Title: Strike Two
Summary: AU. Suigetsu had only himself to blame for this one. —Team Taka
Notes: Fun fact: Before I deleted all of my old work to start anew on this account, I wrote a lot of one-shots with bad humor. I guess some things never change. After that heart-shattering Naruto chapter, though, I think we could all use a good laugh.
Disclaimer: Naruto and all related characters are property of Masashi Kishimoto.

Snowflakes, carried by the gentle winter breeze, drifted gracelessly to the already blanketed ground of frozen precipitation. Because Sasuke had stubbornly refused to wear a hat, the frigid December air blew against his ears, making them ache with cold. He kept his expression void of any signs of pain, though, so as not to induce the relentless mocking that Suigetsu would no doubt start if he were aware of it.

Many people—his own friends included—had described Sasuke as being a cold person on more than one occasion. Though that was debatable (Sasuke personally disagreed, but he had decided that it was useless to argue with idiots), it didn't mean that he was a fan of cold weather.

In fact, he really hated it.

"Ah, winter's great," Suigetsu said lazily, as though he had been reading Sasuke's mind and decided to speak up simply to contradict him. He trudged through the snow, looking far too chipper for someone who had been walking in it for the past forty-five minutes. "Don't you think, guys?"

"Only you would like shitty weather like this," Karin commented, an unhappy grimace making its way across her features. She pulled her scarf more tightly around her neck, causing her red hair to cradle her face. "It's freezing. I'll be lucky if my glasses don't crack the second we get back to Sasuke's house."

"Then maybe you should come into the twenty-first century and upgrade to contacts," he replied easily, eying Karin with his signature toothy grin. "Hey, you never know. Maybe you'd even pass for average-looking, then."

Karin's expression contorted with rage, but before she could give him an angry retort, Juugo spoke up, much to everyone's surprise.

"It is depressing." (Karin jutted her chin out at Suigetsu satisfactorily.) "Most of the animals are hibernating at this time of year."

"You and your animals. You never change," Suigetsu said, rolling his eyes. He turned to face Sasuke. "What about you, Sasuke? Surely Mr. Ice Prince himself has to like winter, right?"

Sasuke simply glared and answered, "No."

"See? Sasuke has good taste," Karin said pointedly, sliding her glasses up the bridge of her nose and sending the boy in question an appreciative glance.

Suigetsu threw his arms up in mock defeat before folding them behind his head. "You're all spoil sports."

The group lapsed into silence after that, and Sasuke jammed his hands into his coat pockets to keep them from reaching up to warm his ears. Actually, he had liked winter when he was a child. He and Itachi had gone out to play in the snow every year, for hours on end. Though Sasuke still thought back to those days fondly, he had outgrown his love for the season itself. Everything about it—the temperature, the wind, the snow—it was all too damn cold for him now.

As they got closer to Sasuke's street, he noticed that Suigetsu, as usual, had fallen behind them. Normally Karin was the one to berate him for walking so slowly, but Sasuke was tired and cold and really didn't feel like putting up with his friend's bullshit right now.

"Suigetsu," he called, turning around. "Stop fooling around and—"

He was cut off when he received a tightly-packed snowball directly to the face.

The two behind him went deadly silent, and he could feel their aura of utter horror at the heinous crime the other member of their group just committed.

Suigetsu, on the other hand, just grinned that toothy grin of his, looking distinctly accomplished.

"Are you a child?" Sasuke demanded coldly, wiping the offending substance off of his face. His fingers stung with cold as they brushed against snow, but he couldn't bring himself to care at that moment.

The other boy shrugged. "You looked like you needed to cool down. Don't tell me big, bad Sasuke is afraid of a little snow?"

"Enough of your nonsense," Sasuke said, sending him a disapproving glare. "Now get moving and stop wasting ti—"

Once again, he was cut off as another ball of snow connected with his face. He hadn't even noticed that Suigetsu had been holding another behind his back and inwardly berated himself for his lack of attentiveness.

"Fool me once, shame on you," Suigetsu quoted in a singsong voice. "Fool me twice, shame on me."

Out of his peripheral vision, Sasuke saw Juugo and Karin instinctively huddle close together, now looking absolutely terrified. They had known Sasuke long enough to know that the only way this could end was badly. Sasuke didn't bother looking back at them, however, and kept his hard gaze focused on the boy in front of him as he slid a hand down his face for the second time.

"Karin," he said, his voice dangerously low. He hardly ever expressed blatant anger, but when he used this tone, his group knew he meant business. "Juugo."

"Y-Yeah, Sasuke?" Karin called out, sounding nervous.

Sasuke bent down and scooped up a handful of snow, ignoring the sting that went through his fingers once again. He began packing it together, the same controlled expression still on his face as he turned back to look at the pair. "Give me a hand."

Juugo, true to his loyal personality, nodded and immediately began gathering large quantities of snow into his equally large hands. Karin, on the other hand, sniffed indignantly.

"I can't believe you're making me get my hands wet," she griped. However, even Sasuke knew that she would never turn down the chance to throw any sort of projectile at Suigetsu, and she too began forming snowballs in her reddened hands.

The three turned to face Suigetsu, who was looking increasingly nervous.

"Hey, c'mon, guys," he said, holding his hands in front of him as if to put distance between the other three and himself. "I was just kidding around."

He had approximately three seconds to start running before they began pelting him.

Mikoto looked up at the four people who had just entered the house, a bewildered expression on her face. Sasuke and his three friends were flushed bright red, and their hair was soaked and sticking to their faces in messy tendrils. She could see dark spots on their clothing that indicated wetness, though interestingly enough, Suigetsu was the only one of them to be completely soaked and was obviously the most disheveled of the four.

"Sasuke, dear, what on earth happened to all of you?" Mikoto asked, her gaze moving from one person to the next with concern.

"I," Suigetsu announced bitterly, looking very displeased, "hate winter."

With that, he stalked past Mikoto and entered the living room. Mikoto could hear him stomping up the stairs—probably heading to Sasuke's room—and had the urge to tell him not to drip water on the carpets. Instead, she returned her questioning gaze to Sasuke, silently asking for an explanation.

Her son gave a half-shrug, looking vaguely pleased with himself. "I like winter."

At that, Karin erupted into a fit of laughter, and even quiet Juugo was chuckling softly.

Mikoto, still unsure at what had transpired among them, merely shook her head and began heading to the bathroom to gather several towels for them. She adored her youngest son, but sometimes, he truly was an odd one.