Title: A Christmas Miracle (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha
Genres: Fluff, Holiday, Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Summary: When Lex helps out at the Kents’ annual Christmas party, he learns some shocking revelations.
Date Of Completion: December 18, 2016
Dates Of Posting: December 28, 2017/February 3, 2017
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2486
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for danceswithgary for the clexmas 2016 Winter Gift Exchange. Prompt: Christmas Fluff! :) If you’d like to see the comments made when the story was anonymous, you can find it here.
Lex parked his Porsche to the side of the farmhouse. Other cars would be arriving soon and he wanted to be out of the way. He turned off the engine and exited gracefully from the car. He shut the door and opened the trunk, taking out a stack of presents.
The Kent home was festively decorated with swags of greenery festooning the porch railing and twined around the pillars flanking the entrance to the porch. He glanced over at the barn and noticed a huge wreath with red berries and a large red bow hanging high in front.
The Kents always do things up big.
Lex rang the doorbell and waited patiently as he could hear voices inside, admiring the fragrant wreath on the door with the gold and silver spray-painted berries and bow. Footsteps approached and the door was yanked open by Martha, who looked harried, her apron dusted with flour. “Lex! Good to see you. Come on in.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him in like a woman desperately grabbing for a life preserver while adrift at sea. “Presents? You’re a sweetheart. Put them under the tree, hang your coat up, and join me in the kitchen.”
A little taken aback, Lex nonetheless did as instructed. The kitchen smelled of warm gingerbread as he entered.
“Start putting that dough into the baking pans.”
“But I’m no baker,” Lex protested.
“You can put dough into little round holes, right?”
“Then get cracking! Apron’s in the drawer over there.”
Lex followed her pointing fingers, a bit dismayed at the flowers decorating the half-apron.
Well, at least it’s not full-length with ruffles.
He tied the apron and followed Martha’s instructions. She was busy adding the final touches to a cherry pie, crimping the edges of the piecrust. He could smell pies already baking in the oven.
The rattle of the Kents’ old truck could be heard as it was driven up and parked. Five minutes later, the back door opened and Clark and Jonathan spilled in, each carrying a grocery bag.
“Got all the stuff, Mom! Hi, Lex!”
Clark’s smile of greeting was genuinely delighted. It always warmed Lex that someone was actually glad to see him since it was a rare occurrence. The memories of his mother were growing dim, the only person to hold such joy for him.
“I’ll start chopping the vegetables,” Clark said as he unloaded them from the bag.
“I’ll set the buffet table,” Jonathan said as he emptied his bag of soda bottles and put them into the refrigerator.
“Good. The guests will be here in about an hour.”
Lex realized how early he had arrived, but it was the time Clark had said to come. He must have mixed up the time, Lex thought. As he was about to apologize for being so early, Martha shut off the timer and opened the oven, removing the two apple pies.
“Put the cupcakes in,” she ordered briskly. Lex obeyed, setting the time and temperature the way she wanted it after putting the cherry pie on the lower rack.
Clark was washing the vegetables while Martha cleaned up the kitchen counter. She thrust measuring cups at Lex.
“Wash ‘em up.”
Clark had already washed one of the cutting boards and was swiftly chopping celery, carrots, and radishes, taking special care to create ‘rose radishes’ with his paring knife. He arranged everything on platters. All the while Jonathan was taking out plates from the hutch in the dining room and setting the table.
Lex scrubbed and listened to the controlled chaos around him. Clark opened and drained cans of black and green olives and added them to the platters along with baby dill pickles. He crunched on a pickle while Lex stole a look, and Clark abruptly bent over to open a new jar of pickles.
“Honestly, it’s a mistake to start these preparations so late,” Martha complained.
“We had to,” Clark said. “You and Dad were late getting back from Metropolis when the truck broke down.”
“Not to mention Clarabelle giving birth,” Jonathan said wryly as he entered the kitchen in search of the paper napkins.
“Clarabelle?” Lex asked he rinsed a cup.
“One of our cows,” Clark answered.
“Is she all right?”
“Mother and calf are doing fine,” Jonathan assured him. “Here, I’ll take over the veggie platters. Get the lights up, will you?”
Clark went out to the living room. Lex continued his dishwashing duties, but once finished Martha urged him to help Clark. Glad to retire his apron, Lex sauntered out into the living room after folding and replacing it in the kitchen drawer.
When he had first arrived, Lex had barely time to register the tree in the corner or the Christmas cards on the fireplace mantel. Holiday-themed knickknacks were scattered around the room: Santas, snowmen, elves, Rudolph, a snowglobe. A pot of red poinsettias was in the center of the mantel and one of white poinsettias served as centerpiece on the dining room table.
Lex had always liked the Kents’ Christmas tree. Decorated with ornaments both handmade and heirloom, there was no unifying theme, as the professional decorators called it. Castle Luthor was filled with that kind of tree, beautiful but cold. He much preferred this kind of tree.
“Need some help?”
Clark looked up with a brilliant smile. “Sure.”
Heart fluttering at that smile, Lex joined Clark. “At least the lights aren’t tangled.”
Clark laughed. “Yes, nice and easy.”
Lex reached for the string of lights and brushed Clark’s hand. Clark smiled, a slight blush rising on his cheeks.
“Here, these go up here,” he said, stretching up to string the lights at the top of the wall.
Lex stayed close to Clark, the faint hint of cologne tickling his nose. They managed to string up the lights in record time.
“Get our coats, will you?” Clark asked. “We have to do the porch next.”
They strung the lights along the porch roof and Lex smiled. “Cold out there.”
“Yes.” Clark eyed the lights’ location. “Just right.”
“You certainly are.”
Clark smiled this time. “Silver-tongued?”
“Thank you.” Lex glanced behind him at the house and took Clark’s hand and squeezed it.
Clark’s smile was a little shy but he didn’t pull his hand away. “I’m glad you could come over.”
“What, turn down a Kent party? Especially with your mother’s food.”
Clark chuckled. “Plug this in, will you?”
Lex took the extension cord and plugged it into the electrical outlet. The lights came on and he enjoyed the effect.
“White lights are real pretty. No colored lights?”
“We’ve got colored lights on the tree.” A glint of mischief appeared in Clark’s eyes. “Do you think they ought to blink and we should play music about Grandma being run over by a reindeer?”
Lex snorted. “Is that the No. 1 Christmas song here in the sticks?”
“Oh, yeah, the Grinch isn’t welcome around these parts.”
“I guess Smallville is kind of like Whoville.”
“As long as that doesn’t make me Cindy Lou Who.”
Lex grinned. “Am I the Grinch?”
“Nah, that’s for Lionel.” Clark opened the front door and gestured Lex inside.
There was a raised eyebrow here and there as Lex offered glasses of wine on a tray as he circulated among the guests. Clark was offering meatballs fresh from the oven with handy toothpicks. Nothing that would be served at a fancy Metropolis party, but Lex knew that he didn’t care. The guests certainly didn’t as they gobbled them up.
The occasional eyebrow was because he was part of the hosts, but he was just helping out. He was happy enough to chat with his fellow Smallville residents, though he would never truly be one of them. That was reserved for people born here, preferably to parents born here. Residents who had lived here for decades were sort-of citizens if not born here, but you had to stick it out that long. Lex had once remarked to an amused Chloe that the rich snobs of Old Gotham had nothing on these people.
After the rounds of drinks and quick appetizers, Martha suggested that her helpers get some food before it was all gone. Jonathan gallantly got her a plate and they ate in the kitchen while Lex and Clark enjoyed the buffet offerings. Lex was pleased to see his favorite, lemon pie, and there were other favorites of the family as part of the menu.
“Looks like a packed house,” Lex observed as they ate standing up by the fireplace. Flames crackled in the hearth and the white lights along the ceiling evoked a magical atmosphere as blue and yellow candles made a welcoming sight in the windows.
“The Kent Christmas party is always the height of the winter social season,” Clark said with a mischievous glint in his eye.
“Oh, no doubt.” Lex knew that the Luthor Christmas bash was always on top of the Metropolis elites’ calendar, but that was for business associates and High Society parasites, not friends and family.
“You look warm,” Clark said. “Care for some fresh air?”
“I’d like that.” Lex realized that he was feeling a bit flushed from the proximity of the fire.
They finished their meals and took two bottles of beer outside after grabbing their coats. The heat of the fire was still with Lex, but the cold air would take care of any excess heat.
You get me all hot ‘n’ bothered, Clark.
The white lights really did make the porch a pretty sight. Of course, everything was even prettier with Clark in the picture.
“You having a good time, Lex?”
Lex smiled. “Actually? I am.”
Clark appeared incredibly happy. “Good. I’m glad.” He looked up at the clear night sky. “It’s a beautiful night.” Stars were twinkling as a cloud remnant drifted across the moon.
Lex wanted to kiss Clark but knew it was for too risky. He settled instead for clinking his bottle against Clark’s.
“A toast. To the sexiest man in Smallville.”
Clark blushed but said, “Good-looking, too.”
Lex laughed. “I’ll drink to that.”
They remained quiet, the muffled sound of voices coming from behind them in the living room. Light spilled out from the windows to illuminate the porch floor and railing.
“Want to see the new calf?” Clark asked.
“Sure, why not?”
They stepped off the porch and their shoes followed the frozen path to the barn. It was warm in the barn as they headed over to the stalls.
The new calf was suckling, its mother content. Lex leaned down over the stall railing and smiled. “He’s cute.”
“We’re going to name him Rudolph,” Clark said.
“He’s not a reindeer!”
“Close enough.” Clark was amused as Lex shook his head.
The calf broke off feeding and blinked up at Lex. “Well, Rudolph, we’ll let you play all the reindeer games, right?” Lex carefully pushed away the memories of exclusion in his own childhood. Red nose or bald head, it was all the same to the ‘normal’ ones.
“Right,” Clark agreed.
After Clark made sure mother and calf were comfortable, he and Lex stood in the barn’s entrance as they looked up at the stars again.
“Since this is Christmas Eve, being in a barn is pretty appropriate,” Lex said dryly.
“I guess we’ll have to wish for our Christmas Miracle. Look, there’s a star to wish upon.”
Lex followed Clark’s pointing finger. It was a very bright star. He silently considered his friendship (and more) with Clark to be his miracle, but he wished for a happy future, anyway. Couldn’t hurt, right?
The kitchen door opened and a gaggle of children tumbled out. They excitedly asked Clark if they could see the calf, and he cheerfully herded them inside the barn. Lex headed for the kitchen.
Martha was finishing her meal as she stood by the counter. She was alone for the moment.
“Ah, I hope you enjoyed the pie.”
“I was pleased to see my favorite,” Lex replied.
“Have to take care of my staff.”
“Well, I’m glad to help out, though I apologize for arriving so early. Clark must have mistakenly told me the wrong time to come over.”
“No, he didn’t.” Martha rinsed off her plate and placed it in the dishwasher.
“Excuse me?” Lex was clearly confused.
“I told him to tell you that time.”
“Lex, dear, why do you think I ordered you about? I don’t do that to guests.”
Now Lex was completely confused. If he wasn’t a guest, what was he?
“Dear, you’re one of the family.” Martha poured herself a fresh cup of coffee from the big urn on the counter. “I assume your feelings for my son aren’t just of the fly-by-night variety.”
Lex’s jaw dropped. He was a member of the family? And she knew about his feelings for Clark? Was he already asleep in bed back at the castle, dreaming of sugar plums?
“Now, Jonathan and I only ask that you take it slow and wait until Clark graduates from high school before you get really serious. And be discreet, though you’d be surprised how open-minded some people can be, even in a small town like this. Don’t sell the people of Smallville short.”
Lex was desperately trying to process all this. Jonathan knew and was not going to use his shotgun on him? The people of Smallville would be okay with him and Clark in love?
“Now go mingle,” Martha said, and a speechless Lex obeyed the shooing motion of her hand.
He drifted from group to group in the living room and dining room, occasionally interjecting a comment. Maybe it was his imagination, but he thought a couple of elderly women smiled with particular fondness at him. As the party was more of an open house, people came and went, so Lex encountered nearly everybody in town.
He looked out the window and snow was falling. No longer just a city boy, he recognized the flakes as forerunners of a major storm. No one seemed overly concerned, but by the time the snow fell thick and fast, everyone was gone. Wary about his Porsche able to make it back to the castle, Lex nevertheless helped clean up. By the time the house looked presentable again, the Porsche looked like a white loaf of bread in the snow.
“Can I get some help digging out?” Lex asked as he started putting his coat on.
“Sorry, Lex, your car will never make it ‘til the plows come through,” said Jonathan.
“The guest room is all ready for you, dear,” Martha said cheerfully. She leaned in to say, “If you’re going to be a member of this family, Christmas morning is an essential.” She smiled beautifically. “There’s always room for one more at the inn.”
Lex smiled as he looked at Clark, who was smiling, too. He really did get a Christmas Miracle.