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Title: Dealing with Naughty and Nice
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Original
Character/Pairing: Santa and OCs
Rating: PG-13/T
Word Count: 2,165
Date Written: 26 December 2017
Summary:
Disclaimer: This one's mine!
Author's Note: The verses used come from Proverbs 19:18 and Matthews 19:14.





He’s two blocks away when he hears the scream. It makes his jolly, old heart jump and fills his blood with ice. His head jerks up. His heart aches. His gentle hands grip into tight fists. Tears shimmer in his blue eyes. It’s a child who’s crying, but he knows in an instant that he must not go. He is not wanted wherever that innocent soul is.

But he is wanted here. Santa tries his best to ignore the other calling pumping in his magical blood and concentrate on fulfilling the wishes of the children he is allowed to reach. He lives live animals underneath a couple of trees, little puppies and kittens who want humans to love as badly as the children for whom he’s leaving them want to love them. He fills every stocking and surrounds every tree with wishes that will be fulfilled for these precious children in the early morning’s light.

Again and again, he hears screams. A Demon’s name is on the tip of his tongue. He almost wishes to call upon his old frenemy, Krampus, but even Krampus could not have helped in this case. He had been a curse once cast upon Santa to deal with the naughty children, but it is no naughty child making this innocent soul cry out time and again. It’s a man, the boy’s father, the very reason why Santa is not allowed to go into his home.

He’s made several promises over the centuries he’s been traveling the globe. He’s never gone into a place where he was not welcomed. He’s never interfered with parents raising their children, no matter how greatly he’s ached to in the past. He’s never set a bad example for any child. He has held himself to the same morales he expects the nice children to live by. He does not lie. He does not steal. He does not hurt anyone else.

Yet each cry continues to test him. His blood boils. His anger rises until his whole being is practically vibrating. His hands clench and unclench into fists. His white beard curls up with his anguish until, at the sound of another scream, it unrolls so quickly it almost smacks Santa in his own face! He can hear his reindeer pawing the roof outside. He can hear them snorting their anger.

And over and over again, he can hear a child who needs him, a child who desperately needs anyone to intervene on his behalf, to help him. This small boy doesn’t need presents. Gifts, regardless of rather they’re made by man or Elven hands, will do him no good. He needs something that can not simply be stuck underneath a Christmas tree or shoved into a stocking. He needs something that Santa has never allowed himself to give.

By the time he reaches the next block, Santa’s crying. Large tears roll silently down his face and drop onto the presents he’s leaving behind. The warmth of the fires in homes where parents love their children as they should will dry the tiny drops of moisture by the time the children discover their gifts. There will be no sign of any sorrow left behind Santa.

But will there be a sign left behind that there was one child for whom no one cared? No one is going to rescue that small, innocent boy tonight. No one is coming to his aid, and there are so many children maimed, killed, and harmed in even more horrendous ways than the old Elf whose heart is big enough to encompass his entire home in the North Pole wishes to allow even himself to consider. Children suffer every day, every night, some every single moment of their short and fragile lives.

Not all parents should have children, but all children have parents. They may die at an early age, leaving the child alone, or may abandon the child from the start. Some children are actually better off when their parents leave them, because there are those who are tortured constantly by their own parents.

Santa’s seen them. He’s cried with them. But he’s never been able to help them. He’s not allowed into the homes where he is unwanted. He has tried in the past, but no amount of magic, perhaps because all that which he possesses is good in its nature, has ever been able to break him into a home where he was not wanted.

The child screams again, and Santa shoots up so high and fast through the nearest chimney that the breeze from his speed knocks the Christmas tree down behind him. This family will know he’s been here, but it’s far past time somebody else knew he was here as well. He doesn’t bother with his sleigh this time. He lets the reindeer fly behind him in the night sky as he propels himself for the home where the boy is still screaming.

All around, families are sleeping peacefully. His ears and those of his deer can hear the boy’s cries, but the house from whence they are coming has thick walls, thick, old walls that are accustomed to holding their horrible secrets inside. No one, Santa knows, on this entire block of sleeping mortals has any idea that there is an innocent child in their midst in such danger. If they did, perhaps they would try to do something, but far too often, the parents of other children fail to rise up to protect children who are not their own in time to save their lives.

Santa dives for the house’s chimney, but a power he can not see or understand throws him away from the chimney. He sails through the air and lands, face first, in a thick bank of snow. He pushes up, sputtering, but before he can have time to consider his next movement, the child is crying out again -- and this time, Santa can hear an awful, cracking sound.

“No! No! NO!” he cries, pushing the sleeves of his furry robe up on his massive arms. “Not again!” He is tired of children suffering. He took on the job of caring for all the world’s children centuries ago, but there are still far too many who he fails.

He throws himself at the front door of the house, but the same force that threw him from the chimney propels him again. This time, he’s knocked at such an angle that he somersaults three times through the snow before landing once more with his face in the snow and his round, crimson-clad rear end in the air. “NO!” he roars, getting instantly to his feet yet again and shoving his sleeves up once more.

The child cries out for help, but suddenly Santa’s deer and sleigh are between him and the house. Rudolph’s nose shines bright, and the reindeer buck their heads, as if trying to convey some message to Santa. He doesn’t have time to translate their language, however, but then he sees Rudolph slip out of his harness. He makes his way, his nose shining bright in the dark night, to Blitzen and uses his teeth to pull his harness off of him.

Blitzen runs to the door . . . and through it, shattering wood as he goes. Santa smiles, proud of his deer, and even as Blitzen turns around and starts back to his herd, Santa moves into the house. He follows the lad’s screams to where his father is cracking his skin open yet again with his belt.

“‘Spare the rod and spoil the child,’” Santa quotes, lifting his beefy fists into the air. “But that is neither sparing or spoiling! Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death.”

“Who the Hell are you?!” the father sputters. Raising his belt again, he cracks it over his child’s head. “Get out of here before I do the same to you!”

“‘But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."’”

“What are you, some kind of religious freak?! Your god can’t help you or my brat! I’m gonna teach him not to eat my food without my permission!”

Santa’s face turns as crimson red as his jacket as the father lowers his belt once again upon his son. With speed faster than any mortal’s eye could possibly witness, he closes the distance between them, whips the belt out of the father’s hand, and cracks it against his own face instead. He falls back, touching the blood beginning to pour from the assault to his face and sputtering. “You -- You -- “

Santa raises the belt high this time. “I’ll do much more than that if you ever touch another child again! You, boy, get out of here!” He nods to the child, but as the boy tries to raise to his feet, he only falls down again. His arms and legs are pouring blood from the gashes his own father has set into him.

“And they called Krampus a monster! You’re the real monster!”

“Get away from my boy! He’s mine -- “

“No, he’s not! He deserves to have a father who loves him, and that’s not you!” Santa whips the belt through the air, coming just short of connecting it with the father’s wretched face again. Then, moving once more with uncanny speed, he lifts the bleeding, crying boy into his arms and runs out of the house as fast as he first entered it. He’s still holding the boy as he lifts his sleigh, complete with Rudolph and Blitzen back in their harnesses, into the Christmas Eve sky.

The father rushes behind them on the ground, yelling insults up. Santa throws the belt down at him and hears a satisfying Thunk as it strikes his head, causing him to fall into the snow and hit his head a second time. This time, the father stays down, but his boy still trembles in Santa’s arms.

Santa closes his eyes for a moment. I should have done that long ago, he muses and determines then and there that he will never, ever let another child down on another cold, Christmas Eve night.

“You’re real!” the little one grasps, shivering against him.

Santa wraps him gently into his coat. “Of course I’m real.”

“He always said you weren’t! You never left me a present!”

“That, my boy, was my mistake. Please forgive me.” And it had been a mistake every time he’d ever turned a blind eye to a child in need. He might not be supposed to enter the homes that did not want him, but from now on, if he senses any wrong being done to a child, he will be there and he will teach whoever is harming them how wrong being naughty truly is.

“Of course I forgive you! You don’t need forgiveness! You just saved my life!” The little boy holds tight to Santa and is soon fast asleep.

Gazing down into his sleeping face, Santa wonders what he should do with him. The North Pole is no place for a child, after all, but there are humans who have caught his attention in the past for other reasons very different from those of this lad’s father. There are good people in the world, adults who deserve children of their own but have none, adults who deserve presents too.

He pulls up to such a house on that very night and, with a little magic dust sprinkled on the boy’s face to keep him fast in Dreamland, carries the boy into a new home where he has always been welcomed though there has never been any children. He lays him in a chair before the fireplace and throws his arms about, decorating the lone tree in the room with pretty, glistening baubles instead of the meager twine and tinsel that had once clothed it, filling stockings that were truly hung to dry before the fireplace, and tossing a galore of wrapped gifts underneath the Christmas tree, who now appears a little bigger as well.

“Merry Christmas, Lewis,” he whispers to the boy, who’s still sleeping soundly and smiling the biggest smile he’s ever worn in his short, young, and up until tonight miserable life. “I’ll see you all next year!”

He hurries back to his sleigh and back to his route, but he kept young Lewis into his heart all that Christmas and all the Christmases since. Now it’s not just the children who need to be careful not to be naughty for many a parent has met with the Naughty and Nice sides of Santa Claus and all can tell you, dear reader, they all prefer the Nice side of the jolly, old Elf. Do wrong, and he’ll come get you, they say in awed whispers, and some even add he may not wait ‘til Christmas to do it!


The End

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