Theme: Preventing Hypothermia
Rating: T/PG-13 -gasp- I know...30 lemons and still no SMUT, now a rating downgrade.
Warning: OC present
It was day three of blanket-gate and the fourth afternoon they had spent in Hotaka's house. Hinata and Sasuke were out in the civilian village under the guise of getting supplies for their trip back- when actually they were meeting with one of the guards of western outpost, the one who had first brought up suspicions against Hotaka. Leaving Shikamaru in the house with their host, not that the Nara felt threatened by the other man, after all he wasn't Sasuke. Thus, Hotaka didn't pay him any attention.
Shikamaru was not pleased with how this mission was going. He was starting to suspect his team was being 'punished' by the Hokage, because Sasuke was a smart ass and wanted out of the village. Well...they got out of Konohagakure, that's for sure; but the longer this dragged on, the more Shikamaru suspected this was nothing more than a disagreement between two outpost guards. He wouldn't deny that the reports looked slightly suspect, but not enough to bother sending out a team of three to check it out.
'Couldn't this have been done through letters to the personal department?' he wondered, looking out the window, but all he could see was a vast expanse of white.
“So...” Hotaka said, suddenly pulling up a chair beside the Nara. Shikamaru's right eyebrow raised in response, but still wasn't worried. If the other man started further invading his space and touching him, however.
So far, Hotaka was behaving himself, hands behind his head and leaning his chair back a little, “What's the story about you and the Hyuuga?”
Brown eyes blinked, “Hinata?”
Hotaka nodded, “I go to bed at night and you guys have your beds spaced out, but when I wake up she's spooned against you.”
“Oh that. It's...nothing.” Shikamaru mumbled, wondering why he felt embarrassed to explain it. Maybe, because a part of him 'wanted' Hotaka to go on, which he did.
Fingers snapped once, chair legs clattering back onto the floor boards as the man leaned over to look at Shikamaru, “I've got it! You two are lovers. But, you don't want Sasuke to know because it would make your teamwork awkward. Or...it's against ANBU protocol.”
At this Shikamaru whipped his head around, nearly accidentally headbutting Hotaka, “ANBU? What gave you that idea...”
Hotaka shrugged, “Just a guess. Also, I saw the tattoo on Sasuke's shoulder a few nights ago. I just assumed that since he had the ANBU tattoo, you two were either on his team or guards.”
'Stupid' Shikamaru snarled to himself. Sasuke. Of course would he chose to have the ANBU mark tattooed into his skin. The man was that pompous and arrogant, Sasuke wanted people to know he was in the elite forces- even if it was mostly for his own safety and to give him missions that were befitting his talents and interests. 'In fact, while he was under guard, Sasuke was still 'technically' classified as Genin rank' Shikamaru thought, his frown growing deeper.
He hated it when people who didn't do anything, reaped all the rewards. Sasuke, in his book, was one of those types. Had always been. He got the praises, got the attention, and all the female fans. And now, landed himself a place in ANBU, just because Tsunade thought it was a waste of resources, namely the Sharingan; to keep him under house arrest forever.
Shikamaru even glossed over the fact that him and Hinata hadn't quite earned their positions either. They were the only people Sasuke was willing to cooperate with at the time. So, Tsunade choose them and offered them the chance to form an ANBU team together. No. Instead, Sasuke was at the forefront. He didn't deserve any of this.
Trying to reclaim his thoughts back from the dark corner they were turning, Shikamaru looked out the window again. Still no sign of his teammates. He could see nothing but snow.
“Here's your tea” the waitress said, china clattering a little before being hurriedly put done in front of Hinata. Pale eyes closed, as she took in the aroma of chamomile, while beside her Sasuke was on high alert. They had changed out of their uniform flack jackets and left their headbands at Hotaka's home. Still, the presence of samurai set them both a bit on edge.
“This place is crawling with them” Sasuke muttered, looking around the cafe. A few had returned the stares, namely looking at the sword at his belt. Hinata had begged him to leave it behind, but Sasuke was very mistrustful of the natives, especially since they were miles away from Shikamaru and Hotaka. On one hand, she saw the sense in that sort of move, but it also put a dint in their cover.
“Can I get you and your husband anything else?”
Hinata nearly choked, still not comfortable with Sasuke's 'cover story' for them. They were a traveling couple, recently married, and crossing the land of Iron to reach their honeymoon suite at a hot springs resort. It was rather elaborate and detailed story for something Sasuke decided all of a sudden and without consulting Hinata first.
Still, Hinata reclaimed her composure and put the china cup down, “No thank you. We're fine” she said with a small smile. The waitress nodded, brown curls bobbing with the motion. “Oh” she gasped, pausing to fish something out from her apron pocket. “I was told to give you this” the folded bit of paper was slipped into Sasuke's hand. He waited for the waitress to move to three more tables, then walk into the back room/kitchen of the cafe before unfolding it.
Hinata pretended to drink her tea, when in reality she was carefully observing Sasuke's face, watching his eyes dart from one side to the other quickly reading the message. Pale eyes blinked as Sasuke's left hand reached over to brush against her right.
'What on earth...oh...he's just playing along with our cover story' the young woman thought, yet still had to will a blush away. If Sasuke noticed her reaction to a simple touch, he didn't say anything. There were more pressing matters at hand.
“We need to get out of here. Now” he whispered into Hinata's ear. To the casual observer, it looked like an exchanged of sweet nothings between the young couple. But, a lump formed in Hinata's throat. Sasuke's tone was clipped and serious. Something about that note...a warning perhaps.
“Alright, let me pay for our lunch...Sasuke!” she hissed as the young man all but dragged her away from the table without giving her a chance to pay.
His own snoring woke Shikamaru up. Slowly sitting upright, the ANBU captain looked around the house with bleary eyes. Hotaka had vacated the chair next to him. And there was an odd draft, more so than usually. Trying to find the source of cold air, Shikamaru stood up and wandered from the main room towards the small kitchen. He turned the corner and saw Hotaka was standing in front of the open window, his arm out to hold a gray falcon, stuffing a letter into the leather strap attached to it's leg.
Hotaka jerked and slowly turned his head to the Nara, “Uh this? Nothing, just a delivery form. I'm waiting for something to arrive in the village.”
The look on Shikamaru's face said he didn't buy it. Next, a right hand extended, “Hand it over.”
Hotaka was very reluctant, but did untie the message pouch from the falcon and handed it to Shikamaru.
Hinata could hear Sasuke's chattering teeth and cursing above the rise and fall of the icy winds. He would stumble sometimes, leaning into her as his feet hit unstable ground. While Hinata wasn't exactly a snow bunny either, she was shocked to feel how cold the Uchiha's skin was against hers.
“M-maybe we should stop and rest...” she offered, her own face rubbed pink from having a scarf wound tightly around her neck to cheeks. Sasuke on the other hand, all one could see was his eyes, nose and mouth. The rest was swathed in fabric with from his hood, cloak, and scarf.
He shook his head. They had to get to the western outpost. Hinata sighed, but trudged onward. Sasuke still hadn't told her what was written on the paper, just that they needed to reach the western outpost, their contact was supposed to be there, waiting for them. She hated being left in the dark, but there hadn't been time to second guess or stop and talk it over first.
“How much further?” she asked, byakugan activated. She couldn't see anything resembling a structure or the chakra system of a person. Then again, the weather of floating snow and whipping wasn't helping her eye sight.
“We've got at least another five miles” Sasuke muttered from underneath his covering.
'That's what I was afraid of' Hinata thought, walking closer to Sasuke's side with all intentions of staying close and not losing him in the middle of the storm, but unconsciously seeking out his warmth as well. However, things got complicated as he suddenly slumped against her. In a rush, Hinata had to reach out and catch Sasuke, however his sudden dead weight and loose snow caused the Hyuuga to tumble backwards.
Notes: Rather short and more plot-y than anything, but I will get to more relationship development in the next chapter! I just wanted to do something to prove that yes, they are in the Tundra Boondocks for a reason and not just for convenient porn-y related purposes!