Summary: Santa believes there's no such thing as a bad elf. Bella's been fired from nearly every toy shop in the North Pole. How can Santa get her in the right position when everything out of her mouth is so very dirty? Santa, elves, chocolate starfish and phasing reindeer. Daily updates until Christmas Eve when you get more.

Chapter 1 ~ No Naughty Elves

With a heavy sigh, Santa sank into his chair. Elves by nature were pleasant and hard working; any performance issues could be handled entirely by each toy shop's Chief. It had been years since a case was escalated to his level.

Santa truly felt there was a place for every elf, and if something wasn't working, it was simply a matter of placing the elf in another shop where their natural talents could thrive. He also knew that opportunities for elves outside the North Pole were not plentiful and displaced elves were often exploited; forced into a life-long servitude as RPG characters. Just the thought made Santa shudder.

A sharp knock at the door startled Santa from his thoughts.

He didn't even have time to reply before the tall, heavy doors swung open. Two elves entered the room. One of these elves seemed to hang behind, just inside the doorway, but the shorter, plumper elf with graying blond curls marched toward Santa's desk with determination; squeaking, "Santa, your naughty elf is here."

"Shelly," Santa admonished, "You know there are no bad elves, just…opportunities to find a better toy shop to elf fit."

"Ha! In my day, we called a bad elf a bad elf," she turned to leave the room, still mumbling about the size of "this one's" file. The tinkling of her shoe bells faded as the massive doors clattered to a close.

Santa looked up to see that the elf in question still hadn't budged from her spot near the door. His heart went out to her, she didn't want to have this conversation any more than he did, and her anxiety showed in her posture. She was almost folded in on herself with one hand gripping the elbow of her opposite arm tightly, while the other played with the hem of her green tunic. Her head was lowered, and she did not lift her gaze from the curled toes of her boots.

Santa settled deeper in his chair and even slumped a little bit hoping she'd sense his casualty and would relax a bit too. So he watched her for a while.

She was a pretty elf, probably the prettiest he'd ever seen. Waves of shiny brown hair tumbled from under her hat and were neatly tucked behind her cute little elfin ears. He wasn't sure he'd ever considered elf ears cute before, but hers certainly were.

With her head still tilted towards the floor, Santa couldn't see her eyes. He wondered the color of her eyes; he'd guess they were probably blue. Blue would be very pretty against the dark fringe of her sweeping eyelashes and her alabaster skin.

A warm blush crossed her cheeks, making Santa think she knew he was appraising her, and that she had surreptitiously been watching him as well. But she remained in place, looking at her feet gently shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

Sighing again, Santa rose from his desk and waved her forward so that she'd be closer to him. This conversation was already going to be difficult enough; he didn't want to have to shout it across the room.

AN: I originally started writing it as a o/s for Southern Fanfiction Review. When I got the idea to do this with it, she let me run with it. Psst…you can see each chapter a day early over there.

As much I want to be a 'strong, independent woman' I'm really more of a flighty shrinking violet who forgets to type every single word. I require a lot of handholding, and obsmama and maxandmo have really warm hands. Obsmama tells me when I've gone too far and when I haven't gone far enough and when Santa wouldn't do that. And maxandmo, there was 137 () pairs in first 8 chapters! Love you.

Reviews are like Christmas presents for writers. I've been an awful good girl this year. js.