Here’s the thing about reading a life-changing historical fiction novel. Once you read one, there’s no going back. You need to read another. And another. And another. That’s how we felt after reading SALT TO THE SEA (out in February!) a heart-wrenching story that pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest untold tragedies in history, so we decided to share the love and round up 8 reads that will get YOU hooked on historical fiction:
Four voices. Four secrets. The lives of four young people come together at the end of WWII, weaving a story that brings to light the greatest maritime disaster in the history of the world. It comes out February 2 but you can read the first chapters here!
Who knew medieval France was so…scary? Matchmaker and tavern-keeper Botille has a secret: she’s hiding a branded heretic, Dolssa, in their town of Bajas. But how long can they avoid the wrath of the Church? THE PASSION OF DOLSSA comes out April 12 but you can start reading it here!
Everything changed for 15-year-old Lina one night in 1941, when Soviet officers forced her family apart into Siberian work camps. A tale of survival, strength, and love that will make you want to hug the person next to you.
Two years ago, Judith returned to her village having been permanently mutilated. Now, the town is being attacked and she has to choose: continue to live in silence, or speak out and change the lives around her forever.
Sammy and Andy are headed on the Oregon Trail to the California gold rush…except Sammy and Andy are actually Samantha and Annamae, girls in disguise who find out there aren’t many places to hide on the open trail.
“Come on, Sammy! Hurry up!” You exclaimed, bouncing impatiently. You stood next to him as he inserted the key into the Impala’s trunk. It was the Fourth of July and Dean had snuck the two of you out to a field to shoot some fireworks he had bought. Your dad had left you with the Winchester brothers as he and the boys’ father were working a case together. They wouldn’t be back for another week or so, and John had instructed Dean to keep you and Sammy inside when the two of you weren’t at school. You had overheard some classmates discussing shooting some fireworks, so naturally you had begged Dean to purchase some. He had complied and taken you and Sammy to an open field to shoot the fireworks. All 9 years of your life, your dad had never once taken you to shoot or let alone watch fireworks. Same went with Sam and Dean. So you were all understandably excited to finally be able to launch some fireworks like all the other kids.
Sam finally popped open the trunk and lifted up the box of fireworks. You tiptoed and shut the trunk, chasing after him as he ran into the open field. Dean chuckled and jogged to keep up with the two of you. Sam set the box down, pulling out three tube fireworks. He handed one to you, then ran back to Dean, who was rummaging in his pockets.
“Got your lighter?” Sam asked, looking up at his brother.
“Yup.” Dean nodded, holding it up so Sam could see. “Show Y/N how to hold the firework first. I don’t think she knows how.”
Sam nodded, then turned to you. “Just hold it like this, okay?” He instructed, demonstrating how to hold the firework.
You adjusted your hand slightly. “Like that?”
“Uh-huh.” Sam smiled. Being a few years older than you placed him in a big brother spot and he absolutely loved it. “Dean’s gonna set the top on fire and the firework will shoot out. Just point it at the sky and hold it tight, okay?” You nodded and he turned back to Dean. “We’re good.”
Dean held out his lighter and flicked it on. Sam helped you get the top lit, then all three of you held the tubes out. The fireworks shot out into the sky, illuminating the night. You grinned happily as the fireworks continued to ignite the sky.
Sam turned to Dean, a big smile on his face. “Dad would never let us do anything like this. Thanks Dean, this is great.” He stepped forward and embraced his brother. Dean looked down at him and smiled, happy that Sam was happy. He grunted slightly as you ran into him from the side, also wrapping your small arms around him.
“Yeah Dean,” You said, looking up at him. “This is awesome.”
He grinned and ruffled your hair, your toothy grin making him chuckle. You dropped your arms and tugged at Sam’s sleeve. “Come on, come on! Let’s light some more!”
‘Alright, geez!“ Sam laughed, releasing his embrace. Dean held out his lighter and he took it, turning to you and yelling: "Last one there’s a rotten egg!” You both took off, racing to the box of remaining fireworks. Naturally, he let you win, and allowed you to light up half of the fireworks while he lit the other half.
“Fire in the hole!” Sam cried out, grabbing your arm and pulling you back to where Dean was standing. The sky was suddenly lit up into vibrant colors. The three of you stood there and watched the vivacious display, smiles across your faces. Sam suddenly turned to you and grabbed your hand, pulling you toward the center where all the sparks where falling. You pulled back at first, afraid, but followed Sam at Dean’s reassuring nod.
The view from the center was even more amazing. The sparks seemed like tiny bright stars falling all around you. You and Sam screamed and laughed joyfully, chasing each other.
Meanwhile, Dean stood rooted in the same spot, a small smile on his face as he observed you and Sammy. It was moments like these that truly made him happy. School, hunting, girls…they didn’t even come close to the happiness he experienced when the two of you wore exuberant smiles. Although the hunter’s life wasn’t ideal for a child, Dean would do everything he could to give you and Sammy more moments like this one.
The Noughts and Crosses series, by Malorie Blackman
These books provide a brilliant insight into how racism permeates society, on an individual and structural level. They’re also, if memory serves, a completely gripping story. Having enjoyed them as a child, I jumped at the chance to read and review them for Glasgow Women’s Library.
You can run out of colorful adjectives trying to describe Julie d'Aubigny. She was, according to history, exquisite in appearance, a graceful and superb fencer, a sublime singer, a swashbuckling duellist, and lover of men and women, famous and cloistered — and that’s just the beginning.
Australian young adult author Kelly Gardiner has written her first novel for grownups about a character who seems to leave no adult passion untested. It’s called Goddess, and Gardiner tells NPR’s Scott Simon that some people find it hard to believe that d'Aubigny was a real person, because her life was so remarkable, “but yes, she really did live.”
OK guys, the wait is over. This isn’t like my other fanfics, it’s a lot more external and active and you guys said you wanted smut so I tried to make it one of my smuttiest pieces but I’m going to be honest, I’m nervous about this one because it’s probably my most normal BonKai piece but I also wanted to show that even though it’s normal, there is still something inherently destructive or depraved or well, frankly, fucked up about their dynamic. And it’s the longest one I’ve written and it features salty Damon (a first) so like I said, I’m nervous! But I hope you all like it and reblog and it and most especially comment on it because I love your comments ;)
The room was empty; everyone had stopped dressing for the wedding and went downstairs for breakfast because Jo was craving grilled cheese. Bonnie was the only one upstairs; too preoccupied to eat, too tired to spend time with anyone. She had to be alone. It was the only time she could be honest, the only time he didn’t have to pretend to be holding it together and she could just let herself be, and there wouldn’t be any time to be alone once the ceremony began. Bridesmaid duties and all that.
She stood in front of the mirror and smoothed her hands over her dress; it was blue, knee-length and sheer, more like a sundress than something you wear to a wedding. But it looked nice. And Bonnie was thankful that Jo was a considerate bride, one who didn’t dress her wedding party in monstrous tulle and overlarge bows.
“You look pretty.”
That voice. Bonnie turned around quickly. Kai was at the doorway leaning against the frame, his leg crossed in front of the other, his hands in his pockets. His smile was unassuming yet smug and Bonnie’s heart quickened as he stared at her directly and with no modesty.
“What the hell are you doing here? Kai, if you so much as —”
“Relax,” he said. “I’m not here to kill anyone. I just wanted to see you in a bridesmaid dress.”
“That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.”
“You call me ridiculous a lot,” said Kai, walking into the room.
“Because you are.”
“What can I say, I like you in dresses.” He stood a couple of feet away from her. “I like you out of them too.”
“Get a grip.”
“Bonnie, why else would I be here?”
“You know exactly why you’d be here,” she said. “Come to think of it how are you here without Damon knowing? Or Elena and Caroline and Stefan for that matter.”
Kai raised his eyebrows mysteriously. “I have my ways.”
Bonnie folded her arms.
“What, I’m serious,” he said. “I’m not here to hurt anyone. There’s plenty of time for that later.”
“I’m joking. Well, I’m not but …”
“Well you saw me in a bridesmaid dress you can go now.”
“No,” he said simply. “I’m not ready to leave you yet.”
They heard footsteps.
“You need to get out of here before they come in and see you.”
“What would you like me to do, Bonnie? I can’t just evaporate into thin air.”
“I should just push you out the window.”
“You’re sexy when you make threats,” said Kai, reaching up to touch Bonnie’s face. She slapped his hand away and glared. He grinned.
“In there. Now.” She put her hands on his shoulders and led him toward the walk-in closet at the corner of the room.
“A closet?” said Kai. “Seriously?”
“Yes,” said Bonnie. She wrenched open the door and pushed him inside but before she could walk away, he took her by the arm and yanked her in with him, their bodies colliding. Bonnie raised her head and Kai lowered his to meet her gaze, their lips just a breath away from each other.
“I’m going to kill you,” Bonnie whispered.
“Then why are your hands still on my chest?”
There were voices and Bonnie walked toward the closet door; it wasn’t fully closed and she could see Caroline and Elena through the sliver of open space.
“I thought you said Bonnie was in here,” said Caroline.
“I thought she was,” said Elena. “She was a minute ago.”
“Where does she go? It seems like she’s always disappearing.”
“Yeah, if she’s not hanging out with Damon…”
Bonnie could feel Kai behind her, his lips not quite touching her skin but just barely grazing it and she felt tingles on the back of her neck, all the way down her body. She hunched her shoulders. He nipped her earlobe, making her sigh.
She faced him and mouthed, “Stop. They’re right outside.”
Kai leaned toward her and whispered, “So?”
His hands were on the small of her back and he squeezed, rubbing her hips. Against her better judgement, Bonnie dug her nails into his hair and he kissed her along her jaw, his tongue making a trail down her neck. He slid his hands down further, cupping her and Bonnie bared her teeth on his cheek. He pushed the bottom of her dress up and slowly, sank to his knees, kissing her along the stomach, running his fingers up her legs. Bonnie put her hand against the wall of the closet and pressed her lips together to keep from crying out. She could hear Caroline’s voice.
“Did you hear something?”
“No,” said Elena.
“Oh. OK. That’s weird.”
There was a pause in the conversation and Bonnie lost herself in the sensation of Kai’s lips on her inner thighs. This was wrong. So freaking wrong. They should stop but Bonnie’s body bowed and she put her hand to her mouth and bit down on her thumb so she wouldn’t moan.
“Speaking of weird … how is it, human life?” said Caroline. “Adjusting OK?”
“Yeah, I mean, I feel like myself, you know? Like a part of me that has been missing has just sort of clicked into place? But … this whole thing with Damon. I’m just so confused. I don’t feel like he’s being honest about what he wants.”
“Well did you tell him that?”
“Of course I did but he won’t be honest with me. He only seems to be honest with … I don’t know, he just doesn’t talk to me. Like really talk to me.”
“Yeah, I get that.”
“You and Stefan?”
“Yeah just after everything that’s happened I — you really don’t hear that?”
“Hear what, Caroline?”
Bonnie gritted her teeth, mentally kicking herself; she’d clung to a hanger for support but when Kai flicked his tongue she pulled on it too hard and it fell to the floor. One of her legs hung over his shoulder while her hand clutched his other. She tried to control her breathing. She tried to concentrate. How the hell did he do this to her? How the hell did she let him? Nothing about what they did together felt right or good even, it was … it felt … like a sin Bonnie thought, biting her lip. Like the best possible sin, which made it the worst possible sin; a wicked desire that gnawed away at her identity, her core but that left her empty and wanting if she didn’t satisfy it because satisfying it …
Kai gripped Bonnie’s thigh and she threw her head back.
… felt transcendental.
But still wrong.
She pushed Kai away from her and took a step back. “I’m not doing this,” she whispered, trying not to make a sound.
He looked at her, his expression a mixture of amusement and ironic disbelief. He stood up. “You mean more than you already have?”
“I don’t want to do this.” Even she didn’t believe her own words, she was aroused and yearning from having Kai’s lips on her just moments before, her skin was burning and she knew she must’ve looked frenzied but she’d made up her mind. “I don’t want to do this,” she repeated.
Bonnie hesitated and Kai smiled — an arrogant twist of his lips. He infuriated her. She took a step toward the closet door but he took her by the arms and guided her to the wall. Instinctively, Bonnie raised her hand to slap him but he caught her by the wrist. “You don’t want your friends to hear us, do you?” Even at a whisper, his voice was husky, on the seductive side of sinister; it made Bonnie’s blood scream and her gut sour with shame. How the hell did she let him do this to her? He took her other wrist and put both of her arms above her head, flattening his palms against hers and entangling her fingers with his. Bonnie’s lips parted. She heard her name in the conversation happening in the bedroom and she glanced at the closet door.
“Maybe we should just call her?” said Caroline.
“There is no way she could’ve left this house,” said Elena. “She has to be here somewhere. Maybe Damon knows, I’ll go find him.”
“Be sure to tell him you want to talk later.”
Bonnie turned back toward Kai; he was looking at her, his eyes serious and raw, his breathing uneven. “Your friends are looking for you but you don’t want to be out there. You want this. You want me.”
“This is sleazy,” she said. “We’re sleazy.”
“And you like it. You’ve never had it so good.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I hate you, Kai.”
“I know you do. I feel it every time we’re together. And it makes you feel powerful … mastering the man who scares you, who loves you.”
“Do not start that again.”
“Tell me you don’t like it. Listening to your old life out there while you’re in here mastering me.”
“Tell me you don’t like it.”
“I don’t —”
She didn’t finish her sentence. Kai pressed his lips against hers and she pushed back with intensity, with aggression. She tried to move forward to deepen the kiss but she was pinned to the wall by Kai’s hands and she clasped them, digging her nails into his knuckles. She tugged on his bottom lip with her teeth and he groaned into her mouth. He let go of her hands and pulled away just a couple of inches. “You’re a terrible liar,” he said.
Bonnie kissed him again, even wilder than before. He reached behind her and unzipped her dress and she hastily unbuckled his belt. She reached into his waistband and squeezed his hardness; he moaned low in his throat. Bonnie pulled away and put her finger to his lips.
“Shh,” she said without sound.
He parted his lips and sucked her finger hard, almost making her gasp. He withdrew it and grinned. “Shh,” he said. He brushed against her cheek. “Go to the door.”
“The door. Go.”
“This is —”
“If you say ridiculous, I’ll find something in here to bind you with.”
Bonnie raised her eyebrows, turned on and irritated. She waited a beat but then did what he said and hated herself for it, hated that she wanted to know what he was going to do, what they were going to do, hated that she was there at all. She watched Caroline through the sliver of open space: she was sitting on a chaise, staring into nothing. There were footsteps. Damon and Elena entered the room.
“You mean she isn’t here?” said Damon, throwing his hands up in the air. He turned to Caroline. “Hey, Goldilocks. You look nice.”
“I hate that nickname,” said Caroline.
Damon smirked. “I know.”
“Well we searched the entire house,” said Elena. “Where is she?”
Bonnie felt Kai’s hands on her shoulders, peeling off the dress, his fingers caressing her curves as the material slid off her body. He pressed her to him and then hooked his thumbs into the sides of her underwear and slid them down her legs. She began to face him but he turned her back toward the door. “Watch,” he breathed into her ear. “Watch what you’re missing.” She swallowed hard and tried not to groan as she felt him sink into her. She clutched onto the doorframe. She watched as Caroline stood up from the chaise.
“Well I’m going to call her and if she doesn’t pick up—”
“I’ll go out looking for her,” said Elena. “Maybe she went to the dorm. Damon — Damon?”
Damon was standing still, his head cocked.
“Damon, what’s wrong?” said Elena.
“Nothing,” he said, moving toward her. “I think I’m going to check around the house again.”
“I just hope Lily didn’t do anything to her,” said Caroline. “Or Kai.”
Bonnie felt Kai’s grin against her neck as he kissed it, running his teeth along her jaw. “Tell me what you want,” he breathed, moving against her at an achingly slow pace. “Tell me you don’t like it, the power this brings you. Tell me you’d rather be out there.”
Bonnie dug her fingernails into the frame as she felt Kai thrust and she watched as Elena and Damon left the room. Caroline picked up the phone. Kai started moving faster. “Voicemail?” said Caroline. “Seriously, Bonnie?” And faster. This was beyond depraved. This was beyond carnal. Bonnie was sickened with herself … but not enough to stop. Because …
“Tell me, Bonnie,” said Kai, nuzzling her hair, his breathing ragged and heavy, his fingers exploring her hips, her waist, her breasts, feeling the dips of her skin; he ran his fingernails down her sides, making her throw her head back against his chest. He lightly stroked her stomach and made his way downward. “Tell me where you want to be. Say it.”
“Here,” she whispered as Caroline left the room, muttering about finding Damon. “Here with you.”
He groaned. “Again.”
“I want this,” she said. “You.”
They were spent before long and Kai collapsed onto the floor as Bonnie started putting her dress back on. She felt him taking in her every movement and felt a familiar bitterness burn the back of her throat; an acidity that always claimed her mouth after she and Kai were done. She’d hoped that she wouldn’t taste that, that the guilt wouldn’t twist her stomach into knots until the day was over, when she didn’t have to be a bridesmaid anymore, when she didn’t have to be happy for someone else.
Kai sat up. “You want me to help do up your dress?”
Bonnie didn’t respond. She reached behind her and started easing the zipper back up, letting what just happened sink in; the guilt choked her throat. “I really do hate you,” she said finally.
“I know,” said Kai. “But you want me. And you won’t stop wanting me.”
Before she could respond, the closet door slammed open and Damon stood in the doorway. Bonnie’s face flushed with embarrassment; her heart started to palpitate. She needed to say something. Anything. But all she could do was stare at him. He would’ve looked calm if his eyes weren’t so wide, so angry… almost murderous. He glanced from Bonnie to Kai. “You. Clothes. Out. Now.”
“I think if anyone here should be kicking me out,” said Kai. “It should be Bonnie.”
“It’s my house,” said Damon.
“Well, isn’t it technically Elena’s?”
Damon stepped into the closet. “I have been meaning to kill you since, well since I met you, do not tempt me.”
Kai opened his mouth to speak but Bonnie turned to him. “Just go, Kai.”
He blinked at her a couple of times and then started to stand up. “As the lady commands.” He fastened his jeans and started walking toward the door. “Always a pleasure, Damon.” Damon raised his hands and mimed a choking motion as Kai left the closet.
Bonnie shook her head slightly, crossed her arms and waited. But Damon didn’t say anything, only stared at a spot just over her shoulder, his body completely still. The quiet stretched on … and on … and …
“Isn’t this the part you say something sarcastic and unfunny?” said Bonnie.
“Oh I’m sorry,” said Damon. “I’m still trying to mentally scourge myself of the image of you and Kai, I’m not really up to lightening the mood right now.”
“I’m well aware.”
“You threatened to melt his face off.”
“Not kill, not maim, but melt his face off.”
“I know! I was there!”
“You let him touch you. You let him …”
“So I took it you heard us.”
“Believe me, I wish I hadn’t. I wish I didn’t have to see … how could you let him touch you? He stabbed you! Twice!”
“That didn’t seem to matter when you wanted me to work with him!”
“Work with him not jump into the sack with him,” said Damon. “He was a means to an end. I just wanted my mother back. I just wanted Stefan back.”
“So it’s OK for you to use him when it’s convenient for you but if I want something from Kai then suddenly there’s a problem?”
“There’s a problem when you’re sleeping with the guy who tried to kill you!” said Damon. “I can’t believe you’re … you let him touch you!”
“You keep saying that! Yes, yes, I let him touch me, so what!”
Damon opened his mouth but didn’t say anything and shook his head instead. “I didn’t want to see it.”
“You didn’t see it.”
“But I heard it.”
The harshness of his tone made Bonnie flinch slightly. This wasn’t how he reacted when Stefan slept with Rebekah. Or Katherine. Or when Caroline slept with Klaus.
“You’re better than that, Bonnie. Better than him.”
“Of course I’m better than him but so what? He … I …” Bonnie sighed. “I don’t have to explain myself to you, Damon. You’ve done terrible things, you’ve done terrible things to Elena and she’s still with you.”
“So,” said Damon monotonously. “You’re with Kai?”
“No,” said Bonnie. “But it’s none of your business what we are.”
Damon pushed out his lips and nodded his head slowly. “Well next time you and psycho-witch-boy do the rough and tumble … I don’t want to hear it, OK?”
“Yeah,” said Bonnie.
“I mean it, Bonnie.”
“I said yeah.”
They stared at each other a moment then Damon lowered his eyes. “I’m going to get to get a drink. I’ll tell Caroline I found you.” He started to head toward the door and stopped short at the entryway. “Don’t forget to put those on before you leave.” He pointed to the underwear on the floor. “I hear it’s going to be windy today.”
Bonnie closed her eyes in humiliation and then felt unexpected anger at Damon and his unwarranted anger, his cruel need to embarrass her. When she opened them, she was gone and she was alone in the closet where not too long before she was there. Here she thought. With Kai.
03/24/16 // 9:50am // the perks of being an English major…. reading and annotating Julie Otsuka’s short story, Diem Perdidi, which translates to, “I have lost the day.” It is absolutely HEARTBREAKING, but so, so beautiful. It is written in the second person, and is about all the things your mother (who presumably has some form of dementia) does and does not remember. I love when someone’s work makes me emotional and invested!
So, this became so much bigger than I originally thought but I hope you enjoy!
Dean x Reader
Word Count: 6626
Warning: ANGST. If you don’t know me or haven’t heard this song, there will be cursing, swearing, whatever they call “adult language” in your neck of the woods.
**The two lines in bold are quotes from Dracula (1931).**
*special thanks to @duchessofwinchester who read this for me and soothed my fear that this was an impossible to understand hot mess. And sorry again for forgetting about the angst warning. I made sure it was big and bold here.*
I walked into the bar and didn’t bother to catch the name because they were all the same. Hunter bars always were on the shadier side; old places where the liquor, sweat, and fumes from a fryer seeped from the wood like a heavily applied cologne. Then the stares before I even got to the bar. It didn’t matter if they knew me or never saw my face before, it was always the same. Whispers when I walk by, some I could hear over the din and others I suspected were the same. All men with their lofty ideas of themselves. Most comments were given and met with laughter and testosterone.
Ignoring the rabble, I sat at the bar and placed my order with the bartender. A semi clean glass was placed in front of me then filled with an amber liquid I knew would burn just right on the way down. I knocked it back before anyone tried to talk to me. Some people need fuel to perform, I needed it to deal with stupidity, but I guess in a way it was a performance.
I hoped maybe I could at least get some food first but that was, most of the time, a dream. Even if they were warned from someone who knew better, no one ever expected the woman to be able to handle herself. Arrogant sons of bitches.
The bartender grinned and asked if I’d like another. He had a look in his eye as he tossed a glance behind me and watched me with a thin smile. He felt sorry. I hate that but there was also a quiet understanding there. Maybe it wasn’t pity but a shared humiliation.
I liked him immediately.
“How about the good stuff this time. I’m good for it.”
“I remember.” He turned to the shelves behind him and came back with a good bottle. He glanced behind me again and I just caught the hint of a smirk.
“You remember?” I asked as he poured the dark amber liquid into my glass.
He glanced up, “you rolled through here before. Not too long ago. Y/n, right?”
I didn’t remember. “Yeah. You are?”
I raised my glass to him. He frowned but there was still that glimmer in his eye. I was wondering what was funny until a hand fell on my shoulder. These fuckers always thought they could touch.
“What’s a pretty face like you doing in here? How ‘bout some company, a lady shouldn’t sit alone.” He took the stool next to me and I peered at him from the corner of my eye. Pompous ass with the face of an old weathered hunter. A shame he hadn’t learned some manners along the way. His hand slipped under my hair and ran down my back. My hand tightened around my glass.
“She is just fine on her own.” Jay barked but then pulled back with a glance at me. “But she doesn’t need anyone to tell you that.” He gave me a subtle nod and an apologetic smile. Apparently, I got into some trouble here before.
“But you could tell him to take his hand off me.” I smiled or really grit my teeth and stretched my lips. I was itching to toss my drink in jackass’s face but I really didn’t want to waste it. I’d been thinking about it the whole ride from the cemetery.
Jackass withdrew his hand but didn’t leave his seat. “Could I buy you a drink?”
“No, thank you. As you can see, I already have one.” I sipped, swished it in my mouth, and closed my eyes. I didn’t have nearly enough of this buzzing through my bloodstream to deal with him.
“I could get you another after you finish. A lady hunter like you, I bet we’d have some good conversations.” His hand slipped over my thigh and squeezed. I think a lot of men have this idea that squeezing the thigh will remind women of sex and somehow flick a switch that makes us turn over like a great engine, revving with only that touch of their manly god-given hand. Like a sex doll, here’s my power button, press me and hear me moan your name.
A single glance was the only warning I gave him before I took him down a peg in maybe four seconds, and that’s being humble. His hand was twisted roughly back as my glass smashed into his face, his twisted hand became a twisted arm as I wrenched it behind his back, and then I slammed his ugly head into the bar top. I leaned down beside his face so he could hear me loud and clear this time. “That was such a great conversation. I can’t wait for our next one. Now, clean yourself up and go back to your seat before we do something really crazy.” I released him, sat back on my seat, and threw my napkin at him. I may be a bit of a hurricane but I was a polite one.
A/N: This is my submission for the second part of the lovely ladies @faith-in-dean and @for-the-love-of-dean July Saints and Sinners challenge! (I hope I made it!) A big thank you to my lovely friend Amanda @for-the-love-of-dean for beta-ing this XOXO (I’m sorry!) An additional HUGE thank you goes out to my cohort and just all around amazing friend @leatherwhiskeycoffeeplaid for this whole idea. It would not have been possible without that brain storming XO<3 This is set in s3/4. I hope you enjoy! Any and all feedback is welcomed and appreciated. I love you guys out there <33
It was a perfect summer day when you had first laid eyes on him. Tired of the sweltering heat in your house you decided to come down to the community pool to cool off while yours was being worked on. He was all of 21 years old and hard to miss, standing out like a sore thumb amongst the other pool patrons. Miles of golden freckled skin covering a torso you wanted to just sink your teeth into practically short circuited your brain as you looked on from your lounge chair. He looked so normal, while looking completely out of place at the same time, and you couldn’t stop yourself from staring.
do you want for your birthday?” He stopped walking in the middle of the produce
market, holding tightly a basket full of fresh fruits Hinata had picked for
them to eat.
Why do you ask?”
in a week and it will be the first birthday we spend together, as a… um…
snickered. She couldn’t help herself. It had been only a few months, but Hinata
was very comfortable around Naruto in this way. She liked being around him,
knowing that he was being romantic and charming. Well, at least she considered
the other hand, became more nervous; especially at these types of moments,
where he was asking her things he didn’t really know how to ask.
asked Sakura recently what he should do. Sakura made it sound so simple, “Just
ask her what she wants for her birthday. There isn’t anything wrong about it.
It shows you care and the fact that you remember her birthday is coming is
evident enough of that. Trust me, she won’t be offended.”
Naruto didn’t even think about it being an offensive question. Why would it
offend her? Why would it offend anyone? Does asking people what they want hurt
It took him
a while to process, but he figured it was best to follow what Sakura had said.
Hinata’s giggle reassured him of making the right choice.
“I meant to
ask why you’re so worried about my birthday,” said Hinata, “Christmas comes
first, after all. So shouldn’t we be planning our holidays first?”
Christmas? Naruto had completely forgotten about Christmas. He smacked his hand
on his forehead, sighing loudly from his forgetfulness. “Oh man, Christmas! I
totally forgot about Christmas!”
blushingly snickered again. “Naruto, why don’t you spend the holiday with my
family and me? Hanabi has been asking me for a while if you would join us.
Father said he would enjoy getting… to know you more.”
started to blush. Christmas with Hinata… and the Hyugas? He never even thought
of it. His time with Hinata has been nothing short of wonderful. He couldn’t
picture being with someone more loving than her, but he never took the time to
really think about what that meant. He wanted her, but, he had forgotten, that
she came with a large and powerful family.
wasn’t shy about her family though. He had enjoyed lunch with Hinata and Hanabi
before. Hanabi’s little jabs towards Hinata always made him laugh and she would
blush from embarrassment.
blushed, Naruto couldn’t help but feel his heart flutter.
spent some time with Hinata’s father, Hiashi. They had some quick chats at the
Hyuga household while Naruto waited for Hinata to arrive from a mission or as
she was getting ready for a date. He was convinced that sometimes Hinata took a
bit longer to get ready just so her father could talk and get to know Naruto as
much as possible.
from family and, over the years, they became closer to one another. A fact in
which Hinata thanked Naruto for several times. He didn’t understand how he had
helped, but she kept insisting it was him who helped bond the family back
course, there was the matter of never having spent a holiday with an actual
memories of the holidays were always, so, indifferent. In his early years, they
were lonely and devastating, but as he grew older, they became more joyful.
Still, he never had traditions or consistence with each holiday.
spend it with a whole family.
to go,” he shouted, maybe a little too loudly. Hinata was spooked by his
aggressiveness. “Of course! I want to spend all my Christmases with you.”
smiled elegantly; the only way she knew how. She walked towards Naruto and
kissed him gently on the lips. She could feel his face warming up, as she was sure
he could feel her heat too. She rarely was as assertive as to be the first
person to kiss in public, but when it did happen, Naruto seemed to enjoy it quite
that’s all I want.”
I want for my birthday. To spend every Christmas with you, Naruto.”
saved so much money! I worked a few extra shifts with Kakashi, helping him file
papers and train some kids at the academy.”
shocked. She hadn’t realized that all those extra hours he was taking up were
for extra money. She figured he was working harder with Kakashi to get some
tips for when the inevitable time came for him to become a Hokage. She place
her hand over his, holding tightly to the bandages that were wrapped around his
could feel the shaking of her hand. “Please, I didn’t mean to make you feel
guilty. I just wanted to give you something special for your birthday because
you mean so much to me.” He removed his hand from Hinata’s grip and placed his
hand under her chin. She had begun to look away from him, but he lifted her
chin so that he could see her pearl eyes.
you say I pay for the fruits and vegetables, plus some sweet rolls as a treat?”
want you to spend your money on me,” she tried to look away from his gaze, but
his hand wouldn’t allow it. “I don’t want you to think you have to work harder
to pay for things. I have money and…”
“And I know
that. It has nothing to do with money. I just wanted to get you something big,
something crazy special! I just wanted to show you how much I feel.” He kissed
her sweetly, lingering longer than she had done before. “But,” he said as he
pulled away, “no amount of money could match how I really feel.”
smiled, closing her eyes and tilting her head slightly. This was his favorite
smile. This smile meant he said something right. He grinned widely and moved
his hand from her chin and around her fingers. They started to walk around the
produce market again, relieved that the previous conversation had ended well;
better than Naruto had hoped.
that Naruto knew what Hinata wanted for her birthday, he started to wonder what
to get her for Christmas.
this necklace! It’s super cute! Or these earring! Does Hinata even have pierced
ears? Oh who cares, she’ll pierce them for these beauties.”
began to regret asking Ino to join Sakura and him to the store. He was so
confused. Looking around the store, all he saw were sparking gems attached to
gold and silver chains. He didn’t know that there were so many options for a
woman to buy jewelry, never mind the whole section labeled for men.
everything that Ino picked out was beautiful, but it was just too hard to see
Hinata wearing these things. He never realized how little jewelry Hinata wore
cheer up,” said Sakura, “We’ll find something.”
thinking otherwise. Maybe this was a hopeless mission.
added Ino, “you’re going to have to give us an idea of what she wants. I mean,
I know I would love it if Sai gave me new earrings, but I don’t think Hinata
would really care otherwise. No matter how pretty they are.”
said Sakura, “You have to think about what would be nice for her. It doesn’t
have to be expensive, it just has to have meaning. Is there anything that has
special meaning to the both of you?”
words, Naruto began to blush. He held the red scarf around his neck closer to
him, inhaling the scent it carried. In a few months, it will be a year since
Naruto received this scarf from Hinata, but it still smelled like her. Every
time he wore it, it reminded him of their first moment together; really
together. He recalled the heartache of almost losing her and the idea of never
being able to see her smile or bright eyes every again. It made him clench his
hand into a fist against the scarf.
again,” he whispered to himself.
knew. The way he was holding the scarf in his hands; she knew what he was
thinking. She understood that face personally. Maybe too personally.
something warm,” she suggested, “Something red and warm.”
murmured Naruto, “Maybe a sweater.”
screeched Ino, “That’s a cute idea! She always looks cute in sweaters.” Ino
grabbed the arms of Naruto and Sakura, dragging both of them towards the
clothing section of the store.
walked hesitatingly behind Ino. Maybe this would end sooner rather than later
if he just followed orders, but then something small sparkled behind a glass
counter in the middle of the store.
hours, three bowls of ramen, and a sore arm later, Naruto drudged himself back
home. It was a beautiful night. The moon was full, lighting up the streets with
its glow. He smile blissfully at the moon, touching his lips with his hands at
the heavenly memory that flashed into his mind.
His other hand
held a small bag. Thank goodness the store offered gift wrapping, Naruto wasn’t
sure how that was going to turn out if he had been forced to do it himself.
corner, Naruto started to walk up the steps towards his apartment. When he
reached the door he noticed that the lights were on inside.
worriedly said Naruto. He hadn’t left the lights on before he had gone out.
Cautiously, Naruto started to unlock his door. With that, the lights suddenly
turned off and he could hear someone running around his apartment. He quickly
gathered some chakra, in case he needed to attack and slammed the door open.
What he saw
astounded him. The bitter smell of pine and fresh water filled his nostrils. A
tall, leafy tree, standing in the back of his apartment, glowing brightly is a
rainbow of colors. He could hear little bells chiming and small pieces of
ribbon swirling around each branch of the tree, creating perfect sets of bows
tied to each bell. The fresh scent of popcorn reach him as they were chained on
a string surrounding the tree.
shouted Hinata from beside Naruto. He jumped, but smiled as he focused on her
standing beside him. She bounced happily, but timidly, beside him, gazing
deeply into his eyes, trying to figure out his emotions. “Do you like it
Naruto? I thought I would surprise you.”
say anything. All he could do was glance back and forth from the tree and then
to Hinata. He knew his mouth was opened wide. He thought to himself what an
idiot he must look like, standing there, not saying a word as he gawked at the
two new additions to the apartment.
stared to worry. “Did I do something wrong? I went too far, didn’t I? I knew I
should have asked you first.” She started to place her hands over her chest,
concerned that maybe it was best to have asked Naruto first.
he caught Hinata starting to look down, his body reacted. He dropped the bag he
was holding and reached towards Hinata, wrapping his arms around her.
couldn’t help it. Tears started to cover his eyes as he placed his head on her
Christmas tree… a Christmas tree in my home. A real one!” He was sobbing, not
able to control his words or his tears.
befuddled. She didn’t really understand what he was saying. She stood still,
not wanting to move without understanding more of what Naruto was doing.
there, holding her for a few minutes, crying into her shoulder. He slowly began
to regain control of himself. He loved the glow of the lights around his house,
around his skin and her back. He felt warm and humbled by its shining array of
colors. Added more so, was the ability to hold the reason for the new radiance.
Hinata and whispered in her ear. “I’ve never had a Christmas tree before.”
froze, not knowing how to respond. It had never accrued to her that he had
never had a Christmas tree.
“I mean, not
a real one. I always made a small plant from my garden into a tree when I was a
kid. Iruka always helped me pick the best one. The closest I ever got to have a
real tree was when I was traveling with Jiraya. We would stay at a nice inn
during the holidays to have dinner together and relax for a bit. They were
always decorated this way, the way you did it.”
Hinata lifted her arms and squeezed Naruto back. She couldn’t figure out what
to say except, “Merry Christmas.”
chuckled, pulling back to look at Hinata, “Merry Christmas.”
was everything to her. She placed her fingers over his whiskers, lightly patting
them with her thumb. He leaned in to her hand and kissed her palm. She beamed
blurted, “there is one more thing.”
moved away from him and went into her bag, which was lying on the floor beside
the couch. She hastily looked through her bag, locating the final item. Naruto,
in the meantime, grabbed his bag and took out Hinata’s two gifts. He walked
towards the tree and placed the gifts underneath them.
They’re for you. I’ve never had gifts under a Christmas tree, so I figured the
gifts for you should be the first ones under this tree.” His smile radiated into
bounced, “would you like me to place your gift under the tree as well or would
you like to open it now. I figured we could exchange our gifts early this year,
since we wouldn’t be spending it under this tree.”
How could he have more gifts after this one?
out a small box in her palms and flashed it in front of Naruto. He grabbed it,
gave it a small shake, teasing to Hinata about trying to figure out what it
was; then placing it under the tree.
we have a nice dinner first. I brought the produce from yesterday and I figured
we could make dinner together and then enjoy a nice evening. I don’t have to go
home tonight. Father and Hanabi know that I’m here, decorating the tree.”
Let’s do that!”
rolled up his sleeves, taking his place in the kitchen.
to prepare a small meal together. Hinata loved how Naruto enjoyed helping in
the kitchen. Ever since they became a couple, Hinata started to teach Naruto
how to cook and care for the kitchen. He enjoyed doing anything with Hinata. In
exchange, he began to teach Hinata how to tend and love a garden. Now, when he
went on missions, Hinata would come over and take care of his garden, many
times growing small herbs that he would later use in their cooking. These
little moments made both of them happy and gave them an excuse to spend more
time with each other.
completed, they decided to sit under the glow of the newly added tree, enjoying
their dinner, cuddling next to one another.
“Want to go
and get something for dessert?” asked Naruto.
but,” shyly said Hinata, “first, presents?”
nodded his head and reached to get one of his presents for Hinata. “You first,”
her a box, with a large orange bow in the center. She slowly unwrapped it, not
wanting to ruin the bow. The orange bow was clearly a choice of Naruto’s. Hinata
could picture Sakura trying to convince him to get another color, but he would
insist it had to be orange. Orange was
his color after all. She made a mental note to use the bow in the future. Maybe
a headband for herself on their next date. Once unwrapped, she opened the box
and took out small balls of different colored yarn and two new sets quilting
needles, three different needle varieties in each set.
like sunshine. She looked up at Naruto,
seeing the nervousness in his eyes. “Well?” he asked.
love it! But why two sets of needles? I already have plenty at home. One set
would have been fine.”
there is a second part to this gift. The second set is for me.”
astonished. Naruto continued, “I want you to keep these here, so you can come
over anytime, even when I’m not here, and quilt what you like. I also would
like for you to teach me how to quilt. I want to learn enough to make you a
sweater. Something cute and cuddly, like you.”
anxious, but thrilled at the same time. He could see that Hinata loved the
gift, more so by the fact it appeared as if she was going cry from joy, but
instead she closed her eyes, tilted her face, and smiled. This time with an
added bonus of a small blush rising through her cheeks.
that idea, Naruto. I’ll just need to get a basket to place these in.”
a drawer?” Hinata blushed more. “I’ll give you a drawer, here. You can place
all these materials there, plus anything else you want. I want you to feel as
comfortable and at home as possible. Does that work for you?”
perfect.” She placed her gift back into the box and reached to give Naruto his
present from her. “Here.”
unwrapped the gift. This box was nearly as dramatic as his gift had been
wrapped. It looked rushed and clumsy. He quickly unwrapped the paper and opened
the box. Inside he found a small frame, decorated with Christmas trees, snow,
and stars around it. At the bottom of the frame it read “Our First Christmas.”
picture should be from our first Christmas. We’ll be all dressed up and nice,
plus, it would actually be Christmas.”
really thought this through.”
“Is it too
more than I could have dreamed of.” He reach with one arm and placed it around
Hinata’s waist, pulling her closer to him. He kissed her forehead, then her
nose and lastly, her lips.
giggled, as his breath tickled her nose and the sweet nozzle his lips. When he
pulled his lips away, she kissed him back quickly, embracing him into her arms.
dessert. I was thinking we could get some cinnamon rolls.”
her head and they both began to clean up and get ready to leave. As they reach
the door, Hinata took a moment to stop and look back at the tree. “We need to
get a star. I couldn’t find one that I liked.”
we’ll look for a star while we get our dessert.”
swung the door open, holding it to allow for Hinata to pass. Then, she saw the
second gift Naruto had placed under the tree. It was much smaller. From the
distance she was standing, she could have missed it. “Who is that second gift
tugged his red scarf into his jacket, just at the right position so that each
time he inhaled, he could take in the glorious smell. “Oh, that gift. It’s also
for you, but you can’t have that one until actual Christmas.”
he said, guiding her out of the apartment and away from the sight of the box,
“I want your family to be there when you open it.” He closed the door and
locked the door.
wanted to know what was in the box now. There was still some time until
peaking,” Naruto poked Hinata’s nose, “is that understood?”
at her and started down the stairs to the sidewalk. Hinata paused, looking at
the locked door, placing her finger where he had tapped her. She grinned and
giggled quietly to herself.
coming?” he shouted from the sidewalk.
respond. Instead, she jogged down the stairs and jumped into Naruto’s arms,
holding him close to her as they made their way to the market.
Naruto!” she was yelling from the kitchen, taking out the last batch of cookies
from the oven.
Bring the decorations.”
quickened her pace, not wanting to waste another minute. She cleaned her hands
and made her way to the living room, grabbing a box from the floor on the way.
goodness,” she jumped, “It’s so tall this year.”
well, we have so many decorations, I wanted to make sure we had the space this
sure the children will appreciate it. Speaking of which, how much longer until
school is out?”
should be on their way home now. Sakura said she’d make sure they made it so
you wouldn’t have to pick up Himawari.”
how big both of them are. Boruto doesn’t even need me to get him.”
exams are soon. That kid…” Naruto sighed. Hinata placed the box beside the tree
and approached Naruto, placing her hand gently on his arm.
phase,” she comforted him.
calls me a ‘stupid old man’.”
someone who used to call the Third Hokage the same name and his mentor a, what
giggled. Reminiscing always made Naruto feel better, especially when near
nice of Shikamaru to let you out early today.”
well, now I owe him double to work next week, so I can take the holidays off
too. You know, I always wanted to be Hokage, but I never realized how much
paperwork is involved.”
excepts the paperwork. Even I have a lot of it, and it’s to help run my
settled the boxes around the tree, opening each one so that the decorations
were easy to reach. Once done, Hinata returned to the kitchen, placing the
cookies on a plate and some in a small box. She placed the cookies at the
coffee table in the living room and quickly peaked a kiss on the back of
Naruto’s next as he was bent down, opening the last box.
shivered. He always shivered when she did that.
there was a knock on the door. Hinata rushed to the kitchen, grabbed the box
and approached the door.
stated, flashing Hinata a thumbs up.
opened the door and greeted Sakura. “And these are for you, Sasuke, and
excitingly yelled Sarada, “I love your cookies! Thank you.”
you,” said Sakura, “Once Sasuke returns in two days, I am sure he will love to
eat something sweet.”
exciting to have Sasuke be able to come back for the holidays?” exclaimed
been secretly planning our holidays. She says she wants to it be perfect for
her father.” Sakura smiled, beaming with a small blush rising through her
cheeks, “Well, have fun today. I can’t wait to see the tree on Christmas. See
you Boruto, Himawari.” Sakura and Sarada waved goodbye as they started back
we come in now,” yelped Boruto, “I wanna see the tree!” Himawari clapped and
bounced in approval for her brother’s request.
mommy,” she said, “I smell cookies!”
stepped away from the door and allowed her children to rush past her into the
living room. There, they found Naruto standing beside a tree, which appeared to
the children twice their father’s height. The living room lights were dim,
allowing the bright colors of lights streaming around the tree to illuminate the
Boruto and Himawari said in unison.
Naruto, “how did I do?”
screamed Boruto, “it’s awesome!”
pretty and big!” yelled Himawari.
added Hinata, “then, let’s eat some cookies and start decorating, but first, we
must open the box with this year’s ornament.”
approached Boruto, “Here son. This year, you’ll open it.”
gently grabbed the box from his father and started to pop open the box; inside
was a small kunai shaped ornament. Engraved was the current year and the word Academy Graduate: Uzumaki Boruto.
year,” started Naruto, “our ornament represents the oldest graduating and
becoming a ninja.”
hugged her brother, chanting congratulations repeatedly. Boruto started to tear
up, holding the little kunai in his hand. He didn’t say anything, but instead
launched into Naruto, dragging Himawari with him. He embraced his father and
sister tightly. Naruto placed his hand on his son’s back and his daughter head.
He looked up at Hinata, gesturing her to join in on the family hug. Hinata
didn’t need a more encouragement to join in.
moments passed and the family began to place decorations around the tree.
Boruto placed the new ornament on the center of the tree, and then proceeded to
pass a cookie to each. Hinata played some music from their home system and they
all sang along with their favorite holiday songs.
sunset, the clouds began to cover the sky. Snow started to fall, covering the
streets with its white flakes. Himawari tried to go outside, but Hinata stated
to wait until the following day because it was time to clean up and have dinner.
started to remove the boxes and head to the dining room, Naruto took a moment,
pausing to look at the completed tree.
brilliant. He thought to himself that there could be no better tree in Konoha.
He still loved the rainbow glow that warmed the room, just like he did the
first time with Hinata. He felt a hand rub down his arm.
better every year,” whispered Hinata.
does,” he agreed. He guided her closer to the tree and pointed a small picture
frame ornament. “To think,” he added, “it all started right here.”
tilted her head, closed her eyes, and smile.
never gets old,” he told her, grabbing her hand and pulling her in for a quick
kiss before heading to the dining room.
turning the corner, both Hinata and Naruto looked back at the frame and smiled.
It was decorated with Christmas trees, snow, and stars surround a picture with
the words “Our First Christmas” at
the bottom. The picture was of Naruto and Hinata, during their first Christmas
at the Hyuga house. Their smiles were large and the joy beamed from their faces
as Hinata’s hand flashed a sparkling gold and diamond ring.