A VERY NARUTO CHRISTMAS (2008)
I I I
Wintertime in Konohagakure; snow drifts slowly to the ground, ninja and civilians alike scurrying around, preparing for the big day tomorrow, Christmas.
And one team of ninjas, meeting one last time before the holiday.
I I I
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." Neji said after an incredulous pause.
"WHAT!" Gai roared. "How unyouthful! To think that my own students wouldn't believe in the Ultimate Ninja!"
"Yosh!" Lee agreed. "Neji, my youthful rival, he is indeed the strongest ninja in existence!"
"Perception that exceeds any doujutusu!" Roared Gai, striking a pose. "Giving him the capacity to understand the youthfulness of all the youths in the world!"
"Speed!" Roared Lee, striking the mirror image of Gai's pose. "Such incredible speed that he can visit every house in the world in under 24 hours!"
"Indeed!" Roared Gai, as waves crashed against the mountain background that spontaneously sprung up behind them. "Santa Claus is the greatest of all ninjas!"
Neji and Tenten exchanged looks. "Um," Tenten said, "I've known Santa wasn't real ever since I caught dad sneaking down the stairs. I was like, six."
"Ha ha ha!" Gai laughed. "The impetuousness of Youth!"
Neji was less kind. "Gai-sensei." He began, "that a full-grown man can believe in Santa Claus… that's ridiculous."
"I can also make turtles appear out of thin air." Gai pointed out. "And you have X-ray vision. We are in no position to judge people nonexistent based on the absurdity of their powers!"
I I I
And, indeed, child, should you head far, far to the north, farther north than the Stone or Cloud countries, farther north than even the northernmost tip of the Snow country, there in the icy wasteland you would find a secret city, populated by a Bloodline clan called the Elves.
The Village Hidden in the North Pole.
From his rubber snow-sandals to his fur-lined red jumpsuit, his jounin vest with a broad leather belt, up past his jolly beard and twinking eyes, to the tip of the sock-like hat with the forehead protector emblazoned with a candy cane, Santa Claus is very, terribly real.
This man, the Toy Shadow of the North Pole Village, is currently locked in meditation within a cavern, contemplating the busy night ahead of him.
With a swirl of tinsel and snow, an elf appears before him with Shunshin, crouched at the feet of his master. "Santa-sama."
"Speak, Pepper Minstix." The Red One intoned.
"Yes, Master." The elf, Pepper spoke. "Alabaster Snowball summons you to the Chamber of Judgment."
"I see." Santa Claus said, standing up. "There is some dispute?"
"I know not, Master." Pepper replied.
"Then, let us find out!" Santa said, and he disappeared with a wink and flash.
And he reappeared instantly in the Chamber of Judgment, deep in his icy fortress.
Sitting in the lotus position on a great iron platform, forming the handseal of the snowman and lit from the eerie glow of the seals on the walls, is Alabastor Snowball, administrator and adjudicator of the List. It is he who uses powerful kinjutusu to determine who goes on the Scroll of Nice Children and who are condemned to the Scroll of Naughty Children.
"You required me, Alabastor?"
"Yes, Master." The wizened old elf responded, frowning from beneath his gray mustache. "This year, there have been a number of fortuitous movements."
Santa parsed this and smiled kindly. "Then… there are children who have forsworn the dark path of Naughtiness and are once again Nice?"
"It is as you say, Master." Alabastor responded. "Most shocking is… Sabaku no Gaara."
"…What?" Santa said. "This is the same kid who defined his existence by murdering other people in the name of the demon sealed in him, right?"
"It is indeed he, Master." Alabastor nodded. "However, my secret jutsu have never been defeated by any means, and his reform is to complete to be false. Gaara is actually a Nice Child this year."
"That is excellent news." Santa said. "However, I am led to think this is not the only such reform you have to reveal unto me tonight."
"Indeed it is as you perceive, Master." Alabastor spoke. "Of the Wave, the little boy Inari. Of the Leaf, both Sarutobi Konohamaru and Hyuuga Neji." Alabastor paused, gathering himself. "That last was unexpected, master, so firm is his path set. And… this surprising series of shifts has been traced to a single source, Master."
"I find the hard to believe, but if you see it to be so it must be true, Alabastor." Santa replied.
"Indeed!" Alabastor said, smiling. "They were all brought to Niceness by one who has reformed himself and become a genuine and excellent Nice Child… Uzumaki Naruto."
"That twit!" Santa roared. "Wunorse Openslae has sworn vengeance on that insufferable little child for painting my sleigh orange, and I myself have no love lost for his antics."
"I am as aware of it as you, Master." Alabastor said, shrugging. "Nevertheless, he has had a tremendously Nice impact. This child is pure Nice, whatever he may have been." Alabastor licked his lips. "Indeed, he is even… the Nicest Child of the Year."
"You know what you say, don't you, Alabastor." Santa said heavily. "Very well. The desire of the Nicest Child shall be absolutely met, no matter what. This is of our contract and Law, and so shall it be!"
"That is the reason I have summoned you, Master." Alabastor said. "You see… he did not write you a letter this year." He paused. "He has been consumed with his Niceness and disregarded all thoughts of himself."
"Then… we must grant his wish as expressed last year." Santa said.
"Yes, Master, well…" Alabastor hesitated, and then released the Snowman seal for a moment, halting the transcription of the Lists, that he might snap his fingers; and in so doing a letter was summoned in a sparkle of tinsel.
He resumed his seal and Santa put on his halfmoon glasses, reading the letter under his breath. Afterwards, he paused, frowning. "He asked for somebody to be his friend." He looked up at Alabastor. "Has he called someone friend since then?"
Alabastor winced. "Yes, Master, and that person stabbed him in the chest with an assassination jutsu not five minutes later." Rather unnecessarily, he added, "So now he's on the Naughty List."
"Huh." Santa said, looking back at the letter. "The Nicest Child of the Year must receive their desire. This is from our Law. But…" he frowned. "The Toy Genesis Engine is powerful indeed, but even the direct magic of its creator Bushy Evergreen cannot manufacture life. That is very Naughty kinjutsu."
"You must determine something on your own, Master, that our Law might be kept." Alabastor replied. "Oh, also, there's the issue of another child, named… Tenten."
"And what of him?" Santa said.
"…Her, master." Alabastor gently corrected. "You see… she cannot be placed on either the Naughty or the Nice List. She hadn't enough screen time for my jutsu to decide."
Santa frowned. "Then, the Law is that her desire shall be granted in some kind of Monkey's Paw-esque fashion." Considering, he said further, "What was her wish, anyway?"
Alabator summoned another letter, and held it out to Santa.
Santa read it, frowning, and then chuckled. "I just might be able to work something out!"
I I I
Night falls, and not a creature stirs. Except patrols of ANBU, who are charged with protecting the village of Konoha on even a night such as this. Especially a night such as this.
But no matter how skilled the eye, it cannot pierce the skill of the God of Ninja, Santa Claus, as he flashes between houses and sneaks inside, effortlessly defeating all tricks and traps.
He sneaks into the Hyuuga Manor, knocking the guards unconscious from behind with his secret techniques and penetrating into the core of their house, where their tree is kept. He stands before it, pleased by the offering of milk and cookies, and unfurls his great scroll, in which is sealed all of the presents for all the Good Little Boys and Good Little Girls.
He deposits the gifts for the Hyuuga children, wrapped in their special lead-lined wrapping paper, and disappears in a flash, only a swirl of tinsel marking his escape.
He appears on the roof, and hides as a patrol of ANBU pass, and continues on his merry way, to the apartment district of Konoha.
I I I
Lee has no doubts that his sensei was speaking the truth. Santa Claus is real. Believing in this, he has resolved to stay up all night that he might meet the greatest ninja for himself.
Therefore, Lee has disguised himself, standing behind the tree, wrapped in Christmas lights, ornaments hanging from his green jumpsuit. He flinches when Santa appears in a flash, and only when the man unseals a simply huge box does he reveal himself.
"Santa!" Lee roars, leaping foreword.
"Holy shit!" The Man in Red responds, instinctively back fisting the boy through a wall. "Oh man, are you alright Lee?" For Santa knows all children by name.
"Yosh!" Lee roars, pulling himself back out of the wall. "I am unharmed by your youthful power!" Lee poses, eyes blazing. "Truly, it ignites my heart to know that Santa Claus is a master of taijutsu!"
Santa's smile is still as jolly as ever, although the twinkle seems to have gone out of his eyes. "Yes, that's nice, but I have to get back to work. Presents, every house in the world and all that."
"Youth!" Lee roared. "I'm moved by this incredible self-challenge, greater than one even Gai could achieve!" He darted forward and somehow had Santa's hand grasped between his. "Old Saint Nick! Let me train myself by helping you!"
"How about… no?" Santa said, and in a wink and a flash he is gone.
"Yosh!" Lee said, totally undeterred. "I accept your challenge!"
I I I
It is not through speed alone that Santa Claus can visit every house in the world in one night. Indeed, he possesses an incredible jutsu that allows him to exist simultaneously in multiple places at once.
It is with this jutsu that he is also capable of visiting a certain cave, deep in the heart of the Waterfall country, within which is a certain statue and nine certain missing-nin, all in cloaks of black and red.
Santa appears even hear, passing through their overly complicated barrier jutsu with ease. He comes up to the tree and unfurls his scroll, and in a poof of smoke a single box appears, and places it beneath the poorly decorated tree shunted off in a corner of the cave.
"Santa really came!" A voice cries behind him, and Santa's back stiffens. He turns, and makes eye contact with the man in the orange swirly mask.
"I tell them and tell them, but do they believe me? No!" The man said, crossing his arms and pouting. "But now… now there's PROOF!" The man hugs himself. "Tobi really is a good boy!"
Santa groans, and closes his eyes while pinching the bridge of his nose. "Tobi… this present… it's for half of Zetsu." Santa paused. "Because he split himself into a Nice half and a Naughty half, they are distinct beings, so one was Nice this year."
"Then…" Tobi whispers, "Santa… didn't get Tobi a present?"
"No." Santa said, heavily. "I'm sorry, Tobi, but… but you didn't make it."
"Then… Tobi..." and he couldn't finish it.
"No, I'm afraid not." Santa said, laying a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Tobi isn't a good boy."
I I I
Lee is not the sneakiest ninja in the village, but he can be stealthy when needs be. But more than anything else, keeping up with Santa Claus on Christmas Eve requires speed.
And Lee has speed.
So when Santa disappears into the house of his friend and teammate Tenten, Lee follows, excited that he can help Santa.
"Santa!" Lee roars. "The Green Beast of Konoha springs to your aid, that…" Lee pauses, taking in the horrible sight before him. "Santa… what is this?"
Santa, holding an unconscious Tenten in a joint pin with a chloroform-soaked rag still pressed to her face, looks up at the jumpsuit-clad ninja in front of him. He drops the rag like a hot potato.
"It's… it's not what it looks like!" Santa protests.
"Then you aren't kidnapping my teammate Tenten in the middle of the night?" Lee growls.
"No!" Santa protests. "Well, yes, but it's okay because it's for the spirit of Christmas, and—"
"Omote Renge!" Lee roars, interrupting the man.
I I I
Elsewhere, the leader of Akatsuki is interrupted from his sleep by the loudest, most infernal screeching he has ever heard. It is the most grating sensation he has ever felt.
"What on Earth is going on?" He shouts, storming into the living room of their cave, where they keep the big statue.
Incredibly, it is Itachi who looks up from patting Tobi on the back. The masked man is sitting on the floor, legs out, the backs of his fists pressed against his mask, and then he breathes in and starts making that god-awful noise again.
The Pein realizes that he's crying. Tobi is crying his eyes out.
Itachi speaks. "It seems Santa didn't bring him a present." Then he goes back to rubbing Tobi on the back. Incredibly, it seems to be working.
Pein can't help but glance under the tree. There is a present under it, and the Rinnengan allows him to see that it has Zetsu's name on it.
Pein frowns, and sticks his head back in his room. "Honey?" He asks.
"He's not my kid at three AM." Konan growls back, half-asleep.
Meekly, The Pein closes the door and frowns back at the scene in front of him. Kisame is now standing next to Itachi, although he looks mostly asleep still. Pein speaks. "Somebody snuck in here."
"Yes." Itachi said. "Santa Claus."
"And nobody else is bothered that he got in here?" Pein roars.
"It's Santa Claus." Itachi said, as if he was explaining something to a slow child. "His capacity exceeds even my own."
"I'm the only one that gets godlike powers around here!" Pein roars, and the pressure of his chakra makes the assembled Akatsuki flinch.
He storms out of the cave after Santa Claus.
Finally, Kisame speaks. "Wanna go watch Kris Kringle kick the shit out of the Leader?"
"…Yeah." Itachi responds.
I I I
A nighttime of carousing: the fine Christmas Eve tradition of Konoha jounin. However, Kakashi's Yuletide revelry is interrupted halfway through Asuma's "hey guys look what I can do" by a hand coming down on his shoulder.
"Gai?" He asks, looking up at his friend and self-proclaimed rival. "Is something wrong."
"Yes, my rival." Gai says solemnly. "I sense a disturbance." He closes his eyes, frowning.
Kakashi is in the middle of delicately picking the arm of his shoulder when Gai's eyes snap open and the man shouts. "LEE!"
"What about him?" Kakashi says.
"My cute student is in terrible danger!" He roars, shooting off and dragging Kakashi along like a sack of potatos.
"How can you tell?" Kakashi says, surrendering himself to being dragged along.
"I can sense it through our bond as Master and Padawan!" Gai shouts. "But that's not important… look Kakashi!"
Kakashi looks, and even when he uncovers the sharingan he can't believe it.
I I I
Even with a scroll under one arm and a girl over the other shoulder, Santa Claus easily blocks the rising attacks of Lee's Lotus with his feet. However, eventually the persistent genius of hard work finds an opening and Santa is wrapped up tighter than a Christmas present jammed in a stocking over the mantelpiece.
But he substitutes himself with a snowman before Lee slams him into the ground, and Santa scowls down at the genin from atop his sleigh. He drops both scroll and Tenten inside, and cracks his knuckles.
"Just walk away, child." Santa warns. "You cannot hope to defeat my Yuletide Chakra."
Lee roars, and advances, whirling around to unleash a spinning kick.
Santa blocks it with one arm. "Hmnf." He snorts. "Not enough!" With that, the jolly old man grabs Lee by the leg driving a powerful fist into his gut, and then swings him around, jumping up and spinning, releasing him to slam into the ground.
But he is caught before he can crash into the ground. "Gai-sensei?" Lee whispers, looking up at his tutor. "He has Tenten!"
"Rest now, my cute apprentice." Gai says, gently setting his student down without breaking his gaze on the man in red. "Kakashi."
"Yeah." Kakashi says, sharingan spiraling as he looks up at the man across from them.
"Follow my lead!" Gai roars, jumping to the attack.
I I I
"You!" Pein of Human shouts.
Santa pauses, and turns, standing on the roof of an apartment building in the Rain country.
"I am the only god allowed here." Pein of Heaven announces.
"It is not me they worship," Santa rebuts, "But rather the Christmas spirit of giving."
Pein of Beasts responds by charging Santa from behind.
"Tch." Santa says, dodging the attack and striking Pein of Beasts eight times in the back before leaping clear, and the Pein of Beasts rejoins the others.
"You will not defeat us here." Pein of Heaven says. "This is the word of god."
"Can't your eyes already see that you've died once?" Santa says, his smile not jolly at all.
"Gah!" Pein of Beasts roars, dropping to its knees, before the skull and ribcage explodes out of its body.
The Rinnengan widen as it takes in the sight.
"That was…" Pein of Human begins.
"Yes." Santa says. "A legendary forbidden taijutsu style, Polaris Kung-Fu." Santa drops into a fighting stance, fingers bent like claws. "But… you would know it as Fist of the North Star."
I I I
Santa's eyes narrow as Gai closes, a spinning kick that rolls of his guard and follows into a series of lighting fast punches. In terms of combat speed, this man is my equal, Santa grimly thinks. And the other… Santa glances to the man watching with the sharingan, and allows Gai to knock him away with a blow.
But even as Gai follows, Santa uses the opening to flash through a series of handseals. "Kuchiose no jutsu!" Santa spins, slamming his hands on a rooftop. "Blitzen; Comet!"
Gai halts, and barely blocks as the first of the Reindeer Clan streaks towards him.
"Can you keep up with my fastest Reindeer?" Santa shouts, pressing Gai.
Kakashi charges in, but halts as a Reindeer slams into the ground in front of him.
"I will be your opponent." Comet intones with his gravelly voice, before dropping slightly and charging.
'Fast!' Kakashi thinks, barely managing to get out of the way. 'That kind of terrible charging speed combined with those antlers… one hit and I'm finished!'
Comet stops, and grins over his shoulder, bucking and coming around for another pass.
'No other choice!' Kakashi grimly decides, hands flickering through seals as he also charges. "Chidori!" He shouts, thrusting forward with the Thousand Bird Current.
Sparks dance between Comet's antlers, and Kakashi's eyes widen, but he is too late to do anything but keep going.
I I I
Gai frowns, blocking the high speed combo of Blitzen and Santa. When one attacks, the other covers; and then they switch, attacking to cover openings left by the other.
The huge flash from the clash of lightning jutsu between Comet and Kakashi decides him. "To think I'd have to use this so quickly…" Gai mutters, leaping clear before clapping his hands together.
"Wait!" Santa says, holding back Blitzen. "He's doing something..."
And then Gai lept, fire burning in his palms. "Asa Kujaku!" The Jounin of the Leaf shouted, and he rained fire down on the pair.
I I I
"Powerful indeed." Pein of Humans mutters. "But, you are still no match for god."
Pein of Hungry Ghosts crouches, and in a flicker of handseals summons a great black three-headed dog.
"Hmph." Santa says, using his own handseals. "Don't think you're the only one that can summon." Santa hit the ground, two seals appearing. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu: Cupid; Dancer! Dasher; Donder!"
Four Reindeer appeared around Santa, glaring up at the enemy.
"Looks like a tough battle." The huge and muscle-bound Donder remarked.
"But, it's out duty to protect the Christmas sleigh no matter what." Cupid remarked.
"Go!" Commanded Santa, and the group attacked.
Pein of Heaven scowled. The Rinnengan couldn't predict Dancer's movements, and Dasher's speed and agility were too high for Human to escape. Between the two, they trapped him and Cupid ensnared him in some sort of genjutsu. Pein could feel it tracing back to him, and had to sever the link.
Meanwhile, Donder was grapping with the Dog, holding it in place long enough for Santa to get up and close with Hungry Ghost. Once there, Santa got inside Pein of Hungry Ghosts' guard and nailed pressure points on the sternum and face.
In a spray of gore, the Six Paths of Pein were already down by half.
"Those without the spirit of Christmas… I won't show any mercy." Santa growled.
I I I
Kakashi stumbled, blood leaking from a cut across his torso. The chidori dissipated from his outstretched hand.
"Hmph." Comet said. Blood erupted in a spray from his shoulder as his legs buckled. "Guess… I have to surrender my title as Fastest." He disappeared in a poof of smoke before he could hit the ground.
Kakashi stumbled, and then pulled himself together, hurrying off to defeat the enemy.
I I I
A huge crash and boom woke Tsunade from her sleep, and blearily she stumbled to the window, where in dismay she watched Gai rain fireballs down on the village.
"GAI!" She screamed, jumping to his postion. "What the hell is going on!"
"No time!" Gai shouted as he landed. "Santa Claus kidnapped Tenten and we have to get her back!"
Tsunade paused for a minute to think about that before screaming. "WHAT!"
"Ho, Ho, Ho." Laughter came from the smoke drifting away from them all. "That was a close one."
Two more Reindeer stood, guarding Santa and Blitzen.
"Thank you, Prancer. Vixen." Santa said.
"Indeed." Blitzen said. "Without your double shield jutsu we would have been in trouble."
"But we have other things to worry about." Santa growled. "Isn't that right, Kakashi?"
"Ha…" Kakashi said, popping up from the side of the building where he'd been hoping to ambush Santa.
"We're wasting valuable time." Santa said. "I have to end this quickly."
I I I
"We're wasting valuable time." Santa said. "I have to end this quickly."
"Oh?" Said the Pein of Heaven. "How will you do that?"
"You're still a hundred years from perceiving all my secrets, brat, let alone understanding them." Santa said darkly. "Now, I'm going to show you some of the secrets of Christmas!"
I I I
"End this quickly, eh?" Tsunade growled. "Don't take Konoha too lightly."
"On the contrary." Santa said quietly. "It is because I take you seriously that I will use these next techniques."
Santa's hands came up to a series of handseals, and Gai stiffened beside Tsuande.
"Genjutsu." Santa shouted. "Ghost of Christmas Past!"
Tsuande jerked, and fell forward, and collapsed onto the ground.
"Hokage!" Gai shouted, and it is all the opening Blitzen needs to nail him in the chest with a charge, slamming him into the double jutsu shield between Prancer and Vixen.
Gai stiffened, chakra sizzling him, and the reindeer dropped him to the ground.
Meanwhile, Santa closed with Kakashi, releasing a furious taijutsu series of blows, and Kakashi escaped to regroup with shunshin.
Santa nailed him in the base of the skull with a chop. "Trying to out-shunshin Kris Kringle?" Santa said, amused. "Well, I don't hate that." He set the man on the ground next to his commander and rival.
"Up, my reindeer." Santa commanded. "We have places to be and presents to give!"
I I I
In the illusionary world of Christmas Past, Tsunade stared at her previous self. Leaning against Dan, laughing as they strolled through downtown Konoha.
Tsunade had to hold back tears, at what she once had.
I I I
"The Secrets… of Christmas?" Pein of Heaven said, amused. "Is that anything a god has to fear?"
"The spirit of giving and kindess can defeat even the fear of god." Santa intoned. "Never mind the delusions of someone that never grew out of childish Naughtyness."
Pein of Heaven scowled. "It is you.. who will be judged."
Pein of Hell exploded out of the ground, leaping towards Santa on the attack.
But Santa reacted, hands blurring through handseals before slamming the ground behind him. "Kuchiyose: Rudolph, Boss of the Reindeer Clan!"
A small Reindeer appeared between Pein of Hell and Santa, and Hell locked eyes with the ungulate only long enough to see that its eyes were a crimson, fiery red before the Pein of Hell was no more.
Pein of Heaven watched as the Pein of Hell smoldered, candystriped lurid red flames devouring the blasted-apart pieces.
Rudoph turned, and the pressure of his blood-red doujutsu fell on Heaven.
"…Wasn't Rudolph supposed to have a Red Nose?" Pein of Heaven finally said.
"What?" Santa said, frowning. "Why would you think that? That's absurd."
"But…" Santa continued. "It's time for you to understand something of Christmas." He flickered through hand seals, and finished pointing at Pein of Heaven. "Genjutsu: Ghost of Christmas Present!"
The eyes of Pein of Heaven rolled back, and he ignominiously tipped forward, falling on his face. Then he slid forward, along the steep incline of the roof he had been perched on before falling three stories down and hitting the ground with an echoing "wham!"
"Huh." Santa said. "Well, Rudoph, with your eyes so bright, won't you teleport my sleigh tonight?"
"My pleasure." Rudoph said, and a distorted haze of red signaled the warping of space around the group as they disappeared back onto Santa's route.
I I I
Pein of Heaven started down at the scene in front of him, bound in place by Santa's genjutsu.
"There, there." A destitute Rain citizen said, comforting his wife. "I'm sure everything will be fine." He smiled. "God will protect us."
"But it won't be!" She wailed. "Tiny Timmu needs treatment; treatment we can't afford, even with all the scrimping!"
"Sssh." He said. "Everything will be alright."
"But why do we have to suffer?" The woman sobbed. "Haven't we always been good people? Didn't we take in that poor boy after he was orphaned! And now he's, he's our son and he's going to die!" She grabbed at her husband's shirt. "Where's god in that? Where's there any good in that?"
The man wrapped his arms around his wife. "I… I don't know." He patted her on the back. "But I'll work something out. For you, for Timmu."
I I I
Far, far to the south from the great icy fortress of the North Pole Village, tucked between the swamps of the River country and the jungles of the Grass Country, the Nicest Child of the Year spent his Christmas Even fighting off mosquitoes before collapsing from exhaustion from the brutal and occasionally pointless training of the Toad Sage.
Dozens of miles from civilization, squatting on the side of a piranha-infested river, Naruto has no idea it's even December.
Outside the tent he was sleeping in, there was a small twist of snow and tinsel, and Santa appeared in a flash. He took a single step, and froze.
He leapt, and spun about, dropping into a stance. "Oh no." Santa groaned. "I don't think I can deal with you on top of everything else that has happened tonight."
"Don't be like that." Jiraiya said. "This is a tradition stretching back decades."
"Can't you grow up?" Santa groaned. "I mean, it was kinda cute when you swore to get even for being put on the Naughty list." Santa shook his head. "But to want the Perceiver jutsu for spying on women! Jiraiya, you're single-handedly responsible for the sexual overtone associated with 'Naughty,' you know that?"
"Hmf!" Jiraiya said. "Why should a guy like you get to keep that sort of hot inspiration to yourself!"
Santa pinched his nose. "Jiraiya," he began, "it's for keeping tabs on children. You're implicating yourself in lolicon, here."
"Moron!" Jiraiya shouted, stamping his foot. "I'm not going to use if for something as weak as that!"
"Oh I'm not up to dealing with this." Santa said. "You know what? Three for three tonight."
He flickered through seals, and pointed at Jiraiya who didn't jump away fast enough. "Genjutsu: Ghost of Christmas Future."
I I I
Jiraiya fumed as he struggled against the mysterious bonds holding him in place as he floated above the living room of Naruto's apartment.
"Ha ha ha!" Naruto laughed, leaning back on his couch as Sakura fed him grapes while Hinata rubbed herself against his legs.
Clad in only the pants from the standard ninja jumpsuit, it was clear from his physical development that this was a few years down the road.
Likewise, the development of Sakura's figure and Hinata's considerable assets hinted that this event had not yet come to pass.
"Naruto…" Sakura said, eyes lidded and voice breathy.
"Naruto-kun…" Hinata whispered.
The three stood, and walked towards the bedroom.
"Oh come on!" Jiraiya roared, unable to follow and keep watching. Then he noticed that there was an urn, the type used for holding the dearly departed over the mantelpiece.
The urn had his name on it, and the date of death was less than a year away!
"Dammit!" Jiraiya cried, struggling harder to escape this stupid genjutsu.
I I I
"Finally." Santa groaned, kicking the raft down the river. Jiraiya, tied up with a double sprinkle knot, wouldn't be getting free any time soon, even after the genjutsu ended. By then he'd be forty or fifty miles downstream.
"You better appreciate this, kid." Santa muttered, pushing aside the tent flap and stepping inside.
"Heh." Santa couldn't help cracking a grin at the sight of Naruto, pouting even in his sleep as he slapped at the occasional mosquito. Santa was pleased that Naruto had kept the sleeping cap, a gift Santa had given the one year before that Naruto had managed to get himself on the Nice List.
Santa unwound his scroll, and carefully hefted the large and misshapen present, setting it gently on the ground next to Naruto. "Merry Christmas, kiddo."
I I I
Christmas Morning! A time of celebration, of joy and giving to be shared with family.
Unless you're an orphan with no heritage or friends.
Naruto didn't particularly keep track of Christmas. That was why he had absolutely no idea what the thing in the shiny paper was. It was big, kind of cylindrical, and reminded Naruto of a worm or something, too fat for noodles. The paper was bright, red and white stripes, and a big green ribbon wrapped around it and was tied in a big bow.
And it was moving. Lurching back and forth, kinda like a worm.
"What the hell?" Naruto muttered to himself, before shrugging. Naruto was the kind that always moves forward, so he unwrapped the present.
He pulled off the paper, and made eye contact as she looked up, squinting at the sudden light. "Uh, hey, Tenten." He said, awkwardly.
She mumbled back, probably because of the gag in her mouth. Naruto, unsure of what to do, started to keep unwrapping her, but then he noticed something.
Tenten wasn't wearing her normal clothes, but instead some sexy lingerie.
"Um." Naruto, unsure of what to do, just sat back.
Tenten squirmed, crawling out of the paper. Apparently, Naruto noticed, she was also tied hand and foot.
Finally she got herself free, and rolled up into a sitting position. She glowered at Naruto, and mumbled something insistently.
"Lemme get that for you," Naruto said, and he pulled down the gag.
"Naruto I swear to GOD if this was your idea I'm going to travel back in time with kinjutsu and give your mother an abortion!" Tenten screetched.
"I have nothing to do with this!" Naruto shouted, springing up. "It's YOU who randomly showed up in MY tent!"
"Oh right!" Tenten said, rolling her eyes. "Clearly, it's my fault I'm HALF-NAKED and TIED UP in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!"
Naruto crossed his arms, pouting. "Well, it's not like it's obviously my fault, either! If anybody it was probably that creepy old Ero-Sennin, this seems like just the kind of thing he'd do for Thanksgiving."
Of all the things she could say to that, Tenten picked "Naruto… it's Christmas."
"Wow? Really!" Naruto said, turning. "Well, Merry Christmas, Tenten! I hope you get what you asked for!"
Tenten scowled. "Well it is 'more screen-time' but this isn't really what I meant."
Naruto shook his head. "Be careful, it's enough of a strain when a Yuri-kitsune does that."
"What?" Tenten said.
"Nevermind." Naruto said. "So… you want me to untie you or something?"
Tenten considered it. "And you won't do anything perverted?"
Naruto rolled his eyes, honestly a little hurt. "Tenten… if I was gonna wouldn't I have already?"
"Fine, fine." Tenten said, and she stretched out her legs so Naruto could undo the ropes around her ankles.
"Hmn." Naruto said. "These… they're pretty tight." He pulled, dragging Tenten forward so he could work at the knots in his lap.
Tenten squealed as he dragged her forward. "Be gentle!" She hissed, wishing she could fix the new wedgie in her needlessly sexy underwear.
"I'll be careful." Naruto promised. He frowned, and leaned forward to use his teeth to tease out the knot.
Tenten shivered when she felt his saliva drip onto her ankles.
I I I
Christmas morning in the Hyuuga household is still Christmas morning. In a rare display of childishness, Hanabi dragged her father from bed at six in the morning and down to the living room, and the rest of the family assembled in short order to receive their presents.
Neji dutifully thanked Hiashi for the socks, and was delighted with the hat that he received from Santa Claus. He immediately plunked it directly on his head, and the family collectively winced.
"Neji… isn't it a little warm to be wearing a knit cap?" Hiashi said, voicing the mournful cry of the Hyuuga Fashion Sense.
"A little." Neji admitted. "But… it's cunning."
"Hmmn." Hiashi said, and further conversation was interrupted when Hinata loudly squealed.
"A Naruto-kun body pillow!" She said, delighted. And, indeed, she had a full-size body pillow with a picture of Naruto printed on it. "Aunt Hiime, how did you know!"
"Us old ladies have our ways, dearie." Her aunt responded, chuckling kindly in her hand.
Hiashi didn't smile, but even his sternness was beginning to look strained.
"Look! Look!" Hanabi said, excited. "Santa gave me Konohamaru-kun's scarf!" With that, the little girl immediately tied it around her neck, and stood up straight with her arms crossed, frowning adorably.
"Very… nice." Hiashi said.
"Yeah!" Hanabi said. "He's gonna have to be my ero-slave if he wants it back!"
"That's…" Hiashi can't. He just can't finish it. He quietly excused himself, and walked out of the room, silently pacing down the hall. He opened the door to his room, and closed it, before crossing to the far wall.
He threw aside the sliding panel, and slapped his hands against the giant, 10-foot poster of Hizashi that had been behind it.
"Brother!" Hiashi roared, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Our kids are so damn weird!"
I I I
"Uggh." Kakashi groaned, his head pounding. He felt like somewhat hade knocked him unconscious with a blow to the head. "Gai… what did we drink last night?"
"Gaaghl." Gai responded, flopping in the snow next to Kakashi. He felt like he'd been electrocuted with some kind of jutsu. "I… I know not, my youthful rival!"
Lee sprung to his feet, only to double over gagging as he felt the bile rise. His stomach felt awful, like he'd been hit with a sledgehammer right in the gut. "Sensei… it's Christmas."
Tsunade grit her teeth and clenched her eyes shut, slapping her hands over her ears. If she could block everything out than maybe it wouldn't feel like she'd been tortured with genjutsu.
Kakashi stiffly helped his friend to his feet. It was weird; everything up to a certain point was pretty clear, although getting blurry, and then all of a sudden everything was just… grey, no memory or anything.
It was almost like his memory was being suppressed by some sort of huge area genjutsu that erased memories of something someone wanted to keep secret…
Naaa. That would be ridiculous, Kakashi decided. "Well, let's get you and Gai back home, Lee!"
"Yosh!" Lee cheered.
I I I
Tenten's father frowned as he came down the stairs. "Honey?" He looked around, and could find no trace of his daughter anywhere.
"Huh." He said, hands on his hips. Eventually, he shrugged. "Oh well! I'm sure some big exciting mission came up and she had to leave immediately."
Mind settled, he promptly forgot about Tenten and went back upstairs.
I I I
In a rumble of thunder and a flash of glitter, Santa appeared in the great winter hanger of his workshop.
Sweat ran down his jolly face. He'd had to call upon powerful jutsu to catch up with schedule after all those fights, but he'd done it. He'd saved Christmas. From himself, if he was going to be honest.
A swirl of snow and tinsel, and the elf Pepper appeared once more.
"Master." The elf said. "Alabastor Snowball summons you." Pepper paused. "He says he found a letter that arrived late."
"Great." Santa mumbled. "More trouble?" He cleared his mind of such unworthy thoughts, returning to a clear and jolly mindset. "Well, better go see what he needs." He said, and disappeared himself in a twist of snow and tinsel.
I I I
Tenten shuddered, back arching. "Nn… didn't I say… be gentle!"
Naruto grunted behind her, rocking back to get a better angle. "Well, I'm doing my best here, but it's really tight!"
Tenten bit her lip as he pushed, arching her shoulders painfully.
Abruptly he relaxed, and all the pressure behind her released. "Got it!" He said.
Naruto triumphantly pulled the ropes off Tenten's arms, and she rubbed her wrists to restore circulation. "So… what now?" she asked, turning her head to make eye contact.
Naruto blushed, a little, when he realized that Tenten's lips were right next to his face.
Seeing his blush, Tenten also realized just what a compromising situation it was, and shot off his lap.
"Don't you have some spare clothes at least?"
"Well… I've got some jumpsuits and stuff, but…" Naruto trailed off.
"But?" Tenten said. "I know they're probably orange, but even if they're incredibly tacky I think I'll manage!"
"Hey!" Naruto roared. "I don't make fun of your silly hair cut so don't make fun of my jumpsuit!"
"Oh you did not go there!" Tenten shouted. "It's on!" Without any kunai to stab him with, she dive tackled him.
Naruto rolled back with the tackle trying to fling her off, but she was too cunning and picked his leg.
Naruto responded by locking his arm around her head as she pushed him back into the wall of the tent, jackknifing his body to try and break the grab on his leg.
Undeterred, Tenten squirmed, gasping into his side before she managed to roll him over and pin him face down.
"Got any thing to say?" Tenten taunted.
"Yeah," Naruto said, tucking his arms together, "I do. Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
There was a series of ominous pops, and Tenten turned, and saw the trio of grinning Narutos standing over her with their arms crossed.
Then the first one tackled her off Naruto, and they ganged up on her and before she knew it she was lying spread-eagle on her back, arms pinned at her sides and legs held in a scissors lock by all the Naruto.
Chest heaving, she scowled up at the grinning boy perched on top of her. "You win." She admitted, voice low.
"Ha!" Naruto said, but he wasn't sure what to do. If it was Kiba or something he'd rub the other boy's face in it, but Kiba would never be a good enough sport to concede in the first place. Naruto didn't feel right rubbing it in when Tenten was being a good sport.
"Well…" Naruto said, scratching the back of his head, "I dunno if this counts, I had to use jutsu after all."
"Hmmn." Tenten said. "Mind getting off me?"
"Sure, sure!" Naruto said, hastily hopping off and scooting back.
"So… what were you saying earlier?" Tenten asked.
"Well… I do have some clothes I could loan yah, but… I don't think they'd fit." Naruto said. "See… you're too big."
"Uzumaki Naruto…" Tenten said, voice dangerously soft, "are you saying I'm fat?"
"What?" Naruto said, confused. "No! What, why would you think that?" Naruto paused. "What I meant, was, ah, how can I put this…" Naruto said, glancing down.
"You mean…" Tenten said, looking down at her chest. "Oh! Oh, don't worry about it, I'll manage!"
"Okay." Naruto said, and he turned to start rummaging in his backpack. "Lessee… this one's no good… why do I even carry this one…?"
Tenten looked over his shoulder. "Naruto… what on earth happened to that jumpsuit?"
"This?" Naruto said, holding up what looked like fabric confetti loosely threaded together. "Ah, Rasengan training."
"Wow." Tenten had known that Naruto was training with Jiraiya, but just seeing what it did to his clothes made her realize that it was probably on a level with what Gai put them through.
Speaking of the legendary pervert. "Naruto," Tenten asked, "Where's Jiraiya?"
Naruto looked up. "Huh?" He scuttled over and stuck his head out the tent. "Huh. All his stuff's gone. He'll probably be back in a week or two."
"What?" Tenten said.
"Yeah, he does that sometimes." Naruto said, shrugging. "Dumps me somewhere and runs off. Anyway, we'll be fine." He goes back to the pack, and smiles. "Hey! I forget I brought these!" He turned and handed Tenten a black shirt with a green spiral and a pair of khaki shorts.
He turned away as Tenten put them on, and then she frowned, considering. The shirt was very tight across the chest, just like she'd expected, and the pants hung a little loose on her hips but a belt would be perfect. They had plenty of pockets.
"I'm sorry I don't have any spare sandels." Naruto said honestly.
Tenten smiled, suddenly feeling grateful at Naruto. "It's okay." She said. "Let's just head back to Konoha, okay?"
Naruto considered that. "Okay!" He said, smiling. It was true he was on a training journey, but that was for him, not Tenten. He could definitely make the time to take one of his friends back.
Tenten smiled back, and, acting on a whim, leaned forward and kissed him lightly before standing up and scrambling out of the tent.
Naruto froze, surprised, before grinning goofily. "This is the best Christmas ever." He said to himself.
I I I
Santa Claus stared at the letter that Alabastor Snowflake held before him. He read it again, just to be sure. "Oh, come on!" He said. "This Naruto kid is just TOO Nice!" Santa gestured impotently with his hands.
"Be that as it may," Alabastor said heavily, "this is what he asked for, and the Law is very clear."
"What kind of kid asks for 'world peace' for Christmas?" Santa cried.
"The Nicest Child of the Decade, apparently." Alabastor sighed.
I I I