Title: The Gingerbread Party
Category: Gen, Humor
Disclaimer: These characters are owned by Millar/Gough, the WB, and DC Comics. No profit or infringement is intended. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: http://www.geocities.com/meretsv/ Many thanks to Jayne Leitch for her helpful beta, especially on the ending.
Summary: Lex goes to Clark's gingerbread party.
This story is dedicated to Shelley for generously putting up a mirror site for me. Yay, Shelley!
Lex turned the car off and looked at the Kent home. A gentle snow had started falling a little over an hour ago, and the house looked as if it were covered in powdered sugar. He was more than a bit late, but when he called from the plant to explain why he wouldn't be there and apologize, Clark had told him to come over no matter the time. He firmly believed that the surprise EPA inspection today had been set up by his father, as his latest gambit in their ongoing battle.
The lights from the house shone cheerfully as he walked to the door, carrying his gift. He hadn't been sure what to bring to a Gingerbread Party, and Clark had been suspiciously vague about it. Since he doubted most of the guests at the party would be over the legal drinking age, wine was out if he ever wanted the Kents to let him in their home again. He'd finally settled on a large red amaryllis. Clark probably wouldn't be impressed, but Mrs. Kent should like it at least. Wiping his feet, he was about to knock on the door when Clark opened it.
"Lex! You made it!"
"Come on in."
He stepped into the house, and was immediately enveloped by warmth and the smell of ginger. "This for you and your family," he said, offering the plant.
"Thanks! Mom will love it." Clark beamed brighter than the moonlit snow outside as he put the flower on the counter.
"I'm sorry I was late."
"Better late than never," he said, hanging up Lex's coat.
Lex hid a smile at Clark's unconscious imitation of his father as he was greeted with various degrees of enthusiasm by Chloe, Lana and Pete at the kitchen table. Except for Lana, they all had traces of what he assumed were the ingredients of gingerbread on them, including Clark, who had so much flour in his hair, he looked like he was going prematurely gray. They were happily talking as they worked on decorating gingerbread men. So this was a gingerbread party, he thought. Only in Smallville.
"Do you want some hot cider or hot chocolate?" Clark asked.
"Cider, please." Lex looked around at the Christmas decorations as Clark fixed his drink. There were the usual garlands and bows scattered about, and a few snowflakes that looked as if they had been crocheted somehow. He was most intrigued however, by the gingerbread house he could see in the living room. From what he could tell, it was a pretty good replica of the Kent farmhouse.
"Here you go." Clark handed him his cider, with a stick of cinnamon sticking out of it.
Lex inhaled the tart, spicy aroma as he warmed his hands on the mug. He inclined his head toward the other room. "Did your mother make that?"
"Yeah, that's how this whole thing got started." He led Lex into the other room to show him the gingerbread house.
It was even more impressive close up. It was indeed a replica of their house, including a front porch with a peppermint stick railing. Snow white icing covered the cookie shingles on the roof and hung down the eaves, resembling icicles. Colored icing had also been cleverly used to imitate the slats on shutters, and create wreaths on the spun sugar windows that matched the ones hanging outside. Lex was amazed at the level of detail.
The house was on a gingerbread yard covered in white frosting, with gum drops, and hard candy packages scattered about. How had she made the Christmas trees? Upside down sugar cones covered in icing? The only thing missing were the lights.
Was he out of his mind? "Clark, if you expect me to be able to make something like that, you are going to be sorely disappointed," Lex said, taking another sip of his cider.
"No," Clark chuckled, "that took Mom days to make. We're making those." He pointed to the two figures in the yard.
They were gingerbread versions of Martha and Jonathan. He could swear the Jonathan cookie was frowning at him. How the hell did one make plaid icing, anyway?
"We each decorate cookies of ourselves to put in the yard. When I was little, Pete and Greg used to go out of town for Christmas to visit relatives. I guess I whined once too often about not having anyone to play with, so Mom made me gingerbread versions of them to put in the yard. It sort of evolved from there. You can make as many as you want to take home, but you have to make a cookie of yourself and put it in the yard. Just don't call them gingerbread men in front of Chloe," he whispered as they turned back to the table. "They're gingerbread people."
"Clark . . . "
"I heard that! Come on, Lex. You've got it easy. The hair's the hardest part," Chloe said impishly as she slid over to make room for him at the kitchen table. "Are you sure your Mom doesn't have any coconut, Clark? I can't get this icing to flip right."
Clark shook his head. "Sorry, Chloe." He put an undecorated gingerbread man in front of Lex, and showed him the various cake decorating tips and bags of different colored frosting.
Lex wished he'd taken time to change clothes. He had a feeling silk didn't mix well with frosting. "Your mother doesn't mind us", he looked around "--demolishing her kitchen?"
"They're visiting some friends of my mom's in Metropolis. They won't be back until tomorrow. It won't take long to clean it up tonight with everybody's help."
So apparently, the Kents had forgiven Clark for the results of his last unsupervised party, Lex mused.
"It's not as hard as it looks. We've already made the cookies," said Lana.
That was a relief at least. The only thing Lex had ever cooked up before were chemicals, and he doubted Mrs. Kent had the ingredients for MDMA in her kitchen. He put down his mug and rolled up his sleeves.
Chloe handed him a small bowl of purple icing and a rounded knife. "You can spread this on to make a shirt."
"The best part is, you get to eat your mistakes," Clark added, munching on an arm.
"Clark, man, what happened to the music?" Pete asked, ignoring Lex.
"Uh, the CD must have ended." He went to put another on.
"You just want to listen to 'Winter Wonderland', don't you, Pete," Chloe said, wiping icing off her hand.
Lex wondered exactly what he was missing when the others chuckled at this, as he dutifully spread purple frosting on his gingerbread man.
"Pete likes to sing, loudly, and he has a good voice, but he remembered the words to this particular song wrong," Lana explained. "It wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't had to sing it at the Second grade Christmas Pageant."
"What did he say?"
Clark came back as they all joined in to sing, "Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire, to face unafraid, the plans that we made, walking in our winter wonderland." They dissolved into giggles at the end of the verse.
"I was in Second grade! Besides, it makes sense. They're in heavy clothes, sitting in front of a roaring fire. Of course they'd perspire." Pete defended himself good-naturedly.
"Who sings about sweat?!"
"I wouldn't talk, Ms. I set a trap for Santa Claus." Pete teased Chloe, inducing shrieks of protest as he sprinkled her with flour.
Lex asked, "The budding investigative journalist even then? So, did you catch him?" From what he had seen of Chloe, he wouldn't have been at all surprised if she had.
"So what happened, Chloe?" Lana hadn't heard this story before. She reached for the pink frosting for her cookie.
"Well, Nancy Drew had put flour on the floor to prove this guy with really big feet was stealing the pay receipts, so I thought that would be a good way to prove if he existed or not."
"You put flour all over the floor? Your parents must have been furious."
"No, I knew my dad be mad if I did that. Besides, he would have walked in it and messed it up. We lived in a one story house then, so I used the trellis to climb up and spread it on the roof Christmas eve. It was warm that year, so we didn't have any snow. I wanted to see if there would be sleigh tracks and eight sets of hoof prints the next day."
"Chloe! How old were you?" Lana asked, amazed.
"Seven. I think the bag of flour was almost as big as me, and I ended up wearing most of it. Dad still swears seeing me up there took 10 years off his life."
Lex could imagine. He'd have to mention it to Gabe when he saw him tomorrow, and give him a chance to brag about Chloe's ingenuity.
Clark piped a yellow S for Smallville on the red shirt his gingerbread self was wearing. "So, Lana. What's your embarrassing holiday story?"
"I don't really have one," she said, putting the last touches on her cookie.
"None? Come on, everybody has at least one. Spill, Lana," said Pete. He had finished his cookie, and was licking icing off a spoon.
Lex was trying to use white icing to pipe a collar and French cuffs on the shirt on his gingerbread man, but it was turning out more like a Pucci print.
"Well, there was this one time before my parents died. I don't remember this, but apparently they were worried I was getting too caught up in the whole Santa thing, and kept telling me the real reason we celebrate Christmas over and over. So when we went to church on Christmas, and the preacher said we were going to sing to celebrate Jesus's birth, I started singing 'Happy Birthday.'"
Her friends looked at her for a second, and then burst out laughing.
"Oh, that beats Pete's 'Winter Wonderland,' hands down," Clark joked.
"What about you, Clark?" said Lana, as she went to get some more hot chocolate.
"Um . . ."
"No way you don't have a story, Clark. You're blushing already," Chloe exclaimed.
"I have one," he said, wincing.
To a chorus of "Give! Give!" Clark answered. "I don't know why we did it, I guess we were bored. When Pete and I were about nine we decided to make a bunch of gingerbread people to go in the yard. Not anyone we knew, just generic people. And for some reason, we decided to make them anatomically correct. We, um, sorta had to guess on some of the details of the girl cookies."
"Clark Kent had a nudist gingerbread village? I'm shocked," teased Lex, as Lana sat back down. He was a bit surprised actually.
"What did you use for the, um," Chloe made a vague waving gesture with her hand, "boy cookies?"
Clark blushed even harder and stared resolutely at his finished cookie, mumbling, "Some candy corn left over from Halloween and miniature marshmallows."
Lana looked up from the cup of hot chocolate topped with minimarshmallows she was about to drink, and suddenly put the mug down. "I don't think I'm thirsty anymore."
"Oh, it gets worse," Pete said, frowning.
"We just wanted to see what they looked like next to the house. We'd planned to eat them before Mom or Dad noticed."
"So your parents saw them?" Lex wondered what their reaction had been.
"Eventually," Pete replied. "And they weren't the only ones."
"See, the new president of the PTA stopped by to drop off some stuff for a committee Mom was on, so of course my folks asked her in to sit down."
Lex thought this was hilarious, as did the others.
"She never did ask Mom or Dad to be on another committee," Clark said, glumly.
Lex would have given one of his cars to have seen Jonathan Kent's expression.
"Yeah, Mrs. Kent helped us make the cookies next year," Pete said, giving an exaggerated sigh.
"Hey, guys. It's getting late. We've got to go home soon. Is everyone done?" Lana asked.
Everyone showed off their masterpieces and examined each other's handiwork.
"I think so. Lex?" Clark looked over at Lex's gingerbread man.
"I'm finished. It didn't take me as long, since I didn't have to do hair." Lex looked pointedly at Chloe, but she just grinned and crinkled her nose at him.
"Okay, let's put them in the yard." Pete grabbed the box of toothpicks as he spoke, and they all walked over to the gingerbread house.
"While we arrange them, Lex can tell us his story," Clark said, his mischievous expression as plain as a dare.
"Totally! You can't leave till you tell us your Christmas story," Chloe said, as she set her wild-haired gingerbread woman between Pete and Lana's cookies in front of the house.
"As a child, I did think mincemeat pies were made of minces. I even knew what they looked like, sort of a large guinea pig. In my defense, blood pudding is made of blood."
Clark and Chloe laughed and Lana gasped, saying, "There's a pudding made of blood? Why in the world would anyone want to make a pudding out of blood, much less eat one?"
"The British have never been known for their cooking," said Lex, amused.
"And yet, the French, who eat frogs and snails, are," Chloe objected.
"PR is everything," Lex placed his gingerbread man in the yard next to Clark's.
They all stood back and admired their work for a moment, and then started cleaning up. It took longer than they had expected. They seemed to have used every bowl and almost every utensil in the kitchen, plus flour had spread into every corner and crevice. Pete jokingly blamed Chloe for this, saying she was up to her old tricks.
The kitchen was almost clean when it was time for them to leave. Since Lex didn't have a curfew he volunteered to stay and help Clark finish. He briefly wondered if anyone would notice his dishpan hands at the meeting tomorrow. The others said their thanks and good-byes, and left with their bags of cookies.
"I'll finish sweeping the floor while you put the rest of the dishes up, since you know where they go." There were people on three continents who would pay large sums of money to have seen him sweeping the floor.
"Okay." Clark stacked the bowls, putting each of them back on their shelves.
"So did you really think mincemeat pies were made out of minces?"
"Not exactly. I did convince a cousin to give me his piece of pie once by telling him that. He had a pet guinea pig."
"Lex!" Clark huffed his name in amusement. "You couldn't have just asked for another piece of pie?"
"Of course. It wasn't the pie. It was the victory. Besides, he deserved it," he said smugly. "He wouldn't let me play with the guinea pig."
"I guess that means you don't have an embarrassing Christmas story, huh?"
He paused and looked at Clark, studying him. "Tell anyone this, and I'll deny it."
Clark raised his hand. "Cross my heart."
"Last Christmas I dreamed my father was the Grinch and Smallville was Whoville. Stop laughing, Clark! I couldn't get that song out of my head for weeks."
Gasping for breath between belly laughs, Clark choked out, "It could have been worse. You could have been the dog!"
Lex swatted him with the broom while Clark laughed, clutching his sides.
"Thanks, Lex," he said, once he'd caught his breath. "I'm glad you came."
"So am I. I had a good time." And Lex was pleased to find he actually meant it.
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