Sora's Worst Christmas Ever

It was late at night on the world of Destiny Islands, and all the little children were tucked away in their beds.

Being a chain of tropical islands, the air was not especially cold, and of course there was no snow. But it was Christmas Eve nonetheless, as anyone with working eyes and ears could tell: blinking lights of all different colors adorned many of the houses, Christmas-themed music played quietly from the few houses where anyone was still awake, and plates full of cookies and glasses of cold milk could be found sitting on a table somewhere within almost every house.

High above the little island town, a dark portal swirled open and a bright red light shone out from within it. Rather than some horrible monster, however, a flying reindeer with a glowing red nose emerged from the darkness, followed shortly afterward by eight more reindeer. Finally, a massive red sleigh (with an equally large white-bearded man riding in it) came flying through the dark passage before it swirled shut once again.

Santa Claus' sleigh circled over the town several times as the man himself pulled out a scroll and glanced over it. Eventually, the sleigh came to a stop on top of the roof of one of the smaller buildings, and Santa hopped out and waddled over toward the chimney.

In this house, three kids had not yet gone to sleep. Instead, they were lying in wait behind an overturned couch, occasionally peeking out and watching for any signs of Santa Claus' presence.

One, with long, silvery-colored hair, seemed to be growing somewhat bored with the night of Santa-watching. Occasionally, his eyes would begin to slide shut and he would slump up against the back of the couch to sleep, though one of the other two kids would always shake him a little to snap him out of it every time. The others, a boy with spiky brown hair and a girl, appeared to be a bit younger than their sleepy friend, and much more excited about the chance of catching Santa Claus in their house. Though it wasn't really their house, exactly, since only the spiky-haired boy actually lived there.

A light thump from the roof above them caused all three to snap back to attention. They poked their heads up above the couch and turned toward the fireplace, expecting Santa Claus to come flying down the chimney at any second. Instead, a dark portal swirled open just inches in front of the fire.

The spiky-haired boy immediately stood up and summoned a Keyblade to his side, briefly illuminating the room in a flash of light. The older boy stood up and prepared for battle as well, calling forth another Keyblade resembling a bat's wing. The red-haired girl only watched, ducking back behind the couch and peeking over occasionally.

All three of them gasped, their jaws dropping (and the weapons almost slipping out of the two boys' hands) as a large, bearded man in a familiar-looking red suit stepped out of the portal, carrying a large sack packed full of toys. Looking over a long scroll in his hand, he mumbled something to himself, then began reaching into the sack. The three children just stared.

"He... really does exist," the silver-haired boy muttered.

"Ho ho ho," the fat man laughed, noticing the presence of the three children. He looked over them for a second, then shook his head slightly. "Little boys shouldn't be carrying weapons around like that--it's Christmas!"

The spiky-haired boy gripped his Keyblade in both hands and stuttered.

"B-but... you..."

"If this is about the dark portal, you don't have anything to worry about," Santa said. "Just because someone uses the power of Darkness, it doesn't mean they're a bad person."

He glanced over to the silvery-haired boy, who had also readied his weapon, and waved his finger at him.

"You, especially, should know that," he said. "Don't tell me you've forgotten what you've learned already, Riku!"

Riku sighed and dematerialized his Keyblade. Santa Claus nodded and smiled, then glanced back to the list in his hands.

"Now, where was I... oh, your presents, of course!"

He reached into his sack, pulling out several blue and silver boxes and placing them under the Christmas tree in the corner of the room.

"You've done some naughty things this year... but most of them weren't anything really serious. These are for you, Riku."

The jolly old man reached back into his sack with both hands, hefting out a large armful of presents wrapped up in golden paper and topped with pink and white bows. He plopped them all down under the tree, then turned toward the far side of the overturned couch.

"And those presents are yours, Kairi," he said, smiling slightly. "I know you're over there, so you might as well go ahead and come out of hiding."

Kairi slowly poked her head back up from behind the couch, noticing that she had almost twice as many presents as Riku. She then glanced over at Santa Claus as he looked over his list. After a few seconds of waiting, she stood up and asked a question.

"Um... Santa? What about Sora's presents?"

Santa continued to look over his list, eventually reaching Sora's name. He looked up, but did not smile--instead, he got a rather serious look on his face for the first time that night.

"I'm afraid your friend Sora isn't getting any presents this year," he said, rolling up his list and putting it back into one of his pockets.

"Not getting any presents!?", Sora yelled, "But why not?"

"Yeah," Riku said, "What'd he do to deserve that? I mean, I didn't even believe in Santa Claus before now, and I still got presents..."

"You don't know?", Santa said, looking absolutely dumbfounded at this. "Even you, his two closest friends, have no idea what Sora did to get on my naughty list this year?"

"Well... no," Kairi said, "I can't really think of anything he's done that was that bad..."

"Well," the fat man said, glancing down to the floor as he spoke. "There's the prejudice against Nobodies, of course, though I suppose that one's not exactly Sora's fault... he's a very gullible child, and that crazy old wizard told him some terrible things."

"But then there's all those fights started for no good reason... not even attempting to hear both sides of the story or resolve things peacefully before resorting to violence... and you can't forget all those murders. You could probably say he's committed genocide."

"Murders? Genocide? Come on, Sora's not some kind of mass murderer or anything like that!"

"No murderer, you say? Well, there's a few things you need to see..."

The old man snapped his fingers, and a sparkle of magic illuminated the room for a split-second. When the light cleared, a hologram-like image of a young man with an unusual haircut appeared in the room. The man in the image wore a long, black cloak and carried a sitar, which he began to play.

"That's... um... that one guy!", Sora shouted, "From Organization XIII!"

"His name was Demyx," Santa said, "And you, along with your friends Donald and Goofy, attacked and murdered him simply because of what he was. On some worlds, that's called a 'hate crime'... and it's a very naughty thing to do!"

"But he was trying to trick us!"

"Oh, really? From what I saw, it seemed more like he was just stopping by to say hello," the fat man continued. "You have no idea what his true reason for appearing there was, do you?"

"Well... no, but... he's one of those Organization XIII guys! It couldn't have been anything good!"

"How foolish... always shooting first, and asking questions later," Santa said, shaking his head. "I can tell what people are thinking just by taking a quick glance at them. And I know that Demyx meant you no harm--in fact, he was there to warn you about that swarm of Heartless that was coming. He probably would have even helped you fight them, if you had only asked!"

Sora lowered his Keyblade slightly. Though he didn't quite believe Santa's words, they still made him feel a bit worse about the whole situation.

"And it wasn't just Demyx, of course," Santa added. He waved one hand slightly, and the image of Demyx vanished. A split-second later, it was replaced by three more Organization XIII members--Luxord, Xigbar, and Saix.

"Those guys attacked me! I had to fight back!"

"In case you've forgotten so quickly, that was their home you were barging into," Santa said, waving one finger at Sora. "You can't go charging into someone's front door with weapons drawn and expect a warm welcome. They had every right to attack you."

He snapped his fingers again, and the room became filled with many more images--an entire legion of Dusks and other lesser Nobodies. One by one, each of the Nobodies transformed into a normal-looking being--many of them humans, with the occasional dog, cat, pointy-eared elf, or humanoid mouse-creature mixed in.

"But... Nobodies don't exist!", Sora yelled, "They're just empty shells of who they used to be, without a heart!"

"A heart isn't everything," Santa Claus said. "Nobodies may not be complete beings, but they still have a soul--thoughts, feelings, life... just like any other person."

"They're not... they... they don't even exist! There's nothing wrong with... killing them..."

"You're beginning to understand, I see," Santa Claus said, "It wasn't so easy for you to just blurt it out this time. There may still be some hope for you yet."

He waved his hand, and the hundreds of images of people who had become Nobodies flickered away and vanished.

"But this year... you've been a very naughty boy, Sora. Very naughty indeed."

"If you had just been a little naughty, I would be able to just let it pass and not give you any presents... maybe drop a lump of coal into one of your stockings, or something like that."

Santa held out one hand in Sora's direction, and instantly the spiky-haired boy's Keyblade dissolved into particles of light and vanished from his hands. He tried to summon it again, but nothing happened.

"But what you've done is far worse than simply disobeying your parents or not eating your vegetables," he said, lowering his hand. "This requires a punishment a bit more serious."

Santa Claus snapped his fingers again, and in a puff of smoke, a second being appeared in the room--one that looked very different from the fat man in the red suit. The demonic-looking creature had blackish-gray skin and dark, scraggly hair, with two long, curving horns protruding from its head. Strapped on the creature's back was a large basket, with several long sticks poking up from the top of it; in its hands was a long, rusty chain, which clanged together slightly as it took a step forward.

Sora stepped backward, nearly stumbling over a chair.

"Wha... what the heck is that!?"

"This is the Krampus," Santa explained, "He works for me, just like all the elves who make the toys... except his job is to punish especially naughty children."

The creature laughed evilly, causing his long forked tongue to flop about for a few seconds. He then turned toward Santa Claus, who nodded and pointed at Sora.

Riku summoned his Keyblade again and stepped up to defend his friend from the creature, but with a wave of Santa's hand, his weapon vanished and he was sent flying out of the way. He and Kairi were forced to just stand back and watch as the Krampus approached Sora, leaping over the couch and reaching for the boy with his clawed hands.

"What's he going to do to Sora!?"

"Oh, nothing life-threatening," Santa said, "Your friend might be a little sore for a few days after he gets back, and he'll probably have recurring nightmares for a while... but other than that, he should be fine."

"He'll be taking a quick trip to... a place that isn't very pleasant," he continued, "But you'll see Sora again as soon as Krampus is finished with him. Which should be... oh, probably sometime tomorrow morning, just in time for him to see you two open your presents."

Sora attempted to run, but he tripped over his own enormous shoes and fell face-first into the carpet. The Krampus lashed out with his rusty chain, and it wrapped around Sora's midsection and then clanged together for a few seconds, tying itself into a knot. He then pulled Sora up off of the ground, laughed, and tossed the spiky-haired boy into the basket strapped on his back.

"Now, then... it's about time I get back to my route," Santa said, adjusting his coat slightly and opening up another dark portal. "Plenty of toys left to deliver, after all."

As Santa Claus turned around and walked back through the portal, another one opened up behind Krampus. Sora screamed and tried to climb out of the basket, but it was no use--before he had even gotten a single hand loose from the chains, the creature hopped backward into the portal. In a matter of seconds, both portals vanished, leaving no trace of either Santa Claus or the Krampus behind--except, of course, for the presents under the tree.

Riku and Kairi just stood and stared for a few seconds, still not quite sure if they could really believe what they had just seen. But, sure enough, Sora was nowhere to be seen, and presents that weren't there before were now sitting quietly underneath the Christmas tree, the many-colored lights reflecting off of their shiny packaging.

There was another moment of silence before, finally, one of the two spoke.

"Wait a second," Riku said, "What time is it?"

Kairi glanced down and checked her watch, then paused for a moment before slowly turning back toward the silver-haired boy.

"12:01... just after midnight," she said. "Which means... it's been less than a minute since Santa Claus got here."

Riku groaned.

"I should've known," he muttered. "Santa Claus can stop time... no wonder he always gets around to all those houses without being spotted."

After a bit more stunned silence, Riku and Kairi got to work moving the couch back into its usual position, then slowly headed off to their beds as quietly as possible, making sure not to wake up Sora's parents...