Disclaimer: Don't own nothin' but the story, and I barely own that.

Some important facts: Well, I had no idea what the first names of any of the adults were so I stole names from page 21 in my Japanese 1 textbook! Hurray! ;) Also, I made a larger age gap between Tai and Kari so I didn't have to deal with Kari speaking ;) Enjoy! ;D

Finding A Home For Christmas

It was two in the morning and there was a loud banging at the door of the apartment. "Hanako!?" yelled a voice from outside. "HANAKO!"

"I think that's for you," Mr. Kamiya mumbled as he rolled out of bed to try and shush the now crying Kari. Mrs. Kamiya stumbled out of bed as well, eyes half opened, and made her way to the door.

"Sakura, what's wrong?" Kamiya Hanako asked, rubbing her blurry eyes. She had become slightly more alert as she answered the door to find Takenouchi Sakura sobbing in front of her. "Please, will you take Sora for me, just for a few days?" she begged, pulling a small frightened child from behind her.

"What's going on?" Hanako asked again, concerned at why her stoic friend was suddenly so upset. She shook her head, "Nothing, please, just take her. I'll be back in a few days, I promise. I have to go. Please do this for me, I have no where else to turn." She was quite frantic by this time and Mrs.Kamiya had no other option but to agree.

"Thank you," she said with relief. She pushed her daughter inside and hurried away.

"Sakura, wait! Sakura!!" Hanako hissed after her, careful not to wake the surrounding apartments. Sakura continued running and disappeared as she turned the corner.

Mrs. Kamiya watched her go in frustration. She wished she could have run after her but it was a freezing white Christmas and she had no shoes and was clad only in a pair of puppy dog pajamas. She closed the door, still very worried about her friend, but realizing she had certain duties as a host.

 "Hello Sora," Mrs. Kamiya said gently to the little girl, wrapped tightly in a blue puffy jacket. The jacket seemed to envelop her entire body with only a small head poking out. A purple hat with a fuzzy little ball on top covered her bright orange hair.

"Here, let me help you with that jacket," Mrs. Kamiya laughed and unzipped the puffy blue prison. All the while, Sora remained silent as she tried to hold back tears. Mr. Kamiya entered the room, patting a quiet baby to sleep on his shoulder. "What was that about?" he asked, eyeing the new visitor with suspicion. "I'm not exactly sure," she responded, biting her lip in worry,  "Why don't you go wake Tai? Sora's going to be spending the night."

~

Sora was relieved when Mr.Kamiya was finally able to wake Taichi up, a cry of "IS SANTA HERE!?!" ringing from his room. "Uh, not yet big guy," Mr. Kamiya laughed, "but Sora's come to spend the night." Tai looked up in surprise, he was young, but not stupid. He understood that his friends didn't come over in the middle of the night for sleepovers; something strange was going on.

He hopped out of bed and followed his dad to find his friend sitting silently on the couch in the company of his mother, who was clearly trying to make polite conversation. "Hey Sora," he yawned and plopped down next to her. She tried to conceal her obvious sigh of relief. "Why are you here?" asked the little boy bluntly, not yet old enough to understand common courtesy. "My mommy dropped me off here," she spoke softly, as she was still more then a bit shaken from the night's previous events.

"Taichi, why don't you get Sora set up in your room?" Mrs.Kamiya said. She then turned her attention towards the little girl, "I washed the soccer uniform you left here from last game, you can wear that to bed." The two stared blankly at her, "Go on now," she added and shooed them away.

Once they had scurried into Tai's room, Mr.Kamiya placed Kari back in her crib, and returned to the kitchen table where his wife sat. "So?" he whispered. "So, I'm not exactly sure. Sakura just came over crying and asked if I could look after Sora for a little while and ran off before I could find out." She paused for a second, looking into her husband eyes, her voice was shaking with concern for her friend, "Kusanagi…I think it's Tsukasa…"

"It probably was, that bastard," Kusanagi growled, hitting the table. Takenouchi Tsukasa was a ranting raving alcoholic with a history of domestic violence. Neither Kamiya could quite understand why Sakura, a quite, proper woman, had married him. "I think we should call the police, I've never seen Sora act like this before, she's terrified. Something must have happened tonight and Sakura may have went back there," Mrs. Kamiya said resolutely, determined to see Sora and Sakura safe. Mr.Kamiya nodded and stood up to get the phone.

~

"It's okay Sora, I'll take the top, so you don't got to be scared" Tai said valiantly as he stood in front of his new bunk beds. "But…" she started quietly, pulling on her tiny soccer jersey. "Can…I have the top bunk?" Tai frowned, "But you'll be scared." "Nauh!" Sora protested. "Fine," he grumbled, moving aside. "Thanks Tai," she smiled, her first smile all night. She went up the ladder slowly and Tai looked on impatiently as she took his bed.

"Hey Sora, what happened to your arm?" Taichi inquired, looking up at the large bruises. "No-Nothing," she squeaked, trying to pull the short sleeve of her soccer uniform down farther. "Sora! Did your daddy hit you again?" Tai demanded to know, but Sora had scrambled quickly to the top bunk and hidden herself deep within the blankets.

"Sora!" he yelled at the mass under the covers, but got no answer. "Sora!" he yelled again and climbed up the ladder himself. "Sora, tell me the truth, did your daddy hit you?" he questioned firmly. "…yes.." came a small sound from beneath the covers.

"Sora!" Tai yelled, pulling back the covers. Sora was curled up in a tiny ball, crying softly. He lowered his tone and spoke a little more gently, "You said last time that you'd tell a policeman if he did it again. You can't let him do that, you gotta tell my mommy." She continued crying as Tai sat beside her.

"I don't want him to hurt us anymore," she whispered and hugged Tai close. Tai, unhappy about all the cooties he was probably getting, held his arms out far away, as too avoid any additional infection.

"We won't let him get you, you can be safe here and if you just tell my mommy, he won't ever be able to hurt you again," Tai promised, feeling very angry at Mr.Takenouchi. "Thanks Tai," she said and released him from her hold, "I guess we should go to bed now, we can tell your mommy in the morning." "I guess so," he said, thankful to be out of the cootie-death-grip.

He climbed back down the ladder, shut off the lights, and hopped into the bottom bunk. He knew in the morning, Santa would come and he and Sora would tell on Sora's daddy and he wouldn't be able to hurt her anymore…but for now, he knew she was safe, sleeping up on his bed, with his own mommy and daddy to protect her and that thought made it a lot easier for him to sleep. He was slowly drifting off when-

"Tai," Sora whispered. Pretend you didn't hear her and she'll leave you alone, he told himself. "TAI," she whispered a bit louder. Okay, it was clear that strategy wasn't going to work. "What?" Tai finally answered. Sora paused for a second, debating weather or not to ask. "…Tai…do…do you think…Santa'll know I'm here?"

This time, Tai paused. Would Santa know? "Of course he will! He's Santa! Now go to bed so we can get our presents!" Tai yawned, very much wanting to go to sleep. "Yeah, you're right, thanks Tai." Sora said happily, and snuggled back into sleep.

Tai, however, couldn't get back to sleep so easily. He stared, wide eyed, into the pitch dark.  Would Santa know? He couldn't make up his mind. What if Santa couldn't find Sora….maybe he'd just give her presents to some other little girl! Imagine how upset Sora would be if she didn't get anything for Christmas! But then again, he was Santa, he knew when you were sleeping, he should be able to know where. Taichi debated this for quite sometime before he finally conceded and went to ask his mom.

"Mommy," he whispered at the side of the bed, not tall enough to see over it. "Mommy," he whispered again, stood on his tiptoes, and poked her side. She turned over with a sigh, "What is it Taichi?" "Um….well, do you think Santa'll know? That Sora's here?" Mrs. Kamiya felt a tug at her heart. She had almost forgotten that it was Christmas and after being abandoned by her mother to sleep at the neighbor's house, Sora would wake up to nothing. "Well, Taichi, Santa probably will just leave her presents at her house," she answered finally with the only solution she could think of. "But Momma, what if she's not there so he gives them away!! Sora won't have any presents tomorrow and maybe she'll think that Santa doesn't love her and maybe we won't be able to play anymore and maybe she'll stop believing!" Tai exclaimed loud enough to wake his father up.

Mrs.Kamiya looked at her son, and then to her husband, who groaned, realizing her plan. She grinned, "I'm sure Santa will manage something."

Mr. Kamiya arrived home about an hour later with a beautiful new soccer ball and some flowered hairpins AN: Teehee. Mrs. Kamiya assisted him in a quick wrapping job and placed both gifts under the tree, along with a note from "Santa" telling Sora she would find the rest of her presents at home. With that, the two went back to bed in hope of finally getting some rest.

~

"PRESENTS! PRESENTS! PRESENTS! PRESENTS!!!!!!" Tai screamed, jumping out of bed and running straight for his parent's room. Sora hobbled down the ladder after him and walked quietly to the living room, where a large array of presents sat softly under the tree. Her eyes sparkled, all those presents couldn't possible just be for Taichi and baby Kari, could they? She waited for Taichi to come running back out of his parent's room, dragging one with each arm. "PRESENTS!! PRESENTS!!! PRESENTS!!!" he continued to yell.

"Yes, Tai, presents," Mr.Kamiya grumbled, the third time he had been rudely awaken that day. "Kusanagi," Mrs. Kamiya whispered, pointing to the tree, where a dozen or so presents they hadn't put there now sat. "Did you?" she continued, staring at the tree in shock. "No, did you?" he responded, equally amazed. She shook her head.

Tai, getting impatient, yelled, "PRESENTS NOW!!!" The two adults quickly snapped out of it, fearing any more of their sons highpitched screaming. Mrs. Kamiya walked Taichi over to the tree, Mr. Kamiya went back to their room to get Kari, and Sora stood awkwardly beside the couch.

Tai dove into the pile of presents, like some kind of possessed monkey, and began ripping fiercely at the first one he saw. Mrs. Kamiya turned her attention from the monkey child to one of the strange new presents, all of which were wrapped in a paper they didn't own. "Sora," she said, picking up the present addressed "To: Sora, From: Santa", she turned toward the little girl beside the couch, "This one's for you."

Sora approached the tree timidly and sat down in between Mrs.Kamiya and Taichi. She picked up the present and slowly unwrapped it. "This one too," Mrs.Kamiya mentioned, placing another gift beside her. Soon, as presents were piled around her, it was clear to the little redhead that Santa had known just were she was.

She began ripping through the presents with Taichi, laughing happily. When they were finished, Sora told Mrs. Kamiya about the previous night and the nights before that when her father had hit her and the oddity of presents was forgotten. Two days later, Ms.Takenouchi returned to pick her daughter up. Out of her daughter's earshot, she thanked Mr. and Mrs. Kamiya. Her husband had been taken away and a restraining order was now in place. "We're safe, thanks to you," Sakura smiled.

~

A much older Sora and Tai sat cuddled up on the same couch she had stood behind as a little girl. "Taichi?" she yawned, gazing up at the tree from her place in his arms. "Yeah?" he answered. "Remember that one Christmas, back when we were little?" she asked, knowing he would understand which Christmas she meant. "Of course!" he smiled, hugging her a little tighter.

He knew it was never easy for Sora to talk about her childhood. "Well, I guess I never said it then, but thanks," she said and kissed him. He laughed, "Not a problem." There was silence for a little longer. "Tai?" she asked. "Yeah?" he answered again. "I love you," she whispered quietly. He smiled widely, though they had been dating for two months, that was the first time Sora had ever used the word love. He answered without hesitation, "Good, because I love you too."

AN: Heh, well, that was a strange bit of fiction wasn't it? ;) But I wanted to write something semi-christmasy, so I did! :D it was rather funny though, because I played off of what a lot of Christmas specials do with the "What? How did these mysterious Christmas presents get here during the middle of the night!? :O" but as I was writing it, I couldn't figure out a logical reaction for Mrs.Kamiya so I kept thinking back to all the Christmas specials and realized that no one EVER has a logical reaction to things like this. I mean, really, if you just wake up to find mysterious presents lying there that weren't there before, you don't just blow it off and be all jolly. You should be worried about who the heck got into your house in the middle of the night to put those things there!! YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID! CALL THE POLICE! But heh, I guess that wouldn't make for a very happy Christmas story, so I left that all out and let Mr. and Mrs. Kamiya follow in the footsteps of all parents in Christmas specials before them and be totally illogical and oblivious. Hope you liked it anyway! ^_-  Reviews are appreciated GREATLY.

Happy holidays everyone!

-Soragirl               

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