The Gift

Inspired by the song "The Gift" by Jim Brickman.

Chapter 1: Angels We Have Heard On High

I don't clearly remember when I first met him. I just know that he had always been there. Since as far back as I can remember he's protected me. Sometimes I would catch glimpses of blond hair peaking out behind a wall or see a flash of orange skipping away across the rooftops. I didn't know what he was at the time, so I merely called him my guardian angel. My parents thought I was a child with a vivid imagination. "Sakura's imaginary friend," they could call him. But I knew better.

When I was five, I tried climbing a tree in our back yard. It was a huge oak tree. Being an adventurous child at the time, I was so sure I could climb it; I didn't even think I could possibly slip and fall. Well, I did. And if it weren't for my guardian angel to catch me, I don't know what would have happened. All I know is that he saved me that day. Now that I think about it that was probably the first time I learned that my guardian angel was a he and that he had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. Of course, just as quickly as he rushed in to save me, he disappeared in a swirl of leaves. I had no scratches or even a bruise when I was placed safely on the ground, but my memory of that incident has been with me forever. My parents never found out about what happened and I would never tell them.

Throughout my childhood, I tried talking to my guardian angel. I would sit beside my window chatting away with him as if I were talking to my best friend, Ino. He would never respond back, but somehow I knew that he was listening just outside my window. I don't know how; call it intuition if you will. I just knew that we had a connection and he would always be there for me. I didn't know it at the time, but he would eventually start talking it me. It probably all started when I began talking to him about boys back when I was twelve.

"You know, Ino and I were talking and we both agreed that the two Uchiha brothers were the hottest boys in town. Though Ino said, and I quote, 'Itachi is the sexist man alive in the 21st century.' Sure Itachi is really hot and all, but he's like old. I know eighteen isn't really all that old, but compared to me it is. Anyway, Ino says that she's going to marry Itachi and I should marry Sasuke. Maybe we can have a double-wedding."


I jumped in shock after hearing a voice. "Who's that? Hello?"

"Um, Hi," a male spoke from outside.

Opening the window, I tried to find the source of the voice. No one has ever responded whenever I was talking to my guardian angel. "Who's there?"

"No one really, just your friendly guardian angel," the voice echoed from the roof.

"Guardian angel! Really!?! But, you've never talked before. How do I know that you're really my guardian angel and not some creep on the roof of my house?"

"I know that when you were seven, you lost your special ribbon Ino had given to you. You searched in the woods for hours trying to find it. I remember you begging me that night to find it for you and put it under your pillow so when you woke-up you'd know first thing in the morning."

So he was the one who found the ribbon. I always suspected since I asked him to find it for me, but I wasn't sure if it was all a dream. "And you did find it, and you did put it under my pillow. But you could have heard that story from Ino or my parents so I'm still not convinced it's you."

The voice chuckled. "You always were a smart one. Okay, how about this. This is something that I'm sure only your guardian angel would know. Every year for your birthday and for Christmas, you ask that you can see me, except last Christmas you asked that I would actually talk to you."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I never told anyone about my secret wishes. "You are my guardian angel. He's the only one who knows that. So, now that you're finally talking to me, can I see you?"

"Um, maybe next year?"

"So I guess instead of getting to see you this year, you're going to get me a bunch of flowers like you always do," I sighed. The flowers were flattering and nice, but it wasn't the same.

"I want to show you, but I'm just not ready yet."

"Why not?"

"It's . . . complicated. But now that we're talking, maybe I can ask you what you'd want instead of flowers?"

I tapped my finger on my lips and smiled. "I want Sasuke Uchiha to notice me."

My guardian angel's foot slipped and I caught a brief glimpse of a black sneaker as he scrambled back onto the roof. "You want Sasuke to notice you?"

"Yes. If I'm ever going to be able to have that double-wedding with Ino, I better start getting Sasuke to notice me." Better late than never after-all.

"Do you like him?"

I had to pause when he asked me that question. It really wasn't something that I considered. "He's cute enough I guess."

"Is that all he is . . . cute?"

"Well, he's smart and athletic too. What's with the twenty questions?"

"I just wanted to make sure. But if that's what you really want for Christmas, than consider it done."

"You can do that? You can get Sasuke to notice me?" I knew that my guardian angel was great at protecting me, but I didn't think he could also help me get a boyfriend. It wasn't something that you asked your guardian angel for. Fairy godmother: yes, that I could see. But he was far from a fairy godmother. More like a fairy god-brother or god-best friend.

"You have my word. I will do my best to get Sakura her Christmas gift."

I smiled. It was nice finally being able to talk to him rather than talking to dead air. "So if you're giving me something for Christmas, what do you want?"

"You want to give me something?" the voice asked excitedly.

"Of course. You've been there to protect me all of these years; it's only fair that I give you something for Christmas."

"I want a lock of your hair for Christmas."

I fingered my pink locks staring at it curiously. If it would make him happy, I'd gladly give him as much as he asked. "Alright. I'll do that. What should I call you anyway? I don't want to call you Guardian Angel all of the time if you have a real name. Do you have a real name?"

"Um, my real name?"

"Yeah, your real name."

"Just call me Angel for now."

"I don't get to know your real name?" I laughed. At this point, I was glad to be able to talk to him so his real name didn't matter. Though it would be nice.

"Maybe one day. But that's it for now."

"Will you really tell me your name?"

"Yeah, I will."

"Will you tell me everything about you? How long you've been watching over me? Where do you go during the day? What do you like to eat?"

Angel chuckled. "It's late Sakura. I'll answer all of your questions in time. We have lots of time."

"Okay. Tomorrow night then?"

"Yes, tomorrow night. Goodnight, Sakura."

"Goodnight, Angel."

I went to bed that night sleeping more peacefully than I ever had. There were so many questions that I had for him. So many things I wanted to know. But I now knew for a fact that my guardian angel was real. He had been there for me since as far back as I can remember and he was going to be there for me. Always.

"Angel, have you ever been in love?"

"Yeah, I have."

"What was it like?"

"It was . . . it was everything I imagined it would be and more."

"How did you know you were in love?"

"I always thought about her. Every second of every hour, I thought about her. Even now I think about her. She was the main reason I lived and the only reason why I haven't gone completely insane."

He sounded so pained. I couldn't picture anything dragging Angel's mood down. "What do you mean by that?"

"I . . . I think I said too much."

I was genuinely curious now. There wasn't much that Angel would ever tell me about himself so anything was definitely something. "It won't hurt me if you tell me more about yourself you know. If fact, it might make you feel better."

"Really? Where did you hear that?"

"Ino. Why do you think I tell her everything or even you for that matter? Telling people what's on your mind helps get things off of your chest."

"Do you really tell Ino everything?" Angel asked cautiously.

"Well, I don't tell her about you." I love Ino, she's a great friend. But I doubt that she would understand what Angel was. Thirteen year-old girls weren't supposed to have guardian angels they talked to at night. Even I don't really know what he was, but I trust him.

Angel breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm glad about that. Ino never could keep her mouth shut."

"That's Ino for you. You know, you talk as if you've met her. Have you?"

"Sakura, you tell me everything about your life. Has there ever been a conversation where you haven't complained about Ino or mentioned her at least once?"

"Yeah, you're right. It's just the way you said it makes it sound like you've met her."

"You've told me so much about all of your friends; it really feels like I've met them before."

"I know. I feel like I know everything about you, but at the same time I don't know a thing. Can you guess how frustrating that is?"

"I'm sure pretty frustrating."

"Well, how about you show me what you look like for Christmas this year?"

"Um, maybe next year."

I slumped my shoulders in defeat. I knew if I were persistent, I would make him crack eventually. "Can I ask for something else?"

"Of course."

"Will you tell me a little more about yourself? What did you do before you met me? How long have you been watching over me?"

"That's all you want for Christmas from me this year?"

"Yes. Please?"

"Alright. I'll tell you a little more about myself. I've been watching over you since you were an infant. It was chance that I found you actually. I was passing through when I happened to hear a baby crying. I looked around to see where the sound was coming from and then I saw you. You were in your mother's arms being rocked to sleep. I saw you in your nursery with your little tuff of pink hair and sea green eyes and then I knew. I knew that I had to protect you. And I've been watching over you ever since and keeping guard outside your window every night, listening to your voice as you talked to me."

"Why did you choose me?"

"Because you reminded me of someone very important to me. My most precious person."

I could hear the longing and affection in his voice. It was touching. "The girl you were in love with, right?"

"Yeah. Her."

"What was she like?"

"She was beautiful. Strong. Strong-willed. But also the most caring person in the world when you got to know her. She knew how to speak her mind, that's for sure. She also had a mean right-hook if you ever pissed her off. But she was loyal and determined. She was the best wife a man could have. Even after . . . even after she knew that she was going to die before I ever would, she still stayed with me."

"I'm sorry."

"It's alright. I've come to terms with that a long, long time ago."

"When did she pass away?"

Angel laughed. "Far longer than I could put words to."

"So you're some old guy?" I asked in disbelief. The brief glimpse I got of Angel back when I was five was not of some old geezer.

"What! No! I'm not old . . . well; I'm not an old looking guy."

"Then how old are you?" I knew if I did my math correctly, he had to be at least thirty if he saw me as a baby. But the way he talked about his lost love made him sound much, much older, as if he was in his sixties or even worse: nineties.

"I honestly don't know how old I am."

If he didn't even know how old he was, did that mean he was ancient? I tried picturing Angel with a long beard and wrinkles, but the picture didn't fit. "Well, how old do you look?"

"Do you really want to know?"

"I wouldn't be asking if I wasn't curious."

"Probably around sixteen or seventeen."

Sixteen or seventeen? As in a teenager? That was only three or four years older than me! That couldn't be right since he had to be much older. I was beginning to suspect I was dealing with a guardian angel who was more supernatural than human. "You're not a vampire are you?"

"Of course not! I know you and Ino are really into that book series about vampires, but I'm not a vampire."

"Good, that's a relief. But you've lived for a very long time, haven't you? Longer than any normal human should live."

"Yeah, I have. I guess you could almost say that I'm immortal. But I wasn't like that at first."

"What happened?"

"I don't think I'm ready to tell you about that yet. Maybe next year, but not yet," Angel said with a lilt of sadness.

"You don't have to tell me yet if you're not ready. I don't really like talking to you when you get all emo and depressed on me."

"So you don't like emo and depressed guys?"

"No, not really." And that was the truth. The one thing that I've never told Angel or Ino was how I had a thing for guys with sunshine blond hair and sky-blue eyes. It was one of those secrets that would be too embarrassing to tell.

"By the way, how are things going with your pursuit of Sasuke?"

"It's not a pursuit! It's just something that Ino's trying to convince me of because I have to be married to Sasuke if she's marrying Itachi," I responded indignantly.

"Sure, sure. Still going with that excuse. You can tell me if you have real feelings for Sasuke. I'm your guardian angel, remember?" Angel teased.

"Honestly, I don't know what I really feel about him. I mean, you made good on your Christmas gift last year and Sasuke has been talking to me and has noticed me. I just don't know if what I feel is because Ino's been telling me everyday how cute Sasuke is and how perfect we would be for each other or if what I feel are my true feelings."

Angel paused for a long time before finally responding. "Sakura, you're a smart girl. You're also still young. Give it some time and I'm sure that everything will work itself out."

"And if it doesn't? If I don't ever really know if I am in love with Sasuke? I mean, how do you know when you've finally fallen in love?"

"You don't. That's part of the mystery."

"That's the same answer I got from my Mom."

"Well, she's a wise woman."

I snorted at that comment. My mother probably knew more than I did, but I thought Angel would have a different answer. After all, there hadn't been a question that he didn't seem to have a logical answer for. I just had to remember never to ask him about feminine hygiene. Mom was the expert in that department. "Angel, if you think I've fallen in love or it looks like I have, will you let me know?"

"I will Sakura. I will."

"Thanks. Since you've given me my gift, what do you want for Christmas this year?"

"A home-cooked meal."

"My Mom won't let me in the kitchen yet. All I can cook is instant ramen."

"That's perfect! Anything you make will be perfect," Angel answered with excitement.

I was grateful that he didn't mind my lack of culinary skills. I had to urge my mother to start teaching me how to cook. After all, how was I going to satisfy Angel if the only home-cooked meal that I can provide him was instant ramen? There were a lot of things that I wanted to do to impress Angel. I didn't know what it was. It was like a compulsion, but I knew that every time I did something to make Angel happy, I was happy.

"I feel so sorry for Ino. She's completely devastated."

"Itachi was older by several years if I remember correctly."

"I know, but she's had it in her mind since we were twelve that she was going to marry Itachi. Now that he's engaged to someone else, she doesn't know what to do," I explained. Though honestly, I had seen it coming. Itachi was around six years her senior and a genius who was already in grad school. A man like that wasn't likely going to pay any attention to a fourteen-year-old girl whom he barely knew. I think he'd more likely think of Ino as jailbait than as a potential wife.

"I'm sure that Ino will be able to get over it. She's a tough girl."

"Yeah, you're probably right. I just hate to see her so depressed. I wish I could cheer her up."

"You and Ino are that close, huh?"

"Yep, best friends for life. I still even have the red ribbon she gave me as a kid."

"I remember finding it for you in the woods. You know, your hair looked really cute when it was short."

I don't know why that statement struck a chord with me, but I blushed as I fingered my long locks. "Ino told me she thought Sasuke only liked girls with long hair."

Angel coughed uncomfortably at that statement. "So, now that Ino doesn't really have a chance with Itachi, is she still expecting you to marry Sasuke? You know . . . the whole double-wedding thing?"

I laughed remembering the conversation I had with Ino earlier. "She's even more convinced that I need to be with Sasuke now."

"What? How come?"

"Her diabolical plan is for me to marry Sasuke and of course for her to be my Maid-of-Honor. Since Sasuke and Itachi are so close, she's certain that Itachi will be Sasuke's Best Man and therefore Ino will have a chance to show Itachi what he's missing out on," I laughed. "I know pretty stupid, huh? But that's Ino for you."

"Have you figured out if you still want to pursue him?"

I honestly didn't know how to answer that question. The past few years I've developed a growing relationship with Sasuke, but I don't know if I could see myself going past the boundaries of friendship. "He seems nice enough and he is smart. But it's not like he's asked me out or anything. I don't think he's ever asked a girl out yet."

"He's only what? Fourteen? Give him some time. I'm sure that every guy at your school would be willing to date a good looking girl like you."

"I'm hardly the most desired girl in school."

"Well, you should be."

That comment made my skin burn with embarrassment. If Angel were a guy in my class, I knew that I would have been pursing him instead of Sasuke. Though a part of me wondered what type of girls Angel would be interested in. I remember that he talked about his late-wife very fondly and painted her as a strong woman with a gentle demeanor. "Can you tell me more about your life, before you became immortal?"

"Do you really want to know?"

I sensed a bit of hesitance in Angel's voice. "I would. In fact, maybe that can be my Christmas gift this year?"

"What? No asking to see if I would show you what I look like?"

"Will you?" I asked with excitement.

"No. But I'll grant your earlier request."

"Angel! That was mean!" I couldn't believe that he had jerked me around like that.

"You know I was joking Sakura. I'm still not ready to show you what I look like. But I think I'm ready to tell you more about my past."

I sat and listened to his story. It was something out of a fantasy novel. Apparently, Angel had lived in a time when people could wield spirit energy or chakra. These people were called shinobi. He told me about how he housed a nine-tailed demon fox and about the Akatsuki, a group bent on world domination using the tailed-beasts. I learned about the master-mind behind the evil organization, Madara. Madara had been trying to control a ten-tailed demon that was housed in the moon and use the demon's power to possess everyone in the world.

Angel really enjoyed talking about the final battle between Madara and his forces. How it marked the end of the fourth shinobi war. He seemed a bit confused as he recollected the events that occurred after he interrupted Madara's jutsu on the Juubi. All he seemed to remember was that there was a huge explosion, but after all of the dust had cleared, he was still alive and they had won. He also told me about being part of a prophecy to bring peace to the shinobi nations and his dream to become Hokage. Angel was proud that he had been able to fulfill that prophecy and become the leader of his village, those were his shining achievements. But most of all, he told me about his relationship with the love of his life.

I had to admit that I was taken aback when I learned that she and I shared the same hair and eye color. But it made complete sense. Now I understood why he was so adamant about being my protector and why he refused to let me see him. Because as much as he was glad that he met someone who reminded him of his late-wife, I wasn't the same person. And probably the biggest reason of all, I was only a mortal, destined to grow old and die long before he ever would.

The most heart-wrenching part of his story was listening to his raw emotions as he described learning that he didn't seem to age. How he and his wife had tried to have children after they were married, but hadn't been successful after years of trying. I think I cried when he started to tell me about day he found out he was never going to die.

"I can get hurt, but because of the Kyuubi, I always healed quickly. Well, after I defeated Madara, I began to change. No one noticed it at first because of my accelerated recovery times, but now I started healing almost instantaneously. I didn't tire as quickly. I also didn't feel the Kyuubi's chakra anymore. It was as if he had been absorbed into me. I really couldn't explain the feeling.

"After my wife had turned thirty and we still hadn't had any luck getting pregnant, she decided to run a few tests. She had always joked that married life did wonders for me since I didn't look a day over sixteen. Thinking back, I wish she had been wrong. She was a great medic-nin also, so she took some samples to see if either one of us was infertile. Being a host to a demon does stuff to your body that the average person doesn't have to deal with, so we did some tests.

"As it turned out, the cells in my body were static. Somehow, they weren't processing normally. They would regenerate when destroyed, but they would only regenerate to their original state and wouldn't progress further. My cells weren't aging, so I wasn't aging."

I was considered a bright girl, but I was no biology major. Though I understood the basic concept of what Angel was saying, it still didn't explain why he couldn't have kids. "If your cells weren't dead, then how is it that could couldn't have children?"

"My wife was better at explaining this than I am. She told me that though the DNA was there, the sperm's cells weren't progressing to cause the egg to fertilize. To put it simply, it's not like I was shooting blanks. It's just that what I shot didn't explode."

"So, even outside your body, your cells didn't progress? What about artificial insemination or something like that?"

"Oh, we tried. Trust me. We tried. But none of that worked. So we did the next best thing we could do. We adopted. My wife was made to be a mother. Even if those kids weren't our own flesh and blood, we loved them like they were our own," Angel said wistfully.

"What were their names?"

"The oldest was a boy named Jiro. We adopted him when he was five. His parents had both been killed in a fire. The second was a sweet little girl we named Midori. She had no father and her mother died at birth. My wife always wanted a baby girl, so we adopted her as an infant."

"What was your wife's name?"

Angel hesitated before finally answering. "I don't think I'm ready to tell you yet. Maybe in a few years."

I closed my eyes taking in everything that he has said. I couldn't image living the life that he did. I know that I would hate to see my family pass away before I did, especially knowing that I could never find my own peace. "You miss your family, don't you?"

"Yeah. It was hard watching my wife age and pass away. But probably the hardest for me was having to watch my children and grandchildren die. After a while, I stopped watching over my family line and started wandering the world. I probably would have gone insane if it weren't for my last promise to her, that I would find a way to still be the same person she fell in love with and I wouldn't succumb to the darkness. And then I met you. It's just like seeing her all over again, as if she's been reborn. And that gives me hope that my children have probably been reborn as well."

Those words put a smile on my face. "Does that make you happy?"

"It makes me very happy. Happier than I have been in a very long time."

"I'm really glad. You sound like the type of person who doesn't deserve to be sad."

"Well, I certainly have paid my dues. I guess I'm owed some pleasant days," Angel laughed.

"Thank you for telling me your life story. I'm honored that you let me hear it."

"It's what you wanted for Christmas, so I'm glad that I could tell you."

"Oh, that reminds me, what do you want for Christmas this year?"

"You know, you could give me that instant ramen that you gave me last year," Angel chuckled.

"Oh come on. You don't need that crap. I convinced my Mom to teach me how to cook and I gave you that bowl of home-made ramen a few months ago." I had slaved in the kitchen all day making sure that everything about that dish was perfect. I even put it in homemade noodles. Angel had apparently loved it so much all of the leftovers that I had saved in the fridge had mysteriously disappeared that same night.

"Fine. How about if you make me a home-made sweater."

"I can do that. What size are you and what color do you want?"

"I guess I'm about a medium. And how about black and orange."

"Consider it done!"

I wasn't sure what it was, but after tonight, I felt even closer to Angel than ever before. Maybe it had to do with hearing more about his past, especially about the woman who helped shaped him. Though I had always looked up to my parents and some teachers, I felt that Angel's wife was a woman I should aspire to become.

"Sakura, I thought I already got a lock of your hair for Christmas a few years ago," Angel asked. He apparently had gotten the package that I left for him on the roof of my house.

"I know. But I cut my hair recently and thought that you would like the extra."

"You cut your hair? How short?"

"It's chin-length."

"I bet you look really cute like that," Angel said wistfully.

I smiled despite myself. Though I didn't want to admit it, part of the reason for getting my hair cut was because of him. "Ino freaked out when I showed it to her. Hinata said that it suited me, but I'm glad that you think I probably look good."

"You have good friends Sakura."

"Thanks Angel. What were your friends like when you lived in your time? I don't think you've really talked about them much except your wife."

"Really? I haven't? My friends would probably be mad at me for neglecting to tell you about them."

"I can't see how they could be mad at you for long," I giggled.

"I don't know. I was a real punk when I was a kid."

"You? A punk? I can't picture that."

"Hey, it's true. It's not like I was born all wise and mature."

"Wisdom comes with time and experience, or so my Dad says. But sorry for interrupting you. What were your friends like?"

"You know, they were a lot like your friends."

"Did you have a guy who was as enthusiastic as Lee? He's a real character."

"Yeah, I did in fact. He always wore these green spandex suits."

"Oh god! That's disgusting," I squealed. The brief image of Lee wearing green spandex horrified me. Lee liked to wear unique clothes, but nothing as bad as spandex.

"If you thought that was bad, you should have seen him if he had any alcohol. Bad combination."

"So he was a bad drunk?"

"More like an out-of-control drunk. But surprisingly it also made him a better fighter."

"What was his name?"

Angel paused. "It's been so long, I don't know if I remember it anymore."

I frowned hearing Angel's words. My gut told me that he was telling a lie. He described the battle between him and Madara down to the last detail and he didn't have a problem remembering anything about his family. I didn't want to press him on the issue. I knew that he probably had a good reason for hiding the information from me. After all, he still hadn't told me what his wife's name was. "That's okay, I understand."

"Thanks. So, what do you want for Christmas this year?"

"I want to see you Angel. I want to be able to meet you."

"I'll consider it. But if I can't give you that, what else would you want?"

I thought about it for a moment, uncertain about what I could ask from him this year. A flutter of bravery beat through my heart and I blurted the first thing that came to mind. "I want to find true love. That's what I want for Christmas."

There was an extended silence from the rooftop as I waited for his reply. I started to regret what I just said, but it was too late to take it back. "You know that it's not that easy. It could be years before you'll actually meet the right one. I'm not sure if I can give that to you this year."

"I know. But it's always nice to dream, right?"

"You're still young. You have all the time in the world ahead of you."

I sighed. "You sound like my father."

"Well, I am old enough to be your father's great-great-great-great grand-something-or-another."

"Even though you don't look a day over sixteen?" I teased.

I could almost picture Angel pouting as he spoke. "It's not like I have a choice."

The stars shone brightly in the night sky. I turned my head towards the brightest star and stared longingly at it. "I wish I could give you a normal life, Angel. If I had the power to give you the life you always wanted, to be able to have a real family and to age with them, I would do that."

"I know Sakura. I know. I wish you could do that too."

I don't know what started it. It might have been the yearning in his voice or the longing in my heart, but I started to cry. I cried because I probably would never get to see Angel, no matter how many times I wished for it. He knew that it would hurt for me to see him because I was also crying for the pain he would have to go through when I grew old and passed away. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that Angel had to suffer even now after everything that he had been through.

The next thing I knew, I felt a pair of arms wrap around me as a glowing warmth enveloped the room. I looked down at the arms holding me tightly to see the familiar orange and black patterns I had knitted over a year ago. "Angel?"

"Shhh, it's okay now Sakura. I'm here. Don't cry."

His voice sounded even more soothing next to my ear. I nearly melted into his arms. I wanted to turn to see his face, to finally see the sunshine I had yearned to see.

"Please Sakura. I'm still not ready to let you see me," Angel said as he tightened his hold to prevent me from turning.

I smiled feeling the heat radiating from his body. I was so close. But having his arms around me felt so blissful, this was more than enough. "Will you hold me like this until I fall asleep?"

"Only if you don't peek."

"I promise. This just, it feels nice."

"Yeah, it does."

I closed my eyes enjoying the contact. Somehow I knew that Angel had already given me my Christmas gift. I wasn't sure if he knew it or not, but I couldn't picture myself in anyone else's arms. My heart was filled with so many thoughts of him, no one could compare.

"Your hair does look really good short," Angel said as his breath blew teasingly against my neck.

I blushed, completely beside myself. "Thanks, I'm glad you like it. Angel? I forgot to ask you. What do you want for Christmas this year?"

I felt him rub his hands along my arms as he thought. I knew that whatever he asked for, I would give it to him even if I had to move mountains. "I think I want to hear you sing."

"Sing? What song?"

"How about a Christmas song?"

I thought about all of the Christmas songs I knew by heart. When I found the one that fit perfectly, I smiled. "Have you heard the song, 'Angels We Have Heard on High?'"

"Yeah, I know how that goes. I'd love to hear you sing it, if you would."

And so I sang. I sang with all of my heart and soul. It was the least I could do, and even then I felt it wasn't enough. But he sat and listened as if I was the only person in the world. That night, he held me until I fell asleep as promised. I dreamt many wonderful dreams. The twilight was filled with fantasies of living in a world of shinobi with all of my friends. Ino and Hinata were there wearing strange attire. I even saw Lee wearing a green spandex outfit. That part of the dream, I could have done without. But the most important part was seeing a blond-haired blue-eyed shinobi wearing an orange and black jumpsuit smiling at me with love and affection.

A/N: I recommend the rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High" by Sixpence None the Richer. This story is going to be about four chapters long. I hope to have it finished by Christmas, but that depends on how much time I have to write between now and then and whether I can finish the story to my satisfaction.