Chapter 4: Christmas Canon
Finale: "Christmas Canon" by Trans Siberia Orchestra
Sasuke told me everything, at least everything that he knew. He told me about how he first met Naruto four years ago and all of the events that occurred afterwards. Sasuke had also heard the stories about the shinobi world, Madara, the Juubi and about Naruto's wife. He even knew that Naruto was my guardian angel. It was so much to take in, but I had more important things to do right now, such as finding Angel or to be more accurate, Naruto.
I raced to the ramen stand where he worked to see if he was there, but he was nowhere to be found. The snow was starting to stick as I left footprints in the ground. The sky was darkening so I decided to go back home to check the last place he could be: on the roof. I made it to my room in record time, panting as I flung the window open. I hadn't even bothered to take off my shoes and coat.
"Angel, are you there?" My calls were met with silence. "Naruto? Please answer me. I want to talk to you."
Still no answer. Was he gone? He couldn't be. He said that he would protect me forever. He said that he would always keep me safe. I looked out the window, an idea suddenly forming in my head. Snowflakes were starting to drift into my room inviting themselves into the warm abode. Carefully, I stepped onto the window ledge and swallowed hard as I caught a brief glimpse of the ground below. I knew I was taking a huge risk, but I trusted my guardian angel. He'd always been there to save me and he always would. So I closed my eyes and jumped.
The next thing I knew, I was held close to a warm body. The touch and smells were so familiar. It was the same feeling as when Angel had held me in his arms. Braving a peek, I slowly opened my eyes and saw Naruto staring back at me. I smiled and wrapped my arms tightly around him.
"That was really foolish of you Sakura-chan. What if I wasn't here? What if I couldn't make it in time?" Naruto said tightening his grip on me.
"I knew you'd catch me. Because I trust you with my life, my love . . . my everything."
"There's no convincing you otherwise, is there?"
I shook my head. "No there isn't. Will you tell me everything now?"
"I will, but not here. We should probably move or the neighbors will start talking," Naruto said as he readjusted my body in his arms.
I looked around my surroundings for the first time since Naruto caught me and noticed that his feet were sticking to the side of my house. Before I had time to ask him about it, Naruto sprang off the wall and then I felt like I was flying. It was amazing. Naruto was jumping from rooftop to rooftop as if he were playing hopscotch in the playground. It was an impossible feat for an average human, but not to Naruto. I smiled in glee as I felt the wind and snow fly past me. The trip was a short one as he stopped at the top floor to his apartment. He set me down gently on the ground and let me look out onto the horizon as he unlocked his door. We were probably twenty stories up, but he somehow managed to jump all the way up here. He was amazing.
Naruto cleared his throat to get my attention. "Um, would you like to come in?"
"Thanks, I'd love to." I had never seen Naruto's apartment. I was curious about how he lived. His apartment was Spartan. There were empty ramen bowls in one corner of the room and a couch that had the orange and black sweater I knitted draped across the back. A few scrolls in ancient writing were tucked in another corner of the room. But the things that struck me the most were the pictures plastered all over the walls. There were so many pictures. Most of them were of me; me as a baby, as a child and as a teenager. But there were also pictures of all of our friends at school.
While I had been admiring his apartment, Naruto had brewed some tea and offered me a cup. He cleared off the couch so we could both sit. "So you found me out."
"Sasuke told me what he knew. Why did you run away from me?"
"I was afraid of what you might think."
"I'm still trying to figure it all out honestly. It's a lot to take in so soon. But Naruto . . . is Naruto your real name?"
"Yeah. I was born as Naruto Uzumaki."
"And this whole time you were also known as Angel, right?"
Naruto nodded. "I was too scared to tell you who I really was. Everything about you is so confusing."
"Sakura-chan, do you know what my wife's name was?"
"Sakura Haruno. Your name. It was no coincidence I found you that night. It was fate. I had finally found my wife and she was reborn into this world as you."
Now I understood why we both had an unexplainable connection with each other and why I always had an affinity for guys with sunshine bright hair and brilliant blue eyes. Because they all resembled Naruto, my husband from another time and another life. "And so you watched over me all of this time, willing to let me live my life oblivious to who you really were."
"What changed? Why did you finally decide to talk to me after all of those years, why show yourself to me?"
Naruto tentatively brushed his hand against mine as his eyes bored deep into my soul. "Because I'm an idiot when it comes to you: a complete, utter fool. I admit that I was a bit jealous of Sasuke, but I also think I must be a masochist for reaching out to you when I knew in my head it wasn't a good idea."
"But your heart choose for you, didn't it?"
"My heart always chooses you Sakura-chan. I can't help it."
I smiled despite how silly his words were. They were heartfelt and oddly touching. I put my hand in his as I boldly asked my next question. "So . . . have you figured out whether or not you want to be with me; to marry me again?"
Naruto looked at me thoughtfully, trying to form the words in his head before he responded. "Before I can do that, I have to be sure. There have been a lot of changes in the last few weeks that it's almost overwhelming. Sakura, do you remember when you told me about the rocket being shot into the moon?"
I nodded my head. "You think that the Juubi was killed?"
"He might have been. I didn't notice anything immediately after it happened so I didn't think much about it. But there have been some changes. They've been small, but being essentially the same man for hundreds of thousands of years, one small change is significant. You were the one to notice it first when you commented that I had grown taller. Since my fight against Madara, I hadn't grown an inch. Then I started to notice that my wounds weren't healing instantaneously like they previously had. I think . . . I think I'm becoming mortal."
My eyes lit-up with pure joy hearing those words. It was what I had wanted for him for a long time. "That's great Naruto! That means you can age now, you can live a normal life."
"I still don't know if I'm completely mortal. I probably won't know for several years until I start visibly aging. I'm just afraid of taking this chance and then finding out later that I'm going to outlive you."
"I don't care about any of that Naruto. Can't you see? Weren't you the one who said I should take a chance with Sasuke? Weren't you the one who told me that any guy would be willing to date me? Well, I want you. I've always wanted you. I want to take a chance with you. Why do you think I ask to be able to see you every Christmas? Why do you think I enjoy our late-night conversations? You're the one who's been there for me since I was a baby. You're the one who caught me when I fell out of the big oak tree back when I was five. You know all of my secrets and everything about me. So why won't you let me love you?"
"Sakura-chan, I want that. I want it more than anything in the world. But I'm afraid. I don't know if I could stand seeing you age right before my eyes while I stay young. I don't know what I'd do if I had to live even a day without you after finding you again for so very long."
"You said so yourself, you think you might be mortal. Please Naruto, I know you're scared, but I don't want to live my life without you. Just take this chance. I promise you no matter what happens, it'll work out. We'll find a way. I'm sure we will." He had to say 'yes.' He just had to. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if he rejected me.
Naruto placed a hand on my cheek, giving me with a tender look. "I never could say no to you back then and I don't think I can even now. I knew when I first saw you as a baby, that you were you. It was like falling in love all over again. I was prepared to watch you age, get married, have kids and pass away at a ripe old age. I was ready to watch you fall in love with another man, preferably Sasuke because he deserves happiness. I was even ready to make it so you never saw me, never knew I existed. But you were stubborn back then and you're stubborn now. Heck, I'm stubborn.
"I should have known better than to think that I could ever hide from you. I don't know what it is about you, but you make me want to see you more and more each day. I wasn't happy simply watching you in the shadows. And when I took the leap to pose as a student at your school, I knew that I was diving deep into trouble. But it was worth it being able to see you everyday, to touch you. You are my gift Sakura-chan: a wonderful, beautiful gift."
My heart melted listening to him talk. If I wasn't already in love with him, I think I would have fallen for him right then and there. "I'm glad, Naruto. I can't believe you were willing to watch me marry another man. Sasuke told me how you convinced him to date me. He told me all of the sweet things you said about me. All of my life you've been there for me and now I want to be there for you."
Naruto pulled me in for a hug and I relished the feeling. It was just like when he held me last year, but even better. I could feel the longing and sincerity in his touch. He pulled me close as if I was going to float away at any minute. "I love you Sakura, I love you so much."
It was bliss hearing those words from him. I didn't think I could feel any lighter than I did, but I felt like I was dancing on air. Maybe that's why he was holding me so tightly, to remind me that this was real; he was real. I smiled and whispered into his ear, "Do you know what I want for Christmas this year?"
"A kiss from you."
It was a request he gladly fulfilled. And I found myself feeling encased in warmth so pure, I couldn't picture anything more perfect. Like a soft melody, I was enchanted. The kiss was everything they say kisses were supposed to be: fireworks, sweet tears, joyous laughter and more. I knew from that day on, Naruto was the only one for me. I had found my heaven and earth.
"Jiro sweetie, look at the camera. Smile!" I snapped the picture quickly before Jiro could turn his head away.
"Mommy! Look, look. Gift!"
"That's right sweetie, it's a Christmas present. Can you say Christmas?"
"Kris . . . mass," the two-year old tried to repeat his mother's words.
"Good job Jiro. You're so smart. Isn't he smart Sakura-chan?"
"Well he is our son, Naruto. Though I'm surprised he hasn't started eating ramen and walking up the walls yet."
"I'm waiting until he turns five before I teach him how to do that," Naruto said before he turned to his son. "Hey Jiro, do you want Daddy to teach you how to mold chakra?"
"Naruto! You wouldn't," I asked in disbelief.
Naruto laughed. "Of course not, I was just pulling your leg."
"Mommy, mommy! I want chakra!" Jiro said excitedly as he crawled into my lap.
I shot Naruto a look, but quickly replaced it with a smile. I knew he would never do anything to Jiro that would put him in danger. Watching Naruto play with Jiro was like a dream come true. Ten years ago when we finally started dating, we didn't know if we'd be able to get this far. Naruto struggled for years to get over his anxiety of finally living a real life. He fretted constantly over whether or not he would age. Sasuke was a huge help getting him to admit to himself that he wouldn't be able to stay away from me, even if he tried. I had to hand it to Sasuke though, he knew how to push Naruto's buttons and direct him to do the right thing. Must have been revenge for when Naruto manipulated him into dating me.
But it was all worth it as we got married shortly after graduating from college. I looked at Jiro and remembered how we didn't even know if we could have children. Naruto wasn't completely convinced he could have kids since he had never fathered any children before. Jiro's birth gave Naruto the assurance he needed that he was finally free of his immortality.
"Sakura-chan," Naruto said tenderly as he held out a present. "Merry Christmas."
I took the tiny box and handed him the present I wrapped for him. "Merry Christmas Naruto."
Naruto smiled and started to unwrap the gift. I watched him carefully as he pulled the wrapping off. Before he could open the box I gave him, he looked to me, "Aren't you going to unwrap your gift?"
"I will after you unwrap yours. I want to see your reaction," I urged him.
Naruto just shrugged and continued to open the box. He was confused at first as he held a thin white plastic strip with a plus sign on it. When he pulled out the instruction booklet and read it, his eyes widened as he looked to me. "You're pregnant!"
I nodded and smiled. "Yes, I'm pregnant."
"Jiro, you're going to be a big brother!" Naruto pulled our son in for a hug. "Sakura-chan, thank you so much. I love the gift."
He held me tightly as we all sat together as a family that Christmas morning. I never got around to opening the present he got me or pulling out the scarf I had knit him for his real gift. None of that mattered though. Christmas wasn't about the gifts, the tree or the decorations. To us, it was more than that. It was about love and family. Every day with him was a blessing; every Christmas a miracle. The simple things in life were more meaningful to us because we lived. We had each other and that was all we needed.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the story. Was going to start vacation tomorrow, but my flight has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Will have to start it on Monday. :P
A/N2: Revised this last chapter with a bit more text to help flesh out the story and dialouge. I rushed it the first time I wrote this chapter so now that I have a little more time, I decided to go back and add a few more sentences here and there. And if you're wondering what Naruto got Sakura for Christmas, it's something shiny and expensive.