I decided to write a holiday one-shot and try my hand at my OTP, KakaSaku. It turned out epic length, because we all know I can't do anything in small doses.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Confessions

Sakura made her way to the back of the staff room at a plodding, weary pace. An exhausted trainee was passed out in a shabby old armchair, and the drone of the news forecast drifted from the small radio on the coffee table. Freezing temperatures, with a probability of high winds. Great. Just how she wanted to spend her week off from work; shut in her house because it was too cold to go anywhere. It could at least snow once in a while to make up for it, but no, not in Fire country.

The hospital was always busy this time of year; aside from the influx of head colds, for some reason people tended to be more prone to ridiculous accidents around the holidays as well. Tonight had been no different, and she was more than glad to be done with her shift. With a tired sigh she went to her locker, shrugged off her white lab coat and exchanged it for her heavy winter parka, and wrapped the red scarf Ino got her last Christmas around her neck.

She stopped at the welcome desk on her way out and was greeted by Yumiko, the receptionist. "Hello, Sakura. Are you on your way out for the night?"

Sakura nodded. "I have the next week off, so I was just stopping by to see if there's anything that needs to be signed before I leave."

"The Hokage actually let you take a whole week off? You really do get perks as her apprentice."

Sakura gave a short laugh. "Hardly. If anything it's the opposite. Actually, she's forcing me to take the week off. She thinks I'm overstressed." She secretly thought her shishou just didn't want Sakura to make her look bad as she slacked off.

Yumiko moved to the row of cubbyholes on the wall. "Ah, well, lucky you in any case. Do you have any special plans for Christmas?"

"Not really. I'll probably just pig out on cookies and enjoy sleeping in."

Yumiko looked over her shoulder, surprised. "No plans at all? There's nothing here but some thank you cards from patients. Want them now?"

Sakura shrugged. "Yeah sure, I'll take them. And no, I really don't have any plans. Everyone I know is spending time with their families or away on missions. So it's just me this year."

Yumiko came back and handed her a few envelopes before sitting again. "That's just not right, Sakura," she said matter-of-factly, "No one should be alone in during the holidays, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Are you sure there's no one to spend it with…no man to keep you warm on the cold nights?" she asked slyly.

Sakura huffed wryly. "I think you read too many romance novels, Yumiko. The only thing I spend my cold winter nights with is a good book and a cup of hot cocoa."

The receptionist shook her head. "Shame. Well, I hope you have a happy holiday anyway."

Sakura smiled. "Thanks, you too. Are you working this year?"

"No, I'm actually on my way out in a few minutes as well. I just have to drop these files off at the jounin headquarters before I go." She patted a small stack of folders on the desk.

"I'll take them for you," Sakura offered.

"You don't have to do that, Sakura. Go home and enjoy your vacation."

"It's no trouble. I pass by there on my way home anyway," she insisted.

"Are you sure? Okay, thanks." Yumiko gave her a grateful smile.

She took the stack and tucked them under her arm. "No problem."

"Just drop them off at the night desk; they'll know what to do with them."

"Right. I guess I'll see you in a week then. Night, Yumiko." She flashed a parting smile as she turned for the exit.

"Goodnight, Sakura! Merry Christmas!"

Sakura briskly walked the few blocks from the hospital to the jounin headquarters, scarf pulled high around the lower half of her face and the files pressed flat against her chest as she crossed her arms to keep out some of the biting wind-chill.

Still thinking about her conversation with the receptionist, she shook her head dismissively as she walked. Yumiko seemed to think it a great tragedy that she was alone for Christmas, but Sakura wasn't nearly as down about it. She hadn't done the whole big Christmas thing since her parents were alive, and for the last few years she'd quietly passed the holiday with a few friends and a minor exchange of gifts.

This year, however, none of those friends were available. If Naruto and Hinata knew she planned to spend the holiday alone they would insist she join them, but since it was their first Christmas together as newlyweds Sakura didn't want to intrude. She'd told them she would be with Ino, but in reality Ino was in Suna with Chouji and Shikamaru as guests of the Kazekage and his siblings. Sai and Tenzou were away on a mission. And Sasuke…well, although they were friends, spending time with him, his wife and their brood of kids would just be weird, considering. That only left one other person, and he wasn't in Konoha either. She didn't mind, really. It was only one day out of the year.

Finally she reached the jounin HQ, pulled open one of the doors and quickly darted inside. A rush of heated air hit the exposed part of her face and she sighed happily. She pulled the scarf down around her neck, her chilled skin beginning to tingle with renewed warmth.

Sakura had made jounin six months ago but didn't really know her way around the big building yet. She found the night reception desk and stopped at the counter, looking at the attendant, who tore her eyes away from the paperback in her hand and fixed her with a look of immense boredom. Several seconds passed, and it became obvious that this put-upon secretary was going to sit there and stare expectantly at Sakura until she stated her business. She pursed her lips in annoyance and held the manila folders out. "These are from the hospital," she said shortly.

The receptionist reached out and took the folders from her hand, and in a tone of supreme disinterest said, "The medical release forms?"

Sakura didn't know what was in the folders because she hadn't bothered to look or ask, so she hoped her silence would look as if she was simply returning the secretary's anti-socialness. It had been a long day and she wasn't in the mood to deal with rude people.

The other woman emitted a long-suffering sigh and opened the top folder to look for herself. "Fine, I'll take care of these. Was there anything else?"

"Nope." She was already turning on her heel to leave.

After two steps she stopped in her tracks as she spotted a tall figure ambling down the hallway toward her. His face was hidden behind the orange book he held in front of him as he walked, but that lanky gait and shock of spiky silver hair over the top of the book were unmistakable. She willed the flutter in her stomach to cease and made herself look casual as he approached the night reception desk. He certainly took his time. Of course he knew she was standing there, but Kakashi always did things his own way, so she tried to look busy and not like she was waiting for him.

Finally, he drew up to the counter and stopped. "Yo," he greeted, lowering his book and giving her an eye-crinkling smile.

"Hey. When did you get back?" She noticed that the bored desk attendant had visibly straightened at the elite jounin's arrival.

"Just a few minutes ago. I debrief in the morning, so I stopped by to pick up the mission report forms on my way home." He turned his one-eyed gaze to the clerk.

The girl simply stared back at him with an almost dreamy expression, until she realized that he'd just mentioned what he was there for and was waiting on her. She quickly sprung from her chair toward a filing cabinet on the far side of the reception area, far too eagerly for someone who, five minutes ago, looked like they had just awoken from a coma.

Sakura snorted.

"What brings you over here this late, Sakura-chan?" He leaned his elbows on the countertop.

"I was just dropping some files off from the hospital on my way home."

Kakashi's eye roamed over to the small stack of manila folders on the desk, "Ah." His He looked at the envelopes in her hand. "What are those?"

She followed his gaze. "These? Just some 'thank-you' cards from patients." His eye widened, and years of experience with the expressions that one eye made told her he was amused. "What?"

"Well, how should I put this…your bedside manner isn't exactly something to brag about," he teased.

She swatted him on the shoulder with the cards. "Only toward my teammates, because your combined idiocy and stubbornness drive me to wit's end."

"Sure it isn't because you have a soft spot for us?"

She smiled and rolled her eyes. "That too, though sometimes I can't for the life of me figure out why. Speaking of patients…are you injured?"

"Nope. The mission was a piece of cake."

"Most month-long missions are not pieces of cake, Kakashi…"

"Ah, see, but it only took me three weeks." He reached out and playfully ruffled her hair. "I'm fine, Sakura, no need to worry."

She eyed him suspiciously. "If I find out you're lying to me I'll kick your ass."

The Copy Ninja chuckled quietly and straightened up off the counter as the receptionist came back and handed him the blank mission report forms. "Here you go. Did you need anything else, Hatake-senpai?" she asked with a simpering smile.

"That's it, thanks." He paused beside Sakura and nodded for her to follow.

She fell into step beside him, ignoring the jealous glare at her back. They were halfway to the exit before she spoke up on a thought she'd been pondering. "Since you finished your mission early that means you'll be in the village for Christmas?"

His head tilted slightly as if the thought had just occurred to him as well. "It does."

They walked toward the exit at a leisurely pace, neither of them relishing the thought of going out into the cold again. "So do you have any plans? Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, you know."

He glanced at her. "I know what day it is. But the holidays aren't really my thing. My only plan is to sleep for the next two weeks and enjoy some good, quiet reading time."

"You actually want to spend Christmas alone?"

"Doesn't bother me, and it wouldn't be the first time," he said indifferently.

"That's terrible, Kakashi…" He merely shrugged. She watched his masked profile as they walked, silently mustering the courage to voice her thoughts. "Why don't you spend Christmas with me?"

Kakashi slowed and came to a stop, though whether it was out of surprise or because they had just reached the exit, she wasn't sure. He stared at her for a long moment, but then his expression relaxed into that familiar eye-crinkling smile. "That's very considerate of you, Sakura-chan, but I'm sure you already have lots of festive things planned, and I wouldn't want to intrude."

Translation for those who knew the Copy Ninja as well as Sakura did: Large groups of people making merry and spreading cheer – no way in hell.

"Actually, I don't have anything planned."

His surprise was evident. "Really? I figured you'd spend the day with Naruto or something."

"He's with Hinata this year, and being a third wheel isn't exactly my idea of a good time. Everyone else is either out of the village or spending time with their families and significant others." She gave him a bright smile and cheerfully said, "But if I'm alone and you're alone, then we could be alone together, and then we wouldn't be alone, right?" Kakashi's expression went strangely blank, and she realized that her suggestion had sounded more like a proposition. "Er…for Christmas," she amended quickly.

There was a long pause before he hesitantly said, "I don't know, Sakura…I'm sure something will come up at the last minute with one of your friends, and I wouldn't want you to feel obligated."

Her brow rose. "In the next twenty-four hours? I doubt it. And you are one of my friends. Besides, now that I know you were going to spend Christmas alone I'm not giving in," she said playfully. Another long moment stretched as she gazed hopefully at him. She bit her lip nervously, and then emitted a sigh before giving it one last shot, "Come on, Kakashi… there's no sense in us both being alone on Christmas when we could spend it together. It doesn't have to be a big deal, we can just hang out. At least come over tomorrow for Christmas Eve. I'll even make you dinner."

Indecision plagued him, but the thought of a decent home-cooked meal was creeping into his subconscious and steadily weakening his will. Though he really didn't mind for himself, the idea of Sakura being alone on Christmas didn't sit well with him. He let out a resigned sigh. "Alright, Sakura. But just dinner, nothing fancy. And no gifts."

She beamed happily at him. "Deal. I wouldn't know what to get a perv like you anyway. You obviously don't know how to use a watch, and you already have every Icha Icha book in existence. Six okay?" she asked, knowing he wouldn't show up until at least an hour after that.

He nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets. "Sure."

"Okay," she said casually, trying to hide how secretly thrilled she was. "I should get home before it gets any damned colder." She pulled her coat tight around her body and prepared for the bite of winter once more. "See you tomorrow, then. And try not to be too late, okay? Night, Kakashi!"

He brought a hand out of his pocket to give her a friendly wave. "Night, Sakura." His eyes followed her as she left the building.

Sakura quickly pulled her scarf over her face to block the cold rush of wind, and also to mask the silly grin on her face. Her gleeful squeal of delight was carried away by the wind as she began the walk toward home.

When Sakura spontaneously invited her team leader over for Christmas Eve dinner, she hadn't stopped to think about all the things that impromptu decision left for her to do in one short day. She was normally a very busy person, working long hours at the hospital and also going on missions with her team, so she was rarely home. Because she never had time to cook, she didn't have a good supply of food in the house. She had to get up way earlier than she wanted to on her first day off in months to go to the market before it closed for the holiday.

The rest of her morning was spent with an old cookbook of her mother's that she dug out of one of the less-used kitchen cabinets, trying to figure out how to cook the roast she'd bought and what to serve with it. With meticulous effort usually only awarded to her medical techniques, she finished the pre-cook preparations and then set to cleaning. Hardly being home also meant that little household chores got put off for long periods of time. It took all of late morning and part of early afternoon to dust, mop, vacuum, and tidy up to a level she was happy with.

Dinner had gone in the oven an hour ago, and she'd just finished up the last of the laundry. Now she stepped into the steaming shower and ran her head under the water with a satisfied sigh. The roast had another hour, and there was just enough time to shower and get ready before starting the vegetables and rice. Sakura was proud of herself. Everything was going perfectly.

She knew she didn't need to go to all this effort for Kakashi, because he probably wouldn't notice or care if her house was clean, or if her medical scrolls and notebooks and even some dirty clothes were strewn all over the place. He'd told her not to do anything special on his account, but she wanted everything to be perfect anyway. He had never been in her house before, and she wanted to make a good impression on her former sensei.

That, and because, well…honestly…she had it bad.

So bad that she couldn't seem to stop those stupid butterflies in her stomach whenever she saw him. And those occasional heart palpitations couldn't be healthy. It was ridiculous. She was a grown woman, and she had known Kakashi for years, almost half her life now. He had seen her at her very best and her very worst, more than a few times. But her feelings for him had shifted and evolved over time, and now she couldn't be near him without getting those funny little twitters inside.

It all started around eight months ago when she decided to make a try for jounin, and went to Kakashi for help with training for the upcoming exams. He had agreed, no doubt with a little push from Tsunade, who wanted Sakura to succeed but as Hokage wasn't able to give her undivided attention. Kakashi was a hardass when it came to training, Sakura knew that already. But when it concerned something as serious and difficult as the jounin exams, he was an outright tyrant. Sakura didn't know what would come first; her death from all the strain, or the Copy Ninja's at her hands. But aside from the blood, sweat, and tears he inflicted upon her, she had enjoyed spending time more with him and they had reinforced their friendship a lot during those intense sessions last summer. All their hard work paid off and she made jounin with relative ease. She was proud of herself, but it meant even more to know that Kakashi was proud of her as well. The training was over, but their new deeper friendship had continued, and they'd even hung out a few times afterward.

Then last September, Kakashi had celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday. Or rather, he had been forced to celebrate it because all of his friends and teammates threw a huge party and dragged him there. That was the night she realized the way she felt about Kakashi had changed once again. The first time, years ago, the transition had been from sensei and authority figure, to the more equal standing of teammate and eventually friend. This time the change was a bit more surprising. As they'd gotten closer over the course of her grueling training, at some point she had come to see him as a man. A very attractive one. She still hadn't seen his face, but it didn't matter; women's intuition told her he was handsome. That, and all the times she'd seen him in various stages of undress as she healed his injuries.

The details of that night were fuzzy from several beers too many, but she did remember having this epiphany while sitting next to him on the couch at Genma's house. She had completely forgotten about it by the next morning, until she ran into him later that day at the grocery store. What was so incredibly appealing about a man pondering which brand of orange juice to buy, she didn't know. But there they were, talking casually, when she suddenly remembered the previous night's revelation and the butterflies had attacked her. Any time she saw him across a room now, or when he was standing next to her, and especially when he looked at her for any length of time. Kakashi had this way of looking at people like they were the only person in the room, a very good or very bad thing depending on who he was looking at and why. When he focused on her like that, she got all wibbly inside.

This crush, if you could even call it that, was ridiculous. It was stupid the way it – he – affected her so. It was Kakashi. She had known him practically forever.

Maybe that was the problem. It was certainly why she hadn't told anyone. It wasn't just that she lusted after the Copy Ninja. A lot of women in Konoha did – the mystery, the legend, the obvious sex appeal despite his hidden face. But he wasn't just some sought-after piece of man-candy to Sakura. It was Kakashi. They shared a long history, she knew him, admired him, cared about him. And her newly discovered feelings scared the hell out of her.

Entanglements like this could destroy friends and teammates if things didn't work out. Besides, Kakashi was certainly not interested in her like that, and she remembered what chasing after an uninterested teammate was like. She was not going there again. She had no intention of telling her team leader how she really felt about him, and hoped her crush would simmer down to a tolerable level so she could lock it away and have things go back to normal between them.

So then why did she impulsively invite him over to her house for Christmas Eve? Because he was her teammate, and her friend. Because he was alone, like she was, and truthfully she felt a little guilty for not thinking of him in previous years, as he'd probably been alone then, too.

Sakura was startled out of her thoughts as a loud piercing beeping invaded her ears, and she realized with alarm that it was her smoke detector going off in the hallway. "Shit!" She hastily jumped out of the shower, conditioner still in her hair, dripping water all over the floor as she scrambled to wrap a towel around herself and rush out of the bathroom. She ran into her kitchen and was greeted by a fog of heavy smoke and a sickening stench. "Shit, shit, shit!" She opened the oven door and another cloud of smoke billowed out in her face, causing her to hack and squint as she reached for the oven mitts.

"Noooo…!" she whined, removing the pan containing a blackened, shriveled lump of char that had once been a beautiful roast out of the oven. Her towel fell off in the process and she had no free hands to catch it with. It was the least of her concerns, and she stood naked in her kitchen with mitted hands on hips as she looked miserably upon what was supposed to be her perfect Christmas Eve dinner.

The shrill blaring of the smoke alarm continued, and with a string of angry curses she grabbed her fallen towel from the floor and went to fan the obnoxious thing into silence. Alarm neutralized, she stomped back into the kitchen and glared at her ruined dinner while re-wrapping the towel around herself. It was supposed to have another hour, damn it! She hadn't been in the shower that long, had she? She turned to look at the open recipe book on the counter and read over the instructions again. Her eyes widened at a particular line, and her head snapped around to look at the oven, mouth falling open in dismay. Cook at 350 degrees for two hours. The dial on the stovetop was set to 450.

"Aww...fucking hell!"

How could she have been so stupid? She'd carefully followed every last detail…but somehow overlooked one crucial thing and now her perfect dinner was ruined. Dead. Unsalvageable. She sighed despondently, plopped down on a chair and glanced at the clock on the wall. Six-thirty. She laid her head on her arms with a defeated whimper. Kakashi would be here anytime now and she had nothing in the house worth serving as a holiday meal. All the stores were closed, and even if they weren't, it was too late to start over anyway. On top of that, her house now smelled like burned meat and smoke. So much for good impressions.

Still grumbling at her own stupidity and blaming the universe for conspiring against her, Sakura got up and opened all the windows to let the out horrible stench before dejectedly heading back to the bathroom to rinse the rapidly clumping conditioner out of her hair.

A few moments later, a loud thud echoed through her home as the tiled wall of the shower cracked under her fist, followed by a piercing yowl of frustration as Sakura discovered that the hot water had run out.

An almost eerie stillness had fallen as Christmas Eve settled over Konoha. The streets were practically empty. The stores were all closed. Everyone was inside with their families where it was warm and cozy.

Everyone but the Copy Ninja, who was definitely not warm and cozy as he made his way to Sakura's house. He could be lounging on his worn but comfy sofa reading Icha Icha right now, but instead he was walking through icy winds and arctic temperatures, still not entirely sure why he had agreed this. He honestly didn't care one way or another about the holidays, and hadn't since he was a young child when both of his parents were alive. But somehow it just didn't seem right that someone as bright and kind-hearted as Sakura was alone during a time when people should be with loved ones.

It surprised him that she had no one to spend the holiday with. She had no family, but so many friends. Boyfriends as well, he would have thought, but apparently not. He knew she worked too hard, and although she remained close to her inner circle she never branched out to make new connections. Or maybe she still wasn't over Sasuke. Since they'd broken up she had almost completely immersed herself in her work, adding even more onto her plate by becoming a jounin. The Uchiha had moved on, but maybe Sakura hadn't.

But the biggest influence in accepting her invitation was probably the fact that he was a sucker for that pouty-lip thing she did when she didn't think she was going to get her way. He had always had a bit of a soft spot for his only female teammate, but he wasn't alone in this. None of them could ever resist that pout. To top it off she had mercilessly given him The Eyes. Those devastatingly green eyes that could break the will of even the hardest men. He doubted Sakura even knew how she affected the men around her; she was just naturally charming and alluring, a remarkably strong and beautiful woman. That's why it was such a surprise that she was all alone on Christmas. Only the jaded and world-weary like him should be alone, so he agreed to keep her company, as little as his company counted for.

It was probably a huge mistake on his part, as spending time alone with Sakura in her house would only make it harder for him to maintain a respectful distance, to keep things on a friendly level between himself and the kunoichi who had recently wormed her way beneath his skin. But he could never say no to her, not in any real sense, so he burrowed his face further beneath the scarf covering his masked nose and sighed, trying not to think about how royally, hopelessly screwed he was.

When Kakashi knocked on the door at seven-fifteen, he expected to be greeted with a bright, warm smile and the smell of dinner cooking.

So he was more than a little surprised when the door opened after a long pause to reveal an obviously unhappy and highly disgruntled Sakura, who didn't smile even say hello, merely held the door open and beckoned him inside.

He hesitantly removed his scarf and coat. "Why is it so cold in here? Is your heater broken?"

She took his outerwear and hung them a hook behind the door. "I had all the windows open until a few minutes ago."

He frowned incredulously. "Why?"

She sighed heavily and walked back into the living area, grumbling over her shoulder as she went, "Look in the kitchen and see for yourself."

Wary yet curious, he removed his boots and followed her through the living room toward the open kitchen. He saw the metal oven pan on the stovetop and something black and unrecognizable inside. "I see…" he said, stopping before the unidentified object that his sharp nose detected would have been quite delicious, had she not burnt it to a crisp. He poked at it with a finger and heard a dull crunch. "What happened?"

"I killed it," she grunted, crossing her arms over her chest in a pout.

They stared at the blackened lump, Sakura dejected, Kakashi amused. "I'm sorry," she said. "I thought I'd done everything exactly according to the instructions…I planned on making a great dinner and I really wanted everything to be perfect. I guess I'm just horribly un-domestic…"

Kakashi smiled at the unhappy girl, touched that she'd tried to go to so much effort for him, even if he had asked her not to. He laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder."It's alright, Sakura. You're a kunoichi; your strengths and skills lie elsewhere, there's nothing wrong with that. You're also a brilliant medic. You can't be good at everything."

She gave him a look. "You are."

"You'd be surprised. I can't cook either, and I'm terrible at fixing anything electronic because of my chakra nature."

She had to smile at that. "Have you ever electrocuted yourself?"


She laughed softly and shook her head. "Sorry I ruined our dinner," she said again.

"It's only food. Don't be upset about it. I'm not."

"Well, I don't know what were going to do now." She looked bleakly around the kitchen. "All the stores are closed and I don't have much worth cooking."

"I'm sure whatever you have will be fine."

"Instant ramen," was Sakura's answer as she held open her pathetically bare cupboard and scanned its contents.

"Ehh…" Kakashi tried not to look too put-off. He already had to eat more ramen than he could stand as it was, with Naruto dragging him to Ichiraku once or twice a week.

"Sorry. I planned to go shopping the day after tomorrow. I'm just never home to cook, so…"

"No worries. Ramen is…fine."

She didn't buy his unconvincing attempt. "No, it's really not…why do you think it's the only thing I have left? These are only here because Naruto likes to keep a stash at both mine and Sasuke's houses."

She hoisted herself up on the countertop to look higher. Kakashi watched, silently amused at her being too short to see the top shelf, but mostly just enjoying the view of her shapely backside as she squirmed and rummaged through her small pantry. Not that he would ever admit this out loud, and he would die before he got caught looking, so he made sure to train his eyes back to her face as she finished her search and hopped down.

"Nothing but old, dusty cans of peas and carrots, I'm afraid. Oh wait!" she exclaimed, rushing over to another cabinet and pulling it open. "I also have some granola bars, and some homemade cookies that Hinata sent over the other day."

"What kind of cookies?" he asked, though it really didn't matter because anything was better than ramen.

"Chocolate chip."


"You know, Hinata is a kunoichi too, and she's a good cook…I don't know why I can't do both," she groused.

"I think you're more suited to being the way you are and you shouldn't try to change that," he told her as she pulled a large plastic container of cookies out of the cabinet. "You wouldn't be the Sakura we all know and love if you were any other way."

A blush spread over her cheeks and she quickly looked away. Why did he have to say things like that? It only made her like him more. She turned her back to him, reaching for a plate in another cupboard. "Hey, could you go start a fire while I get this ready and fix us some drinks?" she asked casually, willing the redness from her face.

"Sure." He made his way into the living room as she began pulling more dishes out.

A few logs and a few hand seals later there was a small cozy fire in the old fireplace, rapidly spreading warmth throughout the chilly house. Sakura came in a few minutes later with a plate of cookies on one hand, and a thermos under the other arm with two mugs dangling from her fingers.

Kakashi was on the sofa, but Sakura sat down on the floor with her back against the seat cushions and motioned him to join her. "I don't have a coffee table right now because Naruto and Kiba broke it in a wrestling match a few weeks ago," she explained. "I'm making them pay for it, so it might be a while before I finally get a new one,"

He huffed amusedly and lowered himself to the floor, stretched his legs out. "No decorations?" he asked, glancing around the room.

She shook her head. "Not this year. I wasn't expecting to have anyone over."

"Ah. What's that?" He indicated the thermos in her hands.

"Hot cocoa," she replied, smiling as she unscrewed the cap. "You like hot cocoa, right?"

"Who doesn't?" He took the offered mug from her hand and brought it under his nose, then blinked sharply and pulled away. "What else is in this?"

She chuckled at his scrunched up face. "Cinnamon and spiced rum. Try it." She obligingly looked away as he did, and heard him murmur pleasurably against the rim of the mug.

"Mmm. This is really good."

"It was my mom's recipe. She always said it was perfect for cold winter nights spent with good friends."

He gave her a warm look and reached for a cookie from the plate between them. Sakura took a cookie as well, and they sat quietly watching the fire and sipping cocoa. Several minutes passed comfortably before either felt inclined to speak again.

"See, this isn't so bad, right?" he said affably, taking another cookie. "If you ask me, this is a better way to spend Christmas Eve than slaving to make a huge meal and doing dishes all night."

Sakura smiled softly. "Yeah…this is nice." Shifting sideways a little and leaning her head against the seat cushion, she looked up at his masked profile. "I'm glad you came over tonight, Kakashi. Especially since we haven't really talked or hung out for a while."

He glanced down at her. "Well, in my defense, I have been gone on a mission for the last three weeks…"

"I know, but I still missed you. I like spending time with you." Another blush tinted her cheeks. That may have been a little too much to say, but it just came out. The alcohol was making her feel all warm and fuzzy. So was being this close to him.

"I like spending time with you too," Kakashi returned quietly. There was something in the way she was looking at him, jade eyes glinting in the light of the fire, which tugged at some deeper part of him, but he did his best to ignore it. Despite his better judgment, he decided to have more of that spiced cocoa. He poured himself another cup from the thermos, and silently gestured to do the same for her. She gave him her mug with a small smile, and once he refilled it, they sat quietly and watched the fire again.

A few minutes passed, and Sakura stole several glances at his profile. The snug dark fabric of his mask defined his nose and chin almost perfectly, and she could see his lips move when he talked and smiled. She knew that he was most definitely a very good-looking man under there, barring some hidden deformity that couldn't be seen. But she realized that she wouldn't even mind if there were. "Kakashi…?"

He glanced down at her. "Hm?"

"I know we agreed on no gifts, but…can I have just one?" she asked tentatively.

Kakashi's brow rose and he looked at her for a long moment. "What kind of gift…" he replied hesitantly.

"Will you show me your face?"

She half expected him to laugh, but she frowned when instead he began looking around the room. "What are you doing?"

"Looking for a hidden camera," he said, eyes scanning the ceiling.


"Naruto and Sasuke aren't hiding in the closet, are they?"

"No! Jeez, Kakashi, I can't believe you don't trust me…" she exclaimed, reaching out to swat him none too lightly on the arm.

He absently rubbed the sore spot on his bicep. "Well, it's not like you three haven't pulled tricks like that in the past."

"Well not this time. Maybe I'm just trying to seduce you…" A playful smile curled her lips.

Eyes widened, Kakashi stared at her.

Sakura held his gaze seriously for a moment longer before bursting into giggles. "I'm kidding," she said, though a warmth had spread through her at the boldness of her own words.

"Uh…" was about all he could think to say at the moment.

Was the great Copy Ninja actually flustered? "I'm not trying to seduce you, Kakashi," she reassured. "It's just that I've known you almost…ten years now, and I really want to know what you look like. Please? I promise I won't laugh."

He frowned. "What makes you think there's something to laugh at?"

"I don't. But I do have theories, and I'd like to see if I'm right. I won't tell the boys, or anyone else. It'll stay between us."

There they were again. The Eyes. The effect was doubled by the glow of the firelight and the rosy flush on her cheeks. He did trust her, more than just about anyone still living. "Alright," he sighed, and hooked a finger under the thin fabric.


He paused just as the mask reached the end of his nose and looked curiously at the wide eyed girl.

In a small, almost awed voice she asked, "Can I do it?"

Kakashi looked at her for a long moment, and then lowered his hand from his face. She moved the nearly empty plate of cookies out of the way and crawled closer to him. Kakashi couldn't help but smirk, because she looked almost exactly like…a kid on Christmas. He tried not to react as she practically crawled into his lap, bracing one knee on either side of his outstretched leg, half straddling him as she positioned herself directly before him. She smelled divine, and so he promptly stopped breathing.

Sakura was so close to him she could feel his body heat, somehow more noticeable than the heat of the fire on her back. This wasn't exactly what she planned to do, but he didn't seem uncomfortable with her proximity and made no move to counter her, and she felt drawn to be nearer to him than she originally intended.

Slowly she raised her hands to touch his face, and he flinched ever so slightly at the soft contact. But she didn't see that; her gaze was intently set on the mask. Her fingertips eased under the edge of the thin fabric, and after a moment's pause, slowly pulled it down. Centimeter by centimeter his face was revealed, and her large eyes drank in every detail. She pulled her lower lip between her teeth in rapt focus. It was better than she had imagined. Fine features that still held a slightly rugged edge, well-formed lips that fit his face just right, and he even had a tiny freckle on his cheek. He hadn't shaved today, and faint silver-grey stubble lined his chin and jaw. After a long moment, her eyes finally trailed up to meet his mismatched gaze and she gave him a soft smile.

Kakashi's throat had suddenly gone dry, but he swallowed hard and managed to croak, "How's that theory holding up?"

Her eyes flicked down to his mouth, fascinated by the way his lips moved when he talked. Then her smile widened into a grin and she moved back a little, to better take in the whole picture. "I was right," she said, "Kakashi…you're beautiful!"

He emitted a soft huff of amusement. "Uh…thanks?" He wasn't quite sure how to respond to being called beautiful, but Sakura was openly gawking at him, and she seemed to like what she saw. He couldn't help but be pleased by that.

"It's true; you're a hunk," she said playfully.

He smiled a little self-consciously. The unwanted attention about his looks was one of the reasons he started wearing the thing in the first place.

"Kakashi…are you blushing?"


"You are!"

"No, I'm not."

"See? There and there." She touched her fingertips to the slight pink tinge on either cheek.

"It's the rum."

"Nooo…admit it; you're blushing."

"So are you."

Sakura paused and pulled her hands away from his face. He was right, their proximity and other things had brought a heated flush to her cheeks as well. Suddenly feeling self-conscious and a little too forward for her liking, she backed off of him and sat down in her original position at his side. "It's the rum."

"I see…" He picked up his mug and took a long drink.

"Anyway…thank you, Kakashi," she said quietly.

"Sure. Now stop staring at me like that or the mask goes back up," he smirked.

That smirk nearly melted her on the spot, but she managed to hide it. She reached for one of the last remaining cookies. Despite her promise to stop staring, she couldn't help but steal glances at him. "The boys would die if they knew," she murmured against the rim of her mug.

He shot her a wary sidelong glance. "Knew what?"

She smiled slyly. "That you're better looking than all three of them."

He gave a soft snort. "Right. Sasuke is pretty enough to win the Miss Konoha pageant, and Sai isn't far behind."

Sakura giggled softly at the mental image. "Well, I think so anyway." The alcohol was giving her courage, and if he didn't seem put-off by it, she may as well run with it.

Kakashi stared at her uncertainly. That was strange to hear coming from her, considering she'd spent a good portion of her life pining for Sasuke and was even romantically involved with him for half a year. Was she flirting with him? He couldn't deny that he liked the idea. But she was probably just being playful like normal, and he didn't like the direction his less than sober mind kept taking him.

"So why were you going to be alone on Christmas, Kakashi? Aside from the mission, I mean. Don't you have a…a girlfriend, or something?"

He shook his head. "No."

"Oh. Then…a boyfriend?"

Kakashi laughed, and Sakura was fascinated again by his unmasked mouth, noticing even, white teeth with just slightly elongated canines, although not as pronounced as Kiba's.

"No, Sakura, I don't swing that way," he chuckled.

"I didn't think so, but…" She shrugged, and gave him a strange look. "What's so funny anyway?"

"Nothing," he murmured against his mug before taking a drink, amusement still evident on his features.

"You're not a virgin, are you?"

Kakashi nearly spit his cocoa across the room. His eyes went wide and he began to cough as the burning effects of the alcohol went down the wrong pipe. Sakura quickly leaned over and patted him on the back, laughing at his startled reaction.

A minute later he'd calmed down enough to breathe properly and form words. "Sakura what's with these questions?" he croaked.

She reached to grab the oversized blanket across the back of the couch, wrapping it around her shoulders before sitting down. "I don't know, I was just trying to learn more about you. I mean, I've known you like…forever, but you're still so mysterious."

"Don't you think asking my favorite color would have been a better place to start?" He sat back against the sofa once more.

"Okay, what is it then?"

He held her gaze, and a long moment passed before he quietly answered, "Green."

Something about the way he said it…she felt the butterflies stir up and a warm feeling spread through her body. And he was giving her that look again. It was just a simple answer to a simple question, right? Maybe she should slow down on the spiced cocoa.

"Well, if you get to ask personal questions then so do I," he said. "Why don't you have a significant other to spend Christmas Eve with?"

Sakura laughed quietly. "Me with a boyfriend? That's funny."


"I don't ever have time to meet anyone, let alone go on dates…unless I could find a guy willing to skip all that and just move right in so I could at least see him for a few minutes before I pass out every night."

He studied her with concern. "You push yourself too hard."

"I know, I know. I just want to do my best all the time and I get so caught up in my work." She sighed. "At any rate, there aren't any guys interested in me."

"That can't possibly be true," he said with certainty.

She smiled wistfully. "It is. Tsunade-sama says I can be a little intimidating, and I guess she has a point. And if they're not intimidated by me then they're scared of the Three Idiots and probably you too…"

Kakashi tried not to look smug.

"Also, I guess most guys aren't interested in a girl whose priorities aren't focused on settling down and becoming a housewife."

"I think you'd be surprised how many men prefer an independent woman with her own goals, Sakura. Especially among shinobi, who need someone who understands their lifestyle."

"Not all shinobi," she said cynically.

"Is that what happened with Sasuke?" he ventured.

She nodded. "Partly. He's been married four years now and already has three kids… I want more out of life than to be a baby factory. I always knew what he wanted, and I thought I could give it to him…but I just couldn't do it, and I'm glad I figured it out before it was too late."

Kakashi nodded understandingly, but remained silent as she clearly had more to say.

"But that wasn't the only reason. We just weren't right for each other. We had to work too hard at it. Eventually we agreed that it wasn't going to work. I'm glad we came out of it as friends, and I'm happy that he's finally happy."

"And in the five years since you haven't been involved with anyone?"

She shook her head. "Nope."

"Well, don't worry; you'll find the right guy someday."

Her smile fell slightly. "I think I already have, and that's the problem," she murmured.

He focused sharply on her. "So you are interested in someone. Why is it a problem?"

Sakura took a deep breath. She couldn't believe she was about to go into this, and she would probably regret it later, but she just couldn't seem to stop now. "Because he's the one guy I can't have."

"He's married?"

She frowned. "No."


"No!" she laughed.

"Doesn't know you exist?" He was grasping now; he didn't think there was anyone in Konoha, male or female, who didn't know who she was. And he knew for a fact that among male jounin, at least, she was considered quite alluring.

"No, he knows I exist" She sighed, shook her head. "He just doesn't notice me…in that way. He's older, and he must still think of me as a child."

"Ah, I see…Is it Genma?"

She started in surprise. "Why would he be the first person you thought of?"

Kakashi shrugged. "Every girl seems to go through a Genma phase."

She laughed at that. "Well he is pretty hot, I'm not gonna lie. But no."

He thought for a moment. "Tenzou?"

She laughed again. "He's pretty attractive too, now that I think about it…" She saw him frown slightly, and her smile widened. "But wrong again."

Another long pause. "…It's not Gai, is it?" he asked warily.

She gave him a light shove. "Hell no! How could you even think that?"

"That's a relief," he sighed. The list of older men Sakura could be interested in was only getting weirder, and he didn't want to think about it anymore. "I'm sure you're wrong about him not noticing, though. Any guy would be lucky to have you."

Was he including himself in that statement? Her heart soared at the possibility. But then why hadn't he figured it out? She didn't think she'd ever have the guts for this, but if she was ever going to find out…

She gave a small, ironic smile. "You know, for a supposed genius…you're a real idiot."

Kakashi stared at her for a long, confused moment. Then his eyes widened as it finally dawned on him. It took him a moment to form a reply, and he smiled in a polite and very fake way. "It's not nice to make jokes like that with an old man like me."

You're not old," she said quietly, gaze unwavering, "and I'm not joking."

His smile faltered, but he scratched his head and tried to laugh it off again. "I think you may have had a bit too much of that cocoa, Sakura-chan," he chuckled, looking away, toward the fire.

Sakura frowned, offended. "I'm not drunk, Kakashi. I meant what I said, and if you're not okay with that then say so. Don't treat me like a child."

His gaze drew back to hers sharply and he turned partly to face her. "I'm not treating you like a child, Sakura, but you clearly haven't thought about this." He sighed. "You don't know–"

"What I'm talking about?" she cut him off, beginning to grow angry. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. "You're right, I must be drunk. Because there's no way I could possibly want a man who I've looked up to and respected half my life, who's saved my life more than once, who's always been there for me when I needed it. I must be a silly little girl who's too young and stupid to know what she wants, because what woman would want a man who's smart, and funny, and gifted, and loyal, and kind, and not to mention ridiculously good looking? No, you're right, I couldn't possibly have feelings for someone like that…"

Kakashi just stared at her, his normally sharp mind reeling.

Sakura stared back at him, heart pounding at her own boldness. Any hope she had of a positive outcome began to fade as he merely continued to watch her with that unreadable expression. In place of hope she began to feel embarrassment. He was going to reject her. He would do his best to let her down easily, because that's just how he is, but she knew he was going to crush her. She knew it would turn out like this! How could she be so stupid and let a little liquid courage ruin everything?

Humiliated and uncomfortable, she looked away from his intense gaze and down at her lap. "I'm sorry," she said in a small voice.


She pulled the blanket tighter around herself. "It was stupid of me to bring it up. I don't want to make things any worse so let's just–"

"Sakura, look at me."

She shook her head and stubbornly refused to acknowledge the stinging in her eyes. "No, you were right. It's a bad idea. I didn't mean to ruin the night with my stupid mouth! Really…I…can you please just forget I said anything? I want us to stay friends and I don't want things to be weird and I get that you don't think of me that way and its ok so–"

Her words caught in her throat as Kakashi suddenly leaned forward, grasped the back of her neck, and their eyes met for one heart-stopping second before he pressed his lips to hers.

Time seemed to slow, all of her thoughts vanishing as he kissed her, gentle, yet unmistakably hungry. She couldn't quite believe this was happening. After all of the fantasies and the secret pining, Kakashi was actually kissing her! And it was amazing, better than she had imagined. Her lips parted and she returned the kiss eagerly, a soft sound escaping her throat as he slanted his mouth more fully against hers and his fingers wove into her hair. She could feel his longing in this perfect kiss, and it filled her with wonder because she had never expected him to return her feelings.

Kakashi started to pull away, and her hands released the blanket around her shoulders and grasped his shirt, not wanting him to go. He rested his forehead against hers for a moment before pulling back to meet her eyes. She gazed up at him, breathless and awed, and he gave her a small, ironic smirk as his thumb grazed softly over her cheek. "Believe me, Sakura, I have thought about it."

His soft confession flowed over her like a caress and she leaned forward ever so slightly; she felt so irresistibly drawn to him. Without realizing it she licked her lips, remembering the feel and taste of his, wanting more. "You have?"

His eyes had trailed to her mouth, some primal part of him stirring at that tiny flash of tongue against her full, soft lips. "Mhm…too much."

"How long?"

He sighed softly. "Since your birthday."

Her eyes widened in surprise. "Since my—that was almost a year ago!"

He gave a small, wry laugh. "Trust me, I know."

Her fingers tightened against his shirt. "But then…training me over the summer?"

"Pure torture," he groaned quietly.

Sakura couldn't help but smile a little, but she was still confused. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Partly for the same reason you didn't tell me, I'm sure." He looked away to the fire again. "And because you don't need to be weighed down by someone like me. You should be young and carefree and happy. You deserve that."

Sakura frowned, feeling sad and angry at him at the same time. "I'll be the judge of what I deserve and who is good enough for me, Kakashi. Look at me." She tugged on his shirt, and after a moment he met her gaze again.


She could hear the hesitation in his voice, so she grasped him tighter and leaned forward. "I've been through more than enough to know what I want, and what I want is you. More than any man I've ever known and I mean that, so stop making excuses and kiss me, damn it."

He stared at her with a bewildered expression for another moment, before he pulled her against him and crushed his lips to hers in a smoldering kiss. His fingers twined into her short hair and his other arm slipped under the blanket to wrap around her waist, fingers splaying against the small of her back. Her hands moved up his chest and around his neck as their tongues met in a sensual dance, the sweetness of chocolate and cinnamon lingering. Sakura moaned softly against his mouth as he dominated all of her senses and left her reeling. He leaned into her, and she twisted her fingers into the soft silver hair at the base of his neck as he lowered her to the floor. His hand moved from beneath her and stroked over her hip and up her side, strong fingers slipping beneath the edge of her sweater to caress the soft skin of her stomach. Sakura shifted, aligning herself more fully beneath him as her hands slipped from his neck to wander down the hard plane of his chest before wrapping around his sides. Kakashi tore his mouth from hers and trailed down the side of her neck, kissing and nibbling, her sweet scent intoxicating his senses. Sakura arched up into him, eased one leg over the back of his thigh, her hands sliding beneath his sweater and undershirt to caress his smooth, muscular back.

Suddenly, much to her confusion and disappointment, his lips and hands stopped their exploration. When he spoke his voice was low and strained. "Sakura…I don't think–"

"Don't stop," she breathed with a fervent shake of her head, and he slowly pulled up to meet her eyes.

He stared down at her, into her luminous eyes glowing in the firelight, at her full lips moist from his kisses. He knew he should make an argument, but his brain just couldn't come up with one. He felt himself slipping with every passing moment, but he couldn't look away from those deep emerald pools.

"I don't want you to stop," she whispered again. "Kakashi…I want to be with you." She saw the longing and barely restrained desire in his eyes, and she trailed her fingertip along his jaw and over his lower lip. "I can see you want to be with me too…there's no reason to fight what we both want."

"I can think of a few…"

"Well, don't. There's nothing wrong about it, and it's no one's business but ours." She could see his resistance weakening, she could feel him giving in, and she gave him a soft, sensual smile.

He sighed and lowered his head until their brows touched, his nose nuzzling hers. "You'll regret this later, Sakura. I don't want to drag you down. This wouldn't be some fling or youthful experiment. I don't do that," he murmured quietly, his mouth inches above hers.

She stared up at him with a small frown. "Weren't you listening? You know me well enough to know I don't do things like this halfway. I know what I'm asking for." She ran her fingers through his spiky silver hair. "I don't want a fling, idiot. I want everything. Make love to me, Kakashi," she whispered softly.

His mismatched eyes, crimson and charcoal grey, stared into hers for a long, decisive moment. And then he was kissing her, hard and possessive and full of fire. He settled his body fully against hers. The soft contours of her athletic but feminine form pressed against him perfectly and it was all he could do to restrain his pent up desire for the pink haired goddess beneath him. His body wanted to ravage her, but his mind wanted to take it slow, to make love to her and show her all that lay in store for them.

Sakura felt a warmth spread throughout her body, and it had nothing to do with the crackling fire a few feet away. She wasn't used to this—this breathless, all-encompassing feeling and this maddening physical need to be closer, to feel his hands and lips on her, his skin against hers. It had never been like this before, and she moaned wantonly and gripped his sides to pull him further against her as she tried to wrap her thighs around his hips.

Without breaking their heated kiss, Kakashi slipped his hand behind her neck and gently lifted her as he sat up. She moved readily and rose up until they were both on their knees, foreheads touching, their breath mingling. Her hands rose to his face as his arms slipped around her waist, fingers easing under her sweater and stroking softly over her skin, taking the cloth up as he went. He continued to lay soft, teasing kisses against her lips as he slowly lifted her shirt up and over her head.

Wanting to keep things even, she reached for the hem of his dark sweater and slipped her hands underneath, hooking her thumbs over the fabric and lifting it as she palmed up the smooth expanse of his torso. She had fantasized about touching those firm, perfectly defined muscles in this way, ever since the first time she'd seen him shirtless. She stripped him and pressed against him, relishing the delicious feel of skin on heated skin. She kissed his neck and began to trail downward, teeth nipping lightly across his chest, followed by the soft touch of her tongue. His hands roamed up her back and wove into her hair, lifting her head up. The heat and intensity of his smoldering gaze sent an erotic shiver down her spine that made her breath catch and her nipples tighten, and she moaned softly as his lips met hers and his tongue glided into her mouth once more.

His fingers found the clasp of her bra. "Black, huh…" he murmured approvingly. "I always knew you had a naughty side."

The deep, sensual timbre of his voice thrummed through her and filled her with heat, and she smirked as she felt the hooks of her bra snap open. "You have no idea…" she purred.

He made a quiet sound of amusement that vibrated against her skin. "Not yet, but I'm certainly going to enjoy finding out." His hands glided over her shoulder blades to remove the lacy undergarment.

She had never been this exposed to him before, but she felt completely at ease as his mismatched eyes focus on her breasts. The primal hunger in his gaze indicated that he very much liked what he saw, and she felt a boldness fill her at knowing he desired her as much as she did him.

A devastatingly sexy smirk formed on his lips as he snaked an arm around her waist, pulled her flush against him and crushed his mouth to hers in another searing kiss. He lowered her again, hovering over her as her back met the soft blanket. "God you're beautiful," he whispered, drinking in her flushed, glowing appearance.

She smiled softly, fingertips trailing over his lightly stubbled jaw. "Kakashi…"

His calloused fingers trailed across the flat expanse between her breasts and down her stomach, their slight roughness giving her pleasured chills as they moved over her skin. He lowered his head and pressed his mouth to her sternum, and her fingers threaded into his messy hair as he began to kiss a heated trail down her chest. His lips brushed over her nipple, a soft moan escaping her as he drew the taut peak into his mouth and sucked gently, tongue swirling around the sensitive bud. Her fingers tightened in his hair as she held him against her, arching into him encouragingly. Within moments her heavy breaths tuned into small pants as heat flooded her core and her desire spiraled to a whole new level. She exhaled sharply in disappointment as his mouth released her, but bit her lip in anticipation as he worked a wet trail across her chest and hungrily closed his lips around her other nipple, giving it the same thorough attention. His fingers ghosted over her abdomen and slipped beneath the edge of her pants, then unfastened the button and began to tug her zipper down, his mouth never ceasing its torturous pleasure. A moment later he sat up partway and grasped the waist of her pants with both hands, and slowly began to pull them over her hips and down her legs, eyes taking in every inch of newly revealed skin, settling with a pleased smirk upon the lacy panties that matched her discarded bra.

Sakura sat up as well, reaching for the waistband of his pants as she kissed him passionately. She worked his pants open and began to slide them down his hips. He lowered her to the blanket again, slipping out of his clothing as he settled over her. His fingers slipped under the edge of her panties and brushed against her, eliciting another moan of pleasure swallowed by his kiss. He made slow, teasing strokes over her womanhood, and her moans went up an octave as one strong finger eased inside of her, and she rolled her hips upward to further the sensation. A second digit soon joined the first, and she continued to roll her hips against his hand with increasing moans as his thumb worked in time with his fingers. Sakura felt as if her entire being was on fire. Kakashi exuded such restrained power and raw masculinity that her body ached with desire for him. But all the power coiled just below the surface, his touch was incredibly gentle and controlled, and it made her want him even more. She could feel his arousal against her thigh and she ran her hand down the smooth ridges of his chest and stomach, and a hiss escaped his lips as she closed her fingers around his length. She softly stroked the rigid flesh, and he emitted a small groan of pleasure as she grazed over the sensitive tip. "Kakashi…" she whispered brokenly, barely able to think, let alone form words, "I need you now."

His eyes met hers, clouded and smoldering with lust, and he lowered his head to kiss her. He slipped her panties over her hips and tossed them aside, then settled over her as he positioned himself, his hard length pressed against her heated entrance. "Sakura…what about…"

Her fingers gripped his shoulders tightly. "Medic…" she rasped with a hint of exasperation. She rolled her hips to feel more of the delicious friction against her core, emitting an impatient whimper, "Kakashi…"

She was unbelievably sexy, and knowing that he would be able to completely feel her around him as he took her for the first time made him even harder. He eased his tip inside her and his eyes snapped closed at the incredible heat. He braced himself on his elbows as he slowly sank within her, and a low, primal growl escaped his lips as she enveloped him completely. "God, Sakura…"

Her only reply was a heady moan as she lifted her hips and wrapped her legs around him, the feeling of him filling her too overwhelming to form words. Her moans increased in pitch as he began to move, filling her again and again in slow, powerful thrusts. Her nails grazed down his smooth back and he growled against her throat as his muscles rippled under her fingers, and his particularly hard thrust told her he liked when she did that. Soon their heavy pants became groans and cries as passion overtook them. One hand slipped beneath her to grip her shoulder and the other grasped her thigh and lifted it higher, the angle allowing him to hit deeper and make her cry out with every thrust. Her nails raked over his back and shoulders and his teeth grazed the skin of her throat. Sakura felt an intense heat begin to tighten in her core, and she frantically bucked her hips upward to meet every driving push.

"Oh, god…Kakashi!"

Suddenly the heat flared white hot and exploded within her, spiraling out in waves, and she threw her head back with a loud, gasping cry. Hearing his name on her lips as she came, and the way she tightened and pulsated around him drove him right to the edge, and as he watched her beautiful face contort in ecstasy he fell into oblivion with her. He shuddered against her, his broken groan buried in the hollow of her neck as he emptied himself inside her.

They lay still for several moments, slowly coming down from the incredible high, waiting for their racing hearts to slow. He released her thigh and slipped his arm around her waist, and she cradled his head against her chest. She felt him stir, and her hands caressed over his shoulders as he slowly removed his weight, settling on his side next to her.

His fingers wove into her hair as he gazed down at her. "You really are beautiful," he murmured softly.

She purred appreciatively and gave him a soft, radiant smile. "Back at ya," A boyish grin spread across his handsome face, and she felt a little flutter inside. Even though she had him now, the butterflies were still there, proof of how completely head-over-heels she was.

He leaned down and captured her lips in a tender, lingering kiss. "What was that earlier about not trying to seduce me?"

Sakura giggled softly and ran her fingers though his unruly hair. "I really wasn't trying to, but since it happened I'll definitely take credit for it." He chuckled quietly and lowered his head to nibble the side of her neck. She sighed in utter contentment. "That was amazing."

She felt him snil against her skin. "Hm. You should know by now that I don't do things halfway either."

The fire blazed behind them, but the air still gave a faint chill to their naked skin. Kakashi reached over and grabbed the section of oversized blanket that wasn't beneath them and wrapped it around their bodies in a sort of cocoon. Out of curiosity he glanced at the clock on the wall, and then down at the drowsy kunoichi. "It's after midnight. Merry Christmas, Sakura," he said quietly, and brushed his lips softly over hers.

"Merry Christmas, Kakashi." Then she let out a small laugh, "This is the best Christmas ever."

He settled down and wrapped his arms around her once more. "Agreed."

"You know, I have the next week off…" she insinuated.

"I've got two," he replied. "And I know exactly how I'm going to spend them."

"Reading Icha Icha?" she teased.

"Aloud, while naked in your bed? You really are a kinky little thing, but I'm up for it if you are."

Sakura just laughed and snuggled further into his arms.

They lay quietly for a while, basking in the warmth of the fire and each other's embrace. Sakura was floating on a giddy high as she thought about what lay in store for them now that they had admitted their feelings and taken things to another level. She still couldn't quite believe that her ridiculous little crush had turned into something so wonderful. This really was the best Christmas ever.

"So…what now?" she wondered.

He looked down at her, and smiled. "How about some more of that cocoa?"

The End