It was about a month after Ventus had arrived in the Land of Departure. Things had been rather chaotic since then. The child's memory was nonexistent. The most he could tell Eraqus's apprentices was his name, no more, and it was impossible to resist asking Ventus questions, which usually ended with Ventus unconscious and Eraqus chewing out the two children.
Still, life moved forward, and eventually Ventus started actually talking to them, rather than just reacting to questions or prompting. That was about the first snowfall, and with the first snowfall in the Land of Departure came Aqua's favorite holiday.
That day, Ventus came down the stairs, the visions of the snowflakes still fresh in his mind, and instead of Aqua and Terra training found the former hanging colorful balls from a fir tree while humming a song to herself and the latter leaning against a wall, watching her.
"What's going on?" he asked, forgetting completely about the novelty of the snowflakes.
Aqua smiled almost dropped the ornament in her hand in surprise. "Ventus! You scared me. What are you doing up so early?"
"It's ten-thirty," Terra reminded her. "It's not early anymore."
"Oh. Right." She hung a small wooden Keyblade on the tree. "I'm decorating a Christmas tree," Aqua explained.
"What's a Christmas tree?"
Aqua spun around. "You don't know what Christmas—" She stopped herself. Right. Amnesia. Best not to question him about that, else she might cause him to faint yet again. "Well, we decorate Christmas trees for Christmas, which is a holiday where you spend time with your friends, family, and loved ones."
Terra let out a bark of laughter. "Yeah, right. We all know Christmas is just a commercial holiday. It's just an excuse to buy stuff."
"No it's not!" Aqua snapped back. "It's about hope and—"
"Hope's the greatest gift we'll receive," Terra quoted sarcastically. "It's a Christmas song, Aqua. All Christmas songs are dreams and hope and flying reindeer."
"Then Bah Humbug!" Terra stormed away.
Aqua sighed and turned to a thoroughly confused Ventus. "Sorry, Terra's been mad all day. Eraqus had to leave this morning to take care of something, and he's been on edge since."
That didn't seem to bother Ven, though. "What did he mean flying reindeer?"
Aqua grabbed a book from the box that contained all the decorations and flipped through the pictures. "There's someone named Santa Claus who comes every year on Christmas to give presents to good boys and girls. To deliver the presents all in one night, he rides in a sleigh pulled by twelve flying reindeer. Thirteen, if you count Rudolph." She showed him a page with a night sky and a silhouette of a sleigh and reindeer.
"Why does he do that?"
"Well, some say it's because he wanted to encourage children to behave because he doesn't give bad kids presents. If I ever meet him, I'll be sure to ask him."
Ventus frowned at the book, then looked up at Aqua. "Do you think I've been good enough for a present?"
Aqua patted him on the head. "I'm sure you have, and you can keep up the good work by helping me finish with the decorations, since Scrooge over there won't help."
Terra gave her a cold look from across the room and left. He never understood Aqua's obsession with Christmas, and it got even worse when Aqua started singing her favorite Christmas song of all time.
A week later, it was Christmas morning, and still Eraqus wasn't back. This was the first time their master wasn't home for the holidays, but Aqua wasn't about to let that dampen the mood. She was up bright and early leading an excited Ventus and a groggy Terra downstairs to the Christmas tree.
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, Ven's eyes lit up. "Look at all the presents!"
Terra and Aqua, meanwhile, stood stunned into silence as Ven grabbed a large gift and ripped the paper off it.
Terra shook his head. "You didn't…?"
"I only made something for you and Ven."
The shredding noise ceased. "It's a sled!" Ventus squealed. "Can I play with it now? Can I?"
"Only if you open my present before you do," Aqua said, handing him a package that was a little floppy. He did and found a green scarf. "Wear that and your coat."
Ven grinned and ran outside, pulling on his coat and new scarf as he went.
"Did the master get that for him?"
Aqua shook her head and gestured to another package under the tree. "He got him a wooden sword to train with." She then noticed a small box next to her Keyblade ornament in the tree addressed to her and opened it. It was a pair of earrings. "Terra! You shouldn't have! And here I thought you were a Scrooge."
But Terra shook his head. "I didn't get that for you." He bent and picked up a plush dog with a squishy reindeer-horn tied to its head with a huge bow. "It made me think of you somehow," he admitted sheepishly.
"Then who did?" Aqua looked at the tag on the box. There was no sender.
Terra bent and picked up another small box addressed to him. "Okay, you have to be responsible for this one. It says Santa."
"Eh, but I didn't—" She stopped when she saw what was in the box.
There was a note. And on the note was written "Look up." They looked up and saw a clump of mistletoe.
Terra's face turned bright red. "But, what? Eh?"
Aqua laughed and kissed Terra on the cheek. "Merry Christmas, Scrooge," she said with a small laugh.
They both looked at the door, and Aqua stood. "I'll handle this one, Terra." She was still laughing as she walked out the door.
Terra still stood there, dumbstruck. He then looked at the Christmas tree and smiled. "Thank you, Santa." Maybe Aqua's favorite Christmas song had some truth to it, after all. Perhaps hope was the greatest gift.
For those wondering, the fanfic was inspired by a remake of the song "As Long as There's Christmas," which if you go to my Youtube, there's a KH AMV with the song. That's also the song Aqua is singing throughout this fic, though I never name it.
And also, blatant ad, but I have my own anime/video game role-playing website. You can get there by clicking the homepage link. Please check it out.