Still own nada. Have fun children, and remember. Winter is fun because you can bend people to your will, all in the name of holiday spirit. ;D Quick scribble because every one needs a Christmas Kiss.

"Merry Christmas, minna. I'm so glad I could spend it with all of you." Hinata was smiling, and everyone could feel the warmth of sunshine, despite the cold rainy winter night.

"It's about time you left the Hospital. Honestly, Hinata-chan, you work far too hard." Ten Ten's voice was gently scolding.

"Yeah, it's Christmas Eve."

"Hey, at least Tsunade-obaasan didn't give us missions." Naruto looked around. "Well she said she didn't. Where's Sasuke-teme and Sakura-chan?"

"Sasuke's still in the hospital, right Hinata?" Ino queried. Hinata nodded. She'd last seen him lying on his bed, sleeping. That afternoon, she'd escorted at least eight girls out of his room, for trying to spread some Christmas cheer. Too bad they didn't realize that he didn't see the attempts to destroy his loneliness as holiday spirit. She had brought hospital lunch to him, and found the room decorated in cheerful reds and greens and she thought she'd seen a sprig of mistletoe hung by some hopeful.

"I-if you don't like it, I'll take them down later, if you don't mind, Sasuke-san." She was running around trying to make Christmas happy for everyone, including those in the hospital. Of course that meant she was running around, trying to work for those who didn't have to. She couldn't blame them; she'd volunteered to help at the hospital over the holidays because she didn't want to go home. Because home was just as lonely as the Forest… but with people… family, which made the loneliness that much colder. She'd come back later, to find all the decorations taken down, neatly piled on a chair. She was the only medic assigned to this hallway so the only person who could have done it was…

"Sasuke-san, you didn't have to. I…"

"It was no strain, and no effort. I'm not that weak." There was frost colder than snow in his voice. She forced herself not to step back.

"I was going to ask that you let me do my job, and thank you." She leaned against the wall, finally letting a little of her exhaustion show. "Christmas is lonely enough without being stuck in the hospital. Let me just check to make sure you haven't extended your stay here." Assured that his chest wound hadn't been aggravated, she'd left him. She hadn't dared ask how any ninja had managed to get close enough to wound him that badly, and he probably wouldn't have wanted to talk about it. Especially not now, on Christmas Eve.

Oh god, her birthday was in three days. She couldn't avoid her house… even if her father did hate her. Too many people who didn't would be missed. She'd spent months making enough herb sachets, ointments, pressed flower arrangements and tiny potted plants for everyone in the Branch family, her sister, her superiors and her friends. She'd even left a pillow, stuffed with cotton and rosemary next to Sasuke's bed before she'd left.

"Che, Sakura's not here because Sasuke's not here."

"I think she said she was working hard too."

"Ha, Hinata works hard, and she's not even spending Christmas with her family."

"Her family wouldn't know Christmas spirit if it jumped up and down, trying to deck the halls with boughs of holly, singing louder than Naruto drunk."

"Kiba! They're still my family." Hinata dropped a lavender stuffed pillow, conveniently lying next to her, on his head.

Akamaru barked at her good naturedly, too polite to chew on it.

"Going back to your funny scented prison again tomorrow?"

"Of course. Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean the hospital is going to close. After Christmas there should be enough people available to work, so that I can spend my birthday with my family." She shrugged. "Please, it's Christmas, I'm sure there are other things we can talk about, besides the rollicking good party my family throws."

"Good afternoon, Sasuke-san. And Merry Christmas." Tiny bells on her wrist tinkled charmingly. Useful in a hospital full on ninja. Natural stealth tends to upset some of the jumpier patients.

"Thank you… for the present. I didn't get you… or anyone actually…"

She smiled at him laughingly, and he could almost feel the summer breeze. "Tell you what. Embrace the holiday spirit a little, and I'll consider it a gift. I'll be back in a bit, or if you get any visitors."

He didn't. Not that day. Not this Christmas. Everyone else had a family, a more appreciative party to give affection to. Everyone, including her. But she was here, taking care of those whose families weren't there to visit them.

The sun was setting as she tapped on his door softly. She came in, and sat in the chair next to him, smiling, and he would swear to himself that he could feel the warmth of that red gold sun outside.

"Good news. You should be able to leave tomorrow. I'm sorry you had to miss Christmas day, but the holiday itself is more in the people you see, right?"

"About my gift to you…" he paused.

She cocked her head at him curiously. He certainly looked like he was well enough to leave. He had that smirk that could stop girls in their tracks on his face. He pointed to the ceiling. There hung that innocent looking sprig of mistletoe she thought had been in the pile of decorations she'd removed.


She blushed, and leant forward, a delicate press of her lips against his smooth cheek. She hastily shrunk back, unbelieving fingers hovering above that pillowy and intoxicating smile.

He looked at her mockingly. "Hyuuga Hinata, you can not have survived the last seventeen years of your life thinking that qualified as a kiss."

That rosy little mouth tightened a little, and a playfully sardonic version of that smile graced him. Her voice was teasing, if a little breathy, as she said, "Well you're the genius of our class. So why don't…"

"I show you how it's done? It would be my… pleasure." He was almost purring, but the deep rumble of a large feline, this was no tame house cat.

She opened her mouth and raised a hand to argue, but he was far too fast. It was mostly a chaste kiss… but there was fire. Her heat was that of sunshine, the glow that clung to one's skin in the summer. But she could taste the passion and danger of live flame in his kiss. It was playing with fire, literally and she shouldn't be. But…

It was… all in the holiday spirit after all.