Wow... last chapter. Well, enjoy.

Disclaimer: For the last time, I do not own Kingdom Hearts!

Chapter Twelve :: Twelve Lords a-Leaping

Christmas Day had arrived, but the identity of the mysterious gift giver—or givers—had not been figured out yet, and the strange gifts hadn't ceased to come in, either. Xemnas found this quite irritating, seeing how Zexion's plan had failed. It didn't comfort him that his organization was enjoying this time of festive break, either. In fact, it bothered him. He shouldn't have been so foolish as to give into the plan so easily, without another thought. It had probably just been a ploy of some sort—and who knows; maybe the Nobodies themselves had set it all up!

His mind was troubled as he stared up at Kingdom Hearts, and he barely stirred as he heard a dark corridor open and close behind him. "What is it, Saïx?"

He cleared his throat. "We… we are having special festivities down in the Gray Area. We wanted to see if you would like to join in."

"No. This blasted holiday is just… not meant for a Nobody like me."

Saïx blinked a few times. "We would love—ah, so to speak—to have you join us. It would be our honor to have your rare presence in our midst."

"I want nothing of it." Xemnas scoffed. "Whoever or whatever started this whole defiling of my orders… no, I will not."

It was quiet for a while, until the bluenette finally spoke back up. "Ah… this sounds foolish, I know, but… the others were wondering what you got in your presents. They were too intimidated to ask you themselves. That is, if you even did open them."

Xemnas looked at his second in command incredulously, but turned back around and sighed. "Many 'Star Wars' related presents. The notes said I would 'love' them. Stupidity… if I could love, I wouldn't have this Organization full of idiots!" he put a hand to his forehead. "I don't even know what this 'Star Wars' is…"

"My apologies for their incompetence, Superior. We will find out who did this, and put them to justice." Saïx said. "And if I may say this… I do not see why you have such a grudge against this holiday."

He took a minute to respond, and started slowly. "Saïx… I see no point in this merry gift giving—especially among emotionless Nobodies such as ourselves. Why, if I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Or empty chest, it depends on who it is."

Saïx didn't respond to this, but merely walked through a corridor of darkness back to the Gray Area, leaving the Superior on the highest rooftop to stare deeply at Kingdom Hearts, only an echo of nothingness resting in his empty chest.

The rest of the Organization was in the Gray Area, celebrating and having a good time. But Larxene was the one probably finding it most enjoyable. True to her sadistic nature, her gifts—twelve lords a-leaping—were now twelve slaves a-leaping.

"You, pudgy, I need water; go get me some! Demyx is annoying me; go shut him up, will you? Fetch me some cake, you bum!" she was ordering them about, and when they weren't leaping, she would electrocute them. "Hey, you call yourself a 'lord a-leaping'? Then leap, you idiot!"

Everybody pretty much steered clear of her for the rest of the day.

And though Roxas and Xion had not been included in the Twelve Days of Christmas, they had still woken up to presents stashed in their rooms that Christmas morning, along with that wonderful "unexpected Christmas cheer" the others had been talking about. Christmas was a time of exhilarating wonder for the two, being only children. Axel was glad to see them so "happy," but it also weighed him down to see them like that, too. He knew these good days would just be a passing phase—it wouldn't last long. He was sure that this would be their first, last, and only Christmas in Organization XIII—if not Roxas, then definitely Xion. If he had a heart, the thought definitely would have depressed him.

But he plastered on a fake smile and put his hands on the two Nobodies' shoulders. "How does some sparkling cider sound?"

They smiled. "Sure, that sounds great, Axel!"

He nodded and walked over to the table that was set up next to the large window. Saïx was standing there also, looking out at Kingdom Hearts, a slightest bit of uncanny resemblance to Xemnas radiating from his posture.

Axel poured out three cups of the drink, and turned to go, but Saïx stopped him. "…You know it won't last long."

"Whatever could you be talking about?" Axel raised an eyebrow in mock curiosity.

Saïx narrowed his eyes at him. "You know very well what I am talking about."

He looked down. "Thanks for ruining a perfectly good mood…" Axel grumbled. "Now, if you don't mind, I'll be leaving before you try to destroy a perfectly good friendship. Again."


"What is it now?"

He sighed, and looked Axel square in the eye. "Enjoy it… while you can."

Axel looked thoughtful. "What, are you saying this so that you can just bring it down with 'cause it'll just cause you more trouble in the end,' or 'it'll never last'?" he even sneered a little bit out of his former friend's possible hidden meanings.

Saïx just turned back to look at the moon. "No… let's just say it's my way of giving 'Christmas wishes.'"

He just gave the other Nobody one last strange look, and headed back to his young friends.

On the other side of the Gray Area, Luxord was examining his last wrapped gift. "That's strange…" he murmured. There was no tag on it, and all the other ones he had received from the unknown giver had had gift tags on them…

Pushing that aside, he opened it up. Underneath was a plain brown box, and that was opened up too. When he stuck his hand inside, he just stopped. His fingers were clutched around the unmistakable feeling of…

Luxord pulled the glass object out and stared at it. And stared at it. And stared at it some more. In his hands, perfectly restored, was his very first poker championships trophy. He looked around for Vexen, and found him sitting at a couch on the other side of the room. As he approached, he found the scientist playing cards with Xaldin, Marluxia, and Xigbar. They looked up at him and immediately drew back.

"I should hope that you are not here to ask to play." Xaldin started immediately.

Luxord smiled cordially. "Your endearment touches me, really. But I am here to speak to Vexen."

Said Nobody looked up at him expectantly, and Luxord motioned to the trophy in his hand. "How…?"

Vexen laughed. "After receiving such a thorough payment from you, I thought that just maybe I could put a little more work into that one. And it seems that it turned out!"

"Indeed…" he walked away, still staring at the crystal accolade.

Near them, Zexion was sitting on a couch, reading like usual, when one of his comrades came and rested beside him.

"You knew your plan wouldn't work, didn't you?"

He shrugged. "Maybe."

The other was silent for a while. "It was a good thing you did for them, Zexion."

He sighed. "I'm afraid so. It will probably be the last one I do, too."

"For the Organization… or for others?"

"I don't know, Lexaeus." he dismissed his lexicon. "This upcoming job at Castle Oblivion…" Zexion's voice trailed off.

"You still sense it will bring disaster?" The Silent Hero grunted.

Zexion stared at the wall. "Honestly, I'm not sure about anything anymore."

After a few more hours of socializing, Organization XIII was pretty much finished off. They were all ready to start heading off to their separate ways when a strange shuffling was heard from outside the castle. They all glanced at each other, a little nervous. The noise immediately stopped, and they went back to their business.

Of course, when they calmed back down, a semi-unanimous shout and giggles of several hundred female voices was heard. "MERRY CHRISTMAS, ORGANIZATION XIII!"

Drinks, food, and cards fell to the floor as the castle's residents jumped up. Even Larxene stopped ordering her slaves—er, gifts—around to summon her knives. The source of the gifts was now made apparent to the entire Organization—it was their worst nightmare—and they were now cursing themselves for not realizing this earlier. Only one word was muttered between them as weapons were drawn.


A/N: It's said that screams could be heard all over the universe, coming from a mysterious world that is said not to even exist. Whether it was coming from the fangirls or the Organization, maybe a mix of both, no one knows.

Well, thanks sooo much for reading, guys! Your response to this story that I have put so much work into over the past month has really touched me! To those who reviewed: you guys really made me smile. Thanks! To those who put this story on their alerts and favorites list: thank you so much! It warmed my heart to know that so many people were enjoying this story. Free hugs for everybody!

Oh, and if you can spot the direct quote from Dicken's A Christmas Carol in this story, free virtual cookies for you! The one at the end of this note doesn't count, though :P

Anywho, with this final author's note, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season. And in the words of the beloved Charles Dickens:

May God bless us, every one.

Merry Christmas, readers.