Santa and the Pixie--A Gravity Series Christmas Tale

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Cory Charles Lawrence is many things--a confident Santa is not one of them. Although he adores children, and his own little ones are thrilled by the happenstance, Cory has to wonder about the unfortunate odds that he would be drawn for the annual 'honor' of playing Santa at the church's Christmas event. Meanwhile, his newest friend, Leilani, is still learning human holiday traditions.

Author's note

This is something I've wanted to do, but never really felt added too much substance to the main series novels. I imagine this Christmas is either the first or second after Cory returns to the farm house, though, which would put it in either book two or three.
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1. Traditions

   What were the odds of my name being drawn again?

   It was remarkable enough the tradition of drawing a name to play Santa had survived my decades away from Littleton.  I had watched the children for years, at once envious and saddened by it all.  As a child, I could not participate with those my age because of what I was.  As an adult, should my name be drawn, it could only end poorly, and with terrified children screaming as they ran from me.

   I could not blame their reactions, although it still cut deeply.  After all, I had seen myself in mirrors.  I was a demon, and no amount of seasonal euphoria could possibly blind anyone to how harsh my features were.  My face was sharply angled, the bones warped and pronounced in ways that were simply inhuman.  Even my eyes bore little resemblance--cat-like and a vivid green that was wholly unnatural.

   The first time my name had been drawn, then, I was hesitant.  Firstly, the suit commonly worn by the men selected would not fit my frame.  If my broad build and towering stature were not enough, my wings and tail would certainly do the trick.  Still, Mother had pulled through and sewn a fresh suit from nothing just for the occasion, to see me included in the holiday.  In the end, with the assistance of a false beard, the children had been enthusiastic and accepting enough of my playing the role.

   Now, however, I stared at the dusty garments while a confounding cocktail of emotion whirled in my chest.  I did not want to do this again.  It had been so long since I had been fled from, since I had been hated, and I did not want a momentary limelight to ruin my fortune now.

   Even that seemed unlikely now, though.  After all, my own human children had accepted me as their father already.  They did not run from me in fear, but to me for comfort.  It was still new to me, although I could not complain.  I had always adored children, and I had always wanted to raise a family of my own.

   None of that could quell my discomfort.  It was aged, I knew, and certainly unwarranted.  Littleton had welcomed me home all too readily.  I was no longer a monster here, no matter how the storms of doubt raged in the world beyond the town's border.  I was an old friend, returned at last.

   There was a quiet chirp at my side, startling me from my musings.  I glanced over at Leilani's coral face, her copper eyes alight with curiosity and the infectious smile I adored on her lips.  I breathed deeply, glad for her company.  It was always a relief to know that, after decades of being the only demon among humans, this was no longer the case.  No matter that she reminded me more of a pixie at heart than the rabid monster I had always considered myself to be.

   "What is?" she asked, looking to the red suit I clutched now.  With an inquisitive expression, she offered to take the articles from me.  I obliged, unable to deny her sunny expression.  Her copper eyes widened, first in understanding and then excitement. "Oh!  Is like pictures!  Happy man!"

   I could not help but chuckle at her assessment and broken English alike. "Yes, Leilani, it's a costume, for Santa.  My mother made it for me quite some time ago."

   She mulled over my words for a moment in her patient way, comprehension lighting her features readily.  She held up the suit's coat against me, grinning her fanged grin elatedly. "Is good!  Has pretty.  Ugh!  Needs clean."

   Leilani had sniffed the garment, no doubt to a lungful of aged dust and debris.  Her nose scrunched and pinched adorably.  I smiled. "I suppose it could use a wash."

   The little demoness nodded fervently in agreement, holding the suit away from herself as she excused herself with a chirping laugh, "Yes, needs clean!  I clean, Cory!"

   I watched her leave, thinking over my concerns for fulfilling my role in this town tradition once more.  Perhaps it would not be so terrible to participate.  After all, when it was said and done, my children would still ask for me to read them to sleep, and Leilani...It was good to have the pixie stand beside me, in any case.

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