A merry Christmas in Konoha. Some shounen-ai.
Haha! I actually wrote this Christmas of '05. . . but I'm just typing it up and putting it online now in Christmas '06. It's sad it took this long to post online, but hey, at least I got it out eventually!
Ok, considering this is fluff, we're pretending that Sasuke got successfully brought back and still resides in Konoha with no harm, no foul. Just pretend with me people, for the sake of holiday fun. ^_^
Without further ado, I give you Kurisumasu. I hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays!
Christmas was not a largely celebrated day in Konoha, it was more just a day to spend with family and friends while eating cake and giving presents to the people you cared about. Technically speaking, Valentine's Day and White Day created a bigger fuss in the hidden village, but Christmas was looked forward to and celebrated all the same.
Naruto had never actually had a real Christmas. Until just recently he hadn't had any family or friends to celebrate it with. Normally he spent the holiday eating special Christmas style ramen bought the night before from Ichiraku (he had to get it the night before since the restaurant was closed on Christmas itself) and taking the day off from training to rest. When the blonde boy had professed to never eating Christmas cake or getting a single present on the festive holiday, Iruka vowed in his heart that he would make sure his almost-brother got properly broken in with Christmas cheer.
Naruto was getting paid regularly now that he was a geinin, but Iruka gave him a small advance in his pay and told the boy to buy presents for the people he considered friends, even if it was just a small friendship. Naruto promised to pay his old sensei back when he got the money, then scampered off to go buy gifts.
Iruka smiled, watched the boy go, then began working on his plan. The chunin went out to a number of homes and made calls on some certain individuals. Christmas was still a little less then two weeks away, but Iruka knew it would be best to make plans early. Invitations were sent out and the location was chosen for the party. Satisfied with his work so far, Iruka took out the remainder of his Christmas savings and began shopping for his own gifts to give and decorations for the party. For Iruka, Christmases before had been spent moderately with some friends from the academy and the Sandaime. This year, Naruto wasn't the only one to gain more friends and people who cared about him, so the Christmas money was going to have to be stretched a bit thin.
Iruka didn't tell Naruto directly that there was going to be a big Christmas bash inspired by him, but the teacher did let the blonde know that he would have somewhere to go this year, unlike the others. Naruto had been afraid, but resigned, to eat ramen alone in his apartment again even though he had important people in his life now. After all, Sakura and most of his geinin friends (plus Shikamaru) had families to celebrate with. Iruka and Kakashi didn't have families, but they still had gone to parties and places in past years and Naruto thought they'd just continue the tradition. Now with money to burn and a real celebration to look forward to, Naruto was on cloud nine and full of Christmas cheer. Parceling out his money in a few different piles he decided exactly who he was going to be buying gifts for. He definitely needed gifts for Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-sensei, Sakura-chan, the old pervert Jiraiya, and the old hag Tsunade. He supposed he'd have to get a gift for Sasuke as well or Sakura would get angry at him. Besides, the sullen Uchiha was one of his teammates and sometimes - just sometimes - he was fun to be around. If he still had the money after that list, then he'd put it towards getting presents for the other geinin teams he'd come to know fairly well. Thinking more on it, Naruto decided he would definitely have to buy the other geinin presents since Iruka had told him to get presents no matter how small the friendship was. Maybe he could even play at being Santa Claus and deliver the presents at everyone's house the night before. Or he could just go around on Christmas and give his gifts out.
Then again, Naruto didn't know who would actually have a present to give back to him. . . the anonymous Santa idea sounded a little more appealing. But with a smack to the head those negative thoughts were banished from Naruto's mind. Christmas was all about the giving anyway, not the getting! Getting rid of the last of his fears, Naruto set out on his mission to obtain the best presents ever for his important people. After all, why should he be upset when he had a real Christmas to look forward to!
Iruka had asked quite a few people to join Naruto and him for Christmas. Of course many wouldn't be able to stay the whole time, but everyone he'd asked had promised to stop by. Iruka had been pleasantly surprised that Sasuke had promised to come as well, though it was with a resigned sigh and some grumbling about teamwork. The list of guests was longer then he'd been expecting and Iruka's funds hadn't quite been up to the demand. Luckily Kakashi had run into him at the last stop and volunteered to pay the tab, rationalizing that since he was partly responsible for his student he could pay for part of his first Christmas party. Of course since he was paying, Kakashi opted to throw some of his own items and ideas into the "to buy" pile. And then he grabbed half the decorations himself, promising to come early on the day of the party and put everything together. Considering Kakashi's usual fondness for lateness however, Iruka decided to borrow some decor from the other guests attending or teachers from the academy.
Even with Kakashi stealing half the decorations, Iruka still had plenty of other bags full of food and presents to bring home. The chunin could hardly see around his heavy load as he made his way back to his apartment. About halfway there an arm came out from beside him and took on part of the load, more was in the newcomer's arms that was left to Iruka. The teacher smiled at Lee's generous actions and let the boy fall into place beside him while still walking.
"Good afternoon, Lee. How are you doing?" he asked, now able to see everything clearly, including the young man next to him. To his surprise, the taijutsu student looked fairly troubled. "What's the matter?"
"Iruka-sensei, I may have encroached on your hospitality." Iruka raised his eyebrow and waited for Lee to go on. "I have invited someone else to join us at the Christmas party. I know I should have asked you first, but it was a very spur of the moment thing and I don't really get to communicate with him much so. . ."
The poor boy looked so distraught over his possible breach in etiquette that Iruka had trouble keeping down his laugh. He shuffled things around in his arms so that one hand could pat the bowl-cut youth gently on the head. "Don't worry Lee, this is supposed to be a fun celebration. You can invite whomever else you think about. But out of curiosity, may I ask who you invited? I thought I'd gotten just about all of Naruto's friends who live here."
"Oh, well you see, he's not from Konoha. I made Gaara promise to come for the Christmas party."
Iruka stopped and blinked, throwing off their walking rhythm. "Gaara? Gaara of the Sand?"
Lee saw Iruka's shock and hesitation and jumped to the worst conclusion. "It's just, Gaara has never had a proper Christmas either and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce him to the holiday. Naruto and Gaara respect each other if they aren't exactly friends, and since we started talking a lot after he helped out in the Sasuke mission I just thought maybe for repayment or just for fun that he could have his first real Christmas here in Konoha."
He hadn't met Gaara for very long, really it had only been a quick hello and thank you when the group had returned with Sasuke in tow so Iruka didn't think to invite the strange boy or any of his siblings to the small Christmas bonanza. Naruto had mentioned the desert nin a few times, but Iruka had to admit he was a little wary of the demon who had nearly destroyed Konoha. With Lee's adamant faith in Gaara, Iruka actually felt guilty for not thinking to invite Gaara. After all, Naruto had a demon who almost destroyed Konoha living inside him as well, so who was Iruka to discriminate against that trait. He must have taken too long thinking about his mistake in not inviting the red-haired ninja because Lee's face fell and he gave a mighty sigh.
"I guess I shouldn't have invited him without clearing it with you first. I'm sorry." But the younger version of Gai was quick to bounce back. "Well I'll just have to have a Christmas party at my home as well! I will not let Gaara down this Christmas season!" Lee looked like he was about to pull a dramatic pose, but Iruka quickly laid a hand on his shoulder to calm Lee down - fearful for his bags on Lee's person suffering some destruction if the boy did end up going into any poses.
"No no, Lee, it's fine! In fact, I'm glad you did invite him. I'm afraid I don't know him at all so I didn't really think to do it myself," he said, pacifying and praising Lee all at once. Sometimes being a teacher and knowing how to handle all sorts of attitudes and personalities really paid off. His food and gifts were safe for now.
"Great! Then for certain Gaara and I will be at your Christmas party!" They finished walking to Iruka's and then Lee was off to go train. Iruka cracked his knuckles and settled down. He would bring the food and decorations to Sakura's house later - now he had some papers to grade!
Sakura normally spent Christmas with her parents and sometimes friends of theirs would come, but other times it was just the three of them. This year was her parents' fifteenth anniversary and they decided to celebrate in style, going off to a hot spring resort. Sakura's original plan was to spend Christmas with Ino's family, but when Iruka had come around talking about a Christmas party, her ultimate plan had formed. She asked her parents beforehand of course, but they had been more then happy to hand the house over to Iruka-sensei since as he was an academy teacher and had taught their daughter, he was obviously a well bred and responsible young man. They thought it heartwarming that the teacher wanted to have a party for the many orphans of Konoha. Whether they realized that meant Naruto and the demon from Sunagakure too, neither Sakura or Iruka knew for sure, but they wouldn't be the ones to bring it up. Sakura did feel a a smidge guilty over her parents' quick approval since the only reason she had bothered to volunteer her house as the party spot at all was because Iruka had mentioned Sasuke's guaranteed attendance.
She and Iruka had gone over the details after her parents agreed to the party. Sakura was amazed and pleased at the number of people who would be celebrating with them - everyone from Kakashi, to Ino, to Jiraiya, and apparently even the Hokage herself was going to make an appearance. Iruka promised she wouldn't have to play hostess even though it was her house. He promised to take care of all those matters and all but ordered the girl to just enjoy the party.
Then again, Iruka wasn't exactly an expert at organizing or setting up parties. He could organize a class and make up lesson plans with no problem, but that was serious teaching work. He'd thrown a few last minute drinking parties - celebrating anything from a promotion to a new pet - back in his teen years with some rowdy school buddies, but this Christmas celebration was supposed to be special.
When he brought up his concern in the mission room, Anko and Kakashi spoke up and volunteered for decorating and planning honors. Naturally Iruka didn't trust those two as far as he could throw them (which was actually pretty far, he'd found out, so the metaphor didn't quite hold up anymore), but no one else had any ideas or wanted to help out, plus Kakashi still had half the decorations at his house as it was. He grudgingly accepted their help but only on the condition that he be present for the decorating and could veto as he chose. Anko and Kakashi agreed too easily, but there was nothing Iruka could do about it now.
Christmas came around all too fast and suddenly the party was in full swing. Iruka, with the help of Sakura and Chouji, made enough food to feed an army - which was perfect since that was basically who they were feeding. Chouji, Shikamaru, and Ino were only around for half the party since traditionally the Akimichi's invited the Naras and Yamanakas over for a big Christmas feast, but the trio had gotten some leave to celebrate with Iruka and the rest of their peers. Konohamaru and his "subordinates" had taken it upon themselves to sneak up on any new guests that arrived and loudly wish them a Merry Christmas. Seeing as the young students weren't particularly skilled in sneaking as of yet, most of the guests just raised their eyebrow or shook their heads, though some did play along. Naruto smirked while watching this and decided to pull the same stunt on the young kids, scaring the snot out of the would be pranksters.
Everything was going fine and well until the Christmas Cake came out. Iruka had relented to Sakura's insistence on making the cake mostly because he had no baking skills what so ever. With a frying pan or other cooking styles Iruka could slide by on his own, but anything involving the oven and he was finished before even starting. So when Sakura had volunteered, Iruka thanked his lucky stars and "reluctantly" let his former student take over the task. Of course the sacrifice came with the startlingly pink frosting encasing the cake, but it was a small price to pay for the tasty treat. At least that's what Iruka had come to think.
Kakashi, in putting up the decorations with Anko, had managed to sneak in mistletoe about every fifteen feet. Iruka had taken most of it down, but in the spirit of the season left two sprigs up - he had been quite the prankster himself in his youth after all. The two jounin would-be decorators took this in stride and began rigorously stalking the remaining two kiss-traps, making sure no one escaped unscathed. So far only two couples had fallen prey to the plant. Asuma and Kurenai hadn't minded much and put on quite the show for anyone watching. The other couple had been ultimately amusing as Sakura and Ino, in their battle to get Sasuke under the mistletoe, got caught under it together sans the Uchiha. Kakashi and Anko had cheerfully stared down the pair of girls until they finally relented and gave each other a quick peck, much to the amusement of all the men and ninja boys in the room.
Then Naruto got caught trying to rush up to grab the first slice of Christmas Cake. In his rush the blonde boy crashed straight into Sasuke, bowling them both over. . . right underneath a sprig of mistletoe. Sasuke noticed immediately and shoved the orange clad Naruto off him.
"No," he said calmly, looking around warily at the smiling face above his prone position.
"But Sasuke-kun, you know the rules," Kakashi drawled out, he and Anko quickly fencing the pair in.
"Rules for what?" Naruto asked, dusting himself off from the shove and entirely too clueless about the situation. Sasuke snarled as their teacher pointed up at the offending green sprig. Naruto just blinked, not quite comprehending. Sasuke tried to use this time to escape but Kakashi knew his student too well and placed a firm grip on the boy's shoulder, touching a pressure point just-so making it impossible for Sasuke to escape the impending kiss with the kawarimi no jutsu. Meanwhile Anko explained the plan to Naruto.
See, you two," she pointed to the boys of team seven, "were caught under that thing," now she pointed to the mistletoe," so now you have to kiss." Anko smiled evilly as the words penetrated through Naruto's thick skull and sunk in.
"WHAT?! I'm not kissing that mph-!" Before the protest had even had a chance to fully come out, Jiraiya had come up stealthily behind the blonde and pushed him firmly at the confined Sasuke. Young ninja lips were once again smashed together in an amateur kiss. Having kissed him twice now, Sasuke couldn't help but admit miso ramen wasn't such a bad taste in mild doses. And Naruto was still surprised at how chapped and scarred up Sasuke's lips were, adding an interesting texture to the kiss. He decided it had to be from practicing fire jutsus that came from his mouth. Sasuke was so smooth everywhere else though so it was a shock to find an imperfection in the Uchiha.
In a split second these thoughts were gone and both boys had launched themselves away from each other and towards the teachers who had brought them together. When Kakashi barely had to make any effort to avoid Sasuke's angry attacks, the Uchiha focused on the mistletoe instead and used his fire jutsu to burn the small plant past recognition. Anko tried to put out the flames, but it was too late and the fun-inducing plant was naught but cinders. Naruto, on the other hand, had jumped on Jiraiya and was chasing the sanin all over the house, hopping on and over tables, chairs, furniture, and partygoers. In his haste a plate of freshly dished out Christmas Cake flipped gracefully through the air and crashed onto dark red hair. Pink frosting smeared liberally over those red locks, camouflaging the natural color. Gaara was not amused.
Lee, however, saw a golden opportunity. A quick glance around the room from the drink area found pink hair standing under the only remaining sprig of mistletoe. Sakura! What luck! Now was his chance. Closing his eyes, the taijutsu student flung himself across the space between them and pushed his lips out for a perfect-
. . . on the cheek. Lee did have manners after all and didn't want to steal a kiss from Sakura's virgin lips (at least he assumed them virgin). When his kiss produced neither a high pitched squeal of joy or a high pitched shriek of rage (rage only because Lee didn't warn her, of course), Lee got a little worried and pulled back, opening his eyes. Instead of his beautiful pink haired goddess standing in front of him, Lee found a wide-eyed Gaara gently cupping the skin Lee had just kissed. A wide-eyed Gaara with pink frosting smeared liberally across one side of his hair. Lee blinked a few times in confusion before what he had done completely caught up to him.
"Please excuse me Gaara! I thought you were Sakura and - not that you aren't attractive as well of course - but I didn't think you'd appreciate an advance like that from me and-"
Gaara noticed they were still under the mistletoe and decided to pay Lee back with a kiss of his own. He leaned over on his toes to reach Lee's face and interrupted Lee's rambling with gentle lips. The boy in green (appropriate for once thanks to the holiday) didn't even dare to breath as their lips pressed together. He still wasn't breathing when Gaara pulled back, looking confused but also pleased.
"Hmm, mistletoe is. . . nice." With Gaara's statement of satisfaction Lee finally found himself breathing again. . . and blushing terribly much to his chagrin. The pair walked away from the mistletoe in order to find something to help Gaara clean up with since his sand just wasn't equipped or prepared for pink Christmas Cake frosting. On the way to the bathroom, which Iruka had pointed out to them while chasing after Naruto (who was still running rampant after Jiraiya), Lee noticed a look of severe thought on Gaara's face. After a moment of silence, the look lessened and he turned to his companion. "Does kissing only happen when that plant is involved, or can it be done other times?"
"Huh?" That's what the look had been about? "No, no, you can kiss someone whenever you want really." Lee was still blushing from their earlier encounter and certainly wasn't thinking too hard about the answer he had given Gaara. Therefore he was fairly unprepared when pale white hands grabbed his suit and tugged Lee down for another round.
All in all the big "Naruto (and Gaara)'s First Christmas Bash" went well. The turkey and main dishes were devoured quickly thanks to some fantastic recipes donated to Iruka from the Akimichis and a few other sources. The decorations were fun and festive - ignoring the extensive overuse of mistletoe in the beginning of course - and the guests seemed to have enjoyed themselves. Despite Iruka's worries, presents were plentiful for everyone including Naruto and even Iruka himself. Cute little gifts were all that was necessary for Christmas since the bigger holiday of New Years came so fast afterwards. Having calmed down from the forced kiss incident (mostly due to Jiraiya promising to teach him a new technique if he would just stop chasing him!), Naruto was lounging around with a flower from Ino proudly displayed behind his ear. She had brought flowers for everyone and Iruka's own was tucked safely inside a book he had also received, saving it so the teacher could always have a reminder of Naruto's first Christmas and also the first Christmas party he's ever thrown. For the first time since the party had started, Iruka was finally able to just stand around and enjoy himself. It made him smile to see everyone revolving around Naruto as it was obvious the blonde ninja was the center of the social group. He was horsing around with Kiba who had stopped in, dragging his team mates with him. Hinata stood off to the side and kept peeking up at Naruto, fiddling with the perfectly wrapped orange gift in her hands. The InoShikaChou team was making the goodbye rounds, heading off to their annual family party, but they inevitably got drawn into the group and stalled a bit. Jiraiya and Tsunade - the Hokage had made it just as the cake was being served, but unfortunately for her after the kiss - were sitting on a couch nearby drinking some cheap beer and chatting with Anko and what looked like the rest of the jounin still at the party. Even though they weren't a part of the younger group, Iruka could still see the adults looking over at Naruto and smiling at all the friends he had made despite his fate. Iruka thought about joining the adults, but since this was the first chance he's had to see his party without having to do anything, the chunin opted to lean in the doorway and just scope things out some more.
Neji, Lee, Gaara, and Sasuke had formed their own little offset group, which Shino joined shortly after saying hello to Naruto and the others. Lee was cheerfully talking about something and to Iruka's surprise he saw Gaara just barely smiling at Gai's protÃ©gÃ©. The two were sitting awfully close as well, hands brushing against each other when Lee wasn't using his for some elaborate gesture or another.
That was. . . odd. . . but if they were happy then who was Iruka to judge. What proved more amusing then seeing Lee and the so-called demon from Sunagakure acting all cozy next to each other was watching Sasuke and Neji. Both young men were somewhat paying attention to the conversation but every few minutes their eyes would wander ever so slowly to Naruto. Finally the blonde caught them in the act.
"Oi! Why don't you guys come over here instead of brooding in a corner," he shouted over the room, waving his hands to call them all over to his spot in the room. Lee smiled and tugged Gaara up, the two walking over there cheerfully enough (well, most of the cheer came from Lee, but Gaara was content). Neji huffed at the outrageous yelling and enthusiastic waving but he made his way over as well. Shino waited to see what Sasuke would do and Iruka watched them both -at least until his view was blocked by a black mask and silver hair.
"Yo, Iruka-sensei. Why not join the party instead of watching it, seeing as you put so much work into it after all," Kakashi suggested lazily, cocking his head at the teacher's odd behavior. He would have thought Iruka would be in on the action as soon as things were all settled.
Iruka was still a little wary of Kakashi, but not nearly as much as he had been in the beginning. Still, the two men rarely talked and the chunin wasn't sure why Kakashi had even come up to him at all. It wasn't that he didn't like Kakashi, but he was just confused by the sudden interest. Iruka blushed and scratched the back of his head.
"I'll join in good time, I was just watching everyone enjoy themselves. It's nice to see the party going so well," he answered vaguely. Kakashi just shrugged in a "your loss" manner and was about to return to the party when Anko poofed in behind the jounin, blocking his escape.
"Oh-ho-ho, not so fast Kakashi. You and the good Iruka-sensei were standing underneath the mistletoe and I didn't see a kiss!"
The horror-filled look of panic on Kakashi's face was priceless and Iruka couldn't help but burst out laughing. All night he'd so carefully guarded the little plant and here he'd completely missed it! Sparing both of them from further embarrassment Iruka composed himself and leaned over, pulling the mask down just an inch at the corner so he could connect lips to cheek instead of merely kissing cloth. Knowing Anko she never would have counted over cloth as a real kiss and the whole thing would have gotten drawn out. Iruka pulled back with a sly smile on his face and let the mask return to it's normal position. The silver-haired jounin was still paralyzed in shock and Iruka snickered as he moved past Kakashi.
"I guess I'll take your advice and go enjoy the party now," he said cheerfully, going over to join the other adults. Anko cracked a giant grin at Iruka's antics and Kakashi's poleaxed expression.
"Kakashi, you just got served. Come join us again when you get your dignity back," she said, laughing and slapping him on the back. Kakashi couldn't believe he'd forgotten about the mistletoe above the kitchen doorway. And Iruka hadn't even had the decency to be embarrassed, he just leaned in and kissed him while Kakashi still hadn't even processed what was happening! Damn sake, slowing down his mental functions. . . but this called for revenge.
Kakashi had a lot of mistletoe. Iruka wouldn't know what hit him (or really, what kissed him). And the mistletoe could last all year.
Christmas had come and gone in a glorious flash of fun, leaving only the remnants of an enjoyable night behind. The morning found Naruto and Sasuke sleeping under one blanket with the blonde having tossed an arm over the brunette's chest. Of course last night the two had been stubbornly fighting over the last futon and facing away from each other when they finally did fall asleep. It was funny what Christmas and some mistletoe could do. Sakura was in her own room with the other women who had stayed overnight (Anko and Tsunade had had just a bit too much to drink). They were upstairs and not with the other guests for the sake of modesty. The men were stuck with the living room. Naruto and Sasuke had no where else to be so they decided to spend the remainder of Christmas with people instead of alone. Jiraiya suffered from too much alcohol and was snoring blissfully away on the couch. Iruka was curled up on a chair, having promised to clean up in the morning. Kakashi was the last man staying over, but he was wide awake extra early to begin his revenge. He wouldn't be caught unawares this time, and he'd make sure the mostly reformed prankster got a bit flustered!
Needless to say it was a shock to everyone else when they woke up to find the two sensei's furiously kissing each other. Iruka wasn't one to give in so quickly so the two were in a competition to see who would blush first.
When Naruto let out a shriek at the sight, Iruka only winked at him and kept on going. Kakashi cursed mentally - he'd though having his former students see the kiss would push him over the edge. Iruka was good.
The girls came down and had a reaction similar to Naruto's, though by that time hands had gotten involved in the competition and Kakashi was missing his shirt. Jiraiya had taken up a position on his couch to take notes and watch the show at the same time. It was about time he started a BL Icha Icha series anyway, so why not get research where he could?
Off in another room after running away from the first glimpse, Naruto let out a thoughtful hum as he peeked through a crack in the door. "Iruka-sensei looks like a good kisser. . . but I bet I'm better," he said with confidence. Sasuke, who was also in the room, scoffed.
"You're a horrible kisser." It wasn't necessarily true, especially seeing as the two kisses they'd shared had both been accidents, but Sasuke wasn't about to compliment his team mate. Naruto took up the challenge.
"Ha! I know I'm better then you! You kiss like a dead fish!" Naruto had never kissed a dead fish, so that description wasn't necessarily true either. Both boys glared at each other, snarling and leaning closer. . . and closer. . .
After a few minutes there was no clear winner but either boy would rather have cut off their arm then give up. Naruto decided that he liked celebrating Christmas with people. Sasuke realized the holiday wasn't all that bad (especially since he had, eventually, won their copycat contest, though Naruto demanded a rematch). Iruka learned he liked throwing parties and Kakashi discovered he liked Iruka. Lee began to appreciate sand and Gaara became a bit fond of green. Everyone got a little closer to their friends and the Christmas spirit worked its wonders.
And yes, the mistletoe did last all year long.