Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Ollie/Dinah, Steve/Diana, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, J’onn, J’onzz, Carter/Shayera, Zatanna
Continuity: Batman Begins, Superman Returns
Genres: Challenge, Drama, First Time, Holiday, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: Clark is feeling sad and lonely at Christmas.
Chapter Summary: Bruce invites Clark to the Manor for Christmas.
Date Of Completion: November 18, 2011
Date Of Posting: December 2, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and WB do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1161
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for the 2011 World’s Finest Gift Exchange. Prompt: F2: The rest of the Justice League scattered to spend the holidays with friends and family. Everyone just assumed Clark would be doing the same. But Martha passed away a little while ago, and Lois married Richard, and Clark is all alone on Christmas Eve. Bruce finds out, of course, and decides that Something Must Be Done.
CONTINUITY: SUPERMAN RETURNS/BATMAN BEGINS, but expanding to bring in all the other heroes. One or more of the Robins is fine, too, if it suits the story. Also written for my 2011 DCU Fic/Art Silver-‘N’-Gold Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompt: Silver-‘N’-Gold, natch! ;) and saavikam77’s 2011 DCU_Freeforall Winter Holidays Challenge. Prompts: No. 3: Twinkling Lights/Star/Sparkle, No. 8: Family/Home/Shelter/Hearth and No. 9: Christmas Tree. :)
All chapters can be found here.
The heart aches
When the lights
And the glitter dulled
By the absence
Sarah Jean O’Reilly
The Watchtower buzzed with good conversation and lively music, the silver and gold decorations sparkling around the function room. Garlands and ornaments of the same colors festooned the majestic tree in the corner. A buffet table was set up by the tree and was filled with cold cuts, fresh bulkie rolls, pickles, and cranberry relish. There were finger rolls of tuna, chicken salad, and turkey, chafing dishes filled with Swedish meatballs, cocktail franks and eggplant, garden salad mixed with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions, and a whole section devoted to sweets. The desserts were pies of lemon, apple, and cherry, pumpkin and cranberry breads, carrot and chocolate cakes and gaily-decorated Christmas cookies in the shapes of stars and trees. There was Perrier and Poland Springs water, sodas, coffee, and beer.
Everyone was happily taking about their holiday plans, Bruce observed. He was looking forward to the holidays. Ever since taking in Dick Grayson after the death of the boy’s parents, the parade of different holidays throughout the year once again held meaning for him. Alfred highly approved of the joy that Dick brought to the Manor after years of darkness.
Maybe his own heightened sensitivity to his own re-awakened joy made him more aware of others who didn’t seem in the spirit.
Green Arrow and Black Canary were laughing and talking with Steve and Wonder Woman, speaking about their plans for Christmas.
“Roy’s already got a long list of goodies written up,” Green Arrow laughed.
“A letter to Santa?” Steve grinned.
“Sort of. He’s a bright kid. He asked for gifts not just for himself but for kids at the shelter.”
“Hey, that’s great. He’s a good kid.”
“We’re going to make sure he has a good supply of gingersnaps,” Black Canary said. “They’re his favorite cookies.”
“What’ll you be doing for the Solstice, Diana?” asked Green Arrow.
“Oh, I shall perform a ritual to honor the Goddess.”
Batman glided past Green Lantern and Flash, the latter speaking about enjoying Christmas dinner with his girlfriend Iris West and his nephews and nieces.
Alfred will have a glorious Christmas dinner ready for us to enjoy. Dick will help and we’ll revel in a feast.
The Martian Manhunter was chatting with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Superman was savoring a plate of lemon pie while talking with Zatanna. Other heroes were mingling and heading for the buffet table.
Batman found himself enjoying the party. He entered into a spirited discussion with Green Lantern about the rules laid down by the Guardians of Oa. When the argument was finished, Green Lantern smirked and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Merry Christmas, Batman.”
Batman snorted but smiled as he turned away. He went to the buffet table for a piece of apple pie. Wonder Woman and Black Canary were talking a few feet away. As he cut the pie, he heard Black Canary say, “It’s a shame.”
“I know.” Wonder Woman’s voice was sad. “Poor Clark.”
Batman nearly froze at the mention of Clark’s name. He very slowly and deliberately cut the pie while he listened.
“With Martha’s passing, that farmhouse must be very lonely. It’s been years since Jonathan’s been gone, but Martha died recently.”
“What about Lois and Jason?” Canary asked.
Wonder Woman sighed. “The two of them and Richard are in Vail for the holidays. Lois has always wanted to go on a ski vacation for Christmas.”
“Ah.” Black Canary sipped her coffee. “So I guess Clark will be alone for Christmas.” She sighed. “If we didn’t have so many plans already set, I’d invite him to spend the holidays with us.”
“Yes, Steve and I have plans to spend Christmas with his family. I am afraid that Clark would feel like a third wheel if invited.”
“You’re right. I guess Clark will have to spend his first Christmas after his mother’s death alone.”
Batman cut another piece of pie and picked up the two plates and left the room.
Batman checked the training rooms, conservatory, and conference room, but no Superman. He was heading for the lab when he thought about the Monitor Room and detoured there first.
He had found his man.
Clark stared out at the stars, the Earth turning below him. The sight was not much different from the starscape he had viewed on his five-year mission to Krypton.
I wasted five years. Even if I had found something, what did I expect to change? Ma was here, all alone and worrying about me, and the world wondered what had happened to me. I was incredibly selfish.
Clark rubbed his eyes. He could feel a headache on the way. Possibly it was because he remembered the feeling of desolation he’d experienced when he had returned to the farmhouse recently. The sadness had hit him like a tidal wave.
All so quiet and dark. I remember the house being decorated every year with the fragrance of fir and pine and Ma’s gingerbread.
He felt an ache in his chest. Swiping at his eyes, he returned to gazing out at the stars.
The door opened and he heard the soft swish of silk. Smiling, Clark asked, “So, too much partying?”
“Ha,” said Bruce as he approached the chair. He handed Clark a plate. Clark smiled as he took it, picking up the fork. “Sometimes a little quiet is good.”
“Mmm.” Clark enjoyed the pie. Not as good as his mother’s, of course, but very good.
“Earth looks like a giant ornament,” Bruce said as he pushed back his cowl.
“How poetic.” Clark smiled slightly.
Bruce’s mouth quirked as he took a bite. “Dick is having a good influence on me.”
“He’s a great kid.”
”He is.” Bruce took another bite of pie. “Hmm, not Alfred-worthy, but pretty darned good.”
Clark smiled as he quietly ate his pie.
“Dick’s got all kinds of ideas on how to celebrate Christmas. We’re meshing his family traditions with our own.”
“You and Alfred?”
“Right.” Bruce ate another piece. “Um, Clark, do you have any plans for the holidays?”
“No.” His tone was bleak, but he was too depressed to care about covering it up.
“Then I’d like to invite you to the Manor for Christmas.”
Startled, Clark looked up from his gloomy perusal of his pie. “What?”
Bruce looked a little uncomfortable. “I, um, invited you to the Manor for Christmas.”
Clark flushed with embarrassment. “Look, Bruce, you don’t have to take pity on me.”
Bruce frowned. “I’m not. I genuinely want you to be my guest.”
Pride warred with loneliness as Clark mulled over the invitation. He poked his fork into the pie and thought of the empty farmhouse. He looked up.
“Thanks, Bruce. I accept.”
Bruce smiled. “Good.”
They ate the rest of their pie in companionable silence.