Title: Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Author: desolate butterfly
Genre: General/FluffPairings: NaruSasuSaku
Rating: PG for language.
Summary: In which Team Seven is caught in a blizzard and Sasuke learns to accept some affection.


Sasuke woke with his Sharingan activated and a headache, which meant that he had been dreaming about Itachi again. He blinked rapidly in order to get his eyes to lose their intense focus (which throbbed in a dull pain at the corners of his temple) and looked around the small hut in which the rest of his team, minus one Hatake Kakashi, were sleeping peacefully.

It was still dark in the room, indicating that Sasuke hadn't been sleeping that long, and despite the close quarters, the air was still freezing cold. Sasuke could see his breath in the air, misting out in soft puffs in front of him.

The mission to Wave Country was finished, but getting back to Konoha was taking longer than expected. Already, Team Seven had run into two sets of bandits, one missing nin with a grudge against Kakashi, and the latest set-back, a surprise snow-storm which kept them huddled in a makeshift cabin nearly four days behind schedule.

Sasuke shivered and pulled the sleeves of his shirt down over his frost-numb hands. They hadn't exactly been dressed for the weather, and Sasuke was grateful that Kakashi carried an extra pair of pants with him, even if they were far too long and Sasuke had to roll the bottoms up several times in order to walk properly in them.

He looked over at his sleeping team mates. They were closer together than Sakura would normally allow, and Sasuke reasoned that this was due to the fact that it was cold and Naruto was a built-in furnace of sorts. The boy was always warm, and Sasuke thought it might have something to do with a combination of too much ramen and hyperactivity.

With her short dress, Sakura was worse off than Sasuke, and Naruto had already given up his orange jacket to her while they were making the long trek back to Konoha. That she wore it was testament to how cold it was, since it clashed horribly with her hair.

Now she was cuddled up to Naruto's side, her pink hair brushing his shoulder, her arms clutched close to her chest and knees drawn up to her belly. Her lips opened as she breathed, making a small cloud of mist hover in the air before dissipating. Naruto's jacket was unzipped and spread across her shoulders, one arm bunched under her head as a make-shift pillow.

Naruto, seeming unbothered by the cold, was sprawled out next to Sakura, his black t-shirt hiked up around his arms displaying a large amount of tanned skin, one orange-covered leg draped across her feet, hooking around the back of her knees. He was snoring obnoxiously and Sasuke scowled at him in the darkness.

The idiot was even loud when he was asleep.

Sighing softly, Sasuke eases his way past his team mates and pokes his head out the door of the hut. It is still snowing, although not nearly as rapidly as it was when Team Seven stopped for the night. A trail of footprints lead away from the hut to a small outcropping, where Sasuke found a slightly snow-covered Hatake Kakashi, leaning against one of the larger rocks, book in hand. As Sasuke approached, the grey head turned.

"It's a little early for your watch," the copy-nin commented mildly.

"I won't sleep anymore," Sasuke replied, brushing some snow off a rock and sitting beside his teacher. "I can take over for you if you want to rest now."

Kakashi raised his eyes from his book and gave Sasuke a long, searching look. Sasuke straightened his back and tried to look like he was alert and impassive instead of exhausted and freezing cold. It must not have worked very well, because Kakashi's visible eye narrowed and he cocked his head to the side.

"Dreams?" he inquired softly, and Sasuke winced at the implied sympathy in that tone.

He didn't answer and after a few moments of watching the snow fall, he heard Kakashi's sigh. When a heavy hand fell on his head, Sasuke's eyes widened in shock and only the stiffness of his limbs kept him from falling off the rock he was seated on.

"Go back inside where it's warm," Kakashi prodded. "I'll come get you when it's your shift."


Sasuke received a pat on the head that was more like a firm tap and he hunched his shoulders, trying to duck under it.

"That's an order, Sasuke," Kakashi said, and then removed his hand (but not before tweaking a lock of hair between his fingers) and turning back to the enthralling pages of Icha Icha Tropical.

Sasuke scowled. He was being sent to bed like a child! By someone barely old enough to be his father, who was reading porn in a snowbank! It rankled.

Still, it was awfully cold. And disobeying a direct order from Kakashi was a good way to earn extra running circuits and D rank missions. Sasuke decided he'd better go back to the hut, even if he ended up lying awake for another four hours.

Shaking the snow out of his hair, Sasuke picked his way around his still sleeping team mates towards his bed roll. But as he was stepping past Naruto, he felt a warm hand grasp his ankle and yank hard.

With a muffled yelp, Sasuke fell to the floor. Only quick hands prevented him from crushing the still sleeping Sakura in the process. As it was, Sasuke ended up half sprawled on Naruto with his arms on each side of Sakura's head, keeping him propped up above her.

Beside him, Naruto snickered.

Sasuke grit his teeth. "You fucking moron," he hissed, trying to spring off his hands to the side, but Naruto's legs had tangled with his and were keeping him in place.

"Shhh," Naruto said, sleepily. "You'll wake S'kura-chan, bas'ard."

"Let me up."

"No…'s warm here. Go to sleep."

Sasuke opened his mouth to deliver a scathing reply to that when underneath him, Sakura shifted.

Immediately, Sasuke stilled, watching as she nuzzled the arm of Naruto's jacket and mumbled something incomprehensible in her sleep. When she didn't move further, Sasuke sighed in relief and closed his eyes.

They opened a second later when strong hands suddenly grasped him by the waist and pulled him off Sakura and to the side, so that now he was lying between the two of them with Naruto's arm around his waist and Sakura's hair brushing his ear.

"Cold bastard," Naruto mumbled. "Stop being such a crab an' sleep. You'll get ugly bags n' the girls won't chase you anymore if you don't start sleep'n."

Sasuke clenched a fist and was about to send a punch flying at Naruto's childish, sleepy face when he felt a pair of slim white hands latch on to his arm.

"Mmmnh," Sakura moaned as she snuggled her cheek against his shoulder, her warm breath raising goosebumps across Sasuke's skin. Her lips pursed a bit and she frowned, feeling the coldness of the limb she was holding onto so tightly. Still, she didn't let go, but inched closer, putting one hand out further to grasp a handful of Sasuke's shirt, her fingers very white against the blue fabric.

Sasuke was very glad that his blush wasn't detectable in the darkness.

"Sleep," Naruto ordered again, hooking a leg around Sasuke and thrusting his arm up to flop over his eyes.

Sasuke considered his options. If he left, he would wake Sakura and then have to explain why he was huddled next to her in the first place. And he would be cold. And Naruto would complain. Loudly.

So Sasuke decided he could stay like that, at least for a little while, until Sakura rolled over or something and he could extract himself without waking her. He wasn't making a concession really. It was just an issue of body heat and convenience, that's all.

It didn't mean he couldn't elbow Naruto in the ribs "accidentally" during the night, either. Hard.

Sasuke closed his eyes.

He was asleep in two minutes.



Any commentary is appreciated.