Disclaimer: DC Comics/Warner Bros. Entertainment owns these characters. This is strictly for my own amusement.
Author's Notes: This story will serve as a prologue for a story coming in the New Year, but it's also a sequel to "Now or Never," a story written earlier this year. Here are a few things you should know: it's post-SR where Lois, Clark and Jason are a family, but suddenly and quite unexpectedly, Conner came into their lives and everything has changed. Their first Christmas as a 'combined family' will begin the story. I hope you like it. Read on and please leave a comment. Thanks guys! :D
Embracing Destiny: The First Christmas
It was early afternoon on Christmas Eve when the family finally arrived at the 'Christmas' cabin. The sun was shining and only a small dusting of snow had fallen the night before, but the forecast called for a minimum of ten inches that night.
Clark had the brilliant idea that they would spend it in Denver, Colorado. 'A true Christmas' was what he called it. Lois tended to call it 'snow hell', but she was willing to go along with his plans. It was their 'first' Christmas as a family and she wanted everything to be perfect and he did too.
Shivering in her parka, snow boots and gloves, Lois actually thought she could feel the cold clear down to her bones. She'd never been much of a Christmas person, well, ever since her Mom had passed, but for Clark, she was willing to make this trip to see his Father's cabin. It was beautiful country and the scenery on the drive over had been spectacular. The weather had been mild leading up to Christmas week, but it was now snowing and she was determined that this Christmas would be unforgettable for all of them.
Still shivering, Lois and Martha were already inside the cabin trying to warm up, while Jason and Clark were getting the packages and luggage from the car. Conner had promised to show-up that evening before dinner. Their first year together had been hard for all of them. Conner was inherently a good boy, but his recent brushes at school, his grades taking a hit and being combative with his teachers, hinted at a serious problem. She came out of her thoughts when Martha groaned as she tried to lift her bag.
"Martha, I told you not to lift anything. That's what the men are for," Lois scolded her but only a little, as she took a smaller piece of luggage from her.
"I know, but I want to help," she said then glanced around the old cabin. Sighing, she continued, "Jonathan built this place with Clark's help, of course, many years ago. Clark and I haven't been here since, well, since he passed."
Lois also looked around the lovely cabin. It was clean and there wasn't any dust at all. There were also plenty of logs for the fireplace. "It doesn't look neglected."
"No it doesn't. Clark hired a caretaker to look after it every season," Martha told her thinking about the past.
The cabin did look very nice, Lois noted. Besides the lovely decorated tree outside the cabin, there was also a smaller tree inside next to the fireplace ready for decorations, but the thing is, they hadn't brought any.
"Clark!" Lois hollered but he had just come inside arms loaded down with groceries, luggage and presents. "I'm right here, Lois. What is it?"
"Look!" She said and pointed to the tree. "Now what?"
"Humm," he replied then scratched his head. "What's the problem?"
Lois rolled her eyes. "Decorations?"
"Oh, there should be some around here somewhere, right Mom?" Clark replied.
"Yes, I believe there should be some up in the attic," Martha told him.
"I'll go check," Jason said hoping to help out.
"Thanks, honey," Martha said and watched him bring down the ladder to the attic.
"Goodness knows what's up there," Martha said then went over to help. "Jason, did you find anything?"
"Well, there's a rocking chair, some boxes labeled newspapers and books. Oh, here we go," he hollered and brought down a box labeled 'Xmas ornaments.'
"Perfect!" Martha exclaimed and Jason put the box on the table in front of the fireplace.
"You two decorate the tree, while Clark and I will put everything else set up around here," Lois instructed as everyone got busy.
A little while later, while Lois and Clark were putting the final preparations for dinner, Clark glanced at his watch. Conner should have arrived by now. It was getting dark and he was beginning to worry.
Conner was fully powered like Clark, meaning he could fly, run fast, all of it and there was just no stopping him. It was becoming harder and harder to keep him in line. What he needed was focus, something to occupy his mind. He had come up with a possible solution, and he hoped that Conner would grow to like the idea.
Lois saw that look and knew what he was thinking. "He'll be here, Clark," Lois assured him.
"It's our first Christmas together as a family and we told him about our surprise and of all his presents."
"I know, but Conner doesn't have any memories of what Christmas means, about presents, or any of that."
"The more reason he'll come. Stop worrying," Lois said confident he would show up.
Jason overheard their conversation and he couldn't help but feel a bit jealous of his brother. Jason was almost eight years old now and very impressionable. Conner was older, wiser, smarter, a bit wild, but he looked up to his brother. He wanted so much to be like him. His jealousy was really uncalled for, but when he looked at him, he saw his Father.
Conner was the image of his Father … tall, well-built, even his hair was similar. But he, however, resembled his Mom; everyone said so. It's not that he minded so much, but ever since Conner had come into their lives, everything had shifted. Jason inwardly sighed and realized that he would have to work out those feelings. He should talk to his parents about it, and he would in due time.
A few minutes later, Clark pulled out his cell phone and dialed Conner's number. "Conner, where are you? We're waiting here at the cabin."
"I'm on my way, Dad, I'll be there in five minutes," Conner replied trying not to get annoyed. His parents were always after him to do this, and to do that, but inside he was a rebellious teenager, almost fifteen years old and he had friends and a life outside of his parent's circle.
Five minutes later, Conner drifted down outside the cabin, peered inside the walls and watched his family for a minute. Shaking his head, that word popped inside his head again. He felt uncomfortable thinking about that word … family … but a part of him, a very large part of him wanted and needed them. He needed them so much that it felt like pain sometimes, but he didn't know how to show them how he felt. Shaking off the feeling, he stepped into the cabin. "Hi, everyone; sorry, I'm late," he apologized hoping to smooth things over.
Martha was the first to greet him. "Oh, Conner, there you are. Come here, honey," Martha said, went to him and gave him a warm hug.
Conner hugged her back and breathed her in. She smelled like cinnamon cookies and love. "Hi, Grandma, it's good to see you. It's been a while, hasn't it?" He asked enjoying their hug.
"Too long, young man," Martha replied. "Come on in out of the cold."
"The cold doesn't bother me, Grandma, you know that," he said and smiled.
"Hi, Conner," Jason tentatively greeted his brother. "Where were you?"
"At the mall with my friends," he replied being evasive. But he did hold up a shopping bag full of presents then he immediately went over to the tree and began to unload the bag.
Lois and Clark glanced at each other. Lois sighed then. "Don't we get a hello?" She asked her wayward son and smiled at him and held out her arms.
"Oh, sorry, Mom," Conner said and went to give her a hug.
"Dad," Conner said and held out his hand.
"I'm glad you're finally here son," Clark said wanting to give him a hug as well, but he didn't seem to want it.
Conner wanted a hug from his Father, but he too, felt as if he would not want one either.
"Let's eat everyone, while the food is hot," Lois announced.
Everyone sat down at the table, and Lois decided now was as good a time as any to give them their news and then Clark had a few things to say too. She took her husband's hand, took a deep breath and said, "Clark and I have been planning this for a while, and I found out something just the other day." She took another breath. "I'm going to have a baby," she announced to her shocked and happy family.
Martha gasped, so thrilled that she jumped out of her chair ran over to her daughter-in-law and hugged her close. "Oh, honey, when, when are you due?"
"Next summer?" She replied holding her mother-in-law close.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Jason asked thrilled for his family.
"We won't know until the baby comes, right Lois?" Clark asked.
"Yes, we decided to wait until the baby comes, but it doesn't matter, of course," Lois replied.
Conner tried to tune them out. He wanted nothing to do with 'the baby.' The notion was totally foreign to him.
Clark watched his son and it was time to set things right for him and for all of them. Lois also noticed Conner's reaction then nodded to her husband.
He tapped his glass and got everyone's attention. "Lois's news is wonderful and we can't wait for the new baby to arrive, but between now and then, it's time for all of us to come together and prepare for that occasion. What I'm trying to say is this …" He turned to his boys. "Conner, Jason, we love you both and we want you to be happy. The way you came to us doesn't matter, Conner. You are our son in every way and we wish you would believe that. And Jason, we love you just as much equally, and we'll feel the same way about your little brother or sister when he gets here." He stopped after his speech and went over to Conner. "Stand up, son," Clark told him.
Conner was confused. "Dad? What is it?"
He took him by the shoulders then pulled him in for a hug. "I love you son, don't ever forget that."
Conner felt his eyes burn and it wasn't from heat vision. He hugged his Father close. He wanted so badly to say the words but they were stuck in his throat.
Clark helped him out. "I know you love us, Conner. You don't have to say it."
"But I want to," he murmured head down.
Clark raised his chin. "You will, when you're ready and we'll be here for you when that time comes," he told him believing it to be true.
Conner nodded his head and sat down unable to speak.
Clark went over to Jason and kneeled down in front of him. "Is there something you want to say son?"
Jason glanced around the table. His grandma was standing beside his Mom's chair, her arm around her shoulder. They were both nodding their heads encouraging him to speak. Conner wiped at his eyes and Jason too was feeling a bit tongue-tied and emotional. "Well …" He hesitated.
Clark squeezed his hand. "Go on," he prompted.
"I hope it's a boy," he finally said, thinking he would look up to him the way he looked up to Conner.
Clark read between the lines. "Well, it may be a girl, what then?"
Jason shrugged, but then he began to think about the new baby. It really doesn't matter, not really. She would look up to me and maybe even more so, and … I remember how sick I used to be. And then he said something way beyond his years. "I hope … I hope she's healthy and strong. That's what I want."
Clark smiled and kissed his forehead. "She will be, Jason; she will be," he told him. He stood up then but he had one more thing to say.
He walked over to Conner's chair again and decided to give him his present now. He squeezed his shoulder. "Conner, I know you've felt a bit lost this past year, and feeling like you don't belong here, but you do. So, I've spoken to a few friends of mine, and they are willing to train you for a new 'young justice' team we're putting together. Now it won't be right away and plans are in the early stages at the moment." Conner's eyes lit up like the sun. "But considering your abilities, you would be the stronger of the group, but you would have to work together to solve crimes, and your orders would come directly from the League." He waited for Conner to speak.
"I … I don't know what to say," Conner was truly moved and very happy.
"That's wonderful news Conner," Jason chimed in his thoughts. He felt proud of his brother. "You'll need a costume and everything."
Lois and Martha both smiled believing their family was finally coming together.
Conner was still in shock. "Yeah, I suppose I will. Will you help me, Jason?" He asked his brother.
"Of course, we'll find something really cool," Jason replied, happy that he asked for his help.
Conner turned back to his Father then. "Thank you, Father," he finally said meaning it.
"You're welcome son," Clark told him proudly. "But there's one more thing. No more acting up at school and you'll bring up your grades, like I know you can. Understood?"
"Yes, I'll do better at school, I promise," Conner replied.
Clark squeezed his shoulder. "Eat up everyone and then we can open the rest of the presents," he announced and everyone agreed. "Merry Christmas!" He said and held up his glass for a toast.
"Merry Christmas!" It was a true beginning for the family.
Later that night, Lois and Clark's bedroom:
Lois was in bed waiting for her husband to join her. "You should have told him the rest Clark."
"I will, once he's acclimated to the team, and once I take him and Jason to the Fortress, then I'll tell him."
"He needs to know about his Luthor genes, Clark," she whispered hoping Conner wasn't listening.
"I will tell him Lois, when he's ready," Clark told her firmly not wanting to talk about it.
"I know that look Mr. Kent. You're not fooling me. I remember when we found out about Conner and where he came from. It was an adjustment for all of us. He needs to know the truth so he can learn to accept it. I'd hate for him to find out from someone else." Clark didn't reply so she came over to him and wrapped her arms around him from behind.
"I know you're right, honey, but he's still so young. It could affect his feelings towards us and I don't want that. I just … I've grown to love him so much."
She came around to stand in front of him then touched his cheek. "I have too."
"He's a special young man and I want him to remember how much we care for him before … well, before we tell him about Lex."
"Alright, we'll wait, but promise me, you'll tell him soon."
"I promise," he murmured then he touched her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned into his hand. "I love you," he whispered. Then he kissed her sweetly at first then with more passion, as words were forgotten, everything else was forgotten. It was just the two of them now in their own private world.
Conner was in the kitchen getting a snack. He hadn't meant to listen to them, but he heard his name and he couldn't help it. When he heard the name 'Luthor,' he dropped his glass on the floor and it shattered into pieces.
Lois and Clark came out to him and wondered what had happened. "Conner, what happened?" Clark asked, as they both came into the kitchen.
"I'm a klutz; I'll clean it up. Go back to bed, Dad, Mom," he told them, but the words were suddenly there and he couldn't hold it in anymore. He looked up from the floor, his eyes suspiciously blurry, "I love you guys," he whispered and tried to smile.
Lois and Clark glanced at each other. "We love you too, son," Clark told him and smiled.
"Merry Christmas," Conner said.
A/N: Oh, boy, I really did not intend for the beginning of this story to be so full of angst, but there it is. You should also know that I'm basing Conner on the comics, not Smallville. Thanks for reading. Reviews are love! :D