Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or its characters - these were created by Eric Kripke - I'm just borrowing them. I'm not making any commercial gain. No harm or infringement intended.

Sam and Dean save Santa from an internal Elf investigation that's turned nasty.

Written for the 2020 SPN_BigPretzel 12 days of Christmas Challenge on LiveJournal. Seventh day, a one-shot.

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Seasonal Postal Irregularities

"Urgh, look at you and your resting Grinch face," complained Dean, doing a double-take as he walked into the map room and caught sight of his brother's sour expression.

Sam flipped his brother the bird. "I hate Christmas," he scowled. "And this crappy year, it's even worse."

Dean was interrupted from launching into his defense of the festive season by the sight of a large, rotund man dressed in a white-trimmed, red suit exploding into the room in a cloud of coal dust.

Sam stared in shocked surprise, his mouth opening and closing. "Is that who I think it is? Say something, Dean," he squeaked at last.

Dean blinked. "I didn't even know we had a chimney!"

Sam scowled. "Dean!"

"You're the Winchesters, right?" asked 'Santa' as he climbed to his feet, coughing and wheezing.

Dean took a hasty step back. "Hey, is it cool you coming into everyone's home this year? Cause I have to think of this big guy," he said, clapping his brother on the shoulder. "And he's actually usually kinda sickly, y'know?"

"Oh, purlease, as if this was my first pandemic," scoffed Santa. "I always use Santa-tizer to keep the germs at bay."

"Dean, how do we know this guy's legit?" asked Sam quietly.

"Do you really want to take the chance and end up on his naughty list?" hissed Dean in reply. "Besides, play our Christmas cards right, and we might even earn ourselves the present haul of the century." Louder, and turning back to Santa, he said. "So, what seems to be the trouble?"

"I'm fleeing from the Elf and Safety committee," sighed Santa. "It's practically a union. They say I'm using unsafe working practices," he added mournfully.

"And are you?" interrupted Sam, ignoring Dean's sharp elbow to his ribs.

Santa looked pained. "You don't know what it's like, trying to make a living in today's economy. I've got overheads! Why, the cost of running reindeer alone has skyrocketed in recent years, and it's not like they'll let me modernize."

"That's terrible," said Dean consolingly, leading the portly gentleman to a chair. "Don't just stand there, Sam," he scolded. "Get the man a drink."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Sure, milk and cookies is your thing, right?"

"I'd rather a whiskey if it's not too much trouble."

Dean chuckled. "Hey, a man after my own heart." He looked up as his brother returned with glasses and a blue bottle that he was sure he'd well-hidden at the back of the kitchen cupboards. "Oh, look, Sam's brought you the good stuff too," he added with a gritted smile.

"So, how can we help?" asked Sam with a frown. "Can't you just come to some arrangement about the working practices?"

"I can't improve things if I'm dead," scoffed Santa, refilling his glass, not seeming to notice Dean's wince. "I'm sure they're trying to kill me, and I'm barely able to stay one step ahead of them. Everywhere I go, there's a darn Elf on a Shelf watching me and reporting back. They're all against me, the nasty little snitches."

"Well, we don't have one of those here," said Dean reassuringly. He paused and gave Sam a sharp look. "Do we?"

"No," exclaimed Sam, "Of course not, that would be too much like fun," he muttered.

There was a distant sound of an explosion, and the bunker shook. Dust rained down on them like snowfall.

"Oh no, it's too late, they're already here," moaned Santa.

"Those elves are pretty hardcore," commented Dean, adopting a defensive posture and readying himself for a fight.

"They have to be," offered Santa, "We do still have to deliver under some pretty hairy conditions in some places."

A moment later, the bunker's heavy steel door blew off its hinges, and a troop of uniformed, heavily-armed elves stormed the building.

At the sight of so many automatic firearms trained on them at short range, the Winchesters slowly and carefully dropped their weapons and raised their hands in surrender.

There was a scurrying of activity among the two-foot-high invaders and what clearly appeared to be their leader made his way to the front. Standing tall, or as much as he could, he adjusted his red and green bobble hat before holding out a warrant card for inspection.

"Special Agent Minstix, Head of Elf and Security," he introduced. "We're here to take a dangerous fugitive into custody. So long as you're not preventing us from carrying out our duties, we've no argument with you," he continued, motioning that the Winchesters could lower their arms.

"You're only thinking of yourselves!" cried Santa. "Call yourself little helpers! You're all selfish, rather than elfish!"

"Ah, but I've had my agents in the postroom; I know your dark secret!"

Santa threw up his arms. "What do you think you know?"

"You're the devil!" cried the Elf, narrowing his eyes. "We've all heard the whispers of a dark Santa – and now I've seen proof that a sizeable amount of your correspondence is addressed to Satan!"

"But, Pepper, that's just children that mix up their spelling," replied Santa with a kindly smile.

"That's Agent Minstix to you, thank you," replied the Elf with an indignant expression.

Dean took the opportunity to speak. "Hey, if you're worried about this dude, take it from us, we've seen our share of bad guys - occasionally even been them – but he's nothing to worry about. Besides, we've met both Krampus and Lucifer, and he's neither of them."

Minstix looked thoughtful for a moment. "That's as may be and, while I appreciate your character reference, the fact is that he still answers the letters."

Santa chuckled indulgently. "Of course I answer them, they might say Satan, but they mean Santa."

The agent looked triumphant. "So you admit to breaking Federal law by opening mail addressed to another! And, as a secret arm of the Postal Service, that is something that we hold sacrosanct. It's certainly sufficient for you to be added to the naughty list! Oh, this is too much, guards, get him out of my sight!"

"Wait!" cried Sam.

"You have something to say? Then make it quick, human, for my patience is sorely tested today," growled Minstix with an icy stare.

Sam gulped nervously but continued to speak. "Technically speaking, the law only really applies to intent to steal and, once delivered, opening the item would be necessary to deal appropriately with forwarding any item on. Since it then becomes clear the item is mislabeled, but otherwise received correctly, no crime has been committed."

The agent looked conflicted at the information. "Is this true?"

"Absolutely," interrupted Dean. "He must be right, he studied Law at Stanford."

The Elf looked impressed. "Well, in that case..." He turned to Santa and jumped into his lap, throwing himself into a hug. "Oh, it's such a relief and I knew it couldn't be true! You wouldn't believe the stress this has caused me."

He disengaged himself from Santa and motioned for the soldier elves to leave. He bowed to the Winchesters. "So sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for your help." With that, he turned and followed the troops out, yelling for someone to repair the door.

"Well, that's a relief, isn't it," commented Santa, brushing himself down.

"You did seem very calm about this once they got here," said Sam curiously.

"Oh, yes, once I realized it was all just a silly misunderstanding. Pepper's heart's in the right place, and he means well," smiled Santa. "If there's one thing I've learned in my long life, it's that you have to believe in your Elf."

He walked over and retrieved the large burlap sack that he'd dropped earlier and had a quick rummage within it before passing out two wrapped gifts. "There you go, a token each of my appreciation," he smiled.

"Oh, you didn't need to..." started Sam, but Santa had already disappeared.

"Socks..." said Dean in a wistfully disappointed voice, having already torn his present open.

"Underpants," chuckled Sam, holding his own gift aloft.

Dean snorted and poured them both a generous measure of Johnny Walker Blue Label. He held up his glass and passed the other to Sam.

"Now, let's all drink to Santa's good Elf and just enjoy this Christmas, shall we?" he laughed.

THE END

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