It's raining. Pouring, actually. Which wouldn't be as big a deal if it hadn't been for the fact they were caught unprepared, without so much as a hood or even an extra shirt, and the tiny village they're intending to get supplies from is still several miles away. So because they aren't prepared, and there's no shelter as far as the eye can see, they're forced to walk through it. Karin's hair sticks to her neck, to her cheeks, to her glasses—not that it matters, she can't see anyway with all these raindrops covering the lenses, but damn is it annoying.

All the more annoying is Suigetsu's smug happy stupid face grinning and whistling like a buffoon the entire time. He's in his element, she supposes, but that doesn't warrant further grinding on her already damaged nerves.

And he knows it, too.

"Will you stop whistling?" she says. "I can barely hear myself think."

"That's because you don't." He slides her a smirk, like he thinks he's clever, and she wants to sock him in the nose. She doesn't, though. It's not freezing cold out, but the rain does add a slight chill to the air, or at least enough of one to make her keep her arms around herself instead.

"I think a lot more than you do, obviously. Why else would you all need me? I'm not a fighter, but I can do everything else mildly important. But you?" She scoffs. "Useless. Nothing more than a little brawn."

The smirk fades, twitching down at the corners. "Don't act so high and mighty. At least my nipples aren't trying to burst through my shirt."

She yelps and repositions her arms over her chest, flushing in spite of herself. Jugo's small sigh can hardly be heard over Suigetsu's laughter.

"Knock it off, Suigetsu," Sasuke says, without so much as a backwards glance. As usual, his intervening causes Suigetsu to chuckle and mutter "all right, all right" as if that's that. Whereas Karin deflates somewhat. She's irritable and wet and just a little miserable, and she was hoping for someone to take it out on. In the back of her mind she recognizes it as being petty, but she doesn't really care at the moment.

Besides, he has it coming for that particular comment.

"What about yours?" she says, narrowing her eyes at him. He blinks. "Are you keeping them tucked in with your cute water control? Or do you not have any? It certainly wouldn't surprise me if you lacked that body part..."

"What, you want proof?" Suigetsu tugs on the waistband of his pants. "Do you want to see it that bad?"

"Suigetsu," Sasuke says again, tone cool.

Karin curls her lip in disgust. "Of course not! I'd lose my lunch."

"Oh, yeah? Sasuke didn't seem bothered when he saw it."

"...What?" She squints warily at him through the rain, unsure whether he's screwing around or if he's truly serious.

"Yeah, when he came to get me for the team. See, I was naked, then I got behind him and—"

Water splashes in every direction when her fist meets his face.

"What kind of sick story are you making up?!" she snaps.

"Shut up."

"Oh, make me." The words tumble out of Karin's mouth before she fully registers whose voice is commanding her. She speaks partly out of exasperation and partly out of venom—her period started yesterday and that isn't helping matters—while she spins around to face the speaker with her chin held high, despite no doubt resembling a soaked cat. Yet she isn't faced with an infuriating teammate, it's Sasuke, and now Jugo's gaping at her and Suigetsu's you're in trouble smile is stretching so wide it practically touches his ears.

Her eyes lock on Sasuke's intense ones.


But she can't exactly retract the statement, especially not when her pride won't let her, or with Suigetsu and Jugo there, watching it all play out. So she stays quiet, waiting, watching him watch her. His eyes are narrowed, although the rest of his features remain blank, and his hair is as wet as hers. It's less spiky with the rain taming it. The rest of him is drenched, too; she has some trouble focusing her gaze on his, not letting it drift to his torso. Droplets race down his neck, linger on his chest.

Somehow she feels more tightly wound than ever, muscles tense, and she sees this reflected in the stiff set of Sasuke's jaw.

The silence is thick and lasts a lifetime.

Yet only seconds go by when he finally breaks whatever spell he put her under, when his eyes flicker down to her breasts then back up to her face with lightning speed, so fast she isn't sure she saw what she thinks she did. There's the faintest twitch to his brow, masking an emotion she can't place, before he turns around, releasing her, giving back her ability to breathe.

"Suigetsu, quit provoking Karin," he says. "Let's go."

"Yeah, yeah," Suigetsu says, trailing after him. Jugo tosses her a brief, concerned expression before he follows suit.

Slowly, Karin looks down, examines herself. Her arms are at her sides, fists clenched with tension, and her clothes cling to her body. Most noticeable, however, are the nipples hardened into pebbles beneath her shirt.

"Karin," he calls.

She ignores the shiver going down her spine and follows.