Special thanks to my Slytherin collab authors: Krissy, Maitri, Grace, Alma and Kristen

“Thunk.” My head whipped up from my phone as I squinted past the roasting fire place. Silence. Oblivious, I️ reached over to my Bluetooth speaker and cranked up the music before jamming off into a world of my own.

It was only when I started serenading the menorah to “All I Want for Christmas is You” that I realized that I wasn’t alone. Wheezing slightly from my belting, I squinted up at a large, sooty, and beefy person. It took a few seconds, but even without the typical red and white-trimmed outfit, I could recognize that figure anywhere.

To say I was shocked, would be the least. I was not expecting him to be home — at all

“Dad.” I croaked. My mouth had gone dry. The past couple of months had been the busiest for him. In between running the elves and keeping a track of 1.9 billion children that only remember him once a year, he never had the time to come home and spend it with the kid that missed him the most. His kid. Me.

“My daughter,” he said after a few seconds. The seconds felt like eternity. I wasn’t expecting him home for another day or two. The emotions of not seeing him in so long had been bottled up until I saw his red cheeks blush red as cherries with bottled up emotions of his own. We hugged each other into a much-needed embrace with tears rolling down both of our cheeks. My day-to-day life just wasn’t the same without him.

“I missed you,” I said to him as we parted, my face still wet. Every year went the same way. He would come back to me for a few minutes during the holidays, after the elves had finished making all of the presents, and then go back to the North Pole again to start his Christmas journey. I’ve begged him for years to let me join him there. It’s crazy unfair that Mom and Dad get to live in the Arctic while I’m stuck in a foster home in Georgia. But he thinks I’m better off here, away from the world of magic.

But what if that’s not what I think?

“I missed you too, more than you could ever know,” my father said, scooping up a cookie from the plate I had left him and putting a present under the tree. “See you next year, sweetheart.”

And with that, he was gone.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.