Merry Christmas...?

by Ultragirl

Author's notes: I wrote this rather short fic on Christmas Eve. I was frustrated with my family, particularly my mother (who was seriously stressing, like she does whenever some event of importance- or at least semi-importance -comes around). Don't get me wrong, I love my folks, and I know they love me, but, y'know how parents can be... ;)

Superman, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and all related registered blah blah blah all are not mine. (No matter how much I wish they were. ;) They belong to DC Comics, Warner Brothers, December Third Productions, and Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, or, by now, their closest living relatives (I think). I'm just borrowing these characters, just for a little tiny bit. Don't worry, I'll return them unscathed. (Hey, I may torment them, but I still love them. ;)

Now, the story.

******

Christmas sucked. There was just no other way of saying it, and Lois hated that fact. Everybody said that Christmas was supposed to be such a great time of the year; a time for family and "coming together," and all that.

Yeah, right. Hah! Now that was funny.

Her Christmases, for as long as she could remember, had always been merely for appearance's sake. It was always like a...like a...performance. A play, a charade, all for pretend. Nothing about Christmas ever felt real for Lois.

She remembered when it was the worst; or, rather, had started to get really bad. It was when she was a teenager.

It was only a year or two after her parents had split up. They were still trying to figure out the best way for her and Lucy to spend Christmas with both of their parents without their parents actually having to see each other, and especially not talk to each other while at the same time both pretended to be civil, even nice, to one another. It was the worst.

Christmas Eve was spent with her mother, and that wasn't really much anyway because her mother would get drunk and she and Lucy would be forced to fend for themselves for the rest of the night, as well as for their mom. The next morning, Daddy would come pick them up and take them over to his whole-in-the-wall apartment which was usually crowded with some science experiment or another, and they would open presents together. It wasn't great, but it beat Christmas Eve.

For a while, Christmas was usually the same kind of thing, until the two "adults" had decided that arguing for half an hour when Daddy came to pick the girls up on Christmas morning would improve the holiday. Lois and Lucy would sit in the car together, pretending to be fascinated by whatever gifts their mom had given them, while trying not to hear the echoes of their parents' shouts. Lois remembered wishing for the Christmas when she would be living by herself. She would imagine how perfect everything would be, from the big Christmas feast on her table to that special guy she would share it with.

Well, things had never worked out quite the way Lois had imagined. Paul, Claude, and all those jerks she used to date had spoiled her hopes of ever finding "that special guy," and her big Christmas feast was usually a whole bunch of takeout, with a huge gallon of chocolate ice cream serving as her desert. Her parents would call sometimes to wish her a merry Christmas, but more often than not, they either forgot- due to alcohol or a new mistress -or just didn't care enough to actually pick up the phone. Even when they did call, it was always a strained conversation, with her father being brief because he couldn't really express his feelings very well and her mother scolding her because she hadn't come to visit her for the holiday.

Nowadays though, Lois would unplug the phone when that dreaded date rolled around and watched whatever Christmas specials were on tv and tried to make the best of her takeout dinners. At least she tried to enjoy herself a little. That didn't necessarily mean it worked, of course, but she did try.

Though she struggled hard to make the best of what she had, she always found herself wishing for something more. This year was the second year that Clark and she had been partners and friends; this year she found herself wishing he were here with her. Maybe...as that "special guy" she had dreamed of as a teen. Oh, it didn't matter to her so much about what status he would be in terms of "that special guy," as long as he were here. But, he wasn't. Here, with her, that was. As far as she knew, he was on his way home to Smallville.

She knew it was selfish of her to be wanting him here so much, but she couldn't help it. It was strange; lately, she had been feeling closer to Clark than ever. She had never felt this way about, well, anyone...well, except maybe Lucy and Perry. It was a good feeling...she didn't know it very well.

Suddenly, her musings were cut short by the sound of someone knocking on her door. Her curiousity piqued, she headed over to the door to see just who was the source of the sound. She tried to look through the peephole, but then she remembered that her dumb wreath blocked her view. She unlocked her door, leaving the chain on, and opened the door just a crack.

What she saw waiting for her on the other side of the door made her quicky slam the door shut again. She leaned against the door for support; panic rose inside her and for a few minutes she did nothing. Finally, an all too familiar voice called out her name.

"Lois? Lois?! Lois, are you okay?"

It was her mother. //GREAT! *Just* *great.* This is exactly what I've been avoiding for years!// Lois thought. She wanted to scream.

"Lois?!" came her mother's voice again.

She wanted to scream; instead she answered steadily, "Yes, Mother, I'm fine," as she opened the door slowly.

"Well, there you are! I was starting to get worried; I mean, one minute you were there, and the next, your door was shut and you wouldn't answer me!" her mother babbled.

Lois groaned inwardly; oh, yeah, it was going to be a *long* night. "I'm sorry, Mother, it's just that, uhm, the chain on my door got stuck. Sorry."

"Oh, it's all right. It's just that for a minute there I thought you weren't going to open the door for your dear old mother."

Lois forced a small laugh and replied, "Oh, Mother, I would *never* do *that,*" despite the fact that she had been contemplating just that a moment ago.

Ellen had pushed her way into Lois' apartment and was now babbling on about how she "couldn't stand the thought of you alone in this apartment this Christmas." //Uh-huh. Sure, Mom.// Lois tried to look on the bright side; well, at least Ellen wasn't drunk...yet.

Lois, what is this?! I thought I taught you better house-keeping skills than this!" Ellen exclaimed at the sight of Lois' multiple boxes of take-out scattered across her coffee table. //Oh, yeah, Mom. You taught me just about everything I needed to know...about the best way to ignore my kids.//

"Oh, uh, I was just watching some tv while I ate; I wasn't expecting anyone so I didn't think it'd matter if I did," Lois said.

Just then, another knock on the door interrupted their conversation. Lois stifled a sigh and went to see who it was; again, who she saw standing on the other side of the door left her in a panic and totally off balance.

"Merry Christmas, Princess," her father said as he came in and bent to kiss her.

"Hi, Daddy," Lois answered; oh, boy.

"Sam!?" came her mother's voice from across the room as she spotted her ex-husband.

"Wha...? *Ellen?!*" replied her father.

"Oh, boy," Lois muttered under her breath. //Wonderful, *absolutely wonderful!*// Lois thought.

Lois tried not to sigh too loudly as her parents began administering their verbal lashings to one another. //What a great Christmas,// Lois thought sarcastically. She found herself grabbing some of her take-out cartons and drifting into her room, almost in an aimless fashion. She plopped down onto her bed and clicked on the tv she kept in there. She didn't get many channels on this one- it didn't have cable -but there were a few local channels that she received without too much static. She flipped through the total of six channels, trying to find something to drown out the sound of her parents in the next room...just like when she was a kid.

The news was on; Lois gazed at it unseeingly. The anchorman announced something about Superman; Lois' ears attuned to the television momentarily- out of habit -but she quickly lost interest. It turned out it was just a relatively normal rescue of the Man of Steel's. Lois wondered what he did for Christmas; then she realized he might not even celebrate it. //Geez, Lane, just because you'd love to spend your Christmases with him doesn't mean he even celebrates the stupid holiday!// she recriminated herself.

She changed the channel again; "Miracle on 34th Street" was on, but Lois didn't feel like watching another dumb Christmas special. "A Christmas Carol," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas..." //Oh, yeah, I can relate to that,// she thought.

After flipping through the channels one more time, she finally turned the tv off again. It seemed that her parents had come to momentary stale-mate, for she could no longer hear the two of them fighting; she was sure it wouldn't last long.

Sure enough, five minutes later they were back at it. Lois sighed for the umpteenth time that evening and rolled onto her back; she stared at the white ceiling of her bedroom. The headlights of the cars outside made dancing patterns on the walls and ceiling of the dark room; Lois closed her eyes and pictured what it might be like to spend her Christmas with Superman. Strangely, she couldn't really imagine that; she had never realized how little of Superman's personality she had seen.

Instead, her thoughts returned once again to Clark; now there was a pretty picture. Just her and Clark, nestled in each other's arms on her couch. The big, almost-overly decorated tree in the corner, some carolers singing softly in the background, and the tantalizing aroma of a turkey cooking in the oven.

Lois sighed. It would never be.

Probably The End (But there might- and that's a big might -be more.)

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