The Reluctant Elves

by Mallory

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Special thank you to Lisa O. for the beta! Very special thank you to Lisa S. for the wonderful picture she created to accompany the


Evie Travis entered the surveillance area of the security offices of the Montecito Hotel. She was trailed by Josiah Sanchez, Buck Wilmington, Ezra Standish and Nathan Jackson. All four men's arms were overloaded with boxes.

"Hello!" Evie said cheerfully. She wore a red dress suit with a corsage of tiny, plastic green and white striped candy canes pinned to her lapel. Little bells that hung from the ribbons on the corsage tinkled as she walked.

Vin Tanner and JD Dunne stood when she entered the room.

"Afternoon, Mrs. Travis," Vin said with a grin.

"Hi, Mrs. Travis," JD added, cheerfully. "How are you? All set for Christmas?"

Evie smiled. "Oh yes. It's my favorite time of the year!" She turned to the four men behind her. "Just put those down anywhere.” And then she asked Tanner and Dunne, “Would Mr. Larabee be in? I have the costumes here."

"Chris is in his office, Mrs. Travis. I'll go fetch him," Vin offered.

"Costumes?" JD asked.

"For the Christmas Party that the Montecito is sponsoring for Children's Hospital," Evie replied. "Surely Orin told you about it?"

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Travis," Chris Larabee said, stepping into the surveillance room with Vin. "I heard you were hosting a Christmas party for the children. But who are the costumes for?"

"Didn't Orin tell you?" Evie asked, looking a bit distressed.

"Tell us what?" Josiah ventured.

"Why, he volunteered you gentlemen to help out at the party. You, Mr. Sanchez are to play Santa Claus and the rest of you are to be his Elves," Evie said addressing everyone in the room.

Silence followed as the seven men looked from one to the other.

"Elves?" Ezra finally questioned.

"Oh neat!" JD laughed. "This should be fun."

The other six men looked at him in shocked amazement.

Evie smiled widely at JD's reaction. "Very good! I shall expect you all to be in the lobby ready to go to the hospital on Saturday at 5 o'clock! We'll have a van there to take you there in costume and don't be late!" With that, she departed.

Nathan opened one of the boxes and pulled out a green elfin tunic, striped green and white stockings, pointed hat and curly-toed shoes. He started to laugh. "Guess this is it."

"Chris!" Buck moaned. "No way!"

"I'd like to echo Mr. Wilmington's sentiments," Ezra added.

Josiah searched through the boxes and found the one containing the Santa Claus suit. "At least you all don't have to wear a hot, scratchy false beard."

Ezra held up a pair of striped stockings. "That's hardly comforting, Mr. Sanchez."

Vin released a sigh. "Ah hell. Look at these shoes!"

"Come on, guys!" JD coaxed. "This is a party for sick kids who are stuck in a hospital on Christmas day!"

The men all turned and looked at Chris, who sighed. "JD's right. We have to think of the children." He looked back at his co-workers. "But if any one of you dares call me 'Kris Kringle', be forewarned; I'll shoot you." Heading back to his office, Chris continued muttering, "Because this elf's packing heat."


On the pre-appointed Saturday, the security staff of the Montecito, with the extremely obvious exception of Ezra Standish, was gathered in the lobby. Dressed as Santa and his elves, they stood waiting a bit awkwardly, trying to ignore the giggles of passers-by.

"This is going to be a blast!" JD exclaimed for what seemed the hundredth time. "Hey, isn't that Inez over there?"

Inez Recillos, who ran the Mystique Nightclub, walked toward the six men, smiling happily. She wore a short red dress, trimmed in white faux fur, a Santa hat and black boots.

"Hello, Gentlemen!" she said. "Merry Christmas to one and all."

She received greetings from all of the men and a nod from Chris.

Buck grinned as he gave her the once-over. "You look great, Darlin'. What are you dressed up for?"

Inez chuckled and moved toward Josiah, slipping her arm through the big man's. "Why, I'm Mrs. Claus," she replied, batting her eye lashes playfully and winning a big grin from Sanchez.

Buck looked dumbfounded. "Hey, wait just a minute –"

"Hi!" Came another call and the men looked over to see Casey and Rain walking toward them. Casey was dressed like an elf and Rain wore a long red gown with Santa hat. She carried a CD-player and a pouch of CD's. JD and Nathan smiled at their approach.

"You going to the hospital, too?" JD asked.

Rain nodded. "I'm going to lead the Christmas carols and play holiday music."

Casey smiled in return. "And I'm one of the elves, since Ezra's sick."

Chris, who wore a long, black trench coat over his elf costume, turned his gaze toward Casey. "Since Ezra's what?"

"Sick. He called Mr. Travis this morning. His doctor said he's contagious and can't go to the party. He shouldn't be spreading germs among all those sick kids," Casey replied.

"Oh for Chri…Christmas sake," Buck amended rolling his eyes.

Vin smirked. "Well, I say Ezra's faking."

Nathan laughed and gave Rain a wink. "You're probably right."

"So? What are we going to do about it?" JD challenged.

"What if we go to his house later, let the air out of his tires and soap his windows?" Vin offered with a big, wicked grin.

"Count me in," laughed Buck. Turning back to Inez and Josiah, the ladies’ man asked, "So how come none of us gets a little elf wife?"

JD slipped his arm around Casey's shoulders. "Speak for yourself, Buck."


The van from the Montecito Hotel pulled up at a back entrance of Children's Hospital and 'Santa' and his eight associates disembarked. Josiah hoisted a large sack onto his shoulder as did each of his fellow 'elves'. The sacks contained toys for the children that had been donated by a number of the hotel owners in Las Vegas…all at Mrs. Travis' behest, of course.

Evie appeared at the entrance and smiled as she held the door open. "You all look so wonderful!" she cried. "Come in, come in."

When everyone had entered the hospital, Evie led them to a large room that had been decorated with a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. Orin Travis laughed and came forward to greet the new arrivals at once.

"Welcome ladies and gentlemen. I don't know quite how to thank you for this," Orin said. "You may leave the gifts on this table to be handed out later. Josiah, we'd like you and Inez to wait in the side room until the children are here, so you can make an entrance."

Before anyone could respond another voice took them by surprise.

"Well, well, well, gentlemen! Don't you all look – festive."

"Ezra?" Vin asked.

Chris smirked giving the Southerner the once-over. "Since when do elves wear Armani?"

Ezra grinned in his light-weight grey wool suit. "They do when they are the photographer for the evening."

"Photographer?" Buck sputtered.

"Quite right. It occurred to me that the children would love souvenir photos of their party and Mr. Travis agreed to allow me to rent the proper equipment and act as photographer," Ezra replied.

"Sneaky," Nathan commented.


It was early evening and the party at Children's Hospital was in full swing. Josiah had to turn away from the young ones yet again to wipe a tear from his eye. The party was definitely a success and the big man felt his heart swell at the thought that just a few hours of his time could bring such joy to these children, some of whom were very ill. Seeing their eyes light up when he first made his entrance as "St. Nick" made the Head Valet feel ten-feet tall.

He watched as JD and Casey played out their roles, as happy as any of the children in attendance. Everyone had listened to Rain serenade the crowd with her beautiful voice. 'Just like a real angel' one of the young ones had commented. Nathan had grinned widely overhearing that remark. Vin was teaching a group of children and a few young nurses how to do the Texas Two-Step. Buck was making his way around the room, flirting with Inez and any other lady he could, including the giggling little patients. Ezra unobtrusively made his way around the room after photographing each child on Santa's lap, taking a wide variety of pictures. Even Chris had a big smile on his face as he demonstrated rope tricks in one corner of the big hall for a group of excited young boys.


"You know we're going to have to get Ezra back for this," Buck said on the ride back to the hotel. "Faking he's sick and then showing up with those cameras. Shoot, I bet there’ll be pictures of us plastered everywhere by Monday."

Vin laughed. "You're just pissed because that pretty nurse said you looked like the jolly green giant."

Buck made a sour face while the rest of the group enjoyed a good laugh at the ladies’ man's expense.

"So, how are we going to get revenge on Ezra?" JD queried.

Chris chuckled. "I have an idea."

"Would you care to share that, Chris?" Josiah asked.

"I think, in the spirit of Christmas, that Ezra should have to wear his elf costume for every shift he works this week," Larabee replied.

Laughter again filled the van.

Nathan grinned. "I think it's a punishment that fits the crime."

Buck grinned widely. "Have to be sure you make lots of copies of those security tapes."

"Oh we will!" JD laughed.



The Las Vegas Chronicles