'A Miracle in My Stocking' for the most amazing Michelerene a.k.a. Lexjamandme
Warning: M'preg. Though there is angst this is primarily fluffiness; I mean unadulterated, diabetes inducing, teeth rotting, and cotton candy coming out of your ass fluffiness. I am not repentant XD Also there's a tiny nod to a specific scene in Mich's fic For the Love of His Son. XD No I did not maliciously steal it, I put it there deliberately because it refers to the first M-Preg fic I ever read. It has certain poignancy to me, and it feels right that the first M-Preg I write is both inspired by her and dedicated to her.
*I love you Mich, have a Happy Christmas*
P.s. Naruto will seem OOC for the first half of the story but I deliberately did it that way. He is not some bitch or some weeping woman; his circumstances are dire and they are breaking him down. Don't worry; the angst is redeemed. Its Christmas after all. XD
P.p.s Unbetad. Ignore the horrible mistakes. *cries*
Season's greetings to you my merry friend! Come along, come along! Sit here by the fire where it's warm! The missus has just put some Yule Wood and Ice Heather in and it smells delightful!
Shutter that window on your way would you? Ah, for all its advantages this place is old. Very old my friend, it lets in a bit of a nippy draft when the age creeps in.
Comfy? Ah scoot back into the chair and snuggle under that throw there. Don't be shy! 'Tis very warm I'll have you know. One of my favourites! The missus knitted that for my birthday about, two, no, no, three, yes three hundred years ago.
Oh! You don't believe I'm that old do you? Well! I must say! You young things now a days! Humph! You're all such a dispassionate, disbelieving bunch! All wrapped up in your logic and science and test tubes and what not, none of you know the old ways anymore.
I tell you friend; you children were so close to the earth in your youth! You felt the shift of the seasons and the life in Terra herself. In your young souls you knew that there were unexplainable things in this world and accepted that but now- Ah my dear! Yes, yes, thank you! A nice large mug of spiced cider would be perfection! Our dear friend looks like his poor toesies are about to fall off!
And don't tell me there is no such word as toesies you young thing you! I am over eight thousand years old! I shall call it toesies if I like! Now where was I?
Ah yes, you children have lost almost all of it. Nobody remembers the olden times anymore. You don't remember the mystery, the rawness, of the old magik flittering about the land much like those flakes dancing around out yonder. No one believes in giants or fairies of little earth Halflings anymore. If you young things can't explain it with numbers and classifications and –hmm this cider is excellent, warms a body doesn't it—if you can't quantify or qualify of quanumerify then there is no such thing; yet still you younglings can't understand so many things your elders took for granted. Things like the soul and the heart escape your cold science. You struggle with your origin instead of accepting the truth of your creation. I must say your evolution theories amuse me more and more each year!
What? Ah yes…Your science is good I'll give you that, you poor things need some grounding in the world but don't you realize the cost? Oh how it saddens me! None of you believe in the spirits of the seasons or the emotions of the world. No more songs are sung in Spring's honor, no more heady incense burnt at Autumn. No one believes in Christmas miracles anymore.
Now don't raise your eyebrow at me you silly thing. I know a thing or two about Christmas I shall have you know! I am the Spirit of the season of course. St. Nicholas at your service! Of course, I've had many a name but I fancy that one the most.
And why yes! By the Graces, I do deliver little presents of joy on Christmas E—well no there really aren't any chimneys anymore and--- No the reindeer are resting; you can see them at another- What? Absolutely not! No; you cannot take Rudolph to be tested! Listen here child! No I do not go scrambling down chimneys anymore but I still have my ways! Humph! Pushy thing.
Yes, about miracles—
What's that? No, no, my child you misunderstand me. I deliver presents not miracles. Miracles are a very, very rare thing. Precious and guarded they are. The Higher Power disperses those at His will, I am not that powerful. I deliver presents you see! Little elf made dolls with lace skirts and toy trains that go Choo—
What now? Have I ever seen a miracle?
That's a very interesting question lad; but Yes. Yes I have seen miracles…but they are so very rare and precious. In my generous lifetime I have seen only six.
My most memorable one? Ah, now that is a question! A merry question indeed!
Settle down there, child, and I'll tell you a tale! Ah, let me see; let me see...hmmmm…yes….This Miracle was my favorite. It happened to a little lad, well you are all lads to me, but this one…this one was special! He was one of the precious few who remembered the mystery, the opportunity of Christmas. His soul was one of the purest I'd ever come across. A true delight he was….but he was heavily afflicted you see.
Settle down there, have a sip of cider and try a gingerbread cookie. Warm? Good, good! Now close your eyes and open your mind little one:
Once Upon A Time, in land far, far away….
Much like the ephemeral ghost of Christmas Past Uzumaki Naruto slipped through the milling throngs of svelte, richly clad bodies and tried his best to remain invisible, despite the numerous disparaging comments he knew were psychically swirling around him.
He kept his lightning storm blue eyes lowered and refused to meet any of the numerous dark Uchiha gazes that he knew were boring into his skull with concentrated derision.
Slipping around a group of elderly matrons swathed in old fashioned kimonos he darted under a mistletoe arch and out unto a night darkened and December frosted patio.
Only there, in the freezing cold, could he breathe; the frosty chill of Old Jacks fingers slithering through his lungs was coldly burning him from the inside. The hot mansion was toasty and warm but to the five foot blond it felt colder than the Antarctic. If there was one thing the Uchiha clan sure knew, it was how to freeze the marrow in ones bones to solid ice.
Sighing Naruto wrapped his slender golden arms around himself and huddled into a corner willing his slender form to disappear into the night. Why did he keep doing this to himself? Why did he make sure to attend these functions even though in the end they all brought him nothing but pain?
An image of a tall, statuesque, brunet flittered through his mind and he sighed again. Ah yes. Sasuke. He always did this for Sasuke. He glared dispassionately down at the frosted marble floor and his festive deep red fur boots shielding his sensitive feet from the harsh bite of the elements. The bone freezing cold of Konoha in winter was like having spikes of ice being driven into your very soul over and over again. If you had asked Naruto though, he would have told you that Winter, for all its unforgiving glacial veneer, could learn a thing or two about coldness from the clan of obscenely wealthy doctors inside.
Whenever that name was mentioned one immediately thought of midnight eyes and medicine. They were all doctors. Doctors spawned from doctors who begat other doctors. They were doctors who had sons who played with stethoscopes and dressed up in their fathers lab coats and doctors who had daughters who grew up to marry doctors. The clan was a literal treasure to Japan and they were all so very alike; rich, beautiful, aloof, cold as winter and utterly brilliant.
Naruto had no idea how insignificant him had gotten married to one.
The tiny blond haired spitfire tossed his head back unto the frozen marble pillar and grinned sadly into the dark night; the uplifted angle of his head allowing the light fluttering of not- snow to fall unto his tanned face.
"What the hell did you see in me bastard?" He whispered into the void.
Now Naruto was not one prone to bouts of low self esteem. Indeed, the afore mentioned bastard would quite gladly tell you that the loudmouthed, half American was quite possibly the most confident man this side of the equator.
But in the dark, in the burning cold, alone and shrouded in his quiet misery Naruto felt like the most invisible, unwanted failure that ever lived.
The white fluff settled into his hair and on his scarred face and stunned the sensitive nerves into numbness. Soon the cold would become painful…but Naruto knew he deserved it; the harsher, the colder, the better. He deserved all the derision and scorn both winter and his In Laws could throw at him.
Tan lashed fluttered shut and he huddled himself further into the wall. He couldn't face his husband right now.
Muffled footsteps padded across the short marble distance and in seconds the young orphan felt a towering presence hovering near him.
He opened his eyes and faced his husband.
Sasuke was scowling in frustration, his handsome pale features shining sharply in the cold moonlight and frost. His dark eyes held thinly guised questions from their place behind ink black hair.
"What on earth are you doing out here, baka?" The pediatrician asked, a hint of agitation at having to search for his spouse colouring his words.
"I…" he trailed off. Naruto turned away again, unable to face the man he had failed so entirely. "I had to get some air."
Sasuke raised an incredulous eyebrow, the agitation rising in his eyes. "Air." He deadpanned. "This isn't air this is ice. Come inside, it's ten below and I really don't want to have to treat you for Hypothermia and frostbite tomorrow."
Naruto winced at Sasuke sharp tone but lowered his head and nodded as no answer was able to come out of his frozen trachea even if he'd tried. The heavy weight of shame sat roiling on his chest and closed his voice off from his command.
Sasuke spun on his heel and Naruto followed demurely back into the main ballroom.
The space was huge, high vaulted ceilings detailed with traditional Japanese Ukio-E art, and strong graceful columns holding up the marble ceiling.
"Sai did an excellent job with the redecoration." Naruto mumble-whispered out at last; desperate to get rid of the silence that stretched between him and his significant other.
Apparently Sasuke didn't hear him as he simply ushered Naruto to a couch where a few of the Uchiha ''wives'' were gathered and turned away to walk stiff backed over to his father, the graying patriarch standing cold and austere like a statue among the other men.
Naruto bit his inner lip till his flesh bled. When had this monster sprung up between them? Since when were they no longer able to communicate? These days Sasuke never spoke unless he was directly asked and Naruto was no longer able to look his husband in the eye.
It hurt knowing that he wasn't good enough for Sasuke; it hurt having to face the young prodigy's disappointed relations day after day and know that the derision was entirely deserved. It hurt sleeping in the same bed but being more than continents apart; it hurt leaving a cold job to come home to an empty house with a husband who was more married to his job now a days than to his twenty six year old spouse.
A snippet of conversation and a gale of polite titters washed over him and Naruto raised his eyes to see Hinata, one of the youngest wives, as the blushing centre of the gathering's attention.
A child of the prestigious Hyuuga family, Hinata was the perfect Japanese woman and a perfect Uchiha match. A degreed and lauded Physical Therapist, quiet, demure, respectful; always neatly attired in smart, modest suits, young, beautiful…
Naruto watched as one of the elder women who were pointedly ignoring him leaned over and gifted the girl with a hug and an approving nod while another reached down and covered the slender hand Hinata had resting on her lower stomach. From the glow on her face and the approving nods and murmurs of the elder women…it seemed there was nothing wrong with her fecundity either.
Naruto felt a wave of hot sick wash over his soul.
Detached and ill he compared himself to her. Where she was pale and beautiful he was tan and cute. Where she was blooded, educated, accomplished he was a mixed breed and a bastard to boot, a college dropout, and a struggling actor. Where she was wrapped in a modest grey suit he had on blaring red boots, and matching shirt tucked into dark pants. Where she was…
Itachi came up to the women and claimed his wife.
He stoic man inclined his head into a perfect bow. "Grandmother."
The woman smiled. "Our dearest congratulations go out to you. May you bless our line with a strong son." She turned to Hinata and finished the traditional blessing. "Daughter; may you carry the young lord well." Hinata coloured under the fierce dark gaze and bowed respectfully.
"Thank you for your blessing Grandmother." Itachi intoned softly.
"Of course!" The woman puttered. In the briefest of seconds her eyes flitted over to where Naruto sat, away from the circle. "She, at least, has performed her duties to our clan."
Naruto felt something deep with him curl in on itself and wither to dust. He swallowed hard.
He looked up, shocked that Itachi has spoken to him. His husband's elder brother very rarely acknowledged him.
The elder turned to shepherd his wife towards the grouping of the main family members and inclined perfectly regal head towards them. "Come. Sasuke wishes to see you."
Naruto braced himself and stood, snagging two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter, needing something to calm his nerves and thinking Sasuke might appreciate the other.
They joined the austere grouping.
Fugaku Uchiha held court over his family like a king with an iron vice. The six foot family head was nothing short of daunting, what with his numerous accolades for all sorts of advancements in Neurology, his rigid posture, his sharp cutting black eyes and his cold, patronizing voice.
Beside him, like a wraith lost in a megalith's shadow, Mikoto Uchiha stood dutifully, listening to the conversation but respectfully not joining in. Madara and Tobi Uchiha, twin behavioral psychologists were there as well, standing next to Sai, the recluse third something cousin who was as good a painter as he was a surgeon. Itachi and Hinata settled to Fugaku's right and Naruto took his place beside Sasuke who was listening to Tobi and Madara debate over the aspects of some drug or other, the jargon of which went straight over Naruto's head but seemed to be easily followed by everyone else.
He felt stupid.
Silently he touched Sasuke's shoulder and was acknowledged with a glance and a nod. He offered the flute of champagne but,
"I believe Sasuke has had enough Uzumaki-san. He does need to be able to drive you to your penthouse safely."
Naruto's chest constricted and his face reddened like fire at the three humiliating insults the man had so sharply delivered. In one polite sentence Fugaku had managed to undermined and completely unacknowledged his marriage to Sasuke by using his maiden name, had proceeded to imply that Naruto could not judge his husband's disposition and lastly quite blatantly called Naruto Sasuke's whore.
An awkward silence flitted over the group as the shamed blond became the centre of attention.
A beat later the twins resumed their conversation.
Sasuke had turned away.
Naruto inclined his head at the man in acknowledgement of the rebuke and turned silently away to find a server to take the untouched glasses. He wouldn't simply place it down on the counter for fear that he'd be chastised for leaving uncouth marks on polished wood that probably cost more that the orphanage he'd grown up in earned in a year.
Oh how Naruto wanted to scream. The parts of him that were still whole and kicking wanted to lash out and curse. The tough as nails street urchin inside him had a string of insults a mile long to yell into the pompous old bastards face. He wanted to scream words as hurtful and angry to them as they had whispered to him. He wanted to tell Fugaku that he was a pretentious bastard, a hypocrite and where exactly he could shove his derision.
But because he knew Sasuke held his father in hero like regard he held back. It wouldn't do to embarrass his husband any more than he already did.
Fugaku spoke again, to Sasuke this time. "Son, I have someone I want you to meet." A tiny wave of a hand and two new people joined the group. Both the male and the female were blond; the shade was much paler than Naruto's shimmering gold but was blond nonetheless. The man was older, with a touch of crow's feet at his mouth and laugh lines at his eyes. The female, obviously his daughter, was ….stunning.
Naruto felt even more out of place. He knew he wasn't hideous but neither was he runway beautiful either. His mouth was a touch too wide and just a bit too loud, his face was marred by whisker like scars; the remnants of the accident that had claimed his parents. Normally he could hold his own among the dark haired, dark eyed beauties around him but being put next to this woman who had his exact colouring but wore it so much better was nothing short of cruel.
Her slender heart shaped face and perfect figure should have graced the silver screen.
"…Yamanaka Inoichi and his daughter Ino."
Sasuke's eyes widened a touch in recognition. "Oh yes, you're the breeders of Demeter's Lilies. It is a pleasure to meet you both. The medicinal properties of that flower's nectar are creating waves in the pre-natal vitamin department."
The Yamanakas. Naruto remembered a mention of them. They were a family of elite botanists.
The woman blushed at the compliment. "Thank you Uchiha-san, your compliments are kind for efforts as humble as ours."
Damn. She was a socialite too.
Fugaku nodded austerely. "Nonsense Yamanaka-san, you work truly is admirable. Sasuke has been especially eager to meet the family who has suddenly made his work so much easier."
Naruto was confused. The Christmas Gala for the Uchihas was part party part reunion. Only family was normally invited. What then, could these two strangers- indeed this beautiful female stranger- be doing here at-
"Perhaps you should show Yamanaka-san around Sasuke. Introduce her to Grandmother Chihue."
It was a simple sentence but Naruto felt like he'd been struck by a train.
Chihue was the eldest living female of the entire clan. In accordance with Uchiha tradition whenever a man introduces a single female to her they were asking for her blessing….her blessing for…
Naruto couldn't even hide his shame this time. His face burned an unhealthy red and the sick coldness spiraled in his belly and chest.
Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Itachi and the Madara looking at him while Tobi gaped at Fugaku. No surprise. The man's insult had not been subtle.
The family head had just asked an Uchiha male to show an unattached, professional female to his eldest grandmother and thereby subtly ask for her blessings on a relationship. A marriage.
No wonder she was at a family gathering.
Naruto turned away. He was only able to bear so much and what had just happened was the straw that broke his back.
Unwillingly his eyes caught Mikoto's and surprisingly found a well of pity dwelling in the dark depths. Naruto knew he was suffocating; right then he'd rather drop down and die than face another minute of this.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, he didn't have to.
"Naruto, are you all right? You look ill."
He turned towards his husband's voice but kept his unfocused eyes on the floor.
Like the touch of butterfly wings Sasuke slender fingers danced over his neck.
"Your pulse is erratic and you're feverish. Damn it dobe, I told you to stay out of the cold."
A sharp slice of annoyance went through him. Did Sasuke honestly believe he was ill from the cold? Was he that blind to his father's machinations?
In his anger he nearly missed Sasuke polite making of excuses to his family. He did catch Fugaku's drawled response.
"By all means son." He voiced in a tone that was supposed to be teasing but was simply cruel. "Abandon your family and tend to your lover before he dies of a cool breeze."
Naruto spun on his heel and walked away, ears ringing.
Blindly he found himself out in the large foyer and tottering unsteadily down stone steps. Unfocused he began rooting around in his pocket for his cell phone. He should call a cab. Maybe call Iruka too and see if his old grade school teacher/ closest thing he had to a father wouldn't object to his sleeping on the couch for a few days. He'd go clear out his cheap belongings out of the penthouse tomorrow after Sasuke left for-
He spun around, cell phone in one limp hand teary blue eyes wide. Apparently Sasuke had been calling him for a while.
The man's frown was heavy and it was expected. Naruto had insulted his parents after all; it only made sense that Sasuke would be livid with him-
"Dobe, where the hell are you going?"
He swallowed around the frozen lump in his throat. "T-to Iruka's place, I figure I should leave for a while before getting my things and-"
Sasuke raised a brow. "What the hell?"
A valet pulled up with Sasuke's black Bentley and the raven ushered him inside with an impatient wave of his hand.
"Get in. The hypothermia must be worse than I thought.'
Wordlessly Naruto sank into the warm leather interior and buried his face into his shaking hands. Sasuke started rattling off a string of questions.
"Does your head hurt?"
"Any numbness?" the doctor continued immediately, clinically. Not a touch of emotion was in that voice, nor did it seem to care that Naruto was trying to speak "Are there pins and needles in any limbs?"
"No! Sasuke listen to me! I-"
"Do you feel faint or light headed? Sometimes the symptoms manifest first as a –"
The tension sprang in on itself and like a spring coiled too tightly it exploded outwards into madness.
"NO DAMNIT!" He screamed lashing out with his fist and slamming into the dashboard. His head was hot and feverish and his chest was ice cold.
"I'm not fucking hypothermic! I'm not ill; I'm not suddenly going to keel over from a cold breeze!" His voice was sharp, shrill and mildly hysteric as he mocked himself using Fugaku's earlier words.
His hands were flailing wildly lashing out and striking at the seat and the dash, and even though shocks of pain shot through his nerve endings like shot circuited dynamite Naruto just couldn't bring himself to care.
What the hell kind of a bastard had he been in his first life to be treated this way?
Parents dead at age three, fostered in abusive homes till age eleven. Dyslexic, a slower learner. Teased and bullied through high school. Branded as a trickster and a good for nothing by teachers; shunned by other children. Lived on the streets and off them, college dropout, and now failure as a husband.
He must have killed a king.
"I not SICK! What I am is fucking tired! I'm fed up okay! I'm fed up and embarrassed and ashamed and so fucking guilty that I just want to throw myself under the car!"
Sasuke looked at the heaving, shuddering, straining blond in alarm and jerked the car over to a side lane on the secluded road that led towards the mansion.
Naruto was working up a thunder and his tears were ripping at the sensitive tissue of his eyes. His body flashed through surges of hot and cold and his head felt like it was floating a good foot away from his body. He was wrung out, tired; his bones and body weakened and sapped of strength by hateful words and hateful glares. His soul was drained as though a hurricane had swept through and torn down his very existence and left nothing behind.
"Naruto! Naruto focus on me! Listen to my voice! Breathe! You're having a panic attack, you need to-"
Naruto choked harshly. "I need my husband to look me in the eye for once, seeing as he hasn't done it in three months."
Sasuke closed his eyes and pressed his dark head back into the leather headrest.
The silence stretched on and with every ticking second Naruto saw little blocks of his marriage begin to crumble down. They were cracking and splitting down fault lines as wide as highways.
Suddenly he felt drained; utterly tired and weary. Maybe he should just let this thing go before it killed him. Sasuke deserved better.
"Look, Sasuke I," he swallowed, "Just, let me go alright. I promise I won't cause anymore embarrassment for you and I-"
"What?" Sasuke head had whipped around so sharp a passing worry flitted through Naruto's mind for the health of Sasuke's neck.
"What do you mean 'embarrass me more'?" Those dark eyes were drilling holes into the side of his head through the half darkness. "Naruto, answer me"
It was the soft tone of Sasuke's voice that undid him.
"Hinata's pregnant." He whispered.
Sasuke's brows furrowed. "Yes, Itachi told me. Six weeks I believe."
Naruto choked. "They've been married for three months."
"Naruto…please. Don't –"
The blond continued like he didn't hear him. "We've been married for five years." Visions of happier times flitted through Naruto's mind even as he spoke in a voice as dead as last spring.
"Naruto, listen to me. This is not you're fau-"
"Don't you dare tell me it's not my fault!" Naruto snapped shakily as he stared his lover dead in the eyes for what felt like the first time in years. "I'm barren Sasuke!"
The declaration rang out through the car and sunk as much into the very leather and steel of the structure as it did in their ears and minds. It hung like a dead thing, sharp and rotting on a hillside for all to view and shy away from. It was a harsh truth and Naruto was bone bitter over it.
"You've checked, your mother has checked, Tsunade has checked no fewer than six times in the past five months alone." Naruto swallowed and huddled into himself, wrapping his arms around his torso and staring ill at his knees.
"I can't Sasuke. I can't do it anymore. I can't keep pretending that I'm ever going to be good enough for you. I won't force you to endure this anymore. I'll just get my things and lea-"
The word pierced the murk of his mind like a hot knife.
With short jerky movements Sasuke removed his seatbelt and slid his chair back as far as it could go. Inelegantly he yanked of his coat and scarf and harshly pulled his tie and cufflinks off only to throw them on the dash. And then those hands, those pale slender life-saving hands, were working on his belt. Stunned and more than a little detached Naruto remained quiescent as the large hands tugged and pulled his lax form into a strong lap.
Sasuke wrapped his arms around his smaller husband and tucked the blond head into his neck.
"Naruto, please don't."
"Sasuke…" It had been so long since the Uchiha had held him like this that the hold seemed almost foreign.
Pale lips brushed over his forehead and hairline as he was rocked softly. Naruto buried his nose into the slender neck which smelt like sandalwood and soap.
"Naruto…I…I won't say it's not a challenge….But please believe that it's not your fault. Even science can't explain why Endometriosis occurs."
Naruto swallowed. God he hated that word. Endometriosis. It was when scar tissue blocked the fallopian tubes and prevented and egg from reaching the ovary. The tissue blocking Naruto's tubes were thick and absolute, his eggs were reabsorbed as blood back into his body…but he was irrevocably sterile; barren. Like a mule. And he hated himself for it.
"The disease is even trickier in Carrier pregnancies." Sasuke was still talking, his deep voice calmly rationalizing and laying bare the harsh truths of what Naruto knew was his failure. Fuck what Science said.
"Because of your delicate condition you know why surgery isn't an option. Please put this nonsense out of your head dobe."
Naruto was silent for a while, but then "I'm defective."
Sasuke cursed but Naruto railroaded him. "I'm defective and I know it Sasuke. Not just because I can't give you your son…it's everything else."
He stared out into the void beyond the glass observing the swirling mist and drifting clumps of fluff and feeling bits of his strength dance into the darkness with them.
"I'm no doctor or nurse, I don't know the difference between Advil and Aspirin; I wear orange instead of black and I can't tell you what the inside of a College lecture hall looks like. I just don't want to keep going and ten years down the line you resent me for it. I won't trap you to me like that."
"Baka." Sasuke chided softly. "Now you're insulting me. I married you because I love you; you may aggravate me to insanity and wear more orange than what can be sane for any normal human being; but so what? Normal is boring and overrated dobe; Hinata is normal. If I had wanted normal, believe me, I could have gotten it and lived happily ever after in a colourless flat being bored to death with Normal."
Naruto managed a weak chuckle. The words were not the answer to everything but they had managed to cauterize the wound. The cut in his soul might be still gaping but at least it wasn't pus filled and infection ridden any longer.
He looked up at the pale handsome face and weakly brought a tan hand to tug mock harshly on a dark lock.
"Are you callin' me weird Teme?"
"Yes." Sasuke returned immediately.
Naruto nuzzled the aristocratic face and pressed soft kisses along a smooth, strong jaw.
"Bastard" he whispered affectionately, "Take me home, Teme?"
Sasuke flicked his nose with one hand and rubbed a strong palm over Naruto's dark clad thighs
A little shifting and shoving and Naruto was settled back in his seat being cocooned by the soft leather. His right hand held the discarded tie and links while his left was firmly attached to Sasuke's thigh. A pale hand drifted down to cover it and, on handed, Sasuke drove them home through the empty December streets.
Back at the penthouse neither said a word as Sasuke let them both into the living room, past the obscenely huge tree decked with orange spray painted popcorn and through a passage to the room.
The silence was as soft as the drifts of snow settling against the slightly open French window and the balcony beyond. Naruto allowed a soft smile to play on his face as Sasuke delicately divested him of ever stitch of faux fur and dark cotton.
The smile grew wider when Sasuke tucked him under the warm blankets and finally stretched to a full blown grin when Sasuke tucked himself over Naruto.
Slowly, so very very slowly, they shifted and touched. Fingers flitted over warm skin like phantom dreams while ephemeral kisses danced across faces and chests.
The heat was a soft spiral, a sweet coil lazily shifting higher and higher as the harder body nestled between the thighs of the softer on below it. It was a sigh, not a scream, that announced the joining of bodies and the movements were more pressing and caressing than fast and furious.
It was a meeting of heart rather than a clash of bodies but when completion demanded completion it was with gasps and tears and kisses that it was achieved.
In the golden aftermath Naruto watched and waited softly and patiently until Sasuke had drifted off into sleep and his hold, always so possessive, had let slip a fraction of freedom. The slender blond slipped out of bed, pulled on a tattered, comfortable robe and padded softly into the living room.
The tree truly was a masterpiece of Naruto's madness and creativity. It was too tall for one thing; the pointed aped bent at the roof into a candy cane hook. Fastidiously Naruto had tied the angel unto it anyway, no caring if she was at a forty five degree angle with the ground. Sasuke had slapped a hand over his eyes and pronounced it crooked; Naruto had though it quaint.
The boughs were, to the utter horror of Sasuke's interior designer, decorated with a mishmash of old baubles and felt bows. The spheres were gold and silver and turquoise and army green; the bows were faded orange with blue splotches and swirls. The tinsel was snow white and powder pink and thrown every which where in an imitation of snow and finally the orange spray painted popcorn strings corseted the whole spectacle in looping ribbons. It was chaos. It was perfect.
Naruto knelt down in a corner by the stairs and stared at his creation. Sasuke, as usual, had simply given him his box of mish mash and let him wreak his havoc, simply observing the proceedings with an amused semi smirk on his face and his coffee cup clasped in one hand.
In the end, when Naruto, splotched with paint and trussed up in stray tinsel had stepped aside like a proud parent Sasuke had simply reached up and hung a tiny blue star on a branch beside the lopsided angel. As always that was his only contribution but with that one simple bauble the tree was rendered theirs.
Now sitting in the corner, huddled under his robe and watching despondently as the fairly lights flickered on and off at random, Naruto wished he didn't know why Sasuke always hung that one blue star. It was for their son. The son that never was and never would be; but it was his.
Their first Christmas together Mikoto had told him that it was the same star she had hung while pregnant with Sasuke; now, the grown man hung the tiny crystal in silent tribute to the child that Naruto failed to give him.
The blond broke down into tears.
It seemed cruel; this perfect Christmas setting. There were logs in the fireplace; stockings hung by the chimney and presents neatly tucked under the laden boughs…But there were no toys scattered about the carpeted floor. There were no smears of cookie mix on the kitchen counter that Sasuke would harp on about as two giggling forms ignored him and tucked the tray of cookies and milk on a windowsill. There were no mountains of presents wrapped in loud paper and waiting for tiny hands to tear into them; there were no carefully scrawled wish list to Santa stuck on the fridge door.
Through his tears Naruto looked up at the angel. Her face was serene and calm, the smile flitting across her face beautiful and benedictory.
He was not a religious man by nature but Naruto still found himself bowing his head in the muted stillness and letting choked sobs slip from tear moistened lips.
"Dear God, or Santa or... whoever that's up there that might care even a little for someone like me. I...I don't do this much; can't even remember Our Father all the way through, but…. right now I n-need somebody to listen to me. It's...It's not fancy; I don't know no big words like Sasuke does and I-I'm p-probably doing this wrong but…
I don't know what to do anymore!"
Naruto pressed his face into his drawn up knees and reached out a hand to clutch a low branch. His small body was shaking and his head hurt. He had no idea what he was doing but it needed to come out just the same. His teeth chattered and his voice broke over the words but they needed to come out.
"See…S-Sasuke's the best thing that ever happened to me. He's everything. A right b-bastard most of the t-time but he's sweet and kind…'S a pediatrician y'know? Even though his dad wanted him to be a brain surgeon like him S-Sasuke wanted to look after children. He gets up so early and works so hard and gives so much! S-sometimes he forgets to eat. O-once he f-fell asleep at his desk a whole w-week straight trying to h-help a little baby girl who had skin sickness. It's just not fair that h-he…"
He faltered and his voice came out in a whisper. "It's not fair that he's m-married to somebody that can't even give him that."
"I don't know if you listen to people like me. In this b-big world there are probably people who deserve a lot more than I do. Can't say I've ever rescued a kitten or fed the poor or saved a life. But please; this isn't for me. I c-can't live anymore seeing him pass the empty room beside ours and not look at it. I can't s-stand seeing him having to make do with this empty house when I know he want it filled…I can't-"
Naruto broke off. His sobs were clutching at his throat and tearing up things deep inside him that he'd though were long insensate to anymore sadness. This pain hurt. Not his pain; no, he could live with that just as he'd lived with always being a step behind someone at something or lived with the snide remarks and cold shoulders of his husband's family for five years. He could live with his own pain; it was Sasuke's that was killing him.
He was tired and his head felt stuffed with cotton. Specks of colour from the window and the fairy lights of the tree swirled together and danced before and behind his eyelids; the air felt heavy like someone had gone and pumped foam into it. With every ounce of strength he had he looked up at the angel and stared waveringly at the perfect porcelain face; the Madonna like smile and the gossamer wings that flit about on tiny air currents.
"I don't even know what I'm asking for…but…please? Please, m-may I?" As he drifted off into unconsciousness he heard himself whisper, "What's Christmas after all but a time for miracles?"
"You see, he was heavily afflicted indeed. It's sad the way this big world works sometimes. Some of the most deserving folk are often the ones who suffer the most and-
Why is this story my favourite when it's so sad? Ah, well now; you see, that's where miracles come in. Never doubt the power of Christmas my child. It will always surprise you.
Now little Naruto fell asleep right there tucked into the corner of tree and stair. He had prayed a prayer that tore at my heartstrings I'll tell you. The missus had to be holding me beard or t'would have soaked right through I tell you.
He had asked for something that so many people forget to. He asked for others. I've received many a letter in my time I'll tell you that…all with wishes for toys and dolls and trains for me, me, me and many times there's nothing wrong with asking for your heart's desire…but it becomes so much more special when you're heart's desire is to truly help someone else. That's when Christmas means the most you see.
So the little one prayed and fell asleep right there curled up into a little ball. T'was a little time after that, a week I believe, that things began to change you see. Why so long? Alas child; the world is an old mother indeed and she takes her time with all things as she sees fit.
Now; it was night, and the lashing storm of the old season howled as hard as it could as it knew that it's time for passing was near. The wind tossed the silver snow in drifts yea high up against the windows and all around the world the spirits of New and Change flitted about; touching life into the hearts of the frozen things and the sleeping things. It was the eve of the New Year and…
Naruto pressed further into the strong arm tucked around his waist.
The new year celebration that the family hosted was something that could not be missed and since it was an open even, no one did. Colours and laughter and utter life swirled about the ballroom as people flitted about to sing away the old world. Naruto, per his custom was swathed in a white cashmere sweater and white pants; white for hope, white for healing and white for new things. He looked like a cherub, what with the white and the brilliant blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. Despite the sadness that lurked within them things were healing between him and his husband. Sasuke had not let go of him once that night and the blond was far too happy about the rebuilding of his most important bond than to care about the disapproving whispers and disdainful Uchiha glares.
Fuck them all.
He would not allow them and their narrow-mindedness to break his spirit. Believe it.
He broke up into giggles as Kiba finished describing, with wild gesticulations and all, Akamaru's actions after apprehending a criminal that they had chased for fifteen blocks. Shino, an entomologist and a good friend since high school simply stood by and managed to convey the action of rolling his eyes at his lover's shenanigans even while standing stock still and not removing his tinted glasses.
Choji was simultaneously chowing down at the buffet table and praising his father, the resident master chef, on his spectacular kobe beef while Shikamaru lounged beside a window, probably asleep, since the lazy genius had declared quite firmly that his normal bedtime was eight thirty and they could all go screw themselves if they expected him to be coherent by the ringing in of the new year.
Naruto was shining around his friends. These were people he could relate to. Normal human beings with visible faults and flaws and were far more comforting to be around that those stuck up bastard his husband unfortunately had to call family. If shunning your son's spouse because of an inability to bear children, no matter how precious was the clans regard for young offspring, then Naruto wanted no part of their family. He had a family that would love and support him no matter what; Kiba, Shino, Shika, Chouki and even Iruka and Kakashi back home in Tokyo.
Naruto looked up as he heard this pseudo-grandmother's booming laugh. Damn Tsunade was an intimidating woman. She was over near the bar happily downing glass after glass of liquor while her assistant tried, in vain, to get the festive Christmas rum from the woman's large tan hand.
Naruto turned back to Sasuke just as his phone rang.
"Hello!" he sang out and wandered out of the noise towards a more quiet area. A beat later Sasuke found himself with an armful of babbling, shining eyes blond.
"SASUKE! Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke, Saaaaaaaasuuukkkeeee!!!!!"
"Yeeeess?" He drawled back mockingly as he frantically balanced himself and the glass of champagne while trying to hold on to the writhing slender form in his arms.
"Remember that part I auditioned for few days ago?"He was bouncing on the balls of his feet now.
Sasuke raised a brow. "Little red riding hood?"
Naruto slapped him.
"No numbskull; the part of Christian in the contemporary gay remake of the Phantom of the Opera!!"
"Ah yes, the one you've been babbling about since May. What of it?"
"I got the part! I got the part S'uke!!!"
"Wonderful. Do you mind unwrapping your legs from my waist; my grandmother is looking at me funny."
Naruto giggled into a slender neck. "Fuck'em. I'm happy. I will glomp you if I want to!" but clambered down from Sasuke's anyway.
He completely ignored the disapproving stares.
Sasuke pressed a kiss to his forehead. "I'm proud of you." He added quietly.
Naruto smile put the summer sun to shame. Before he could speak up though a clamour was heard.
"…I Love you."
"…I don't blame you."
"ONE!!! Happy New Year!"
….And with a soft gasp Naruto collapsed.
The noises were dancing the cucaracha with his sensitive eardrums. The pounding was so harsh it hurt and even though he was well aware that no congo drums were beating in his vicinity it sure felt that way.
"…three hours…can't find his…"
"But the MRI…four x-rays…nothing.."
"..hard…four out of five at density.."
"…IV, Saline drips…dehydration…"
The words made no sense.
With a soul deep groan he forced his eye lids to flutter open and –
-came face to face with white.
He was awake but not awake. His eyes were opened but had opened within himself, inward towards his own consciousness he stepped forward through the backdoor of his mind…and found himself staring at…
It was white, just like the room and in his heart Naruto knew exactly what was nestled in the soft silk lined interior.
He was right. Their son was beautiful.
Curled up in his blue blankets like a comma was the littlest Uchiha-let. He was so tiny, so fresh, so new that Naruto feared he might sully him as he picked him up and cradled the nothing weight against his chest.
The little one yawned and fluttered open tiny, dark lashed eyelids. The sleepy gems that stared back at him were black, blue-black, blue…indefinable. The boy was a perfect combination of both he and Sasuke and as Naruto leaned down to nuzzle the soft tuft of flyaway baby hair and press a wet kiss to his smooth cheek a pint sized Uchiha glare arrested him.
Naruto chuckled and snuggled his son closer to his chest, closed his eyes in peace and-
Woke up in a sterile hospital room staring blearily into worried to death black eyes.
"Naruto! Are you in pain? How do you feel?"
The sleepy blond chuckled and with all his strength reached for a pale hand and, clasping it in his, placed both of them over his lower belly.
"How do you feel?" Sasuke whispered again.
Naruto smiled before blinking back out of consciousness. "I feel…pregnant."
"This is impossible" Fugaku snapped. "The scar tissue still covers his ovaries, there is no feasible way on this earth that he could be pregnant."
Sasuke stared his father down. "You ran the test yourself."
"Well…" the elder man shuffled. He sighed before eyeing his son. "I don't know how to tell you this but…have you considered that he may have implanted an foreign ovary into-"
"Father, with all due respect, if you don't shut up right now then you won't like me very much in a few minutes."
Fugaku gasped. "E-excuse me?"
"You're excused." Sasuke hissed furiously, getting up from his chair nestled at Naruto bedside to face his father dead in the eye, rage burning in his fine features.
"Do you honestly think I am as dull as you believe? I had hoped that over time you would finally accept my decision to stay with Naruto but no. You push and you prod, you embarrass him and flaunt Hinata and Ino in his face. My husband is my husband because I chose him. You don't like it but that's your business. I refuse to give him up after I fought so hard for him just because he doesn't fit your ideals of an Uchiha."
"How dare you speak to me-"
"No, how dare you speak to me as though I were I child? How dare you belittle my decision about who I spend my life with! Who the hell do you think you are?" Sasuke advanced towards his father with murder in his eyes. His husband, his chosen one, was lying unconscious on a bed after defying the very laws of Science and conceiving within his body and his father, instead of being happy for him was implying that Naruto had gone and cheated on him. Implanted some other person's egg into his body in an effort to trap Sasuke.
"I've had enough, Father. If you can't be happy for me then get out. I'm sick of your machinations and your sneers. I'm tired of holding Naruto while he cries himself to sleep every time you threw his infertility back into his face. He's held himself back because he respected me and my love for you, but no longer.
If you can't be happy for me, then don't even speak to me again."
Fugaku stared, wide eyed, at the boy- no man- in front of him. Never in his life had anyone spoken to him as his own son had just done, and he knew that as harsh as the words Sasuke had just spoken were there were even harsher ones he wanted to speak but were buried under years of respect and manners.
The Uchiha elder pursed his lips. "Are you threatening to remove yourself from this family?"
"Immediately." Sasuke's lean body was vibrating with repressed anger and energy. He was utterly sick of his father's bullshit and it was high damn time he stopped allowing himself, Naruto and now their child to be subjected to it.
Fugaku was white faced. He really hadn't meant to push Sasuke this far. "Son, I-"
"Don't you dare apologize to me and you don't mean it. Get the hell out!"
Sasuke turned his back toward the prone blond figure on the bed and didn't budge until he heard the click of the door.
He crossed the pristine white tile and perched himself on the bed, reaching up with one hand to brush a lock from his beloved face.
His tear stained face.
Naruto was awake.
"Naruto?" His voice was soft, the words uttered in whispers.
The blond turned his eyes to his husband, his dark hair falling over his deep dark eyes and finally let loose the barrage of tears that he had held inside as Sasuke had told Fugaku off.
The young Pediatrician managed a half smile and gathered the sobbing man to his chest. No words were needed.
When the tears receded and his head stopped spinning Naruto looked up and grinned weakly at his lover. He clasped harder to the hands surrounding his waist and womb and closed his eyes.
"Happy New year teme."
Sasuke snorted softly/ "Yes dobe, yes it is."
Sasuke turned a page in his newspaper.
He turned another page.
"OTOU-SAN! Tell Papa to stop putting so much sugar in the cookie batter!"
Sasuke cast an amused eye over to the counter where Naruto, streaked in cake batter that he had somehow managed to get almost everywhere on his person, stood with the sugar jar poised over the mixing bowl. Their four year old son Kiseki, perched on a stool to reach the counter, was glaring holes into his papa's head.
"What?" Naruto squawked indignantly. "How can you have cookies without sugar?"
Kiseki sniffed, his tiny pale arms folding over his dark clad chest. There were days when Naruto swore that Kiseki wasn't his son but Sasuke's pre-emptive reincarnation instead. He had never met a four year old who hated sweets as much as the navy eyed boy now glaring at him from under smooth black bangs.
"Now Dobe." Sasuke drawled, "You must understand…we normal human beings simply do not like ingesting diabetes. We like a little cookie with our sugar thanks."
Naruto huffed. "Are you saying that I don't eat healthily?"
Identical snorts came from both dark haired parties.
Naruto pouted and turned to the kitchen window to glare aimlessly out into the merrily falling snow. Winter had come to Konoha again but unlike the horrible ones five years before, the cold no longer froze his very soul.
Warm, hard arms encircled his waist and he glanced up and back to see Sasuke's teasing smile. The Uchiha was wearing the reading glasses that Naruto always said made him look like a grandpa. Peeking over his shoulder was an equally dark set of eyes belonging to their son.
Sasuke kissed him on the forehead. "Calm down dobe. You may inhale more sugar and sodium than a junk food factory…but we still love you."
Naruto grumbled but spun around and pressed his smeared cheek into a cashmere clad shoulder. "You'd better."
A tiny tug on his arm made him glance up at beguiling dark eyes. Naruto grinned; his son always swore he was too old to be lifted up but he always begged for it with his eyes anyway.
The littlest Uchiha settle between both parties, perched on Naruto's arms and secured by Sasuke's chest. He smiled smugly.
"S'okay Papa…we love you n'way."
Something burst inside Naruto at that moment. A sun spray of radiance pulsed outwards from his heart and enveloped him. As bright as the fairy lights flickering in from the living room were; as strung with bright banners and festive ribbons as the windows; doors and banisters were; as merrily burning as the fire in the grate was; nothing beat the summer in his heart at that moment.
Sasuke pawned the small child off him and steered them all towards the living room and the crackling fireplace Naruto glanced up towards the tree, as garishly over festive decorated as it was five years ago and as was his custom whispered a heartfelt 'Thank You'.
He turned back to his family and joined them on the couch as Kiseki began tearing into the piles of presents in front of him.
"YAY! Papa! Lookit! Tou-san got me the chem'stry set he said I was too old for!"
Naruto rolled his eyes. Sasuke was forever spoiling his son, no matter how much he swore not to.
"Tou-san, I though you said that nothin' but a miracle would get me this befor' I tuned ten?"
Sasuke ignored the question. "I said no such thing."
"So…it's not a miracle?"
Naruto smiled. "Don't listen to him Kiseki, miracles do happen. That's what your name means after all."
The boy perked up and jumped in his parents lap, sprawling himself quite happily above two sets of knees.
"So I was a miracle?"
Naruto and Sasuke shared a look.
"Yes baby, the biggest on that ever happened to us. That's why we named you Kiseki; it means Miracle you know."
Kiseki thought for a moment. "Do you pray to god for Miracles?"
Naruto tilted his head a bit confused at the turn in the line of questioning. "Sometimes, yes."
Kiseki nodded resolutely to himself. "Were you praying for a Miracle last night then Papa? 'Cause when I woke up for some water you was saying 'Oh God' a lot..."
Naruto buried his face into Sasuke shoulder as the Uchiha threw back his head and laughed.
"That's…one way of looking at it."
The little boy smiled. "So miracles happen at Christmas?"
Naruto ruffled black hair. "You never know baby, but most of the times, yes. Miracles happen at Christmas; I'll never doubt that for as long as I live."
"What's going to happen this Christmas?" The little boy looked anxiously at the fireplace and the three objects hung there. "Is Santa going to put a Miracle in my stocking?"
Secretly Naruto placed a hand over his belly and smiled mysteriously. "You never know baby, you just never know."
And that, my dearies is why I love this season so much. Never doubt the strange and mysterious things that can happen at Christmas. Miracles have a way of surprising you when you need them the most.
Have a happy Christmas all! Remember to set out the milk and cookies; a body gets hungry delivering so many presents in one night y'know!
Happy Christmas for all, and for those that don't celebrate it; Happy Holidays.
Michi: fluff for you. Give the babies a snuggle for me. *kisses*