OK I know I said I was taking a break for the holidays, but I was planning a Christmas fic to begin with, so now I finally had the time to complete it with my finals out of the way (thank the lord). I must apologize if this seems a bit rough, I did it all in like a day and a half and I wanted it up well before the 25th, please don't hold it against me. Hopefully I'll see everybody next year, when I continue with Nami's Returning Nightmare, until then have a joyful and happy Christmas.

Disclaimer: Naruto doesn't belong to me, even though I keep writing to the big guy up North, hoping he'll give it to me for Christmas.

"Talking"
'Thought'


A Special Gift

It was two weeks before Christmas and the Hidden Leaf Village was decked out in bright holiday decorations, there was a smile on nearly everyone's face, especially the young students at the Ninja Academy. Loud happy chatter could be heard from the large classroom containing around twenty-five young ninjas in training and one bored looking Chunin teacher.

"Ok, everyone settle down, lunch is over." The young man yelled over the noise. The many eight year olds began to find their way back to their seats, all except for a small group huddled in the back of the room. The teacher scowled up at the four boys but decided that it was more trouble than it was worth to find out what they were doing, and picked up the lesson from where he left off before lunch.

The group of boys consisted of a somewhat lazy and laid back youngster with his plain brown hair pulled back in a spiky pony tail, a bored look on his face. A quiet, chubby boy with light brown hair, he would always trail after his other friends in just about anything they did. A loudmouthed wild looking boy with short spiky dark brown hair, a painted triangle on each cheek was tied for most annoying with the last member. The final boy was a hyperactive blonde, who was clearly the main troublemaker of the group. These four were always causing some sort of trouble in the class and the poor Chunin in charge had quickly learned to expect the unexpected from them.

Quiet giggling and whispering could be heard from their corner of the room and the young teacher could only begin to speculate what could be so funny, but on second thought he didn't want to know. The rest of the day passed by in this fashion, they would snicker and laugh, he would try to ignore them. As the end of the school day came closer the teacher breathed a sigh of relief, thankfully this was his last year, he really did enjoy teaching but having four pranksters harass him the entire year combined with the fact that one of those pranksters was a demon; it was too much for him. Just before the end of class he turned to address the whole room. "Alright class, just a reminder, the day after tomorrow is our Christmas party. Be sure to remember your gifts if you want to give them during the party." With that reminder, he dismissed the students and slumped over his desk as the last of them filed out. 'Another day passed two more to go, then three sweet weeks of freedom.'

Outside in the schoolyard the group of four split up, each meeting up with their respective parents, all except the blonde youngster. He had no one to meet with him, watching his classmates walk off with parents or older siblings; the blonde couldn't help but feel slightly depressed as he started his walk home alone. Though unknown to the young boy, he was being watched, by a pair of curious eyes. Large sea green eyes, to be exact, they watched as the blonde's happy-go-lucky smile faded and was replaced with a sad frown as he turned and started to walk home by himself.

"Sakura, time to head home." Said girl turned at hearing her mother's voice and ran towards the older looking woman. The girl's short pink hair blew into her eyes as she ran to greet her mom. On the way home Sakura decided to ask her mom about the sad looking blonde from her class. "Mom, in class there's this boy, but I can't remember his name. He looks really sad sometimes but I don't know why, he's always so nice to everybody even though he gets picked on a lot, I want to try to cheer him up with a Christmas present but I can't think of anything to get him. Can you help me think of something?" Mrs. Haruno smiled gently down at her young daughter. "Alright dear, we can think of something tonight." The young girl grinned when her mom agreed to help out.

The day before the Christmas party was filled with even more excitement from the kids as they anxiously waited for the end of the day to come. The only one who didn't seem to care that Christmas vacation was one day closer was Naruto, he went on with the day as if it were any other, though Sakura noticed that he seemed to be even sadder than the day before. Especially when the subject of someone's family came up, the young blonde would go silent for a minute then burst out with some random thought to steer the topic towards something else, Sakura was now more determined than ever to cheer her classmate up. When class ended Sakura again watched as Naruto wandered off alone, she wanted to run after him and find out why he looked so down, but then her mother called for her.

The last day before the Christmas holidays started was filled with excitement, joy, laughter and general good times all around. The day of the party had finally arrived and the children's excitement couldn't be contained in the classroom, so they were moved outside for some kunai practice while the party stuff was being set up, this of course made all the kids groan in protest. Around noon the excited group was let back inside, the classroom was decked out in red, green, and gold decorations. What immediately caught the kid's attention was a long table off to the side holding all assortments of cookies, candy, cakes and any other sugar-filled dessert you can think of. Most kids made a bee-line directly for the table, not even bothering to remove their coats; others actually took the time to put their things away before joining their friends at the snack table.

Naruto grinned as he stuffed his face, Kiba on one side of him and Choji on the other; this was the one part of the usual Christmas party he enjoyed most. He never bothered bringing a present for anybody because he knew he would never get one in return, so when it came time to exchange gifts he would usually hide himself in a corner somewhere, watching his happy chattering classmates run around giving little trinkets to each other. It had never bothered him…much.

Sakura was sitting in-between Ino, her best friend, and a Hyuuga girl from the looks of her eyes. The pink haired child was watching Naruto stuff himself with whatever he could get his hands on, and she couldn't help but giggle as his scarred cheeks puffed out, making him look like a chipmunk.

After all the food had been devoured it was finally time for the gift exchange, the eager children ran to pick up their gifts and one by one find the intended recipient. As per usual Naruto stayed out of it, sitting alone at his seat, his blonde head buried in his folded arms on the desk. That is until a small cough right next to him brought his head up, his eyes traveled down from the bright pink hair to clear green eyes then to a hopeful little smile, finally his gaze landed on the object in her hands. It was flowers, orange paper origami flowers, in a plain white plastic pot.

Sakura stood there, in front of the blonde, holding the pot of paper flowers. She watched as his eyes traveled down to her hands and the dumbfounded look on his face when he pointed at himself, asking wordlessly if they were really for him, Sakura's smile grew as she nodded happily.

Naruto tentatively reached out for the small pot, as if he thought she would suddenly snatch them away, the pink haired girl's grip loosened as he slid the flowers from her hands and a smile as bright as the mid-afternoon sun lit up his face. "Thank you, uh…umm…" The blonde paused, now embarrassed he didn't know her name. The girl giggled and young Naruto decided that it was a nice sound and that she should laugh all the time.

"My name's Sakura, yours is Naruto, right?" The blonde nodded wordlessly. "I hope they will cheer you up," she said indicating the gift, "you've looked pretty sad lately. I like the color orange and I really hope you do too." Sakura said looking hopefully at the boy.

'I do now.' Naruto thought as he looked from the simple orange flowers to the girl in front of him and grinned happily. "Of course, Sakura-chan, thank you very much." He nearly jumped in joy, until a thought occurred to him that brought him crashing back to the ground. "I'm sorry Sakura-chan, but, I didn't bring anything to give you." The boy looked dejectedly at the table.

"That's alright Naruto-kun; I did it to make you feel better anyway, not to get something back from you." The pink haired girl told him. "Sakura, what the heck are you doing with him? Come over here so you can give me my present." A girl with short pale blonde hair called over to Sakura, she gave Naruto one last smile before turning and running over to her friends.

At the end of the day Naruto headed for his small apartment with a smile on his lips and a white plastic pot with bright orange paper flowers in his hands. He knew Sakura had said she didn't want anything, but it still didn't seem right to him not to get her something in return, he just had to figure out what that was.

Sakura was smiling happily when her mom showed up to walk her home. "So did your little classmate like his gift?" Her mom asked. Sakura nodded and was about to tell her mom all about it, but was interrupted by her teacher, the young man called her mother over and spoke quietly to her for a minute. Sakura watched curiously as her mom stepped back in shock and glanced quickly in her direction; the older woman gave a sharp nod and walked over to her daughter hurriedly dragging her home.

"What were you thinking young lady?" Sakura looked up at her mom as she was dragged down the street toward her house. "Why didn't you tell me you were making that gift for the Uzumaki boy?"

Sakura was even more confused. "You mean Naruto, why? What's wrong Mom? No one had given him a present all day, he was really happy."

Mrs. Haruno suddenly stopped causing her daughter to stumble over her feet. She kneeled down to be on her daughter's level. "Sakura, that boy is bad, and you need to stay away from him."

"What are you talking about Mom? Naruto's nice; he even wanted to give me a present to pay me back today." Young Sakura tried to explain to her mom, in that innocent childlike philosophy only children can posses.

Mrs. Haruno sighed as she thought about how to tell her daughter this without breaking the Third Hokage's law. "Sakura listen to me, that boy is bad news, he is dangerous and you need to avoid dealing with him at all cost. Do you understand?"

Sakura nodded, she had no idea the sad looking blonde was so bad, even her mom seemed afraid for her safety. "Ok Mom, I promise I won't be friends with him anymore." Sakura told her mother though she was still confused as to what Naruto could have done.

The next day her promise was put to the test as she walked home from Ino's house. Naruto ran up beside her, a happy grin in place, the little blonde watched her out of the corner of his eye for a minute before speaking. "Yo Sakura-chan, I wanted to say thanks again for the flowers, and I know you said you didn't need anything but…" He didn't get the chance to finish as Sakura whirled around and sent her best glare at the boy.

"Listen Naruto, I can't be your friend anymore ok. My mom doesn't even want me to talk to you, so just leave me alone." Sakura yelled at him then took off running down the road, leaving behind a very confused and gloomy Naruto.

"But Sakura-chan…" He was still holding the small present he had meant to give her.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

9 years later

A now 17 year old Naruto Uzumaki was sitting on his couch in his apartment while a cold rain pounded outside, his pink haired teammate and girlfriend of 6 months, sat cuddled beside him. It was Christmas Eve and the pair was enjoying their evening together, Sakura was just about to doze off when Naruto moved, the young man got up and walked over to a cabinet drawer. Sakura watched him as her curiosity got the best of her.

"Naruto, what are you doing over there, I was comfortable you know." Sakura pouted at him.

The blonde ninja chuckled. "Sorry, Sakura-chan, but I've been waiting to give this to you for a long time and now couldn't be better." He pulled out a small wooden chest and sat back down next to Sakura who was now very interested.

Naruto gently lifted the lid of the plain wooden box and let Sakura see inside. What she saw made her gasp, there were three somewhat flattened and faded orange origami flowers, and next to them a small wrapped box. The box is what Naruto took out and afterward closed the lid and set the little treasure chest, for that is what it was, aside. "Remember that Christmas you gave me the flowers, Sakura? You never gave me the chance to give you my gift." He handed the present to Sakura and waited for her to open it.

The pink haired kunoichi sat dumbfounded for a moment before she carefully removed the wrapping revealing a thin lightweight box, she gently lifted the lid and found inside a homemade necklace. On a thin piece of twine hung a crudely carved cherry blossom, Sakura took it out of the box it had been hidden away in for all these years, and held it up to examine it more closely. "Naruto, I can't believe it, did you really make this for me?" The blonde nodded a small smile playing on his lips. "Oh Naruto, it's so beautiful, thank you so much." Sakura squealed as she practically jumped into her boyfriend's lap, wrapping her arms around his neck, and kissing him deeply.

Breaking the kiss, Naruto whispered next to her ear. "Merry Christmas Sakura."

"Merry Christmas Naruto." She responded just as softly.

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Hope everyone has a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. I'll see ya'll next time.