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There was a certain time of the year Sasuke desperately wished he still had a home to return to. A warm bed where he knew where the kitchen was, stocked with food. A piping shower that could ward off the frost nite threatening everyone of his extremities. And as much as he would deny is; a pair of arms tanned to perfection topped with sunshine.

“Share the damn blanket!” Sasuke glanced over to the bundle of Suigetsu and Karin.

“You blanket hog! Uuugh! Look you woke Sasuke!”

“YOU’RE THE ONE WRAPPED UP LIKE A SCROLL!” Suigetsu griped. Sasuke looked back to the mouth of the cave they had set up residence. Relentless. That’s how the white fluff was falling. Huge flakes of snow blurred past the entrance with zero visibility of anything beyond.

“OI SASUKE!” Blocking the bickering pair was easier then one would assume. Team seven had it’s uses to him, even in the present. With a sigh, subtle as it was, he turned to his temporary “teammates”.

“Hn?” at least Suigetsu inferred the questioning tone.

“Can you use that new jutsu to light a fire or something?!” Sasuke looked down at the small bundle of firewood that had managed to gather. He felt Juugo stir next to him. The ginger was impossibly warm. He almost felt selfish for always being his sleeping partner. Almost. The larger man also always choose him.

“Here.” Sasuke grunted tossing one of their few spare paper thin blankets to the arguing pair. Suigetsu snatched it, risking a tongue jab at Karin. “Juugo, come over here.” Sasuke jerked his head towards the feral red headed woman.

“N-no, Sasuke! You’ll fr-fre-freeze!” She stammered hurriedly. Juugo stood shrugging off Karin’s protests following Sasuke’s orders. The noirette knelt next to the makeshift fire pit.

“Just shut up and take the warmth!” Suigetsu grounded out through clenched teeth. Out of the corner of his eye Sasuke saw the three huddled together.

Painfully a similar image of him and Itachi flashed before his memory. Him Itachi and their cousin Shisui had decided to go camping. Konoha winters usually were mild with light snowfalls but, that night into the following days had been the most snow Sasuke’s little eyes had ever beheld. He had been about five at the time.   Most of the memories were fuzzy and the happiness, now tasted bitter sweet, felt a lifetime or two ago. The emotions in the memory were still vivid though. One thing he remembered in particular was a fire jutsu Shisui had done when the temperatures dropped rapidly.

Forming the seals at a measured pace, opening his pursed lips to take in a slow deep breath. He felt the need to take the process slow like his memories showed his cousin doing. Maybe he was just imaging that part. It had been a long time since he allowed these types of memories to come up. They hurt. Much worse than any cold Tetsu no Kuni could batter them with.

Finishing the seals he breathed out steadily, a gentle yellow-orange flame flowed from him mouth. He heard Suigetsu and Karin gasp behind him. He knew the three had been curiously watching him. Gradually, the flame curled over blackened wood into a perfect sphere.

Risking a smile, Sasuke hide behind his hair squeezing his eyes tight. So many emotions. If only it was easy to belike the snow. Cold, unfeeling, merciless. He stared at the swirling orb of warmth. The polar opposites of how he felt. His thoughts trailed back to another ball of yellow-orange heat.

“...” Sasuke turned suddenly separating the singular ball into four parts then handing them to each of team Taka. It felt like a fluttering heartbeat in their hands.

“Sasuke how did yo-,” Karin cut herself off when she heard the scrapes of the other shinobi’s sandals drifting away from her. He held his own little ball close to his body, sitting down on a rock closer to the entrance of the cavernous shelter.

A little heartbeat in his hands. Just as he remembered. Now if only he had a house to track trails of water into. A living room to hang his wet cloths to dry in over a fire. A solar smile smile to greet him with a piping bowl of whatever could warm his frozen bones. Sasuke felt a tear slip down his cheek and sizzle away in to the quiet warmth. He missed it all. Home. Where people thought about him. Where he once hurried to those people.

“You dobe.” He curled the orb tighter to letting it warm the steel that cover his heart. The steel that would hopefully protect and prepare him for what he knew he had to do. The ones who too his home would pay. Buried under the tundra of his heart.