Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick/Roy, Steve/Diana, Jonathan/Martha, Pete Ross, and way too many others to list! :)
Genres: Holiday, Slice-Of-Life
Warnings: Sap alert! ;)
General Summary: The Kents host the superhero families at the farm.
Summary: An old family friend is welcomed into the warmth of the Kent home.
Date Of Completion: December 7, 2007
Date Of Posting: December 23, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1301
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This story is a sequel to Family I: Thanksgiving. All chapters can be found here.
My head spun at all the different canons and who was alive and who wasn’t, so even though this is probably the closest I’ll ever get to current canon, it’s really a mix of new and old, and people who should be in the afterlife are here. Also, the Pete Ross mentioned here is the Silver Age Pete, and his discovery of Clark’s caped life is from that continuity. I wanted to acknowledge Clark as Superboy (now Kon has that name) as I thought it was a shame that DC retconned him out of existence. Consider this a pocket universe that I created to say ‘thank you’ to my f-list and DCU fandom! :)
Oh, and needless to say, gay marriage isn’t an oddity here! ;)
WARM GINGERBREAD AND HOT MULLED APPLE CIDER
The Kent farm was ablaze with light: red, yellow, blue, and green candles shining in the windows while a spotlight bathed the large wreath on the front door. Greenery twined around the white pillars of the veranda, tiny white lights threading through, twinkling like stars.
Through the bay window a giant Fraser fir could be seen, strung with multicolored lights and delicate, glass ornaments mixed with homemade decorations. It was a tree with no discernible theme except love.
The lone figure scrunched up the driveway. It definitely felt like snow. The ground was already covered by several inches of the white stuff from snowfall a few days ago.
Tonight was clear and cold, stars twinkling in the night sky. It was a beautiful night, and not very uncomfortable for one accustomed to winter cold.
The visitor clomped up the veranda steps, stamping snow off his boots. The wreath displayed shiny red berries, gold-red-and-purple plums, pine cones, and a giant red bow, all dusted with golden glitter. Before he could ring the doorbell, the door opened and a smiling Clark Kent slipped out onto the veranda. He was coatless, but of course the cold didn’t bother him.
“Pete!” His smile rivaled the Christmas lights. “So glad you could come.” Clark hugged him, smelling of cinnamon.
“I’m sorry I had to miss Thanksgiving. I was sick…”
“So, the Kents and the Waynes overflowing the house?”
Clark grinned. “And the Queens and…well, a multitude of other families.”
Pete leaned against a pillar, crossing his arms. He liked the clear, cold air. “And the civilians?”
“Most you know: Lois, Lana, Lucy, Letitia, Jimmy, Steve…”
Pete rubbed his arms. “So we civvies get to know all the secret identities now.”
Clark nodded. “Those we trust.”
Pete felt a surge of pride. “I’ll always have your back, Clark.”
They exchanged a look born of long friendship. Pete Ross had earned his status as Keeper Of The Secret years ago on a camping trip with his best friend and seeing him change into Superboy. Pete hadn’t let Clark know of his discovery right away, secretly helping Clark keep his identity, well, secret.
“Loyalty is in big supply here.”
“Are you happy, Clark?”
The smile again. “Very.”
“So playboy Bruce Wayne and the Batman gives you what you need.”
“He does.” Clark’s eyes sparkled. “He gives me things that I didn’t even know I needed.”
“I’m glad for you, Clark.”
“I know.” Clark clapped a hand on Pete’s shoulder. “Want to come inside now?”
Following Clark through the front door, Pete entered a world of warmth and laughter, heavenly smells of baking gingerbread and hot mulled apple cider, and bright colors as he saw the Christmas tree up close, the star on top shining in gold. Brightly-wrapped presents were piled beneath it, carols played from the old-fashioned stereo, and the living room, dining room and kitchen were filled with happy people.
Dick and Roy were drinking cider and talking with Dinah and Ollie by the fireplace; Tim and Kon were helping Lian check out the presents; Lois had just plunked herself on the sofa between Kathy and Selina; Connor, Mia, Letitia, and Bart were laughing as they ate Christmas cookies in the corner; Jason hovered over a pregnant Cass, who was talking with Donna and Stephanie; Steve and Hal were in animated conversation close to the kitchen, and Jonathan was circulating among his guests. He greeted Pete with a clap on the shoulder, then Clark brought Pete into the kitchen.
Martha and Alfred were taking gingerbread out of the oven while Diana and Lana talked by the counter. Jimmy, Lucy, Wally, and Barry were chatting at the table, sipping cider, and Linda and Barbara were murmuring in the corner, red and brunette heads touching.
“Pete!” Martha took off her oven mitt and hugged him. “So glad to see you!”
“Thanks, Mrs. Kent. Merry Christmas Eve.”
“Merry Christmas Eve to you, too.” She smiled and said, “Let me take your coat.”
“I will, Mom.” Clark took Pete’s heavy coat. “I’ll bring it upstairs to put with the rest of the coats.” He sprinted up the stairs.
“Still ready to dash off everywhere,” Pete said with a grin.
“Always.” Martha gently laid a hand on his arm. “How are you?”
He glanced up the stairs. “Better.”
Sympathy shone from Martha’s eyes. “I haven’t said anything to Clark,” she said in a voice too low for anyone but Linda to hear, and Clark’s cousin was totally absorbed with Barbara.
“Thanks.” Pete smiled. “Don’t worry, Mrs. K. The chemo’s going well.”
He didn’t want his condition known, at least not yet. He didn’t want to put a damper on the holiday. Besides, he was doing well, better than he could have hoped.
“I’ll tell him. After New Year’s.” Affection shone in his eyes. “You know Clark. He gets upset when he can’t save people from disease.”
Martha laid a hand on Pete’s cheek. “You’re family, Pete.”
Warmth flooded him at this extraordinary woman and the son she had raised.
“Thank you.” He blushed.
Clark came down the stairs, followed by Bruce.
Pete carefully observed the billionaire. He was still a little uncertain about him, as Pete wasn’t sure someone as dark and dour as Bruce Wayne or Batman could truly make Clark happy, but it certainly looked like that was the case. And he had it to admit, Bruce had grown more relaxed since becoming involved with Clark, and especially since their marriage.
“Would you like some cider, Pete?” Clark asked.
Clark went to fulfill Pete’s request and Bruce said, “Good to see you, Pete. We missed you at Thanksgiving.” He looked at him with concern. “How are you?”
Pete’s story of flu was a good cover, but he knew how difficult it was to fool Bruce. Carefully he replied, “Fine. A little tired. Some flu can knock you for a loop.”
The trilling of a cellphone was heard, Barbara answering.
“Here you go, Pete.” Clark handed him a cider mug.
“So where’s everyone sleeping tonight? This is a pretty big crowd for the ol’ homestead.”
Martha answered, “Since Smallville’s only hotel is being renovated and only have half the usual rooms available, and our two boarding houses are booked, Linda came up with an idea: she and Clark and Kon built a guest house large enough to handle this crowd. Here in this house, Clark and Bruce have Clark’s room, Linda and Barbara have hers, and Dick and Roy are in the guest room with Lian on a cot. Linda offered Cass and Jason her room, but Cass was insistent she keep it.”
“That’s right. She said if she needed to get to the hospital, she had plenty of Supers around,” Bruce said sourly. Everyone else grinned. “Alfred also turned down Dick and Roy’s offer of their room.”
“Oh, c’mon, Bruce, he’s the den mother over there and loves it.” Clark winked at his mother, who grinned back.
“Where is the guesthouse?” asked Pete.
“In the woods, out of sight of anyone dropping by,” Martha answered. She grinned. “It helps to have Supers in the family.”
Pete laughed, and he happily accepted the offer of warm gingerbread.
“Aunt Martha, I have to go to Gotham,” Linda said.
Bruce was immediately concerned.
Linda smiled at Barbara. “My redhead’s dad is off-duty and ready to join the fun.”
Everyone relaxed. “Be careful, dear.”
Linda nodded and changed in a blur of color, emerging as Supergirl, getting a kiss from Barbara. She waved, stepped outside, and flew off.
Pete smirked as he drank his cider. Costume changes at superspeed was just the norm here.
He wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.