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The Christmas Elf

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They forget to put out the milk and cookies.

            The thought crossed Ander’s mind about an hour after going to bed, just as he was about to actually fall asleep. His eyes snapped open and he groaned. He was tempted to just go to sleep and not worry about it—but his children would be devastated to find out that Santa had apparently not gotten the cookies they made just for him earlier that night. So, with another groan, Anders groggily got out of bed and made his way downstairs to the kitchen.

            Turning on the light elicited a third groan as Anders was forced to face the mess waiting for him. He had forgotten that after spending over three hours baking one dozen half-way decent cookies (the other few dozen had all come out burnt beyond saving; one of the perils of allowing three young children to be in charge of baking for the night—thankfully there had been no need to use the fire extinguisher) he had taken one look at the mess on the counter and decided it could wait till morning. Scrambled eggs and bacon thankfully only needed a pan and a spatula to make.

            Ignoring the offending mess, he opened the cupboard where the cookies were stored and brought out them along with a plate. Anders chuckled as he set three cookies on the plate. They were classic sugar cookies cut into the shape of deer and stockings. The shapes were a little wobbly and a few of them were missing entire appendages, but for having been made by children ages six and below they were not bad. He remembered the first sugar cookies he had made (at age eight) had all come out burnt save for perhaps five and none of them had looked remotely like the shapes he tried to cut out. Of course, the fact that he had put in far too much water likely helped with their misshapenness. 

            After finding the special glass they used just for Santa—a tall, clear cylinder with a gold deer on one side—and filling it generously with milk, Anders put everything else away then took the offerings out to the living room. He set the milk and cookies on the small table between the tree and the couch. A little orange shape darted out from under the tree and up the stairs, little bell jingling. Anders shook his head. What was it with cats and trees? With a yawn and a stretch Anders turned and started to make his way back to bed.  

            Halfway up the stairs, he stopped when he heard a noise from above: CLOMPCLOMPCLOMP, THUD!

            What the hell?

            His first reaction was to think something might have happened to one of the children (or that they were doing something they shouldn’t) so he immediately sprinted up the stairs and toward their room. When he found the door slightly ajar just as he had left it and heard no other sounds, he took a breath and tried to calm himself before barging in. The last thing he wanted to do was wake any of them up. He peeked inside and sure enough they were all fast asleep. They could have heard him coming and been faking—except that Tom still sucked his thumb and it always slipped out covered in spit after he fell truly asleep. Rodney always ended up twisted in his blankets and April drooled terribly, mouth wide open. They were all too young to think to fake those little details.

            Anders breathed a sigh of relief. It was probably just the Atkins next door. They had three huge dogs that made up for their lack of barking with a tendency to be very loud in other ways at inconvenient times of night.

            Thud. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

            Anders froze. Okay: there was a chance that those sounds could still be the dogs—but it was a slim chance considering that the sounds were coming from directly above him. And it was very unlikely such large, bulky dogs could have gotten onto his roof without him noticing until now. That could only mean there was a person up there—to steal something? But…why the roof? The only way down was the chimney…

            There was another noise—a faint sort of scrape, scrape, just on the edge of his hearing, accompanied by an equally faint kind of shuffling noise. Both sounds were coming from downstairs this time. Anders breath sped up. Okay, so there was more than one person. Could be a burglar, could be an ax murderer. Could also be the cat had gone back down the stairs and was messing with something on the mantel or under the tree. He would have no idea until he went down there. And all he had was the plastic bat next to his bed. Shit.

            Despite the fact it would be little help if the noises where being caused by people who had anything more dangerous on them (i.e. a gun) Anders quickly grabbed the bat and slowly made his way down the stairs as quietly as he could. He paused when there was a whoomph followed by more shuffling, then, heart racing, continued on when no other sound came. He was shaking by the time he made to the bottom of the stairs.

            From there, he could just see a bit of the tree poking out from around the edge of the doorway to the living room. The tree lights had been plugged back in. Alright, definitely not the cat then. His forehead wrinkled in confusion. So, what—the people breaking into his house wanted the place to look festive while they stole things (and possibly killed him)? Great. Lovely. Of all the types of people who could break in, he not only had to get the ones who break in on Christmas Eve, but who also apparently had a tree-light fetish.

            More rustling, followed by whispers and a low chuckle, then silence.

            Anders tensed. Shit. He should have called the police on his cell before he came down here. As it was his cell was in his jacket upstairs and he didn’t want to risk causing any noise and alerting the people in the living room to his presence. At worst, he would make it upstairs only for them to follow him and find his children…

            And the only other phone was the landline in the living room.

            He was so screwed.

            The sound of a little bell made him suck in a sharp breath just before a familiar orange shape streaked past him into the living room. Little Pounce Jr. immediately started mewing loudly.

            Anders panicked at the thought of his cat getting hurt and before he knew it he bolted into the living room, arm holding the bat raised to strike, only to see—

            —the living room perfectly untouched save for the now-lit tree and several large, lit candles that had been placed in various places around the room. There were several new boxes of various sizes under the tree that Anders certainly did not remember wrapping much less putting there, and the stockings—which he never filled until he woke up at five the next morning—were stuffed full to bursting with small toys and candies. What really made him pause, however, was the man lying in front of the tree.

            He was thin but muscular with a body that could have been carved from stone by a master sculpture. His skin was a dark, rich bronze that was covered in intricate, spiraling tattoos which flowed over his body in such a way as to highlight and outline his muscles and the curve of his spine. The only things more captivating than the tattoos were his eyes which were a deep, rich emerald green. On his head sat what Anders could only think of as a dark-green “elf hat” with a jingle bell on the end. He was lying on his stomach, one arm propped up on a large blue box with a green ribbon, his head resting on his open palm. The hand not propped up was petting Pounce Jr. who had flopped on the ground and was currently purring up a storm as he chewed a little mouse-shape toy. The man smiled as he petted the kitten, a deep, low chuckle rumbling in his chest as his ears—his long, pointed ears—twitched up.

            And to top it all off he was naked save for a dark-blue blanket that barely covered his perfectly round ass.

            Anders made a choking sound and dropped the bat. The man—elf?—looked up at the noise, them smirked, eyes dancing as he took in the site of Anders in his bright-red Christmas PJs, gaping in the doorway, now-empty hands still up as though ready to swing.

            “Hello, Anders,” he purred, eyes slowly raking over Anders’ body. His voice was deep and rich and warm. It sent shivers down Anders’ pine.

            Anders closed his mouth then opened it to speak only for it to snap shut again. His mind was blank as he tried (and failed miserably) not to stare. After a moment, during which the elf raised an eyebrow, smirking deepening, a single coherent thought managed to form in Anders’ mind and make its way out of his mouth.

            “You’re not Santa.”

            The man—elf!—gave deep, rich chuckle. “No,” he agreed smirk deepening even further, “I’m not. Santa took a vacation this year. Lucky for you as your gift isn’t exactly something he could give you himself.”

            “My—my gift?” Anders hadn’t asked for anything. Well, he had jokingly asked for a night with someone as it was hard to go out and meet people when you were a single father with three children—whoa, wait what? No way!

            The elf threw his head back and laughed at Anders’ wide-eyed expression as he realized what he meant. God, his voice—there should be a law against having a voice that was that sexy! Then the elf’s expression went from amused to practically ravenous, his now half-lidded eyes virtually smoldering as they raked over Anders’ body again. Despite the fact that Anders was wearing pajamas he felt naked under that intense gaze. He swallowed.

            The elf stood up.

            Anders put both of his hands out in front of himself as though he could ward the elf off, taking a step back. “Now just wait a sec—!” Oh. Oh God. He turned his head away, face heating up and turning bright red at the site before him. Of course the fact that the elf was naked meant everything would be on display—which meant Anders not only now knew just how well-endowed he was, but was able to see that the elf was almost fully erect. (At least there were no tattoos there…)

            “Anders,” the elf purred voice low and seductive. Anders found himself turning his head back to face him—as well as his cock twitch—in response. He found himself frozen in place by the predatory gleam in the elf’s eyes as he drew closer and closer until Anders’ hands rest against the elf’s smooth chest. It took every ounce of his self-control not to start stroking that beautiful, dark skin.

            One of the elf’s hands gently grasped one of Anders’ and lifted it up to elf’s full, beautiful mouth which slowly parted to take in one of his fingers and lightly suck on it. Anders whimpered. Shit he was getting hard. This was bad, this was very bad. He needed to stop this right now.

            “Now, Sir, I—”

            “Fenris,” the elf purred before taking a second finger into his mouth beside the first and sucking a little harder, all the while staring at Anders intently as though trying to devour him with his eyes.

            “F-Fenris,” Ander stammered, biting back a moan as Fenris took yet a third finger into his mouth beside the other two, a delicious-sounding moan escaping the elf’s mouth as he sucked. The elf had done no more than speak and suck his fingers and already Anders was half-hard and feeling much too hot in his PJs.

            Anders tried to speak but his mind was already going blank with pleasure. Lord, if this was all it took for Fenris the elf to turn him on this much he couldn’t even imagine what it would be like when he touched his shoulder, his chest, when he kissed his neck and mouth and—Anders closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to dislodge those thoughts. No, they were not going to do any of that! Anders was going to pull himself together and politely ask Fenris the very hot, beautiful, sexy naked elf to please leave his house!

            While he attempted to gather up the willpower to do so, Fenris took his fingers out of his mouth and set his palm against his cheek. Then he grasped Anders’ other hand and rested it on his shoulder. Anders opened his eyes at the motions only to be become captivated by Fenris’ gaze again. There was still a predatory look to them, but now they were also filled with desire and something…softer. Something he couldn’t quite name but which stole his breath and made his heart pound and his mind go blank. Fenris brought up both of his hands and cupped Anders’ face; drew it slowly closer as he walked forward until their faces were but an inch apart. His lips parted, warm sweet-smelling breath ghosting across Anders’ lips which parted in response as he found himself anticipating the moment when Fenris would lean forward that last inch and kiss him. The thought made his cock twitch and he whimpered.  

            Clomp, clompclompclomp. Anders whipped his head around at the noise. He now knew what had been making the noises downstairs but he had never found out what was making the sounds on the roof, and apparently it was still there—

            Fenris took his face in his hand and gently turned Anders head back, expression amused. “It’s alright, Anders,” he said soothingly. “It’s just the reindeer. They can get a little impatient. Especially Dancer,” Fenris added with an eye roll.

            Anders blinked owlishly. “Reindeer?”

            Fenris raised an eyebrow and snickered. “You didn’t think I walked here, did you? Or that I flew?” Another snicker. “Elves have great magic but despite all we can do flying is not part of our skillset.”

            Anders blinked again, not believing what Fenris was saying. “Are you saying there are reindeer—as in Santa Clause’s reindeer and sleigh—on my roof?”

            Fenris’ smile was his only answer. Well, Anders thought, it’s official: he was dreaming. And not just any dream but a full-on wet dream. Crap he hoped it ended or he woke up before midnight—while Christmas Eve was the only night Tom didn’t seem come into his room at Midnight on the dot, that didn’t guarantee he wouldn’t at some point and Anders didn’t want the one time he did to be the time he found his daddy dreaming about a naked elf covered in tattoos.   

            Fenris leaned forward, put his lips against Anders ear and whispered, “You’ve been such a good boy this year, Anders. Don’t you want your present? You’ve earned it.”

            Anders barely managed to bite back a moan. Fenris’ voice was like liquid sex, especially when it took on that low, husky quality. “I—t-the kids—ah!” He gasped as Fenris bit his earlobe then quickly swiped his tongue over it to sooth the sting.

            “The children are fast asleep and they won’t wake up until morning. Trust me.”

            Anders was panting now and his legs were shaking. He didn’t think he would be able to stay standing much longer. “How—?”

            “A handy little spell that keeps the children—and the parents—from waking up before all the presents have put out.” Anders can practically hear the smile in his voice. “Why do you think little Tom never comes into his daddy’s room to sleep there at midnight on Christmas Eve?” His voice lowered further to a sinful purr. “It’s you and me, Anders. Just for tonight. I’ll take good care of you. Let me make you feel good.”

            Anders figured he should feel at least a little put off by the fact that Fenris knew his and his children’s sleeping habits—as it was all he could think about was the way Fenris’ deep, rumbling voice shot straight to his hardening cock. He tried once more to protest, but his body knew what it wanted and his brain seemed have been left far behind. Besides, Fenris had expertly shot down every one of his arguments, leaving him with no other excuse to say no other than that he didn’t want to continue. And lord did he want to continue. Anders found himself giving in with a sigh.

            His legs finally gave out as Fenris outlined the shell of his ear with his tongue before taking the lobe into his mouth and sucking on it. Fenris caught him with a chuckle his arms wrapped tightly around him the only thing keeping Anders standing. Anders gasped and moaned without trying to hold the noises back anymore having been assured the kids wouldn’t hear as Fenris continued playing with his ear before moving his mouth slowly down his neck with a trail of butterfly kisses. When he reached his shoulder Fenris bit down softly, earning him a loud groan then followed the trail back up his neck and across his face until he reached Anders’ mouth.

            The first press of lips and swipe of tongue across Anders’ mouth had him gasping. Then Fenris’ tongue entered and—Oh. Oh God, YES! Anders closed his eyes and let out a long, low moan. Fenris’ tongue was warm and wet and big; it tasted sweet and good and filled Anders mouth as it stroked him with a familiar rhythm. Fuuuck. He couldn’t remember the last time he had had sex, much less sex that was this good. And so far they had only gotten to first base. For a second he was too stunned by how good it felt to anything but let Fenris plunder his mouth as his warm hands slipped under his shirt and stroked his back. Then he managed to gather up the willpower to kiss back, tongue twining with Fenris’ desperately as Anders wrapped his arms around the elf’s shoulders and pressed himself closer until every inch of their bodies were touching. Thank you, Santa! he thought, feeling giddy. 

Fenris moaned in encouragement when Anders kissed him back, then growled softly when the blond man pressed himself against him. “You’re wearing too much,” he gasped with a snarl when they pulled back to catch their breaths. For a second Anders just stood there, swaying slightly, eyes half-lidded as he stared at Fenris’ kiss-swollen mouth. Then Fenris’ words registered and he nodded before quickly stripping naked, throwing his clothes somewhere off to the side.

He was about to surge forward and pull Fenris back into another desperate kiss when he noticed the elf slowly raking his eyes up and down Anders’ body. The elf’s pupils were blown wide and full of desire and lust. Suddenly feeling shy in the face of Fenris’ intense, hungry gaze—Anders wasn’t lying when he said he couldn’t remember the last time he had been with anyone since his youngest was born—he went to cover himself with his hand. Fenris stopped him, however, cupping his face and quietly saying, “Don’t. You are beautiful, Anders. Don’t hide yourself from me. I want to see you; let me.”

Anders blushed. He could tell Fenris meant every word and it was both extremely arousing and a little embarrassing to be looked at with such unbridled passion. He let Fenris draw his hand away and back around shoulder, moaning happily when Fenris drew him into another kiss. Fenris’ hands slid down his back and cupped his ass; kneaded gently. Anders’ arms tightened around Fenris’ shoulders in response, his hands closing and opening as they both gasped and moaned and tried to suck the others’ tongue down their own throats. He could feel his hips start rocking against Fenris’, earning him another growl as the elf grasped his ass more firmly and pressed his hips closer, encouraging him to keep moving.

They parted to catch their breaths again and Anders leaned his head on Fenris’ shoulder, gasping and making pleased noises as Fenris mouthed his neck and continued to rock them together, the pace picking up and the pleasure building. He idly thought about the fact that his three kids were upstairs, completely unaware that his father was having arguably the best sex of his life—with, apparently one of Santa’s elves. The thought should have made him feel dirty, but it only turned him on more. He was a terrible father.

Then Fenris tightened his grip on Anders’ hips and stopped him moving before pulling away. Anders whimpered in disappointment. He was fully hard and so close. Fenris quieted him with a quick kiss. “Hush, I’m not stopping forever. I just think we should lay down before we both fall over.”

Anders groaned unhappily, but nodded. It would not be very fun if they finished only to fall over and possibly get hurt. So he let Fenris draw him over to the blanket on the floor and waited impatiently while the elf flattened and straightened it out. He idly noticed that Pounce Jr. was nowhere in sight—likely off somewhere playing with his new toy. Then Fenris took off his “elf hat” and set it under the tree and Anders forgot about the kitten at the sight of Fenris’ shockingly-white hair. It hung down a little past his ears creating a stark contrast against his skin. Anders couldn’t help running his fingers through it. It was as soft as it looked. Fenris closed his eyes and practically purred as he leaned into the contact. After a moment, he opened his eyes then took Anders’ hands in his and drew him down onto the blanket before kissing him again. Anders let himself be manhandled onto his back, Fenris positioning himself between his legs.

Fenris drew away again only to start kissing his way down Anders’ body, paying special extra attention to the places that made him gasp and moan the loudest. He chuckled. “You are sensitive, aren’t you?” Anders could only pant out a moan in response. Fenris chuckled again then continued his way down until he reached Anders’ fully-erect cock. He paused there for a moment, just letting his breath ghost over it, making Anders squirm then pressed a kiss to the tip. Anders bucked his hips, which were held down firmly by Fenris’ hands. His hips bucked again when Fenris licked a stripe up the underside of his entire length before taking just the tip into his mouth and sucking. Anders fisted his hands in the blanket as Fenris slowly started to sink lower and lower, taking more and more of him into his incredibly warm mouth. God, it felt amazing.

Anders was a pretty sizable guy so he was pleasantly surprised when Fenris managed to take him to the root, the tip of his cock brushing against the back of the elf’s throat. Then Fenris was moving his head up until just the tip was still in his mouth. He swirled his tongue around it before taking the whole thing down to the root again then repeated the process. Anders was completely lost to the pleasure, throwing his head side to side as he panted and begged: “Yes! Please! More, more! Ah! Please, Fen—AH! YES!” His words were interlaced with gasps and moans and loud pants. Fuck he was close! Just a little more—

Fenris pulled off with a lewd pop. Anders whined unhappily then starting shamelessly begging Fenris to keep going—please—don’t stop—I’m so close—PLEASE! Fenris just huffed out a laugh then silenced him with a deep kiss. “Hush, Anders; soon,” he crooned, stoking Anders’ sweat-covered brow. “First I need to know: do you want to take me or do you want to be taken?”

It took Anders a moment to register the question as he lay there panting, his body shaking with the fierce need to come. When he realized what Fenris was asking he could only pant, “Inside…me…please!

Fenris smiled then kissed him again, giving Anders’ cock a light stroke that made him gasp before pulling back and reaching behind him. Anders pushed himself up just enough to see Fenris had opened the blue box he had reclined on earlier and was rummaging inside it. Presumably for some lube. Sure enough, he brought out a tube of lubricant and popped it open, squeezing a generous amount into his palm. Then he pushed Anders back down and, wrapping a hand firmly around the base of Anders’ cock to keep him from coming just yet, he circled Anders’ hole with one finger from the other hand. Anders’ eyes fluttered closed at the sensation. He squirmed, trying to entice Fenris to put it in. Fenris just gave a quiet laugh before rubbing the finger over Anders’ hole and still refusing to put it in! Anders whined. “Please, Fenris!”

Fenris rubbed his hole for a bit longer then finally—finally—slipped it inside. Anders cried out at the intrusion then started arched his back as the finger started moving. He cried out again when Fenris crocked his finger and hit that perfect spot. Anders started moving his hips, trying to fuck himself on the digit.

Fenris took his time stretching him, only adding a second then a third finger when he felt absolutely sure Anders was ready. Despite Anders’ impatience, he felt his heart warm at the fact that Fenris was taking such care with him. He whimpered when Fenris drew out his fingers, only to be replaced by the head of the elf’s cock. “Shhh, Anders. It’s alright. Just relax.”

Anders did relax as Fenris stroked his head and kissed him deeply while he pushed himself into Anders’ willing body with agonizing slowness. Their moans mixed together as Fenris sunk deeper and deeper until finally he was seated all the way. They just kissed for a while then as Fenris allowed Anders to adjust to the larger intrusion. God it felt so good and he wasn’t even moving yet!

Fenris pulled his mouth away from Anders to put it against his ear. “Don’t come until I say you can. Can you do that for me?”

Anders wasn’t sure, but he nodded anyway. He would try at least. Fenris gathered him into his arms and held his close as he started to move. He started slow and shallow but slowly went faster and faster, deeper and deeper with each thrust. Anders’ mind went blank with pleasure. He could barely form thoughts much less words beyond yesyesyes, please, yes, peasepleaseplease, harderhader, faster, YES, PLEASE! until he was unable to do more than gasp and moan. He buried his face in Fenris’ neck panting into his skin as he wound his arms and legs tightly around Fenris’ body and dug his heals into the elf’s back, drawing him in deeper, his hands clenching and unclenching spasmically against the elf’s shoulders. All the while, Fenris showered Anders in compliments and praises, telling him how beautiful he was, how good he was, how lovely and wonderful and perfect and fuck, you’re so gorgeous, so lovely, you feel so good, so warm and tight, fuck! The words went straight to Anders heart as well as his cock. It had been quite a while since someone spoke to him that way, much less during sex. A slight shift in their alignment and Anders cried out with each thrust as each one hit his sweet spot. He tried to hold out until Fenris said he could come but he didn’t know if he could make it. The pleasure was building quicker and quicker with each hit to his prostate.

“F-Fenris,” he gasped breathlessly. “I-I’m…going to…AH!”

Fenris moaned deeply, the sound reverberating throughout Anders’ body. “I…as well,” he panted. Then suddenly his hand was on Anders cock. “Come for me, Anders,” he whispered with an especially hard thrust and one last tug on Anders’ cock.

Anders came hard, his visions going almost white for a second. He closed his eyes and tossed back his head with a shout, body going taught, muscles clenching and toes curling as his cum coated their stomachs. Fenris came with him, his own body going rigid as he pressed him onto the ground and moaned into his neck, filling Anders body with warmth.

They collapsed onto the ground, panting and sweaty and sated. After a moment, Fenris gently pulled himself out and pushed himself to his feet, stroking Anders’ head and kissing him when he whined at the loss. “It’s alright, Anders. I’m just getting a towel to clean us up.” A quick peck on his nose. “You did so well, Anders.” Then he was gone, rummaging in the blue box again, and Anders could do no more than lay on the blanket with his eyes closed. He was completely exhausted. He also felt better and more sated than he had in a long time. He didn’t know what he was going to do now. There was just no way his trusty vibrator could ever stand up to the mind-blowing sex he’d just had.

Fenris returned with a couple towels and gently wiped them both down. Then he tossed the towels aside, gathered Anders into his arms and picked him up bridal style, cutting off Anders’ surprised squeak with a kiss before taking him upstairs and into the bathroom. He set Anders on the bath mat then started filling the tub, Anders watching drowsily. When the bath was full, Fenris helped Anders into the water before getting in with him. Anders idly thanked God he had gotten a large tub (so that all three of his children could fit in it at once, thereby making bath time that much quicker and easier). He groaned at the feeling of the blessedly warm water.

Fenris picked up the bar of soap and lathered up his hands then started cleaning them both. He was incredibly gentle, again whispering compliments and words of praise to Anders who blushed and smiled at the attention. When he was done with their bodies, he washed Anders’ hair, combing his fingers through it each time he rinsed to make sure he got all the soap out. Anders’ eyes drifted closed. He felt cared for, safe, warm—loved.

When both of them were clean, Fenris pulled the plug and helped Anders out of the bath, drying them both off as the water drained. Then he led Anders into his bedroom where he helped him into a pair of pajama pants he didn’t remember buying (probably another gift, he thought) and then into bed. Anders watched from under the thick comforter as Fenris went to the window and closed the curtains, expecting Fenris to come to bed after.

Instead, Fenris started making his way toward the door. “Wait!” Anders called, sitting up and reaching out toward the elf. Fenris looked at him and smiled. He came over and gently pushed Anders back down onto the bed. “Shhh,” he soothed, cupping his face and stroking his cheek. “I’m just going to put Santa’s bag back into the sleigh then I’ll return. I promise.”

Anders was afraid he would simply leave, but he nodded and watched Fenris leave nonetheless. He listened intently. Crunch,crunch,crunch. Clomp, clompclomp. Crunch,crunch,crunch. Then silence. Anders strained his ears for any other noises but heard nothing. Just as he was beginning to lose hope Fenris slipped back into the room and closed the door behind him before sliding into bed next to Anders.

Anders turned onto his side and snuggled into Fenris’ open arms, burying his head in the elf’s chest as Fenris held him close. “How long will you stay?”

“Until you fall asleep.”

Anders raised his head to look into Fenris’ eyes. They were full of warmth and love…and sadness. “No longer?” Anders asked, trying and failing to hide the sadness and disappointment in his voice.

Fenris sighed and shook his head. “That’s the rule. Santa really did take a vacation—his first one in over four-hundred years, the workaholic!—and I really am filling in for him this year. If I stay until you are truly asleep, the spell that allows Santa to make it around the world in a single night will still allow me to complete the job by dawn. Any longer and even with magic I will not finish.”

Anders wanted to argue, to say he didn’t care—but then he thought about how happy his children will be to get those gifts Fenris brought. And how sad many children like them would be to wake up only to have gotten nothing. Those children were counting on Fenris, even though they would be thinking of Santa Clause. He couldn’t let his own wants get in the way of that. Especially when he thought about his own gift—how many children asked not for toys each year but food, shelter, a friend, a family and depended on Santa to deliver?

Anders sighed. “I understand.”

Even so, when Fenris kissed him and drew him close, stroking his head, Anders did not burry his head in Fenris’ chest. Instead, he did lay his head next to Fenris’ and did his best to stay awake as long as he could, doing his best to commit the elf’s face to memory. He was so tired, though. It was harder to open his eyes back up after each blink. At one point, Fenris started humming. Anders didn’t recognize the tune, but it sounded familiar somehow and lulled him to sleep.

The last thing he was aware of before he fell asleep with a sigh was Fenris smiling at him as he whispered, “Goodnight, my Anders.”

 

When Anders eyes opened next, Fenris was gone and it was morning. He sat up groggily and yawned loudly just as the sound of feet pounding toward his door reached his ears.

“Get up, Daddy, get up! It’s Christmas!”

“Yeah! Come on, Daddy—time to open presents!”

“Chris’mas!”

Anders smiled lovingly at the sounds of his children’s shouts as they urged him to hurry up before pounding down the stairs. He stretched and yawned again then looked around the room. There was nothing, not a stray hair in sight nor an item out of place to prove that Fenris had really been there. He was back in his usual PJs, and the bat he had taken downstairs was even back in its usual spot looking completed untouched. Perhaps it had all been a dream. The thought made Anders sad. Then the sound of his children’s delighted laughter drifted into his room and Anders pushed the thought aside. Dream or no dream, it was Christmas morning and he had three children who needed him to help them open presents and make breakfast.

Downstairs, he found them waiting for him practically vibrating in excitement. It appeared Tom was Santa this year as he sat closest to the Christmas tree, a big grin on his face. Anders smiled at his children then scanned the room. The extra candles were gone, as were the blue present box and blanket and Fenris’ hat. However, the extra presents were still under the tree and the stocking were still overflowing with little gifts. The milk and cookies he had put out last night were also gone. Anders felt a seed of hope grow in his chest at the sight.

“Daddy! What are you waiting for?” Rodney whined, the other two following suit.

Anders shook his head as he was pulled out of his thoughts and, smiling, said, “Sorry, loves.” He went over to them and sat down between Rodney and April. Tom quickly handed him a present that was obviously from him; the wrapping paper hardly covered the item which Anders could plainly see was a picture Tom had drawn of all of them together standing in front of the tree. Even so, he carefully unwrapped it and acted surprised, earning him a delighted smile from his youngest before thanking him. Then it was April’s turn to open her present and they went through their usual Christmas ritual until every present was open. (The extra ones under the tree were: a new bike for April, a paint set for Rodney, and a transformers action figure set with every Autobot for Tom. They were all delighted).

They made and then ate breakfast after (Anders deciding the mess from last night could wait a little while longer) while watching the little Christmas shorts aired each year. Afterwards, they went to their rooms to get dressed before the children went back downstairs to play with their new toys. Just as Anders finished putting on his shirt he noticed a white card on his desk that had not been there a moment before. It appeared to be blank, but he picked it up and opened it anyway. Inside, in a neat script was the message:

 

Hello, Anders.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Clause agreed that if you are good each year, and as long as you need me, I can return each Christmas Eve.

            Hope to see you next year.

                                                                        —Sincerely, Fenris.

 

Anders smiled, warmth blossoming in his chest. He thought of Fenris’ immense kindness and indescribable gentleness; his praises and touches full of love; his warm eyes full of mischief and his beautiful smile; the way he had made sure Anders enjoyed every moment of last night, putting his pleasure first; how he had bathed him after and put him to bed; how he held him and sang to him as he fell asleep. Anders had not felt so cared for and valued in years. He did not think he would ever not need Fenris.

Well, he thought, he would just have to make extra sure he was good next year.