Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Santa/Mrs. Claus
Word Count: 1,449
Date Written: 3 January 2018
Disclaimer: This one's mine!
She’s there waiting for him when he descends from his sleigh, there standing, tall and beautiful far above all their Elven friends. He frowns. “Didn’t think I could drive her straight tonight, Missus Claus?”
“After a thousand years, Nicholas,” she says, smiling happily, “I still do not tire of being called that.”
He opens his arms, and she embraces him. The cold never bothers him, but he’s also never felt warmer than he does when she’s touching him. He kisses the top of her head. “Shall we go in, Mama?” he asks, handing his Chief Reindeer Handler the reins. “The actual ride’s not for another week yet.”
“How time does fly!” she murmurs. “But yes let’s. And perhaps you can nibble a little on the way home?”
“Not me!” she exclaims, laughing. “Here.” She hands him one of his favorite cookies.
“Ah,” he remarks, taking a bite, “I see you’ve been baking again.”
“Of course!” He laughs as she tickles his side. “I can’t have my Santa looking so thin!”
“I’m hardly thin, Layla -- “
“You’ve lost fifty pounds this year alone, Nicholas! Fifty pounds shed is fifty too many for Santa Claus! How is your belly supposed to continue to shake like a bowl full of jelly?”
He tisks in the back of his throat, though still smiling. “All the women across the world are constantly trying new things to lose weight, and yet here’s my wife, trying to add more pounds onto me!”
“Just to replace the ones you’ve already lost, Santa.” She walks with one arm around him and her other hand in her pocket. When he finishes one cookie, she produces another. He can smell the scent of every flavor she’s used in her baking this afternoon. There are chocolate cookies, cinnamon spice, pumpkin delight, mocha, strawberry creme, and of course, the traditional gingerbread and sugar cookies.
He shakes his head in silent awe and quietly nibbles another cookie before finally remarking aloud, “And to think just earlier I was remembering that old tale about Santa Claus never receiving any gifts.”
“Oh, Nicholas, not that nonsense again -- “
“Not from me, my love.” Gently, he draws her hand out of her pocket, raises it to his whiskered lips, and kisses it. “I have everything I could ever want right here.”
“Really?” she asks.
“Of course.” Yet again he’s reminded how different she is from all the other women across the world. She never asks him to retire. She never asks him to spend more time with her or the children. She never asks for those things he can not give, and yet she gives him everything every day and night of their lives without ever once being asked to do anything more than marry him. He’s never regretted what he does, but asking her to wed him is definitely the easiest and best decision he has ever made.
But, suddenly, she’s quiet. Realizing that something is bothering her, he steers their pathway away from the Elves and gestures at his chief officers to keep the others away. He walks with her away from their cottages and out into the forest where snow is steadily drifting down. Beneath the light of the full moon, he turns her and gazes upon her beautiful face. She’s still every bit as beautiful as she was the very first time he met her, even if she has at last began to age.
“What’s bothering you, dearest?” he asks though he suspects he already knows.
“What is to happen to us, Santa? More and more children fail to believe every year, and still more fail to make your Nice list.”
“I can not help it if -- “
“I know you are not to blame for the list growing shorter every year, Nicholas. That’s not what I intend. But what happens when -- “ She can not bring herself to say the words, but he knows nonetheless what she wishes to ask.
“There will always be those, Layla,” he says, cupping and caressing her beautiful face, “who deserve presents, who want us, who need us.”
“I know that,” she replies thoughtfully. “Even some of the children who have stopped believing need us more than ever now.”
He nods. “They do, and we will find a way to make them believe again. There will always be children who need, want, and deserve us and our gifts. There will never be an end to this, Layla. Or to us, my dearest wife.” He kisses her forehead.
She blushes. “I -- I only wish I had your certainty.”
“Do you know why I believe the way I do?” he asks her. “Why I am always able to keep believing and keep doing for those who need us all throughout these centuries save that one year when you had to put me back on the right path?”
She shakes her head mutely. “Because of you,” he answers, not missing a beat. “The good Lord above saw fit to give me the most wonderful of presents. He gave me you and our love. As long as I have that, everything and anything good is possible. And I need no other gifts.”
“But we have started to age,” she points out gently, worriedly. “You’re barely half the size you were a mere ten years ago, my heart, and I -- I realized today I have nothing but grey hairs left.”
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” She blushes again as he laughs loudly, naturally. When he stops, he peers closer at her, “Is that what this is all about? You only have grey hairs left, and you’re afraid that that means that our time here is coming to an end or that perhaps I will no longer love you?”
“You would never be cruel! You are the kindest, gentlest, most generous, and most loving man I have ever known, Nicholas. I fell in love with your spirit long before I realized what was happening between us. You would never stop loving me because of some silly, grey hairs.”
“Then why let them bother you?” he inquires. “If you already know that I will love you rather your head is full of grey hairs or none, why let them scare you, my dearest Layla?”
“I just . . . I’m not ready for it to be over,” she admits in a great rush of breath. “I’m not ready for adventure to end.”
“It will never end, Layla,” he vows, gripping her shoulders and hugging her to him, “and even if, one day, far, far, far into the future, a thousand -- no, a million more years from now, the children no longer need us and our time here on Earth is over, our adventure still will not have ended. It, and we, will only begin a new chapter. We’ll never be over, and our love will never end!”
He holds her tight and kisses her deeply until he can feel the last bit of tenseness ease out of her shoulders. Then he simply holds her in the snowy, freezing night and gazes up at the silver stars and smiling moon from above her shoulder. He knows they’re being watched by Some One who gives greater presents than even he, Santa Claus. They’re being watched by the One who gifted them with one another, their love, and their abilities to spread joy throughout the world. They’re being watched by the Father of all, and He is the one who truly started it all, gift giving, love, and everything else good in their world.
And He is the one who, when their mission here on Earth is finally completed, they will at last journey to be with. Even then, though, he will have Layla and their love. There are a lot of stories about the gifts that Santa doesn’t receive and millions more about the presents he gives out. Yet, of all the gifts in all the lands, Nicholas knows he possesses the most wonderful gifts of them all: his wife and their love. Those gifts can not be bested by anyone, nor stolen away from them by anything.
He pulls back and, leaning his forehead against hers, gazes into her eyes as he vows again, “We will never be over, Layla Claus. You’re stuck with me for all eternity.”
She beams, her joy fully restored. “I wouldn’t have it any other way, Santa.”
“Who is this Santa?” he demands in a deep, strange voice. “Don’t tell me Mommy’s been kissing Santa Claus again!”
“Oh, Nicholas, you silly beast!” She laughs, wraps her arms around him, and kisses him deeply. The cold’s never bothered them, and tonight is no exception as they make their way home together, arms and hearts linked forever.