Naruto created a Christmas tradition just for the guys to relieve holiday stress: just-for-fun taijutsu-only sparring. His last and most wanted opponent was Sasuke on Christmas Eve. [friendship / m...
Sorry if it seems rushed or if Naruto or Sasuke is slightly OOC. Christmas just pounced on me so I didn't have much time to write it. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas.
Naruto Uzumaki bounded through the paved streets of the Hidden Leaf Village during the late afternoon hours. Civilians frequently had to take heed of the bright voice heralding his appearance and stepped out of the way of the moving figure of yellow and orange as he passed them by. The blonde was glad the villagers had nothing more to say about him besides grumbling about having too much energy in this heat.
For today's weather, Naruto still wore his ridiculously orange cargo pants but had opted to lose the accustomed jacket and tee for a sleeveless fishnet singlet of the black variety. It was a warm day in Konoha but the humidity was almost suffocating to the point of being hot. He deemed any one wearing more than one layer crazy. Then again he was the one running around, but he chose to ignore that fact for now.
A smile slid across his lips as Naruto spotted the three females of the former Rookie Nine Genin outside a shop. They each carried bags in a hand so the blonde figured they were in the middle of last minute Christmas shopping. He gracefully came to a halt beside his old team-mate and the Hyuuga heiress, as the third member was the closest to and staring through the store window.
"Hiya Sakura, Hinata, Ino." The blonde had stopped using suffixes with the girls a while back which had resulted in happier kunoichi. Hinata had stopped blushing so much around him, Sakura was friendlier and Ino, well Ino didn't originally have a suffix so Naruto didn't have to worry about her being mad about being left out anymore (not that Naruto thought she cared when they were younger).
The three fellow ninja placed their attention on the smiling shinobi and returned the greeting with enthusiasm. It was the season of Christmas and he was their friend so why wouldn't they.
Sakura had seen the tanned blonde travelling down the road. "How can you run on a day like today Naruto?" She was perspiring just by standing motionless, despite the sinking sun.
"It may be hot but I don't feel like anything should get me down." He waved a hand absently in the air. "Besides I'm just too happy right now."
"What do you have to be cheerful about?" enquired Ino, ever curious and an active gossip.
"Oh nothing" he replied nonchalantly. A wider grin couldn't help but belie his words.
They could hear Sakura mutter something in the background, which sounded suspiciously like 'not again' while Hinata asked, "Are you into the holiday spirit Naruto-kun?"
Naruto rubbed the back of his head lightly. "You could say I am Hinata."
The other two girls watched amusedly as the pink haired one bopped her former team-mate over the head with the long purse she was carrying. Naruto winced at the impact but the cheeky curl of his mouth never wavered.
"Sakura, what was that for?" He had some idea of the reason but as he had said, Naruto was just too happy to think more than he had to at the moment.
"You had another just-for-fun Christmas spar, didn't you?" she demanded.
His sheepish expression was all they needed to confirm Sakura's presumption. "And I won too" he boasted and then the blue-eyed boy subtly cleared his throat. "See you girls around. I've got a date with ramen."
Hinata giggled and Sakura sighed at his usual antics. Ino rolled her eyes before yelling to Uzumaki's retreating back. "Hey, who'd you spar with?"
Naruto whipped out another grin as he shouted back over his shoulder. "Sasuke-bastard."
Any return comments from the kunoichi were lost as he turned the corner onto the next boulevard.
Ah yes, Naruto was always happy after his just-for-fun battles. This year he had managed to get Shikamaru and Chouji's fights in the first week of December. Nara had relented quite easily to 'get it over and done with' and Chouji hadn't minded the blonde asking at all. Lee Rock, always eager, was a huge fan of Naruto's Christmas tradition and jumped at the chance for a spar in the second week. It was with the taijutsu master's help that Naruto was able to sway Neji into a battle as well, amazingly enough. Kiba was another who immediately agreed to a fight on the spot (probably an easy excuse to get out of helping his mother and sister). The bug user Shino was the last welcomed surprise partner for the third week of the month. Anyway, the one he had just had had put him in an extremely contented mood that Naruto was sure wouldn't leave him for the rest of the night.
The blonde ninja ended his musings on the bouts as Ichiraku Ramen came into his line of sight. External store and street lamps started to flicker into life to provide for the late night customers as the daylight globe slipped even lower. The Christmas lights specially brought out for the holidays left pools of chaotic colour on the ground underneath the sources strung high above people's head. Naruto's favourite restaurant had star shaped lights decorating the end walls of the bar.
Two children ran across the path where Uzumaki was walking, laughing gaily while letting the strands of different types of tinsel stream out behind them from their small hands. The seasonal spirit had well and truly possessed the younger generation. Their blatant happiness brought a gentle smile to his lips as Naruto watched the pair disappear into the sparse crowd of people in the streets.
The soft expression lingered as he sat down in his usual stool at Ichiraku and the waitress Ayame took the usual order of miso ramen for their number one customer. Naruto decided to savour his night meal on this day of Christmas Eve rather than slurping it down hurriedly as he did when he had to get back to training. When he was finished he thanked Ichiraku-san and Ayame-neesan and wished them a merry Christmas as he left payment on the counter.
Every Christmas holiday since he got back from his extended training trip away from Konoha had been fun and Naruto enjoyed spending it with his friends and the people he loved. Yet he had promised himself this Christmas would be different from the others. It was just that something seemed to be missing when the month began and the holiday spirit descended on the Hidden Village. Naruto had finally figured out what that something was this morning.
A special someone to spend Christmas with.
The clear starry night twinkled with a seeming joy of the season for those looking above. It wasn't very late and the atmosphere was still appallingly warm and sticky. Naruto decided to trek up to the top of the Hokage Mountain to find a cool wind before returning to his apartment. Within half an hour the blonde had settled into a niche on the edge of Yondaime's head which let the light breeze blow across his sweaty skin.
The light greeting sounded behind Naruto but he had been expecting the owner of the voice to visit later rather than sooner. He guessed the guy was still as unpredictable as ever.
The Sharingan user silently took a seat next to the blonde, arms wrapped around his bent knees. They stayed like that for a while, letting the tranquillity Christmas brought each year to rest comfortably between them.
Uncharacteristically Sasuke began to let his fingers fidget with the cloth of his navy trousers. He breathed deep and swallowed hesitation. It was better to just get the conversation out of the way to calm his confused thoughts.
"Naruto?" The boy cocked his head to show he was listening. The Uchiha took another breath. "Why did you decide to start the Christmas spar tradition of yours?"
"Every body gets so wrapped up in the season that I felt a friendly fight would help the guys release the stress. You know we hate shopping so what better to way to relax."
"Uh huh, so it's not just an excuse to train."
Naruto narrowed his eyes at the small smirk that was directed at him. He opened his mouth to retort but Sasuke continued, cutting him off.
"But I suppose it was lonely watching everyone participate in their own family traditions."
"I never let things like that get to me but yeah, when I received friends it was lonely sometimes. Travelling around and seeing how other people celebrated Christmas kind of heightened the fact that I didn't have a tradition to call my own."
"You really only had Iruka-sensei for holidays and things didn't you?"
Naruto nodded, making the moonlight glint off his bright spikes.
Sasuke waited a couple of minutes for the unintended melancholy of the topic to dissipate. Slender fingers disobeyed his non-squirming rule again, this time toying with the ends of his midnight bangs.
"What happened earlier, why did you do it?"
The blonde seemed to perk up at the on-topic change. "Do what?" he enquired innocently.
Naruto really knew what the other boy was talking about, as he usually did in that wordless understanding they shared. It was just a lot more fun making Sasuke admit to something he has issues about.
Naruto shot in like a blur of brightness to deliver the punch to his sparring partner. Sasuke's instincts dodged the attack which barely missed the Uchiha's cheek by mere centimetres.
The raven grabbed the tanned wrist sailing past his ear and spun rapidly to bring Naruto to his back kick. The impact coaxed a breathy cough from Naruto's throat and earned Sasuke an uppercut to the chin.
The rivals stumbled back from each other. One was winded while the other was becoming dizzy. In an unspoken mutual agreement they ended Naruto's traditional Christmas spar.
A playful smirk flitted around Sasuke's lips as he focused on the only person who he called a best friend. Naruto was recovering a few metres away and grinned happily back as he spotted the Uchiha's expression.
The blonde had a sudden idea. Whether it was good or not was up for debate but the thought of his Christmas wish and Sasuke's reaction was worth it.
"Hey Sasuke." Naruto moved towards his friend as if to drape an arm around the other boy's shoulders.
The Uchiha wasn't taking much notice of how close Naruto was getting as he was mysteriously still seeing blurred outlines. So it was unexpectedly startling for Sasuke to feel slightly chapped lips pressed against his left cheek. Naruto pulled back into the brunette's view with his cheerful smile lighting his tanned face.
"Thanks for the Christmas spar."
Before Sasuke was allowed to form a reaction or a reply in the aftermath of his shock, Naruto had disappeared in a flash of yellow towards the village centre.
"Naruto..." Sasuke groaned the name in light exasperation. "You know what I mean."
"No I don't Sasuke." Naruto hid a chuckle at the raven's pained expression. "Care to remind me what I did?"
The Uchiha stopped his jaw from clenching, his face breaking out in a faint blush instead. "Why did you kiss my cheek?"
His eyes lit up from amusement and Naruto smiled the soft cheeky grin reserved only for the raven. "Because I wanted to."
Sasuke was a taken aback by the carefree statement; he was expecting it to be an Uzumaki-style joke to toy with him.
The blonde stretched his arms overhead. "It's getting late."
"We should go home," Sasuke agreed, standing up with all his grace.
Naruto imaged the fitful sleep he was going to get that night and the grouchy result in the morning. There was no way he could get any rest with the temperature staying sickeningly warm. For some reason his stuffy little apartment refused to cool down even with the windows open.
A grimace crossed Naruto's face and Sasuke picked up on the reason behind it. He'd been to Uzumaki's place during the summer at night and he knew how bad it could get. A sleep deprived blonde idiot was not good for peacefully hanging around on Christmas no matter how amusing it was to observe Naruto's clumsiness while his attention was diverted elsewhere.
Naruto had once said the Uchiha's house was 'heaven in the summer', as the multitude of sliding doors the allowed cooler air to circulate adequately.
Sasuke stopped the other boy with a hand on a forearm as he was about to leave. "Naruto?"
His hand moved from Naruto to run pale fingers through his midnight blue hair. "You can sleep over if you want."
"Well, your apartment has nonexistent ventilation so you'd actually get some sleep" Sasuke shrugged casually. "Besides, we'll see each other first thing anyway because of the team get-together at my place that Sakura conned me into having."
The blonde nodded. "I'd like to."
Naruto stepped back towards his friend and enveloped him in a hug. Sasuke stiffened at first but then he melted into the warmth of his best friend, placing his arms around the other's waist to return the embrace.
They broke apart after a minute, pink tinging both of the boy's cheeks. Azure sought and caught the attention of obsidian eyes.
"What for Naruto?"
"For letting me share Christmas with Sasuke."