LOL I THOUGHT I WOULDN'T BE UPDATING THIS AGAIN, BUT I WAS WRONG. A friend asked for this, and since it's kinda on the short side, I figured I'd stick it here.

XIV. Santa Claus is a Ninja

"Down a chimney?"


"But I thought you said he was fat."

"…He is."

"Then how does he fit?"

Naruto grows silent. He purses his lips. He taps his fingers against the table. Around them, the tiny- and always crowded –restaurant bustles with noise and activity. Their server, a peppy teenage girl with her hair caught back in a clip, drops by to inquire after the food, which Sakura assures her is delicious, as always.

"Magic," Naruto says finally.

Sakura, chopsticks halfway to her mouth, stares across the table at him. He is completely straight faced.

"Or some kind of jutsu," he adds, sneaking furtive looks at Sakura's food as any glutton who'd demolished his dinner in under ten minutes (with plenty of room to spare) would.

Sakura puts the chopsticks down.

"So Santa Claus is a ninja."

"He could be."

"A ninja in a red suit with a long white beard who delivers presents via chimneys despite his vast girth."

"Sakura," Naruto says, pained, "you're making me feel really stupid."

Sakura grins. She picks the chopsticks up again, pretends not to notice Naruto's blatant envy. "Tell me more," she says after she's finished chewing.

It takes Naruto a moment to respond, as he'd been preoccupied by Sakura's progress. He snaps out of it when she tosses a piece of shrimp at his forehead. "Jiraiya traveled all over the world, so he got to witness a lot of different celebrations and stuff," he says, and pops the shrimp into his mouth. "Santa Claus is apparently a symbol of a holiday about giving, and family, or friends that could be family, or even strangers…togetherness is the important thing." He smiles fondly. "I remember the old pervert left a huge sock full of candy on my bedroll at the same time every year when we were off training."

Sakura can't help but smile, too. She takes a few more bites of her dinner before she pushes the plate toward Naruto.

"I guess Santa Claus is a ninja," she says.

Naruto looks disbelievingly at the plate, as if he thinks it'll vanish, and then looks at her, both brows raised, expression hopeful. When she gives no indication that she is going to snatch the plate back, he digs right in without pause.

"Except you're the hot version," he says with aplomb (and a mouthful of rice).

Sakura rolls her eyes, even though she is more than a little pleased.

"Just eat your food."

And he does.