Pine Peak Sanctuary Six grisly stockings, please!

Outfit but it’s red and also there are jeans

The greatest day of the year had arrived. She’d lost at least half her mind leading up to it, but Natasha and her had downright beautiful results to show for all their efforts.

Many, many, Christmas decorations covered and cascaded the lodge’s exterior as well as the railings along the porches. Inside, their beloved Christmas tree was positioned towards a corner, presents nestled atop a knitted tree skirt. Leaned up against the nearby wall was a lit up letter board that read:

Merry Christmas bears
& welcome home Indra!! xx

Because of course, at least half of today had to be about welcoming him back.

Sometime after everyone had arrived and hugs had been handed out--then came the time for presents. ”Alright, sit down! All of you,” Maxine flapped around eagerly, taking a final sip of her hot chocolate before lowering the mug onto the coffee table.

outfit with these and a santa hat

Honestly, how magical. He knew Maxine really loved Christmas, but he didn't think they'd celebrated outside of his old cabin in Graupel. And while he did his own decorating, it wasn't anything close to this. Natasha had helped, of course, but that only warmed him further. He chose not to think too much about it, beyond just really appreciating it all. He'd supplied the only thing he was good for around the holidays; hot cocoa. The Hot Cocoa. Homemade, mixed with tons of love and tons of booze. Just the way he liked it.

He was jovial; jolly, even! Floating though the party, teasing the girls about secretly being Santa's elves, likely opening himself up to a short joke if anyone was feeling particularly mean. Made sure Indra was having a good time, challenged the twins to some football later. But eventually, they were being summoned, and Cliff was obedient in settling down at the couch. His gift for Emmet was tucked under the tree with the rest of them, though it had a tag marked "SS" on it, given that he also populated the underneath with gifts for everyone outside of the game. Was that making the game irrelevant? Possibly. But how could he not?


Natasha had definitely let Maxine take the lead on the Christmas planning, enjoying their girl time to no end as she fulfilled any jobs that were given to her to complete. The end results were absolutely amazing and by the end of it all, Natasha was pretty sure she had jumped straight into a Christmas movie and there was nothing more she could ask out of life. It only made it more amazing that she had gotten Maxine with the Secret Santa stuff, but it also made it so much harder!

Natasha had, had to wait until everyone else arrived before sneakily shoving her own gift under the tree just to keep Maxine from figuring out what wrapping she had used.

Once all of that was settled, Natasha would bounce between all the bears drinking hot chocolate and just having the best of times. It was when Maxine called them over that Natasha would plopping on in next to Cliff.


In Indra's mind, there was a certain reputation to uphold, and he wanted to make sure that going away to California after his mom's death hadn't changed his personality. He knew it actually had in many ways and truthfully, the holiday season without her was harder than he ever would've imagined. But for the night, he could be merry with his bear family. And be goofy, hence the outfit. He didn't know why anyone would ever donate such a magical garment to Goodwill, but it had been his lucky day when he found it!

Indra had maybe teared up just a little when he saw the lit up letterboard welcoming him home, but being in the company of the others had made them quickly evaporate. There was a gift for Cliff to hide under the tree and stories to tell and people to hug and boozed up hot chocolate to drink. Indra had also made sure to bring his guitar to play a few tunes if anyone had asked. Before long they were gathered by the lady he'd come to know as Maxine. He took the space next to Natasha, and when he saw the gifts under the tree he looked at the one he'd bought for Cliff and gave a little grin. As they waited for what was next, Indra picked up his guitar and began strumming a quiet version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

The sanctuary already looked like Santa-land at the north pole with its cozy exterior padded generously with snow. Seeing it decked out with holiday cheer made Locke think he had stepped into one of those Christmas movies where no expense was spared on making sure the audience knew exactly what season they were celebrating. He freaking loved it. It must have taken a small army or some very dedicated bears to put this all together.

The hostess was all a glow, so to say, and looked very must the part of their Christmas connoisseur. Locke ambled his way inside with a loud greeting to everyone. He made sure to swipe a hand over every shoulder and offer a fist bump to the coolest tree costume around. He might have been a bit worried at first how Indra would fit in among their rowdy, weird crowd, but it looked now that he might be the perfect addition to their family.

His own gift was tucked far back and wrapped in the shape of a lamp because he saw it on TikTok and though it was hilarious. Locke felt pretty strongly that his gift would crush since he had the perfect method for picking the items. It required little thought and the results would speak for themselves.

For Natasha's eyes only: Secret Santa Gift 1 and Gift 2!



Emmett was in heaven. Like, maybe not literally, but it was heaven nonetheless. There were lights, and goodies, and hot chocolate, and music, and good company. Even the new guy was super easy to get along with, so really what else could be better?

His gift for Indra was nestled under the tree with the rest, maybe a bit understated compared to his bro’s method, but wrapping paper was wrapping paper and he wasn’t the best with making it look all nice in the first place.

On his third, or was it the sixth, cookie, Emmett found a seat, the cushion making a soft exhale of air as he sat. ”Sitting and ready,” he announced before taking another bite, a stray few sprinkles falling into his lap.
They humoured her, sitting and ready, and Maxine felt so... whole? "Good!" she replied with joking authority, going to retrieve everyone's individual gifts from under the tree. There were extras to sort past, and she wasn't going to point fingers, but the style of wrapping was similar enough to deduct who hadn't played by the rules. But! Secret Santa.

She could tell off the anarchist later.

Maxine presented everyone with their gifts, stopping in front of Indra last. "You should go first, Indra," she offered his present with a small shake. Glanced to the others to see if they were in agreement. "Only fair."
You know, other groups were pretty cool and all. But, who's group had a Christmas tree that played songs on guitar? His. So, it was pretty clear who was superior to all other groups.

Anyway, he was also feeling extremely whole. Maybe too whole. Overfull with just goodness. Ready to see everyone open their gifts, he nodded eagerly as Maxine dictated their fir-ry friend should be first. Reaching over to give him a pat on the shoulder, Cliff then relaxed into his seat to watch.
A tree.

Natasha was definitely going to be making this getup his contact picture in her phone, because who didn't love an Indra tree!? He was also first on the gifts, and so she would wiggle in excitement as she waited to see what gifts would be revealed.

Maxine's gift with this cute thing in the box as well.

Everyone seemed to enjoy his tree costume, and with that, Indra felt whole. His weird, little family, who also accepted and supported his weirdness. He continued to play softly until Maxine instructed that he was to go first with the opening presents. He set his guitar off to the side and grinned. He didn't know why he should go first, but he wasn't going to question it either. "Thanks!" he said happily, accepting the gift. He looked around at the others gathered, wondering who his Secret Santa was.

Not wanting to keep everyone in suspense, he quickly unwrapped it and laughed when he saw what was inside- dinosaur taco holders! They were perfect and he loved them. "I finally have a place for my tacos!" he said, holding them up for everyone to see. He was definitely going to need to have some tacos soon to try them out. "I love them. Thank you Santa," he said with a grin before setting them down next to him and grabbing his guitar to start strumming Deck the Halls. "Who's next?" He wanted to say Cliff, but that might give away him as the Secret Santa. Not that his present wouldn't. >:D

Gift on top and gift on bottom

Maxine pulled out an extra chair from the kitchen, bringing it closer and taking a seat with her own present as Indra got to unwrapping.

What! Was! That!

She laughed, glancing sneakily at Emmett. At the prompt of Indra's question of who next, "Maybe..." she gestured towards Cliff with her head. Except Natasha was in between him and Indra, so she sort of nodded towards them both!? Seating was hard.
Indra's gift was amazing, and if he had to guess who it was from, he'd definitely have guessed a twin. As for who was next, Cliff was alright with whoever, but Maxine's gesture pulled him to attention. Glancing around briefly, he sat up a bit straighter, "I'll go," He agreed easily, smiling once the gift was in his hands. Weighty, but not much else of an indication. He didn't waste much time in pulling out the first of the items. "Ha!" He laughed, head shaking at the image that he turned the boxers to let the others see. "I'll take that as a compliment." He announced.

Laying the boxers of her knee, he revealed the second part of the gift, which he was genuinely interested in. "Ooh, nice. Probably drink it all in one go." He said with a grin, looking over the wording on the can of coffee, the smell reaching him now. Too late to brew some? Probably. "Santa did good." He declared, then nudged Natasha, "You're up next."

For Emmett

Oh. My. God.

What kind of boxers were those?! Natasha couldn't hold back the snort of awkward delight as she took in the unique design, eyes moving down to the second present instead and finding that she much preferred this gift. She'd never actually tried alcoholic coffee before, so maybe she could get Cliff to share with her, but only after he'd perfected the recipe of course.

In the meantime, it was her turn to open and like the child she was, Natasha would clutch at her lamp with eager fingers as it was given to her. How delightful that she would be the one to get the coolest wrapped present under the tree. >:3

"I think I know what this is," she quipped, digging a nail into the paper and tearing only to find out that she actually didn't. "Oh wait." She jolted, pulling out first, a set of earrings. "Ahhh these are soooo cute!" She squealed, immediately replacing the ones she had on with her new pair before finding the most amazing purse in existence.

Silence would be last only a few moments as her brain registered what she was looking at before a wide smile would take up her entire face, hands jerking the purse to her chest as her body gave an excited wiggle. "ohmygoshiloveit." Came the rush of words, because this was going to be her new everyday purse because it was a bloody dinosaur!!

"Emmett next."
Indra tried to hide his smile when Cliff held up the boxers. The coffee had been the true gift, of course. But when Indra stumbled across those boxers later, he knew he had to get them for Cliff. Indra maybe played the final few notes of Deck the Halls a little louder to hide some of his chuckling, but he quickly straightened up. Next was Natasha and Indra began strumming O Christmas Tree.

The earrings she got were unique and when she put them in, Indra grinned at her. "Wow, she looks more beautiful than she did with those!" Ever the smooth talker, you know. Her second gift was a cool, little dinosaur purse and honestly, Indra was a little jealous. Not because he liked her gift more, but because society had still not advanced to the point where it was acceptable for a man to walk around with a pink t-rex purse. Sigh. Maybe one day...

Maxine called for Emmett next, and Indra continued playing as he waited for Emmett to open his gift next.
Indra was first and Emmett watched expectantly, but like, not super expectantly so as to raise suspicion. And hell yeah! Once opened, turned out, Indra loved them. Aw yeah, score!!! And the dude seemed super on board for tacos, which he’d file for later. Maybe, they could all have a taco night???? And use the dinos?

Feeling quite proud, he’d looked expectantly towards Cliff for his turn and what a turn it was. There, boxers were soon hoisted up to look at and a laugh punched its way out at it. Who did that? Oh my god.

Next Natasha and she got some cute earrings and a purse, nice. It was very her.

His turn now. ”Okay,” he slid off the couch with a wide grin, walking over the tree and leaning to grab the gift with his name on it. There was some weight to it Emmett noticed as he crossed legs and sat down. ”Hmm.” Fingers made quick work of tearing through paper before getting to the gift. Not exactly getting it, he turned the thing around and ”Ohmygoditsapancakebearthingy!” Emmett stood up, waving the skillet around. ”It makes pancake. Bears. Pancake bears!” Holding it still enough in front of him for them to see finally, he grinned happily. ”Thank you! I’m eating pancakes everyday till the end of time.”

Heading back to this seat, he looked over to the bear in question. ”You go, Maxine.”
The boxers stole the show for her. Now she had all the more reason to spy Cliff’s behind. <:)

Meanwhile, Natasha’s wrapping and subsequent present blew Maxine’s mind. She thought the earrings were made for her, and apparently, so did Indra. ”Beauuuutiful,” she crooned in genuine agreement.

When it came to Emmett, she’d never seen someone be as ecstatic about a skillet as he was. She chuckled, watching him ride his reaction out before eventually turning to her.

”Oh! Right,” she responded, sliding to a more proper sit as she got to opening her box up. She outright nearly gasped Natasha’s name, but caught herself at the first syllable in a, NNna I love it!” pulling both presents out. The cup was placed on the table facing the others, and the bag was slung over her shoulder as she angled to the side.

”Who’s taking me on my next trip? Locke?” she asked expectantly, prompting him to open his own gift.


The best for last. Locke watched with a bit of envy as each gift seemed to be a hit, especially his own. The self-satisfied grin plastered itself on his face when Natasha let out a high pitched shriek. Scrolling through #hotgirlproblems on Instagram had been eye-opening.

His brother's gift was an instant favorite because a gift to one twin was a gift for both. He was doing to blueberries in the eyes and make them look like they were crying indigo blood. Couldn't fucking wait.

Maxine gave him a question and a suggestion. He would be totally down for another hike and possibly a dip into the river with all the bears in attendance. The final package of the night now set in his lap, Locke took to work tearing off the paper.

"Ooh it's so nice!!" He exclaimed when the leather wallet was revealed. He couldn't stop running his finger over the perfect seam. "I feel myself becoming more mature and handsome."

The gift still felt hefty and unless his Secret Santa lined the whole thing with thick cardboard... Oh! Another gift. He carefully unwrapped this one as the paper was getting stuck. "It's a frame?" He said halfway there.

Locke shot a look at his twin. No, Emmett would never do this unless it was accompanied by some crude drawing. "I really love it. Who thought of this? " He jutted out his bottom lip, touched.

Eyes landing on Maxine. She was likely the most sentimental. Did she think of him as a brother?? The best gift ever. He loved his adoptive daughter. <3
He was glad to see his gift was so well received. Beaming, he watched as Maxine unwrapped her own. Honestly, that bag was pretty killer. The cup was cute in a girly way. Locke's gift was real nice, and he had his guesses about who'd gotten it. That was part of this, right? "Don't we reveal who had who after?" He questioned, never actually sure about the rules of any Christmas game. It felt like it was something that everyone did differently.
More mature and handsome. ;__;

That’d been her goal. She wanted him to feel good in his skin, because Locke was growing into such a fine young man. So was Emmett. Little brothers, the both of them.

She met his gaze in question, brows raised as Cliff spoke in the background. ”We definitely do,” Maxine agreed, looking to Cliff and then back to Locke. She pointed to herself. ”Wait, am I your final guess?” she checked, skewing her tone towards disbelief to make him second guess himself!!
Locke was doing everything to avoid Natasha's eye, but he actually wanted to blink in morse code that the amazing gift giver had actually been himself! Praise him more, please.

His own guess felt pretty good. Emmett was a total no and probably not Indra due to the newness of their relationship.

Thinking he had more time, Locke jumped in his seat when Maxine chose then to call him out. With wide eyes, Locke clutched his framed poster suddenly worried that he would have to give it up by guessing the wrong person. "Yeees?" He drew out the word, now unsure. Locke was very susceptible to Maxine's peer pressure!
Wait were they guessing now?!

Natasha hadn't been paying enough attention to everyone else's reactions when she'd been opening the gifts. She was totally going to mess this up, lips tightening, fingers would mess with the strap of her purse as she debated who had had the brilliant idea of getting her a dinosaur purse.

It hadn't been Maxine, she was almost certain that Locke was correct in that assumption, but even if it weren't for Locke's guess, she doubted that Maxine would have created a fake lamp out of wrapping paper. No, this had to be the work of one of the boys... But which one.... eye squinting at them all, Natasha would fall into debate.

Instinct said one of the twins... She didn't know which one, but one of them... But also what if Cliff had forced them to help him out on this little deal.... HMMMMMMM

Natasha would just wait to see what everyone else thought first.
Apparently they were going to be guessing now, and Indra didn't know how he felt about that. Everyone likes tacos, of course, so getting a taco holder is a great gift for anyone. It wasn't something that he felt came from any specific person; though honestly, there were three people in the group he didn't really know. It looks like one of the twins was guessing Maxine as his Secret Santa, and he looked to the woman to see her reaction.

Process of elimination would have to work here. And if Locke was right, then that left 4 other people who could've given him dinosaur taco holders.
Look at that face! Maxine remained unwavering for a beat or so, just in case he changed his guess, but he didn't. A hearty laugh bubbled up next. "It was me," she praised, scooting off the chair and leaving the bag to squeeze Locke in a warm hug. "Merry Christmas," Maxine said quieter, and then looked back to the mulling faces.

"Who do you think had you!" she asked Natasha! Indra! Anyone who was eager to answer!
His bro got a wallet which was super mature and famcy. And then came a poster being all cute and stuff. The look from Locke had him raising his brows before crossing his eyes. Nope, wasn't him. Who did though? Emmett's gaze followed his brother's tooooo one Maxine and yeah, that totally felt right.

And, oh! They were guessing who did who's gift, okay!

As Maxine crushed his brother, Emmett considered the new found breakfast love of his life. It had to be either.... hmmmm. Cliff or Natasha definitely. "Was this from you," he asked, pointing at Cliff with the frying pan.
Guesses now! Locke was dead on with Maxine, and he grinned at their hug, before being singled out by his own twin. "Am I that obvious?" He asked with a laugh, nodding in confirmation. "I request a stack made for me in return, thanks." He delegated. As for his own gift, he looked to the two items. The underwear was a gag, likely could have been anybody Googling around for bear themed things. So he had to go off the coffee. Hmmm. "Natasha?" He guessed, feeling it could have really been any of them!!
Ah so it wasn't Cliff, that narrowed the list down immensely as her gaze instantly settled upon the twins, shifting as she looked from one couch to the other. She had a foolproof test on figuring out if it was one of them, and if they both passed, then that left Indra.

She was a genius, grinning to herself even as her gaze moved back towards Cliff, a hard shake of her head. "Sorry big guy," she teased, "someone else grabbed those glorious knickers for you. Which meant it could be one of the twins!

Back to her plan!!

"Emmett, Locke." She called, staring each one in the face. "Look me in the eyes."

One would break, right?
Well, this was all fun and Indra sat quietly, watching some of the bear try to guess. Cliff spoke up, and Indra gave a little smile as he guessed incorrectly. He was so sneaky!! He then watched as Natasha zeroed in on one of the twins, waiting to see what would happen there. He still had no clue who gave him his gift, so he would still sit silently, playing Christmas songs on his guitar, as the group carried on.
Maxine might have come in out of pure love and affection but for Locke, this was a battle of wills. Equally strong arms clamped around him and in retaliation, a very manly pat was placed on Maxine's shoulder. His bear did not share the spirit of competitiveness and happily snuffled the black bear.

When she moved away, Locke ambled back to his seat and tucked both gifts in a safe place. He took in the others firing off guesses and rejoiced with a fist in the air when his own brother also got it on the first try. Cliff could get the third batch of bear-cakes since rightfully, Locke was entitled to the second.

Natasha fired off another quip to their leader and had her eyes shifting between the twins. A crafty one indeed. Locke was the first to meet her eyes and while doing so would surreptitiously brush his knuckle under his nose and quickly in Emmett's direction. Hint hint.
Chaos ensued! A hilariously delighted grin was plastered on Maxine’s face as guesses went out of order, eyes darting back and forth.

Leaning back into her chair, she melted out for a moment, gaze settling on Cliff. If he happened to look at her, Maxine would throw a subtle glance Indra’s way for him.
Not Natasha. Yeah, she probably would have gotten him something else more embarrassing. Natasha was zeroed in on the twins, so he turned his gaze away, letting her interrogate. Easily, his eyes fell on Maxine. Not because he thought it was her, but because hey, he just liked looking at her. His smile grew as she dropped a hint. Aha! Should have guessed. He looked to the guitarist, eyebrows lifting, "Y'know, I should have known. Just one step down from Juicy, huh?" He said in the way of accusation.
Lucky for Maxine that Indra was busy looking down at his guitar and hadn't seen the hint she gave Cliff. He was still looking down when he heard Cliff speak again, and he paused for just a second to look at Cliff. Indra's regular smile turned into a mischievous grin. "You caught me," he said with a laugh. Natasha was still trying to work out hers, so he went back to waiting. So far, Cliff and Maxine were accounted for. Based on the fact that one twin received a food based item, he was leaning more towards a twin. So, he'd wait to see who Natasha got and then would choose the other one.
A huge grin lit up his face, a laugh escaping as Cliff confirmed as much. ”Yeah! You got it boss man.”

Onward to the underwear guess which was definitely not him, unfortunately. But, Cliff was thinking it was Natasha who denied it. Before they could figure out who the underwear gifter was Natasha was calling attention to his brother an him.

Naturally, it was probably Locke, so lay it on him. At his name being called, he smiled innocently enough, blinking big eyes at her. Innocent! That was him!
Natasha's eyes would shift between the shifty pair of twins, debating, guessing, but as Locke signaled for Emmett, and Emmett hit her with that all too innocent she knew exactly who had gotten her this gift.

"Emmett." She called confidently, "you got me this didn't you?" You couldn't trick her with those doe eyes, and the moment he confirmed her accurate guess, then she was totally going to crush him in a hug. Bear style.
A bit of thinking and then! Aha! She’d chosen him and seemed fully confident in it. With a smirk, he nodded, arms crossing. ”You’re right, it wasn’t me,” he confirmed, looking up to the ceiling, before sneaking a glance back down to Natasha.
So if Emmett didn't give Natasha her present, then Indra was pretty sure the taco holders had been from him. As the other bear gave Natasha a grin, Indra leaned forward to him. "So, did you give me mine then?" he asked, eyebrows raised. Did he have him? He hoped he did!!
Clifford was lost, but along for the ride. The twins complicated this to another level. Were they even sure who was who right now?

(Cliff totally didn't still confuse them sometimes.)

As they figured it out, he got up to slink off to the kitchen to set up a brew of his coffee :3
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