Another Naruto Christmas Party!
Summary: An even more in-depth Christmas story than before! TWICE AS LONG! Involves light-hanging (and strangling), more spiked punch, more evil mistletoe and a very special guest appearance by a different set of penguins!
Author's Note: Whoo! I'm inspired! FEAR IT!
Disclaimer: Quite obviously, I don't own Naruto. I don't own the other media that'll come into play here, but I don't want to spoils it… Squee…
"All right, let's go down the list: Punch?"
Sakura looked up, giving Kakashi an odd look. "Chains? What for?" Kakashi's eyes remained casually glued to the clipboard in his hands.
"My own personal enjoyment." He took a split second to leer at Yamato out of the corner of his visible eye. The dark haired ninja froze. His 'Kakashi's-Watching-Me Senses' were tingling, (If you approve of the term 'Spidey Senses', then I'd better not hear any whining) and he looked about the room for the source of the vibe. Kakashi began to whistle innocently. "Moving on. Ice?"
Sakura eyed her sensei strangely, then nodded slowly. "… Check."
"Various people are bringing the food?"
"And Lee is strictly forbidden from drinking the punch?"
"Completely and totally. Tenten tied him up and made him swear." Kakashi nodded lightly.
"Alrighty then. All we need is the police force and fire department on speed-dial and we're good to go."
"Left, left, left… Okay, now a bit to the right, un… A little more… Maybe a little more to the left again… Little more, un… Now, just a touch to the right… Little more… Little more, un… Okay, actually-"
Itachi was the picture of calm, cool and collected on any given day at any given moment. Right now was possibly the only given moment in the last twenty-one years that that demeanor had been completely and totally shattered.
Here's a lesson, kiddies: Setting up decorations with Deidara is agonizingly long. Because of his artistic views on everything, the decorations have to be perfect every time.
Itachi's fuse had finally burned to its tail end.
"If the next words out of your mouth are 'move it to the left', you'll be drowning in an endless black abyss for the next forty-eight hours."
Kisame, sensing oncoming bloodshed, carefully hopped his ladder away from Itachi's, mindful of the reindeer antlers on his head so they wouldn't get caught in the garland that had taken four hours to hang to Deidara's satisfaction.
Deidara crossed his arms in a huff. "Well, fine. If you want to set it up like crap, go ahead, un. I won't stop you. I don't like Konoha anyway." Kisame rolled his eyes.
"Deidara," He muttered.
"I mean, there are only going to be people from every village and country coming here tonight, so why make it look good, un? We can use this as a plot to destroy Konoha: Everyone will think the decorations are so bad they'll start a war over the ugliness of them all!"
"Why haven't we killed him yet?" Kisame asked as Deidara continued to rant.
"The Second High Rule of Akatsuki: "Thou shalt not maim thy teammates. Except Tobi.'" Itachi sighed.
Not far off, watching intently as Deidara ranted, four small figures were perched behind a fence. Their tiny heads were barely raised above the wooden barrier, and their eyes flipped between the blonde, brunette and… Well, shark ninja.
"It seems the blonde has the other two whipped like a bowl of cream," One said as Deidara yelled something about 'anarchy in the streets'.
At that moment, Itachi picked off the wreath they'd been hanging, jumped off the ladder and rammed it over the artist's head.
"Rebellion!" The leader said. "How intriguing- Let's find more subjects to study, boys! Dive, dive, dive!"
The four little figures disappeared without a trace.
Naruto was nervous.
All signs and precedent told him that this would be a monumentally bad occasion. It was no wonder Tsunade had entrusted this task to him- Out of all the people in Konoha, Sasuke would have the hardest time killing him when he exploded.
And oh boy, would he explode…
Naruto found Sasuke chatting… Animatedly with Kakashi.
Oh man, maybe I'm in luck, Naruto breathed inwardly. Maybe he's in a good mood today.
… Sasuke in a good mood. Yeah right.
Oh well. At least Kakashi would be able to help Naruto restrain Sasuke when he popped.
Tentatively, the blonde approached his sensei and teammate.
Sasuke looked up. Naruto froze.
Sasuke grinned. Naruto was slightly terrified.
Naruto watched in stunned, morbid fascination as Sasuke leapt forward and slapped his back. "Mornin', teammate! How are ya?"
The mania in Sasuke's eyes put Naruto on such an edge, he thought he'd fall over. Naruto decided to handle the situation like he would with any other maniac: Talk slowly, agree with everything they say, then knock them out and call the medics the first chance you get.
"Good morning, Sasuke. I'm good, how are you?" He shot a terrified look at Kakashi, who shrugged lightly.
"I'm good! Real good- Looking forward to the party tonight! Lots of fun to be had! WHOO!"
Naruto nodded slowly. "Uh… About that… You do know that Itachi's going to be there, right?" Sasuke's grin widened.
"Oh, don't worry! We've signed a lovely little truce for tonight, and so everything'll go just lovely! BYE!" And thus, he hopped off.
There was a long, long silence.
Naruto chewed his lip for a moment before turning to Kakashi.
"You gave him pills, didn't you?" His sensei's one visible eye gleamed with oh-so-easily-spotted fake innocence.
"So, why are you carrying your jug around when you're just going to a Christmas party?"
Gaara gave a light little shrug.
"I'd like to be prepared… I mean, Akatsuki we'll be at the party as well, and I'd like to have a weapon at hand if they get a mind to finish what they started…"
Haku nodded, eyes wide.
"Good thinking, then."
What Haku did not know, however, was that this was a lie. Big time.
For Gaara's massive container, the one he kept on his back, was not filled with sand at the moment.
It was filled with water.
But not just any water.
More commonly known as snow.
It was going to be a snowball sort of night, oh yes it was…
"We've acquired the heavy cakes that nobody eats at Christmas."
"What're we going to do with them?"
"We're gonna trade 'em, kid."
"Kaboom, kaboom, kaboom!"
"JINGLE ALL THE WAY!"
"Oh what fun it is to BOMB-"
"-THE PATH TO KONOHA!"
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
"ENOUGH WITH THE GODDAMN BOMBS, FAIRIES!"
Sakon and Ukon stuck their tongues out at Tayuya impishly, spitefully dropping another bomb.
Where were our beloved Sound-Nin, you might ask?
Why, they were in a sleigh!
A flying sleigh!
Driven by none other than Orochimaru-Claus!
You can look away, you can cover your face, you can douse your eyes in acid, but it's far too late now:
The image is there.
The general consensus was that someone had slipped Orochimaru a few too many happy pills, in the hopes that his brain would be addled enough to avoid any urges to molest Sasuke.
Well, they were regretting it now.
"Oh, Tayuya! Let them have their fun!" The sannin's tongue stuck haphazardly out the side of his mouth, quite similar to your average dog in a car. He was having a blast.
Not so much.
It turned out that Kidomaru had an intense fear of heights.
But then, this could have easily been confused with a phobia of flying sleighs driven by certified lunatics.
Oh well. The lines are murky.
But this, combined with the fact that Orochimaru sucked ever-so-royally at driving of any sort, gave them a spider-boy in a vicious panic-attack. All six of his arms were clutched onto something (Initially, this had earned him a black eye when he grabbed just the wrong part of Kin's body), leaving many of his equally unnerved teammates incredibly irritated. As you can imagine, with eleven ninja present, this sleigh was basically the size of an SUV.
Kimimaro was between Kabuto and Orochimaru. Now, with his intensely cool reputation, it would not do for him to appear terrified. However, his issues with his master's driving were apparent from the way his nails were digging into the fabric of the seats, and the way he twitched every time Orochimaru decided to do a loop-de-loop through the air. This was made especially dangerous by the fact that the sleigh had no form of seatbelts whatsoever.
Sakon and Ukon seemed to be the only ones getting a rush from this trip, making up a song similar to one a comedian and his puppet had done the night before on TV. But even then, they took it a step further, adding effects. Tayuya was distracting herself by shrieking and swearing at them to 'knock off the goddamn bombing'.
Jirobo, Dosu and Zaku were getting sick. Literally. Unbearable terror coupled with Orochimaru's driving could do that to a person.
So, basically, everyone was miserable.
How could it get any worse?
"OH, LOOK! THERE'S KONOHA! DIVE, DIVE, DIVE!"
… That's how.
"Okay, so I attach the thingamajig to the doohickey and then twist the thingamabob to fix the water flow?"
Kakuzu nodded. "Sounds about right." Hidan reached into the wall and began to tinker with the pipes. They were in the chuunin exam building, trying to fix the pipes before the party began in five minutes.
"Okay. Okay, yeah, I think I've got it. There's something blocking the thing…" Kakuzu blinked. Behind him, Zetsu's eyes narrowed.
"What is it?"
"I don't know. It's really hard, and it… I think it looks like fruitcake…" There was a pause. "What the- There's something else in here too- It's black and white; I think… Is that a-"
At that moment, as though shot from a gun or hurled from a catapult, a fair-sized fruitcake came shooting out of the hole in the wall, slamming into Hidan's face and knocking him onto his back, groaning.
Zetsu and Kakuzu were stunned. "What the hell…?"
Deidara and Tobi chose that moment to come around the corner, bickering. Well, Deidara was bickering; Tobi was annoying him senseless, as he always seemed to do, however unintentionally. They managed to stop when they saw Hidan on the floor, trying to remove the fruitcake from his face.
"… The hell happened to you, un?"
"There's something in the wall. It threw a fruitcake at him." Zetsu said flatly. Deidara's eyes brightened, and everyone immediately felt their stomachs drop in horror.
"I'll get it out, un!"
"No, Deidara DON'T-"
In the arena used for the chuunin exams, things were not so good.
The party had started all right, but not everything had gone right.
They had music. They had decorations.
"Okay," Shikamaru said flatly, standing at the corner of the room. "The lights are broken, Deidara's blown half the building up, people are getting hit with snowballs even when there hasn't been any snowfall yet-" (Gaara coolly leaned against the wall and examined his nails, whistling innocently) "-That dumbass Tobi tripped, caught his collar on a pipe displaced by Deidara's explosion and managed to yank down forty yards of garland, and someone's replaced all the food we had with fruitcake."
He, Gaara, Ino, Kiba, Chouji and Hinata all failed to notice four small figures darting, camouflaged by the strobe lights, through the nearest doorway, several fruitcakes in their possession.
"How could this possibly get any worse?"
OH! OH! HE SAID THE MAGIC WORDS!
Everyone in the room shrieked as a gigantic, red sleigh driven by, arguably, the craziest man on the continent, slammed through the roof and crashed to the floor.
For the longest time, nobody moved, too shocked to react.
It didn't make anyone feel any better when a sickeningly familiar face popped up.
"HELLO, CHILDREN! WHO WANTS TO SIT ON MY LAP FIRST?"
Meanwhile, Naruto and Sakura were looking for the missing food.
"I don't like that sound. It sounded like something exploding," Sakura was saying, eyes trailing nervously back towards the arena. Naruto snorted and waved a hand nonchalantly.
"Sakura, we have dozens of people from dozens of different countries here. Who knows if there's another psycho like Deidara in there that gets a kick out of blowing crap up?" Sakura deadpanned.
"That's not comforting."
"What's that sound? It's coming from there." Naruto pointed to one of the few doors in the hallway, which probably led into a break-room, office or closet. Sakura's brow furrowed, and her eyes narrowed. What was that noise?
Clink. Clik-clik, clink…
…Metal? It sounded a bit like…
Sakura's eyes widened.
"It sounds kinda like some chains clinking, doesn't it Sakura? I wonder what-"
Before he could even start to reach for the door, Sakura grabbed Naruto's arm and dragged him back down the hallway, frantically trying to banish the many horrifying images from her mind.
Orochimaru and the Sound ninja's induction to the party went as quickly and smoothly as Shikamaru and the others could manage. As soon as they'd finished pulling Orochimaru out, however, they had to get his followers free from the wreckage as well. Zabuza, of course, was only too happy to lend his ridiculously large sword (That we all know couldn't possibly be compensating for anything) to the effort.
"FREEDOM!" Kidomaru moved as a terrified blur from under the sleigh, clinging onto the nearest person like cling-wrap.
Most unfortunately, the nearest person was Neji.
Kimimaro and Kabuto hobbled out next, both thoroughly and utterly shaken. "No mommy, not again, don't wanna get on the sleigh again…" Kabuto murmured, eyes comically wide. Kimimaro was completely stiff. Lee mistook this for calmness, and nearly had a displaced rib stabbed through his neck.
"YOU STUPID, FRICKING FAIRIES!" Tayuya raged as she and the twins shot out next. Shikamaru was elated to see that her hair was irreversibly singed. "WHAT THE FRICK WAS THAT? HUH?"
"It's hardly our damn fault if you got in the way of that last bomb!" Ukon snapped back.
"You should've moved your head!" Sakon agreed.
"I'LL MOVE YOUR-"
"Don't worry," Jirobo, still a little green, calmly moved over and grabbed Tayuya with obscene ease. "I've got her. Knock it off, Tayuya, before I puke on your head."
In a scene eerily similar to one from about three years ago, Ino was trying to get Shikamaru to dance with her.
"Oh, come on! Even Chouji's dancing with someone!"
And indeed, Chouji was: Ayame, the girl who ran Ichiraku Ramen with her father. He'd been working to land her for years, and it was finally working for him.
"Shikamaru," Ironically enough, the scene had the same two spectators as before as well. It was Neji who'd spoken this time, though, as opposed to Tenten. "We all know you're going to end up giving in, so why don't you just do it already?"
Shikamaru went bright red, but Ino grinned at Neji. "Thank you!"
"All right, all right!" Shikamaru snarled. "Just quit choking me already!" Ino had thrown her arms around his neck.
As the blonde dragged her teammate off, Tenten- again, eerily similar to the Christmas party three years ago- turned to Neji, smiling. "So, Neji… Would you like to dance?" And, once again, Neji made a funny choking noise and was struck dumb, trying valiantly to get a word out.
Of course, history had to completely repeat itself.
Tenten let out a shriek as she was pelted in the head with a snowball.
"WHO THREW THAT?"
Gaara smirked and quietly shuffled away, tilting his head from side to side to the music.
From behind the refreshments table, the four tiny figures observed Gaara with wonder; and a notepad.
"What a way to harness the power of snow!"
"Excellent form! She never saw it coming!"
"Watch him carefully, boys- Learn his technique. Copy it and do it better!"
And then, things went bad.
The punch (The only thing that hadn't been traded out for fruitcake) was spiked, as per tradition. And a lot of people, as tradition dictated, drank it.
… Then the break-dancing started.
Unfortunately, there was far more breaking than dancing. There was much twisting and turning and crashing and breaking of limbs and…
Well, you get the idea.
And then, it got worse. Again.
Naruto had not learned his lesson with the mistletoe three years ago. Oh no.
Once again, history crept up on him and jumped on him, forcing him to repeat an incident that had occurred twice in his life, both unintentionally.
He crept up behind Sakura, mistletoe in hand, and prepared to pounce…
"Hey, Naruto! You seen the-"
If it had been Lee again, it would be embarrassing.
If it had been Sasuke, it would've been doubly embarrassing.
But it wasn't either of them this time.
This time, it was Kankuro.
And then, it got worse. AGAIN.
Because all of the haziness and stupidly content shine left Sasuke's eyes, which were- most unfortunately- trained on his brother.
Uh-oh. Looks like Kakashi under-dosed him…
In an instant, fury covered the boy's pale features.
"It's been a good day, boys!"
The four small figures, revealed as penguins, sat atop the refreshment table, watching as the party descended into wild chaos. The head penguin, Skipper, had been the one that had spoken.
"Indeed, Skipper. The information we've obtained on the village will be invaluable in the future." The tallest penguin, Lieutenant Kowalski, said.
"More kaboom!" Rico, the psychotic penguin that had hurled the fruitcake at Hidan, cackled, holding a stick of dynamite aloft.
"Are we going to stay here for a while, Skipper? Are we?" The youngest penguin, Private, asked. Skipper tapped his flipper to his beak.
"Hmm… I'd say that's a go, boys! Cheers!"
"HOLY CRAP! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT!"
"Oh, come on Yamato, don't be like that!"
"OH GOD, WHAT DID HE PUT IN THE PUNCH?"
"GAARA! I SWEAR TO GOD, IF I GET HIT ONE MORE TIME-"
"ITACHI! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!"
"ART'S A BANG, UN!"
"MY EYES! MY EYES!"
"OH MY GOD, MY HEAD!"
Shino sighed contentedly as chaos reigned behind him.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight…"
Skipper popped up next to him, a red and white Santa's hat on his head. "Amen, brother! Amen!"