The thing about Snow Country, aside for the permanent state of civil unrest, economic decrepitude and state violence, was that it was cold.
And okay, that was a given. It Snow Country: cold. No shit.
But saying “Fire Country gets cold in winter” or, hell, even “Rock gets cold in winter” was nothing like saying “Snow Country gets cold in winter”.
For most of winter in Konoha it didn’t even snow… By comparison, Snow Country was frequently too cold for proper snow. Sakura had initially kept her mouth covered to prevent the cold from burning her lungs quite so badly… but it meant that her breath iced and chafed on her mouth.
Basically: Snow Country was awful. Sakura was pretty sure that sacrificing ninja to Jashin-sama here was, like, actually curtailing their suffering.
Didn’t stop her, of course. But still: definitely worth considering from a theological standpoint.
“Their suffering in the cold isn’t dedicated to Jashin-sama,” Hidan had pointed out.
“It’s not, but I’m saying that it might be that much more severe and prolonged that it doesn’t matter. All suffering is fundamentally Jashin-sama’s power, so–”
“Sakura,” said Hidan, rolling his eyes, “Are you going to kill her or not?”
Sakura frowned, gazing at the hazy-eyed, gasping kunoichi in the icy ground between them. Her blood actually steamed in the air. Her right leg was run through, one of her ribs was broken and she was badly concussed from their initial fight. She wasn’t going anywhere.
“Yeah,” Sakura said.
“Then hurry the hell up. I’m fucking freezing.”
As though it hadn’t been Hidan’s idea to come to this country in the first place? She clicked her tongue. But she took his point.
The kunoichi died fast, but not easy.
And Hidan complained about the cold the whole time. It was actually kind of hard to focus on praying.
“Fucking finally,” he muttered. “Now let’s get the hell indoors. It looks like more shitty weather.”
Sakura stretched. For once, she wasn’t freezing. Nothing like dying in ecstasy to warm the blood, she supposed.
She looked sideways at Hidan.
He was still bitching, scowling at the sky like it had personally offended him.
Sakura leaned down to hide her smile – and to scoop up a handful of bloodied slush. It hurt her hand almost immediately, but she’d recover.
She packed it hard into a projectile and turned to Hidan, who was still whining.
“Ne,” she said sweetly, cutting off his diatribe against the weather, gathering chakra to her feet and legs and preparing to put on a wild burst of speed, “Senseeeii.”
That definitely pulled him up short. He turned to scowl at her. “What’re you trying to–” he stopped, eyes narrowing. “Don’t you dare throw that snowba- SHIT!”
He dodged, but she’d predicted this move and when he landed she was already there, in a surge of chakra-enhanced speed.
She grinned at the sight of bloody, icy slush leaving pinkish trails in his hair and down his face.
“–goddammit, Sakura!” He snarled.
A second later she was gone in a burst of speed, kicking up snow behind her, leaving bloody footprints as she went.
With a shriek of rage, Hidan lunged over the kunoichi’s cooling body and took chase.
“You won’t be fucking giggling when I’m through with you, you little shit,” he snarled, which did absolutely nothing to dampen Sakura’s amusement.
By the time anyone found the body, they were long gone. The snow was thoroughly disturbed, and broad patches of frozen blood glittered in the light of the searchers’ torches.