Halycon Storm


They're sitting there under the weeping willow (which shouldn't be crying), and rain seeps through the breaks in the leaves, creating a mini-storm inside their shelter.


Sasuke sits alone, but then Sakura feigns stretching and pushes herself closer to him so he is a little less alone. (Just for a few moments. Just until he notices.)


A familiar orange book is hidden by Kakashi's turned back, but the other three know that it's there and that he is reading it. They know that when the tremors begin, it isn't hypothermia. It's just Kakashi giggling.


Sprawled flat against the covered grass is Naruto, a peaceful look claiming his features—which are, for once, soft. Gentle and tranquil and quietly happy.


Metal meets metal somewhere off in the near distance, outside of their little alcove, but they are all either too comfortable or too tired to care. (And this is fine either way.)


Shouts blast through the frigid air, and Naruto waves a hand at them absently, slowly lulling to sleep. Kakashi fingers a kunai and continues reading.


A pacific sort of understanding covers them like a cloak, like the tree, and total silence—save for the rainwater leaking through the openings—elapses. They freeze in position for some time before the storm really picks up.


Paper figures, cut against the night, dance past the curtain of drooping branches. Sasuke's eyes never leave them, and Kakashi focuses his only eye on them until they are gone.


When the enemy's trail becomes undetectable and the wind thrashes at the four, destructively, they all huddle closer together—even Naruto, who had been trying to rest, and even Sasuke who only wanted to be alone—and suddenly they are all less alone, if alone at all.


The night goes dark as Sakura draws a notebook out of her pack, and slender hands begin weaving tales of a team that knew deceit, hardship, and togetherness.

(And pure, untainted, undeniable Love.)