Welcome to the Christmas oneshot, based off of Bonds of Time. If you haven't read that yet, I highly recommend doing so after you read this.
Disclaimer: Riyuto-san does not own Naruto. He does own Kushika, though.
"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." - Agnes M. Pharo
It was Christmas time in Konoha, and it really showed. Lights were strung all up and down the roads, which were crowded with people hoping to get some last minute shopping in. People were cheerful, and tinsel adorned the walls. The day was Christmas Eve, and one little girl was very excited as she skipped down the road, holding onto her mother's hand as she hummed Christmas songs she had learned recently.
Hinata smiled at her daughter. "You really seem to love Christmas time?" She said.
Kushika looked up at her mother and offered her a Naruto sized, excited smile. "Of course, Mama. Christmas is the bestest time of the whole year!"
"And why is that?" Asked her mother.
Kushika looked around at the decorated streets. "Mama, take a look. I love the pretty lights, the happy feeling of the villagers, and all of the decorations around the village."
"And the presents have nothing to do with it?" Asked Hinata, playfully raising a brow.
Kushika's cheeks flushed lightly. "No!" She paused. "It's just a bonus."
Hinata giggled at her daughter. Hinata crouched down and tightened Kushika's lavender jacket, since it was starting to get even colder than earlier. As the two Uzumaki's continued to make their way down the street, Kushika stopped. Hinata stopped and looked down at her curiously.
Kushika's eyes were glued at to a store. She walked over towards it, dragging Hinata with her. Kushika glanced around the toy store, eying all of the pretty dolls and games. She looked up at Hinata. "Do you think Santa knows what to get me?" She asked.
Hinata nodded. "Santa always knows what you want. He's magic."
"Oh." She smiled, and reluctantly pulled away from the glass. She seemed to be in deep thought, which didn't go unnoticed by Hinata. "What's wrong, Kushi-chan?" She asked.
"I was just thinking. Santa's gotta be, like, the greatest ninja ever since he can sneak past you and Papa without you noticing."
Hinata stifled a giggle. "Maybe you're right Kushika. Let's just ask Santa Claus how he does it when we see him today, okay?"
Kushika nodded. "You bet. I just wish Papa could come with us." She finished, glancing down at the road.
"Although he is your Papa, he's also the Hokage. He's probably really busy right now. But I'm not worried. Do you know why?" She asked, smiling down at her daughter.
Kushika glanced up at her mother. "Why?"
"Because your Papa has never stopped thinking about you, and he has never broken a promise in his life, and he promised that he would be home for Christmas."
Kushika's face brightened. She knew her mother was right, Papa had never broken a single promise; Not one.
"How much further, Mama?" Whined Kushika.
"We're almost there, Kushi-chan. Only a few more minutes and you'll be able to see Santa."
Another idea passed through Kushika's mind. "Mama, shouldn't Santa already be in the sky by now?"
Hinata shook her head. "Nope, Santa waits until night before he leaves the North Pole."
"But what about all off the other kids around the world?"
"Santa waits until night here, and then goes around the world really fast. Remember, he is one of the best ninja out there."
Kushika nodded. It made sense. As they turned a corner, they caught the sight of a familiar friend.
"Hey guys!" Yelled a very pregnant Sakura. She crossed through the sea of people to meet up with Kushika and Hinata. Once she made it over, she did her best to crouch down and give Kushika a hug, who welcomed the warm embrace. "How's my favorite little girl doing?" She asked.
Kushika smiled. "I'm doing great! Mama is taking me to go see Santa!"
Sakura smiled, looking up to Hinata. "Are you really?" She asked, reverting her gaze back to Kushika. "Mind if I tag along with you, then? I have some last minute shopping to do, and I could use the company." She finished, extending her hand to Hinata.
"The more the merrier." Said Hinata, reaching out and helping Sakura to her feet.
Once to her feet, the trio began to make their way to see Santa. "So, how is your Christmas turning out, Hinata?" Asked the pink haired mom-to-be.
"Christmas is going wonderful this year, right Kushi-chan?" Asked Hinata. Kushika, who was in between the two women and holding onto both of their hands, nodded excitedly. "Now we're just waiting for Naruto-kun to come home."
"He's still stuck in the office?" Asked Sakura.
Hinata nodded. "Sadly, yes. Kushika's worried that he won't make it home in time."
Kushika shook her head. "Not anymore. I remembered that Papa promised to come home, and he has never ever broken a promise."
Sakura smiled. "That's true. For as long as I've known that knucklehead, he's never broken a promise."
Kushika glanced over at Sakura's swelling belly. "When is the baby coming out?" She asked.
Sakura smiled at her, placing her free hand on the belly. "Very soon, I hope. Being pregnant isn't what it's cracked up to be."
Hinata grinned. " I know what you mean, but it's worth it in the end."
Sakura smiled at Hinata. "Yeah, I know you're right."
It didn't take long to reach the shopping mall. People were rushing in and out of the large shopping center. People swarmed the streets with bags and carts of gifts. Hinata tightened her hold on Kushika. "Don't let go of Mama's hand, okay?"
Kushika nodded, squeezing back. "Okay, Mama."
The trio pushed their way into the store, and took in the grand sight. The amount of people crowding the store was immeasurable. People littered the aisles, walkways, staircases, and the many stores. Sakura didn't seem to care for all of the people, and told her group to stay right behind her. She pushed her way through the crowd of people, telling them, "Move it or lose it. Pregnant wife of Uchiha Sasuke coming through." For some reason, that seemed to work, as people seemed to almost go out of their ways to get out of the way of Sakura.
Hinata sweat dropped and she smiled apologetically to everyone they passed. Then again, she remembered how easy it was to set her off while she was pregnant with Kushika. The trio swerved this way and that for several minutes before arriving at their destination. Kushika's eyes lit with excitement when she saw him.
Santa Claus was here, in the mall, talking to the children on his lap. Hinata looked around at all off the decorations around Santa. There was his large red chair, a Christmas tree with many blue and red presents underneath, and fake snow all around on the ground. There was a fake fireplace, as well as stockings hanging over it. The lights on the Christmas tree danced from the bottom to the top in a dazzling light show.
Kushika could barely contain her excitement. "Can I go see Santa now, Mama?" She asked.
Hinata glanced around the room. "The lines pretty long. You still want to wait to see Santa?" She asked.
Kushika nodded. "Of course, it's Santa Claus. I've waited all year for Christmas, why not wait a little longer to see Santa?"
Hinata and Sakura laughed lightly and nodded. Sakura told them that she had some more Christmas shopping to take care of, and said she would meet back up with them later. Hinata told her she understood, and the trio separated.
Hinata and Kushika stood in line for about half-an-hour before it was finally Kushika's turn. Santa ushered her over to his lap, and all of her excitement turned into shyness as she apprehensively made her way over to the old man in red. When she reached him, he picked her up and placed her on his lap. So as for her not to get frightened, Hinata stayed by her side.
"Ho, ho, ho! It's not everyday that Santa get's a visit from the daughter of the Hokage. So, what is it that you would like for Christmas little girl?" He asked.
Kushika took the answer very seriously, almost as if she hadn't been thinking about her answer for a while. What was it she really wanted for Christmas? An idea suddenly sprang in her mind, and she leaned up so she could whisper it in Santa's ear. As she told him, he nodded slightly and seemed slightly confused. When Kushika pulled back, he gave her a curious look. "Are you sure that's all you want for Christmas?" He asked.
She nodded. "Yes, please. That's all I want."
Santa chuckled. "You're a very special child, do you know that? I'll see what I can do about your Christmas wish, and I'll try very hard to make it come true. Okay?" He asked warmly.
Kushika nodded. "Thank you, Santa." She said. She gave him a hug, and leapt off of his leg. Hinata smiled and thanked him, to which he replied, "It was no problem, Uzumaki-sama. Have a very merry Christmas."
Hinata bowed. "And you as well."
After meeting back up with Sakura, they proceeded to head out of the mall and back to their respective homes, staying together along the way. Kushika glanced up at the sky; It was beginning to get cloudy and dark. She looked up at the adults. "Is it gonna snow today?" She asked.
The two glanced up at the sky. "Maybe," Began Hinata. "It is Christmas time, so I think that we might be getting a white Christmas."
"Me too." Said Hinata.
Sakura glanced down at the small child. "Say, what did you ask Santa for, Kushi-chan?" She asked.
Kushika glanced up at Sakura and smiled as she shook her head. "I'm not telling. It's a secret between Santa and me."
Sakura tilted her head and dropped the subject. She knew Kushika could be as hardheaded as her father when she wanted to be. She smiled at the child and nodded.
After walking and talking for a little while, they made it to Sakura's house. Sakura thanked them both for keeping her company, to which Hinata told her that it was not a problem, they enjoyed her company.
"Give my regards to Naruto," Said Sakura, before stepping into her house.
"Hai." Said Hinata, bowing politely. Kushika waved goodbye to Sakura before both of them turned to walk to their home.
The temperature began to drop quickly, and the two Uzumaki ladies began walking faster to get out of the cold. When they reached their mansion, they quickly slid inside. Hinata undid Kushika's jacket and hung it, as well as hers, by the front door. They both slid off their shoes and placed them next to the door. The house was still dark, meaning that Naruto still wasn't home. Kushika was obviously saddened and, after Hinata went to turn on all of the lights in the family room and the kitchen, slunk to her mother's side.
"Is Papa still at work?" Asked Kushika.
Hinata smiled sadly at her daughter and bent down and picked Kushika up, holding her with one arm. Kushika laid her head on her mother's shoulder, finding it very comfortable. Hinata made her way over to the phone on the counter, and dialed Naruto's office's number.
She waited for a moment, but no one picked up the other end. When the tone came for Hinata to leave a message, she put the phone back onto the receiver. "That's strange." She commented.
Hinata heard Kushika sigh. Suddenly, a fun idea popped into her mind. "Kushi-chan, would you like to help Mama make Christmas cookies?" She asked.
Kushika nodded happily, perking up slightly. She loved cooking with Mama, it made her feel grown up. Hinata carried her into the kitchen, and lowered her onto the bar as she went to the fridge to get out some eggs. "Are we making these for Santa?" Asked Kushika.
Hinata pulled out a mixing bowl and nodded. "Of course. The rest of are for the rest of us."
Kushika cheered, and the two of the set to work making the cookies. About half-way through the cooking, Kushika had powder all over her face. Hinata laughed when the puff of powder puffed into her face, and apologized for laughing as she cleaned her face.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. "Papa!?" Asked Kushika, leaping from the counter and sprinting to the door. Hinata made her way over the door as she wiped her hands with a cloth. She peeked through the eyehole. She looked down at a hopeful Kushika and shook her head. She opened the door to reveal Neji and Tenten with warm smiles on their faces.
"Merry Christmas!" Cheered Tenten. Neji nodded warmly. As the two stepped through the door, Kushika cheered Tenten's name and jumped up into her harms in a warm embrace. "My, my, Kushi-chan, you've grown since the last time I saw you."
"What are you doing here?" Asked Hinata, hugging her cousin.
"We decided to stop by and spend some time with you all on Christmas." Answered Neji. He glanced around. "Where's Naruto?" He asked.
Hinata shook here head. "I'm not sure. I called the Hokage Office, but no one answered the phone. I'm wondering if he's just on his way home."
"That might be the case." Replied Neji.
As Neji and Tenten stepped into the house, they removed their jackets and went to sit on the couch. Tenten spent her time playing with Kushika while Hinata continued to bake the cookies and talk with the other adults.
Suddenly, the wind outside picked up drastically, and snow began falling heavily. It didn't take long for the snow to accumulate to a great amount. Kushika watched as the snow fell, and when it reached the bottom of the window, Kushika turned to look at Hinata. "Mama, I'm worried about Papa."
Hinata went over to her daughter and wrapped her arms around her chest. "Don't worry, Kushi-chan. Papa will be home soon. Remember, he has never made a promise he hasn't kept."
Neji walked over to her side and crouched beside his niece. "Your mother's right, you know. Your father has never failed to uphold one of his promises. He's the greatest man I have ever met."
Kushika smiled, choosing to believe in her father, and his promise.
The group decided to help Hinata finish making her cookies as a way to pass the time. As Kushika sat on the counter, she kept reaching for the mixing bowl. Every time, she was caught by one of the adults, and she was told to wait until they are done with it before she has any. Hinata was making her famous chocolate covered cookies, which would be cut into Christmas shapes and decorated by Kushika and the others.
Everyone looked forward to Hinata's Christmas deserts every year since she had married Naruto. Since then, she had kept making them because Naruto had told her that he loved her Christmas cookies.
Kushika yawned loudly, and Hinata went over to her. "Are you ready to go to bed, Kushi-chan"? She asked.
Kushika shook her head. "No, I wanna wait for Papa to get home before I go to sleep."
Hinata smiled, and went over to the stove. She removed a warm cup of cocoa and brought it over to her daughter. "Here, drink this." She said. Kushika took it happily and began to sip on it.
Suddenly, the power cut off, and everyone in the house was blind.
"Don't worry, Kushi-chan. It's just the power." She said, scooping the small girl up in her arms.
"Is everyone okay?" Asked Tenten.
"We're fine." Replied Hinata.
"Do you have any candles, Hinata-sama?" Asked Neji.
"Yes, in the cupboard by the sink. There should be some matches and candles."
Neji followed her directions and, sure enough, felt the candle and box of matches. He pulled a few candles out and stroked a match on the side of the box. He lit several candles and placed them in various parts of the house.
Neji peeked outside through the window. "It appears that power is out for the whole neighborhood." He said.
Tenten came to his side and peered out. "Yeah, you're right. There're no lights on anywhere."
Suddenly, the two heard sniffling. They turned to see Kushika trying to hold back her tears.
"What's wrong, Kushika?" Asked Hinata.
She sniffled. "Christmas…Christmas is ruined. It's…dark and…and…and Papa's not home, and it's getting cold." Tears began streaming down her cheeks. Hinata cradled Kushika in her arms, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Don't worry, Kushi-chan. It's all going to be okay."
While Kushika cried, there was a sudden knock on the door. Everyone spun around, and Neji went over to the door and peeked through the eyehole. She smirked as he opened the door, folding his arms. "Sure took your time getting home, I see?" He asked.
"Neji? Tenten? What are you guys doing here?" Asked the man at the door.
"Waiting for you, Naruto. Where have you been?" Replied Tenten, hands on her hips.
"Papa!" Cheered Kushika. Hinata let her jump out of her arms. The little girl sprinted full speed to her father, leaping up at his chest and catching him in a big hug.
"Kushi-chan?" Asked Naruto. "What's wrong?" He was slightly confused. He was covered from head to foot in snow.
"I…I was afraid you…you weren't gonna be here for Christmas, Papa." Cried Kushika.
Naruto raised a brow. "Why?" He asked.
Hinata stepped forward, giving him a quick kiss hello. "We couldn't get a hold of you all day. And then it started snowing heavily, and we were worried something had happened to you." She brushed some of the snow out off his hair.
Naruto smiled. "Were you worried about me, Kushi-chan?" He asked, stroking her hair out of her face. Kushika just nodded. "I'm sorry I made you worry, everyone."
"So where were you, Naruto?" Asked Neji.
"Well I left Kakashi in charge of the office today, so I'm not exactly sure what was going on with him," Explained Naruto. "As for me, I was at the academy all day helping Iruka.." He paused and grinned, lowering Kushika to the back to the floor. "After that, well…I had a special errand to run." He reached behind him and pulled out two gifts. Each were both wrapped in a sparkling red wrapping, and each were small square boxes. "After I got done with helping out Iruka, I went straight to the jewelry store."
"Jewelry store?" Asked Kushika,
"Yeah, I wanted to get you each special gifts." He extended the gifts to both of his precious girls. Hinata and Kushika each took their gifts, and the group made their way into the family room. Naruto shook the snow off of his jacket, and took a seat with Kushika sitting on his lap.
"Why don't you open it?" Asked Naruto. The girls nodded. Each undid the wrapping (Naruto had to help Kushika) and removed the cover off of the small box. Inside of each box, was a heart shaped locket. Inside of Hinata's box, though, was another smaller box. She opened the box and saw the most beautiful lavender, snowflake diamond earrings she had ever seen. Hinata looked up from the earrings and gave Naruto a loving kiss.
"Thank you, Naruto-kun."
Naruto smiled. "Merry Christmas, Hinata-chan." He gave her another quick kiss. Hinata and Kushika then took a look at the lockets.
Inside of Hinata's, there were two pictues; One of Hinata and Naruto at their wedding ceremony, and the other was of the entire Uzumaki family in a portrait. The front of the locket read 'Uzumaki Hinata.'
Kushika's read 'Uzumaki Kushika' and had two pictures as well. One was a picture of the entire family, and the other one was one Hinata had taken the last time they had gone on vacation to the Land of Waves. It had Kushika sitting on Naruto's shoulders, both laughing merrily on the beach. Kushika smiled and hugged Naruto tightly. "Thank you, Papa."
"Want me to put it on you?" He asked. Kushika nodded, and Naruto pulled the necklace around his daughters neck and connected the chain to fit perfectly around her neck.
Kushika got to her feet and went over to a mirror, and took a look at herself wearing the necklace. She held it up and opened it up, taking another look at it. Suddenly, the words her mother had told her before came back to her. "Papa has never stopped thinking about his family." After Kushika had finished admiring the jewelry, she went back to her family, just as Naruto was explaining what had happened.
"So the jewelry had just finished being engraved, and as I was on my way home it began snowing heavily. As I was trudging through the snow, thinking that I was going to freeze to death, this really cool old man dressed as Santa Claus stopped and picked me up, saying 'You need to get home to your wife and daughter,' he said it had something to do with a Christmas wish or something." He explained.
Kushika's eyes widened. 'My…wish. He…made my wish come true.'
"Anyway, I'm glad to be back home with my family, and I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with you all." Said Naruto.
"But Naruto, the power is all out." Reminded Tenten.
Naruto shrugged. "Yeah, I know. I think the snow knocked out some of the power. But I don't care, I just want to spend Christmas with my family."
Everyone agreed with him, and as the adults began to talk to each other, Kushika heard the sound of sleigh bells. Curiosity getting the better of her, she ventured back over to the window. She wiped the fog off of the glass, and saw the Santa Claus from the mall standing outside. He smiled at Kushika and waved at her. Kushika waved back, slowly. She mouths a thank you, and Santa nodded his head with his all-knowing smile. He raised his hand and snapped his fingers.
Suddenly, the flickered on in the mansion, and Kushika could hear the adults cheer as they stood up and began to move around. Naruto went over to the fireplace and placed firewood inside.
Kushika gasped, turning to look at the now well lit room. She turned back to Santa with a most curious look. Santa smiled, and tipped and winks at her. Suddenly, he vanished completely. Kushika was completely startled, but had no time to think about it because Naruto came and scooped her up, placing her upon his shoulders and parading around the room. Kushika and the others laughed merrily, enjoying their precious time together.
Their party went on well on into the night, and Kushika eventually passed out on the couch. Neji and Tenten ended up staying the night, apologizing for intruding on their Christmas. The Uzumaki's assured them that they were more than welcome to stay the night, and they were no trouble at all. As Naruto laid Kushika in her bed and tucked her under the covers, he gave her forehead a loving kiss. "You are my most precious gift, Kushi-chan. I wouldn't trade you for the world."
And as Naruto stood up to leave the room, he heard a chorus of bells shaking. He looked around, and went over to the window. He opened it up and peered around outside. Finally, he saw it, and it made his jaw drop.
There he was, the kind old man that had helped him earlier, flying away in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. Naruto chuckled and waved to him.
"Thank you!" He called out to Santa.
He heard Santa chuckle. "Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, Naruto! Merry Christmas one and all!"
Christmas comes but once of year, so why not celebrate with some holiday cheer.
Merry Christmas Everyone, and a happy new year. Sorry if it seems rushed.