Her breath rising in small puffs in the cold air, Sakura stood outside the hospital in the cold. She shook snowflakes from her hair and looked up and down the street. Pulling her thick, red coat closer to her body, she hurriedly crossed the street. As she passed, Sakura looked into the shop windows, admiring the decorations in the windows.
Normally Sakura loved Christmas. But everyone knows that Christmas is even lovelier when you have someone to spend it with. Sakura had no one as Naruto was training with Jiraiya and Sasuke had left the village. She thought that she was the only one who would be having Christmas alone. Sure she would have her family but it wasn't the same as having a Christmas with friends.
"Hey Sakura!" Sakura looked up when she heard her name called. Across the street she saw Ino waving to her.
"You wanna come have lunch with me? Shikamaru and Choji will be there too!" called Ino.
Sakura smiled at her blonde friend and shook her head.
"Thanks, Ino. But I can't. I have stuff to do. You know with family and stuff seeing as it's Christmas," Sakura answered.
"Too bad. But I if you wanna swing by later, we'll be at my place!" Ino shouted back before rushing along the street, slipping slightly on the ice.
Sakura sighed and turned back to the window. She wished she had accepted Ino's offer. She didn't want to be without her friends, today of all days.
With another sigh Sakura started to head home, her head down and her thoughts swimming around her mind. She didn't even notice the green-clad figure in front of her until she walked straight into him. She fell backwards with a small cry. Two strong, gentle arms caught her around the waist and Sakura found herself looking into a pair of dark, concerned eyes.
"Lee! I'm sorry. I didn't see you there," Sakura said, her words tumbling out over her tongue.
Lee held up one of his hands.
"The fault is mine Sakura. I was just standing aimlessly in the cold," he said.
That was when Sakura noticed he wasn't wearing a coat. She noticed his slight shiver and how the tip of his nose had turned a little bit blue.
"Lee, you must be freezing. Here," Sakura slipped off her coat and swung it around Lee's shoulders.
"Thank you Sakura. I was just starting to notice the cold," he said.
Sakura giggled slightly and looked into his eyes again.
"How can you not have noticed the cold? Your cheeks have gone all rosy," she told him, still giggling. She reached out and rubbed his cheeks, trying to get some warmth back into his face.
"But Sakura. Won't you be cold without your coat?" asked Lee, his eyes even wider with concern.
Sakura smiled at him.
"I should be OK. I'm not the one who had the risk of getting frostbite," she replied, her smile growing wider.
"I would rather have all my fingers and toes drop off than to see you suffer, Sakura," mumbled Lee, a blush replacing the cold flush that had covered his cheeks.
He was about to say something else but he was cut off when Sakura wrapped her arms around him in a hug.
"There. Now I can't notice the cold at all," she said. Lee's face had gone very red and his mouth opened and closed like a goldfish.
"Sakura, Iwaswonderingifyouwantedtocometomyhousewithme?" he said, his words tumbling out in a weird stream.
"Um, sorry Lee but what did you just say?" asked Sakura, unable to process the words that had tumbled from Lee's mouth.
"I was wondering if you would like to come to my house with me," Lee said again, his face going even redder if that was possible.
Sakura pondered this for a couple of seconds before finally coming to a decision.
"I'd like that a lot. Thank you, Lee," she said, hugging him again.
When she broke away, she noticed that Lee had a big dopey grin on his face and his eyes were dreamy.
"Um, Lee? Are you OK?" Sakura waved a gloved hand in front of Lee's face.
Lee snapped out of his trance and looked at her again.
"Thank you for accepting Sakura! It's just for Christmas because Neji is with his 'family', Gai-sensei is busy and Tenten is most likely with Neji," Lee said in a rush.
Sakura sighed at his eagerness. She had grown fond of Lee and his eccentric behaviour. She let out a small squeak of surprise when lee swung her onto his back.
"Come Sakura. Let the youthfulness of the season fill you with glee!" shouted Lee before taking off down the street.
"Lee, slow down," squealed Sakura, her nerves giving way to excitement. There didn't seem to be anyway for Lee to slow down. He only seemed to know how to run fast.
With Lee's speed the pair were soon outside Lee's small house where he seemed to live alone. Sakura had a sneaking suspicion that Gai often visited.
"Here we are, my lovely Sakura," said Lee, setting Sakura down again.
Sakura staggered a little when her feet hit the ground but she soon regained her balance.
Lee unlocked the door and held it open for Sakura.
"After you," he said, gesturing with his hand.
"Thank you Lee," said Sakura, a little surprised at his chivalry. Lee's expression went all dreamy when she passed and he had to be nudged in the side before he remembered he had to close the door behind him.
"Um, this way," he said, taking her hand and leading her down a small hallway. A big grin broke out on his face when she didn't flinch away.
He took her through to the kitchen and sat her down on one of the kitchen chairs.
"Unfortunately I seem to have burnt lunch so, to put it simply, we have no lunch," said Lee, a slightly ashamed expression crossing his face.
"That's fine, Lee. I'll help you make something quick," said Sakura, standing up quickly.
""Sakura, I couldn't possibly ask a guest to help make lunch," said Lee, blushing furiously.
When he saw that she was determined to help, he started foraging in his cupboard for food, mumbling something about Sakura being very generous in offering to help him make lunch.
Soon enough Lee had dug out some bread and jam from the cupboard and had tracked down the butter from his refrigerator and the pair were soon at work making sandwiches. Each time Sakura's hand knocked against his, Lee started mumbling about the flowers of youth and how the lotus bloomed twice.
When the sandwiches were done, the two of them carried the plates into Lee's small living room. Lee leapt onto the couch and beckoned to Sakura to sit next to him. Sakura curled up next to him, tucking her feet up beneath her.
Sakura snuggled up to Lee, trying to warm herself up. Lee put his arm around her shoulders and Sakura felt her eyelids growing heavy. She had been working overtime for Tsunade lately and she was very tired. She felt herself drop off into a nice doze. The last thing she heard was Lee saying, "Merry Christmas, Sakura."