Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Kara, Alex, and a special cameo
Word Count: 1,474
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
She's been fighting all day long when she finally enters the apartment she shares with her sister. She barely glances at their modest Christmas tree as she collapses onto the couch. She can make out their various decorations, including the ones they'd made as children and hung together at the start of the season ever since, just fine in the darkness, but it saddens her spirit even more to see that the tree isn't plugged in. It's Christmas night, and yet their lights haven't been on since two nights before.
They just haven't had time, she thinks, just as she hasn't had time to properly Alex's present. She did a quick job of it yesterday, and the poor package looks like it's traveled through a garbage chute to arrive at the end of their tree. Whose lights still aren't plugged in. She considers darting from the couch to the tree just long enough to plug it in, but already her eyes are slipping closed.
It's been one battle after another over the last few days, and despite her super strength, she's so weary it's a wonder she has any powers left. She could have zipped by here earlier to plug in their tree, but she didn't even think about it until she saw it standing in the solitary darkness in their apartment. She doesn't know how her sister's still going, especially with her all human genes, but when she left headquarters, Alex stayed behind both to talk to Hank and fill in the required paperwork for their latest mission.
Kara had argued that it was Christmas night for God's and couldn't they rest for just once and worry about the paperwork tomorrow. Alex had looked hopefully at Hank, but when the Martian had made a remark about how Kara had fallen into the Earthly religion despite her Kryptonian ancestry, Alex had quickly agreed that, Christmas or not, paperwork had to be done.
As Kara's relaxing fully onto the couch and allowing the last of her guards to drop, something as fast as she normally is flashes through their apartment. She's just beginning to think she may have another battle coming when a colorful package drops into her lap. The room stills again in the absence of the being who just flashed by her.
Kara lifts the package, and through the lights of the city filtering into their apartment, she just barely manages to make out the handwriting. The words "To my cousin" lift her spirits and give her renewed energy she didn't think was possible. She rips at the Christmas trees and snowmen depicted on the wrapping paper until her fingers meet with something extraordinarily soft.
Thinking it must be some kind of fancy sweater that her cousin's wife picked out, Kara carefully lifts the material out of the package. A paper falls out with it, but she won't see it or read the words until tomorrow. She does, however, gasp softly in admiration as the handmade quilt unfolds before her. She knows her cousin doesn't sew, nor does his wife, and the blanket has clearly been pieced together by hand. It had to be her cousin's adopted mother, her aunt in a way, who made the blanket she now holds.
It's thick and soft. Kara brushes it against her cheek as she examines a few of the pieces that have been pieced together to make the quilt. There are pieces of flannel, pieces with stripes and others with polka dots, and even pieces that look like they would be more apt to be a part of a baby blanket than an actual quilt for an adult. Tomorrow, when she reads the note that fell, she'll learn that Martha Kent put together this very quilt for Clark from pieces of fabrics that were important to their family over the years, pieces of other blankets and jackets, pieces of blankets he used as a child and a baby, and parts left over from his old, favorite clothes.
Tomorrow, she'll come to realize the true meaning of this gift, but tonight, with her cheek pressed against the extraordinarily soft material, Kara finds she still just wants to sleep. She snuggles in the blanket, reveling in its thick, long, and soft material, and is soon fast asleep. She doesn't see the man who tip toes back into the room long after she's started snoring. She doesn't see his kind smile or feel his arms sneak around her to hook the blanket around her shoulders. She doesn't feel him lift her feet onto the couch or tuck the opposite end of the blanket securely around her feet. She doesn't know he's there at all, even when he brushes a chaste kiss across her forehead, and she still doesn't stir when he leaves just as abruptly as he's come twice tonight.
She doesn't wake until early morning sunlight is bathing their apartment in a soft glow and she hears her sister calling, "Wake up, sleepy head."
"Hrr?" she grumbles in her sleep, turning over and snuggling deeper between the quilt and couch.
"Kara, wake up," Alex insists, "or do you want to completely miss Christmas?"
She's coming around when she hears the last part of her sister's question. Pangs of guilt and remorse strike her. She frowns deeply, her eyes cracking open but not yet focusing. "We already missed Christmas," she mumbles.
"Christmas is what you make it," Alex returns. "Here."
Kara shifts again and squints until she's able to finally make out the form of her sister bending down before her, a glass of eggnog in each hand. She takes the glass offered to her and sips it sugary sweetness with relish.
"Neat blanket," Alex comments, dropping down beside her as Kara squints again at her.
"Have you even been to bed?" she asks her older sister, sounding like the older sister herself, as Alex yawns loudly.
She rubs her red eyes. "Nah." She shifts again on the couch as she mutters something else into her glass of eggnog before taking another swallow.
Kara grins at her. "You know it doesn't do any good to mutter around some one with super hearing. I'm not surprised you fell asleep doing the paperwork. J'onn should have let you come home."
"He means well -- "
"I know, but that alien's got to learn that the rest of us need rest sometimes. Even I do, so I know you've -- " Kara cuts off as Alex suddenly snores. She pokes her legs with her outstretched feet, waking her just before she can drop her glass. "Finish your eggnog first," she teases.
"Here. You have it." Kara downs both her glass and the rest of her sister's with what super speed she has left. She sits the glasses on the floor, coincidently right by the letter from her cousin explaining how the blanket comforted him when he first left the farm where he'd been raised by his foster parents who he considered to be his true parents and hoping it would give her some of the same comfort it had once given him. But again, she doesn't see the paper. She'll find it by their glasses later that afternoon, but right now, she's only studying her sister, who's trying to force herself, she knows, to muster her strength enough to actually retire to her bed where she belongs.
Just as Alex is rising from their couch, Kara shifts suddenly around and wraps her arms and the blanket around her sister, pulling her back down. Her usual barriers of restraint already broken by her exhaustion, Alex squeals as Kara yanks her unexpectedly back down to the couch. "Yesterday was Christmas," Kara reminds her, mumbling tiredly herself. "Today will be our Christmas. You're not going anywhere."
Alex considers arguing, but her little sister's right: Today, for what it's worth, will be their Christmas. They're both too tired to do any real celebrating, but that doesn't mean they have to be apart, even to sleep. Alex relaxes into Kara's tight embrace, giving in to the warmth of her sister's hug and the blanket around them. She barely manages to murmur her consent before falling fast asleep, her head nodding off on Kara's shoulder.
Kara holds to her sister as her own eyes again start to close. The last thing she sees are pieces of the blanket that look as though they could have come out of her cousin's, or even her own, uniforms. She falls asleep with a smile on her face, the feel of her sister's and her cousin's love wrapped securely around her, and although she still hasn't read Clark's letter, Kara already knows. This blanket is important to him, and so is she. So is all their family. She drifts off to sleep, knowing that, despite everything, it's been a merry Christmas after all.