Summary: Sasuke didn't believe in anything anymore, let alone the magic of the Christmas season. It took a total stranger to help him see Christmas a little differently. Turns out angels sometimes appear in Santa suits. NaruSasu, AU

Warnings: Swearing. NaruSasu yaoi (boyxboy). Don't like, don't read. It's as simple as that.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. I also don't own the lyrics of the classic Christmas song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", which I used briefly in this story. Lastly, I do not own Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", of which I make an allusion to at one point (as well as the title being somewhat inspired by it).

Notes: At over 5,300 words, this is quite a bit longer than any of my other oneshots, and it's AU. It's also ridiculously fluffy, though Sasuke is very angsty (not that that's much of a switch from normal) throughout much of this. This was also written in a remarkably short period of time (for me, at least), so please forgive any errors.

This fic is dedicated to all of my friends here, and to all those who have reviewed my previous stories. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you have a wonderful new year!

The Gift of Christmas Present

It's the most wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeearrr

With the kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you be of good cheeerrr

It's the most wonderful tiiiime of the yeeearrr!

The music spewed out of stores and onto the open streets, jockeying against the thrum of pedestrians in oh-so-subtle reminders of In case you've forgotten, Christmas is only a little over a week away and Oh, look at that, our doors are wide open! It floated out into the bustle of the city, fighting to overtake the city sounds of blaring car alarms and honking horns—and, for the moment, winning.

Sasuke shuffled through the crowd—mothers and fathers tugging on the hands of screaming children, bag-laden individuals nearly toppling over with the weight of their loads, people who had parked themselves in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at colorful window displays—feeling more than a little nauseated. He buried his chin further into the upturned collar of his black coat in a feeble effort to block out both the constant stream of carols and the cold seeping into his bones (but it was certainly not a half-hearted attempt to smother himself).

It's the hap-happiest seeeeeeason of alllll!

Some people's faces were creased with lines of agitation and impatience; others appeared blissfully serene, their entire beings seeming to hum along with the festive melodies. Yet the bitter cold did nothing to deter any of them from spendspendspend-ing.

Those passing him seemed to quicken their paces a bit upon seeing the deep scowl Sasuke wore, however.

The headache that had been pulsing lazily all day now felt like a jackhammer against his temple. He couldn't wait to be home and away from all this insanity.

Mercifully, the music began to recede as he turned off the street filled with storefronts and onto a side street that stretched past a grocery store. The market's windows were plastered with pictures of mouth-watering holiday treats, and scribbled over with promises of low, low prices!

"Ho ho ho! Donate and make a child's Christmas a little merrier! Ho ho ho!"

Outside the entrance, a guy clad in a Santa suit was ringing a bell and calling out to passersby. A few offered promises of "Next time" and such but kept walking, but most appeared to stop. The metallic collection bin perched next to him clanged as people dug through their purses and pockets, mostly pulling out spare change or small bills. The corners of "Santa's" beard rose as he thanked them and uttered an endless stream of Merry Christmases.

Sasuke paid him little mind as he drew closer, barely sparing a glance.

"Hello there, young fellow!" Santa Suit Guy spoke in an exaggeratedly low and cheerful voice. "Care to generously make a donation? Any amount will surely make a diff—" As Sasuke kept walking without so much as looking at him, however, the guy forgot to maintain the low timbre and yelled a disgruntled "Hey!" in his normal tone of voice.

At the call, Sasuke paused and glanced over his shoulder at the guy. Nothing changed in his stony expression as he took in the scuffed-up black boots, the cheap-looking white beard that hid all features but his eyes, and the unevenly-padded suit that had seen better days. Yet for one split second, Sasuke found himself locked in a gaze with the bluest eyes he had ever seen. They stared him down, blazing with emotion and really seeing in a way that made Sasuke immediately uncomfortable.

Before Santa Suit Guy could open his mouth again, Sasuke had already taken off down the street.

Sasuke threw open the door to his apartment with a little more force than necessary, the image of those blue eyes still lingering in his mind. Once inside, he was instantly struck with the realization that he had an intruder—particularly because said intruder was waving merrily at him from his kitchen table.

"Kakashi," Sasuke growled warningly. "What have I told you about breaking into my apartment when I'm not home?"

"Why hello, Sasuke!" The gray-haired man smiled, completely ignoring the warning tone being aimed at him, his oddly mismatched eyes scrunching up happily. Wound around his neck was a scarf that partially obscured the lower half of his face—as to why he was wearing said scarf indoors, Sasuke didn't bother to ask. He'd long since given up on asking why Kakashi did anything that he did.

"Kakashi," Sasuke repeated slowly, as if he was speaking to a misbehaving child rather than a man who was several years his senior, and his former teacher-slash-mentor to boot.

The older man tsked and made a dismissive motion with his hands. "You're so quick to call it 'breaking in'. What, can't a guy just stop by and check up on his favorite little ball of Christmas cheer?"

The glare he received would have made a lesser man burst into flame.

With a sigh, Kakashi let the cheery expression slide off of his face, and replaced it with a solemn one. "Look, I just know how you get this time of year, Sasuke."

Sasuke hated this. Hated how Kakashi knew him too damn well, but didn't have the sense to just leave him the hell alone.

"You should join me for Christmas. I'm going to have some friends over—food and drinks and general merriment. What do you say? You've got a couple weeks off from college—the human interaction will do you good, kid."

"Every year you ask, Kakashi, and every year I give you the same answer. Just… let me be alone. Please."

The "please" was new, and they both noted it but said nothing of the desperation that must have prompted it. Sasuke's expression had softened almost imperceptibly, and was back to being closed off rather than angry.

Kakashi couldn't help but notice how tired his former pupil looked. He gave another sigh and nodded resolutely. "Okay, okay. But you're always welcome to join us." He headed towards the door, but paused with his hand on the knob and looked back. His eyes gave a sweep of the apartment, which was devoid of any sort of Christmas decoration or sentimental touches, before truly meeting Sasuke's dark eyes for the fist time in the entire conversation.

"Just… try not to hate the world quite so much, okay?" He asked, uncharacteristically soft. "'Tis the season, and all that."

Sasuke frowned faintly but said nothing as the older man exited and shut the door behind him with a resounding click.

Two days later, Sasuke found himself stepping through the automatic doors of the grocery store and instantly blasted with a whoosh of icy December air.

It took him a moment to remember Santa Suit Guy, and notice that the same guy was still there. It took him another moment still to realize that those blue eyes were looking at him again, and with obvious recognition.

Despite this, Santa Suit Guy immediately reassumed ringing his bell and offering up jubilant greetings. "Hello there! Care to make a donation to make Christmas brighter for needy children?"

The words followed Sasuke's retreating back once more.

Sasuke's apartment building was just down the street from the market. As he had no car, Sasuke had to pass by the market every time he went out. And in the week that followed, Santa Suit Guy was always there. It became a routine of sorts: every time he offered the same cheery salutation and affixed Sasuke with that blue, blue gaze; every time, he was ignored.

Yet that did not shake the fact that those eyes seemed to slice right through Sasuke. Like Kakashi's eyes, they drilled through all the barriers he'd spent years constructing and fortifying. They saw.

And Sasuke didn't like it.

It was on the day before Christmas Eve that it all became too much. Sasuke had gone to the market to stock up on food so that he could properly stay in (hide) on Christmas. Like clockwork, Santa Suit Guy was there. And also like clockwork, the unsolicited greeting came:

"Hello! Would you—"

Something snapped in Sasuke's mind, and his stoicism gave way to a flare of anger. "Why do you keep trying? God damnit, I know you remember me, so why don't you seem to get it?" Not allowing the guy to interject anything, Sasuke continued, building steam. "No, wait. You know what? Here," he practically tore his wallet out of his pocket. He gathered its contents in his fist, and proceeded to stuff it all into the collection bin. "There, isn't that what you want? Isn't that what all of you want? Just going through the motions and doing all of this crap so that you feel so fucking good about yourselves? Giving everyone the delusion that they're helping, that they're being oh-so-generous by digging through their pockets for whatever would just end up going through the washing machine—just so that they can feel like they're fucking saints before they go and drop hundreds of dollars on the latest product. Helping the children, my ass. No one gives a damn until this time of year—what about the rest of the fucking time?"

His question trailed off into the frosty air, as if daring someone to answer. The few people nearby were staring openly, and a woman was guiding her son away, her gloved hands clapped over his ears. The only thing that Sasuke truly saw was the pair of blue eyes; they were slightly widened, but there was something else in them that unnerved Sasuke more than he could ever admit. Lungs heaving, his throat hurt from saying things he'd bottled up inside for too many years. A sense of panic was creeping up his veins, causing his heart to pound in his ears.

Reassuming his expressionless mask, and acting as though he hadn't just had a meltdown in the middle of a public street, Sasuke turned his back to the scene and began to do what he did best—run away.

Before he was out of earshot, Santa Suit Guy called out to him, dropping his feigned voice in lieu of his genuine one.

"Don't you believe in the spirit of the season, in the meaning of Christmas?"

Sasuke stilled, but did not turn back to look at him. His answer was immediate. "No. I don't believe in anything anymore."

He couldn't see the sadness in those cerulean eyes as they followed his retreating back.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Sasuke lay in bed for hours after his alarm went off. He kept closing his eyes in the inane hope that he would wake up and it would be December 26th.

His phone rang but he let it go to the answering machine, knowing who it was—there was only one person who called him, anyway. "Hello, Sasuke!" Kakashi. "Just calling to let you know that my offer still stands." A pause, and then a sigh. "I know you're there and you don't want to talk to me, and I don't expect you to. But just don't lie in bed all day, okay?" He paused again, as if giving the younger man the chance to answer the phone, even though they both knew he wouldn't. "Alright. Merry…" Kakashi caught himself in time, however, and hung up with a "goodbye" instead.

By the time Sasuke finally threw off the covers, it was early afternoon. He showered, threw on the first clothes he could find and headed out the door, drawing his coat closer to his body but knowing it could never warm him up.

Out on the street, the passersby moved with palpable urgency in their steps, but they all faded into a noisy blur around him. He passed the market, certain he would once again see the familiar figure, but there was no one. He wondered why his chest felt all the more hollow, when he should have felt a spark of satisfaction.

He stopped at the florist, buying three bouquets and ignoring the fluttering eyelashes of the blonde girl behind the counter. With the flowers tucked in the crook of his arm, he headed off down the streets, numb to the cold and oblivious to everything but the fall of his footsteps on the pavement as he headed to his destination.

He kneeled and gingerly placed the bouquets down before the headstones, running a shaky hand over the surface of the icy cold marble, tracing the names with a fingertip just as he always did.

The breath he expelled hung in the air, visible and momentarily crystalline. And then the world was spinning and the wind stung his eyes and his heart was beating so painfully and…

He didn't even realize that he was crying until he felt the moisture start to freeze on his skin.

His palms bit into the frozen ground to steady himself, hanging his head. His throat was so tight that he found it difficult to breathe.

And for a moment, he was ten years old again. After all this time, it still felt the same.

His Ghosts of Christmas Past bore no chains, but his heart sure did.

The sound of crunching snow alerted him to the fact that he was not alone. A few rows over, a guy crouched in front of two headstones, placing a bouquet in front of each. He remained in that position for a moment, murmuring something that Sasuke couldn't hear, before standing up.

Sasuke felt the air once again leave his lungs once again. The guy standing before him wore no Santa hat or beard, but there was no mistaking those eyes. He was blond, with spiky tufts of hair poking out in all directions, and his tanned, handsome face was flushed with red from the cold. Strangely, his cheeks were marked with three lines on each that gave him the appearance of having whiskers. He was wearing a long black coat, but his Santa pants and boots were visible.

The two simply stared at each other for what felt like an eternity.

Sasuke averted his gaze and stared at his clenched palms on the ground, even as the other guy took a few steps closer. Those eyes were making him dizzy. "Why are you following me?" he whispered, but only to himself, because he knew it sounded crazy. But then, louder: "Just leave me alone."


Sasuke's head snapped up. "Excuse me?"

"I said that I'm not going to just leave you alone."

"Why?" Sasuke's tone was intended to be indignant, but he cursed inwardly when something wavered in it.

"Because you were wrong before."

A dark brow quirked, and Sasuke frowned in confusion.

"Well, you were right, I'm sure, about some of it… or most of it, really, but… you were wrong when you implied that no one really cares about others," his eyes were blazing with sincerity. "It is possible to care about people not because you want the satisfaction of knowing you're doing 'the right thing', but purely because you don't want to see a fellow human being suffer."

"Thanks for the lesson," Sasuke spat bitterly, and glared when the blond plopped down beside him.

"What are you doing?"

"It's Christmas Eve, we're in a graveyard, you're a fellow human being, and you're suffering."

"Why do you care?"

"Why shouldn't I?"

…And Sasuke found that he couldn't speak.

"But why? You don't even know me!" he protested again, after a moment, but weakly.

"Then that's all the more reason for me to care, isn't it?" Those blue eyes were so earnestly, damnably sincere, as if it all made perfect sense.

Sasuke didn't understand it at all.

And what he understood even less was how, before he knew it, he came to be telling a total stranger about the night he lost everything.

"They died on Christmas Eve," he said, running a hand along one of the gravestones. "My parents and my older brother. Ten years ago today. I was ten years old."

"What happened?" the blond inquired, gently.

Sasuke couldn't stand the way his hands were shaking. "There…was a fire, an electrical fire. The plug for the lights on the Christmas tree caused it… The firefighters got me out in time, but…" The rest didn't need to be said.

Flakes spiraled down through the air as snow began to fall. Sasuke's dark eyes fixated on them—he couldn't look at anything else, for fear that the tears would spill over once more. "I spent that Christmas in an orphanage, and the next few years in and out of foster care. Even when I was surrounded by people, I was still so alone. Eventually my middle school teacher, of all people, took me in until I got to high school, when I was more or less able to take care of myself."

The blond stranger listened patiently, not daring to say a word and break the spell.

"Even after all this time, I guess I…just can't deal with this time of year. Every year I spend it alone—I just can't be around people. As a kid I could never understand how there could be Christmas without them—how everyone could be so cheery. And how people could lie to themselves and think that things like presents could make them truly happy. I suppose I still don't understand."

"Did you mean it… when you said that you don't believe in anything?" There was something in those blue eyes that made Sasuke look away.

"In what—Santa? Christmas miracles?" Sasuke scoffed. "What is there left to believe in anymore?"

Suddenly the blond stood up, and extended a hand to Sasuke. "Come on."

Bewildered, Sasuke looked up at him. "What do you mean, 'come on'?"

"There's something I want to show you," he waved his hand around a bit, as if coaxing Sasuke to take it. "Come on! Anything's got to be better than spending a night in a graveyard alone, right?"

Sasuke tried to glare, but felt much too weary to do so. "But… I don't even know your name," he said helplessly.

"Naruto Uzumaki," the guy grinned, eyes dancing. "…And now you do. What do you say?"

Sasuke stared up at him for a moment, wondering what he was thinking—and for that matter, what he was thinking, considering going somewhere with a stranger. No, he wasn't a stranger anymore, he was Naruto. And the only thing that Sasuke could hear was the little voice in the back of his head telling him that he really didn't want to be alone on Christmas again.

"Sasuke Uchiha," he said at last, and took Naruto's outstretched hand.

Sasuke wondered when he'd become daring or stupid enough to go off with a stranger somewhere between Fourth Street and Chestnut. As soon as he'd pulled him to his feet, Naruto had dragged him off at a run. Their hands were still conjoined as Naruto tugged him along, as if afraid he'd change his mind and run away. Naruto's hand was surprisingly warm, especially in contrast to the blustery wind ruffling Sasuke's ebony hair.

The sky was dark overhead, and snow was falling steadily, but Naruto knew where he was going. The streets, illuminated by flickering streetlights, were all but empty now, and their footfalls echoed quite loudly on the pavement. Sasuke lost track of where they were, and his lungs were starting to protest their pace. Just as he opened his mouth to demand where he was being taken, Naruto stopped without warning, causing Sasuke to nearly crash into him.

"Sorry," Naruto chuckled at the glare he received. "But we're here."

It took Sasuke a moment to realize what they were standing in front of. But when he did, he felt his breath hitch. It was an orphanage.

Before he could question whether this was some sick joke on Naruto's part, the blond was putting on a white beard and Santa hat he'd taken from his pocket, and was pulling off his coat to reveal the full Santa suit underneath. He gave a soft rap on the door, which immediately swung open to reveal a young woman with shockingly pink hair and beautiful green eyes.

"You're late," she said, in a tone that was intended to be irritated, but really only came across as worried. Then, without warning, she pulled him into a hug.

Sasuke wasn't sure why his back seemed to stiffen at the sight.

"Yeah, yeah, but you know I had a stop I had to make, Sakura," Naruto mumbled into her hair.

"Yeah, I know," she said softly, before releasing him. "And it seems you've brought along a friend." She smiled at Sasuke.

Sasuke didn't have the opportunity to answer even if he'd wanted to, for a rather intimidating-looking blonde woman then came to the door with an even more… intimidating chest.

"You're late, brat," she said to Naruto, with the same tone of pseudo-agitation in place to mask her obvious affection for the boy. He pouted at her, and rolled her eyes to hide her smile, stuffing a large, bulging sack into his hands. "We were able to get enough toys for all of them this year. Thank you for all your work collecting donations."

"Hey, every little bit helps," Naruto beamed. "A little bit from everyone can make a big difference." He was able to steal a quick look at Sasuke, before the blond woman quickly ushered him through the door. Sakura was close on their heels, and Sasuke was left to follow.

"Kids, look who's here!" Sakura exclaimed excitedly from the doorway. As soon as the children caught sight of Naruto, and immediate cry of "Santa!" rose up, and they skittered over to get a closer look.

Sasuke stood off to the side with the two women, feeling thoroughly out of place. "To see him back here, with the children… words can't describe it," the blonde woman was murmuring to Sakura. "To have watch a child grow up here, under the circumstances that he did—or that any of them do—and to see that he's grown up into the person that he is… I couldn't have asked for anything better."

Sasuke whirled around to face them, features twisted in disbelief. "Wait… you're saying that Naruto grew up in this orphanage?"

"You don't know?" Sakura frowned slightly. "Naruto was in a car crash when he was a baby. His parents both died in it."

Sasuke turned back to watch Naruto. The blond was completely in his element, telling the children that they were all very much on the "Nice" list, and answering their curious questions without missing a beat. His joy was as evident as theirs, lighting up his entire being and making hiseyes dance with delight.

And in what was a truly rare occurrence, Sasuke felt more than a little foolish.

"Who's that?" A young boy asked, tugging on the edge of "Santa's" coat and pointing a chubby finger at Sasuke.

"This is Sasuke," Naruto smiled. "He's my helper."

"Is he an elf?" A little girl with pigtails asked, eyes wide.

"Something like that," Naruto grinned, and Sasuke couldn't help but feel the corners of his lips quirk ever so slightly upward.

"Come on, Sasuke, why don't you help me pass out some presents?" And with the loud cheer that rose up at the suggestion, Sasuke couldn't have said no if he'd wanted to.

They'd stayed until the children were nearly falling asleep on their feet. Even after they'd stepped out of the orphanage and into the night, Naruto was still grinning. He'd pulled off his beard and Santa hat once more. Snow, which had slowed and was falling sparsely, was now landing in that tangle of sunshine yellow hair.

Walking along beside him in companionable silence, Sasuke watched Naruto from the corner of his eye for what felt like an eternity.

Without warning, he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. "Why didn't you tell me that you lost your family too?" he asked finally, when he could take it no longer.

Naruto turned and looked at him for a moment, confused, before he gave a comprehending nod. "I take it you spoke to Sakura and Tsunade?"

"Sort of… not really. They just said that your parents died when you were a baby, and that you grew up in that orphanage."

"Yep, that's pretty much it. Spent a lot of time there, and a lot of time bouncing from foster home to foster home. Eventually I was lucky enough to be adopted when I was eight—my dad is the best." He said it so calmly; the grin was back. "And I didn't tell you because I'm not the one that needed someone to listen."

Sasuke just stared at him—this smiling, grinning, happy person standing before him—a person who'd lived a life so eerily similar to his own, but who had grown to be so different.

"How…how can you be like you are?" There was a quiet desperation in his voice—the desperation to know, to understand whatever secrets this boy had.

"Honestly?" Naruto's brow furrowed in concentration. "I was miserable at Christmas as a kid. I think that anyone who's ever been alone has felt the same. But every year, it just got harder and harder to focus on what I'd lost, and easier to focus on what I had." He shrugged and looked up the sky, losing himself in some ramble that seemed to flow from his mind, or his heart, or somewhere in between. "I guess that when you lose your family, the only thing you can do is just surround yourself with people who care about you, and… make a new family. I'm not saying that those people are a replacement or something of your real family, but just because you don't share the same blood doesn't mean someone can't be your family, right? And for me, those kids in there are included in the family I've found. I've dressed up as Santa for the past few years, and to see their happy faces, to see how much they believe in 'me'… well, that's what Christmas is all about, isn't it?"

He looked back to Sasuke, and his smile revealed that, to him, this was all so simple. "What I love about Christmas is how it brings out the best in people. There's so much hope… there really is something magical about it. When you think about it, Christmas is really just a celebration of life, and of love." Sasuke couldn't tear his gaze away from those blue, blue eyes. "My parents would want me to keep on living, and hoping, and believing… and so would yours."

Sasuke was finding it difficult to breathe. With the other boy standing there, bathed in the glow of the streetlight, with snow spiraling down and eyes shining so impossibly blue, Sasuke wondered if he was even real.

"Are you an angel?" he asked, voice soft to the point of nearly being a whisper. He knew it sounded crazy—he felt crazy, for standing out on the street on Christmas Eve, enchanted by someone who had been a total stranger mere hours ago. He felt crazy for the way his body felt shaky and his heart was hammering in a way that made him feel alive. He felt crazy because he didn't mind it, not at all.

"Yes," Naruto deadpanned, and for that instant, Sasuke nearly believed him. But then his grin returned, though there was something uncertain in it, and he asked, "Why? Do you believe in angels, Mr. 'I don't believe in anything'?"

And Sasuke just looked at him and said, "I have no idea."

For a moment they just stood in silence, in which Sasuke found himself wanting to reach out and touch Naruto (because he was so close, really), just to prove once and for all that he couldn't be real.

But then the streetlamp flickered overhead, and the moment was shattered. "Well, I guess you'd better be getting home… Sorry for basically kidnapping you and keeping you out so late." Naruto scratched the back of this head with one hand, smiling sheepishly.

"No, it's… it's fine," Sasuke frowned, as the thought of going home to his dark, empty apartment surfaced in his mind.

"Are you okay?" Naruto's concern was instantaneous.

"Yeah. I just… I don't want to go home."

"Well, where do you want to go, then?"

Nowhere. He wanted to stay right here. He wanted… "Anywhere."

"We can go to my apartment, have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate if you'd like…" Naruto offered.

And Sasuke offered a small, but grateful smile. "I'd like that."

Thus, Sasuke found himself in a stranger's—no, Naruto could be by no means considered a stranger anymore, for Sasuke was beginning to feel like he'd known him for his entire life—apartment, drinking hot chocolate. For the first time he could ever remember on Christmas Eve, his focus was not on that fateful night—no, his attention was on the blond boy before him, whose constant stream of pleasant chatter fell all around Sasuke like a warm, soothing blanket.

But when it became undeniable that the time for them to part had come, they stood and headed to Naruto's front door.

But when something green caught Sasuke's eye, he froze and looked up.

He wondered why the realization that he and Naruto were standing under mistletoe made his mouth suddenly go dry.

After a moment of blush-induced fidgeting, Naruto let out a laugh and took a step to the side. "Heh, sorry about that. I forgot that that was there."

Sasuke nodded, but wondered why he didn't feel relieved.

He, too, stepped out from under the mistletoe, toward Naruto. But this time, Naruto didn't move away. The only thing that Sasuke had the time to notice was how close the blond was—before Naruto kissed him.

It was a simple kiss, just a soft brush of lips, but in that moment, Sasuke's heart felt like it had truly begun to beat for the first time in ten years.

Naruto took a step back before Sasuke had shaken himself from his stupor, their foreheads pressed together and his eyes searching Sasuke's dark ones. "I didn't want to blame it on the mistletoe," he admitted.

And Sasuke kissed him back, because he couldn't imagine anything that he could want for Christmas more than that.

Several moments later, holding each other in their arms as they both attempted to steady their breathing, Naruto fixed Sasuke with that dazzling smile—the one that made the whole room seem brighter. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Sasuke responded—and meant it.

And while Sasuke still wasn't sure if he believed in angels, he knew then that he believed in miracles.

One year later:

"This," Kakashi laughed, "is better than the best Christmas gift I could ever imagine."

The only thing that stopped Sasuke from killing him was the thought of what his mug shot would look like given his present attire.

"I know, isn't he so cute?" "Santa" grinned, and didn't miss a beat in holding Sasuke back as he lunged for Kakashi's flashing camera.

"Naruto," Sasuke seethed, after Kakashi had successfully escaped out Sasuke's apartment door (after snapping a few more pictures for posterity) and run gleefully out into the night. "How on earth did you manage to convince me to wear this?"

Naruto's eyebrows started to waggle, and Sasuke quickly cut him off. "Shut up. Never mind."

"Oh come on, Sasuke. It's for the children! I told them last year that you were my helper… now you look the part more!"

Indeed he did. Sasuke was wearing what was clearly an elf hat and shoes—he'd drawn the line at anything beyond that—and found himself wondering how the hell he'd fallen for this idiot.

(He had found that believing in love came quite easily after miracles.)

"Alright, alright. Let's go."

They had barely taken a step out the door when Naruto donned his Santa voice. "So tell me, Sasuke, have you been a good boy this year? Because I think you might be on the naughty li—mmph!"

Sasuke had to admit that elf hats were quite good at muffling sound.

The End.

AN: Couldn't resist throwing in a dash of (attempted) humor in the end.

Hope you enjoyed-- please leave a review!