A/N: This story is for anyone who has ever been told that "There's No Such Thing as Santa Claus." Because we all know that's not true! :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia or the Pevensies...or Father Christmas. I also don't own those few lines you recognize from the tLtWtW movie. I just believe in Santa...
"There's No Such Thing"
Peter crept downstairs at dawn on Christmas morning, trying not to wake his family. Edmund was still sleeping soundly, worn out after last night's heightened excitement and anticipatory mood. All four Pevensie children had been running high on Christmas cheer, and the younger ones had crashed, and were still recovering. Peter, however, was nine-years-old, and figured he was old enough to be up this early.
He snuck out of the room he shared with his six-year-old brother, stifling giggles at the smile that plastered Edmund's face in his sleep. There was no doubt that sugarplums were dancing madly over his head. Peter made sure not to step on the creaky stair, not only because five-year-old Lucy hated the noise, but also because it would have woken Susan up, and given him away. He successfully made it down to the living room, and knelt next to the tree. His fingers itched to rip the brightly colored paper from the packages and peer—finally—at what was inside, but he restrained himself to looking longingly at the labels and mentally separating them out, here Lucy's pile, there Edmund's, Susan's over there, and his…
A sniffle made Peter whirl around guiltily. But he had been sufficiently quiet so as not to wake his parents, and it was not his mother who stood in the doorway now. It was Lucy, and she was crying softly, staring out the big, front window.
"Lu?" Peter asked, standing. "What's wrong?"
"Su said there was…there was…" she explained between sobs, and Peter knelt before her.
"What did Su say?"
"She said there's no such thing as Father Christmas!" Lucy wailed, burying her face in Peter's shoulder. He gently wrapped his arms around his little sister and couldn't help smiling at the stricken look on her face. He schooled his features into a solemn expression and pulled away until he could look her in the eyes.
"Lucy," he said, hands on her shoulders. "Of course there's a Father Christmas. Who else could get to every chimney in the world in one night?"
"Susan said that that was impossible. She said nobody could do that, it wasn't…phys-ic-cally possible." Lucy stumbled on the big word, and Peter shook his head at his first sister's affinity for them.
"But Lu, how does she account for the presents that weren't under the tree last night, but are this morning?" he asked, pointing to the gleaming packages in question.
"She says Mummy and Daddy put them there. She says they're lying to us, and they're really Father Christmas, and everyone else's parents are their Father Christmases, which means there are millions of Father Christmases!"
"Well, Susan's wrong," Peter said, crossing his fingers behind his back. "Come look at these. This isn't Mum's handwriting, is it? And yet, it's still for you."
"That wasn't there last night. I counted," Lucy said proudly. Peter smiled.
"See? How could Father Christmas possibly not be real?" Lucy still looked a bit uncertain, but Peter wasn't about to let silly, grown-up Susan spoil his little sister's Christmas. "Look, Lucy," he said, pulling her down into his lap. "Susan may not believe, but all that means is that she's too busy trying to be a grown-up. You, and me, and Edmund, though, we're happy to just be kids, and that means we believe in Father Christmas, right? So, while Susan is over there, prim and proper, we'll be over here, opening our extra, Father Christmas presents. We'll see how well she believes after we've got a bigger haul than she does."
Lucy smiled and nodded happily. Peter took her into the kitchen, then, to see about getting her a light breakfast, since it would be at least an hour before the rest of the family was up for the big breakfast. Once she was happily eating, he sighed. It was easy to boil everything down to presents, and how many a child would receive. Little kids were easily swayed, once they knew what was in it for them. Lucy—and Edmund, too—armed with the knowledge that they would get more presents if they believed in Father Christmas, would probably never be naughty again, for fear they would get only coal next year. Susan's unwavering non-belief would never sway the younger ones, even if she were right. But Peter knew it was not that easy.
In his nine-year-old mind, Christmas was changing. When he was little, it had been a simple matter of who got more gifts, and what those gifts were. But now, having spent eight of his nine years of life looking after his siblings, with the knowledge that he would be looking after them for, quite possibly, the rest of his life, he was beginning to see things in a different light. He talked about Susan trying to be grown-up, but he knew somewhere in the back of his mind, that he was getting grown-up, too. And that meant Christmas was less about gifts, and more about everyone being home safe this year, about everyone being happy, and healthy, and together. It was more about laughter, warmth, and light—about family. And somehow, Father Christmas fit into the picture.
Peter was fairly certain that Susan's assumption was correct, that Mum and Dad were, in fact, Father Christmas. But some, child-like part of him wanted to keep on believing. He still wanted to believe that there was some supreme being that was genuinely good, spreading happiness and cheer throughout the world. There was enough bad, enough evil, that the world deserved one truly Good thing. And if that one thing were Father Christmas, well then, Peter would believe.
Edmund came tearing down the stairs not long after, screaming at the top of his lungs in excitement, bringing a sleepy-eyed Susan down a moment later, and Mum and Dad on her heels. As Mum fixed the morning tea, Dad let the four siblings upend their stockings, cooing over the trinkets and fruits that fell out. The wrapped presents under the tree would be opened after breakfast, though no one was sure if Edmund could wait that long.
"There're more presents than last night!" Lucy exclaimed to her sister. "See, Su? Father Christmas is real!" Susan rolled her eyes, but said nothing when she caught sight of the look on Peter's face. Peter exchanged a glance with Dad, who nodded reassuringly and motioned his eldest son closer.
"It's alright, son," Dad whispered, smiling. "Susan doesn't have to believe, if she doesn't want to. It's enough that you don't let her spoil it for those who do still believe." Peter smiled proudly, and Dad hugged him. "Do you?"
"What?" Peter asked, confused.
"Do you believe?" Dad asked casually.
"Of course!" Peter said matter-of-factly. "Someone has to do it. Why not him?" Dad laughed and whispered, "Do you want to know a secret?" Peter nodded and leaned closer. "I still believe, too." Peter was shocked, but smiled and turned to Lucy, whose eyes shone when he told her what Dad had said, and Peter knew that Susan was wrong…
Five years later, Peter put a comforting arm around Lucy as they huddled, terrified, in a shallow cave under an embankment, hiding from the jingle bells of the White Witch. Mr. Beaver's excited shout drifted back to them, though, and they crawled out into the sunlight, bemused. Peter couldn't help smiling at the sight before them, and couldn't help glancing over to see the stunned look on Susan's face.
The man before them was not fat, but he was rather round, and his fur coat was bright red, trimmed in white. His fluffy white beard could not hide his wide grin, and his eyes sparkled with mischief. He stood in front of his great, red sleigh, and the steaming reindeer that pulled it munched happily on carrots as they caught their breaths. There was no mistaking this man for anyone else, and Peter had never been more excited.
"Father Christmas!" Lucy exclaimed, stepping forward to receive her gifts. When he called Susan forward, she went reluctantly, muttering about the impossible. But he merely laughed his jolly laugh, and soon, Susan was smiling, too. Peter, when he received his gifts, was speechless, but he thought Father Christmas might have been able to understand the gratitude, hope, and belief shining on his face.
"Winter is almost over," the old man warned. "And things do pile up when you've been gone a thousand years! Long live Aslan!" he exclaimed as he climbed back into the sleigh. He turned as the reindeer began to move, and shouted back to his wondering audience, "And Merry Christmas!" The children couldn't help responding in kind, and once he was out of sight, Lucy turned to Susan.
"Told you he was real," she said, smiling mischievously. Susan rolled her eyes as she had all those years ago, but she smiled, as there was no longer any way for her to deny it. Father Christmas is, was, and would always be real, whether the believed it or not. And there was no reason, no way not to believe. Seeing, after all, is believing, and they had most certainly seen him. But Peter had not needed to see to believe. He had always believed. Lucy, too. And somewhere in the back of her mind, Susan had always believed. And now, they always would.
So, do you, dear reader? Do you believe in Father Christmas? Or do you need visible, tangible proof of the existence of the one genuinely good person the whole world knows? It's up to you. No one can make you.
Do you believe?
Merry Christmas to all! :) Love, Shadow