"Perfect." Sakura smiled and looked down at the two cups of soup she had made. She quickly
placed lids on both and placed them in her bag carefully. Sakura gave a quick glance to the clock
before rushing towards her front door and outside into the flurry of snow. Kakashi was giving Sasuke
some sort of extra training today, and though she wasn't supposed to know about it, Sakura had
overheard them on her way home the day before. The weather had been quite cold for the
past week, and she knew them well enough to know that food wasn't going to be one of their top
priorities. So she would surprise them with some warm soup, because she wasn't only
worried about their health, but it would give her a chance to have some time with Sasuke.
Sakura walked briskly, ignoring the snow stinging her cheeks. It didn't take her long
to reach the outskirts of the forest, and she could hear the light sound of voices.
She pushed through the branches, finally reaching the clearing. Kakashi stopped in the middle
of his sentence, the sudden interruption causing him to cock his head towards Sakura. Sasuke
soon followed suit, not a hint of emotion passing over his face as he looked towards her.
Sakura smiled nervously, waving her hand at the two, "Sensei, Sasuke-kun." Kakashi
raised his eyebrow at the girl, "Sakura. What're you doing here?" She gave him another
nervous smile before reaching into her bag and pulling the two cups out, "I just overheard you two,
and.. well. I figured you might be hungry from working yourselves too hard, so I made some soup!"
Sasuke turned his eyes away, "You don't need to worry about us." Sakura's smile faded slightly,
staring down at the soup in her hands. Kakashi pulled the two cups out her hands, catching her off guard,
"He's right. But, we can't just let it go to waste." He patted the girl on the head and tossed
a cup to Sasuke. Sakura brightened up a bit, looking over at Sasuke as he removed the lid.
So far so good!, She inwardly beamed. "Sit down," Kakashi's voice interrupted her thoughts, and she quietly
did as she was told, glancing at the two. "Ne.. Sensei, what were you two doing out here anyways?"
Sasuke looked up from his soup, giving Kakashi a nervous glare. The Jounin smiled, "If you don't
bother us about that, I won't bother you about the fact that you were eavesdropping when you shouldn't
have been." Sakura made a sour face, but nodded in agreeance, though being blackmailed
wasn't something she enjoyed. Sasuke seemed to let out a quiet sigh of relief, then went back to his soup.
They ate in silence, Sakura every so often glancing at Sasuke before looking out at the forest.
She shivered slightly, and the realization that she had forgotten to throw a coat on before she left
had hit her. Sakura cursed herself inwardly for being so stupid, another shiver overtaking her body as the
snow clung to her bare arms. Suddenly black fabric was shoved in front of her face, she looked up to find
Sasuke standing in front of her. He was holding his shirt out to her, nothing but cloth wrap
covering his upper torso, "Take it." Sakura hesitated, a light blush taking over her cheeks, "But..". Sasuke
gave her an irritated look, "Just take it. The weather doesn't bother me." Sakura nodded and slowly
took the shirt out of his hands, watching Sasuke as he sat back down.
Kakashi grinned as she pulled the shirt on over her shoulders, though neither noticed.
Sakura swore she heard a murmur of 'idiot' coming from the boy, which caused
her to smile slightly. "Thank you Sakura," Kakashi said, handing her the empty cup. She grinned
at her teacher, "Mmhmm!". Sasuke handed the cup back to the girl, giving her a small smile.
"Well! I suppose we should get back to work.." Kakashi eyed Sakura as he was speaking. He knew
very well why she had come to them today. She could be a sweet girl, but he knew her all too well,
she had her own reasons for bringing them soup. It was obvious to Kakashi what his student had
wanted from this, and he was going to see how easily she would give it up. Perserverance was
something a good ninja would need to have after all. Sasuke nodded at his teacher, totally
oblivious to what either of his companions goals were. Sakura felt the sudden urge to jump on Kakashi
and howl at him to let her stay, but she needed to find a better solution. "Sensei, since I'm here
and all.. couldn't I train with you?", Sakura mentally patted herself on the back for that one.
Kakashi inwardly smirked, the battle had begun. He had expected nothing less from her. "Maybe if you had
come ready to train. You're already worn by the weather and you didn't bring much with you. It'd be better if you
just went back home, it's for your own good."
Sakura now felt the urge to mawl the man, "That's an even better
reason for me to train! I can learn how to react well when in the worst conditions!" She was good. Damn good. Kakashi
knew he had to come up with something great if he wanted to win this one. "You've already missed out on most of what
we were doing though, I'd much rather start from the beginning with this 'special' training. Why not do it
another day?" Sakura paused, she didn't know how to react to that one. This would take some skill. "Well, can't I just
stay here to watch you train Sasuke-kun? Then I'll be prepared for my training. You can learn a lot
from watching others you know." Kakashi pursed his lips, his mask creasing. He would lose soon, the girl had beaten him.
He had known all along Sakura would be victorious though, she wasn't one to give up. She had
earned some slack from him. "Fine. I suppose you can stay, but you have to pay careful attention to our training."
Sasuke glared at the man, shooting mental daggers at him. "Thanks Sensei!", Sakura rejoiced and Inner Sakura let out
a hearty 'Hell Yeah!'. Kakashi stood up, pushing his hand into his pocket. Sakura may have won, but
he wasn't about to betray Sasuke, he knew what he had to do, "Come on Sasuke, get up." The boy slowly stood up,
still glaring at the man. Then, out came the most infamous of all books. Come Come Paradise. Sasuke's eyes
widened, a mix of embarassment and FEAR washed over his face. Sakura twitched. WHAT. IN. THE. HELL?
"Alright, now see, this is how you do this one..." Kakashi looked up at his fear striken student. Sasuke blinked, looking
up at his teacher with confusion and pure hatred. Kakashi noted it was the first time he had
seen so many emotions on his face at once, which he found quite amusing. Sakura jumped up and opened her mouth, but
couldn't think of the words to say. She glared at them both, finally closing her mouth with a 'hmmph!'. She knew
very well Kakashi was trying to play her for a fool, but was still in shock from how DIRTY he was playing. She may
had won the battle, but in the end, he had won the war. Sasuke hadn't moved from his position of glaring at his teacher.
Kakashi blinked, "Sasuke, didn't you want to see this one?". Sakura let out a hiss of "Senseiiiiiii", but was met with nothing.
Kakashi closed the book and shoved it back into his pocket, "I guess not. There's not much else I can teach you then. You're
free to go." And with that he walked away, giving the pair a slight wave over his shoulder. It was about now that
Sasuke realized what had just happened, he sighed with irritation, but was greatful that Kakashi hadn't
revealed the reason for the training. Sasuke turned back around to find Sakura looking rather annoyed. "Come on. Let's go home,"
he walked past her without a second glance. The snow was starting to come down more heavily now, and most of the forest was a blur of white.
Sakura grabbed her bag and quickly followed after Sasuke, slowing her pace down when she was by his side.
A silence fell between the two, the crunching of snow underneath their feet the only noise.
Sakura tugged on the bottom of 'her' shirt nervously, "Sasuke-kun?". The boy didn't turn his head, but replied with a low,
"Hnn?". She paused, looking over at his face. He was deep in thought, a serious and somewhat uneasy expression on his face.
"What were you two really doing out there?". She recieved no response as Sasuke turned his head up towards the sky. The two had now
cleared the forest, their sandals smacking against the hard road. After a few moments Sakura spoke again, "There's something wrong Sasuke,
and it has something to do with that training... why won't you tell me? I'm worried about you.." her voice wavered. Sasuke inwardly cringed at
the apparent emotion in her tone. It was true, something had been bothering him lately, but she was the last person he wanted to talk
to about it. "SASUKE-KUN!" Her voice was filled with something close to anger now, and Sasuke turned to look back at her.
She had stopped walking and was a few feet behind him, he couldn't quite read the expression that had taken over her face.
Sakura had done this to him before, but usually her words sounded like more of a plee. There was something different this time.
Sasuke didn't quite know how to react to this, so he stood there, unmoving. Sakura brushed a few snowflakes from her hair, each one
melting as it hit her skin. "I.. you.." she paused, averting her eyes. "You can't keep everything to yourself. It's not healthy! We're your
team mates, your friends! Why won't you ever talk to us about anything? To ME about anything?!" The urgency that Sasuke was so used
to hearing had returned to Sakura's voice, masking over whatever rage she might have had. He sighed. She knew damn well he wasn't
the type to talk about things with other people, it was his business and his alone. He slowly took a few steps towards her and paused,
"Sakura.. you know me well enough by now, you shouldn't even bother asking me that question."
Sakura continued to stare at the ground, "I know.. but...", she trailed off, not having the
rest of the words. Sasuke waited to see if she would continue, but was met with silence. His body was numbed by the cold now, so he shifted
uncomfortably and turned away from the girl. Sakura looked up as Sasuke had started to walk away. "W-wait!", she rushed forward, grasping
onto his arm, his skin was like ice. Sasuke looked over at her, unnerved by her sudden reaction. Sakura pulled her hand away quickly,
guilt suddenly sweeping over her for not having given him his shirt back yet. "Nevermind.." she said quietly, then quickly
pulled the shirt off over her head, pushing it back into his arms. She looked away and realized
she was almost home. She blinked, Sasuke's home was in the opposite direction from hers. Sakura paused, before releasing her grip
on the shirt, "Thanks... and I can make it the rest of the way home." She then turned away and ran towards her house. Before Sasuke
realized it Sakura had gone around the corner and disappeared. He slowly put his shirt back on and turned around, but paused
before taking a step forward. He cocked his head around slightly to look in the direction of where Sakura had just been.
Sasuke sighed, the warmth of his breath melting the snowflakes which fell before his face. He turned around and headed towards
Sakura's house, slowly going around the corner. He paused when he neared her house, as Sakura was sitting outside on her doorstep.
Upon hearing his footsteps Sakura looked up, her eyes widened as he stared at him. Sasuke
raised an eyebrow at her, "What are you doing?". Sakura sighed and looked at her feet, "I'm locked out of my house and my parents
won't be back 'til tomorrow. I know, I know, I'm such an idiot sometimes..". Sasuke walked up to her and eyed her house.
All the windows were shut tight, and he imagined the only reason she didn't break them was her fear of what her parents would do.
He looked back down at her, "Come on". Sakura blinked then looked up at him, a confused expression on her face, "What?"
Sasuke turned his back to her, "I said come on. You can stay at my house for the night." Sakura paused,
she had never imagined she would ever be this lucky. Inside she was jumping for joy, but she shook her head
at the boy, "It's okay." Sasuke was bewildered, he turned back around to face her, "What do
you think you're going to do? Stay out here all night?" Sakura shrugged, "I don't know.. sure".
Sasuke narrowed his eyes, "Don't be so stubborn. You won't be able to stay out here all night in this weather, and you
know it." Sakura remained silent, not moving an inch. Sasuke's irritation with the girl grew, "Dammit Sakura, just stop it."
Sakura looked up at him, shocked by his change in tone, "What...?". Sasuke's tone softened slightly, "Don't try to pretend
you can stay out here. You know that you can't."
Sakura looked away again and sighed. Sasuke had given up on arguing with her,
never realizing how bullheaded she really was. He quickly grabbed the girl by the waist, hoisting her up over his shoulder.
Sakura's face glowed red with embarassment, she too shocked to move. Sasuke quietly carried her away from her house, not giving
her a single glance. Seconds passed by, then minutes, neither one saying anything. Sakura turned
and stared at Sasuke, her face merely inches away from his. She was too nervous to fight his decision, her limbs
practically paralyzed from the shock of what was happening. Sakura's sudden sneeze broke the silence, Sasuke
finally looked over at her, "You never should have gone out there". He turned back away before Sakura could respond, and they
had soon reached his house. Without putting her down Sasuke opened up the door, quickly kicking it shut. He
dropped Sakura onto a chair, then left the room without saying a single word. Sakura blinked and looked around, the
blush finally fading from her cheeks. She removed her bag and sat it gingerly sat it down by the chair. A few minutes passed, Sakura
let out another sneeze.
Sasuke quietly re-entered the room, a blanket in hand. Sakura had expected him to throw it to her, but
he walked right past her and tossed it onto another chair. "You can stay in my room tonight," He motioned for her to follow him then
disappeared again. Sakura quickly got up and followed him down the small hallway. He was standing at the end,
pointing into a room on his left. Sakura looked at him as she neared the room, then peered into it. She turned back around,
"Why don't I just stay out there? It's alright." Sasuke gave her a stale look, "Just go in." Sakura turned away and entered the room,
sitting down on the bed slowly. She had never once imagined she would be sitting on HIS bed.
Or even be inside his house for that matter. Her lips curled into a small smile, she looked back up at the doorway, but
Sasuke was gone. She sighed and slowly removed her shoes, then pulled her legs up onto the bed. Sakura hesitated before
settling down into the covers. She curled up against the pillow, the mix of scents reminding her of whose bed she
was laying in. Sleep soon overtook the uneasyness she felt though, and she closed her eyes.
Sasuke had entered the room a few moments after Sakura had fallen asleep, a small cup in his hand.
He looked down at her, he paused before placing his hand on her arm, "Sakura?" He called to her
a few times before the girl's eyes opened. She slowly blinked, taking in the figure before her.
"Ne?" Sakura sat up quickly in confusion, the small cup soon held out towards her, "What is it?"
Sasuke lowered the cup a bit, "It's just herbal tea. It will stop you from getting too sick. Take it."
Sakura slowly took the cup from his hand, letting out a quiet sniffle before swallowing most
of the warm liquid. "Thanks Sasuke-kun.." she finished off the rest and handed the cup back to him.
Sasuke gave her no response and left the room. Sakura shifted her body onto it's side, facing
away from the doorway and pulled the covers back over her body.
Not too long after Sasuke
came back into the room. He looked over the girl to see if she was asleep, then quietly
sat down next to the bed. A few silent minutes passed, Sasuke looked over at Sakura's still
figure. "Sakura..." he paused, his voice barely above a whisper. "I couldn't protect you
when you really needed me too, I couldn't do anything at all.. I'm so sorry. I have to
push myself even harder now, so that next time I won't fail you. That's why I was
training out there.. but I can't let you know the truth, not just yet. There's things I have
to accomplish before I can tell you what I need to.. about how I feel. When it's all done
though, you'll get to hear it, I swear. I won't forget about you. Don't lose your
faith in me.. please." Sasuke shifted, resting himself against the bed and closing his eyes.
His confession wasn't unheard though, Sakura's eyes slowly opened. She lay still for a moment, until
Sasuke's breathing became slow and heavy, assuring her he was asleep. Sakura rolled over, her
eyes meeting the back of the boy's head. "I'll never lose faith in you Sasuke-kun.." she whispered before closing her eyes,
a small smile on her face.