Hello everyone, I'm back with my second SasuSaku-centric oneshot. Even though it is my favorite pairing, I just can't seem to keep Sasuke in character so I have not written any new ones recently. However, this idea came to me with the holiday season approaching. So I hope that everyone enjoys.
Disclaimer: …fine. I don't own Naruto or any of its characters. They belong to Masashi Kishimoto (Kishi-san)
'The marketplace seems especially crowded today,' Sakura sighed as she passed a large number of people that had surrounded a particular stand. A gust of wind brushed passed her, causing a chill to go up her spine. She moved her velvet pink scarf closer to her face and pulled her white medic coat around her frame tightly.
Today was definitely not a good day to Christmas shop; however, Sakura believed that if she didn't do it now, she would not get to shopping at all. Thus, is the reason she was out in this freezing weather, in the crowded market place; because she had been so caught up in work at the hospital she had delayed Christmas shopping until the actual holiday was two days away. Which meant that Ino's Christmas Eve party was tomorrow night, so she had to hurry. She looked at the watch on her wrist.
'I have to meet Naruto at Ichiraku in one hour. So I have to be quick,' She thought which put a lot more pressure on her.
Sakura hated to keep Naruto waiting on their weekly trip to Ichiraku. It was a tradition that the two had shared since their genin days. Well since Naruto was the first person to come to mind why not start with him.
'Now what to get Naruto.'
Suddenly she came to a stop; something had caught the corner of her eye in one of the stores. Her emerald green eyes brightened, a gift basket of different flavored ramen was on display.
'That would be the perfect gift for Naruto!' Her smile widened as she walked over to the store to purchase it for her ramen loving friend.
If ramen was involved, Naruto would like it no matter what. She walked into the store, the heat felt welcoming compared to the conditions she was just out in.
"Can I help you?" the old woman behind the counter asked with a kind smile.
"That basket that you have in the window. I would like to purchase it," Sakura said while pointing to the display window.
"You must really like ramen dear," the woman chuckled.
Sakura shook her head as the woman pulled an identical basket from the shelf behind her, "No it's for my friend. He's a ramen loving fool."
"I see," the old woman replied as Sakura handed her the right amount of money.
She took the shopping bag that contained Naruto's present and began to walk away from the counter, dreading the idea of returning outside.
"Have a nice holiday dear."
Sakura turned her head and smiled, "Thank you and you do the same."
Before walking out into the blistering cold again, Sakura pulled out a small piece of paper from her coat pocket and put a check next to Naruto's name. Once that was taken care of, she placed the paper back into her pocket and took a deep breath before opening the glass door, the chilly winds brushing through her pink hair.
'Did it get colder outside?' she asked herself as she began to looking at the various stands to find Christmas presents for everyone else on her list.
She looked at the watch around her wrist once again to look at the time. Forty-five minutes was plenty of time to finish her shopping. The streets were not as crowded anymore because the weather had become even chillier and the sun had begun to set.
'I'll be glad once this is over with,' she thought as she began to walk to another store to find gifts for her other friends.
About thirty minutes later, Sakura had almost gotten everyone on her list something for Christmas. She got Ino-pig a bottle of that perfume that she was constantly talking about, a new sweater for Hinata, for Kiba and Akamaru a box of the new dog biscuits, she got Neji and Tenten a new set of kunai, Shikamaru was getting a shogi set, Chouji was getting a variety pack of chips, she got Lee-san a new spandex suit, and she bought Shino a new pair of sunglasses since the ones that he wore were going out of style.
'Let's see who else is left?' Sakura asked as she pulled the list out of her pocket once again.
Her walking came to a stop as her eyes lingered on the lone name that was not scratched out.
It had been a year since Sasuke had returned to Konoha. He had been successful in obtaining the power that he needed to kill his brother. Naruto, Sai, and herself found Sasuke barely alive, lying in a pool of his own blood across from the dead corpse of his older brother deep in a forest outside the Rain Country after the fated battle. If they'd have been any longer, Sasuke would've died of blood loss. Despite everything that had transpired over the past five years, he was still the same Sasuke that she had loved when they were genin. That's what made him the most difficult person on the list to shop for.
'What could I get him?' she asked herself.
If she were twelve she probably would've tried to sew him a sweater or something, she cringed remembering her attempt of using the sewing machine to make Sasuke an article of clothing. However, she was not twelve; she was seventeen, which meant that she had to buy something for him.
"But what to get?" she asked herself.
The air grew colder as she frantically searched for something for her teammate. She was rather picky when it came to things that involved Sasuke. It had to be something special, something that would fit him and his personality. It was then that she saw it, the perfect gift that literally screamed Sasuke. She walked up to one of the small stands on the side of the road and picked it up in her hand. It was a necklace with a dragon carved out of a black stone.
'It resembles his eyes,' she thought. It was cold, dark as night, beautiful, and perfect in almost every way. Just like Sasuke.
"Are you interested in that Miss?" a voice asked, breaking her from her reverie.
Sakura nodded in reply, "Yes. It's for someone special to me," she said, a soft smile forming on her lips.
A short bald man approached her side and examined the piece carefully.
"The stone that it is made of is Onyx, it is meant to bring fortune to the owner," he explained, "This person is very lucky to have someone like you miss."
A flush appeared on her face, "No No No it's not like that at all…we're," she felt a lump form in her throat, "…just friends," she finished with a tone of sadness. She pulled out her wallet and counted through the remainder of her money, her eyes widened, she didn't have enough money to pay for it. She looked back to the pendant in her hand and sighed, it would've been a nice gift to give him.
"Just my luck. I don't have enough to get it," she said and began to hang the necklace in the area she had taken it from.
An arm stopped her from putting it back in the showcase and she looked down at the bald headed sales clerk with surprise.
"Don't worry about it. It's on me."
Sakura shook her head, "N-No I couldn't. I would feel bad if I didn't pay for it sir."
He smiled, "Don't worry about it Miss, its Christmas after all."
"Thank you so much," she said and bowed slightly and put the necklace in her pocket, separated from the other presents.
"You're welcome. Now you better get home. It's supposed to get colder tonight," he said before going back behind the stand, preparing to close shop.
With her Christmas shopping done, it was time to head for the Ichiraku Ramen stand where Naruto was probably waiting for her impatiently. Sakura pulled her thin medic coat closer to her body to obtain some kind of warmth, if she would have known that it would be this freezing she would have worn a heavier coat, but she hardly had time to worry about anything outside of the hospital so the thought of bringing another jacket had slipped her mind entirely. Her teeth began to chatter and the bags that she held in her arms seemed to be getting heavier with each step she took. She wasn't too far from the ramen stand, but in this merciless cold, it seemed light-years away from where she was currently.
'I need to rest somewhere for just a minute,' she thought as she began to lose the feeling in her legs.
Sakura sighed in relief as she approached a small jewelry store on the side of the road. It wouldn't hurt to keep Naruto waiting for a few minutes; she just needed to recover from the extreme temperatures. Just as she reached the glass door, something or more specifically someone had caught her attention inside the store she was about to enter.
She squinted her eyes to make sure she wasn't seeing things. Indeed the man at the front counter looked a lot like Sasuke with his jet-black hair and his apparent love for dark clothing, though his back was to her so she couldn't see his face. Sakura took a deep breath and finally pushed the door open, the bells chimed as she entered. She let out a sigh of relief as the warmth of the store slowly began to melt her numbed skin. She felt someone's eyes on her as she stretched her limbs, which were sore due to carrying everyone's gifts.
"Sakura," his voice spoke, causing her to focus her jade eyes on his obsidian ones.
Yup it was definitely Sasuke, "Hey Sasuke-kun," she said and cheerfully walked up to him, not noticing that he had grabbed something off of the counter. The display cases glistened with many precious metals and gemstones, which were carefully crafted into beautiful pieces of jewelry that many women would practically drool over. Though Sakura did receive a decent paycheck due to being the top medic-nin at the Konoha hospital, only second to the Hokage herself, she didn't waste money on such trivial trinkets. She focused back on Sasuke who waited patiently for her to reach him.
His face was emotionless as usual; it looked like he didn't even want to be there in the first place. It was then that a question popped into Sakura's mind.
"What exactly are you doing in a jewelry store anyway?" she asked, somehow the idea of jewelry and Sasuke just didn't seem to mix with her.
"Hn," he replied as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
Sakura just laughed, "You know you should be clearer when responding instead of just using 'hn' all the time."
Sasuke shrugged as he watched her place her bags of the ground. She was used to his silence, Sasuke was never really a sociable person to begin with, although he seemed like he was slowly opening up to her and Naruto after he had returned.
"Wow this is some terrible weather we are having," she began, "If I would have known it would be this bad I would have done my Christmas shopping earlier," she said, knowing that he was listening even if he didn't care.
It was then that she took a look at the pink watch around her wrist, her eyes widening as she looked at the time. Naruto was going to kill her; she was fifteen minutes late for their little get together.
"What's the matter?" Sasuke asked in an unconcerned tone, but deep down she knew he cared in some shape or form.
"I have to go. I was supposed to meet Naruto at the Ichiraku Ramen stand fifteen minutes ago. It was nice seeing you Sasuke-kun," she said hurriedly as she bent down to pick up her bags, only to see Sasuke bending down to pick them up at the same time.
"W-What are you doing?" she asked with a hint of surprise.
"I'm going to walk you there. What else?" he said with a tone leaving no room for argument.
"Are you sure Sasuke-kun? I mean I don't mind, but it's not that far and I don't want to bother you with my-"
She paused mid-sentence and looked to the ground, her face turning a slight shade of pink as she realized that she had begun to babble. It was a good thing her face was already flushed from the cold, she didn't want to get caught blushing at him.
"I'm finished with my business here anyway," he said as he began to walk towards the door with Sakura not too far behind him.
"You didn't answer my question. What exactly were you doing here?" she asked out of curiosity.
"I was looking for something. Naruto said that I'd be able to find what I was looking for here," he explained as he reached out to push the door.
"What could you possibly need to find in a jewelry store?" she asked him, "You don't seem like the kind of person that wears jewelry."
'Which is kind of funny since I actually did buy him a necklace for Christmas.'
Sasuke shrugged in response, "It's nothing you need to worry about Sakura, so just drop it."
Sakura began to feel her teeth chatter once again as the cold wind bit at her skin. She wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to retain the warmth of the jewelry store. She heard Sasuke put down her bags, but didn't look up to see why due to the fact that she could barely move one step without shivering. A moment later, she felt something warm wrap around her shoulders. She gasped when she realized the sudden warmth was coming from a black hoodie that she had seen Sasuke wearing only moments ago. He then appeared in her peripheral vision once again, his hands shoved into his pockets nonchalantly.
"S-Sasuke-kun won't you be freezing without this?" she asked with concern for her friend, a slight flush appearing on her face.
He turned to face her, his dark eyes boring into her jade ones.
"You need it more than I do," he stated and picked the bags up off of the snowy ground, "I'm used to these cold temperatures anyway."
Sakura smiled and pulled the hoodie closer to her. This was probably the closest she was ever going to get to him anyway.
They began to walk in a comfortable silence; she didn't mind that Sasuke didn't want to start any type of conversation, just being in his presence made her content. She no longer felt the need to be around him 24/7, realizing how much of an annoyance she had been when she basically stalked him in her fangirl days. Sasuke and her had actually become closer over the past year that he had been back, even though most of her time had been spent at the hospital nowadays. One thing that didn't change was the love she still felt for Sasuke, it seemed liked her love for him had grown stronger during their time apart. However, as painful as it had been, she realized that being his friend was all she could ever be, and she was content with that.
"Oh Sasuke-kun will you be going to Ino's Christmas Eve party tomorrow night?" she asked curiously, looking at him from the corner of her eye.
"Yeah…the dobe convinced me to go by screaming at the top of his lungs for four straight hours outside my house in the middle of the night," he muttered in annoyance.
Sakura laughed, "Well it's good that you will be going. Everyone is going to be there after all. No one wants to be alone on Christmas Eve."
The smell of ramen reached her nostrils and she realized that they had arrived at their destination. Ichiraku was certainly lit up like a Christmas tree for the holidays. Red and green lights shined radiantly on the dark streets, and many silver star shaped ornaments decorated the banner of the stand. The base of a Christmas tree could be seen from under the entrance to the shop.
"Sakura-chan!!" Naruto yelled, coming out from the ramen stand dressed in a red and white scarf with his normal orange and black jumpsuit. His eyes looked relieved when he saw her.
"Hi Naruto," she replied simply.
"When you didn't show up I started to worry that something had happened to you. I was just about to come looking for you," he said while tugging on her wrists.
"I'm fine Naruto. I was just doing some late Christmas shopping," she explained and pulled her hands away from his, "Then I ran into Sasuke-kun."
Naruto's azure eyes looked over to his other teammate who stood silent throughout this whole ordeal.
"Teme!!!" Naruto greeted holding out his hand for a high-five.
"Dobe," Sasuke simply stated and placed Sakura's shopping bags next to one of the stools, ignoring Naruto's gesture completely.
Sakura gave Sasuke her brightest smile, "It was nice of you to walk me here Sasuke-kun. I'll see you tomorrow night then?"
Sasuke simply nodded and exchanged glances with Naruto to which the blond boy nodded.
"Sakura-chan why don't you go inside and get warmed up. I need to speak to the teme about an important issue."
Sakura looked to Sasuke with confusion and noticed that he seemed more tense than normal. What exactly did they need to talk about that could make Sasuke look so nervous? Well, if Sasuke wanted to tell her than he would. She would not try to force the information out of him so she did not argue with Naruto's request.
"Okay. Just hurry back or I will order without you," she said as she felt her stomach begin to growl.
"Don't worry Sakura-chan I won't be long."
She took one last look at Sasuke before entering into the ramen stand and taking a seat. She already knew that she was going to order a bowl of beef ramen; she just had to wait for Naruto. She felt so left out of the loop right now. What was it that Naruto and Sasuke had to keep from her? She was their best friend, shouldn't she know if something was going on with one of them?
'That look in his eyes,' she thought as she remembered how edgy Sasuke had looked.
She pulled out the dragon pendant she had purchased from the stand and gazed into its dark depths. He would never know how much she still cared for him. Sakura wouldn't risk crossing that boundary again, even if she loved Sasuke to the point where it hurt to think about it. A cup of tea was placed in front of her, which caused Sakura to look up.
"Here's you're usual," Ayame smiled.
"Thank you," she said gratefully and began to sip on her tea.
The sound of moving fabric had indicated someone had entered the ramen shop.
"I'm back Sakura-chan. I hope I didn't take too long," Naruto grinned and took a seat next to her.
"No not at all," Sakura replied and sipped her tea once again.
"Old man two orders of beef ramen!!" Naruto said excitedly.
"Already on it," Teuchi replied as he began preparing the noodles.
"I'm sorry again for making you wait so long Naruto. I waited until the last minute to go Christmas shopping," she explained once again.
"What did you get me? Can I see?" he asked and began to go for the shopping bags only to receive a hit on the head from Sakura's fist.
"Idiot!! Wait until tomorrow!!"
Naruto rubbed the back of his head for a few seconds and sat there pouting, "But I want it now," he mumbled. Sakura ignored his complaining and continued to drink her tea.
"Anyway you'll never believe how I ran into Sasuke-kun in the first place. He was at a jewelry store," Sakura said, trying to start a conversation, "I never pictured Sasuke the type to shop in a jewelry store so it came as a surprise to me."
Naruto let out a nervous laugh, "Yeah that is kinda strange isn't it?"
Suspicion began to rise within her, "He told me that you said he could find something there. What exactly was it? You know I hate when you two leave me out of things."
She noticed sweat begin to form on his forehead, okay something was definitely not right here. Naruto and Sasuke were definitely hiding something from her, "Naruto are you o-"
"Here's your ramen," Ayame interrupted while placing two bowls of steaming ramen in front of them
"Alright!! Time to dig in!!" Naruto exclaimed, completely forgetting about the conversation they were having.
Sakura's stomach growled even louder as the smell of beef ramen invaded her nostrils, in any case she would worry about yelling him later, as her stomach groaned once again. She broke her chopsticks and immediately began to eat. The warm broth flowing down her throat, causing all numbness to go away. She listened to Naruto slurp down the rest of his broth and slam the bowl gently on the table.
"More please!" he requested.
That boy sure had one bottomless stomach. He could probably eat up to ten bowls of ramen per visit; she looked down at the bag of gifts. She had definitely picked the right present for Naruto. Her eyes lingered onto the dragon pendant that laid next to Sakura's right hand. She hoped that he would like it, she really did.
"Sakura-chan," Naruto's voice said, breaking her from her thoughts. She looked over to him and realized he was gazing at her with concern.
"I'm okay. I'm just a little tired is all. It's been a long day," she replied and placing the pendant into the pocket of the black hoodie.
Her eyes widened when she realized that she was still wearing Sasuke's jacket.
"I forgot to give it back to him. He could be freezing right now," Sakura said worriedly, feeling guilty that she had kept the item of clothing longer than necessary.
Naruto placed a hand on her shoulder, "Don't worry Sakura-chan, this is Sasuke-teme we're talking about. And you can give it to him tomorrow at Ino's party."
Sakura smiled, "You're right Naruto," she said before standing up, "Well I think I better head home."
"Do you need me to walk you home?" he asked as he got up from the stool.
"No I'll be okay," Sakura said and gestured for her friend to sit down.
"Okay. Oh and cheer up Sakura-chan it's going to be Christmas soon!!!" he cried out happily.
"Yeah. It'll just be like all the rest though," she began sadly, "Well goodnight Naruto," she said placing her amount of money on the counter before exiting the ramen stand.
Naruto watched Sakura leave and turned back to his ramen, "You never know this year could be different Sakura-chan," he muttered before continuing on his second bowl.
Sakura pulled out the keys to her apartment and opened the door, making sure that her Christmas wreath was still in place before she walked inside, locking the door behind her.
'What a day,' she thought as she took off her shoes at the doorway and walked down the hall leading to the living room.
She placed the bag of gifts down next to beautifully decorated Christmas tree, which was adorned with a variety of pink and yellow ornaments and multi-colored lights that cast a brilliant glow over the white walls of her living room. She was exhausted from today's events and she could barely keep her eyes open.
"I think I can wrap them tomorrow before I go to Ino's party," she said to herself before walking down the corridor to her bedroom. The sky blue walls and cherry wood furniture was a welcoming sight to the tired pink haired medic.
"The part of the day I look forward to the most…sleep," Sakura smiled and removed Sasuke's hoodie from her person and threw it on the bed.
She then took of her medic coat and threw it into her hamper and changed into a white tank top and pink pajama pants. After changing into proper sleeping attire, Sakura flopped down onto the bed, ready to welcome a good night's sleep. She laid there for several moments with her eyes closed, but she wasn't falling asleep. It seemed like no matter how tired her body was, her mind would not allow her to drift off into the depths of unconsciousness. She tossed and turned in her bed in an attempt to find a comfortable position where she could fall asleep, but her efforts were futile. She opened her jade orbs and sat up for a moment. Why couldn't she get to sleep? She looked down to her white sheets and examined her bed for a moment, her eyes stopping on the black hoodie that rested at the foot of her bed.
'Sasuke-kun,'she thought as she reached for the piece of clothing.
Sakura gazed upon Sasuke's jacket with sadness and placed it close to her heart, the smell of pine and fresh sandalwood filling her nostrils. It felt like he was actually here with her. She let out a soft sigh and laid back down, watching the snow fall silently from outside her window. She attempted to close her eyes again, trying to hide the excitement of tomorrow being Christmas Eve. The thought of seeing Sasuke and everyone else tomorrow night brought a smile to her face. She reached into the pocket, her fingers touching the silver chain of the dragon necklace, and pulled it out and gazed into the dark abyss of the gemstone.
"Brings the owner great fortune huh?" Sakura whispers as she caressed the faceted surface of the obsidian with her fingers before laying it on her nightstand by the alarm clock. She rested her head on the soft fabric of Sasuke's shirt.
"I hope for something like that everyday for you…Sasuke-kun," she said, not taking her eyes off of the pendant.
Sakura stared at the piece of jewelry for what seemed like an eternity before her emerald eyes slowly started to close, a dreamless sleep welcoming her with open arms.
Sakura woke up groggily the next morning, pulling the sheets tighter around her form as she twisted around in her bed to look at the alarm clock. Her eyes widened as she watched it change to 10:56. She sat up so fast that she almost fell off of the bed.
'When did the alarm go off?' she thought frantically as she grabbed Sasuke's present off of her nightstand and dashed over to her closet, looking for something to wear.
It was Christmas Eve, she had promised Ino that she would come over early to help get ready for tonight's festivities. She decided on wearing her new red sweater that she had received from Tsunade, along with dark blue jeans, and red boots. Sakura dressed rather quickly and grabbed Sasuke's hoodie before walking out of the room. She hastily pulled her white coat and pink scarf out of the hall closet. The phone began to ring just as she was about to leave.
'Why now of all times?'
Sakura groaned and walked back into the living room, picking the phone up from it's hook.
"This is Haruno Sakura," she stated.
"Hey forehead, it's Ino. When you didn't show I started to get worried so I called to see if you were okay."
Sakura sighed and rubbed her temples with her free hand, "Yeah I'm okay Ino, I didn't hear my alarm clock go off this morning so I'm a little behind on everything."
"When do you think you'll be over?"
Sakura was silent for a moment, looking at the unwrapped presents that sat under her Christmas tree. She had almost forgot to wrap them because she was worried about getting over to Ino's.
"As soon as I am done wrapping everyone's presents. Think you can handle everything without me until then?"
Ino chuckled on the other side of the line, "Yeah just as long as Naruto doesn't decide to come early and eat all the food."
Sakura laughed, "I'll be over as soon as I can okay? Bye Ino," she said before hanging up.
She walked into the kitchen and pulled out scissors and masking tape from one of her cabinets, along with green wrapping paper and walked back into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. She pulled the bag of presents from under the tree and began to wrap them.
It was a little past noon by the time Sakura had finished gift wrapping.
'That took longer than I thought it would.'
The reason it took her so long was because she had a difficult time wrapping Naruto's basket of ramen and she had forgotten to find a box to place Sasuke's necklace in. She combed her fingers through her short pink hair before placing the wrapped gifts back into the bag. She decided to hold onto Sasuke's gift since she wanted to give that to him if she found a chance to be alone with him. She heard a soft knock on her front door.
"I'm coming," Sakura shouted as she got up from the couch to see who decided to stop by.
She opened the door to reveal Hinata, who stood shyly in the door way.
"H-Hello S-Sakura-san," she greeted with a small smile.
"Hello Hinata. What can I do for you?"
She pressed her two index fingers together for a moment, "W-Well Naruto-kun and Sasuke-san wanted me t-to come and get you since you were taking so long."
Sakura's eyes widened, "What?! They're already there?"
Hinata nodded, "Y-Yeah. I ran into them on my way to Ino's a-and they decided to walk with me t-there."
"I see so that's what happened. Okay Hinata wait right here while I get my coat and everyone's presents," Sakura replied and walked back into her apartment, grabbing the bag of presents and putting on her coat and scarf.
"Okay I am good to go," Sakura said and began to follow Hinata out of the apartment complex.
It was a little chilly outside, but Sakura was prepared this time. She would never forget her coat on a cold day ever again after last night.
"S-Sakura-san, w-who does that belong to?" Hinata's quiet voice asked as her pearl eyes gazed at the black shirt in the pink haired woman's hand.
"It's Sasuke-kun's," she replied, feeling a wave of heat pass through her face, "He let me wear it last night since I forgot to wear a coat."
Hinata smiled, "That was r-really nice of him."
"Yeah, though it was very out of character for him."
"P-People change Sakura-san, even S-Sasuke-san."
Sakura nodded, "That is true especially since I saw him looking at jewelry last night. That was something I would never picture Sasuke looking at."
She noticed Hinata tense up nervously from the corner of her eye, "O-Oh, u-umm….r-really?"
Why did it seem like everyone knew something that she didn't? She really felt out of the loop now. Naruto and Sasuke didn't trust her; their teammate, but they trusted Hinata? What was going on that she didn't know about?
"Hinata do you kn-"
"Forehead!!!" Ino's voice screamed as they approached her house.
Sakura felt Ino slam into her, "Merry Christmas Eve Sakura."
The rosette haired woman was completely taken off guard by the actions of her best friend that she couldn't find anything to say. She noticed Naruto and Sasuke walk out of the house in front of her as Ino let her go.
"Thanks for bringing Sakura-chan here safely Hinata-chan," Naruto said as he put an arm around the shy girl's shoulders, causing a blush to form on Hinata's cheeks.
Sakura smiled, she couldn't help but find the two of them adorable. Hinata had finally gained the courage to tell Naruto her feelings, with the help of Ino, Tenten, and herself. Naruto, who had been completely oblivious to Hinata's obvious feelings, was completely taken aback though he seemed to return her feelings. They had been dating for almost six months now. Her gaze looked from the happy couple over to Sasuke, who had been standing on the side silently the entire time. Her eyes saddened, she hated to see him look so left out. She was just about to walk over and strike a conversation with him until Ino began to pull her toward the house.
"We're almost finish decorating, but I am still going to need you're help with a few minor things," Ino said as the others followed closely behind her.
Sakura's eyes looked around the house in wonder as she entered through the doorway. A bright, multi-colored Christmas tree rested silently in the corner of the room, with a large number of presents already under the tree, several bowls of snacks were placed on different tables, and almost every inch of Ino's living room was red, green, and white.
"Wow you definitely went all out didn't you Ino-pig?" Sakura asked.
"That's right!" the blonde exclaimed, "Now follow me into the kitchen. Could you three finish up in here for me?" she asked looking over to Naruto, Sasuke, and Hinata.
Sakura gave one last glance at Sasuke before following Ino into the kitchen, placing her bag of gifts on the floor by the stove. The kitchen smelled of gingerbread and fresh apples.
"Could you stir the cider for me please?" Ino asked as she opened the oven, pulling out a pan of freshly basked gingerbread men.
"Sure," Sakura replied, taking the wooden spoon from one of the top drawers, placing it into the steaming brown liquid. The smell made Sakura's stomach growl.
"Hey Ino," Sakura said, not taking her eyes off of the pot of cider, her voice becoming serious.
"Yes what is it Sakura?" Ino asked as she pulled some icing from the pantry.
She stood silent for a moment, her viridian eyes concentrating solely on the sweet apple liquid she was churning; she took a deep breath before speaking.
"I feel like Sasuke-kun and Naruto are hiding something from me. Something that involves Sasuke-kun in some way," she sighed, "I just…feel so left out."
Sakura couldn't help but feel worried; the vulnerability in Sasuke's usually confident eyes last night meant that something was up with him. She cared too much about Sasuke to just let it go like that. She wanted to help him and be there for him as his teammate and…friend. She felt the familiar pain of heartache pass through her chest once again, it seemed like she had been feeling this way for a while now. Unrequited love was the worst kind of love it seemed. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked to meet the light blue eyes of her best friend, a smile plastered on her face.
"You shouldn't worry about something like that Sakura, Naruto and Sasuke-kun are your teammates. They would never leave you hanging like that, you're too important."
Sakura felt tears well up in her eyes at Ino's words, which she quickly wiped away, "Thank you Ino, I guess I needed to hear that."
Ino shrugged and returned to making faces on the gingerbread cookies, "It's nothing. And cheer up it is Christmas after all, something unexpected could happen tonight for all you know," she finished with a smile.
"I doubt it," Sakura replied and continued to stir that simmering cider. She didn't notice Ino watching her with a glint of mischief in her sapphire eyes.
It was nightfall by the time Ino and Sakura had finished cooking in the kitchen, only to stop when they heard a knock at the door. They walked out of the kitchen to see Naruto opening the door to reveal Shikamaru, who was pulled into a fierce bear hug by the hyperactive blond youth, and Chouji who was munching away on the newest flavor of potato chips. When Naruto let go of Shikamaru, he rubbed the back of his head while mumbling something about Christmas being a "troublesome holiday."
"Merry Christmas Shikamaru, Chouji," Ino said and walked over to them and handing them their gifts.
Sakura went back into the kitchen as another knock on the door was heard and grabbed the bag of presents, deciding that it would be a good idea to bring them out since everyone was arriving. When she returned to the living room, the sound of, "Jingle-bell Rock" reached her ears.
"Sakura-san!!!" Rock Lee's all too familiar voice exclaimed as he dashed over to her, grabbing her hands in his, "Merry Christmas my wonderful cherry blossom."
Sakura couldn't help but smile, "You too Lee-san," she noticed Sasuke from the corner of her eye watching Rock Lee intently, his brows furrowed slightly.
She turned her head to her bushy browed friend when he let go of her arms and began to rummage through a green bag he had brought with him.
"Here Sakura-san these are for you," he said handing her a bouquet of wild flowers.
Sakura was speechless, how did he manage to obtain these in such wintery weather, she touched one of the flowers gently, feeling the soft petals pass through her fingers.
"They're beautiful Lee-san. Thank you," she replied with a smile and put them down on a table. Lee gave her a nice guy pose before turning around to look for Neji and Tenten, whom she saw come in with him. She looked back to where she had seen Sasuke standing earlier to find that he was no where to be found, she sighed, was she going crazy? She touched the velvet box that rested in her jeans pocket; she would save his gift for last.
"Hey Sakura-chan look what Hinata-chan got me," Naruto said happily as he approached her. He was carrying a box that contained a new ramen cooker, "I'm so glad that Hinata-chan got me this, my old one broke the other day and I was at a loss at what to do about breakfast this morning," he rambled as he rubbed his face against the box.
Sakura chuckled at her friends antics, "Well," she began as she pulled Naruto's gift out of the bag, "This is from me Naruto."
Naruto placed the box aside gently and took the present from her hands, excitement lighting up in his ocean blue eyes. He tore the wrapping paper in less than five seconds, his trademark grin wide as he stood face to face with a basket full of different flavored ramen.
"A ramen cooker isn't any good without ramen right?" she asked, her smile never faltering.
"Thank you Sakura-chan," Naruto said happily as he pulled her into a friendly embrace.
Sakura patted his shoulder, "You're welcome. Merry Christmas," she said when they pulled away.
"I can't wait to get home and eat my new ramen!! By the way Sakura-chan, this is for you," he said while handing her a small red package.
Sakura tore at the maroon paper carefully, which revealed a cherry blossom hair-pin.
"It's really pretty Naruto," she said, examining the pink rhinestones that made up the pink flower.
"It reminded me of you, since your name does mean cherry-blossom."
Sakura tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and put the pin into her soft pink locks. Naruto nodded in approval, it went well with the color of her hair.
"I love it," she said while adjusting the pin, "Thank you."
"Don't mention it Sakura-chan, you are like a little sister to me."
Sakura looked around the crowded room, it seemed that Kiba and Shino had arrived as well, but where was Sasuke? She wanted to give him his present.
"Naruto did Sasuke leave?" she asked, still looking for the dark haired boy.
"I thought I saw him go outside on the balcony," Naruto replied while rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "Why don't you go see if he's there," he suggested, his smile widening.
Sakura looked at him strangely, wondering what could he possibly be thinking about that it made him smile like that.
"Okay. Could you hand these out to everyone for me?" she asked, handing the bag over to him.
"Sure thing," Naruto replied, disappearing into the next room, the large grin still on his face.
Sakura got her coat, scarf, and Sasuke's shirt from the kitchen before making her way to the door that lead to the balcony. She felt her palms begin to sweat and her heart begin to pound hard against her chest. She couldn't explain why she felt so nervous, this was Sasuke after all. She stopped outside the balcony door, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down, he might not even be out there. With this thought, she opened the door only to be met by an empty balcony.
'What a beautiful night,' she thought in awe.
Snowflakes fell gracefully from the light purple sky, icicles hanging from the roof of Ino's house which sparkled like diamonds in the sun, and the village of Konoha was lit up brilliantly casting a gentle aura against the pure white streets below. Sakura walked over to the end of the deck, resting her arms against the railing, it was so quiet out here, the noise of the festivities happening inside was droned out by this peaceful silence.
"What brings you out here?" a deep, all too familiar voice spoke, causing Sakura to break out of whatever trance she was put under by the scenery in front of her.
"S-Sasuke-kun? W-What are you doing out here?" she stammered, obviously taken off guard by the other presence who sat quietly in a chair to her left.
"The thought of Naruto singing karaoke gave me a headache, so I came out here for some peace," he explained while silently getting up from his seat.
"I see," Sakura laughed, "That is a terrible thought," she replied.
She remembered when Sasuke, Naruto, and herself had gone out to a karaoke bar; when Naruto went up to sing, his voice was so terrible that he caused all of the customers to run out of the tavern, claiming that they wanted to gnaw their ears off. She looked down at the hoodie she held in her hands and instantly remembered why she was looking for Sasuke in the first place.
"Oh here Sasuke-kun," she said while handing the black shirt over to him, slipping his gift into the pocket, "Thank you for letting me borrow it last night. I didn't mean to take it home with me…I'm sure you wanted it back," she said apologetically.
Sasuke stared at the piece of clothing for a moment, "It wasn't a big deal, like I said…I'm used to these cold temperatures anyway," he stated in his usual tone of voice.
"Could you check inside the pockets to see if I left anything in them please?" she asked in a sweet tone.
Sasuke looked over her in confusion, wondering what she was up to, but decided against asking and felt through his pockets, his hand resting on a small package. Her smile grew wider as he pulled the box out of his pocket to find that it was wrapped in a light green type of wrapping paper.
"Well…open it," she said, as he just stared at the box like he didn't know what to do with it.
Sasuke looked at the box in his hand for a moment, debating on whether to open it now or later. However, his curiosity got the better of him and he began to tear the paper off of the present meant for him. His eyes widened as he opened the box to reveal a dragon pendant carved from onyx staring straight back at him.
"I hope you like it Sasuke-kun. You wouldn't believe how many stores I had to look through before I found the perfect gift."
Sasuke on the other hand was at a loss of words, as he looked up from his gift to stare into her emerald orbs.
"It's carved from a precious stone known as onyx. It was meant to give the owner good fortune and happiness," she explained as she turned her gaze to the view of the village, he noticed a flush of crimson form on her face.
"I want you to be happy Sasuke-kun, you don't have to isolate yourself from everyone. If something is bothering you…you know you can talk to me right? You don't have to be afraid of me," she continued as her eyes begin to water.
"Last night, something was bothering you…something that Naruto knows and won't tell. I feel so far apart from you two," she said, looking back to him with tears in her eyes,
Sasuke stayed silent through her entire speech, what could he say? He reached into his pocket, his fingertips touching a lone box.
"You want to know what's been bothering me," he said as more of a statement than a question in his monotone voice.
Sakura wiped the tears away from her eyes, before nodding silently, "More than anything."
Sasuke let out a sigh as he began to pull something out of his pocket, however, the sound of the door opening interrupted him.
"Sakura. I love it!!" Ino said, showing her the bottle of perfume she had received, "Thank you for getti-" she stopped in mid-sentence. "Oh my gosh I'm so sorry Sasuke-kun I didn't mean to interrupt. I thought Sakura was out here by herself."
Sasuke lowered his head to the ground, grinding his teeth slightly before placing a tiny box into Sakura's hands, his eyes boring into hers.
"Don't open it until you get home," He said in a commanding tone before walking back into the room where Naruto's terrible singing voice could be heard.
Sakura looked at the box in confusion for a moment, Sasuke had gotten her a present? That was a surprise in itself, she wondered what was inside the box. Ino sighed and looked over to Sakura apologetically before returning inside as well. She stood out there alone with the tiny box still in her hands, it was tempting to open it now, but she decided she would listen to Sasuke and wait until she got home to open it.
'Going home doesn't sound like a bad idea,' she thought as she placed the box in her coat pocket, and opened the sliding door, her body welcoming the warmth of Ino's house.
She noticed Naruto and Ino conversing on the side, his eyes saddened at whatever Ino was saying. She tried to move in closer to understand what they were talking about, but the two were already done talking by the time she had reached them.
"Hey guys?" Sakura chimed in, making her presence knowm.
They looked up at her in surprise and Ino looked away in shame. Sakura was puzzled, for she did not know what was going on at the moment, and why they were looking at her with guilty expressions.
"I'm going to be heading home for tonight okay? Tomorrow is Christmas after all," she said before heading towards the front door.
"Goodnight Sakura-chan," Naruto said, putting on a smile that she knew was fake.
"Merry Christmas everyone," she said before shutting the door behind her.
Her slow pacing immediately began to pick up until she was sprinting full-speed towards her apartment. The excitement building up at the thought of what Sasuke could have possibly gotten her for Christmas. She pulled the small package from her pocket and smiled at it, she never in a million years thought the Uchiha Sasuke would give her something for Christmas. She reached her apartment complex in record time, rushing up the stairs.
'Almost there.' she said to herself when she was three feet from her door.
She pulled out her keys and let herself in, the peaceful silence of her apartment was welcoming compared to the noise of Ino's house, not to mention that there was no Naruto to attempt karaoke. She took off her coat, scarf, and shoes, placing them in the hall closet before making her way into her bedroom. For some reason it felt chillier in her room, she looked around to find one of the windows opened.
"That's strange," she said to herself, taking a kunai off of the pouch of her dresser before walking over to the window to close it.
She then walked over and took a seat on her bed, checking her surroundings before diverting her attention to the wrapped package in her other hand.
"Don't open it until you get home." Sasuke's voice rang in her ear.
Sakura wondered what could have been so important that she had to wait until she got home to open it. Well in any case she was home now so there was no need to wait any longer. She rapidly tore the wrapping paper off of the gift, it was a dark blue box with the Uchiha symbol on the lid. Sakura would make sure to save the box for later as she carefully opening the box. The sight of what the gift contained caused her to gasp aloud, and made her heart begin to jump around in her chest.
A round-shaped diamond solitare ring shimmered in between two velvet cushions. The diamond itself had to be about one carat. Sakura allowed her fingertips to touch the gleaming white stone, fearing if she applied any pressure on it, the stone would break.
"Now do you understand Sakura?" Sasuke's voice echoed around her room.
Startled to hear his voice, she turned to see Sasuke walking towards her from a dark corner of the area. His eyes showing no hint of emotion as usual. Wait how did he get into her house…then she remembered the opened window. He was waiting for her to come home, so he could see her reaction.
"S-Sasuke-kun…y-you were going t-"
Sasuke nodded before she could finish her sentence, his response causing her heart to jump in her chest. She focused her jade eyes back on the ring in her hands.
"That's why you were in the jewelry store last night," Sakura said, finally being able to piece everything together.
That was why Naruto had kept his mouth shut, why it seemed like everyone knew something besides her, why Sasuke had acted strangely last night, and why a week ago Naruto and Sasuke had asked for her ring size. Sasuke once again nodded, his hands shoved in his pockets.
"Do you choose to accept my proposal?" she heard him ask.
She looked up and noticed that the vulnerability had once again shined in his eyes, he may have been able to maintain a calm posture, but his eyes told her what he was really feeling…fear of rejection. Although it would seem fair to reject him just as he had rejected her so many times in the past, she knew that in her heart she loved Sasuke too much to do that to him. Sakura slowly stood up from her sitting position, walking over to where Sasuke was.
"Well?" he asked again though this time his voice sounded strained, her silence seemed to make him more tense by the moment.
Sakura looked at him with a serious face, pulling his arm out and placing the small box into his hand. Sasuke watched her do this a mixture of hurt and pain, he lowered his face to the ground so she didn't see the look of shame that was now written all over his face.
"I see," he said, his voice still miraculously composed, "I should have known you were going to say 'no.' After all of the hurt I have cause you all these years I think I should have predicted this outcome," He said and was about to turn around until Sakura's hand caught his wrist.
"Look at me Sasuke-kun," she whispered.
He did as he was told and looked back into the green eyes that had haunted his dreams since the night he had left Konoha to fight Itachi. Her face was only several inches away from his and she continued to close the gap until her soft lips met his. It lasted about four or five seconds before she pulled away, taking the ring from the box that he held and placing it on her left ring finger.
"Ino was right…something unexpected did happen this Christmas," she said, looking back and forth between Sasuke and the piece of jewelry that was on her hand. She looked up to him lovingly and pointed at the ring on her finger.
"I could never reject you Sasuke-kun…not even if I wanted to. I love you too much to do that. So I accept your proposal," she said with a small smile.
Sasuke smirked, looking down at the pocket he had the dragon pendant that Sakura had given him safely tucked away in. 'Good fortune and happiness would be bestowed upon the owner,' it seemed as if Sakura was right. He felt arms wrap around his waist and looked down to see a head of pink hair leaning against his chest.
"Thank you Sasuke-kun. This has been the best Christmas I have had in years," she said softly, a wetness on his shirt indicating that she was crying.
Sasuke shook his head and combed his fingers through her short hair, "No I'm the one who should be thanking you…Uchiha Sakura."
They stood there for what seemed like hours in each other's embrace, the first rays of the morning sun indicated that Christmas morning had arrived.
Yeah I didn't like the ending as much as I thought I would. It sounded better in my head lol, but this was another attempt at a SasuSaku. This is my Christmas present to all you SasuSaku supporters out there. Tell me what you all think!!! Have a wonderful holiday everyone