She wasn't a party person.

No, Hyuuga Hinata was the type of girl who loved to get wrapped up in a small couch by a large fire and read until she fell asleep. It made her happy. Every December twenty-fourth she'd lock herself in her small apartment and re-read every book in her personal library before drinking a mug of hot chocolate and falling asleep to the crackling of an artificial fire.

This year, though, everything changed.

This year she had been thoroughly convinced by one very convincing Yamanaka Ino into going to visit the blonde's parents for the holiday in New York. The blonde was studying pre-law in Japan and didn't want to make the thirteen hour trip alone. Hinata, being the good friend she was, listened to the blonde's pleas. The plan was to fly out to the Big Apple on December twentieth, giving them enough time to arrive, make themselves at home, then party like it was the end of the world.

These were mostly Ino's plans. Hinata had a plan of her own.

Instead of partying, she was planning on reading and going for long walks and taking pictures.

"You're going to love it there!" Ino cried joyfully, grinning widely as she strode purposely into the large airplane. The awaiting flight attendant smiled at her, welcoming her into the plane, and Ino nodded back enthusiastically. "My parents love christmas. It's crazy. Have you ever been to New York, Hinata?" Ino asked her dark haired friend as they made their way to their seats in first class. Ino had been adamant about flying first class - the way she saw it, if she was going to be in an airplane, of all things, for thirteen hours, she might as well be really comfortable.

Looking up from the small novel in her hands Hinata seemed almost surprised she was being spoken to. The smaller woman blushed, nodded to the happy stewardess, and followed Ino to their seats.

"I actually used to live in New York for a couple of years. Didn't I tell you? My father runs his business in New York."

Hinata had met Ino while ordering her morning coffee - she was late for class, and the young girl behind the counter had mixed up their orders. Hinata had had a coughing fit when she inhaled an iced peppermint white chocolate mocha instead of her usual black coffee. Ino had nearly yelled the young girl to tears, but Hinata convinced her it wasn't that bad and that hey, they were going to get free refills now. After inhaling her daily dose of caffeine Ino had been much more friendly, and the two had slowly built up to being really good friends.

Hinata took her seat by the window, gazing out of the small glass portal over to the other planes. She loved flying.

Ino, on the other hand, hated it. As soon as she sat she opened her large carry-on bag and took out a sleeping mask and her iPhone.

"Well," Ino started, looking through her playlists for the one she had labeled 'flying sucks' and choosing a song that was loud enough to drown out the engines' cries, "maybe I'll meet your family once we're there! Who knows, anything can happen during Christmas."

Hinata smiled and looked away. That wasn't going to happen. Never mind the fact that she hadn't told anyone she was going to be in New York for the holidays, her father wouldn't really bother to see her even if she had.

The plane began to move, and Hinata closed her eyes. It was the best feeling in the world, in her opinion. When the plane shot up into the sky she felt like she herself was headed straight into space, to be among the planets and the stars. It was lovely.

Within an hour Ino had fallen asleep, music blaring, and Hinata found herself at a loss of what to do. She had finished her book. She could either watch the movie that was playing or, er, talk to people. Hinata looked at the small monitor placed in the seat in front of her and groaned. Dear John.

What even.

Hinata didn't want to listen to music because she knew that the battery wouldn't last her for the entire trip, and it freaked her out not having her phone readily available. She turned her head, sizing up the other passengers - they were the usual first class flyers. Some were already in a deep sleep, much like Ino. None looked her age or even remotely friendly, for that matter.

Then she turned around and came face to face with a young boy. He looked about five years her junior. He was staring at her with raised eyebrows.

He grinned.

"Hey, gorgeous."

Hinata stumbled, and somehow managed to yank out one of Ino's earbuds out of her ears. The blonde snored and turned her head.

"Er, are you okay?" The boy was staring at her, so she gave him a thumbs up as she tried to stabalize herself. When she was more or less back in her seat, she turned back to him, a little wary of his intent.

He was looking a little sorry now, and a little out of place. He was wearing goggles.

"Konohamaru, what did you do?"

Both turned towards the voice. Hinata found herself sitting a little straighter. It was a blond man with tan skin and blue eyes. He was wearing an open plaid button down shirt and a white v-neck tee underneath, hands tucked into black jeans as he eyed the boy with an expression that clearly read, 'I can't leave you alone, ever.'

The boy, or Konohamaru, as was his name, shook his head multiple times. "I didn't do anything! I was only doing what you told me to! I was flirting!"

Hinata blushed when the blue eyes landed on her. "Did it work?"

Hinata snorted. The laugh that erupted past her lips was a little louder than she intended - at least loud enough to startle Ino out of her sleep.

"What? What happened? Is the plane falling? ARE WE GOING TO DIE? HINATA! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"

The blonde suddenly stopped talking and Hinata turned to face her, only to realize her blonde friend was gazing at the other blond with wide eyes and an open mouth.

"Ino?" Close your mouth.

Konohamaru scowled and turned to the young man. "Man, you didn't even have to say anything and she's already drooling after you. I can't go anywhere with you."

The two blondes seems to wake up from a long trance, and Hinata fought back a smile.

"I'm Hinata," she said, remembering her manners. "This is my friend Ino."

Konohamaru, who like Hinata seemed to be the only one with his wits still intact, smiled. "I'm Konohamaru, that's my godbrother, Naruto. And he's creating a traffic jam."

Naruto coughed awkwardly and took his seat, the people that had been waiting for him to move shaking their heads as they walked past. Ino giggled.

Hinata couldn't help but stare.

It was weird, seeing two people fall in love right before your eyes.

"So where are you guys going?" Konohamaru asked, trying to bring in a friendly atmosphere.

"Staten Island," Hinata replied, happy to change the topic.

"That's cool. We're going to Staten Island too."

Ino suddenly seemed to snap out of her silence, and excitedly faced Naruto.

"If you guys don't have anything to do come Christmas Eve, there's going to be this really big party at my house. My parents do it every year and invite tons of people, so you should totally come. If you can. You don't have to. If you don't want to."

The way Naruto was looking at her had Hinata realizing that there was nothing he wanted more than to spend Christmas Eve with Ino, and it kind of freaked her out. They had known each other for, what, twenty minutes?

When Naruto nodded, Hinata watched as Ino made quick work of giving the boy her number.

Konohamaru realized that no matter what he did, the two blondes were completely consumed with each other. He turned to Hinata and shrugged.

"Wanna play cards?"

When they arrived in New York, they had switched seats. Naruto and Ino were sitting side by side, and Hinata was chatting with Konohamaru about his goggles. Apparently, he never took them off. They were his thing.

x

"Mommy! Daddy! I haven't seen you guys in so long!"

Hinata watched, somewhat awkwardly, as Ino ran to embrace her parents. Despite being twenty years old, Ino seemed to revert back to childhood whenever she was around her parents. They looked just like her, blonde, blue-eyed, and happy to see her.

"And you must be Hinata!" cried her mother, once Ino stepped away from their embrace. She immediately came to wrap Hinata in her arms. Hinata stiffened. She wasn't expecting hugs. "Ino has told us so much about you."

Hinata grinned despite herself, and followed the three happy blondes into the large family house. They had taken a cab, since their flight got in so late.

Back at the airport Hinata and Konohamaru had had to stand aside awkwardly as Ino and Naruto bid their farewells, which involved a lot of kissing and whispering. It was uncomfortable to watch, and the fifteen year old was burning red was making a show of not staring.

Once inside the large family house, Hinata was introduced to a guest room which was to be hers for the duration of their vacation. She made herself at home by scattering her books on the dresser.

The days passed smoothly right up to December twenty-fourth, at six forty in the morning. Hinata was in such a deep sleep that she was dreaming about earthquakes until she realized it was just Ino, jumping on her bed. The blonde was all dressed up and ready to go.

"Come on, Hinata! It's almost Christmas! It's almost Christmas! We need to go shopping!"

There was a deep groan and Hinata tried to move away, but Ino only jumped on her and managed to get a good hold on her and started to shake. She suddenly stopped, leaving Hinata a little dizzy, only to hug her from behind and snuggle in with her.

"We need to go shopping, Hinana. For the party," the blonde whispered.

Hinata groaned some more and asked, "why today? Why so early?"

Ino grinned, knowing the girl was now wide awake.

"I like the pressure. It's usually when I do my best."

Hinata sat up, leaving Ino behind on the bed. Honestly, just because the blonde worked well under pressure didn't mean that Hinata did. It was the exact opposite; Hinata needed time to get her shit together.

Hinata stumbled through her morning routine, trying very hard to ignore the excited blonde yammering away on her unmade bed.

x

By seven thirty they had already hit the mall. Ino was looking at a red dress, and Hinata was sipping on her second cup of coffee.

"Does this look right on me?"

Running only on caffeine, Hinata found herself being uncharacteristically blunt.

"Not really." She took a sip of her drink. "Wear something that will bring out your eyes. The dress is gorgeous and compliments your shape nicely, but the color looks horrendous. Don't they have it in another color?"

Ino blinked at her, then grinned. "If coffee was all it took..." she mumbled, placing the dress back on the rack.

After taking another swig Hinata shrugged. "Don't get used to it."

Ino's grinned widened. "How about yellow?"

"Yellow doesn't really work with your skin tone. Makes you look sickly. Mm, this blue's pretty."

Ino took a step back from the rack of dresses, hands up in surrender. "Do your thing."

Hinata handed the blonde her coffee and began to look through the dresses with efficiency, not bothering with items longer than she had to. She didn't seem to stay on an outfit long enough for Ino herself to decide whether she liked it, so the blonde just stopped trying. Taking a swig from her friend's coffee, then making a face at how bitter it was, Ino turned to gaze out of the store's window. She had a pretty good view of who was coming and going.

Suddenly, Ino dropped the cup of coffee and began to jump on the spot.

Hinata, who was too into the task at hand, hadn't noticed. With a blue sparkly halter top dress in her hands she turned to the blonde, only to stare at her in puzzlement.

"Ino? Are you having a seizure?"

Just as Hinata was about to go and grab the girl's shoulder to calm her down, Ino screamed, "NARUTO!" and ran out.

Hinata stood still for a moment, wondering how many more cups of coffee it would take to make her ears stop ringing.

Instead she followed the girl out, making sure to hide the dress somewhere other customers wouldn't see it.

"Ino, we were in the middle of... oh."

Hinata stopped walking and waved back at Konohamaru, who was waving back awkwardly. His face was burning a familiar crimson as he stared at anything but the two blondes making out right next to him.

It was becoming really embarrassing.

"I got the scarf. They didn't have it in the color I wanted, but it'll have to do, I mean, it's - what."

Hinata stood still, quite still. The smooth, cool voice was coming from behind her. There was a sigh and the soft scent of spice when somebody walked right by her and stopped before the blond.

It was another guy. Pale skin and dark hair.

"Sasuke! Please, make them stop already! The girl just came running out of the store screaming his name and before I could even blink they're making out. Seriously, I'm embarrassed."

Sasuke, as was the boy's name, simply sighed. "You know her?"

Konohamaru nodded. "She's the girl he told you about, remember? The one we met during our flight. And that one," he said, pointing at a blushing Hinata, "is the other one."

He jumped, startled. He could swear she was not there a minute ago.

Hinata snapped out of her daze and nodded once. "I'm Hinata. That's Ino, my... friend."

Ino and Naruto surfaced for air, seemingly absolutely thrilled at being in each other's presence.

After staring into each other's eyes for ages, Naruto relunctantly looked up at Hinata. "Hinata, it's nice seeing you again."

Hinata bit back a scoff. "I bet. Come on Ino, we need to finish your shopping."

"Ah! Right! Shopping. Uh..." She turned toward Naruto, who turned toward her. "It'll be just a few minutes. Can you wait?"

Naruto flashed her a smile and pecked her on the lips. "I can wait forever."

"Oh, gag!" Konohamaru cried, smacking himself on the forehead.

Hinata blushed at the awkwardness of it all and grabbed Ino by the elbow. "Right, come on. You can make out later during the party."

"Party?" Sasuke repeated.

Naruto perked up. "Did I not tell you? She invited us to a party today. And since we have nowhere else to go..."

Sasuke glared at him. "Naruto..."

"Right, we'll be there!" the blonde cried instead, and Ino squealed. "Yay!"

Hinata could only roll her eyes as she guided the bubbling blonde back into the store.

"You owe me a cup of coffee."

x

It was a few hours later that found the young adults crowded into the Yamanaka household. The Christmas Eve party turned out to be pretty big, just as Ino had said.

Ino had bought the blue dress Hinata had chosen for her, and in return Hinata had let Ino choose her outfit.

It was a two toned piece with a flowy, plum colored skirt and a white corset. Ino had excitedly french braided her dark hair, letting it rest on the petite girl's shoulder.

Hinata stood in a large crowd of people she did not know, suddenly yearning for the familiarity of her worn books.

Suddenly somebody bumped into her from behind, but instead of flailing around trying not to fall, she was held up by a firm grip.

Sasuke nodded towards her in apology. "It's really crowded in here. Sorry about that."

Heat made her cheeks burn and she nodded in understanding. "Yeah, it really is."

Sasuke had tagged along with Naruto to the party. Despite seeming to fight a lot, the two were really close.

Hinata was waiting for Sasuke to move on, but he didn't. He just stood there.

"It's Hinata, right?" he asked over the music.

She nodded.

"Yeah. I'm Sasuke."

She nodded again.

Sasuke gazed around the crowded room, and felt so awkward just standing there. He didn't have problems picking up chicks before, but there was something about this one that made it seem impossible.

Hinata sighed and raised her head, not liking how close they were. "Erm, Sasuke, right?"

He turned towards her, and if she didn't have quick reflexes they either would have bumped heads or kissed.

"Uh, yeah..." he said, backing up.

"How do you know Naruto and Konohamaru?"

She's really pretty.

"Naruto and I have attended the same school since we were fourteen. I've known Konohamaru since he was in diapers."

Hinata nodded and smiled. "So you guys are pretty close friends?"

"Yeah, you can say that."

"Whoo! Work it, Hinata! See, I told you they'd hit it off!"

Both ravens turned to glare at the grinning blondes, who were winking and giggling to themselves. They had clearly drank too much eggnog.

"Dammit, Ino." Hinata crossed her arms and walked way, while Sasuke shook his head and walked in the opposite direction.

"Damn, Ino. I think we messed it up."

Ino cried. "Wait! No! I didn't say anything! COME HIT IT OFF AGAIN!"

"Forget it, bae, come on... Let's go dance."

x

Hinata found herself in the kitchen, devouring some brownies like a starved animal. There was something about chocolate that just made things right.

Suddenly she bit into something crunchy and began hacking, and from the brownie she pulled out a leafy plant. She didn't have time to be properly freaked out before she was being tossed around excitedly.

"WHOOP! HINATA GOT THE MISTLETOE IN THE BROWNIE!"

Ino, who had been approaching the girl to apologize for earlier, was practically skipping.

The music was turned down and everyone crowded around her.

Hinata stared at Ino in disbelief. "You put mistletoe in the brownies?"

"Only two," said the blonde. "Whoever gets the other one has to kiss you."

Suddenly there came a screeching sound and Naruto pulled a struggling Sasuke by the arm. "Found the lucky guy!"

"I could have died!" Sasuke growled, still spitting out mistletoe leaves.

I don't even like sweets! he chided himself. The one time I bring myself to eat one and it has grass in it!

"It's a perfect match!" Ino cried, and brought a bewildered Hinata to her feet. "Out of everyone in the party you two got the mistletoe'd brownies!"

Hinata and Sasuke gazed at each other, and at the same time said, "So?"

It seemed the two blondes were on the same wavelength, because soon enough they began to shove the two ravens towards one another. "Kiss! You gotta kiss!"

Hinata blushed and felt like she couldn't breathe. Sasuke was pissed because he almost choked on mistletoe; kissing Hinata was not something he had time to worry about at the moment.

Wait—kissing Hinata?

When they were practically at each others' noses Hinata screamed, and shoved Sasuke off of her, making Ino stumble and fall into Naruto's arms.

"You can't just force me to do it!" she cried, and made a run toward her room up the stairs.

Ino stared at the running girl, while Naruto was shoving Sasuke toward her direction. "Go after her, stupid!"

Sasuke wasn't sure why, but he did.

"I forgot how sensitive Hinata was..." Ino moped, and hid her face in Naruto's warm neck. Naruto patted her back in return.

"I think they'll be fine."

Slowly, the music began to get louder, and everyone was back to partying and drinking.

x

Hinata was sitting on her bed surrounded by all of the books she had brought with her.

She was trying to calm herself. Her face felt hot and her eyes were prickling.

Okay, so Sasuke was attractive. Big deal.

I refuse to kiss anyone just because I have to.

There was a knock on her door and she almost fell off the bed, looking for cover. "Who is it?" she called, voice rough from her little emotional outburst from before.

"It's me," came the quiet reply. "It's Sasuke."

"I'm not gonna kiss you!" she suddenly cried, and stood before the door with her feet set apart, daring him to try and break in.

"And you don't have to," he said after a lapse of silence. "I just want to talk to you."

Should she trust him?

Warily she opened the door, and there stood Sasuke, smiling a small smile. "Hey," he said.

"Hello," she quietly replied. After a beat she stood to the side and he walked past her. She closed the door slowly, if only to drown out the loud music coming from downstairs.

He sat on her bed, sizing up all of the books. "So you're a reader."

"Yes."

There was a pregnant pause, and Sasuke groaned. "God, I'm horrible at these things."

"What things?" she asked quickly.

"These things. Awkward situations. Sheesh. I just came here to enjoy a party at someone else's house. Yesterday I didn't even know who you were. And now I'm sitting in your bed trying to apologize for something I didn't even do."

"Thank you," she said quietly, sitting next to him.

"What for?" he asked.

"Not kissing me."

He raised an eyebrow. "Are you kidding? I was too busy worrying whether I'd have to call poison control. I ate mistletoe."

She snorted again and began to laugh. "Yeah, well... The Yamanakas are weird like that. When they get into something, they really get into something."

He smiled. "So you guys are from Konoha?"

Hinata nodded. "Yes. We attend K Uni together."

"You're joking."

She stared at him, eyebrow raised. "Er, no. I'm pretty bad at jokes. You'd be able to tell."

"That's where I go," he said, chuckling at the absurdity of the whole thing. Seriously, what a freaking small world it was. "How come I've never seen you guys around?"

"We both study pre-law," she said. "It might have something to do with that."

Sasuke nodded. "Yeah, probably. I'm doing business and mathematics."

"Wow," Hinata remarked suddenly. "I thought you were all looks and hair."

He leaned in and placed his chin on his palm and smirked. "I'm hurt."

She laughed some more. "And you have a sense of humor. I am shocked."

"And you're not as mousy as I thought you were. Though you are kinda geeky. Gorgeous, but geeky."

She blushed. "Well... I like being geeky."

"Yeah, I like you being geeky too."

Hinata stopped and stared at him. "Are you flirting?"

Sasuke raised his head and took in a deep breath. "Is it working?"

This made her snort and giggle. "Maybe."

They didn't kiss at all that night. Hinata spent the entire time laughing with him, sharing favorite books and getting to know him better.

Sasuke found himself ridiculously pleased with the outcome later on that night, as he crowded into a cab with a drunk Naruto and an sleeping Konohamaru.

He didn't get to kiss her, but he did get her number.