"Just a Little Christmas Wish"

I have never believed in Santa Clause. No, not even as one of those annoying tiny tykes that begged for GI Joes and Barbies, although I admittedly opted for Pokemon games, did I ever believe in him. That Santa we so clinged to I knew even then to be the same man who served coffee in the pleasant cafe I frequent, and I equally well recognized the Santa handing out presents at my school to be our principal, who would later be known for trying the whole lap trick on Miss Tanaka down the hall. I simply could never buy such a hole-filled tale.

You can then see why I am slightly puzzled by the appearance of this red jumpsuit-wearing, large bag-carrying man in front of me as I stand in the living room, half-asleep, empty glass of water in hand.

He's taller than you would imagine, but his beard is still as white as the snow the rain pounding on the windowsills would be if the temperature were about thirty degrees colder; his nose and cheeks are still as red as the cheap ornaments we bought at some odds and ends store; his stomach is still as round and plump as if he were hiding the Christmas goose no one really eats these days under his coat. Most important, however, is that, he is real and is tracking mud onto the carpet, and my stomach if once again filled with that uncomfortably heavy sensation that has been taking up residence every so often since I started high school.

"Oh, hello, Kyon. That is what they're calling you these days, isn't it?"

He speaks! And he called me Kyon! Dammit! Even the man who knows the name of every little boy and girl in the world has to use that curse of a nickname?

"Do you mind cleaning your boots off? My mother will pitch a fit," I say, almost as if this were the real problem here.

"Oh, don't worry about it," he cheerily replies with a smile that reminds me far too much of Koizumi. "Just dropping off that game your sister wanted. Sleep well!" He says this last bit with a tone of finality, and turns back to his sack (presumably full of toys).

However, I find it difficult to move, as I am still trying to determine exactly how this can be happening. It certainly isn't my father, who has been known to dress up as St. Nick for the benefit of my sister. For one thing, she isn't here, and for another my father is quite honestly a stick with legs (we told my sister that Santa had been dieting). Then, as I finally come out of the remaining haze of sleep, it hits me, and as much as I cringe at what this does to the universe, the smallest smile comes to my lips as I trudge down the hallway. Not looking back, I toss out:

"Tell Haruhi I said hello" and with that, I traipsed off back to bed and tried to subdue the desire to ask Haruhi exactly how long she believed in Santa Clause.

Many thanks to my beta, Audley, who both rocks and rolls.

Anyone else think we need a Haruhi category? Let know.