Edit: Awesome cover art by spainsbuenobooty on tumblr. ^^
The First One
All was busy in Santa's workshop. Elves were making toys for all the good girls and boys, dolls and teddies, trucks and robots, all rushing to finish the last few details of houses and soldier sets. The Big Red Guy was rechecking his list, making sure everyone was on the right list. Mrs. Claus was helping female elves finish baking the last set of snicker doodle cookies and heating the last pot of cocoa of the day.
There was a warm, fuzzy glow throughout the workshop; holly was hung everywhere, with mistletoe pinned in odd spots, everyone but the mister and missus avoiding it. Trinkets and variations of Santa Claus were set up expertly, out of the way of the busy people. The workshop was a large, open space, of one story and seemingly infinitely large, with only two parts closed off in pseudo rooms; the kitchen and the boss's office. Worktables were set up in twelve rows that were twenty-five feet long, going across the room and back, giving each elf enough space to do their work, the walls were wood paneled, as was the floor, with red and green panels every four panels. There were "break" tables placed every eight feet, with a ninth at the northernmost point in the workshop; true north. There was a collection of things on these break tables; two jugs of cocoa, kept hot, red and green mugs, four plates of cookies, one elaborate gingerbread house, and tons of candy-canes.
Towards the southern part of the workshop was the kitchen; it was believed that the farther you were from the north, the warmer it was to keep the fire burning. The walls were painted to look like the walls of a gingerbread house; brown and iced. Inside, the counters were state-of-the-art ice marble with stainless steel appliances; four industrial size ovens, eight stoves, twelve refrigerators, and twenty-five microwaves. It had supplies any baker could ever want; mixers, icing, ingredients of every culture, blenders and mashers, pans and molds, cookie cutters, and whatever else you desire. Though once would think that the kitchen gave off a cold feeling, the warmth and love from the people inside it made it all the better. Beside the kitchen was the boss's office. It was where he received the naughty-and-nice list and read through it twice, made his important toy inventions, and did caught up to date with other mythical beings unseen to any human's eye. Directly behind his desk was a door, a door that opened to show stairs, an up the stairs was the second story to the workshop.
Except it wasn't a workshop anymore; it was a home, sleeping quarters of sorts. It had an even bigger kitchen, numerous bathrooms, and separate dormitories for boy and girl elves, each with endless room. Each of the elves' beds had their own individually designed headboard with their name engraved on it; they all had to make their own bed to become an official Santa's elf. There were only three individual rooms; the head elf's, one by the name of Tino— who was especially young for a head elf, at just 122 years-old, though his talents made up for it— Santa and Mrs. Claus'—both in their mid-forties—, and one unbeknownst to anyone outside the North Pole. It was the bedroom of the Claus' son, Matthew.
Matthew was a man of twenty, average stature, shoulder-length, two-toned, blonde-orange hair, and eyes so deeply blue they appeared violet, if almost by magic that ran through every Santa's blood. He was an expert toymaker, just like his father, and was well-off in the baking department, too; he made the best pancakes in the entire North Pole. He was diligent in his work and often helps the elves more than he thought and was kind hearted and personable. Yes, this was the man to take on the family name and job of Santa when his father retires at age sixty. Everyone thought he was going to be the best Santa Claus yet.
It was not new that a Santa was mortal; every single one of them lived and died the same life-span of a human, but they had magic running into their veins and cannot fall ill. They choose a "Mrs. Claus"—anyone that they can really trust their secret and part of their magic to, though the missus does not have to be married to Santa, nor does gender matter; the missus is there to help relieve Santa's duties—when the current Santa believes the time is right, and they go out into the world to find that special "Mrs. Claus". When a budding Santa chooses his Mrs. Claus, they return to the North Pole to receive the current Santa's blessing, they must return by Christmas Eve. If that particular Christmas goes well, then come New Years, the new couple or trusted pair of friends receive a "Baby New Year", of whom they are to name and raise to become the Santa after them. If the Christmas does not go well and there are errors, then they must wait until the next year. Santa is always a male, while his missus gender does not matter; three out of five Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus relationships are romantic, including the current Claus'.
It was the first of December today, and Matthew was working meticulously on a sea fort for little Peter Kirkland, a little boy who made the nice list for the twelfth time in a row. Which was, inevitably, his entire life. The fort was turning out like a World War II fort, specified by Peter in his letter. The boy had an affiliation for an old fort off the coast part of England, Sealand or something. Matthew shrugged, smiling at the thought of the adorable boy, making sure every detail of the fort was correct. Soon, he was done carving out the fort out of sturdy wood and was just about to start painting when the head elf came up to the blonde, patting him on the shoulder slightly.
The young Santa jumped a bit, snapping out of his deep concentration, turning towards the disturbance. "Oh, hello, Tino," Matthew said, confused onto why the elf was disturbing him. Nonetheless, he gave the elf his full attention. "What can I do for you?"
Let it be known: elves were in no way tiny worker-bees. Before him was a lanky man, about five inches shorter than Matthew, with short platinum blonde hair, finely sculpted features that hinted at Nordic origins, with pointed ears, and eyes that seemed to change color from blue to violet to brown depending on his mood. He wore standard uniform for elves; a deep blue tunic with an icy blue sash—on colder days, a blue sweatshirt with insulated heating— brown breeches with various pockets for tools, and white Converse high-tops—a new addition by idea of Matthew. Tino was a man of 122 years, young for an elf; their life expectancy was about eight-hundred. The previous head-elf had resigned when he turned seven-hundred, at the time, Tino was only seventy-eight. It was clear to see why he was sworn in so young; the man was a genius as a toymaker—almost as good as the big man himself. He can make thirty perfect toys in a day and made his bed at twenty; a feat not made before, and it was the best of all at the time.
"Ah, yes, well," Tino fritted. "Boss wants to talk to you for a bit in his office. He's got fresh cocoa." The elf smiled encouragingly, ushering Matthew up, plucking the sea fort from his hands. "I'll finish this for you!" He continued pushing the young toymaker, who was rather hesitant, towards Santa's office door before opening it and shoving the boy inside, ditching him.
Matthew stood before the exit of his father's office, nervously looking at him. Santa was growing out his beard in preparation for Christmas, his hair magically turning white and his body fattening into the classic, American Santa Claus; he was already wearing his red suit. On a normal basis, Dan, as was his name off season, was a physically fit man of forty-five that seemed to liven up any room. He normally had black hair that was starting to grey naturally and he looked like a kind and happy business man, if there ever was one; he believed a suit and tie was necessary for any situation save Christmas Eve and Day. Matthew loved having him for a dad. Though, he didn't understand why he was called out now, especially in such a busy month.
"You called me, dad," the blonde asked, nervously. He toed at the ground, suddenly interested in the dark wood of the floor. Usually when his father asked to see him in the office, Matthew had done something wrong. He hadn't messed up on any gifts recently, so did he not make them to his father's liking?
Santa laughed heartily, tilting his head back. "You're not in trouble, son. Come sit; there's some hot chocolate here for you." He aimed his disarming smile at the young blonde, one he often used of children who were not supposed to be up on Christmas. Matthew did as he was told, grabbing a mug, sipping at it. "So, Matthew..."
The blonde looked up, curious. "Yes, dad?" He sipped his cocoa, getting a sudden interest in the nice list on his father's desk. It was on the specific part of the state of New York, each good person listed last name first, first name last and their address beside it, currently on a Feliciano Vargas who wanted a new pasta pot. Matthew smiled; Feliciano was just a year older than him and had been on the nice list for most of his life, unlike his brother who had just recently gotten on it two years ago.
Santa leaned forward to rest on his elbows, smiling gently at his son. "Me and the missus have decided it's time for you to go out and find your own Mrs. Claus. You'll leave and you have until Christmas Eve, as usual tradition."
Matthew sputtered. "N-now? Bu-but, shouldn't you have let me know months earlier, like before busy season? Dad, are you sure? Isn't it too early for me?" On a normal basis, the young Santa would be ecstatic to go out and experience the world, but… Now? Matthew felt he wasn't ready; he wasn't as good as a toymaker as his dad yet and he really would just like to focus on his toy making and baking. He slumped in his seat, cocoa forgotten.
Santa nodded, giving a smile not amiss on a father's face. "Yes, we're sure. Matt, you always work; even as a child you never played with the other little elves or made friends. Your mother and I think it's time you make friends, and if not with the elves, then with your missus." His voice was drenched in its finality; it left no legroom for Matthew to object. All the blonde could do was nod miserably. "Good. You'll be using your mom's maiden name, Williams. I'll give you fifty American dollars but whosoever you meet first should probably be your missus." The man smiled in kind.
"And if not," Matthew prompted.
"Then, you're out of luck, son," his father joked. "If that does happen," he added, more serious, "Well… It shouldn't." With a wink from Santa, Matthew slumped and saw nothing but black.
A/N: So I'm back! It's jojo, people! Aaaaand, it's PruCan. ^^ I really wanted to write a holiday AU, and this is what I got. XD I actually do not have this finished; I'm playing it by wit. I would like this to either be six or twelve chapters. With six, I post every other day and it gives me more time to write. With twelve, I have to post everyday, and as I've said before; this is not completely written out. With either, this should be finished by Christmas Eve or Christmas day... If you got any questions on the AU, just review and I'll reply; only if they're questions worth answering and not spoiler questions. XD