Title: Santa can’t be real, can he?
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Santa
Summary: Most people wanted a ton of presents for Christmas. Arthur just wanted someone to love.
Word Count: 1255
Camelot_drabble Prompt: 343 – Letter to Santa
Author's Notes: none
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
I know you aren’t real. I know you are a figment of rampant capitalism with your ho-ho-ho and insistence on gifts under a tree that almost no one remembers has pagan roots. The tinsel and the glass ornaments, the flying reindeer, the coming down the chimney (a bit creepy, Santa, really), and the appearance of decorations right after (and sometimes before) All Hallow’s Eve, are merely ways to get people to spend money.
I understand that. As a to-be-someday businessman, I know we are supposed to increase profits and screw the working poor and cozy up to the rich bastards that run everything. My father tells me that often enough.
But Santa, I don’t want money or gift cards or even a piece of coal in my stocking. I don’t want presents.
I want someone to love and to love me back. So could you do that?
Because I want to believe,
Santa’s workshop was always busy. No season was vacation time, no week’s holiday after the holidays because the gift of hope was never more wanted than after Christmas.
Santa was taking a really well-deserved break on Boxing Day though, his deliveries done for another year. Sitting by a merry fire that was sending bright flickers of warmth and love into the room, a mug of hot chocolate in his hand, and with Mrs Claus snuggled up next to him, all was right with the world.
But when an elf came, pink blossoming on his cheeks, clearly embarrassed, and gave Santa the letter, he opened it right away. After all, every good girl and boy deserved to have their letters read even if Santa couldn’t always fulfill their wishes.
After reading it, though, he wasn’t sure what to do. He remembered Arthur Pendragon, a boy who had been often on his naughty list, but moved to the nice list over the last several years. A prat some of the time with a heart of gold he kept well hidden. But more importantly, he was an adult, or rather a near-adult in uni. And Santa was there for children mostly.
Still he couldn’t help thinking that sometimes adults needed Santa, too. It was obvious that this Arthur needed a hug and maybe something more. And if he could deliver it, then by Rudolph’s red nose, he would.
And he knew just the person - another someone who needed a good hug. They were even going to the same university. All he needed to do was push them together and he was sure there would be fireworks. Eventually.
Merlin was late, again. Snow slowed him down, the pathways not yet free of ice, and there was no electricity in the flat.
Again. So his alarm hadn’t gone off and he knew Professor Gaius wouldn’t be so understanding, especially since he’d already been warned twice.
Even so, he was careful with the icy patches as he ran pell-mell down the path. Looking down, making sure he didn’t slip, he forgot that there were other people hurrying on their way, too.
But when he heard a ho-ho-ho and glimpsed a flash of red off to his left, he looked up, turning as he did, slipping, spinning around so quickly that it was more of a death spiral right into someone solid and shouty.
They both landed with a thud in the snow bank. Above Merlin, he could hear a little laughter, a tinkle of bells, and a jolly voice fading in the distance. “On Dancer, on Vixen, on Comet, oh come on Rudolph, we’ve got to….”
At the same time, another voice was yelling at him, not very jolly, in fact quite put out, getting louder by the minute. “What the fuck? Pay attention to where you are going, you idiot.”
Merlin looked up to see a man about his age in a bright red, incredibly expensive-looking jacket, scrambling up, brushing snow off his shoulders. Glaring down at Merlin. “It’s a North Face, and if you’ve ruined it, I will have your head.”
At first Merlin thought that the man was saying that his face was north which didn’t make sense, but then he realized the arse was talking about his stupid jacket. Grumbling about wankers and entitlement, Merlin tried to stand, slipped once more on the ice, and lay there in the snow. And sighed.
“You really are as clumsy as you are stupid.” The man was lording it over Merlin, standing right above him, looking down at him with contempt, and not a little amusement. Tragically, he was also gorgeous although the prattishness was certainly off-putting.
“I’m late for class and you ran into me so, if anything, I will have your head if my jacket is ruined,” Merlin said. Never mind that he found it at Oxfam for £5.
“Don’t be ridiculous. That can’t have cost more than £5.” He looked at his watch. “Fuck, I’m late. Professor Gaius will be furious. Bloody fucking hell, I just got into that class, too.” The man looked a bit upset. At least he’d stopped talking about his ridiculous jacket.
But still, the wanker didn’t scurry off, just stood there, offering a hand up. Which was the only polite if posh thing to do.
Merlin thought about ignoring it and him, but Merlin was clumsy at the best of times. Carefully putting one foot firmly on the pavement, he grabbed the man’s hand and levered himself up. He brushed off most of the snow, but there was a bit tucked into the back of his coat, and he couldn’t reach it. The arse rolled his eyes, but flicked it off for him.
“Thanks,” Merlin said. “I really am sorry. I thought I heard some weird noise like a ho-ho-ho, it sounded like Santa Claus which is ridiculous. And Christmas was last week so it couldn’t have been a store Santa.”
The prat’s face turned unhappy, freezing into disgust. “No such thing as Santa Claus, so you should have your ears examined. Shouldn’t be hard.”
“My mum loves my ears.” Merlin had always been sensitive about them. But he’d heard all the jokes so he’d let it pass this time. “And I have excellent hearing, thank you very much. Shouldn’t you be getting to class?”
Looking at his watch again, the arse said, “It’s past being fashionably late. Professor Gaius would do more than shout if I
came in now. Fuck it all.”
“Yeah, he’s a bit of a grump but he’s also brilliant. I really enjoy his class.” Merlin sighed again, then perked up. “I know an excellent pub nearby. How about I buy you a pint and we call it even. Plus I can catch you up on what’s going on since I’m taking Gaius’s class, too.”
“You’re not half bad for a clumsy idiot.” He nodded, then said, “Name’s Arthur. As long as we can agree that there is no Santa Claus, I think we’ll get on.”
“I’m Merlin.” Merlin laughed. “Nope, no Santa Claus. Haven’t believed in him in years.”
“Perfect. Let’s go.”
When Arthur got the letter the next week, he took one look at the address, then tore it open.
Arthur didn’t throw it away, though, no matter how ridiculous it seemed.
Besides, it didn’t matter if Santa were real or not. His wish had been granted and early as it was, he thought Merlin might just be the one for him.
And that was good enough for him.