Author's Notes:

"How do I treat hypothermia?" Sasuke asked, hands on his hips. Sakura was glad she didn't giggle out loud at the fact Uchiha Sasuke had to play nurse. Slightly AU, SasuSaku

The second part of this story has a tasty tasty lemon.

This fic is slightly AU since Sasuke had left and returned. The details of his return are left vague on purpose because I didn't want that background to bog down the story flow. Just assume it's your typical Naruto kicked his ass and he was allowed to come home back story.

Rookie nine characters are in their late teens. Sasuke's personality is more first season based.

Before the story begins, I'd like to thank all of my reviewers for Venom! I'm so happy that so many people chose to respond. You all really inspired me to get started on this idea. You're words were so kind and touching! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I hope you enjoy! ^_^


Sakura Haruno always shrugged off comments that she was the second coming of Tsunade. Sure, she had great chakra control, a passion for medical ninjutsu, and a fiery temper. But she still felt like she wasn't that much like her sensei. That is, until this very moment when she lost her first high paying bet to Naruto Uzumaki.

Normally, Sakura would be sighing in disappointment from the revelation she was exactly like her teacher and the loss of a good sum of money, but the loss was dimmed somewhat by the joy of laughing at Uchiha Sasuke's expense. She tried not to laugh at the handsome, disgruntled man at first, but a smile slowly leaked to the surface. Her stomach grew tense from trying to restrain herself. Her muscles then shook on her abdomen. Suddenly, her bubble burst and a fit of giggles overcame her. Naruto beside her had a similar reaction featuring knee slapping and pointing. On the other side of Naruto was Sai, who just tilted his head curiously at Sasuke. Sasuke rolled his eyes at the pair of laughing hyenas. Sometimes, their games and jokes could make missions almost unbearable.

"Teme was molested again!" Naruto cried out in between laughs while pointing. "I told you this would happen if we sent him to the inn! Pay up Sakura-chan!"

This particular mission had led them into the Land of Snow. Team seven had been assigned to track down the infamous Lazy Panda gang which was recently spotted in the area. Despite the somewhat ridiculous name, the group was known in several countries for high profile thefts and kidnappings. Most often victims of the kidnappings were returned for quite a hefty price. If the price was not paid, victims were often sold into human trafficking. The band was fairly small, making it difficult to take down.

When the four of them had arrived in the small, snowy village they had decided to split up. Sakura met with the town's chief while the three other males of the party went around town asking questions. Naruto had the restaurants, Sai interviewed in the residential area, and Sasuke went to the inn attached to the tourist hot springs. Sakura, Naruto, and Sai had all had no luck with their investigation and had been anxiously waiting for Sasuke's return. Hopefully, he had good news, but by the looks of things he did not. He was scowling profusely.

Sasuke let out a long sigh. Naruto's accusation was true; he was constantly being rubbed up on and flirted with by both women and men. He didn't know what he ever did to attract such attention to himself, especially from the men.

Today, his molestation had been performed by a mischievous girl who managed records for the inn. The inn was so popular that one needed to make a reservation to bathe a few hours prior to the bath. Guests and town members alike celebrated a tradition of soaking whenever it was going to snow, so today was very busy. Apparently, soaking in a natural hot bath was a very soothing experience when snowflakes drifted down from the heavens. Sasuke personally thought it was a stupid idea. Regardless, the sky had begun to cloud up in the early afternoon which meant snowfall by sun down. Sasuke had to nearly push his way through the crowd to find a single member of the hotel staff.

When he interviewed the keeper of the reservations, she told him that she did have something to say, but he must wait for the end of her shift. He respectfully nodded and waited behind the inn for the young girl to appear. As she approached Sasuke, she feigned shyness due to his being a ninja and a fear of the bandits returning to punish her for revealing information. Sasuke assured her she wouldn't be harmed, but she continued to fake apprehension. She leaned in close to him, allowing him to take in her perfumed scent, and stood on her tip toes to reach his ear. He expected she was going to whisper what she knew in his ear and did not push her away as he normally would. Suddenly, she closed her body to his and began to leave hot, wet kisses on his neck, below his ear. In a state of shock and surprise, Sasuke pushed the amorous girl off and disappeared. Her red lipstick, however, had stained his neck. In contrast to his pale skin, the lipstick stood out strikingly. This allowed his team to see with a glance he was molested yet again.

At times like these, he missed the old days when Sakura was the only one who constantly touched and hugged him. At least he knew Sakura, and not necessarily were all the touches and hugs even against his will. He certainly wouldn't care now since she was a close friend…a close friend with an alluring figure. However, Sakura had matured greatly and seemed to have put him in the "just friends" category. He no longer got many hugs from her. In fact, last time he counted Naruto had received more from her recently than he had. The Bastard.

"I don't know why you even took that bet Sakura!" Naruto teased while elbowing her side. "This happens every time we leave him alone!"

"I just thought maybe this place would be different since it was so small," Sakura said with a laugh as she shook her head. She should have known better than to underestimate Sasuke's charm.

"Eh! You shoulda known! I mean everyone knows towns with hot springs are full of sex craving perverts!" Naruto prattled.

"Is it the steam?" Sai asked with a wide gaze.

"Konoha has a hot spring, you idiot", Sasuke said interrupting them.

"Yeah! And look what we got there! There's Kakashi-sensei, Jiraiya-sensei was, Ino," Naruto began to list.

"Alright, that's enough," Sakura said with a pat to Naruto's shoulder in attempt to quiet him down. Then, she moved in front of Sasuke and licked her thumb. Knowing what she wanted, Sasuke tilted his head to the side, exposing his lipstick stained neck to her completely. He hated when she did this kind of crap, but it was better to submit to her than provoke her on small issues. With a few gentle rubs, Sakura had mostly removed the stain.

"Poor Sasuke-kun," She murmured.

"Were you given any information regarding our mission?" Sai questioned. Sasuke shook his head.

"Sounds like they may have passed through, but they're long gone by now. I think they have been for over a week now," He responded, trying his best to ignore Naruto's enormous grin when Sakura handed him some money.

"So we're at a dead end," Sai concluded.

"Maybe not," Sakura interjected, looking away from Naruto counting her cash. "When I spoke to the chief, he said that it's not uncommon for criminals to pass through to hide in the mountains while the heat of their search dies down. There are a lot of caves in the mountains, some of which have hot springs in them."

She moved to stand in between Sasuke and Sai, withdrawing a detailed map from her coat pocket.

"There are caves in the northern mountains and caves in the eastern mountains. Both mountain terrains are only a few miles from here. If they are hiding out, they could send people to town for supplies one at a time to go unnoticed," She explained. "In the case of the northern mountains, there are some safety shelter kits within the caves. They could steal those kits and live off of them roughly for awhile."

"Huh? Why do they put kits in the caves?" Naruto asked, looking over her shoulder at the map.

"Because in between the northern mountains is a path that leads to another town. Blizzards spring up quickly around here, and villagers are sometimes caught in between. Both towns fund stocking the caves in the event of blizzards. Guests who use the packages are supposed to report their use to one of the villages as soon as they return. All caves that have kits are marked with a red stone above the opening. I also received a list of usual items stocked in the caves."

Sai nodded. "It's a logical system."

"Apparently it's really helped with the winter mortality rate around here."

"How large is the other village?" Sasuke asked as he mulled over the map.

"It's about twice the population of this one."

"Then, that would make a good hide out as well. The more people, the easier to go by unnoticed," Sasuke stated.

"True," Sakura murmured chewing her lip in thought. "We need to get moving either way. Sounds like there's bad weather coming through this area soon."

"I think we should split up once we get to the mountains," Naruto interrupted. "Two people check the caves, two people go ahead and make reservations at the first inn they find. After that, the two left in town can go check things out there. We'll get all this searching crap done faster this way."

It was decided then that Naruto, who didn't want to sit around and dig through caves and Sai would go ahead to the town. Naturally, Sakura was an immediate candidate to investigate the caves since she knew the most. Sasuke stated he would be going with her emphatically because his bloodline allowed him to manage better in the dark than others.

"Let's head out!" Naruto cried, pointing his finger westward excitedly.

"We're going north, sweetie," Sakura corrected, moving his finger the correct way. Sasuke rolled his eyes.



Barren. Nothing. There were some fifteen odd caves with the red stone above them. All supplies had been accounted for. Sakura and Sasuke were left with nothing for evidence. This had both partners slightly frustrated and hoping that Naruto and Sai were having better luck. Sasuke decided that the pair should get moving before the storm. At least, that's what Sakura assumed he meant when he tugged her arm, gesturing her to leave the last cave.

While he gave everything a second look, Sakura wandered to the backside of the mountain to investigate. She didn't bother telling Sasuke where she was searching, since their task so far had been completed without so much as a few words. It was annoying, yet soothing at the same time. Since his return, Sakura had deemed that silences between her and Sasuke were much more comfortable then conversation.

To her surprise, there was a massive frozen lake beyond the mountain side. She stood on a cliff, overlooking the remarkable sight. The water had frozen over completely smooth and was mysteriously not covered in snow. Instead, it reflected up at her like a mirror. She smiled softly had the gorgeous sight. Bending over, she leaned in to see the sight more closer. Unfortunately, her leaning frame led to a scroll falling to the surface of the frozen water.

Frustration escaped her mouth in the form of a grumble. Leaving behind the scroll could be condemning should enemies been nearby. Peevish about her terrible luck for the day, Sakura slowly climbed down the cliff. Her chakra allowed her to lean in closer to the ledge as she climbed and gave her a good grip. Landing on the smooth surface with a small thud, Sakura had been slightly relieved she hadn't slipped on her ass. The entire scene seemed to be coated in ice.

As she stepped across the smooth surface, her heart skipped a beat when she realized it sank slightly. The ice was not completely frozen through. She held her breath tightly as she edged closer to the scroll. Once she was able to wrap her fingers around the scroll, Sakura let out a long sigh of relief. Then, she tucked the scroll into her pack with a smile of success.

As she slowly edged back to the cliff side, the ice sank even more still. Before she could register what was happening, there was a sickening cracking sound. She opened her eyes in submerged water. Not knowing how she had fallen or which way was up, Sakura began to struggle. The pack attached to her weighed her down. Her heart set into a panicked pace and her limbs went into a frenzy.

But her mind was being bizarre. She observed how gorgeous the water was beneath the surface. The icy clarity broke the light into captivating streaks. Sakura wished her team could see. Slowly, her limbs went limp. Drowning was different than she expected. She expected more terror. She knew her skin should have been freezing, but she couldn't feel it. She felt nothing but a strange sense of calm.

Her daze was interrupted by a sound, but she couldn't distinguish what the sound was. In reality, she was hearing Sasuke call her name from the cliff, unaware of her fate beneath the icy surface. Her mind, however, wasn't able to process Sasuke's calling. But the sound was enough to snap her back into consciousness and remind her how to escape this situation.

Exhale and watch the bubbles. They will direct which way is up.

Once she established her direction, she began to swim upwards towards the ice. No longer near the gap she had fallen through, her hands met with a sold surface. By reflex, her burning lungs began to swallow in water. Feeling her way across, Sakura was soon able to find the opening through which she had sunken. Her lungs burned and gagged her powerfully as she attempted to swing herself back up.

Sakura felt something strong and firm grip her arm and pull her up roughly. Suddenly back atop of the ice, she felt herself register what was going on around her. Sasuke's hands were on her arm and he shook her lightly while asking a question. Not caring at the moment was he was saying, she began to cough on reflex. Her lungs and body trembled as she spit up water onto the ice and Sasuke.

He said something again and she finally realized what was going on, her body no longer controlled by reflex.

"Wha?" She asked with lips unable to move quite right. Sasuke observed with some horror that they were strange lavender blue.

"You need to pump your chakra through your body. You need to keep your internal organs warm," He commanded slowly, as if speaking to a child. Even though he was in a panic internally, arrogance still managed to creep into his tone. "Do you know how to do that?"

She nodded. Feeling the warmth of her chakra spreading throughout herself was almost painful. Her muscles had gone all numb from the shock of the icy water, so she did not feel the cold wind blowing against her. Unknowingly, she was shivering almost out of control. She couldn't gather why, but she still felt so relaxed and limp.

Sasuke instantly lifted her into his arms bridal style. He was disturbed by her sluggish behavior and limp, doll like posture. Holding her close to his own body in hopes he offered some warmth, Sasuke stood on the ice slowly. In conditions like this, it would be more ideal to crawl and evenly distribute their weights on this ice, but time was a factor. He pushed his chakra to his feet as he balanced across the ice.

Sakura knew she was in trouble as Sasuke carried her. Her hot chakra spread throughout herself, making her more aware. She could almost recite word for word from a medical scroll her condition.

Moderate Hypothermia- lower body temperature marks shivering becoming more violent. Lack of muscle coordination becomes apparent. Movements are slow. Victim will appear alert, but suffer from some mild confusion. The victim becomes pale. Lips, ears, fingers, and toes may become blue.

She recited the text to Sasuke. She watched his brows furrow together.

"At least I still want my clothes on," She said in attempt to downplay her condition. Sasuke looked down at her like she was crazy. He did not know that she was referencing how victims with severe hypothermia would sometimes undress paradoxically.

Once he reached the cliff side, he threw her over his shoulder. Moving faster than he ever thought possible, Sasuke brought her into one of the caves. Gently, he set her down onto the cold ground. Sakura observed that Sasuke had the strangest of expressions on his face. His eyes were wide, but his mouth was set in a line. He pulled the pack off of her backside and threw it across the cave. Then, he moved to a kit, dumping the contents out on to the ground. Lifting up a towel, he flung it to her. Unable to catch it in time, the towel lay at her feet.

"Undress and dry yourself off," He ordered, moving to the outside of the cave. "Then you may put on dry clothes."

"My extra set was in my pack," she answered with some fretting evident on her face. Her pack had to be soaked completely through.

"Doesn't matter. I'm going outside to get my pack. You can put on my spare," He called over his shoulder. "Hurry up and get out of those wet clothes."

Sakura felt some irony in the fact Sasuke was ordering her to undress. First, she flung off her gloves and removed her boots. Socks held tight to her feet, forcing her to peel them off. Her fingers moved to her coat zipper, but struggled to grasp the small metal. Her fingers were slow moving and numb.. Almost painfully sluggish at a time when speed was a complete necessity. Her violent shivers shook her body, not helping the situation either.

"I'm coming in," Sasuke called as he returned. "Cover yourself."

He entered her line of sight and glared at her.

"Damn it, Sakura," He growled as he rapidly approached her. With little finesse, he ripped the zipper down her coat and threw it off. Her thick, red button up shirt beneath was given similar treatment, his hands moving so fast and rough that some of the buttons broke off.

Sakura would have found his rough undressing sexy if she weren't shivering to death.

Sasuke's hands reached the hem of her tank top and pulled it up. Left only in a bra, Sakura held in a gasp when Sasuke unclasped her bra from behind with one hand. Thankfully, her bra only fell forward slightly and not off.

When Sasuke's hand reached the button and zipper of her pant, she nearly screamed in shock. With just a few, fast motions, he had undone them too. Before he attempted to remove her pants, she managed to eek out, "I can do it from here."

With a nod, Sasuke turned his back to her and began to prepare a fire. Sakura dried off, not bothering to watch Sasuke. She was completely sure that he wouldn't bother to try to look at her naked. In fact, he probably wouldn't look at her naked even if she begged.

Once the fire had begun to rumble in the fit pit, Sasuke moved to the storage area to remove a mat. As he unrolled the mat onto the floor, he instructed Sakura to go through his pack and put on his extra clothes. Grateful to have something dry to slip into, Sakura tried to open the pack. She experienced similar problems that she had with her clothing.

"My fingers are too numb," She said with some embarrassment. "I can't move them right to get the zipper."

"Slid it over here then," Sasuke snapped without looking at her. Sakura obeyed and waited for him to remove the clothing. Soon, he tossed a black long sleeve shirt followed by black pants over his shoulder. Sakura quickly slipped his clothing on. Surprise snuck onto her face as she realized the clothing was soft and comfortable. The pants, however, could not stay up without her holding them up. Where was the stupid purple bow he used to wear as a belt when she needed it?

While she had dressed, Sasuke had laid his sleeping bag atop of the mat. He searched in the kit for a pillow, but found none. He was lucky enough to find a blanket, however.

"Are you dressed yet?" He asked, checking to make sure the blanket was clean.

"Yeah… do you have a rope by chance?" She responded.

"Yes, but I am going to use it to hang up your wet clothes."

He turned towards her and threw the blanket over her shoulders.

"Go sit by the fire," He ordered, pushing her lightly that direction.

Sakura sat upon the mat, wrapping the blanket tighter around herself. She had moved that mat as close to the fire as possible, but her core seemed to still be frozen. Trembles shook the mat in an agonizing manner to Sasuke. He looked over his shoulder at her once as he hung up the rope. Noticing the heavy gaze upon her, Sakura looked up at Sasuke and gave him a small smile. He nearly scoffed in response. She had nothing to be smiling about right now. His hands then fell to remove his own wet shirt.

Sakura's eyes widened in captivation as Sasuke's hands dropped to lift off his shirt. His whole upper half had been soaked by her wet body when he pulled her close to carry her back. Sasuke was surprised the moisture had leaked past his coat and onto his shirt, but there was very little he could do. His spare was currently on her back. Now standing with his well toned chest bare, Sasuke hung his coat and shirt over the rope to dry. His muscles flexed slightly and almost hypnotically when he lifted her abandoned clothes from the floor to hang as well. Sakura suppressed a shriek from embarrassment as he lifted her panties and bra onto the rope to hang. Thankfully, her tremors and teeth chatter blocked any eeps that may have escaped her mouth. To her surprise, Sasuke then turned to speak to her.

"How do I treat your condition?" He asked, hands on his hips. She was glad she didn't giggle out loud at the fact Sasuke had to play nurse.

"The patient must be warmed slowly so as not to shock the system. Sometimes application of hot water bottles under the blankets of patients is enough. The ideal placement of the hot water bottle is under the arms. Blowing of hot air on patients works as well. Hot bathes of up to forty four degree Celsius are allowed, but patients arms and legs must hang out of the tub."

Of course she'd give him the text book answer.

Sasuke let out a sigh of frustration. He didn't have a tub, a water bottle, or a space heater. Other than the fire, his body heat was the only source of warmth in the room. He could retrieve a water bottle from one of the villages, but when he had been last outside the winds were beginning to pick up. Snowflakes had begun to drift down. He could make it back to town, but he wasn't sure he could make it back to her. She certainly wasn't in any condition to head back outside either. She didn't even have a decent, dry coat. The weather prevented him from getting Naruto for help, so he was in charge of her care for at least an entire night. Sensing his internal struggle, Sakura tried to distract him from getting agitated.

"Is there anything that we could heat in the kit? Like tea or something?"

"Tea, cocoa, and ramen noodles," He answered.

Sakura couldn't help but smile. She imagined how Naruto would have already heated the ramen noodles by now. His wide, toothy grin resonated in her mind.

"Ramen noodles? Naruto would be excited," She mused.

Sasuke raised a brow at her. She was at risk of getting a serious illness, but she was grinning at the thought of Naruto. Idiot girl.

"Quit wasting time and tell me what you want," He snapped, moving to the kit. Sakura's smile fell at Sasuke's sour mood. She shouldn't have been surprised by his reaction. He was definitely in a no nonsense state of mind.

"Tea, please."

Once the tea was boiled to precision and handed to her, she hoped she would feel more heat and relief. Sadly, she did not. Her unstable fingers caused the cup to shake in her hand, spilling some of the contents over. She hissed in pain from the boiled water as inaudibly as possible. She didn't wish attract Sasuke and any more of his tempestuous mood.

"Are you getting any better?" He interrogated over his shoulder. Currently, he organized the contents of the cave. The kit he had dump over was now being straightened. Earlier, he had removed everything that could be salvaged from her wet pack and hung all that was soaked. His obsessive compulsive cleaning was hardly a new phenomenon for Sakura to witness. Sasuke's demand for perfection was constantly spilling itself over into nearly every area of his life. Perhaps that's why she sometimes felt some intimidation from him being near.

"Yeah," she answered with a fake cheer, but Sasuke was able to detect the deceitful tone. Her pale face had remained along with her uncontrolled shivers. He exhaled in aggravation and moved behind her. He had run out of other ideas. Since all other sources of heat were not working, he would simply have to use his own body.

Pulling the blanket from her shoulders, Sasuke temporarily uncovered Sakura again to the cold. He sat down directly behind her, moving his legs to either side of her legs. Knowing he was moving close to share body heat, Sakura attempted not to look like she was taken aback by his behavior. Sakura knew that Sasuke loathed any physical contact, so he must have been more concerned about the situation than he led on.

His legs situated to either side of her body as he moved his chest to be directly against her backside. Moving swiftly, he wrapped the blanket around them like a cape. Sakura sat rigid for sometime in the silence, afraid to lie back against him. Sasuke's temper could burst forth any moment, especially since he was already grouchy before and physical contact would only heighten his foul mood.

His hands moved against her arms, making her jaw drop for a moment. Rubbing in circular patterns, Sasuke was attempting to stimulate her blood flow. The sooner she was warmed, the sooner he wouldn't have to deal with her shaking his body. Becoming softened from his attempted to warm her, Sakura finely reclined against him. Silence stretched out between them for what seemed to be an hour.

"You shouldn't have gone out on the ice," Sasuke scolded suddenly, his eyes glaring forward. Despite his hands rubbing her shoulders and body in an affectionate manner, Sakura couldn't help but sense the anger practically radiating off of his body. "You should have gotten me to do it."

"You would have fallen through too," She murmured softly, yet in a strong tone. "You would have fallen in deeper since you weigh more."

"Hn," He growled moving his hands into hers, beginning to rub them. His grip was forceful, and Sakura had to remind herself he was just trying to warm her and keep her blood flowing. He didn't mean to hurt her. "You're always doing this kind of thing. You and Naruto…. You two just don't have any sense. I'm sick of taking care of you."

Sakura chose not to respond, even though his argument had no logic. She didn't want to fight with him tonight, especially when they were probably going to have to sleep side by side. Looking into the fire he had made from his breath, she felt some comfort knowing he wasn't really that upset with her. He was acting out his fear for her in the one way he knew how without actually investing himself emotionally. Rolling over, Sakura wrapped her arms around his bare abdomen and buried her face in his neck. This position allowed his warm to cocoon her. She inhaled his delicious scent, becoming suddenly drowsy from her chakra consumption. She nuzzled him gently, and he seemed to calm down some. His hands moved to her back and began to rub her.

Despite all the danger of the cold and Sasuke's previously pissy attitude, Sakura couldn't help but feel strangely aroused by their bodies touching. His wandering hands, although their intentions were innocent, didn't help the situation either. His technique was remarkable, and Sakura's dirty mind couldn't help but wonder if he had gifted hands in other ways. Trying to clear her mind of the Uchiha in amorous positions, she shook her head and squirmed against him. This made their bodies collide more, and only led to further torment of dirty thoughts. At least, she was beginning to feel more warmth due to her blushing cheeks.

Her breath tickled his neck, yet he didn't dare pull her off. He wasn't sure if he wanted to anyway. He looked down at her face and felt some relief to see her cheeks flushed. The sight was welcome compared to her previous pale face with bluish lips. His hand crept up her shoulder and took hold of her chin. He tilted her chin upward, trying to peek at her lips. Sakura raised an eyebrow at him.

"What are you doing?" She questioned.

"Just checking at your lips," He said matter-of-factly.

"He's doing WHAT?" Sakura thought to herself, feeling a suddenly warm rush travel between her legs. For a brief moment, she hoped that maybe he was about to kiss her, but logic over took her and reminded her that probably wasn't the case. Sasuke wasn't one for physical affection. It was truly remarkable he was even willing to wrap himself around her for body heat.

"Why?" She asked, her voice cracking a little in shock.

"Your lips were blue."

"Oh," She responded, trying not to feel a little disappointed. "And?"

"Pink." He answered shortly, trying not to think of her lips for too long. His fingers led her face back into his neck again. He raised an eyebrow at her as she squirmed against him, once more. He couldn't fathom why she couldn't lay still.

"Sasuke?" She asked softly, her lips brushing against his skin.


"How long do you think the storm will last?" She murmured. She understood they would be trapped there for at least tonight. "Think it'll be done by morning?"

He paused.

"Don't worry about it," He responded. "Just go to sleep."

The phrase "I'll take care of you," was left unsaid.

He felt her smile against his neck and let out a soft sigh. He wished that her skin was warm against his, but it remained fairly cold and clammy. At this thought, his hands began to rub at her back again. He kept hoping the friction would give her some heat. His fingers traced across the Uchiha crest. Never did he believe he'd see another wear the crest, but fate often liked to mess around with him. He felt conflicted for a moment, eyeing the red fan on her back. He was glad she was dressed warmly, yet angry she bore the mark when she was not an Uchiha. Feeling blissful from his touch and embrace, something within Sakura began to thaw. She began to speak of a topic he wished they would never, ever discuss.

"I'm so happy you are here right now," She whispered softly. He almost hadn't heard her. He pretended he hadn't. "I'm glad you came home. For awhile, I thought that maybe you.."

"Shut up."

Sakura pulled away from him and looked up.


"Because there is no need for us to discuss this."

Immediately Sakura frowned and untangled herself from his grasp. She felt cold settle into her skin again, but she really didn't want to be wrapped up in him for too long. If she was too close, she might forget that they were only friends. She may forget that sometimes his friends were disposable to him. There was a possibility she may even make excuses for his flaws, which was something she was unwilling to experience again.

She sat on the other side of the mat, further away from the fire. She shivered more and wrapped her arms around herself.

The pair sat in silence for a moment, refusing to look at one another.

"Are you sorry?" She whispered, referencing if he had regret about his choice to leave. He wasn't sure what she meant, but he knew the answer regardless.


She huffed suddenly and turned her gaze to him.

"How does it not bother you? Don't you feel bad at all for leaving? Making the rest of us clean up after you?"

He sat stoically, starring into the fire.

"All those things you did… and Naruto had to fix everything for you! Team Gai had even agreed to assassinate you! Everyone gave up on you except for us! But you don't even act like that matters!" Her blood began to boil, despite her freezing skin. "You just came back and ignored everything that happened!"

Her hands shook with anger as her teeth began to chatter. Her temper had overcome her, even though she didn't want to fight with him. However, she couldn't submit to his brushing off the entire incident.

They sat there in silence, even longer this time. Sakura wasn't sure if only fifteen minutes passed or an hour. Either way, she was anxiously waiting for morning. She wanted to leave desperately. Her shivers became frequent again, shaking the mat slightly.

"Get back over here," He commanded. "I'm not going to be accountable for your stupidity."

"Don't worry about it."

"That wasn't a question. That was an order," He growled menacingly.

She crossed her arms and turned her head away from him.

"Sakura," He hissed coldly. "I'm not above knocking you out for your own good."

"Yes, I know. You made yourself abundantly clear on the issue years ago."

She tried to curl her knees closer to her chest in attempt to access more warmth. It was no use. Her teeth chattering crackled into the air, making the only sound in the cave. Its noise echoed off the wall and seemed to dig at Sasuke's skin. He was torn in between wrestling her down and forcing her near for warmth and letting her suffer. His anger was tempting him to let her suffer, but the panic he had experienced earlier that day from her fall didn't leave his mind. Despite his displeasure for her tendency to pick at old wounds, he couldn't help but just want her to be safe and warm.

"Forget whatever issues you have with the past. You need to come over here and get warm."

"My issues with the past? You're the one who's destructively obsessed with the past!"

She shook her head, refusing to meet his gaze. Her thoughts had gone to a dark place. He knew the sentiment well and decided not to speak again. No matter how much her shivers were annoying him.

But the silence was too overwhelming and long to Sasuke. He just wanted her to give in and let him take care of her. Couldn't she get it together for just the one night?

If he was too rough on her, she may never forgive him. She obviously didn't see reason when she should. She was too ruled by passion. Yet, if he were to neglect her, Naruto's wrath would be overwhelming. Sasuke knew he could handle Naruto, but he wasn't quite willing to fight with the one person he trusted. Normally, he'd regard Sakura with trust as well, but he had decided to write her off for the moment. She wasn't that important to him personally.

At least, that's how he wished he felt.

So, Sasuke decided to count to five hundred. If she hadn't given in by five hundred, he would jump on her and force her near the fire and his body again.

He had reached four hundred forty one when she finally spoke.

"Did you miss us?" She whispered into the dark. Her eyes were away from him.

"No. Now get over here."

"But then why did you come back? Because you had nothing else to do?"

She was given no answer in response. She sighed.

"I just don't understand why you act like you don't care. I mean, you have to since you are being so stubborn about keeping me warm… and you are so protective of Naruto… and just everything."

He glared at her.

"You never shut up, do you?"

"I guess not," She said with a bitter smile.

To his surprise, she moved closer. She settled down beside him, but not into his arms like before. He relaxed somewhat, although her shivers still continued to unnerve him a little. He removed the large blanket from himself and set it upon her shoulders.

"For the record, I moved closer since you weren't an ass and you didn't knock me out. I figured that's a big improvement for you."

"Hn," He said looking over her skin. Her face was pale again. Her lips were almost that strange shade of blue. His strong gaze made her self-conscious.

"Something wrong with my face?" She asked.

"Lips are blue."

"And that bugs you, right?" Sakura said with a smirk. Sometimes Sasuke's completely bizarre personality was amusing. One second he was furious, the next he was concerned. If she were to point out that he was concerned, he would violently deny it. He was so strange. He was always at battle, either with himself or others.

She also began to find amusement from the fact he was threatening to harm her so he could hold her and keep her warm. There he was trying to act like no one mattered, while ordering her to move closer. The man who hated attachments to other people was pissed that she wouldn't cuddle. How completely and utterly strange.

"Tell you what Sasuke," She said in a surprisingly playful tone, taking amusement from his bipolar nature. "I'll let you hold me again if you say something nice."

He rolled his eyes and suddenly wrapped his arm around her. She struggled violently, attempting to punch at him. They wrestled for awhile, both members trying to struggle in a way that Sasuke's pants wouldn't fall from Sakura's body and expose her. In the end, Sakura used Sasuke's hesitancy to her advantage and gave him a strong punch to the jaw. He then threw her from his arms, no longer caring for her.

"Come on, Uchiha-san," She teased playfully, despite being enraged by his attempt to pin her down. "Just one nice thing."

He starred at her, giving her a look that seemed to be asking if she was insane. They had been struggling with each other enough for things to come to blows and she was smiling? Anger was boiling his blood. Where she had punched him on his jaw had begun to ache some.

"You can't think of one nice thing to say?" She asked, her eyes falling subtlety with disappointment. Her tone cooled his temper as he remembered the situation at hand.

Sasuke let out a huff of frustration. She was so lucky he was taking pity on her for falling under the ice.

"I prefer it when you don't call me Uchiha-san," He murmured while glaring at her.

"Meaning... you like it that I call you Sasuke-kun still?"


Sakura let out a small giggle in victory and moved herself to the front of him. Wrapping her blanket closer around her body, Sasuke pulled her into his arms. Her back was against his chest again as she starred ahead at the fire. He tried to squash down any feelings of relief from hearing her giggle, but Sasuke couldn't help himself. He preferred that she had returned to his arms.

However, he'd never admit that aloud.


"Come on, Sai! Bottles up!" Naruto cheered, trying to get Sai to drink more of the saki he had purchased. He had a secret desire to see all of his teammates drunk, especially Sasuke and Sai. Since Sasuke wasn't present due to the storm, he had settled with his other emotionally retarded teammate. Sai lifted the bottle and proceeded to drink down the liquid. His cheeks were an unusual hot pink shade.

Naruto and Sai had discovered the trail of the Lazy Pandas were beyond cold. They were ready to sleep for the night and then head back home, but Sasuke and Sakura had yet to return. When the storm had started, both members hoped that their friends were safe inside one of those supplied caves.

"What doya think Angry Jerk and Ugly are doing?" Sai asked, swishing his bottle around more. His words were beginning to slur together, but he didn't feel he was that intoxicated. Naruto on the other hand felt that Sai had to be completely hammered by now.

Naruto pondered the first time Sai called Sakura ugly in front of Sasuke. Sasuke's normally expressionless face went into an erratic medley of anger and confusion, but he said nothing. Later, he asked why Sai had picked such an insulting nickname for Sakura. Naruto wasn't sure how to explain the situation that was Sai and nicknames, so he said he didn't get it either. From the context of the conversation, Naruto almost believed that Sasuke implied he found Sakura to be cute, and Sai's words had almost offended him. However, his personal experience with Sasuke prevented him from drawing any rash conclusions. Naruto knew that Sasuke regarded Sakura rather neutrally.

"Sleeping I guess," Naruto said with a shrug to answer Sai's previous question, and then proceeded to drink down some of his own saki.

"With each other!" Sai said with conviction.

Naruto openly burst out laughing, spilling his drink all over himself.

"Yeah right!"

Sai shook his head at Naruto.

"You may not know this, Dickless, but men like to have sex with women."

Naruto continued to laugh, this time falling to the floor and kicking his legs. Sai's eyebrows furrowed in offense. Sure, he didn't know much about male and female interaction, but he had read quite a few of Kakashi's novels. In those novels, men and women made love all the time when they were trapped by a storm. Sai made sure to relay the information to Naruto.

"Yeah, Yeah, I know they do that stuff in novels, but it's not like that in real life," Naruto corrected.

"But they have so much sexual tension," Sai said, pouting from Naruto's doubt. "I am sure they are having intercourse even as we speak."

Naruto shook his head. Any tension between Sasuke and Sakura stemmed from Sakura having a short temper and Sasuke being an asshole.

"Wanna bet on that Sai?" He said with a wicked grin. Gambling, at least, would make this mission completely profitable.


Sakura had dozed off in Sasuke's arms. Last thing she had been aware of was herself sitting curled up, Sasuke with his legs and arms around her. When she awoke, her cheek was pressed against his upper arm. His hands were resting upon her knees. As she opened her eyes, her eyelashes brushed against his skin. Sasuke lowered his gaze to his slowly awakening companion.

Using the opportunity at hand, Sasuke began to unwrap the blanket from around her. He had wanted to lie down for quite some time, but he didn't want to awaken her from her sleep.

Because when she was sleeping, she wasn't talking. When she wasn't talking, she wasn't annoying. When she wasn't annoying, she was almost kind of nice to be around.

Once again, that was something he'd never admit aloud.

He positioned the blanket over the sleeping bag on the mat, and then crawled into the sleeping bag. Sakura watched him lie on his side for a moment and tilted her head curiously. Knowing her thoughts, he lifted the flap and blanket up. She took the gesture to mean that she should lie down beside him and followed accordingly.

Her heart skipped a beat when he wrapped his arm around her, pulling her close to his chest again. Sakura suddenly became keenly aware of everything.

The fire beside them set a warm glow over the cave. Despite the cold cave and the winter storm blowing wildly outside, she felt contently warm and soothed. Perhaps it was the sound of Sasuke's even breathing as he drifted off to sleep. His heart was thudding lightly, slowing down as he relaxed further. He obviously was exhausted.

Sakura rolled over to face him. He opened one eye at her to observe what she was doing. She smiled innocently at him, and he closed the one open eye. He patted the top of her head lightly as if to say, "Go to sleep".

"Sasuke?" she whispered so softly. She almost didn't believe he could hear her.


"What color are my lips now?"

"Pink." He answered without opening his eyes. He noticed right away when he had first observed her. Sakura giggled and leaned upward.

She pressed a light kiss to the corner of his mouth as a token of appreciation. Sasuke did not push her away.


As Naruto was about to pass out from his vast saki comsumption, he looked over to his completely wasted teammate. He had discovered that Sai was still emotionally awkward while drunk and informed Sai so.

Sai was making the strangest of sounds. He kept going, "Sss….Saaa… Saaaa..".

Naruto's face squirmed into one of confusion and amusement.

"What are you doing, Sai?"

"My name is Sai…" The boy began while looking at his fingers. His tone was dazed. "Sakura's name begins with Saaaaa…. Sasuke's name begins with Saaaaa…."

Sai then snapped his head to Naruto.

"You don't belong!" He said pointing his finger at his fox like teammate. "So you shall change your name to Saruto!"

Naruto cracked a smile at his teammate.

"And we shall call ourselves team SAAAA!" Sai cried while pointing his finger into the air.

Naruto laughed until tears ran down his face.


Author's Notes:

This is part 1 of 2. I intended this to be a one part piece, but Naruto and Sai crept in with their antics. I can't resist a silly Naruto. ^_~

Also… I feel so bad about making Sakura a damsel in distress again. I didn't want to do it. I really didn't want to…I prefer Sakura being more of a tough girl, but I had so many tempting ideas on Sasuke undressing her and holding her. I couldn't help it. The original plan had Sasuke falling through the ice, but the story just wasn't as sexy. Sakura caring for someone isn't as hot since she's a nurse and would do it for basically anyone. I promise her getting into trouble won't be a habit. Lol I tried to redeem what I did to her in by letting her beat on Sasuke. Anyway, if anyone is interested in seeing the Sasuke version, I'll post it.

Please leave a review! Part Two should be up in a few days!