Title: The Christmas Present
Character/s: Merlin, Santa, Arthur
Summary: Merlin never gets Christmas cards but when one shows up on his kitchen counter, he has to open it up.
Word Count: 691
Warning: not fluff
Camelot_drabble Prompt: pt 439: Invite
Author's Notes: Unbetaed. I'm breaking it up into pieces as it's way way too long.
Disclaimer: Merlin characters are the property of Shine and BBC. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Merlin never got Christmas cards. When someone had lived as long as he had, after watching Christmas go from simple gift-giving to being banned altogether to the explosion of colour and lights and Santa Claus on every street corner, sending cards was the last thing on his mind.
He didn’t have anyone to send them to, anyway. The few acquaintances he knew would invite him to parties full of drinking and food and Secret Santa presents. He loved those. It made him feel part of a greater whole, but no one really knew him as Arthur had, and after a few centuries, it just didn’t make sense to try and make friends. They died. Turned to dust and sunk forgotten into history.
But lately, the people around him were insistent, somehow getting past his walls and it felt almost wonderful, so full of promise. The potential for friends again. In his heart, Merlin ached for it, even though he knew it was impossible.
Still, they wouldn’t have sent him a card, just a text or posted something on Facebook.
So when a red envelope with a Merlin Hunithson scrawled across it showed up, Merlin was confused. Everyone knew him as Merlin Emrys. But while it sat there on his kitchen counter, like an accusation, curiosity took over and he opened it up.
“Ho, ho, ho,” it sung. “Merry Christmas, Merlin of Ealdor.”
Horrified, Merlin dropped it, his fingers tingling as he did. It lay there on the counter, singing to him. Finally, with much trepidation, Merlin shoved it back into the envelope and tossed it in the trash, hoping that was the last of it.
It wouldn’t stop singing. Even buried under the remnants of Merlin’s supper and used tea leaves, it kept serenading him.
Finally, ready with magic just in case, he dug past wet paper and smelly pasta, and opened the card up again.
“Ho, ho, ho, Merlin of Ealdor,” the card chanted. “You are invited to the North Pole to visit Santa.”
Merlin stared down at the illustration of a jolly elf sitting by a Christmas tree trimmed in gold and red lights. Behind the elf, a window was painted in exquisite detail, showing a snow-covered street, and an empty sleigh with one glowy-nosed reindeer waiting there.
When the elf winked at him, Merlin dropped the card again. It was obviously magic. Merlin had to wonder who it could be from. After all, as far as he knew, he was the only one left. Even all the talk of Santa being magic was just PR. It was a nice fairy tale, but Santa was really just commercialism run amok.
The animated elf pointed to the card’s window, illustrated snow fluttering down past the windowpane onto the street. “The sleigh awaits you below. Take it, follow the North Star, and before you know it, there you will be.”
Growing exasperated, Merlin asked, “Who are you? What are you?”
“You are not the only one with magic, Merlin Hunithson. Santa wants a word.” The elf smiled and then nodded toward the window.
Good grief. Merlin was actually thinking about it. “How do I know you aren’t some kind of magical villain taking advantage of Christmas cheer?”
Pointing again at the window, little spot of light dancing across the card, the elf sung, “You won’t know until you find out. Your sleigh awaits.”
Well, Merlin didn’t have anything else to do. No Christmas tree to trim, no parties for a few days, and it was the most interesting thing to happen to him in a very long time. Nodding, grabbing his warmest coat, slinging a warm red scarf around his neck, he picked up the card and said, “If this is some kind of magic trick, I warn you. I’m the greatest wizard of all time. Just F.Y.I.”
“Ho, ho, ho, Merlin of Ealdor. Fear not. For Santa is magic, too, bringing cheer to all the good little boys and girls.”
Merlin just rolled his eyes. He hadn’t been a boy for centuries and as for good, well, Merlin didn’t want to think about that. He guessed he’d soon find out.