Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or its respective characters

Underneath the Mistletoe

Lee sat at his wooden desk that lie just under his bedroom window sill, his elbow lay on the desk to support his head as he rested it in his hand. He stared out the foggy window as the tiny frozen crystals of snow fell carelessly on the dark streets of Konoha Village. A quiet sigh broke through his lips as he wished for company. Gai sensei had visited him earlier that morning, but only for a short period, claiming he had an important escort mission to do. It was nothing Lee was not unaccustomed to. He spent almost every Christmas alone. Gai sensei always had missions, and no one else in Konoha wished to spend the special day with Lee. He sighed again as his eyes regretfully wandered to the large lit window of the building across the street. A couple stood before the window, sharing a kiss and, soon after, a hug.

A sudden knock at the front door downstairs startled Lee from his deep thought and he lifted his head to listen. After a moment, he scolded himself for letting his mind play tricks on him and returned to his sorrowful gaze out the window. Another knock came, this time Lee was certain someone was at his door. But who?

Lee quickly made his way down the stairs, excited at the possible return of his sensei. As he opened the front door, his bright smile disappeared, though only for a moment, and his eyes widened. Standing in his doorway, covered in a layer of snow from an obvious long journey to his home, was none other than his dream girl Sakura. She smiled at him sweetly as she held out her hands, holding a small box wrapped in shiny red and green paper. "Merry Christmas Lee!" she chimed.

The words spoken from her lips nearly knocked over Lee. He stood agape as she waited for him to take the gift. He stared at Sakura, trying to determine if this was real or some sort of evil illusion. He cautiously reached out a hand and softly touched Sakura's cold, rosy cheek. "What's the matter Lee?" she questioned as she shied away from his touch and pushed the gift against his chest.

Lee finally broke from his astonished daze and took a step back, taking the present into his hand. "Nothing. Sorry," he apologized, "I just wasn't expecting a visit from you." His other hand rested behind his head as he smiled sheepishly.

Sakura's eyes wandered around, looking past Lee and into the entryway. "May I come in?" she asked quietly.

"Oh! Yes! Of Course!" Lee exclaimed as he quickly stepped aside, allowing Sakura to walk in past him. He still could not take his eyes off her, amazed that she had suddenly paid a visit to him. She had to have walked quite a long way through the snow. As he noticed her start to remove her snow-covered clothing, he quickly assisted and took her coat off, hanging it along with the hat and scarf on a coat tree near the door.

"Thank you," Sakura said kindly as she rubbed her cold hands together and held them to the warm air she blew from her mouth.

"Please, come sit down. I will make you some hot chocolate," Lee insisted as he took Sakura's gift and carried it to the end table beside his tiny couch. He motioned for her to sit, and she quickly did. "You like hot chocolate, right?" Lee questioned, unable to hide the pure joy in his voice as he spoke. Sakura nodded, her sweet smile and sparkling green eyes melting Lee's heart. He was certain that her visit today was the best Christmas present he could ever receive.

As Lee wandered to his kitchen, his mind raced. Is this for real? Did Sakura really walk all the way here to visit me on Christmas day? He opened a cupboard above the sink, removing two large mugs and set them down on the counter. After making his way to the stove, he stared blankly at the teakettle he held in his hand as he filled it with fresh water. After placing it on the stovetop, he mindlessly turned on the fire. He stood motionless for several moments, silently gazing at the flames as they danced around the kettle.

His daze was broken again as he heard the sweet ring of Sakura's voice call out to him from the living room. "Can I help you?"

"No! I would like to make this for you Sakura. You have come such a long way, and even brought me a present!" Lee called back as he pulled out two packets of cocoa mix and poured the contents into each mug.

"Well, the gift really isn't much. I had to make it actually. I'm rather low on money this year. Missions have not been paying enough," Sakura replied as she poked at a small figurine on the coffee table before her.

Lee glanced over his shoulder, silently admiring Sakura's beautiful face as she examined the tiny trinkets he had placed on the coffee table.

"I just love Christmas," she said as she turned to smile at Lee, who quickly turned away, embarrassed that he had been staring. He waited fearfully for her to scold him, but it never came.

I must be dreaming. Lee stared at the kettle again, hardly noticing the rapid boil that had quickly arose. Unconsciously he reached out a hand and picked up the kettle and began pouring the hot water into one of the mugs. Although his eyes were on the mug as he poured, his mind was elsewhere. What should I do? I do not have a gift for her. How can I impress a girl as beautiful as she?

"Lee!" Sakura's voice suddenly came from behind Lee. "The water!"

Lee snapped out of his daze once again, and found that he had overfilled the mug, and the water was overflowing and spilling off the edge of the counter onto the floor. He immediately set down the kettle, and turned to apologize to Sakura for being so foolish, but as he spun around, his feet lost traction on the slippery floor and he found himself falling forward.

In a flash, Sakura was before Lee. Her arms shot out and looped under his, breaking his fall. Lee's eyes widened as their faces stood mere inches apart. His cheeks reddened as he found himself in an awkward, but wonderful predicament. "I'm so sorry Sakura!" he exclaimed as he caught his balance and stood up.

"It's OK Lee," Sakura replied sweetly as she removed her arms from his. "You seem awfully troubled though."

Lee laughed in embarrassment as he looked over his shoulder at the stove, seeing that he had also forgotten to turn off the fire.

"Lee, did you plan this?" Sakura's tone suddenly turned to suspicion.

Lee quickly turned back to Sakura as he exclaimed, "No! I am so sor…" he trailed off as he observed Sakura's attention was on the ceiling, rather than on him. He glanced up at the ceiling curiously. To his bewilderment, he saw something green hanging from his ceiling. As he took a moment to examine it, he realized it was mistletoe. His eyes widened, but as he lowered his head to explain to Sakura he had nothing to do with it, he found himself face-to-face with a pair of pursed pink lips. He was certain he had stopped breathing as Sakura's soft lips pressed against his gently. All he could do was stare at her pretty face. Unknown sensations swarmed through his body, starting at his toes and flowing all the way to his head, making him dizzy. He thought he might have even heard angels singing.

When Sakura finally broke their kiss, Lee struggled to find the right words. "S… Sa… Sakura…" Nothing seemed to come to mind, his thoughts were engulfed by the beauty of the moment. Sakura merely smiled shyly as she walked past him and grabbed a towel from the counter and began to clean up the mess he had made.

Lee quickly shook his head, bringing himself back to reality. "Please Sakura, let me clean that!" He grabbed another small towel from a drawer and knelt down on the floor across from Sakura and began sopping up the puddle. As he wiped up the last bit of liquid, he raised his head, Sakura raising hers as well. Their eyes met and he faltered again as he tried to speak. "Sakura… I… I'm sorry."

Sakura smiled sweetly and gently poked Lee's nose with her index finger. "Don't apologize. You haven't done anything wrong Lee." Lee remained crouching on the floor as Sakura stood and tossed both of their towels into the sink. After turning off the stove she looked down at Lee. "Why don't you come into the living room with me and open your present. We can try the hot chocolate again later." She gave Lee another kind smile before walking into the living room.

Lee slowly stood, gathering his thoughts as he followed Sakura. What would Gai sensei do? Maybe I should do the 'nice guy pose'. As he entered the living room he watched Sakura take a seat on the couch and pat her hand on the cushion beside her. Lee cautiously took a seat beside her, nervousness quickly taking over. Sakura grabbed the present form the end table and set it on Lee's lap.

Lee slowly tore away the wrapping paper, careful not to destroy the treasure. Sakura smiled as she anxiously awaited his reaction. Lee's eyes widened and his mouth made an 'o' shape as he pulled out a small plush version of his sensei.

"Do you like it?" Sakura questioned. "I made it myself. I really wasn't sure what to get you. I don't know of anything you like… other than your sensei."

"I love this Sakura!" Lee exclaimed as he held the plush doll out in front of him. He pulled it to his chest, hugging it tightly. "Thank you Sakura! This has been the best Christmas ever!"

Sakura's smile brightened. "I'm so glad you like it."

Lee's smile slowly faded and he set down the plush doll in his lap as he turned to Sakura sadly. "I do not have anything for you. I was not expecting a visit from anyone… especially not you," he admitted. "I thought you would spend the day with Sasuke," he whispered as he stared down at the Gai sensei doll. He watched in surprise as Sakura's hand rested gently over his. His gaze returned to her face and he could feel the tears of joy fill his eyes at the sight of her smile.

"Don't be silly Lee! Sasuke has no interest in me, and I'd much rather spend some time with a sweet boy like you."

Lee's eyes nearly shot from his head with excitement. Without thinking, he placed his other hand over Sakura's and stared deeply into her emerald eyes.

"How about we give the hot chocolate another try?" Sakura suggested as she gently squeezed Lee's hand. Lee nodded and they both made their way back into the kitchen.

As Sakura refilled the kettle she stated, "That was rather clever of you Lee… putting the mistletoe up there for me to walk under."

Lee quickly turned to her and waved his hands back and forth. "No! I honestly did not do that. I have no idea how that got there! Honestly Sakura!"

Sakura set down the kettle on the stove and turned the fire on before raising a finger to Lee's mouth, silencing his rambling. She laughed softly. "You're so cute Lee."

Lee stood awestricken, his lips slightly parted from his previous attempt at speech. He wanted so badly to kiss Sakura again, but feared he may ruin the moment. As she pulled her finger away from his lips, he turned his attention to the ceiling. How did that get up there? Well, however it did… I'm glad it did.

As Lee and Sakura sat on the couch sipping their hot chocolate, Lee's big beady eyes nervously averted form the cup he held to Sakura and back again. "I really like my gift Sakura," he said almost too excitedly, startling Sakura.

Sakura laughed softly and watched in amusement as Lee cuddled the stuffed Gai sensei doll. "It's nothing really. I just made it from some craps I had lying around. I wish I could afford something a little better."

Lee's eyes shot to Sakura as he exclaimed, "No! It's a great present!" He grew silent for a moment before continuing. "I just wish I had something to give you in return." Sakura was about to open her mouth to speak, but Lee quickly jumped to his feet. "Actually, I do have something for you! I will be right back!" Lee set down the Gai sensei doll and shot off up the stairs and back down again before Sakura had a chance to register his movement.

Lee stood before Sakura, a slight brush on his cheeks as he forced an object in his hand towards Sakura. Sakura gazed up at Lee as she reluctantly took the strange object from Lee's hand. As she examined it, she realized it was an intricate origami of a cherry blossom flower. A smile spread across her face as she noticed the detail of the paper flower even included pink shades on the petals and red tipped stamens. "Did you make this?"

"Yes!" Lee replied as he nodded and awaited a comment.

"This is so pretty. What inspired you to make this?" Sakura questioned as she poked at the petals.

Lee's blush deepened as he replied, "You inspired me."

Sakura blushed as well and looked away shyly. "This is very sweet Lee. Thank you so much."

Lee held out his hand, giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up and a cheesy sparkling white smile. "Only the best for Sakura!"

Sakura laughed inside her head. His 'nice guy pose' was so ridiculously corny, although lately she was finding it increasingly cute. She looked back up at Lee, who was still standing before her with a cheesy smile on his goofy face. "I'm sorry, but I probably should get going now. It's really late and I have a long walk ahead of me in this snow."

Lee's eyes fell sullen at the mention of Sakura's leave, but he nodded in agreement. "May I walk you home?" he questioned with big pleading eyes.

Sakura's expression brightened at the offer. "I would really like that."

Lee followed Sakura to the front door and assisted her in putting on her coat and scarf. Sakura gently stuffed the origami flower into her coat pocket as Lee put on his coat, scarf, and hat.

Lee stood before Sakura, watching her intently as he waited for her OK to leave. Sakura snickered at the sight of Lee's beady eyes glistening in excitement. "Let's go."

The first several minutes of the walk were silent. Lee pondered his next move as he watched Sakura intently for any signs of discomfort. When he noticed her shiver slightly in the cold breeze, he walked closer to her. "Are you cold Sakura?" She nodded as she wrapped her arms across her chest for warmth. Lee hesitantly wrapped an arm around her back, but was more than relieved when she smiled gently and snuggled in closer. Lee's face lit up at the unexpected and pleasant response.

Lee smiled proudly as he walked Sakura up to her front doorstep, his arm tightly wrapped around her. He released his hold on her as she walked up onto the step and turned to look down at Lee. She tried to contain her giggles as she saw his expression of pure joy. "Thank you so much for allowing me to visit for a while. The gift was also very nice."

Lee opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by a small kiss that was softly placed upon his forehead between his bushy brows. He gazed up at Sakura, stupefied, as she straightened back up and smiled sweetly.

"Thank you Sakura," Lee whispered, "This was the best Christmas ever!"

Sakura nodded. "I hope we can spend more time together soon. Goodnight and Merry Christmas Lee."

Lee stood still before the step as he watched Sakura disappear behind her front door.

The wind blew fiercely on Lee the entire journey home, but it did nothing to lessen his joy. When he stepped inside his front door, he was surprised to find his sensei was sitting at the couch. "Gai sensei! You're back from your mission?!"

Gai quickly stood up and ran to his student, both of them wrapping their arms around each other in an overly friendly embrace.

"Gai sensei! You would not believe what happened to me tonight while you were out!" Lee exclaimed as Gai released him from the hug.

Gai remained silent, an odd expression on his face that Lee did not notice.

"Sakura showed up at my door with a gift for Christmas! And somehow mistletoe ended up in the kitchen…" he trailed off, his beady-eyes expression providing enough information to finish his sentence.

Gai sensei smiled, his teeth shining, and he gave Lee a big thumbs-up. "Way to go Lee! I knew you would get your lady!"

Lee returned the gesture. "Oh! Did you see the gift she gave me?" he questioned as he pointed to the doll that sat on the coffee table.

Gai nodded enthusiastically. "Yes! She is a winner like us!"

Lee gave a quick nod before running to pick up the plush doll.

Gai gazed into the kitchen, staring up at the mistletoe with an animated smile. Everything went as planned. I am so good!