Of all the missions to get trapped in a snowstorm.

The storm hit out of nowhere, beginning with a few soft flakes and suddenly turning into sheets of snow plummeting down, interspersed with sleet and hail, and it took Sakura ten minutes to convince Sasuke that they needed to stop and find shelter. Shivering, they managed to squeeze under an overhang, but the wind blew most of the snow in anyway so they were still exposed. There was no way to make a fire because all the wood was wet and soggy. Sasuke's fireball jutsu cleared the snow every once in a while, but the snow was falling faster than it could be cleared.

Sakura curled up as deep into the crevice as she could get, cold, teeth chattering. Visibility was getting to zero. She slung her backpack off, intending to take the sleeping bag out, but a particularly harsh gust of wind wrenched it out of her trembling hands. Now the only bag left was Sasuke's.

Sasuke was perched on a rock barely under the overhang, and though he'd locked his jaw his knees were very faintly knocking together and his face was pale.

Sakura slowly ran her chakra through her body, warming what she could, but she didn't want to expend more than she had to. Sasuke probably didn't know the trick—maybe she could explain it to him. "Sasuke-kun," she called, her teeth chattering.

He slowly turned his head toward her.

"You need to warm your internal organs to prevent hypothermia. You just have to—"

"'m not cold," he slurred.

Suddenly Sakura was alert. "Sasuke-kun, who's the top enemy in the ninja bingo book?"

"Who cares?" mumbled Sasuke. His eyes were unfocused. Crap. Sakura forced herself to stand. Slurred speech, apathy about condition, clumsy movements, and incoherent thinking—classic symptoms. She strode over to him and grabbed his hand from under his cloak. His pulse was weak.

"Sasuke, listen to me—you have hypothermia. I need to warm you or you'll die. Come deeper into the cave." A layer of snow was forming across the ground of the cave, and the sandals were little help as Sakura pulled the limp Sasuke to her old spot. She grabbed the backpack and firmly tried to grip his sleeping bag. With fumbling fingers, she managed to unroll the sleeping bag and, with much coaxing and pushing, got him into it. His head lolled. Sakura's heart rate increased. This was serious. She had no fire or tea to warm him up. His clothes were sopping wet and clinging to him. "Sasuke, you need to take off your shirt."

Sasuke laughed deliriously. "You want me shirtless. Heheh. I know I'm just that hot."

"Damnit, Sasuke," Sakura hissed desperately, and grabbed his shirt, pulling it off.

"You take your shirt off too," he grinned lecherously. Sakura groaned. He was right—her wet shirt would make it even colder. She pulled it off, leaving only the bandages underneath, and slid into the sleeping back. She had to slowly warm his core temperature—doing so quickly would send him into shock. So she slowly breathed near his mouth to warm the air he was taking in, and tried to massage his arm to get a bit of blood flowing.

"You're not that flat after all," he murmured, and Sakura had a hard time not punching him as her cheeks flooded with red. She told herself it was all medical, and tried to ignore the small little shudders he was making and how sculpted and strong his chest was and how close her lips were to his. She might have loved Sasuke, but her fangirl crush on him was surely gone, and right now her responsibility was to keep her teammate alive.

The storm was, if it was possible, getting worse, the wind howling, and if it kept up like this for much longer they would starve and freeze to death. Freezing would be quicker, she figured. But starving gave more of a chance of rescue. Ignoring her morbid thoughts, Sakura kept giving Sasuke warmer air, until they were both sweating inside the warm sleeping bag. After a while, he shifted a bit, his arm digging a bit painfully into her stomach, but she said nothing.

"Think we'll get out of here alive?" he slurred, his talkativeness proving that he still wasn't healthy.

Sakura said what was required by medical law. "Yes, Sasuke-kun. I've got you—we'll be safe."


"Yes, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura felt like she was speaking to a child.

"Why don't you talk to me anymore?"

"I'm talking to you now."

"No, I mean. 'ver since I came back. You don't talk to me. Only when Naruto's around. You never ask me on dates."

Wow. Awkward. "I didn't want to annoy you, I suppose," Sakura replied with a small, bitter smile. "You made it clear that you didn't want me, so I moved on."

"You're not allowed to move on," said Sasuke.

Sakura did a double take. "What?"

"I said you're not allowed to move on. You're mine. You can't take it back." He was…was he pouting?

Sakura didn't know what to say to that. Uncomfortable, she figured that the sleeping back would maintain his heat well enough, and started to climb out. He grabbed her arm. "No, stay," he demanded.


"You're warm."

"The sleeping back will keep the temperature constant—"

"No, you're warm in…in a different way." He insistently pulled at her. "Stay, damnit. Besides, you'll get hypothermia if you leave."

Sakura sighed and slid back in. "Why would you care?" she asked distantly, thinking about his normally apathetic mood.

"Because I like you."

She turned. What the—

"This storm is probably going to kill one of us. And I don't cut around the bush. You're important, and you're not allowed to move on. So stay already."

His arm slowly encircled her waist. She raised a hand to feel his pulse. His palms were clammy and his heart rate was even a bit quick. He was nervous. "Sasuke-kun, you don't know what you're saying," she sighed with a sinking feeling.

"I damn well know what I'm saying," he said angrily. "You're warm in a different way. You—you heal. And—and—you care. And you always wear a necklace below your high-collared shirts even though nobody sees it, and you wear your hair in a bun after the hot spring. And when nobody else knew it, you were there that night begging me to stay, and I felt wanted for the first time. And you're making me babble. You make me do all kinds of stupid things." His arm tightened. "One time on a mission, you took a kunai to the side. You got knocked out, and I realized that I'd let one of my precious people get hurt again because I was too busy with someone else and not paying attention to you. I was so distracted by you getting hurt that I took a kunai to the arm. You're not dying, okay? You're…

"You're not allowed to take it back," he murmured one last time into her neck. His steady heartbeat thumped against her chest.

For the rest of the storm, they were both very warm.