A/N: Last year was the beginning of my holiday-fic tradition (the first one was Merry Christmas, Anna, in the Shaman King archives), and I decided this year I'll make it a Naruto fic, and to make a change from my regular Naruto pairing (Sakura x Sasuke), I've decided some NaruSaku would be cute. Um... In this, Sasuke's back in Konoha. Why? Well, it just works out better if I do it like that.

Now, obviously I don't own Naruto, and they've shown no sign of celebrating holidays such as this, and I'm pretty sure even if the creator celebrated Christmas, that Christmas doesn't happen in Naruto, so this could be a bit of a long-shot. Still, I guess that's all fanfiction ever really is. Also, no offense meant to anyone who celebrates a holiday other than Christmas, or doesn't celebrate at all- In Japan, it's usually celebrated only commercially anyway, so it doesn't have to be taken as anything religious. :)

Happy holidays/winter-y time everyone! (And I'm sorry that this turned out terrible- I ran out of time...)

Ten Reasons to Stay Sober During Holidays
By Bunny-Chan
11.12.06

Haruno Sakura sighed and looked down at her notebook, where she was currently making a list. An odd list, but a list all the same. At the top of the paper, in dark letters were the words "Ten Reasons to Stay Sober During Holidays".

Why was she writing such a list? Well, the image of Kakashi passed out, wrapped around the knocked-over Christmas tree (which he had somehow mistaked for a woman in his drunken haze) would have been good reason in itself, but she figured that her mentor would find it more amusing than thought-provoking, and she fully intended on (somehow) changing the Godaime's drinking habits. It wasn't that the woman was an alcoholic... but when holidays rolled around (be it Christmas, Valentine's Day, or Naruto's birthday), she would quite often proceed to get entirely trashed.

In fact, this was why Sakura usually avoided the annual Christmas get-together that took place in Tsunade's office.

Sake bottles were tossed haphazardly across the floor, and even flying across the room as Tsunade and Jiraiya continued downing alcohol in their quest to discover who could keep going longest. Shizune sat at the desk, scribbling hastily on paperwork that she'd foolishly, once again, agreed to letting Tsunade hand over into her own responsibility. Sasuke, who had been forced into attending for the first time by the "all-powerful Godaime who pretty much owns you after you ran off and made a mess of things!", was sitting in the corner, glaring (after all, he had been Kakashi's first target, before the tree). Naruto wasn't drunk, but he certainly wasn't completely sober. Currently the spastic blond shinobi was shaking his gifts one at a time, desperately trying to think of what they could be.

All in all, it was a pathetically sad sight.

# 01. Intoxication can lead to accidental destruction.
# 02. Important work may go unfinished.
# 03. You may unintentionally assault someone.
# 04. You may unintentionally cause injury to yourself or others.
# 05. Others may find your behavior offensive or uncomfortable.
# 06. You may lose the respect of your acquaintances and apprentice.
# 07. Alcohol is expensive.
# 08. It is possible to die if too much alcohol is consumed.
# 09. Morning hangovers are not pleasant.

Goddammit... it's hard enough to list 9 without sounding like I'm just blathering on...

Sakura swiftly ducked her head as a newly emptied sake bottle flew by and smashed against the wall. She really hoped she wasn't going to be the one who had to clean in the morning. As Tsunade and Jiraiya each grabbed another bottle, Sakura decided it was time to take her leave. Sasuke shot her a death glare at first, quite aware that she was about to leave him with only one sensible person in the room, but before he could move to attempt escape, a kunai flashed through the air and pinned the collar of his shirt to the wall.

"DAMN YOU!"

Well, sometimes you have to just settle for saving yourself. She thought, still slightly bitter at her teammate's attitude that night (though a tiny part of her brought up the very true reminder that she herself had not wanted to go to the "party" either. Could she honestly blame him?). Her thoughts didn't have the chance to plague her for very long.

It was bitter cold outside, and she hadn't thought to bring a heavier coat. Too busy hugging herself in an attempt to hold in the warmth, she found herself unable to concentrate on much else, and before she knew it, she was standing at the door to Naruto's empty apartment. He never locked it (after all, what did he have to steal?)- she'd learned this after the many times they'd run back to his house to grab something the boy had forgotten, and he'd just run straight in, no key needed.

Shifting in contemplation for just a second, she finally pushed open the door, and stepped into his home.

I don't want to be alone tonight.
---------------------------------------------------

Despite the joy at having friends to spend the holidays with, Naruto sometimes still found himself feeling awkward after spending too much time with them.

Somehow Tsunade and Jiraiya were still pouring alcohol down their throats, and poor Shizune had fallen asleep at her desk. Kakashi, upon waking up and surveying the room with one bloodshot, blurry eye, had unpinned Sasuke (removing the 23 kunai that were holding his shirt against the wall of the office) and then stumbled out of the room and down into the street. Sasuke tore out of the office as quickly as he could and, with no one except the two Sannin, Naruto began to get the distinct feeling that he was intruding.

The walk back to his apartment passed quickly in the silence, and he was at the door before he knew it.

"Finally, I can get some slee- huh...?" What greeted him at the door raised a question. A pair of light pink flats was placed neatly by the doorframe. He looked around the room, and was surprised to see a very familiar kunoichi curled into a ball on his bed. "Sakura-Chan?" He mumbled her name quietly, tiptoeing over in an effort to not wake her up.

Unfortunately that effort was lost when the fox-boy caught his foot on the edge of his kitchen table, and plummeted face-first onto the floor.

Always prepared, Sakura snapped awake, kunai in hand.

"Oh... Naruto?"

"Ow..." He sat up, gingerly rubbing his nose before grinning widely. "Hey Sakura-Chan! What's up?" She couldn't help but smile at the sincere happiness in his voice- it was something she'd found herself needing more and more of in the past years, no matter how selfish the idea came across.

"Sorry for just showing up like this... I didn't really plan to or anything."

"Huh? Sorry? Don't be sorry, Sakura-Chan!" He grinned again. "You know you're always welcome here!" She smiled a little.

"Thanks, Naruto. But... You know, I have something to do quickly. Can I come back later?"

The grin on Naruto's face was so wide she could have sworn it must physically hurt him, but it was also terribly infectious, and she found her smile making itself just a bit wider.

"Of course, Sakura-Chan!" Without a word, she leaned forward, brushed her lips against his, and ran out the door, leaving a rather stunned Naruto sitting on his floor.
----------------------------------------------------

She returned to the entrance of his small apartment only two hours later, face tinged with pink and fingers pressed against her lips.

What the hell was that all about...?

Had she really kissed Naruto?

It had not been a planned (possibly not even a conscious) action, and she didn't even know if it had actually meant something, or was from her never-ending need to not be alone.

And maybe, just maybe, it didn't really matter.

She stepped into the apartment quietly, immediately realizing Naruto must have fallen asleep on the bed while waiting for her to return. "Figures..." She mumbled softly, before crawling next to him and curling up at his side. In the moments before she fell asleep, she could have sworn she felt a warm pair of arms wrap gently around her.
----------------------------------------------------

For Christmas morning (the beginning of a day Tsunade loved to celebrate), the world seemed awfully blurry, loud, and bright.

"Damn parties..." She muttered bitterly, reaching to open her office door. "Huh? What's this?"

Ten Reasons to Stay Sober During Holidays
# 01. Intoxication can lead to accidental destruction.
# 02. Important work may go unfinished.
# 03. You may unintentionally assault someone.
# 04. You may unintentionally cause injury to yourself or others.
# 05. Others may find your behavior offensive or uncomfortable.
# 06. You may lose the respect of your acquaintances and apprentice.
# 07. Alcohol is expensive.
# 08. It is possible to die if too much alcohol is consumed.
# 09. Morning hangovers are not pleasant.
# 10. Intoxication may inhibit you from remembering things you would like to recall.

"... the hell?" She shook her head and pushed the door open... and was greeted with quite an unappealing sight.

Empty bottles littered the floor, sometimes accompanied with evaporating puddles of alcohol underneath. The Christmas tree was still on it's side, though she couldn't quite remember why. Twenty small holes decorated her wall, the responsible kunai scattered on the floor below. In the middle of the floor, however, was what worried her most, especially after waking up in her bedroom, completely nude.

"JIRAIYA! PUT ON SOME CLOTHES!"
----------------------------------------------------

A/N: Bah, excuse the terrible rush this was written in- there was so much more that could have been developed. I kept telling myself I had time, but we haven't had snow since November, and apparently Christmas has been getting closer- it just didn't feel like it. XD NaruSaku came awkwardly to me, which is why it was kept light... Sorry if it disappointed. I think I'd like to practice with them more. They make for an interesting couple.

Anyway, happy holidays everyone!