Tears rolled down Sungyeol’s cheeks as he pressed his back against the inside of the cupboard. The older elves had teased him once again for being taller than them. He was only 23 years old, considered a child in elven years, but he was already taller than the 50-60 year olds.
Today they had once again locked him inside one of the storage cupboards when santa wasn’t looking and since they were sound proof (in case there were presents that were on the louder side) he could do nothing but wait till somebody discovered him.
He wasn’t sure how long it had been already but after what felt like hours he could hear a quiet voice calling his name. “Sungyeol, Sungyeol where are you? You were supposed to finish painting the toy cars, we can’t fall behind our time plan!” It sounded like the voice was coming closer so Sungyeol shakily stood up, his legs had fallen asleep over the time, and tried to rattle the door.
It was barely noticeable but his only chance to get out, well at least till somebody had to use this storage. Steps seemed to be approaching and Sungyeol’s heart jumped inside his chest as the sound of a key turning was heard and light filled the small closed up space.
“Sungyeol??? What were you doing inside ther- wait are you crying?” It was Dongwoo, one of the elves that had trained Sungyeol when he was first recruited.
Without answering the question Sungyeol threw himself in the others arms, sobbing into his neck openly as he finally cracked. Dongwoo didn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around the taller, hushing him as the other kept crying.
“It’s ok, shh, try to calm down so you can tell me what happened.” Stroking Sungyeol’s head the older waited for him to be able to stand on his own again. Once his cries had died down they sat on one of the working benches. An awkward silence seemed to build up and Sungyeol bit his lips, eyeing the other from the side.
He didn’t want to cause any trouble within the Christmas factory just because he couldn’t handle a little teasing. But he also didn’t want to lie to the other, after all being an elf meant you had to follow the rules if you didn’t want to go on the bad list and lying was one of the worst things that could do.
“I...am i a bad elf, hyung? The others said i shouldn’t be an elf and that i was probably supposed to be born into the human world but nobody wanted me there.” As soon as these words had left Sungyeol’s lips, Dongwoo’s eyes hardened and he looked over to one of the rooms that occupied the other elves at the moment.
“Have they started again? I told them to stop or Santa would hear of this but i guess they didn’t take my threat seriously.” Patting Sungyeol on the shoulder, Dongwoo stood up and started walking towards the big red door which lead to Santa’s office. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this now Sungyeol.”
But exactly these words caused panic to rise in the younger. “But Hyung! It’s the truth though, isn’t it? I’m too tall to be an elf, not even the elders are my height yet and they stopped growing long ago. I’m just weird and abnormal. Santa was so kind to let me work here I don’t want to go back to working in the stalls just for being a trouble. ” He gripped Dongwoo’s wrist as he said this, preventing him from walking further.
The silent plead in Sungyeol’s eyes was easy to catch making Dongwoo sigh as he looked up ´, grabbing the youngers head from both sides. “Listen to me Sungyeol, you’re not a burden to anybody here. It’s not you breaking the rules, but the other elves doing so. An-”
“They only do it because i’m weird though...so isn’t it my fault in the end anyway?” Sungyeol interrupted the older but Dongwoo was having nothing of it, standing on the tips of his toes so they were almost on the same eye level.
“No, listen carefully Sungyeol. You. are. not. weird. You are also not abnormal or a disgrace for an elf. You are yourself and that's what makes you special. If the others have a problem with that its their fault and they need to be punished and not you. You don’t deserve this treatment, Santa wouldn’t have picked you if you weren’t pure in your heart and as long as you stay that way he won’t even think of kicking you out.”
Dongwoo smiled kindly at Sungyeol and let himself go back to his normal height. Without waiting for an answer he then proceeded to grab the others wrist and pulled him to the red door.
“Come on, I’m with you on this, okay?”