Author's Notes: Written for the disney_advent.
He was never going present shopping on Christmas Eve ever again.
Robert struggled to get through the front door; his hands were full of packages wrapped in festive Christmas paper.
"Anyone home?" he called, slightly annoyed. It was well after seven o'clock. Both Giselle and Morgan should have been in the apartment. He took three strides into the living room. Then he stopped abruptly.
The packages, suddenly forgotten, crashed to the floor.
Giselle and Morgan were merrily throwing some sort of oatmeal and glitter mixture all over the floor, singing Jingle Bells very loudly.
"What is going on here?" he demanded.
Morgan froze, her eyes wide. Giselle flashed Robert a wide smile. "It's reindeer food for Santa's reindeer! Morgan and I made it today with the recipe we found on the computer. Isn't it festive?"
Robert pinched the bridge of his nose and counted to ten, attempting to calm himself. Despite his best effort of trying to talk to her, he had been unable to convince Giselle that Santa Claus didn't exist.
"It's just a story people tell to their kids," he had told her.
"People tell their children fairy tales about Andalasia too," she had retorted. Robert hadn't come up with an adequate rebuttal against that.
He let out a long sigh. "The reindeer stay outside."
Giselle turned to him, eyes wide. "Does that mean you finally believe in Santa?" She knelt down to Morgan before he could reply. "I told you he would."
"No. I still don't, I'm afraid." Though his skepticism had taken a blow when he had to battle a dragon, he still wasn't willing to suspend his beliefs so far as to believe in jolly old St. Nick.
Giselle frowned slightly before giving Morgan a reassuring look. "Don't worry. He will soon."
Robert wasn't sure about that. He glanced at his sparkling floor. "Isn't there something a little less...messy that you two could do?"
"Cookies!" Giselle clapped her hands together. "Santa needs freshly baked cookies, doesn't he?"
"And so do we," Morgan replied wisely.
Giselle nodded solemnly. "That's right. Come on!" She turned back to Robert. "Are you going to help?"
He shook his head. "I'm going to pick those up," he nodded towards the presents, "and put them under the tree."
"Be sure to leave room for the presents from Santa."
Robert didn't bother responding as he started picking up the gifts and arranging them under the tree. Over the past few months he had learned that Giselle could be just as stubborn as he was. And, as for this year, there was going to be no talking her out of her belief in Santa.
As he was about to arrange the last gift, there was a knock on the apartment door. He straightened and stood up. Then he opened the door.
It was Santa Claus.
No! It couldn't be. But, there was no denying the similarities between the childhood icon and the man that stood before him. He was a heavy-set man with a big, white beard. Perched on his nose were a pair of glasses. His costume was wrong though; the man before him wore a red polo shirt and a pair of khaki pants, looking more like a seasonal employee at Target than Santa Claus.
"Aren't you here a little too soon?" Robert quipped.
The man laughed warmly. "Giselle told me I could stop by a little early if I was pressed for time in her letter."
"Seriously?" Clearly, this had be some kind of joke.
The old man nodded. "She's very courteous like that." He frowned. "I would love to stay a while and talk with her, but I'm afraid I only have time to drop off the items that she asked for. You wouldn't mind taking them in for me, would you?"
Robert looked at the half-dozen presents besides the heavy-set man and wondered which credit card Giselle used to pay for the items. "Sure."
"She even asked for a gift for you. Mentioned something about you not having time to tell me what you wanted." His eyes twinkled. "I'd say you got your present early this year, wouldn't you?"
Somehow Robert knew he was talking about Giselle. But how did a delivery guy know about their history? He was probably the same man that delivered to Giselle's boutique. Yup, that was it.
He grabbed the gifts and set them on the floor just inside the apartment.
The old man sniffed. "Are those cookies I smell?"
"Yeah, they are."
He let out a remorseful sigh. "Tell Giselle that I'm sorry I missed tasting them. I sure do love cookies." He laughed heartily. "Although the misses is always quick to tell me that I enjoy them a bit too much. Especially this time of year."
Robert rolled his eyes. Was this guy serious? "Uh, sure, I'll pass along the message."
He smiled appreciatively. "Thank you."
As he turned to walk away, Robert called out, "Hey, I didn't catch your name when you first knocked."
The old man looked surprised. "Nick. Of course."
Robert closed the door, stupefied.
There was no way.
But, as he looked out his living room window, he could have sworn that he saw something flying in the sky that looked suspiciously like a sleigh.
In a stupor, he walked into the kitchen where Giselle was just pulling out a batch of freshly baked cookies. He pointed to the front door with his thumb. "Santa just delivered the gifts you asked for," he said confusedly.
Morgan looked at him, her jaw dropped. "Daddy? Did you just say Santa?"
"Um, yeah, I think I did."
Giselle gave Morgan a high five. "I told you he'd believe that Santa was real."
"How did you know?" Morgan whispered, amazed.
Giselle smiled. "Because that was my gift from Santa."