A/N: Wow. How long has it been? I so friggin' missed writing here. Fic inspiration has been so down lately. ;_;
This is a companion to my other Soul Eater fanfic: Antisocial Not.
Anyways, a late Christmas present, my loves.
I hope it's satisfactory.
Warning: Contains Santa and Stein in polka-dot pants.
Stein could never say 'no' to Marie. Be it being on dinner on time, skipping a dissection plan, sending the sheets to the laundry, cleaning up his room or attending a party, once Marie sends him that one-eyed hopeful look with patching childish pout, saying "please?" with cherry on top, it was impossible for him to say 'no'.
Specially if she's looking that cute and she's sitting on his lap.
This has happened countless times before.
"...Alright." His sigh of resignation was the only trace that he retorted in the first place. He forced a small smile, discreetly telling her that he had no qualms. Smiling like this was getting easier by the day, thank heavens.
"Yay! You're the best, Stein!" Marie kissed him on the cheek before bounding off to wherever she was headed next. She would be out the room and in the hallway before she can scream "I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!" in her high-pitched voice.
Stein scratched his head. "I really don't think I look like Santa.", he said out loud, before returning to work.
But he said 'yes', and so he has to do it. It can't be so bad.
Dressing up and pretending that he was Santa for Chrona on Christmas Eve can't be so bad.
No. Not right. It can't be right that he's pressed up against the window of his own house, a demon sword threatening to slit his throat, his makeshift daughter trembling and asking him questions on who "sent" him and telling them that he can't do anything to hurt Miss Marie and Professor Stein - he'd have to go through Chrona and Ragnarok first.
Stein admitted that he was impressed that Chrona cared that much for them, being on a perfectly dangerous fighting stance against him even when she was just wearing her white pajamas.
But she was going to slit his throat at any second, and he did not like that. And he's grown the instinct to never hurt Chrona - in fact he's grown too much self-control that he didn't even bother to dodge when she engaged him. That was why he got shoved against the window.
"HOHOHO! I'M NOT HERE TO HURT ANYBODY! Uh-... HOHOHO!"
If that didn't convince Chrona, then it didn't convince Stein all the more.
"Hoho-...? WHO-..WHO ARE... WHO ARE YOU!"
Stein coughed a bit, trying to change his voice. "My name is SANTA CLAUS! HOHOHO!"
Chrona blinked. "...W-Who?"
"I came here to bring your Christmas present, Chrona...chan!" he thought that Santa would've called every kid with the -chan suffix, anyway.
"...What? But-... But I don't know you-"
Ah. Damn. "Santa brings presents to good kids at Christmas!"
The lights flickered on, and Marie blinked at them sleepily from the hallway. "Chrona, Ragnarok?", she yawned, rubbing her arms against the cold. She was wearing just a black nightgown under one of Stein's stitched-up lab coats that she often used as a robe. She didn't have her eyepatch on, but her hair covered her other eye well.
Chrona gulped. "Miss Marie! This strange man! Call Professor Stein! Someone is in the house-"
"That's... Santa-" - and she giggled a bit, when she finally turned to her meister. "That man is Santa Claus, dearie. Don't you know him? Please, Ragnarok - no need to attack a harmless... man."
Marie looked like she was about to laugh.
Stein glared behind his glasses. So what if the red fur-coat was too big for him? So what if the supposedly-red pants were pink and sporting a polka dot pattern? So what if he didn't know where to get a fake beard and moustache and he had to make do with shaving cream? SO WHAT IF HE'S NOT FAT? And so what if the only thing he got right was the santa hat and the glasses?
Chrona looked cautiously at the man and then slowly lowered her weapon, stepping back. "So-Sorry, I... I don't know how to deal with.. S-Santa..."
Marie put her hands on the teen's shoulders, smiling.
Chrona looked at her worriedly. "Is-.. Is he your guest, Miss Marie?"
"No, it's Christmas and he came to give you your presents! Right, Santa?" Marie said, winking.
Stein rolled his eyes before coughing and replying. "Hohoho! Merry Christmas!" He then proceeded to take out a huge box from his red sack and put it down on the makeshift Christmas tree.
"What.. what presents?"
Marie blinked. "Christmas presents, sweetheart! Don't tell me you don't know about Santa-"
"I-.. I don't know how to deal with Christmas..."
Marie explained quickly. "Santa brings Christmas presents to good kids!"
Chrona looked like she was about to cry. "But-.. but I'm not a g-good kid..."
"You are! Right, Santa?" both Marie and Chrona looked toward Santa Claus, and the man scratched his head.
Stein blinked. "Uh-.. Of course-"
"I hurt a lot of people! I-... I can't... help much on house chores... and... uh, I-... I don't know how to be a... a good kid-"
Marie signalled for Stein to speak up. And in a hurry, Stein replied. "But I've been watching you for the whole year, Chrona.. chan. You've been helping your friends-"
Chrona looked down. "I-.. I don't deserve a Christmas present... I did bad things to them-"
Both adults panicked when she sobbed.
"Dearie, don't you like Santa?" Marie tried to console the girl, but Chrona just cried harder. "Chrona-chan..."
"Chrona-chan," Santa stepped forward, putting his gloved hand to pat the girl's head. "You've been trying your best to protect Maka-chan and the other kids. You were being a good kid, you help out Marie-sensei whenever she's tired from teaching. You care for Professor Stein and call him whenever it's dinner time, and you help Marie-sensei drag him to bed when he falls asleep in the lab. You're a kind and caring kid."
Marie smiled. "Hear that, Chrona-chan? The present is for you. You should open it tomorrow morning."
"Is-... Is that what you do in Christmas?" the girl asked.
"Yes, Chrona-chan." Santa replied. "Err, umm... Well, I guess you should go to bed and I should get going...? Many good kids are waiting for my presents..."
Chrona sniffed. "Santa-san is a good man..." She looked at the man and tried to smile. "Even though I don't know how to deal with Santa-san... He's like Professor Stein."
Marie and Stein looked at each other in alarm. Stein hurriedly gulped and went back to his Santa-role. "Eh.. uh, oh. That's... good. Well, see you next Christmas, Chrona-chan! HOHOHO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
Marie waved. "Take care on your way, Santa!"
Chrona nodded shyly. "Thank y-you, Santa-san. M-M-Merry.. Chr-Christmas..."
After Chrona, still baffled by the odd guest and the strange tradition, was sent to bed, Marie went back to her shared room with Stein and found him on their bathroom, washing his face. There were wet snow trails on the floor, the 'sack of goodies' stuffed carelessly on a closet, and wet boots kicked aside haphazardly near the window. The Santa hat rested by the dresser. She stood by the bathroom doorframe and smiled lightly.
After wiping his face with a towel, Stein noticed her staring. He put on his glasses and shrugged. "Uh, merry Christmas?"
Marie giggled and went up to him, hugging him from behind. "Merry Christmas, Stein." He was still wearing the large red coat and the polka-dot pajamas, and they were relatively damp from the time short time he spent out on the snow. "Thanks for keeping your promise."
"No problem, besides Chrona looked very happy." Stein replied, shrugging off the large red coat. Marie helped him slide out of it.
"Yes. Best Christmas gift I'll ever receive." the woman said, tucking the large coat snugly in her arms.
The white—haired meister looked down and her and raised an eyebrow. "Oh? That's the gift you're waiting for?"
Marie nodded, grinning silly as she looked at the man from head to toe. "I saw Chrona-chan happy, and I heard you say sweet things to her! And... and you dressed up in a tacky coat and a polka-dot pants. I couldn't ask for more."
"It was hard, you know. I didn't know where on Earth I could get a costume I was saying 'hohoho' like a madman." he said, scratching his head gingerly, contemplating whether he should get changed into his own set of pajamas. Marie was laughing at him as she stepped out the bathroom to dump his wet costume to the laundry basket in the room.
While she was busy, Stein changed to his stitched black cotton pants and white shirt, then lied on the bed and pulled up the covers to his chest. Marie finished up her little task and slid off her makeshift robe, hanging it snugly on a coat hanger before sitting on the bed and looking at him again. "You did a great job."
Stein smirked. "I'll be damned if I didn't. Let's just consider ourselves lucky that the kid didn't know how to deal with Christmas."
Marie nodded, then reached out to take off Stein's glasses. She neatly set them on the top of the bedside table. Stein rubbed his eyes before allowing himself to yawn. It was past midnight and they were both tired, with a long day still ahead of them.
"So... what do you want for your present, Stein?"
Stein blinked up at her, then shrugged. "Nothing in particular, really."
The woman pouted. "That's not fair. Me and Chrona-chan already got our presents delivered."
Stein reached out a hand to take his partner's hand and pull her down with him, embracing her gently against him. "This sounds kind of... cheesy, but the two of you are my Santas. I already got what I want, too."
Marie smiled against his chest, breathing in his faint scent of cigarettes and snow. She let him play with her blonde hair after he draped the blankets over her. The woman shifted snugly beside him as they prepared to sleep.
But, like the usual, they will end up talking for a good half-an-hour before they doze off completely. Marie was that restless a person, and Stein was used to it.
She talked about the Christmas presents that their students sent her early, and the party at Maka and Soul's place that were to be held the next day. Stein commented dryly about the place being noisy because Spirit and Black Star would surely be there.
"No, but we should go. Chrona-chan would love to spend Christmas with her friends, and Azusa and Mira told me they're coming too. Stein, we really really should go."
Stein looked at her tiredly for a while.
Marie looked away and pouted. "But... uh, I guess I could come with Chrona-chan and Ragnarok. You seem so tired because of the Santa thing."
Stein sighed, chuckling. "I'm coming, alright?"
The blonde pouted at him, this time stubbornly. "You're forcing yourself."
"No, I'm not." the man leaned forward and dropped a kiss on the tip of the woman's nose. "Besides, you know I can't say 'no' to you."
Marie looked at him accusingly, as if that was a bad thing. "And why?"
"Well... 'cause I can't." Stein laughed a bit, pulled her closer and closed his eyes to signal that he was really going to sleep and that she should, too. "Go to sleep, Marie."
Marie closed her eyes as well, and then whispered "Alright." before succumbing to slumber.
A/N: Happy Holidays.