"I love family reunions. I get to torture my brother every time."

Uchiha Itachi.


The three of them were comrades. Above all their differences, above all fates that the future could bring, they would always remain comrades.

It hadn't been a good year. The war was almost over, and Dan was dead. She had tried to kill herself to stop the suffering. The easiest way she had found was throwing herself into battle after battle without even taking the most elementary precautions, trying to get her status updated to "hero". In war there were a thousand chances to become a hero and to have your name carved in a cold stone. Dead heroes felt no pain.

Orochimaru had clearly told her that he didn't care for her safety. He only cared for accomplishing the missions. The fact that he was saving her ass was just a side-effect of his duty.

The first month alone he saved her life in seventeen occasions.

She had moved eleven times to a different squad. She had needed to fill out a lot of paperwork. Orochimaru had an easier time following her into the different squads. He was a respected genius and the Third's protégé, after all.

Her second idea had been cutting her wrist in a carefully locked room in her locked house. The blood had barely started to flow free when Jiraiya, the most outstanding peeping tom in Leaf Village, had broken her door and saved her.

She had finally given up with the whole suicide idea, since it seemed to be impossible to escape from the careful watch from her friends.

That night was New Year's Eve and, like every night for the last thirteen years, they had gone out to have a drinking party.

As she drank cup of sake after cup of Sake, Tsunade was thinking about Orochimaru and Jiraiya and her. People called them the future of the Leaf, but she didn't think she had any future. Not in the Leaf, at least.

She looked again at her two team-mates. She liked them and she even loved them, although at times she did hate them.

Jiraiya was just a grown-up kid. He had great abilities and powers. Only Orochimaru could match him on a real fight. He was even charming when he wanted to be. However he was too irresponsible. He had refused to have under his command any squad during the war, never lead any offensive against the enemy. Sometimes she couldn't stand his relaxed attitude.

Orochimaru was very Orochimaru-like, as always. He was a genius, truly. He had lead more than two hundred missions and raids during the ongoing war and he had been successful in all of them. When he wanted to be he could be charismatic, too. He could read any person and find their weak points. He knew which buttons to press. His main problem was that no matter how extraordinary he was, he would always lack social skills. People were unconsciously afraid of him, and the idiot didn't mind. He actually revelled in those feelings, glad that he didn't have to waste time with social formalities. He would be the next Hokage; that much was for sure. Nobody liked him, but everybody knew he was the strongest in the Leaf. He would be an effective Hokage.


She was just… tired. She wanted to leave. The war was almost over. She had lost too many people. She wasn't sure about the future. She wasn't needed in the Leaf. The Third would remain as Hokage and Orochimaru would eventually succeed him. Jiraiya would make sure Orochimaru didn't forget how to be human.

She just… she needed a break.

"Happy New Year!" Jiraiya yelled raising his glass, interrupting her heavy thoughts.

"Happy New Year" Tsunade agreed also lifting hers. At least her two friends, her adoptive family, were safe.

Orochimaru gazed at them with his typical "I'm-better-than-you-and-you-are-idiots" expression till he eventually repeated their gesture. "Happy New Year"

At least, even if one day they had to go on separate paths, they would always remain friends. They would always come back in New Years Eve to have their drinking party…

Tsunade blinked as she awoke. She had fallen asleep again on her table as she worked on the new ANBU teams.

"It has been a long time…" She whispered aloud.

That had been the last time they had their annual drinking party. What had happened afterwards? They had acted normally for some time, but next year they had missed the party. Was it her fault, because she had been too taken with her pain?

She looked at the calendar and noticed that tonight was New Years Eve. The thought of spending it alone again…


The three of them were comrades. Above all their differences, above all fates that the future could bring, they would always remain comrades.

He appreciated his comrades, whenever he wasn't thinking how weak they were. He despised their liberal attitude. All of them had great powers, but they didn't have the right frame of mind to use them effectively. They had to follow too many rules and regulations made by civilian countries to control their shinobis. The three of them had trained very hard and achieved mastery over the elements and even over their own bodies. How come they had to act so humbly? The idiots! They had worked very hard to adquire their inhuman powers. Years of training and sacrifices to iron their bodies and abilities Shouldn't they use them as they saw fit? Even Danzou, that crazy xenophobe, was more right than the Third.

It wasn't that he didn't value his team-mates and his sensei. They were strong. They complemented each other perfectly. He could actually call them "friends" without making a grimace. Actually, to call them friends was wrong. They were all shinobis. The teachings of the Leaf were clear: Shinobis shouldn't let distractions like friendship burden their blades. They were all tools for the benefit of the Leaf.

If Tsunade was to die because of an accident or chance there wasn't anything he could do. However he was not going to let her die because that weakling of Dan. He and Jiraiya didn't agree in many topicss, but they had wholeheartedly agreed that Dan wasn't good enough for her. He was just a chuunin, too brash, too reckless... a person like him in a time of war was an obvious future victim. He had warned Tsunade. It wasn't his fault that she was too much in love to notice it.

Love, another dangerous feeling for a tool. Shinobis in war bathed daily in blood. To think they could escape the whirlwind of violence was tragic for themselves and for all the people involved. Tsunade had tried to dream on a happy future. Her result of her hope was the hopelessness after her boyfriend's death.

He should have killed that weakling of Dan before he got so close to Tsunade. His death had brought her too much pain. Her suffering was... distracting. The temptation to say "I told you so," had been almost irresistible.

Jiraiya was a nice person, meaning he was a fool. He acted as a pervert because he needed an armour to protect himself. After watching so much violence you could only ignore it or embrace it. Jiraiya had chosen to ignore it, acting irresponsibly to try to forget the suffering he had witnessed.

Tsunade, Jiraiya and him: The three sannins. The three of them were considered the future of the village. The three of them were soldiers who had won battles over piles of corpses. His two comrades wanted to survive the brutality and the madness by trying to forget.

He was different. If he couldn't escape the violence, he would rule over violence. If shinobis only tried to follow orders, he would become the one that gave the orders. If shinobis had mastered the elements, he would go even further. He would destroy the frontiers between the worlds. He would learn how to resurrect people. He would learn the immortality jutsu. As soon as he became Hokage he would concentrate all the assets of the Leaf on that pursuit. He was going to be the next Hokage. Tsunade was too busy with her useless pain and nobody respected Jiraiya, even if he was talented. He had great talent. He would be the best Hokage ever. Nobody else would die. Tsunade would lose her distracting pain. His parents could...

No, he shouldn't remember that. He wasn't weak. He was strong. He was a genius. He...

"Happy New Year!" Jiraiya yelled, distracting him.

"Happy New Year" Tsunade repeated as an echo.

Orochimaru smiled inside. Having friends was a weakness, unfitting for a future Hokage. Friend was, more often than not, someone who eventually became eulogized about at funerals with downcast eyes and an aura of guilt and depression. Still, a genius like him could allow at least one little weakness. Tsunade and Jiraiya were his friends, even if he would prefer being roasted alive rather than saying it aloud.

He lifted his glass of sake. He hadn't drunk in the whole night, but he would lower his guard in front of them. He grinned in that one way that crept out everybody else but his friends.

"Happy New Year"

At least, even if one day they had to go on separate paths, they would always remain friends. They would always come back in New Years Eve to have their drinking party.

Orochimaru awoke trembling on his ivory and gold throne.

"It has been a long time since I last thought…" He whispered aloud.

That had been the last time they had their annual drinking party. What had happened afterwards? They had acted normally for some time, but next year they had missed the party. Was it his fault, because he had been too busy learning new jutsus and investigating about the immortality jutsu?

Tonight was New Years Eve. Kabuto was organizing the new squads. Things were moving forward. He was alone…


The three of them were comrades. Above all their differences, above all fates that the future could bring, they would always remain comrades.

Jiraiya knew that he loved his friends, but he was concerned. He wasn't sure when it had started, but there was a small but growing rift between the three sannins.

Tsunade sometimes watched the walls of the Leaf as they were prison's walls. It was probably Dan's fault. Orochimaru and he discussed almost daily; actually Orochimaru never discussed and only baited the other, but that's just the way he was. The only time they didn't fight was when they were really irritated with each other. Among the few topics they actually agreed about, the most prominent was Dan: He wasn't good enough for her. Dan wasn't a bad person, but it had been the three of them for so long that the addition of anyone else felt like a violation of something sacred. Dan had tried to impress his girlfriend, but he was untalented and ended up losing his young life. Tsunade had lost her heart that day.

She had tried to kill herself many times afterwards .Orochimaru had informed him that he didn't care; Tsunade was a team-mate, not a friend. That was good old Orochimaru for you. However it had been suspiciously easy to convince him to take care of Tsunade while they were together on missions. Orochimaru had clearly explained that he only cared for the well-being of the mission. He hadn't explained why he had followed Tsunade eleven times to different squads, but he surely had a perfectly reasonable explanation in store in case anybody asked.

So far so good. Tsunade was sticking to staying physically alive for a little while longer. The hard part was convincing her to stay spiritually alive.

Orochimaru was also closing off from everybody. People called him a freak behind his back and he didn't care. He was always obsessing with learning new jutsus. He would prefer spend the rest of his life learning some secret obscure jutsu nobody ever heard about rather than meeting new people. He didn't even want to admit that he was too scarred. He had worn his parents' kimono for years after their death. His obsession for learning that crazy immortality jutsu was also related to people dying around him during the war. Pity that the so called "genius" was too scared to try to understand his own feelings. He would rather use a sarcastic comment in anybody who tried to get close to him.

When his friends looked at the future, they looked over the Leaf's walls. He didn't care about the Leaf, the war, or the title of Hokage. He just wanted nothing to change. He wanted his friends to remain with him. He wanted his little world to remain safe and all its cracks to disappear.

The old man had explained a long time ago that nothing can stop the tides of change. All those who tried were pushed away. Well, he was famous around the Leaf for his perseverance. He wasn't going to give up. He would help and heal his friends. He would be their guardian.

That night was New Year's Eve and, like every night for the last thirteen years, they had gone out to have a drinking party. They would always have their party. Nothing would stop it, even if they had to use masks to hide their scars.

He glanced at Tsunade. Tears were struggling to leave her eyes. She was probably remembering Dan again. He didn't even need to see Orochimaru's face to guess that he was thinking again about his immortality jutsu, or another new crazy obsession. Well, he wasn't going to let them brood anymore.

"Happy New Year!" Jiraiya yelled raising his glass and with the mask of happiness, interrupting their thoughts.

"Happy New Year" Tsunade agreed lifting hers. Jiraiya wanted to hug her and promise her that nobody else would ever die. He silently wished he were brave enough.

Orochimaru gazed at them with his typical sarcastic expression, even if for one second that mask almost broke. Almost. Eventually he also copied their gesture "Happy New Year" Jiraiya considered the possibility of punching him.

At least, even if one day they had to go on separate paths, they would always remain friends. They would always come back in New Years Eve to have their drinking party…

Jiraiya awoke in a puddle of his own vomit and with a terrible hangover. His eyes were wet with tears.

"It has been a long time since I last thought about those idiots". He observed.

That had been the last time they had their annual drinking party. What had happened afterwards? They had acted normally for some time, but next year they had missed the party. Was it his fault, because he had been too busy grooming the promising shinobi that would become the future Hokage?

It was New Years Eve. He hadn't been able to spend it with anybody for a long time already…


"For you guys. Happy New Year" Tsunade called out in the vacant office, raising his glass, like that time, so long ago


"For you guys. Happy New Year" Orochimaru called out in the bare throne room, raising his glass, like that time, so long ago.


"For you guys. Happy New Year" Jiraiya called out in the empty street, raising his glass, like that time, so long ago

And happy memories were remembered again. Quickly their owners tried to get rid of them drowning themselves into their new duties or obsessions.





Sakura was considered a nice and patient kunoichi by everybody, including her husband. However there was one thing that she hated: New Year's family reunion.

Why, she wondered. Why did she have to suffer them? Meeting relatives she didn't know or at best she barely knew; making small-talk with people you probably hated; talking with family members who were basically strangers. Aaaaarrggggghhhh

It drove her crazy.

When she had married Sasuke, she had been sure there would NOT be any family reunions. All Sasuke's family were killed... almost. His brother was still alive. At least, she had thought in her innocence, chances were he wasn't going to visit them. Itachi really didn't get along with his younger brother.

All her hopes had been ruthlessly crushed when he appeared in their doorstep without proper notice.

Now they were all sitting in the dining table. Sakura had worked hard preparing a perfect dinner with onirigi and tomatoes, Sasuke's favourite food. Pity he wasn't eating, being too busy glaring at his older brother with the famous Uchiha glare. Itachi was just acting cool, as always.

"How have you been doing this whole year, Itachi-san?" Sakura asked, trying to lower the tension in the table.

"Nothing much" He answered, as if he were too cool to answer such an inane question.

Sakura started to sweat-drop as he felt Sasuke's anger increasing.

"Sasuke, please, at least be polite to our guest for tonight. He even brought a present" She pointed at a wrapped gift.

"I got a Hyuga to check it out. It's a woman's severed head!"

Sakura continued to sweat-drop as Goosebumps began to appear on their skin

"It's a souvenir from Akatsuki. The least you could do is accept it" Sigh "I don't know why I bother with you. Your hate is not enough. You have to hate me, hate me, hate me, hate me, and hate me… errr… Sorry. I got carried away."

Sasuke glared at him with the Uchiha Glare of Doom tm

"Could you at least remove your coat for dinner, Itachi-san?"

"No" He answered gazing at her sister-in-law. "The coat is specially designed by Akatsuki to increase coolness. It's the only reason anybody would wear such a bothersome coat in the middle of a combat"

"Is that the reason you killed all of our family? Because you wanted a coat that made you look good?" Sasuke yelled

"Hnn" The older Uchiha answered holding up a hand and studying his purple nails, as if his manicure was more important than his brother, which only increased the hate meter to 1000

"That's it! I am going to kill you! I am going to spend the rest of my life hating you. I am going to avenge my family!" Sasuke yelled raising a fist.

"Not again!" Sakura quietly whimpered.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah" Itachi answered with a wave of hand dismissing his younger brother. "Your hate is not strong enough. Perhaps I should flay the skin off your wife and have you listen to her screams. Would that do the trick?" Another sigh. "It's so unsatisfactory! Dad and mom would be so disappointed at you."

"I have clung to life miserably only to kill you! I have spent my life hating you!"

"There we go again" Itachi complained, worrying about breaking a nail.

"I have lived for this!" Sasuke screamed darting towards Itachi with his Chidori blazing. Itachi quickly got the upper hand. In the middle of the combat the dinner table got destroyed, the food went flying up in the air and hit the ground with a great thud, the house walls became torn up and the New Year's decorations were crushed.

And Sakura? She was bawling her eyes out. "Why...Why..." she whimpered, continuing to sob.

She hated New Years' family reunions.




Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Christmas in Japan is a festivity which couples celebrate together. New Year's is more of a family reunion. SoI thought: "What if Itachi came homefor New Year's" From that crazy idea I found the inspiration to write this humorous omake. (poor Sakura, lol) However, since there can't be an omake without another chapter first, I wrote a short piece about the three sannins, about regrets and memories.

It's part of the continuity of the Uchiha tragedy, but it's an interlude. The "official" chapter is coming. I suffered a heavy case of writer's block, and also I was very busy with my university exams (I passed all of them. YES! WILD PARTY!). I hope next chapter is coming soon

Have you been reading the Naruto manga lately? I have, and it's lifting my spirits. I find it nice to see the strong loyalty and unbreaking friendship that both Naruto and Sakura feel for Sasuke. In my real life some of my friends have gotten into a fight with each other, and after ten years of being great friends, they don't want to see each other anymore.

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year