AUTHOR'S NOTE In celebration up the upcoming holidays, I've written this little oneshot. It came to me while I was watching The Santa Clause 2, so you can only guess what direction it's taking. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER I don't own anyone in this story.

There was a lot of noise. Charlie groaned and pushed his pillow down on his head, trying to block it out. Was his dad having a party?

He heard a faint whisper. "Should we wake him up?"

Another. "I think we need to wake him."

Then there was a third. "You can do it, then, 'cause I don't want to be the one he yells at."

Charlie squeezed his eyes shut tighter and mumbled, "I'm awake."

There was a chorus of relieved sighs. "Oh good!" said the first voice. "Because he's coming today!"

"Who?" Charlie asked into the mattress.

"Him!" was the exasperated reply.

Charlie sighed and flung the pillow off of his face. "Is it Don?" he asked. "Does he need – "

He abruptly stopped when he saw the three young sparkly faces staring at him. Instantly awake, he scrambled to sit up in bed. "Who? Where?" He looked down at his green satin pajamas – definitely not the t-shirt and boxer shorts he had gone to bed in. "What am I wearing?" he asked.

One of the girls frowned. "Are you okay, sir?" she asked.

"Uh…that's a good question." Charlie looked around the bedroom. "Here's a better one. Where am I?"

The one boy in the group answered, "You're in your bedroom, sir. Is anything wrong?"

"No, you see, this can't be my room. Because my room is full of textbooks and bookshelves and I think I remember putting a chalkboard in there, but I can't find it. And half the time I end up falling asleep in the garage while I'm working on Cognitive Emergence, so this, this definitely cannot be my room."

Charlie stopped his diatribe and took a deep breath. "I've got to find Don."

The two girls and the boy watched as Charlie threw off the quilt and jumped out of the bed. After a moment of pacing, he stopped and looked at the others. "What are your names?"




Charlie put his hands together. "Okay Arthur, Mary, and Lara. We need to find my brother."

Lara frowned and laughed nervously. "Sir, you don't have a brother."

"I don't?"

Arthur sighed, frustrated. "Bernard, sir, we don't have time for this. He's coming today! We have hundreds of things to do! Literally, hundreds."

He had already lost Charlie. "I'm sorry," he said. "My name's not Bernard. I'm Charlie."

Mary and Lara shared a look. "That's Santa's son, isn't it?" Mary whispered. Lara nodded.

"Santa?" Charlie repeated. "As in Santa Claus?"

Mary nodded. "Of course, sir." She giggled. "Who else would we mean?"

"So we're all waiting for Santa," Charlie muttered as he paced. "Which means, by deductive reasoning, that you three are elves?"
This time, all three elves giggled. "Sir, is this a game?" Lara asked.

"Oh, I wish," Charlie said. "Oh boy. Okay. Uh…" His thoughts were racing. Theorems and formulas tumbled through his head, but even math seemed to fail when he was woken up in a strange bedroom by three of Santa's elves.

"We really don't have time for this, sir," Arthur said, ever persistent.

Charlie realized that the elves were waiting for him to tell them what to do and wouldn't leave until he did. "Uh, okay. Well, how many things need to be done before, uh, Santa's arrival?"

Arthur pulled out a small scroll. "Tow hundred and seventy-two."

"And how many elves do we have?"

"Five hundred and one!" Mary piped up.

Charlie frowned. "Well that's just simple numbers. Assign the jobs one per elf until all the jobs are taken care of."

"Oh thank you, Bernard!" Mary said. The elves filed quickly out of the room, leaving Charlie alone. He paced around the bed with absolutely no idea what to do.

He could solve any problem he was given. He had solved cases that the smartest FBI analysts had been stumped by. But this was impossible to figure out because this was impossible! It was completely illogical for him, Charlie Eppes of Los Angeles, to be standing in an elf's bedroom in Santa's workshop in the North Pole.

Charlie went to run his fingers through his curly black hair, but cried out in surprise when he found long springy dreadlocks. "I gotta get out of here!" he moaned.

There was a sudden flurry of activity outside the door and it flew open. "Bernard! Bernard!" Lara cried as se burst into the room.

"What is it?" Charlie asked. He frowned again when he realized that it felt natural to answer to Bernard.

Lara ran around the room, cleaning everything she found. "He's early! He's almost here!"

"Santa?" Charlie asked. Lara nodded. Panic filled Charlie, unlike anything he was used to. Everything had to be done before Santa got there and it wasn't!
Then he stopped. He should not care one way or the other about Santa! But Bernard apparently did. Charlie was sure that he was losing his mind.

"What do we do?" Lara asked.

"Uh…" Charlie threw up his hands. "I don't know."

The girl elf stopped short and stared at him. "You don't know?"

Sadly, he shook his head. "I don't know. Usually I do know. It's what I do. I know things. I see things that other people don't. And I solve puzzles and help get the bad guys. But I don't know what to do right now!"

There were heavy footsteps in the hall. Both Charlie and Lara turned to look. A shadow appeared on the door. "Santa!" Charlie whispered.

"Charlie! Hey, Charlie!"

Charlie jolted awake. "Where's Santa?" he asked. "Where's Lara?"

Don Eppes smirked at his younger brother. "You're a little old to still believe in Santa Claus, aren't you?"

Charlie looked around and leaned back on his pillow. "Oh Don! You have no idea how glad I am to see you! I had this dream that I woke up in Santa's workshop and these little elves thought I was their elf leader Bernard. And Santa was coming, but nothing was ready."

Raising an eyebrow, Don said, "Lara was an elf?"


Don started laughing. "Charlie, I think you need to lay off the egg nog late at night." He got a glare in return, but kept laughing. "Come on downstairs. Dad's got breakfast cooking." He was still chuckling when he reached the door.

Charlie was glad to see his t-shirt and boxers instead of Bernard's green satin pajamas as he threw back the comforter. "Hey Don," he said.

Don turned at the door. "Yeah?"

Charlie smiled. "Merry Christmas."

His brother smiled back. "Merry Christmas, Charlie."