A late Christmas Fic but… Hey, I'm trying to get rid of my Writer's block…
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Kishimoto Masashi has property rights to the manga. This is strictly for fan service.
He grumbled as he walked in the cold weather that Konoha was currently experiencing…
For the past three weeks, Konoha had experienced a very weird weather, it was snowing, and rightfully it is, that the snow would fall in for the Holidays.
It was Christmas and Naruto felt more miserable than he usually did…
It's not that he hated Christmas itself,
He just hated the fact that everyone enjoyed it with their loved ones while he couldn't…
He turned into a corner and looked from a window, adjusting his muffler, he saw people buying countless Christmas gifts for their children, their parents, their friends, their godchildren…
It seemed like an endless torture to the blonde, as he grit his teeth and frowned while he went on his way, pocketing his hands that was shaking in frustration…
Iruka was busy with the Academy Christmas party; he couldn't spend time with Naruto every Christmas ever since he was an academy student.
And it couldn't even change now that he was seventeen.
He looked up and thought of the people that he knew he could spend time with but couldn't anymore.
Jiraiya, the perverted hermit, the lecherous swindler, the voyeuristic novelist, lovable writer and beloved teacher, Naruto could still remember his ill-departed teacher, how they spent the holidays travelling around the world how the teacher would often treat him with sweets for Christmas, a gift consisted of some books, and a box full of condoms
He couldn't help but chuckle in melancholy as he remembered Jiraiya, but could also feel something warm trickle down his cheek…
He couldn't help but feel sad… His father figure was killed by Pain.
Naruto's pacing stop, he stared at the snow covered ground, as he ironically stopped in front of the memorial…
He suddenly felt the small tears rushing down his cheeks and falling into the white snow on the ground
"How are you doing, Ero-sennin?" Asked Naruto to the non-sentient crystal
"I hope you're having all sorts of fun there, getting all the ladies within your arms." Said Naruto, with a smile on his cheeks as he touched the name of his fallen teacher
"Merry Christmas, Ero-sennin…" With that the blonde remained silent and offered his prayers, closing his eyes and clasping his hands together.
A few more minutes of him staring at the crystal and he went about his way…
He walked aimlessly in the snow covered streets of Konoha, no life appearing from his eyes…
He didn't notice where he was going, and he found himself near the reaches of the Hyuuga compound
A soft voice, easily recognizable, it was meek, and defined the person that held it, Naruto's eyes came back to life for a minute and turned his head around and found the person
"Hinata? What are you doing here?" Asked Naruto to this Hinata replied
"I-I live here…" Was her simple reply, Naruto merely guffawed at her statement as he forgot where he was…
Naruto watched as the person in front of him looked at her with worry and curiosity, those flushed cheeks that she emitted made her stand out in the cold winter…
"W-What are you doing here?" This time it was her moment to question the blonde, Naruto merely dismissed his train of thought, and instead put on his happy face
"Nothing, just strolling around for the holidays!" Was his enthusiastic reply, a grin appearing on his face
Hinata however, could see beyond the blonde's emotions like written paragraphs. Truth be told, Naruto was a good liar…
"I-Is that so?"
To this, Naruto nodded, Hinata then swallowed the tension forming on her throat with an audible gulp and finally had the courage to ask him
"W-would you like to accompany me? I-I'm currently doing some l-last minute Christmas shopping to buy gifts for my family and friends…"
Naruto wondered why she would ask HIM of all people? He wasn't very well versed in shopping for Christmas presents, let alone presents themselves! He never even got a Christmas present before! It was best to deny Hinata while it was still early…
"Sure Hinata, I'll help you."
Damn it! Damn him and his nice guy attitude!
Hinata brightened for a moment, a smile appearing on her face while she blushed, she was going shopping with Naruto-kun!
And both went and shopped they did, they managed to buy several gifts from the market Konoha had,
A collar for Akamaru and a new leather jacket for Kiba.
Two bug containers for Shino
A pair of warm mittens for Kurenai's newborn and a scarf for Kurenai herself.
A small children's book for Hanabi
A calligraphy set for Neji
And a tiny decorated pot for Hiashi's Bonzai gardens…
Naruto merely looked on at the presents that he willingly carried for Hinata. In truth he was a little jealous, he never had presents before, and never bothered with it. Thinking that he won't ever get a Christmas present much less a birthday present that wasn't ramen.
A small trickle of snow fell on Naruto's nose and the blonde looked up…
It was snowing again…
Naruto began to frown again, the snow was contrast to the warm feelings that the rest of the villagers were giving and receiving, to him, it was just the cold embrace of the weather, the icy winds' cruel touch, and the cold embrace of the snow around him… It was too much… To much to bear for an orphan that did not know his parents
Unbeknownst to him, Hinata watched Naruto closely as she noticed the changes in Naruto's behaviour from time to time.
First he'd be smiling but the smile was so artificial that it made her sick, something in her stomach wanted to get out when he smiled with those eyes so devoid of their natural exuberance.
Second, he'd give of a melancholic far away look to just about anything, particularly to families that they meet, she'd notice that empty look that he gave and the falling of the head to sometimes let go an agonized and sad face.
Third, she felt a welling hatred and jealousy within the blonde, but he dared not show it, just that he would shake his fists for a few moments until he pockets them, he would often look dark and brooding but he quickly dismissed those thoughts.
Hinata knew the reason, but dared not say it, it wasn't her place to say something about his predicament but Naruto's.
So she remained silent, conspicuously watching the complacent blonde for the holidays. It saddened her about his situation… Really it did, but what was she supposed to do? The damage was already done, it was likely he'd hate the holidays now more than ever…
She knew he felt miserable, that's why she invited him to go shopping with her, she even secretly bought a present for him, a pair of golden chopsticks for Naruto's ramen escapades. But she could still see the sadness that lingered within him…
As the walked in silence, it was Naruto this time to notice Hinata's downtrodden expression
"What's wrong, Hinata?" Genuinely, Naruto was worried
"Huh? O-oh… Just that… I'm sad about one of the people that I know…" Said Hinata vaguely, Naruto wondered and asked
"And why is that?"
"Every year, I see him staring out of the blue in this particular time, he always seemed sad and lonely, every Christmas, I see him walk aimlessly until it was practically midnight without anyone, he just looks longingly at the families that are having such a wonderful time…" Said Hinata gazing at the family in the park that they went through, they were throwing snowballs at each other
Not missing a beat, Naruto immediately asked,
"R-Really? But why would you be sad? It's not like you'd be the one affected…"
"BUT I AM AFFECTED!" She practically screamed, her grip tightening on her bag of gifts, suddenly, tears were falling from her eyes, as Naruto wordlessly looked astonished at the Hyuuga Heiress…
She then recomposed herself as her voice returned back to their low and timid voice
"H-He always had a sunny disposition that I admired, even though my name is sunny, I was unlike him each and every way, he was smiling even though a lot of times he fell down, he always stood back up, he was always positive, he beamed with confidence and shined like the sun. But he was always alone, always sad beneath those smiles, but he's friendly and often kind despite his attitude. Why couldn't he have his happiness as well!?" She shouted this time, Naruto replied, giving of a solemn response
"Maybe because, in this time of the year, what he wants is company, you know, family, friends, a lot of them maybe don't have time for him… But I'm sure…"
Naruto gave off a melancholic smile
"They mean well and that they care for him a lot…" Said as he stopped at the main entrance of the Hyuuga compound.
Hinata remained silent the tears were now grinding to a halt as she entered the compound getting the gifts from Naruto's hand as he waved a goodbye, Hinata thought…
'I do… I do mean well, I'll make sure to let you smile for this season… I promise…'
The next day:
It was cold, the morning air was filled with crystallized waters that ran down, covering the whole of Konoha in a beautiful and breathtaking view of a winter wonderland.
He sighed, as he got up and ran the heater and boiled some water for his ramen, he yawned as he blearily made his way to the cupboard grabbing a small cup he looked at the clock fastened on his wall
Tsunade had announced that the day and the following days would be a non-working holiday, for families to gather and celebrate.
To Naruto, the old hag just found another reason to get plastered and fool around to not bother with the paperwork.
He frowned as the kettle began to whistle signifying the boiling water.
As he sat down and poured the hot water into the cup of instant ramen, a knock was heard outside, standing up, Naruto went to his front door and opened it.
He peered outside, letting the cold set in his home for a minute before gazing outside and finding no one, frowning; he was about to turn around when he saw a perfectly neat envelope, on the ground, slightly covered in snow. Grabbing the envelop, Naruto tore the top and found a letter and there it read,
'Come to Ichiraku's at twelve'
Naruto had to wonder, who was it that sent that letter. He shrugged at it and decided it was time to eat, if the rumbling on his stomach was any indicator
He ate and took a bath, gazing at the letter, he wondered who had sent it, he was never one to be familiar with the handwriting of his peers, he was familiar to only his and Jiraiya's.
He shrugged yet again and got out of bed, putting on his clothes his muffler and his gloves, he went outside just enough time to go to Ichiraku's
Twelve o' clock
Naruto gazed at the tiny shop, it was still the same as ever, the same, seats, the same people, he was greeted by Hinata who was smiling warmly at him, he waved and sent her his greetings as well
"Were you the one who sent me this letter?" Asked Naruto, Hinata timidly nodded, a blush appearing on her face
"It's just t-that, I want N-Naruto-kun to experience a good Christmas this year." Said Hinata but Naruto merely said
"No, you didn't have to… Hinata, I'm having a good time, see?" He put on his fake smile even pointing at it to get it across to Hinata
He closed his eyes to widen until he met a stinging sensation on his right cheek that forced him to open his eyes
Hinata had slapped him… Her eyes were showing the anger that it didn't but also showed the sadness that it hid…
Naruto had to wonder…
"DON'T YOU DARE SMILE LIKE THAT!" She screamed, another time she screamed
"YOU ALWAYS SMILE LIKE THAT! YOU ALWAYS SHOW YOUR FAKE SMILES TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE NOT WORRY ABOUT YOU! I HATE IT!" She said
This wasn't the Hinata that he knew…
"Every time you do that, I flinch! I couldn't understand why you're so ignorant of your own feelings! Why you would dismiss your own happiness compared to what we experience!" Said Hinata, this time, she was crying again
Naruto meanwhile, remained silent, he looked down, he wasn't angry, he was far from it… Was it the sadness of his heart that he kept so hidden all this time? The sadness that he pulled back when the Sandaime and Jiraiya were killed? The thing that plagued his mind the most… His loss of his small list of precious people…
"What am I supposed to do?" Was his only answer, to this Hinata grabbed his hand, and entered Ichiraku's
"Surprise! Merry Christmas, Naruto!" Everyone he knew greeted, Naruto's eyes went wide in shock, as he clearly saw his friends
He looked around and saw the big red banner inside the shop, it had his name on it, all written in red paper. He lost the words from his voicebox, he could definitely feel something welling up inside his chest
"We decided to have a Christmas party! All on our own, just us friends Naruto! Here!" Sakura motioned for the bewildered blonde to have a seat, he saw all of it, the food that was served, the presents stockpiled by the corner just for him, he could feel his inner child suddenly calling out to him…
"So what have you got to say, Naruto?" Asked Ino, he didn't reply to speechless to even mutter a word
"What's the matter dobe? Cat got your tongue?" Asked Sasuke
Then, in that very moment, Naruto's tears were falling from his eyes down to his hot steaming bowl of ramen, he then wiped it and replied to Sasuke
"Shut up!" He said, eating the noodles with much gusto
Hinata then saw it, the culmination of his sadness, the pent up emotion that Naruto held so long, the collapse of his pedestal, as he cried and cried from his seat, while Tsunade gave him a big hug and ruffled his hair affectionately.
"Haha! Brat's too happy that he's crying!" Tsunade joked, the blonde still held his eyes
"I'm not crying! I just something got in my eye!"
Shikamaru rolled his eyes, "Yeah right, how many times we had heard that kind of excuse before?"
This time, Naruto didn't reply
"Naruto, we wanted you to know that we're here for you all the way… Sometimes, we just don't have enough time that we… Tend to forget the people that are really important to us…" Said Iruka patting the blonde on the shoulder
Naruto merely nodded, he couldn't stop himself! What was a future Hokage doing, crying like a baby?
"I never thought I'd say this, but, you became an important part of our life…" Said Kiba
"You changed us for the better… Something we owe a huge debt…" Said Tenten
"Yosh! Without Naruto-kun, I would have never recovered from my injury and I would retired from being a ninja!" Lee said
"And without your beliefs, I would have succumbed to fate…" This time Neji spoke.
"I would have never discovered what these… Bonds were if it weren't for you, Naruto." Sai mentioned
Hinata then patted his shoulder, gaining his attention, Naruto turned his head towards Hinata's gaze and Hinata spoke
"You've touched their lives Naruto-kun and mine as well, thanks to you, all of us here are happier than we were before, we were enlightened because of you… And you deserve the happiness that we have, share it with us… Please?"
Naruto then let his tears fall as Hinata hugged her, he cried and cried in her lap… Clearly, he had found his happiness
The snowflake had descended to the small shop at Ichiraku, but this time, Naruto didn't feel the cold anymore, it was warm, it didn't bother him anymore, as he celebrated with his makeshift family, he had truly found his reason.
'And I'm sure you did'
Naruto turned around he was sure, he had heard the voice of his teacher outside…
He smiled, this time, a genuine smile, he stared upwards… To the cloudy winter sky, A snowflake falls on his nose,
'Thank you, Ero-sennin'
I know, short but hey, like I said, I'm trying to cure my writer's block here… Anyway, read and review!