Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor any characters thereof.
Naruto hummed happily as he wrapped and taped and tied. He loved the days leading up to Christmas Eve, every last crazy carol-filled, mad-house shopping minute of it, though he didn't like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day themselves. And this year was even more special than any previous year. This year Sasuke was back in Konoha after being revealed as a double-agent for the Hokage. Naruto had been pissed that Tsunade hadn't told him the truth, so pissed he hadn't spoken to her for three months straight. He'd gotten over it eventually and fallen back into a rapport with Sasuke that was colored by a realization he'd had when he saw the Uchiha standing in the Hokage's office, wearing a leaf hitai-ate once more.
He'd fallen ass over teakettle in love with the broody avenger. Things always seemed brighter and better when he was around the Uchiha. Even when they were fighting just seeing the raven set Naruto's heart to racing and let Sasuke touch him and his body went haywire. Of course he didn't let it show around his friend, he didn't need Sasuke to join the ranks of the people who hated him, but as soon as he got back to his apartment after a long day of training he went to the bathroom to wank off in the shower.
Still his relationship with his friend was affected a bit by Naruto's feelings, he wasn't as antagonistic towards the raven though he certainly did finish any fights started by the Uchiha, he just didn't start them very much anymore.
So since this would be the first christmas with Sasuke in Konoha, Naruto was even more cheerful than usual. Maybe he could spend the actual holiday with his friend instead of alone like always.
He finished wrapping the presents for his friends and cleaned up the mess he'd made of himself and the apartment before going to deliver the gifts. His first stop was Iruka's home but he left the gift under the chunin's tree when he heard moans coming from the bedroom, the last thing he wanted was to interrupt his foster father in the middle of sex with the senbon chewing special jonin that Iruka had taken as a lover.
Next he went to give Tsunade and Shizune theirs but was shooed away because they were too busy with the village's christmas preparations so he just left their presents on Shizune's desk and headed for Sakura's.
The pinkette wasn't home so he just left the brightly wrapped gift on her kitchen table. The same thing happened with every one of his precious people, either they weren't there or they were too busy to give him the time of day.
Now he was in front of Sasuke's door and he knocked, hoping that the Uchiha was home. Fortunately the door opened and Sasuke's scowling visage appeared in the crack of the door. The scowl softened from pure irritation to it's usual appearance of general pissiness when the brunette saw Naruto, "Usuratonkachi, what do you want?"
Used to Sasuke's rudeness and anti-social nature, Naruto just grinned and held up the present he'd brought for the Uchiha, "Christmas present delivery. Mind if I come in?"
"Hn," the other teen stepped aside to let Naruto in. The blond shucked his shoes and looked around the plain furnishings of Sasuke's apartment. Not a holiday decoration in sight but that didn't surprise Naruto. His friend wasn't the most festive of people. The Uzumaki wandered into the living room and set the present down on a low table.
Sasuke raised a brow at Naruto, "Do you want tea or anything?"
The jinchuuriki tilted his head, "If you have any cider that would be nice if not I'll just take some juice."
The Uchiha snorted, "I've got cider. Sakura dropped off some earlier today in-between her shopping expeditions."
Naruto blinked, "Oh so that's where she was. She wasn't home when I went by to give her her gift, I was wondering."
"You've been taking everyone their gifts today dobe?"
Naruto followed Sasuke into the kitchen, "Yup but you're the first I've actually been able to talk to today. Everyone else was either too busy or not home."
"Hn, getting ready for the village Christmas Eve festival probably."
"Yeah mostly. You going?"
Naruto crossed his fingers behind his back. 'Please say no, please say no.'
Sasuke grunted, "Tsunade says I'm a required presence because I'm the last Uchiha."
The blond's spirits fell a bit, "Oh well I hope you have fun."
"I'm sure you'll provide some entertainment usuratonkachi."
Naruto scuffed his foot on the floor, "Uh nah not really. I don't go to the festival, the villagers don't like me being there and I don't want to bring anyone down."
Sasuke turned with two mugs of hot cider in his hands and stared at the blond before scowling, "So what do you do?"
Naruto took his mug from the Uchiha, "Curl up on the couch, watch movies, and drink eggnog."
The raven's brows knit at the thought of Naruto being alone on the holiday. He didn't like it, Naruto spent the majority of his time trying to make others happy and to let the blond spend Christmas alone seemed to the Uchiha like a slap in the face of the Uzumaki's generosity. Naruto nudged the raven, "Aw don't look like that teme, I'm fine with spending Christmas at home. I do it every year."
As the blond walked back to the living room, Sasuke heard the 'I'm used to being alone' that Naruto wasn't even aware was there under the words, clear as a bell. The Uchiha looked down into his mug of cider and wondered if Sakura had gone by Naruto's to drop some off for the blond too. If Sasuke knew the pinkette probably not, she'd have figured that if Naruto wanted some he'd get it himself. It bothered Sasuke, a lot, that people just took Naruto's easy-going and selfless nature for granted.
The blond was quite honestly the only reason Sasuke had returned to Konoha instead of just committing seppuku once his mission was over. It was pathetic how he'd do just about anything to avoid causing Naruto unnecessary pain. He'd hated hurting him during the three year undercover mission, every time the blond had looked at him with those wounded, pleading, fathomless eyes yet another wound had been added to Sasuke's already scarred heart. Over the years he'd been away from Naruto, Sasuke had gradually admitted to himself that he felt more than friendship for the usuratonkachi but he hadn't been able to put a name to it until he'd seen the blond staring up at him demanding answers at Orochimaru's lair. The deep love he'd felt for his old teammate had practically slapped the Uchiha in the face.
Of course he never told Naruto how he felt, he was certain the blond was straighter than a ruler considering the way he'd pursued Sakura in their youth. That didn't stop the raven from drawing secret thrills from the casual touches that came during training or just hanging out as friends nor did it stop Sasuke from touching Naruto when ever he could get away with it and have it be seen as completely innocent. Gods Sasuke would give every last cent he had for just one day as Naruto's lover.
Sasuke shook himself out of his thoughts and went to join Naruto in the living room. He settled down next to the blond, "So even the pasty artist wasn't around?"
Naruto shook his head, "You have no room to talk about pasty acquaintances teme. Snake face looked like a walking corpse."
"Blame that acquaintance on Tsunade."
"I do, anyway Sai's on a mission in Waterfall so I knew he wasn't around."
Sasuke took a sip of cider, "What about Iruka?"
Naruto blushed, "Uh he was busy with Genma."
"So? I'm sure he'd have stopped talking with Shiranui-san if you'd interrupted."
The blond stared at Sasuke for a moment, "No teme, Iruka-sensei was busy with Genma."
Naruto shook his head, "I'll rephrase he was getting busy with Genma, I'm pretty sure senbon snacker would have killed me if I'd interrupted."
Sasuke's eyes widened, "You mean Iruka and Genma are..."
"Lovers. You didn't know? It's kinda common knowledge."
The raven shook his head, "No I didn't. It's a little bit of an...odd thought."
"Why? Because they're two guys?"
"Why would two men being lovers bother me? I was stuck in the gayest village to ever be created for two years remember. Does it bother you?"
Naruto snorted, "That would be majorly hypocritical of me teme, since I bat for both teams."
Sasuke could swear even his heart ceased beating, "You're bisexual?"
"Mmmhmm. So if gays don't bother you then why'd you say Iruka-sensei and Genma being lovers is an odd thought?"
The Uchiha stored the new information about Naruto in the back of his head for later scheming and concentrated on the question, "Straight-arrow Umino and Shiranui Genma? Genma is the second most perverted man in Konoha and the third laziest. He and Iruka-sensei just don't seem to fit."
Naruto chuckled, "That's why they fit. Genma keep Iruka-sensei from going nuts from stress and Iruka-sensei makes Genma move his ass when needed. There's a reason people apply the term 'opposites attract' to human beings you know."
"Hn, so you left the gift there to avoid death by a pissed off Shiranui. What about Hokage-sama?"
"Nah, she and Shizune-nee kicked me out of the office. They're going nuts with the festival preparations. Like I said teme, you're the only one who's home who has some spare time to spend with me."
The Uchiha schooled his features so that he didn't frown, though he wanted to. The wheels in the raven's head began to turn as he listened to Naruto blabber on about how he'd sent Gaara and his siblings' gifts via toad and how the toad had complained about being summoned in the cold. Sasuke chuckled when the blond said that the amphibian had tried to spit water at him but it had frozen before it had hit him and the toad's pissed off reaction.
Naruto snickered, "It took a little bit for him to calm down but he did and took the gifts to Gaara and the others."
Sasuke smiled as he took in Naruto's animated expression, "The toads like you a lot don't they?"
The blond nodded, "Yeah, I got to know them all pretty well when I was training with Ero-sennin and then when I was learning sage-mode."
A faint sadness tainted Naruto's features and Sasuke frowned, "Naruto?"
"I miss the old pervert. This'll be my first christmas in three years without him around. He always got loaded on hard nog and wore a santa hat with a toad instead of a white ball on the end."
Sasuke hesitantly reached out to lay a hand on his friend's shoulder and Naruto glanced over at him in surprise, "Teme?"
"I'm sorry you lost him Naruto."
The blond blinked for a moment then smiled softly, "Thanks Sasuke."
The Uchiha cleared his throat and moved his hand back to his lap, "So what did you get the old hag for christmas?"
"A special sake bottle, it looks like it only holds sixteen ounces but it's got seals inside that let it hold up to a gallon. Shizune-nee got a new battle kimono she's been gawking at and I gave TonTon some new vests. And speaking of gifts you gonna open yours?"
Sasuke nodded and reached over to pick up the box wrapped in dark red paper with white ribbon, "Uchiha colors?"
"Yeah but it occurred to me when I was wrapping it that the Uchiha colors are also a candycane's colors. Did your ancestors really think the colors through?"
The raven shook his head, "Shut up usuratonkachi," but there wasn't any heat behind the words. Sasuke peeled back the paper and opened the box that was revealed. Inside was a crow ANBU mask and a small photo album. The Uchiha tilted his head in question and opened the album to see pictures of himself and Itachi before the massacre, his head whipped up and he stared at a suddenly nervous Naruto.
The blond rubbed the back of his neck, "I uh know that you torched all your pictures of Itachi before you found out the truth so I asked Baa-chan if there were any pictures of him and you together anywhere. Another ANBU was sent to watch out for your brother in case his cover got blown and stuff and he took these. The mask was Itachi's," Naruto chewed on his lip when Sasuke kept staring, "I just thought you might want something of his and some pictures. Look if I screwed up just go ahead and hit me."
Sasuke shook his head and his voice was rough when he spoke, "No, you didn't screw up Naruto. It's...thank you."
Naruto's eyes widened when he saw Sasuke's eyes take on a sheen, "Ah man I did screw up. I'm sorry Sasuke I didn't mean to make you sad I just-"
Sasuke's hand interrupted Naruto, "Usuratonkachi. I like it, you didn't screw up. I'm glad to have something of my nii-san back."
A black brow rose and Sasuke moved his hand away from Naruto's mouth cautiously, "What?"
"You sure? I really didn't fuck up?"
"Well if you're back to Uchiha monosyllables and insults then it really is okay."
A snicker came from Sasuke, "Baka."
Naruto smiled and watched Sasuke as the Uchiha perused the photos, a faint smile flickering over the pale pink lips from time to time, his earlier worry about screwing up fading. Suddenly Naruto's watch began making an obnoxious chiming noise and the blond shot off the couch, "Oh shit! I'm supposed to meet Iruka-sensei at the ramen stand in fifteen minutes. I forgot all about it."
Sasuke watched with amusement as Naruto rushed to the door to put his shoes back on, "Anyway teme, I'm glad you like your present, thanks for spending some time with me, see you later, bye!"
The Uchiha chuckled as Naruto dashed out the door then glanced back down at the photo album. He'd been thinking about his brother a lot lately and regretting having destroyed the pictures of him. It was just like Naruto to pick up on that, the blond was more insightful when it came to people's feelings than he let on. Sasuke stood up and walked to the kitchen to dump the remaining cider in the mugs out. He frowned as he watched the liquid go down the drain, Naruto would be alone for chirstmas and apparently had always been alone when Jiraiya wasn't around. The raven didn't like it, Naruto of all people didn't deserve to be alone during the holidays. The blond always put others before himself and he deserved someone to put him first.
Sasuke's mind went to the revelation that Naruto liked both women and men and the corner of his mouth kicked up in a small smirk. It looked as if he had more of a chance with his best friend than he'd thought. He knew that Naruto would never end their friendship if he confessed to liking the blond so even if the Uzumaki didn't view Sasuke as a potential lover other than some possible awkwardness nothing would really change unless Naruto returned his feelings and then...Sasuke closed his eyes and sent a hope heavenward that Naruto would return his feelings.
The Uchiha turned and his gaze fell on one of the few pictures he kept outside of an album, a rare picture of team 7 before he'd left where he and Naruto hadn't been glaring at each other. Instead Naruto was smiling at him while Sasuke smirked at the blond. The reason behind the lack of antagonism was that when Sakura had turned Naruto down for the thousandth time, Sasuke had suggested that the entire team go eat. It had been one of the Uchiha's rare moments of actually wanting company and the blond had been happy to have the company of his team as well.
Unlike Sasuke, Naruto thrived on having the company of another person and seeing the blond light up when someone paid him the slightest bit of attention made Sasuke want to smile in response. The raven looked at the gift Naruto had brought and made a decision. He left his home to get his own gift for Naruto.
Naruto heard the music in the distance and sighed as he poured himself a cup of eggnog and went to sit by the window and stare at the twinkling lights. In a few minutes the opening ceremony for the festival would start. The blond sipped at his nog and considered just going to bed and attempt to sleep until the twenty-sixth.
"What's with the depressing mood usuratonkachi?"
The blond head whipped around and Naruto gaped at Sasuke as the Uchiha climbed in through the window.
"Sasuke? What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at the festival? And haven't you ever heard of using the door?"
The raven finished entering the apartment and smirked at Naruto, "What question do you want me to answer first dobe?"
"Teme what are you doing here?"
"I came to see you obviously."
"But...but you're supposed to be at the festival!"
A black brow rose, "I decided that I didn't want to humor the masses and attend."
"Baa-chan'll be pissed at you."
"Tsunade can be as angry as she likes. I'm not a trained monkey to come and perform when called."
"And you're here instead of home?"
"Well if you want me to go..." the Uchiha turned to leave.
Naruto's voice had the raven pausing and hiding a smirk as he turned back to the blond who was dragging a hand through his hair.
"I don't want you to go I just...damn it teme I thought you were gonna be at the festival. I wasn't expecting anyone to come by, no one ever does, so excuse me for being a little unsure about how to react."
"Hn," Sasuke walked over to the blond, "Back to my earlier question usuratonkachi. What's with the depressing mood? I thought you were going to be watching movies."
The blond shrugged, "Changed my mind. Besides I've seen them all before."
"Hn, tell me you have something to drink other than that excuse for a beverage you are currently sipping."
Naruto snorted, "I have cold peppermint tea if you want it."
"I'd appreciate some."
Taking the hint, Naruto walked to the kitchen and got the Uchiha some tea, "Trust you to like cold peppermint tea. So other than ditching the festival what brings you to my little corner of Konoha?"
In the living area Sasuke set the gift he'd brought for the blond on an end table and chuckled at his friend's griping, "It's better than that sickeningly sweet cup of fat masquerading as a drink."
The blond came out of the kitchen, "Yeah yeah laird McBroody we all know you hate all things sweet and happy."
"I don't hate you do I?"
Naruto nearly bobbled the tea, "What?!"
"You're forever acting happy and I don't hate you do I?"
The blond chuckled sheepishly as he handed Sasuke the mug and sat down with his eggnog, "Heh guess not."
Sasuke took a sip of his tea and nodded at the gift beside Naruto's elbow, "You opening that?"
Naruto blinked and turned to look, "Oh! I didn't see it."
"Aw shut it teme," Naruto turned and grabbed the present, smiling at the blue wrapping with orange frogs on it, "You didn't have to get me anything you know."
"Am I the type to do something because I think I have to?"
A chuckle came from Naruto as the blond's mood lifted, he wasn't alone this year and [i]Sasuke[/i] of all people had brought him a gift. Really there wasn't much that could make this year better. The blond peeled the paper away from the gift, revealing a leather bound book, no album. He opened the cover and his eyes widened when he saw a picture of himself as a newborn being held in the arms of a beautiful redheaded woman and next to them was the Yondaime smiling down on the mother and baby. On the next page an infant Naruto was being held by the Sandaime.
Naruto flipped through the album, it went through his life from the time he was born to the present and every picture had Naruto with his precious people. Some that brought tears to his eyes were of him with Jiraiya. Only one thing confused him, there weren't any of him and Sasuke until he got to the back of the album. The pictures that had Sasuke with him, and sometimes the rest of team seven, had their own section. The corners of his lips curled up as he went through the photo history of his stormy relationship with the Uchiha, from hate filled-glares to challenging ones to amused looks and the occasional smile on Sasuke's face when looking at the blond. Once Naruto reached the end of the pictures there were several empty pages.
He raised his surprised and pleased cerulean eyes to Sasuke's deep onyx and the Uchiha shifted his shoulder nervously, "Your friends and the people you care about are so important to you but you hardly have any pictures so I asked around and managed to get some pictures from everyone. There's something else in the box too."
Naruto peeked into the box and a wide grin graced his face when he saw a camera and several rolls of film along with a developing certificate for twenty rolls of film. Sasuke cleared his throat, "So you can keep adding to the album."
The Uzumaki put a roll of film into the camera, fiddled with it for a bit then told Sasuke not to move a muscle. The blond set the camera up so that it held Sasuke in the frame, set the timer, and rushed over to squeeze in next to the Uchiha, his arm over the raven's shoulders. Sasuke couldn't help the small smile that curled the corners of his lips up when he saw Naruto's delight. The camera flashed and Naruto turned his head to thank Sasuke at the same moment Sasuke turned to face the blond.
Their lips brushed against each other and they froze, staring into each other's suddenly wide eyes. Naruto jolted and backed off chuckling sheepishly, "Ah sorry te-mmph!"
The Uchiha had gripped the back of Naruto's neck and brought the blond's lips back to his to brush a real kiss over his best friend's mouth. Naruto gasped as Sasuke moved his mouth against the jinchuriki's. Bright blue eyes drifted shut as Naruto returned the pressure of the kiss praying that this wasn't just a dream, that he really was being kissed by the man he'd fallen in love with.
Sasuke meanwhile was begging time to stop. He never wanted this moment to end but of course it did when Naruto pulled back for a little air and questions in his eyes, questions he was too nervous to voice.
The raven kept his hand at the back of Naruto's neck, not wanting the blond to run away, "I had two reasons for coming here other than giving you your present Naruto. I didn't want you to be alone. I know you hate being alone, it depresses you and I hate it when you're sad. I hate to see you lonely, you're too important to me for me to let you be lonely," the Uchiha slid his hand around to stroke Naruto's cheek gently, "The other reason was to tell you how I feel about you."
Naruto swallowed, "H-how you feel about me?"
Jet black eyes met fathomless sapphire, "I don't know when it happened Naruto, hell I'm not even really sure how it happened, but somehow, somewhere along the line I fell in love with you. I never said anything because I thought you were straight and I didn't want to burden you with my love when there wasn't any chance of you returning it. If you don't think you can love me back that's okay as long as we remain friends because I honestly don't think I could survive without you in my life."
Naruto's mouth opened and closed as he found himself speechless for once in his life. He watched worry creep over Sasuke's face and followed impulse before the Uchiha made a stupid assumption. He dove at the ravenette and grabbed him in a fierce hug as he realized that his most closely held hope and dream was coming true.
Sasuke jolted as he was glomped by his most beloved person but not one to let opportunity slip by he returned the hug whole-heartedly. He buried his nose against Naruto's hair, inhaling the scent of sunshine and grass. Naruto nuzzled Sasuke's neck as he finally found his voice, "Me too teme."
The Uchiha blinked, "What?"
Naruto pulled back to look at his best friend, "I love you too teme, have for a while I just thought you'd hate me if I blabbed so I contented myself with just being friends."
The raven smirked, "Usuratonkachi."
"Oi teme I tell you I love you and you ins-mmph!"
As the Uchiha took Naruto's mouth in a kiss again, a stray thought ran through his head. 'Who ever knew it was so easy and so enjoyable to shut him up?'
Naruto on the other hand was reveling in his good fortune and happy with the knowledge that Sasuke would never again let him be alone on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.