the city and them."
"Really?" Clark was doubtful. "I read the Commissioner had some extra help capturing the members of the Joker Gang. This person was wearing a bat suit. I know you don't have anymore protégé, Bruce, but I find it a strong coincidence that my eldest son just happened to be in Gotham that weekend."
"The kid has to get his feet wet sometime, Clark." Bruce wasn't going to deny aiding his godson in crime fighting activities. "I watched Kai the entire time he confronted the Joker Gang. He was civil and tried to get them to turn themselves in. Kai only defended himself when they attacked. As far as the Joker Gang and the Commissioner knows, it was a robot Batman who defeated them and not a Kryptonian/Amazon, hence the bat suit. You should be proud of Kai."
Clark sighed, "It's not that we're not, Bruce. We don't want our son beginning this double life so soon."
Diana agreed with her husband. "Kai's sixteen, Bruce. We want our children to live first as ordinary people without drawing attention. Before Kal began his life as Superman, he traveled the world. When I arrived in this world, it took me a few years before I joined the Justice League."
"When Clark was traveling the world, people were miraculously being saved by some unknown angel. Before you joined the Justice League, Diana, you were still helping people in Boston and fighting Gods and Their children when They threatened the planet. As for Kai's age, Cassandra was Wonder Girl and Conner was Superboy at sixteen. Dick and Tim were my protégé's at a young age, too. Then there's the Teen Titans. And," with a smirk, Bruce cockily added, "How old are the members of the Legion of Superheroes, Clark?"
Clark and Diana looked at each other, sharing mutual looks. They hated when Bruce was right and they were wrong. "He's such a smug…."
"He certainly is," Diana finished the words for her husband.
"What you say has merit, Bruce," Clark rumbled still not pleased with the situation, "But Kai, his mother and I have an agreement. He won't follow into our footsteps until he's done with school, traveled, and hopefully has a career to go with his double identity."
"Fair enough, but you can't deny Kai a chance to wet his feet occasionally. We don't want him to go out there as a complete rookie."
"You have to let us in on it," Diana told Bruce. "Kal and I don't want to read about Kai's excursions in the paper again."
"Kai didn't tell you?"
"Only after his mother and I showed him the paper."
"I promise to let you in on Kai's futures excursions but you cannot intervene unless he really needs help."
Clark and Diana knew what this meant: cutting their protective parent strings and letting their son grow out of their shadow. That meant watching their child in pain and allowing him to overcome his struggles against an enemy on his own. It was not going to be easy to do. Clark and Diana didn't know who was going to have the hardest time to deal with that.
"All right," Clark reluctantly agreed. "But if Kai is seriously hurt in anyway, Diana and I are putting a stop to this."
"Agreed." Bruce thought Clark and Diana were going to put up a bigger fight but he was glad to see Kai's parents realized they couldn't hold their son back forever. "I won't get Kai into something he's not ready for. He's your son but he's also my godson. Kai's a young man. He's more ready than you think he is but as parents, you don't see it." Unable to resist a joke, "Should've thought twice before making me the children's godfather."
Clark sent a playful glare to his wife. "It was you who wanted Bruce to be the godfather."
"Well, you didn't argue against it," Diana shot back.
Clark sighed. "I just can't win, can I?"
"It's called being a parent, Kal. Bruce is right. We have to let go some time." Diana pulled her husband closer to her and kissed him.
As the kissed deepened, Bruce cleared his throat. "Don't mind me. I'm just sitting here." He teased the pair. "Married for almost twenty years and you still act like newlyweds."
"We're not that bad," Diana said. "We control ourselves."
"That's not what Kai's been telling me."
Clark and Diana stiffened immediately. A blush passed over Diana's cheek while Clark nervously asked. "Wh-what do you mean?"
"A couple months ago, Kai and Lyta took their younger siblings out to spend the day together. He was pulling out of the driveway when Lyta told him he needed more cash. Kai went back in the house, saw Diana's dress on the floor and ran in and out of his room so fast before you and Clark knew he was there."
It took a minute before Clark and Diana had a response to that. "Well," Diana said with flushed cheeks. "There's nothing wrong in wanting to be together."
"No, but you could've waited until the children were at least down the road." Bruce pushed himself to his feet. "I'm going to bed so you two lovebirds can have some more time together. I'll see you in the morning."
As soon as the door to Bruce's bedroom closed, Diana asked Clark, "Did you know about that?" Clark didn't answer. "You did! Why didn't you tell me?"
"Kai was in and out so quick. I didn't think it mattered. I didn't know he told Bruce." Completed with Lara's bike, Clark began setting up Lyta's telescope. "This makes me wonder what else he talks to Bruce about."
"Or what Bruce tells Kai about us." Diana wrapped another present. "Our children know a lot about our past but they don't know everything. Bruce has so much dirt on us. More you than me."
Clark put down the tripod he was holding. "What do you mean by that?"
"Come on, Kal. Bruce's known you longer and he's spent more time with you than me. Besides, he has more dirt on you."
"I don't know. I think our children would get a kick out of learning their mother worked at Taco Whiz." Clark tapped his chin. "I wonder if there's a picture of that around somewhere."
Diana laughed and threw Christmas wrappings at him. "Shut up!"
"You started it!" Clark teased back, throwing a bow at her.
Fifteen minutes to midnight, Clark and Diana settled in bed for the night. "This looks like it's going to be a nice, quiet Christmas."
"I think so, too," Diana agreed. "All the children are actually asleep. I don't think we will have to worry about Jon or Lara sneaking downstairs early this year."
"After getting caught two years in a row trying to sneak downstairs first and as punishment, had to wait until after everyone else opened their gifts before they could open theirs? They learned their lesson." Clark looked past her suddenly. "What's that in the window?"
Diana turned and looked out the window. "I don't see anything. I--" she turned to Clark and smiled seeing him wearing a hat with a mistletoe attached it. "You're shameless."
Clark tapped the mistletoe. "Rules are rules."
Diana gave him a quick kiss. "There."
"As long as you're under this mistletoe, you have to keep kissing."
"Is that fact?"
Clark nodded. "Yes."
Diana kissed Clark again and again and again until Clark pulled Diana against him so she was straddling him. Diana tossed the hat aside and ran her fingers through his thick jet black hair and down his smooth face. Though in his seventies, Clark like Diana hasn't aged at all.
"You do realize what this kissing got us last time?" Diana told her husband.
Clark kissed Diana's neck as he said, "I think it was more than kissing that did that and it wasn't last time if you count last week."
Diana felt her husband's fast fingers making quick work of her clothes. "True, but I need to remind you, it's Christmas Eve. Our youngest children will burst in here tomorrow morning demanding we get up."
"I locked the door. Besides, we'll be up before the children."
Kai woke up around seven the next morning. Christmas morning. Though sixteen, he was excited about Christmas. He couldn't wait to see the gifts he got and the looks on his family's faces of the gifts he got for them. Christmas was a time where nothing from the outside world got in the way to stop the Kent family from spending time together. No school activities, no Amazon duties, no Justice League work where one or both of his parents had to miss dinner or his father was sent away for a few days on a deep space mission. As the eldest and on the edge of spreading his own wings, Kai was understanding how precious it was for the family to be together.
Kai pulled back his curtains allowing morning light into his room. A fresh blanket of snow across his backyard last night. Yard wasn't the correct word he mused. His friends had yards. Kai had an acre and mountains on his land. Living near the mountains made it extra cold (not that it bothered the Kent children) but it was fun. It gave the Kent children the freedom to express their abilities. Kai could remember the races he had against his father and sister. He remembered sparring with his father near the mountain and hiking. Today, Kai knew it would be a good day to do some skiing.
Kai stepped out of his room and found Jon and Lara sitting on the carpet in front of their parent's bedroom. Sitting with them, were two of the family's three dogs. Running his fingers through his bed tousled hair, Kai asked, "What are you doing?"
"Waiting for Mommy and Daddy to wake up," Lara said innocently. "We can't go downstairs and open gifts without them."
Jon added, "Their door is locked."
Kai's eyes widen in horror for a moment. "You didn't look in their room, did you?"
Lara shook her head. "No. Mommy said we can't do that."
"Why can't we?" Jon asked.
"No reason." Kai relaxed. His little brother and sister won't be traumatized. "Are Uncle Bruce and Lyta up?"
"Uncle Bruce went downstairs with Lyta," Jon said. "She's making breakfast."
Kai opened the door next to his parent's and saw his baby brother, Bruce, was already up. He was standing with his hands firmly on the bars of the crib with a big smile on his face.
"Looks like the youngest family member is up, too," Kai mused.
"Kai. Kai!" baby Bruce said in recognition. Besides "Mommy" and "Daddy", Kai was the only names from his family Bruce could pronounce correctly.
Seeing his big brother approaching, Bruce held his small hands out. Kai picked up his brother and swung him over his head before settling him in his arms. "You slept through the night. Good for you." Feeling his bottom, "But you're wet." Carrying his little brother to the changing table, Kai said, "I'm glad it's number one 'cause if it was number two, your parents or big sister, Lyta would be changing you."
After getting Bruce in a fresh diaper, Kai carried him out of the room. His younger siblings were looking at him; hoping big brother would wake up the parents since they were ready to open their gifts. Kai knocked on his parents' door.
"Mom. Dad. I know you had your own fun," he teased, "but it's time for the kids to have their fun and open their Christmas gifts."
Kai waited and heard his father's voice, "Very funny, Kai." Kai was normally respectful and didn't use his super hearing but he couldn't help himself this time. He heard his mother whisper, "You were supposed to wake us up" and the sound of his parents shuffling in their clothes.
Lara looked up at her big brother confused. "What kind of fun did Mommy and Daddy have?"
"Sleep," Kai teased his little sister who looked even more baffled.
Clark opened the door, standing in his pajama pants and a white tank shirt under his loose robe. Diana stood behind him in her robe. Her arms were around his waist and her chin rested on his shoulder.
"Merry Christmas!" Jon and Lara chorused.
"Merry Christmas," Clark and Diana told their children.
"Can we open our gifts now?" Lara asked.
Diana took baby Bruce from Kai's arms. "You didn't go downstairs, did you?"
Lara and Jon shook their heads and said at the same time, "No, mother."
"All right. Let's go." Holding her baby son in one arm and holding her daughter's hand in the other while Clark carried Jon, they follow Kai and their dogs downstairs.
Standing at the bottom of the steps, Jon and Lara gasped at the extra presents that were under the tree and spread out across the living room. They nearly knocked their big brother over as they ran to the gifts.
"Kids," Kai shook his head in amusement.
"Last time I checked, you're still one," Clark told his eldest. "And I recall you almost knocking me over when you were their age."
The Kent living room was littered with Christmas wrappings an hour later as the Kent children were playing with one of their many gifts. Jon was putting together his train set. Diana shook her head at the doll set Clark gave Lara. At least it wasn't a kitchen set and next year, Lara would be getting more weapons as gifts from her since Lara will be in training. Clark wasn't too pleased with the battle simulator Bruce gave Lyta or the nunchuks Lyta was playing with given to her by her mother. The simulator was currently set up in Diana's training room along with one of Clark's gifts to Diana: a sword he made for her.
Clark sat in his cushy chair with baby Bruce in his lap who was wearing a new sleeper. Diana sat on the arm of the chair, admiring their family enjoying their gifts. One of the gifts Diana gave Clark was a 3-D Kandorian model.
Diana leaned over and asked him, "Think it's time to announce the last gift?"
"Best to do it now before they figure it out." Clark grinned. He had wanted to make this announcement for a while. Clark cleared his throat. "Everyone, could we have your attention for a moment? Your mother and I have one more gift for the family."
Kai looked up from the laptop Bruce gave him. He took one look at his parents and knew. "You're kidding me!"
Bruce chuckled. "You're just now figuring it out?"
The other children hadn't figured it out yet, "What is it, Dad?" Lyta asked.
Clark decided to not keep his family in suspense. "Your mother and I are having another baby!"
Squeals of joy were heard for the younger Kent children except for baby Bruce who wasn't aware of what was going on. Lyta was taken back in mild shock while Kai shook his head muttering an amused, "I knew it."
Bruce got the first joke in. "You just couldn't wait, huh, Clark. You just had a baby ten months ago."
"It's a surprise," Diana admitted, "but Kal and I wouldn't have it any other way. The more the merrier we say."
"How did you know?" Kai asked Bruce. "I can't hear a heartbeat. Mom hasn't been sick."
Bruce grinned. "You're a good detective, Kai, but you have to sharpen your observational skills a little bit more."
"I guess so." Kai watched Jon and Lara give their parents a hug and kiss. He smiled at the attention his parents were receiving. Shocked by the news, he was truly happy for them. "I shouldn't be surprised. To tell you the truth, Bruce, it'd be strange if my parents weren't so in love and affectionate with each other."
"Strange?" Bruce chuckled. "I guess that's one way to say it. They had a very unique relationship when we were all younger. I have to tell you some stories about your parents before they got together."
"Really?" Kai was intrigued. "Are they really good?"
"Very. Next time you come to Gotham, I'll tell you about Alcmaeon."
As Kai looked forward to hearing a story about his parents, Lyta hugged her parents in congratulations. "Wow. Another baby. When are you due, Mother?"
"I'm barely a month along so August."
"Six kids, Clark. Trying to create your own Justice League?" Bruce joked.
Clark and Diana laughed at the joke but Bruce's mind was wondering what the effects of six Kent children will have on this world. No, not world Bruce corrected himself. This universe. In a few years, Kai will be his own hero, assisting his father in the Justice League while protecting his own city. He may leave to protect his own planet. The rest of the children will follow in their parents' footstep in one way or another. None of these bright, talented and strong children would settle for a normal life. They would expend their gifts to the service of others somehow.
Clark and Diana were still young. Neither had aged yet so it was possible they could have more children. Bruce wished he could be around to see what these children will do and their affects on their universe but he had a good idea on what was in their future. Clark told him the Legion of Superheroes came together because of his influence on the universe as Superman. It wasn't until Bruce heard Kai's desire to follow in his parents footsteps that it clicked. The Legion's origins weren't just by Superman influence alone (a big part it was) but the influence of Superman and Wonder Woman's children and their descendents.