A/N: A simple shortie that I did before Christmas! Love is the spirit of the holidays, not gifts...all though I'm hoping those who love me love me enough to get me a Nintendo DS.
Special thanks to seppukudoll (livejournal) for proofreading!
"Do you regret anything?" Naruto inquired in the direction of a beautiful woman whose hair was the shade of the most lovely rose on a perfect spring day. She responded with a simple nod.
It had been years since they had actually been able to sit down and spend time with each other. Konoha had been raged by war for years and these past months had been spent settling the villages after the treaty was finally signed. Many lives had been lost and the reality of death had set its ugly face in front of every ninja of the leaf. It was ironic, really. Their first time to sit down in years, and it was Christmas day.
Naruto's apartment lacked the extravagant tree, but in its place was a small fresh sapling he had dug from the forest ground and placed in a simple pot. It's purpose here tonight, to provide the two lonesome souls company, was more purpose than it ever would have had growing in its desolate place in the forest. A small string of white lights were intertwined within the branches and a simple snowflake rested at the top.
"What do you regret?" He asked her to elaborate on the subject that she had seemed to opt to avoid.
"It's selfish..." Many things had been lost to her throughout the years. She had seen her best friends slain before her very eyes in the midst of a pointless battle. These individuals who were lost never even had the proper service...instead, once the war was over, they were all honored in one mass ceremony given by the Hokage herself. Sakura didn't think it was even near the amount of respect each of them deserved.
"Sakura, from all the things I have seen you do, you have a right to have a selfish regret." It was the truth. Many times she had attempted to give her life for a friend but it never quite worked out the way she intended. Others' lives just seemed so much important to her than her own.
"I wish I hadn't wasted my heart on someone so pointless. I wish I had given it to someone who needed it."
In the end, Sasuke had proven to be far less dependable than anyone would have imagined. In fact he had lost his life at the hands of Orochimaru...never seeing through the plan in which he was just a puppet.
"You know, he's gone...your heart is once again yours to give away." Naruto smiled at the solemn looking girl. He wasn't referring to his own interests. Even though the admiration for Sakura would never die, he knew when it was best left as friends.
"There is no one to give it to..." Sakura let a soft sigh pass through her lips, "...if I even still had one to give away." she added quickly.
"I'm not blind." Naruto looked at her sternly, implying that he was more observant than she had predicted him to be. "Why don't you go to him?"
"I don't know what you are talking about." Her insides hurt. It wasn't just her heart but it felt as if her whole being was aching in pain of regret and dread.
"It's not just at times like this that you would benefit each other." He pointed out, "You both have the same actions. Both of you hide your sadness with bright eyes and a smile." Naruto spoke, laughing softly at memories that had surfaced.
"What about you, do you have regrets?" Sakura was curious to the fox-like boy's response.
"How is that?" So much had happened to him, yet he hadn't regretted one bit of it?
"I made right all my wrongs. It's not too late for you to do the same." The gaze sent in Sakura's direction was one of concern and hope.
"I need to go see someone." Sakura quickly stood and went to give Naruto a light hug. He had always been there for her and as a result of the war he had matured quickly. The advice he gave to those close to him would one day become legendary.
"Merry Christmas, Sakura. I wouldn't have rather spent it with anyone else." He smiled his sweetest smile and flashed her a sign of hope and happiness.
"Love you, Naruto. I could never have hoped for a better friend." She squeezed him tightly and then moved to exit his small cedar-scented apartment with a new feeling accompanying her. Naruto was right, her heart was still hers to give away.
What was it about him that made her think that he deserved her trust and love? It would more appropriately be phrased, 'What was it about him that made her think he didn't deserve her trust and love?' She couldn't think of one thing.
In the end they remained the closest companions either of them had ever had. Their actions mirrored each other so closely that they were well known to be one of the sharpest duos around on the battlefront. Opposing ninja's whispered of the great feats that were rumored among all the villages.
He always protected her. One night he had told her that it was how he kept going, knowing that she needed his strength to keep going on. It worked the other way around though, as well. He needed her support, and her healing, to keep fighting for this country of theirs. Such dedication was held by both of them. The dedication was not just to their country, but to each other.
When she had not found him at his apartment, she knew the next place to check. It was a location that he was known for visiting daily but only a few knew the exact person he went to visit. The memorial. He was found every day, rain or shine, at the memorial in memory of his teammates that he had lost. Each death that he saw in his hard life he secretly blamed on himself and the only one to ever see this side of him had been Sakura.
The air chilled her, but it was nothing that she couldn't stand. Soft snowflakes fell as if it were necessary to have them every year on Christmas day. It had snowed on Christmas day last year, as well, but it had been quite the different situation. They had not been camped in Konoha, or anywhere near it. In fact, Kakashi had been unconscious the entire week as Sakura had given her all to recover his severe injuries with her medic skills.
And there he stood, in front of the memorial in silence. The snow fell onto his masculine form and he made no attempt to brush it away.
"Kakashi..." She spoke and it seemed as if the wind blew away the words as they passed through her lips.
Turning around he looked at her face, and he noticed that it looked so sad even with the small smile that graced her features. He didn't speak.
Taking a step closer to him, she kept his eyes captured within hers in a look of seriousness. The look was so intense that he was unable to tell her intentions or break away. She had him captured. In response he could find himself doing nothing other than taking her into his arms and holding her there, basking in her soft warmth.
"Merry Christmas." He said as he held her tightly. Secretly he had hoped to run into her today with any excuse possible. Christmas was always a time for family and in the end he had none. Sakura was the closest person to him in years and she had managed to break boundaries within him that none other could.
"I want to give you a gift." She whispered into his arm, holding him tight with her arms wrapped around his neck.
A light feeling of dread hit him swiftly. He hadn't expected to be exchanging gifts and had not even thought to purchase anything at all for her. He had never been good at this sort of thing and quietly he hoped that he would be able to talk his way out of this one.
A smirk crossed Sakura's face as she noticed the look of panic that Kakashi had tried to hide, "It's nothing I bought...and it's something, that if you chose, you can return for me."
He looked at her in question of her riddle and she stretched on her toes to be able to reach her mouth to his masked lips. She may have closed her eyes but he was too shocked to respond in any way appropriate.
"Kakashi, I want to give you my heart."
A feeling of relief washed over both of them as they took in each other's emotions. He had known for longer than she had that there was something between them so beautiful that it could not be broken. However, he had chosen not to mention it...after all he didn't want to go through the pain of losing someone so dear to him ever again.
Sakura brushed her fingers from his shoulder to the edge of his mask, the soft sensations tickling his covered skin. In a gentle tug the cloth fell free from his face and he stood there completely exposed with love written all over his handsome face.
"Will you take it?" She asked when she heard no response. Her lips were so close to his now that she could feel his soft, warm breath tickle her cold skin.
"I will take everything you have to give me." The distance between them was closed with a deep kiss and the two seemed to lose themselves within each other's touch. "And I will give you even more..."