The "Secret" Santa
This is a short (just how short I never realized until now...) fic I wrote for one of my besties one year as a "present". I was really REALLY broke, ok?
Denzel sighed for the umpteenth time that evening as he and Marlene crept down the stairs into the bar of Seventh Heaven, where Tifa and Cloud's Christmas tree sat.
At the beginning of the month Cloud and all of his friends (and a couple of gate-crashing TURKS who shall remain nameless) had gotten together and lovingly decorated it from top to bottom. Now, finally, it was Christmas Eve, and the two had been sent to bed early in the hopes they would sleep. (Really, Tifa is so gullible.) Now it was almost midnight and the others had finally retired to their beds.
"Im telling you, Marlene, he doesn't exist!" Denzel whispered as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Then how do the presents get here?" Marlene countered.
"It's just Cloud sneaking around when he thinks we're asleep - come on, I think I hear someone." The older boy pushed open the door and peeked into the dimly lit room.
"Its SANTA!" Marlene breathed excitedly. "Look, his hat! And a sack!" Her eyes fixated on the bulging black bag the figure was carrying. To the young pair hovering in the doorway, the figure seemed oddly familiar, but then, Santa was one of those familiar kinds of people, Marlene supposed.
Denzel, who had not dragged Marlene down the stairs in the middle of the night only to have his theory proved wrong, stepped boldly into the living room.
"Santa's supposed to be fat!" he declared, placing his hands rebelliously on his hips. The figure froze, his back still turned to the children.
"AND he has white hair!" Denzel added, his voice growing more triumphant as he continued.
"Denzel!" Marlene clasped her hands to her chest, but it was far too late for Denzel to back down now, and he might as well make the most of it, the eight-year-old thought to himself, since if he was wrong, he would probably never live it down.
"And," he paused for dramatic effect, aware that Marlene was watching him, mouth open in fearful admiration of Denzel's courage, "he DOESN'T wear a cape!" his smug expression turned to one of unadulterated shock as Vincent Valentine turned around and regarded him frostily.
"YOU should be in bed." He said, and placed the sack firmly on the living room carpet. His gaze travelled to Marlene, who was cowering in the doorway and staring at him dolefully with large eyes. He shut his eyes with a defeated sigh, and removed the santa hat that Cloud had given him, feeling more than a little silly now that he had been discovered. Cloud had assured him nobody would see him wearing it...
"But, I suppose, since it's Christmas..." he opened the sack and took out a parcel. "You can help me sort these." Denzel took the present wordlessly, and placed it under the tree, and Marlene followed suit. When the sack was finally empty, Vincent stood up straight and gazed at the pair - Denzel swore he felt a distinct chill in the air.
"Now, not a word of this to Tifa, or she will be heartbroken, understand?" Carefully taking the glass of sherry and mince pie Cloud had conspicuously left on the bar. Vincent strode over to the open window and swung a leg over the sill. "Go to bed now, and remember - you saw NOTHING." he disappeared from sight, and Marlene sighed, more than slightly relieved that she hadn't incurred his wrath.
Still unable to speak, Marlene and Denzel returned to their rooms. Before she closed her door, Marlene's triumphant voice whispered - "Well, that WASN'T Cloud!"
He knows if you're good
'Cause Tifa will tell
If you've been bad he's gonna raise hell
Vincent Clause is sneakin' around town!
He knows if you are sleeping
Or if you're still awake
For your own sake, you'd best be good
Or Chaos, he will wake!
(Many thanks and a big high-five to PfenixB)
MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!