No matter who you are, you’re probably celebrating something today.
Me, I fall on the Hanukkah end of the scale, here. But I’m well aware that it’s Christmas too. And since I’ve got eight whole days in which to dump Hanukkah songs and stories of my characters playing driedels on you guys… I’m posting this story today. One I honestly didn’t think I’d write.
Because there are some plot bunnies too good to let just hop off into the bushes.
So, my friend on OYAN (known to me as Pony), recently started watching Doctor Who. And of course she’s a civilized human being, so she didn’t skip the Ninth Doctor.
And while the two of us exchanged favorite lines and such, she gave me an idea for a story that was just begging to be written.
So, now we have a story about the Ninth Doctor… cameos of friends’ characters… the origin of Santa…. and the four times he got caught. Enjoy, everyone. -bows-
(and may I just shortly say that Nine’s voice is really fun to write in. <3)
Sometimes the most amusing stories come from people trying to explain what they don’t know. It’s really quite entertaining. Creativity is one of the things that intrigue me so much about the human race.
And at least in this case that I’m referring to, they clued in on the right thing before it got blown out of hand.
In this case, the thing that started it was a man named Nicholas.
Later known as Saint Nicholas, though he never knew that. Funny how most of the saints never even knew they got sainted.
He was really a fantastic man. Very kind . . . generous . . . heart of gold. I’ve met him personally, so don’t think I’m just going off the history books here.
But anyway, he inspired me quite a lot, actually. I mean, saving the world and all that is all well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to just help out in smaller ways. Being nice and thoughtful, not just clever in defeating other malicious species.
So, Nick’s whole gig had been to give presents to kids who didn’t have the money for them. And he was always secret about it . . . barely ever got caught. A reverse thief, if you will. An inspiring mission if there ever was one. Problem with humans, though, they never last very long.
Nicholas died, of course, but I really did hate to see the kids he’d been caring for just go without presents. And I was a bit on the lookout for a new pastime, so that year, I took it on myself to give the kids some nice things.
But then, I had a TARDIS, and there were plenty of other poor kids in the world . . . ones that couldn’t quite afford presents . . . so that got me thinking. The next year, I found a few more kids from different times and places and got them a few toys as well.
Like they say, the rest was history.
I made myself a schedule of sorts. I’d hop around from place to place, year to year, but always on the evening of December twenty-forth. I looked into the kids a bit . . . just so I could get an idea of what they’d like, then stopped by and slipped something in under the tree or in the stockings.
People caught onto my idea pretty well, actually. As the years went on, I had fewer and fewer kids to take care of. Santa Claus was invented and lots of charities popped up. It was honestly kind of fun to watch my little hobby progress.
I mean, flying reindeer . . . a man in a red suit . . . elves . . . it was hilarious, honestly. But what was I supposed to expect? I never let anyone see me. They were all asleep . . . upstairs or in the other room. All anyone ever heard was a whoosh, if that.
No one saw me. The man in the leather jacket . . . the man with the blue box . . . the man who brought the presents . . . the Doctor. I never let them see me.
But then again, everyone makes mistakes.
There are always exceptions, and I do have a few marks on my record. A few people who actually saw me. Caught me in the act, so to speak.
They weren’t professors. They weren’t recognized as geniuses . . . they weren’t even particularly observant people, actually.
Chance is a funny thing, you know. And it just happened that I was caught.
Four different places. Four different people who know the truth about the man who started this nonsense about “Santa”.
And out of the hundreds of thousands of people I took gifts to through the years, I’d like to think that’s not bad.
Name: Cobalt Winter
Location: Washington State
Time: 21st century
A soft whooshing noise sounded in the basement of the Winter household and a blue form began to take shape. Papers swirled around in the wind, then settled as the TARDIS fully materialized in the corner. The door swung open and the Doctor walked out.
He stopped for a second and bounced on his toes, then pulled a piece of paper out of his leather jacket pocket, reminding himself briefly about the Winter family and who his gift was for this time.
Cobalt. Youngest of two and the only one left at home now. Wants . . . shoes. Right.
The Doctor peeked into the bag he was holding and smiled to himself. A pair of dark blue, white-toed sneakers sat right on top. Blue seemed a fitting color for the boy whose name matched it so well.
Flicking out his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor walked up the stairs quietly, but with a bounce in his step. He opened the door into the kitchen. Warm, multicolored twinkle lights strung around the windows and a red, peppermint candle burned on the table. The sound of a fire crackling in the hearth reached the Doctor’s ears.
He pressed the button on his screwdriver and it made a soft buzzing noise as he scanned it around like a flashlight. The screwdriver gave a quiet beep. Safe. No one was down here.
Into the living room then.
The fireplace cast a soft, orange glow around the room and onto the tinsel and holiday lights. A tree twinkled brightly in the corner. Right on the coffee table sat a little plate.
That was one of the things the Doctor quite appreciated with the advent of the whole Santa thing: People left him little snacks and nice notes. He wasn’t particularly fond of eggnog or being called Santa, but it was still the thought that counted.
Only this snack was a bit of a deviation from the regular two or three cookies and glass of milk.
The Doctor frowned for a second in puzzlement, stepping towards the little plate, then broke into a smile. A banana and a glass of chocolate milk sat in the dancing firelight. He gave a little laugh and picked up the banana.
Just then, there was a little squeaking noise and a small boy in blue pajamas tumbled down off one of the high shelves, landing with a thud on the couch below.
The Doctor jumped back in surprise, dropping the banana back onto the tabletop.
The boy popped back up with not so much as an “ow”, his blue eyes sparkling in the dim light. His jet black hair spiked out on one side and lay flat down on the side he’d landed. His mouth quirked up in a sideways smile as he looked the Doctor up and down.
“You must be Santa.”
The Doctor blinked at him, not sure what to say. He swallowed, “Sort of. And you must be Cobalt.”
Cobalt nodded, smiling wider. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards the bookshelves. “I hid up there on the very top shelf so you wouldn’t see me.”
Ah, he was too high up for the area I scanned. “You did a good job. I didn’t see you at all.”
Cobalt bounced off the couch and over to the Doctor. “I thought you’d be bigger. Like . . . around.” He made a motion around his own thin stomach, then tipped his head up. “You’re taller than I guessed, though.”
The Doctor thought for a moment, then got down on one knee. “It’s very clever of you to have caught me and you’re a smart boy. I’ll make you a deal, though.” He held up a finger and Cobalt stared at it as though it was the most interesting thing in the world. The Doctor continued.
“You don’t tell anyone that you saw me . . . and I’ll give you what you want the very most.”
Cobalt’s small mouth formed into an O shape. “Brand new shoes?” he breathed.
The Doctor nodded seriously, “Brand new shoes. Blue ones.”
“Okay,” Cobalt nodded back, still whispering. “It’s a deal.”
“Fantastic,” the Doctor ruffled Cobalt’s hair and stood. He reached inside his bag and pulled out the shoes. “There you go.”
Cobalt bounced on his toes and bit his lip to hold back from squeaking as he took them. They were perfect. He smiled his biggest, most crooked grin up at the Doctor. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Hope you enjoy them.” The Doctor couldn’t help smiling at Cobalt’s delight.
“I’ll wear them to smithereens,” promised Cobalt.
The Doctor nodded, “You do that. Have a good Christmas.” He started to walk away, but stopped for a second to grab something off the table. “Oh, and thank you very much for the banana. Fantastic choice of snack.”
Name: Blaze Brenton
Time: 21st century
Christmas in a ratty old tent . . . not what I had planned for the year by a long shot. Blaze poked a long stick into the campfire and watched the sparks dance up into the sky. Last time Sophie “gets creative” with our Christmas plans.
She scowled over to where she’d pinned their stockings up to a tree. Like they’d get anything other than pinecones and twigs in them, sure. A quick glance at her watch showed her the time. Eleven forty-six. She still wasn’t tired, though.
Sighing, Blaze put her head down on her arms.
“Whoosh . . . whoooosh . . . whoooooossshhh . . .”
She looked up again. The noise continued and she frowned. It stopped and she heard the crunch of footsteps. She stood, holding her stick tightly. “H-hello?”
A man in a leather jacket stepped into the circle of firelight, holding a bulgy pack. “Shouldn’t you be in bed, ginger?”
Blaze jumped back, pointing the stick at him. Her breathing came faster. “M-maybe. Shouldn’t you be not creeping around campsites in the dark on Christmas eve?” She frowned suspiciously, “Who do you think you are, anyway? Santa?”
The man opened his mouth, then closed it again with a thoughtful frown. “You know, if you won’t tell anyone, it’s actually quite an interesting story. But in the meanwhile, I’m actually the Doctor, and I’ve got something for you.”
Blaze looked at him suspiciously, still keeping her stick leveled at him. Not like it would do much damage, but still, having a pointy thing between them made her feel just a bit safer.
The Doctor dug in his bag for a minute then pulled out a bag of marshmallows. He tossed them to Blaze, who had to drop her stick to catch them, then continued his digging.
“Just a couple more things . . . there.” He pulled out a pair of sparkly red sneakers and a book and grinned at Blaze. “Shoes for you. Book for your sister.” He nodded and handed them over.
Blaze stared at the things in her arms. “And you’re giving these things to us because . . .”
The Doctor shrugged, “It’s Christmas and I like seeing people happy.”
A suspicion rose in Blaze’s mind and she squinted at the man who called himself “the Doctor”. She formulated a test question, speaking slowly. “I . . . don’t believe in Santa.”
“Me either,” responded the Doctor. “Bunch of rubbish. But . . .” he held up a finger and grinned at her, “I do believe in myself.”
The Doctor waved to her and turned, going back into the darkness where he came.
Blaze blinked after him, then shook her head. “Um . . . th-thank you!”
“My pleasure, Miss Brenton!” echoed the cheery voice.
The whooshing noise started again and faded away into the night.
Blaze looked down at her shoes and bag of marshmallows. A grin spread over her face and she popped the marshmallow bag open.
Not such a terrible Christmas after all.
Name: Mike Anderson
Location: Los Angeles, California
Time: Late 20th century
Getting Christmas presents with no money was a bit challenging.
Even more challenging knowing that your sister is going to interrogate you about whether said presents were stolen.
It was desperate times that sent Mike Anderson both rifling through old boxes of his parents things and . . . horror of horrors . . . knitting.
And on Christmas Eve, the grand total of presents to put beneath the scraggly tree was three. Mom’s old sweater for Lisa, Dad’s old baseball cap for Patrick and a very squiggly, uneven scarf for Dixie.
Mike had never been very big on Santa and didn’t even try to keep up the charade, but he still felt like he should have something to give. Plus all Dixie’s bouncing and saying that she “couldn’t wait to see what she got for Christmas” . . . it would have been out of the question to leave her with nothing but Lisa’s burnt Christmas cookies.
So there Mike was, bleary-eyed and in his pajama pants, hauling his small box of presents out to place in a somewhat presentable manner for the holiday.
He sat down next to the tree with his box, a roll of wrapping paper and some tape and rubbed a hand over his eyes. The soft, piney smell drifted in the air around him as he set to work trying in vain to figure out how he could wrap a baseball hat in wrapping paper.
There was a faint whooshing noise down in the alley below and a blue police box appeared, hiding in the city shadows. The Doctor poked out, checked his bag, grabbed his screwdriver and strode towards the stairs leading towards the Anderson apartment. This was his last stop for the night. Just some decent presents for these kids.
He didn’t bother to scan the area. No lights were on in the windows . . . they were probably all asleep anyway. The Doctor popped open the door with his sonic screwdriver and stepped inside.
Mike whirled at the sound. Someone popped the lock . . . opened the door . . . someone broke into the apartment . . . Heart pounding, he automatically reached for his pockets. His hands just hit the empty flannel of his pajama pants.
He cussed under his breath. The one time I’m unarmed. Of course.
The footsteps came closer.
Mike looked around frantically, fumbling among the Christmas decorations for something that would work as a weapon. That star at the top of the tree would work wonderfully . . . if he had a ladder . . .
There. His hand closed around one of Lisa’s candlesticks. That’ll work fine. A bludgeon, sort of.
Just then, the intruder came around the corner. A man in a leather jacket with a bag slung across his midsection. Unarmed except for what looked like a weird sort of pen in his hand.
Well, candlestick beats pen any day. Mike held his weapon out defensively in front of him, trying to look threatening.
The man saw Mike and jumped back in surprise. His shock only lasted a couple seconds before shifting into an easy smile. “Oh, hello.”
Mike advanced on him. “Who are you?”
“I’m the Doctor,” the man put up his hands, looking Mike up and down. “And you must be Mike Anderson. The big brother.” He nodded, “Lovely pajama pants, Mike.”
Mike swore at him, raising the candlestick higher. “What are you doing here? And how do you know my name?”
“Just had a quick delivery to make.” The Doctor slung his bag off from his shoulder and set it on the ground. “And I know a lot of people’s names.”
A delivery? Mike frowned. Not usually why people break in . . . taking stuff is more common than dropping stuff off by a long shot. Then what was this Doctor guy getting at?
The Doctor pulled a few wrapped packages out of his bag and stepped a bit closer. Mike kept the candlestick at the ready, but let him come.
“So that one . . .” the Doctor handed him a small, square package. “That’s some music tapes for your sister, Lisa. Heard she liked those.” More digging. “There’s a jacket for Patrick. His old one’s wearing a bit thin, I think. And this . . . Spiderman gloves for little Dixie.”
The Doctor pulled one out of the gift bag he had them in and slipped it on with a grin. He showed Mike both sides of his hand, “Pretty cool, eh?” A touch of a button in the palm made a web-shooting noise that made Mike jump.
The Doctor shoved the glove back into the bag and then handed it over. “So, that’s it I think. Should help out a bit.”
Mike just stared at him, making an effort to keep his jaw from dropping. He opened his mouth and tipped his head, “Yeah, thanks, I just . . . why . . .?”
The Doctor stuck his hands in his pockets and bounced on his toes. “Ever heard of Santa Claus?”
“Load of crap,” Mike responded reflexively.
“Glad I’m not the only one who thinks that,” the Doctor seemed amused by Mike’s bluntness. “See, Saint Nick died quite a long time ago. I just decided to keep up the tradition, if you will. Besides, it’s fun picking out presents for kids.” He nodded to Mike’s shiny wrapped pile of presents. “Hope they like them, anyway. And I’d be obliged if you kept it on the quiet side of things that you saw me.”
Mike nodded. “Um . . . s-sure, yeah.”
The Doctor nodded back, smiling with all his teeth. “Well, I’ll be seeing you. Merry Christmas, Mike.” He turned to go.
“Hold up . . .” Mike stepped forward. The candlestick hung loosely from between his fingers now.
The Doctor paused and peeked back around the doorframe. A smile twitched at the corner of Mike’s mouth.
The Doctor grinned, tugging on the collar a bit. “Thank you. Quite fond of it myself.”
Name: Wolfgang Dankworth
Time: 21st century
At eleven years old, Wolfgang Dankworth had developed an uncanny ability to sense when something was . . . off.
He’d figured out the whole thing with his parents pretending to be Santa when he was seven. That familiar handwriting . . . his mom making Dad’s favorite cookies for “Santa” . . . and what cinched it was the fan on top of their chimney.
No one could get down there without getting chopped to bits in the process.
Much less a notoriously fat man.
But for the last two years on Christmas, since money had been tight, he’d again gotten the feeling that something wasn’t quite as it seemed.
A few noises in the night . . . more cookies being gone . . . a sudden influx of those unlabeled presents that no one could figure out who had sent them . . . It made a man reconsider his former deductions.
And these thoughts, these suspicions of the red-clad saint, are what stationed Wolfgang behind his living room couch late at night on Christmas Eve.
He had his old hoodie pulled up professionally so only a tiny sprout of his cowlicked hair poked out and he was armed with the sharpest thing he could get his hands on without too much suspicion: scissors.
And they weren’t even very sharp. Just those blunt kids’ craft scissors.
It was humiliating. But he hung to the hope that Santa wouldn’t be able to see all that well by twinkle light. And he could whack off his glasses before questioning him, if need be to make sure of that.
But he wouldn’t be too rough on him, he determined. There was still a chance . . . however tiny . . . that this mysterious Saint Nick had managed to actually find him the leather jacket that his parents said either didn’t come in his size or was too expensive. And he didn’t want to throw away that chance by coming off too badly.
He just wanted truth.
That wasn’t too naughty, was it? Who cared about the means?
Wolfgang shifted in his position behind the couch. His foot was falling asleep from sitting on it for as long as he had. He checked his watch. Twelve thirty-five. What was taking the old guy so long?
He changed his position so his back was up against the back of the couch and muttered under his breath. “This was a stupid idea.” His whisper faded away dully into the darkness.
There’s probably no Santa anyway. I was right in the first place and I’ll go fall asleep in the mashed potatoes at dinner because I stayed up so late.
He absently snipped the scissors in his right hand and let his head fall back against the couch.
Stupid, stupid. Wolfgang sighed. He kept looking up at the ceiling, watching the flashing twinkle of the Christmas tree lights blink across it. I should just go back to bed.
He sat there for a bit more, arguing with himself. His blinking grew slower and slower and his eyes finally closed. The scissors dropped lower in his grip and his head nodded off to one side. A soft snore came from his mouth.
It was quiet, except for the ticking of the clock and Wolfgang’s soft breathing, for the next few minutes.
Then a soft whooshing noise from the basement. Quiet footsteps came up the stairs and the Doctor walked into the Dankworth living room.
He stopped and tipped his head for a second, then pulled out his sonic screwdriver and did a quick scan. All clear. The family was all asleep. He smiled and checked his bag.
Three presents for the three kids. A Swiss army knife for the oldest . . . a sparkly pen for the little girl . . . and a set of building blocks for the baby boy. All there.
“Fantastic,” the Doctor smiled to himself and walked over towards the stockings hung at the hearth.
Behind the couch, Wolfgang jolted awake, quickly regaining his grip on the scissors. Had someone just . . . talked?
Blinking away the bleariness, he went flat on his stomach, peering under the couch and knocking back his hood just a bit.
There were feet by the fireplace. Definitely not his dad’s feet. And he heard someone humming a Christmas carol softly.
Holy smoke, it’s Santa! It’s really him! I was right! Wolfgang suppressed a gasp and pulled his scissors up. His hands trembled as he stood slowly so he couldn’t even hear his own movements. He stepped out from behind the couch, advancing towards the man at the fireplace.
The Doctor remained busy with his stuffing of the small packages into the stockings.
Wolfgang frowned. This guy sure didn’t look like any of the pictures of Santa. He was all in black, his hair was dark and from what he could see, this guy had nothing even close to a beard. If he hadn’t been dropping off presents, Wolfgang would have thought for sure he was a robber.
He ran his tongue over his teeth as he walked up behind the stranger. No telling when he’d turn around. Best to make his move sooner rather than later.
Taking a wild leap, he jumped up, latching on around the Doctor’s neck and bringing the scissors up near his face.
“What the . . .?” the Doctor staggered back with the sudden weight.
“Freeze,” Wolfgang hissed, trying desperately to keep his grip on the slick leather jacket. He felt his hood slip off, but couldn’t reach up to fix it. His legs flailed as he tried to get a hold, but he slipped, falling to the floor with a thump.
The Doctor turned, staring at the kid on the floor.
Wolfgang scrambled to his feet again, holding the scissors out in front of him with the blades open. “I-I’ve got a few questions f-for you, mister,” he stuttered unsteadily.
The look of alarm faded off the Doctor’s face and a twinkle came into his eye, which annoyed Wolfgang immensely.
The Doctor put his hands up and nodded. “I’m unarmed. Ask away.”
Wolfgang kept his scissors up, squinting at the man in front of him. “First of all, are you Santa Claus?”
“You could say that.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
The Doctor stuck his tongue in his cheek thoughtfully and looked sideways over at the Christmas tree.
Wolfgang rattled his scissors, “Well?”
“A bit complicated, that . . .” the Doctor dropped his hands, “See, I’m the Doctor. A time traveler . . . Time Lord, more specifically. And I do believe I am the one that spread a lot of the Santa rumor, yes.”
Wolfgang’s eyes popped open wide. “Hold on . . . time traveler?”
The Doctor nodded, sticking his hands in his jacket pockets. “I’m guessing you’ve heard of Saint Nick. Well, I hated to see his wonderful tradition of giving presents to the kids who couldn’t afford them die with him, so I sort of took it on. I’ve got quite a bit fewer constraints, just with having a TARDIS and all. That’s my time machine, by the way. People just never see me, so they invented an image.”
He shrugged, “They think it’s a fat man in red rattling around with a flying team of reindeer. It’s actually a tall man in a leather jacket rattling around with a blue box. Bit of a difference.”
It made more sense than Wolfgang expected. He nodded slowly, thinking it over. Everything seemed to fit. Time travel . . . of course. How could he have not thought of it before?
The Doctor raised an eyebrow, “Any more questions, Wolfgang?”
Wolfgang jumped a little at the use of his name, but shoved the scissors into his pocket. “That was the main one.”
The Doctor looked serious, holding up one finger, “Now I’d like you to keep this quiet if you could. I mean, I have nothing to loose particularly, but it would cause a bit more of a stir than it’s worth for you. Trust me, it’s best if folks just stick with the whole guy-in-the-red-suit thing.”
“I’ll keep it secret,” Wolfgang promised. He got quiet for a minute, bit his lip and rubbed a hand over his hair. It looked like he was trying to get up the nerve to ask something else.
The Doctor tipped his head, his mouth in a half smile. “What is it?”
“Just . . .”Wolfgang swallowed and twisted his mouth, “what I wanted most for Christmas that Mom and Dad couldn’t get . . .” he took a breath and pointed to the Doctor’s leather jacket. “Is . . . is that for me?”
The Doctor was taken aback. His hands went to his jacket reflexively and Wolfgang tried his best to not look crestfallen.
Just wishful thinking then. He’d never get his jacket. He’d be eighty before he saved up enough money from odd chores.
But the Doctor’s face changed a bit. He looked to be considering something for a minute, then got on his knees next to the messy haired little boy in front of him.
Reaching up, the Doctor pulled back the worn shoulders of the jacket, sliding his arms out and letting the soft leather crumple behind him. He brought it forwards and swung it around Wolfgang’s small shoulders. The boy was practically swimming in the enormous coat.
He nodded firmly, keeping his hands in place on Wolfgang’s shoulders and smiling. “Yes. It is for you.”
Wolfgang’s dimpled grin glowed almost brighter than the Christmas tree.
The Doctor ruffled his hair and stood. “Now you take good care of that for me, alright? It’s already been through a time war . . . got a story behind it. We don’t need any more blood and tears on that old thing.”
Wolfgang nodded. “Sure, yeah. I’ll be careful.” He looked down and fingered the soft leather, his smile not fading in the least.
“You’ll grow into it,” said the Doctor, swinging his bag up onto his shoulder again. “It really is a fantastic jacket.” He started out of the room, back towards the TARDIS.
Wolfgang stopped him with a hug around his middle. Both his hands were lost in the ends of the sleeves and flopped against the Doctor’s back. “Thank you.” He looked up, “I’ll see you next Christmas, okay?”
The Doctor laughed, “I’ll look forward to it. As long as you leave the scissors out next time.”
Good luck getting me to imagine Wolfgang’s jacket as anything else now. XD
Hope you guys enjoyed a bit of Doctor Who for the day and may you all have a wonderful holiday. ❤
Which character’s reaction do you think you’d be closest to? Which was your favorite to read?
Love to hear from you!
’till later… stay fantastic…