Long ago, in Christmas Land, there was a little elf named Claudia. She was best friends with Talia Hale. Talia Hale was Santa Claus.
One snowy Christmas Eve night, when Santa landed on the roof of the old Stilinski house, she and her elf hefted the sack of toys down the chimney and over to the tree. While Talia munched on her cookies and drank her milk, Claudia went about stuffing the stockings and laying the presents under the tree set up next to a large staircase.
Suddenly, a creak, and a voice from above spoke, "Who the hell are you?"
Claudia toppled backwards into the tree and stared up at the man at the top of the staircase. He had a wooden bat in his hands.
"I am Claudia, of the Snowtown Elves. I'm here assisting Santa."
Talia walked into the room then and righted Claudia to her feet and grinned up at the man who was slowly creeping down the stairs, bat poised to strike.
"Santa is fat... and he isn't a woman!" he rebutted, and Talia and Claudia scoffed simultaneously.
"Oh John, Santa Claus is only a name," Talia responded, and the man tripped on one of the steps in shock. He grabbed the railing to steady himself. She turned to Claudia and continued, "How about you stay here and explain things to the nice man, and I'll fly by and pick you up on my way back, hm?"
Claudia was suspicious, but Talia had been her best friend ever since they were able to make paper snowflakes, so she trusted her fully. "Sure."
Talia disappeared around the corner, and by the time John scrambled down the rest of the steps, she was disappearing up the chimney.
He turned to the elf with a look of bafflement on his face, and Claudia led him to the couch so she could explain.
When Talia came back around four in the morning, Claudia had to extract herself from John's arms, as they'd wrapped around her in sleep after they'd chosen to cuddle together on the couch. Talia gave her a knowing look, and Claudia's pink cheeks darkened to a rosy red that rose into the tips of her ears.
"I won't tell anyone if you sneak Blitzen out of the stable to visit," was all Talia said when they were both settled back in the sleigh. Claudia stared at the house below them wistfully, a sigh on her lips.
It had only taken her a week to break and go and visit the human man again.
Three years later, on a beautifully snowy spring day in Christmas Land, Claudia gave birth to a beautiful baby boy with pink pointy ears, and dark hair to match his father's.
His elf name was not to be spoken, as it was only for family to know. Elves were very secretive and rooted in tradition in that way. So they called him Stiles, short for Stilinski, of Snowtown and Beacon Hills, California, USA.
He spent his early years going back and forth from Christmas Land to Beacon Hills, spending the same amount of time with his father as with his mother, usually at the same time. His first birthday brought a gift from Talia: a magic snow globe that would transport them to and from Christmas Land to anywhere in the world.
Stiles was able to attend Elf School, and then go to his father's new house (since John was no longer living with his parents after Claudia got pregnant) afterwards for dinner and to sleep. Claudia would get him ready in the mornings, kiss John goodbye before his shift as a deputy for the police department, and transport them back up North for the day.
The system was a little annoying, but it worked out for a while. That is, until Claudia got sick.
It was an elf disease, nothing modern medicine could do. Even with magic, there was no cure. It was simply her time to go, and Talia was unable to stop it.
Stiles was older by then, just turned 10, and he made the choice to stay in Christmas Land until his mother got better.
She never did.
Before his 11th birthday, Stiles lost his mother, and moved to Beacon Hills permanently to stay with his father.
Both Stilinski men were crushed. For a couple years, they moved in a fugue state. Wake up. School. Work. Home. Dinner. Sleep. Repeat. Once Stiles finished Elf School at 13, he made only weekly visits to Christmas Land. It all reminded him too much of his mother, and even seeing his own reflection in the bathroom mirror hurt his heart. He couldn't imagine what it felt like for his father.
His best friend from school, Scott, tried to convince him to stay and take up a job with him in Santa's Workshop, but Stiles wasn't ready to go back yet.
It wasn't until his father sat him down one evening and they had a heart-to-heart, that Stiles told him he wanted to go back and make his mother proud of him.
They'd made a deal: Every week, Stiles would have to come home for dinner at least one evening. They would catch up then. If Stiles ever needed his father for anything, he was to come straight home. They would keep up communication throughout the week over the phone (Christmas Land had amazingly good reception ad wifi).
"Son," his father ended with, eye shining slightly, "Your mother would be so proud of the elf you've become."
Once an elf graduated from Elf School, usually around age 13 or 14, they were invited into many of the jobs elves worked on around Christmas Land. There were the elves that worked for Santa and the Clauses, like Reindeer Herders and Present Makers. Even Bakers specifically for Claus Town. But then of course there were the normal occupations in every other Town in Christmas Land, like the clothes makers and retail workers, and the many restaurants and food stores.
Christmas Land was much bigger than the rest of the world assumed it was. It was also on a different time schedule as well. Time was slightly extended in Christmas Town, to allow for all the work that needed to get done in one year. Every three years in Christmas Town was equal to four in the rest of the world. That was why the elves finished school at 13 to 14 Earth years of age, because they were biologically at the age equivalent of a 17 or 18 year old.
But because Stiles had taken time off, he was competing with another new graduating class for a job. Thankfully, he had some helpful friends. Santa, for example.
Talia Hale made it easy for Stiles, transitioning him back into Christmas Town like he'd never left. After watching him grow up, she knew his strengths and weaknesses, so she had him added to the Naughty and Nice Patrol.
Next to the Workshop was the Patrol. They kept track of all of the children (and adults) in the world and decided whether or not they'd been naughty or nice. Of course, Santa always had the last veto on the list (and checked it twice, just to be sure), but the process was a year-long one that took many elves hard at work. Stiles was easily sucked into his work.
Scott was overjoyed to be working near his best friend, himself being an elf in the Packaging District. He could tie a ribbon on a large box faster than one could say 'Mistletoe'. His girlfriend, Allison, was one of the Present Makers, specifically in the Weapons division. She wasn't a violent elf in any way, through she knew her way around many of the weapons she built, but most of the "toys" she made were BB guns and Nerf weapons. She was working her way up in the ranks to be Head Elf of the division, and Stiles had no doubt she'd make it there soon.
Stiles had idolized Lydia all throughout Elf School, and though she'd not had eyes from him like she did for her long-time boyfriend, Jackson (the son of an Elf Lawyer), they'd gotten along rather well. Jackson had followed in his father's footsteps, like he'd been born to, but Lydia took her brains into the Scientific Company. She spent her days researching cures or updating the latest technology to find the fastest way around the earth in less than 8 hours.
Isaac worked with Scott, but was one of the few elves that only worked part-time. That was because he didn't really have to work. He was an adopted Hale.
The Hales were the Clauses, basically royalty, so anyone associated with their family didn't have to work to make ends meet, but they all did their share. They were a very fine family.
Along with Isaac were Erica and Boyd, two elves who lost their family due to reasons no one dared to ask. The Hales had promptly taken them in, and they worked on the Claus Estate, doing whatever it was they needed to be done there. Stiles never pried. Erica was a terrifying woman whom only Boyd was ever able to handle.
Originally Laura, Talia's first daughter, was supposed to be the next Santa. But when she'd been born with pointy pink ears, it'd been obvious she was an elf through and through. It was a surprised, but not unheard of. Talia's husband, Eric, had been an elf, so there was a 50/50 chance of Laura being born Santa or Elf. So, it was to be her second child, Derek, who was born Santa. Her third child, a girl Stiles' age named Cora, was like Laura, and she worked as a Present Maker in the Transportation Division.
But Derek Hale.
Derek was... something.
Because he wasn't an Elf like his sisters, he wasn't in Elf School, naturally. So Stiles didn't see much of him growing up, as he had his own independent studies with his mother.
But because of how close their own mothers had been, they'd seen each other enough. Derek was already 8 by the time Stiles was born, so they didn't have much in common on that front, either.
By the time Stiles entered school, Derek was finishing up with his own and starting his Santa Internship. That was around the time that he got his Santa Marks. For Derek, he'd chosen to get tattoos.
That event also coincided with Stiles discovering he might not be as into Lydia as he'd first thought.
But then, there was everything with his mother, and all of that fell to the wayside.
Now that Stiles was back, he ran into Derek often enough during his visits to the Naughty and Nice Patrol, and it always made his ears tingle with warmth.
Stiles wondered how much worse his crush would get when Derek became Full Time Santa.
As if the snow was testing him, at the end of that same year, during the Post Christmas festivities, Talia Hale announced she would be stepping down and letting Derek take over as Santa from then on out.
In front of the entire Elfin community, Talia transferred the Power of Santa onto Derek. His 'Naughty' and 'Nice' tattoos glowed, and suddenly other marks began to show through and crest up his arms, and even under where his sleeves covered, one could see a glow of golden tendrils climbing up towards his shoulders. Stiles' mouth had gone dry. Derek had kept a neutral face on in front of the crowd, but looking at his mother and feeling the power course through him had brought the sweetest smile to his face. Something heavy settled into Stiles' gut, and Scott asked him why his ears were so red.
Derek was a good Santa, he really was. In his first year, leading up to his first Christmas, Talia had helped him along his way. But he'd learned well over the years and did just as he was supposed to. His first Christmas, he'd chosen Laura to be his companion on the ride, but even she'd said he'd handled everything just as well as his mother had when she'd gone with her one Christmas for a Elf School graduation gift.
Derek was very proud, if he did say so himself. He'd done everything he should have and stayed to code. Laura was, as always, a nuisance on the fly, but he'd handled it with minimal smacks to the head and flicks to the ears. Both to her and himself.
Of course, it all fell away when he went to return the Naughty and Nice List to the Patrol building after arriving back, only to find one elf still left there. And of course, because the snow hated him, it was Stiles.
And because it was Stiles, he'd fumbled with the large book and let it topple to the floor with a large thwack, startling Stiles into spinning around and looked at Derek with large brown eyes.
"Oh, sh- Derek! Er, Santa! Sorry, I didn't see you there."
Derek bent down quickly to retrieve the book from the floor and shook his head quickly. "No, it's my fault. Just returning the list," he added, listing the book slightly as indication.
Stiles stumbled over and Derek handed it to him. Stiles was able to not drop it as he secured it in the lockable room it belonged in, and shot Derek a nervous smile. "Thanks."
Derek stood there for a few seconds in silence before saying, "There's- the festivities. I brought back cookies for everyone, so-"
"Oh sweet!" Stiles cut him off, grabbing his favorite red hooded sweater from the back of his chair and slipping it on. "I don't want to miss them."
Derek trailed behind Stiles as they left, like a lost puppy, and did his best not to stare at Stiles' ass. It didn't work.
They arrived at the Claus Estate where thousands of elves gathered to celebrate a year well done. Stiles spied the crowd surrounding the sleigh and a sack full of cookies and took off towards it. Like the love-struck fool he was, Derek followed blindly.
Derek didn't know when he'd first discovered his crush on the half-elf. Maybe it was the first time he'd made him blush, and watched the tips of his ears light up a delicious red. Or maybe it was when he'd seen him for the first time in years after his mother's death with determination sparking in his eyes, to be just as amazing of an elf as his mother had always knew he would be.
He reached Stiles' side as the younger elf bit into a cookie and made an obnoxious moaning noise. "Yesssss. Peanut butter, my favorite."
"I'll have to remember that," Derek said.
Stiles blinked and looked up at Derek, as if he hadn't known Derek was still there. "Huh?"
"Oh. Uh, nothing."
Stiles shrugged and went back to enjoying his cookie.
Every year after that, when Stiles would make his way to the sleigh, Derek had tossed him a bag full of peanut butter cookies and say, "Merry Christmas."
Stiles had a little flutter of hope every year that it meant something. But another part of him wondered when he was going to stop, and if he did, what it would mean. Was he the only elf getting personalized bags of cookies? He couldn't be.
All of this has led Stiles to his current predicament: he's falling in love with Santa Claus.
"Stiles," comes Derek's voice from behind him, and Stiles jumps, eyes widening and cheeks flushing. He stands from his chair in front of his computer, forgetting about the work he should have had done yesterday.
"Uh, yes Santa?" he stutters, toying with the fluff on the ends of his sleeves.
"I want you to accompany me on this Eve's run."
Stiles' jaw drops.
Every year, Santa is allowed to bring one other onto the sled to help him deliver presents. In centuries past, it was usually elves or other Hale/Clauses. Claudia accompanied Talia for many years, as her best friend and Head Elf. Derek's first year, he brought Laura to help, but every year after that, he went alone, which everyone assumed was his personal preference, like his great grandfather's.
Apparently they were all wrong.
Derek just stares at him, arms crossed against his chest. His short-sleeved tee doesn't hide any of the muscles he smothers underneath his bright red coat on Christmas Eve. His tattoos warp with each movement of the muscles in his arms, and Stiles blinks, multiple times.
Derek raises one perfect brow. "Well?"
Stiles almost knocks over his computer with his aggressive arm flail. "Yes! I mean, yeah, sure. Sounds... fun?"
Derek rolls his eyes, but nods before pushing past Stiles and moving into the Workshop. Isaac has the door held open for him, and once it is shut, he turns towards Stiles, his eyes wide.
"Dude," he hisses in amazement, and Stiles spins to face him, still in shock. "Why did he pick you?"
Stiles is too surprised to be offended. "I have no idea."
Cora snorts obnoxiously as she rides past on a newly built scooter. She skids to a stop to their left, saying, "It's totally obvious. He has the biggest hard-on for you, honey."
She kicks off the ground and is rolling away before Stiles can sputter out a response. The tips of his ears light up a bright red, and Isaac cackles at him.
"What's up?" Scott asks, noting Stiles' distress as he joins them. He must have just finished up his shift. Isaac just laughs harder and walks away, following Cora.
Scott snaps his fingers in front of Stiles, glitter flying up into his face. Stiles jerks out of his retrieve when one of the specks flicks into his eye. He shoots Scott a half-glare as he rubs viciously at said eye.
Scott winces. "Sorry dude. I was in 'Pretty Princesses' today. Anyway, what's up? You look like you've been in a fight with a Yeti."
"Santa asked me to join him tomorrow night."
"But tomorrow is Chris- oh."
Stiles nods. A wide grin spreads across Scott's face.
"Dude, that's awesome! You get to spend all Christmas Eve with Derek! Isn't that what you wanted: for him to ask you out?"
"Yeah, but not something this public and huge! This is hardly a date; the last person he invited was his sister! Besides, I think he hates me. I don't even know why he invited me."
Scott gives him an incredulous look. "I don't even have the energy to argue with you right now," he finally replies. "Wait until Lydia finds out. You're gonna lose half of your yearly salary on the outfit she's gonna make you wear."
Stiles pales. "Oh shit."
Three hours later, Stiles is moaning about his tights being too tight.
"Lydia!" he finally yells, popping his head through the dressing room curtain. "These are way too tight! I can't get them past my thighs, and even if I do, I'm pretty damn sure you can easily see the outline of my dick. and everything else"
Lydia hums. "I don't think Derek will mind."
"Yes, he will," Stiles vehemently hisses. "Now, get me the next size up, or I'm not wearing them."
"Ooh, an even better idea," Lydia snarks back with a grin, but she obeys, ducking behind some clothing racks and disappearing from sight.
She returns a few minutes later with a new set of bright red tights. Stiles eyes them warily, and Lydia rolls her eyes. "Red is your color, trust me."
Stiles grumbles, but complies. He slips his head back into the dressing room, shimmies off the last pair of tights, and slips on the red ones. These ones go on with much less trouble, but they still show a bit too much of his crotch than he would like.
Knowing Lydia, he decided he could concede on this. She was never wrong. "Alright, they fit. Now what?"
Lydia throws a top over the stall and Stiles barely catches it. At first glance, it seems just like his normal attire. Maybe a tad more sparkles, but Stiles can deal.
When he puts it on and looks in the mirror, however, he sees the differences.
The top hugs his arms and chest well, showing off his muscles in all the right places. There's a light trimming of white on the bottom of the sleeves that are tight around his wrists, but not too uncomfortably.
The hem has a lining of white fluff as well, dusting right below his crotch, acting almost like a tease.
Add buttons and a black belt, and he looks like one of those 'Sexy Santa' Halloween costumes he's seen back home in Beacon Hills.
Lydia was right; he looks great.
He pushes the curtain aside and does a little twirl for her. She giggles in excitement, clapping her hands happily.
"Oh, he's so gonna wanna fuck you after this."
Stiles trips getting back into the changing stall, and he can hear Lydia's snickers through the thick curtain.
Five minutes before takeoff, Stiles is freaking out.
He peaks around the wall and over to the sleigh where Derek is packing presents into the back, helping the working elves, smiling at them kindly-
"Fuck," Stiles breathes, pulling back and turning away from the adorable sight. "Red should not look that good on anyone," he cries softy. The look of Derek in his whole Santa suit is making him feel all tingly inside.
He takes a few breaths for confidence and then strolls out from behind the wall, plastering on a smile. "Hey! Ready to go, Nicholas?"
Derek glances over, smile slightly slipping as his eyes roam over Stiles, taking in his ensemble. Stiles swallows thickly, and Derek's gaze is drawn to his throat, and then finally meets his eyes.
Derek says nothing for a moment, and the two stand staring at each other, before Derek breaks the silence and says, "You ready?"
"Never more ready in all of my life," Stiles replies, slightly breathless because Derek Fucking Hale-Claus totally just checked him out and liked what he saw.
After that, it's a flurry of motion as the reindeer are attached to the sleigh. Derek helps Stiles into the sleigh and Stiles situates himself next to the man, his thigh pressing against Derek's. Derek spares him a glance, but says nothing, and Stiles smirks.
The line of elves jumping with excitement extends for miles, but Stiles can spot his friends right near the front. He waves to them, and gets sly grins in return.
"Hold on," Derek speaks suddenly, his warm breath hitting the shell of Stiles' ear. His breath hitches, and Stiles does as told, grabbing onto the handrail next to him and gripping the bottom of his seat, just in case.
Derek rolls his eyes, but Stiles can see how tightly he grips the reigns.
"Hurry up, big boy," Stiles whispers to him, "Lots of houses to see, only so much time."
If Stiles is correct, Santa's jolly red cheeks darken just a tad.
Everything becomes a blur from there. Stiles isn't sure exactly when they got into the air, but he's almost 99.999% sure he screamed when they did, going by Derek's giant grin.
"Shut up," Stiles mutters, smacking Derek's shoulder. "Let's just get those kids their presents."
The first house they stop at has an actual chimney, so Stiles gets to watch Derek shimmy down that slope, and then jump in when Derek calls to him. He lands silently and steps out, wiping soot off of his nose. Derek is placing presents under the tree, so Stiles meanders over to the plate housing cookies and milk.
Stiles reaches for a cookie, but then his hand is smacked away by a frowning Derek. "That's not for you."
Stiles throws his hands up. "Well, you don't eat them! You just stuff them in a bag and take them back!"
Derek's brow furrows. "I know, I save them for the elves. The carrots go to the reindeer."
"Why not just eat them yourself?"
Derek shrugs. "I don't need them. You elves work harder than I do, and you deserve them. I'll take the milk, but you guys can have everything else. I'm not aiming for the 'fat' stereotype. I like my abs just the way they are."
Stiles has to bite his tongue to stop himself from replying, "So do I."
While Stiles is forced into silence, Derek downs the glass and dumps the cookies into a magical pocket in his sack.
"One house down, billions to go," Derek murmurs, heading back to the chimney.
When Stiles doesn't move, Derek grabs his arm and tugs him along.
The rest of the evening is full Derek and Stiles chatting. Stiles learns more about Derek than he ever thought was possible to know, and Derek seems pleased to hear about Stiles' father's job back in sunny Beacon Hills. He makes a pass by his dad's house for him, even, and Stiles gets a bear hug and some cookies from his father.
As dawn begins to break over the horizon. Stiles and Derek enter the last house. For the majority of the houses, Stiles stayed on the sled and fed carrots to the reindeer, but he wanted to come on the last stop.
As soon as he enters the house, the smell of peanut butter reaches his nose. Stiles bolts to the cookie plate, where he sees his favorite cookies piled high next to a bowl of carrots and a large glass of milk.
"Later," Derek reminds, taking the plate of cookies and adding them into a plastic bag full of other cookies of the same make.
And that's when Stiles realizes.
"Holy shit, you're in love with me."
Derek chokes on his milk. "What?"
Stiles grins excitedly. "The cookies! You save my favorite just for me! You totally like me!"
Derek averts his eyes, placing the bag of cookies- Stiles' cookies- into his sack with the rest of them.
Stiles frowns. "Don't ignore me, man. That's why you asked me to come with you, right? You want to date me- Was this a date?!"
A door creaks open down the hall, and Derek pales. "Quick!" he hisses, shoving Stiles back up the chimney and onto the roof.
Once they are safely back into the air once more, flying towards Christmas Land, Stiles brings it up again.
"If you wanted to date me, all you had to do was ask."
Derek purses his lips, stoically saying nothing, so Stiles continues.
"I wouldn't have turned you down. In fact, I think dating is a great idea. So, yes, let's call this a date. I'm dating Santa Claus. Sweetness."
Derek sighs, head bowing in defeat. "Yes, okay? I like you, but ... I didn't know how to deal with it or show it. So Laura convinced me to ask you to come with me, and before I knew it, you had said yes..." he trails off, face reddening.
Stiles grins and reaches out a hand. He touches Derek's arm. "You're fine."
"Laura said that the pining was becoming overrated and I had to do something about it, or else."
Stiles smirks, and the lights of Christmas Land appear below them, and Derek descends the sleigh. "We should get back at her, then," he says.
"By having filthy hot sex within her hearing range." Stiles jokes.
They touch down on snow, and Derek jerks the reigns suddenly, eyes wide.
"I've never had anyone to share those cookies with. We could enjoy them together, in your private Santa office, and make sex noises and disgust both of your sisters," Stiles suggests instead.
Elves swarm the sleigh, but Derek only has eyes for Stiles. He's smiling, that amazing grin he gives to little elf children and things he lov- oh.
"I like that idea."
Stiles returns Derek's smile with a shy one of his own. "Yeah, me too."
Stiles finally gets to map out all of Derek's Marks, and he makes good of his cookie promise. Laura is thoroughly disgusted by them, as is Cora, but his mother acts sickeningly sweet about it, cooing whenever she sees them together.
Derek meets Mr. Stilinski ("Sheriff or Sir, Derek." Dad!") a few months after their first Christmas. After their initial bad first impressions where his father glared daggers at Derek's tattoos and Stiles was constantly reminding him that Derek was, "fucking Santa Claus, Dad. He's like, the kindest man I could possibly date," the Sheriff warms up to him. Seeing how happy Stiles is helps a little bit.
The next Christmas, Stiles joins Derek once again, except he is able to convince Derek to let him eat a few cookies. If Derek is being honest, though, it didn't take any convincing.
He bans candy canes, though, because he almost crashes the sleigh once by watching the way Stiles' pink lips suck the treat in and how when he pulls it out, his tongue chases after it like it's begging for more. Stiles doesn't stop laughing for countries.
Derek's favorite moments are when he and Stiles sit in front of the warm fire in his bedroom and cuddle. Stiles falls asleep quickly those times, but it gives Derek a chance to look at the man in his arms and appreciate all of the blessings his life has given him.
"You know how I knew the moment you were the one for my boy?" Talia asks Stiles, much later. "The day your mother first met your father, her ears lit up red like yours did the day you and Derek saw each other again. That's when I knew."
At those words, Stiles has to bury his face into Derek's chest to hide his tears, and Derek just kisses his temple, his cheek, the tip of his ear, and whispers comforts against his skin.
Lydia plans a spring wedding in the snow, and Scott cries during his Best Elf speech.