T'was The Night Before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas, and up at the North Pole,
Everybody's going crazy; Everything's out of control.

"You've gotta be kidding me!" Sora groaned, looking at the jolly old man in front of him. But Santa wasn't joking or pulling off an elaborate practical joke. The brunet looked behind him and saw the toyshop lit on fire, elves currently screaming and running out the door that Santa stood a few feet in front of. How could this have happened?

"I warned ya never trust those elves!" Mrs. Claus hollered at her husband, storming over and hitting him on the shoulder with angered eyes. "Look at what they did this time!"

"I didn't know they would set the entire shop on fire!" Santa exclaimed.

"Oh, so you thought they would just set part of it on fire," his wife said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "That's so much better!"

"A-at least nobody was hurt," Roxas inserted, standing next to Sora. Sora looked over at his friend, knowing that Roxas had just made a crucial mistake that Sora and Riku didn't make: You don't interrupt a married couple when they were arguing.

"Yeah, right," Mrs. Claus said with a frown. "The reindeer barely made it out of there. Do you know how awful it would have been if they hadn't made it out?"

"Of course I know!" Santa said. "And look, everyone did make it out safely. Only a few gifts were lost, and the elves are trying to put out the fire now." As if on cue, a loud explosion rang out through the area, a ball of fire consuming the entire toyshop. It was then that Santa said something that Sora wouldn't expect an elderly old man to say. "Aw, crap."

"Yeah, crap," Mrs. Claus agreed. "This is the most important day of the year. Christmas Eve. And the toyshop is on fire!"

"But most of the gifts are already in the sleigh," Roxas inserted again, making Sora wish that his Nobody would just shut up. "Santa can still deliver everything…"

"….."

"…What?" Roxas asked, seeing their expressions.

"The sleigh was in the toyshop. The elves wanted to decorate it…." Mrs. Claus lifted a hand to her face, though she quickly lowered it and hit her husband in the arm. "You fool!"

"Now, now, calm down dear," Santa said in an attempt to sooth her nerves. "It just so happens that the elves threw most of the presents out the window before things got too bad. They're still alright…"

"But the sleigh is on fire!"

"Then I'll find another way to deliver the gifts!" Santa exclaimed, lifting his hands and rubbing his temples. If the smoke wasn't giving him a headache, then Sora would believe that it was Mrs. Claus. Yikes…

"…"

"Boys?" Santa asked, looking up at Sora standing between Roxas and Riku before he shifted his gaze to generally look over all three of them. "Do you have any ideas?"

Sora and Riku were both silent, though they did glance over at each other as they tried to come up with a solution. They had just randomly come here to see if there was a Heartless threat before Christmastime, but then they got sucked into this mess. At least the two of them were smart enough not to intervene with Mr. and Mrs. Claus's argument.

"Hitch-hiking!" Roxas said after a few moments, snapping his hand as if he had come up with some brilliant idea. Sora looked over and glared at him under his surprised expression, the other three people doing the same. "W-what?" he said with a startled expression.

"Hitch-hiking across worlds, Roxas?" Riku asked with an arched eyebrow. Sora agreed, though he didn't say anything. Seriously Roxas?

"Alright wise-guy," the Nobody replied smoothly. "You have any better ideas?"

"…"

"Exactly."

Santa sighed, reentering the conversation. "This is hopeless. We need to come up with a solution for this…"

Mrs. Claus sighed as well, shaking her head. "Might as well pack up the gifts. Christmas is cancelled this year."

"No," Santa said. "Christmas is never cancelled. I'll get those gifts to those children…" He looked over Roxas, Sora, and Riku in thought. What could they do to save Christmas? Surely those boys could help; he didn't believe that they were here just by coincidence. Santa glanced at the three boys, his eyes lighting up when he had an idea. "That's it!"

"Hm?" Sora hummed in interest, seeing Santa staring at him oddly. What…"

"Mitchel! Jordan!" Santa called, summoning two of his elves over to him. "Go to the warehouse and get the extra elf suits. Three of them for the Keyblade wielders."

Sora heard Riku grunt, startled. Sora was too, seeing the elves run off. "Santa…What…?" Sora trailed off, looking at the man in curiosity and concern.

Santa merely lifted his hands, setting them on Sora's shoulders as he looked up into the teens bright blue eyes. "Sora, you've saved countless worlds," he said. "Now it's time to save Christmas."

I can't believe I'm doing this, Sora thought, hands on the Gummi ship's steering wheel as he flew between the worlds. He was the only one strapped in completely, Riku, Roxas, and Santa with minimal straps over them so they could move quickly once they landed on the worlds. Fortunately for Sora, since he knew how to fly the Gummi ship best, he was the pilot.

What were the others doing? Dropping off gifts, of course. Only instead of using Santa's sleigh and reindeer, they were using a Gummi ship. And since that slowed them down, Santa needed assistants to help him drop off the gifts in houses. That was where Riku and Roxas came in.

Sora glanced over his shoulder, seeing his two best friends dressed up in green elf clothing. Shorts, long-sleeve shirts, high socks…And the hats. They were fully suited up as elves.

Riku caught Sora staring at him and glared at him, making Sora's eyes widen as he turned around to face forward in his seat again. He gulped, tugging at the collar of his own elf-suit. Riku really wasn't happy about this…But if they were caught dropping off gifts, it was better that they were mistaken for elves than thieves.

If there was one thing Sora was learning through the situation, it was this: It was hard to have Christmas joy when one was in an elf suit and being forced to travel to all the worlds to deliver Christmas gifts.

"Sora, go faster!" Santa said from his seat.

And another thing Sora learned: Santa was a backseat driver.

The brunet sighed, doing as he was told. They were almost done…The only world that they had left was his own: Destiny Islands. That realization made his heart beat more quickly. He hadn't been home in months, taking care of business around the worlds with Roxas and Riku. Would he have the chance to visit Kairi? Could he stay at home for good this time? It seemed like the worlds were at peace.

"Stop daydreaming, Sora!" Santa yelled. "Focus on getting us there in time. We gotta have those gifts there before midnight."

Again, Sora sighed, but he complied. Santa was the worst backseat driver ever…Who would have guessed? He put the ship in full throttle and drove ahead, getting closer and closer to his home.

"Why before midnight?" Roxas asked, still not smart enough to leave out his comments and questions. Regardless, Santa answered.

"Because that's the way it's always been done!" Santa exclaimed. "There's something magical about having them under the Christmas tree right before midnight…And besides, it's my job to get it done before Christmas."

"But it's not our job to do your work for you and dress in ridiculous costumes," Riku mumbled, the words audible to all the people on the ship.

"Aw, come now Riku, where's your Christmas spirit?" Santa asked in a more cheerful tone.

"At home," he replied smoothly. "Where I should be."

I know how you feel, Riku, Sora thought, glancing downward in thought. He really wanted to be home, too. There was a Christmas tradition he had with his best friend Kairi, and he didn't want to break that. But at this rate, he wouldn't get home in time to do it. And he had planned on making this year special, too…

"You boys'll be home before the sunrise if Sora speeds up," Santa assured them, though he again hinted at Sora's driving. Sora, though, didn't pay attention to the back-seat driving anymore.

"You really mean it?" he asked in excitement. They would be home before sunrise? Then he could still have his Christmas tradition with Kairi!

"Yeah, so hurry it up, Sora!" Santa strictly yelled from the back. "We've got a lot of presents to deliver to make that happen."

Sora smiled widely, ignoring Santa's harsh order because of his optimism. "Yes, sir!" he said, putting the ship in full throttle and speeding ahead. It was time to finish this, before Riku murdered Santa and before the sun rose. It was time to return to Kairi and make this her best Christmas ever.

Later

The presents were delivered. Sora joyfully dropped off Santa at the workshop, both joyful because the task was done and because Santa couldn't be a backseat driver any longer. But he was even more exuberant that he could go home and surprise Kairi before she woke up.

Riku and Roxas were already asleep by the time that Sora returned, since he was the only one who drove Santa back to his world. Both of them got changed out of their elf suits as soon as they got home, and that was what Sora did when he was there for good. He felt terrific, changing back into more comfortable clothes. And to see the snow outside…It was great. It hardly ever snowed on his world, but he loved it when it did.

Careful not to wake up his friends, he snuck back out of his house and towards another one nearby: Kairi's. It wasn't time for the "tradition" yet; that would come in the morning. But he prepared for it diligently and then waited.

Kairi, I can't wait to see your face when you see I came home.