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This chapter has been beta-read by: Sakura's Unicorn

The kitchen table groans under the weight of the amount of food on it. A quick survey tells Sasuke that all of his favourites are represented and artfully laid out; more than that, it's the good stuff purchased from the fancy market down the street.

Nothing is prepared by Sakura, because she is – as he learned during their travels – a terrible cook. It's the only domestic duty she fails at with consistency no matter how much effort she makes.

Sarada guiltily confessed once that she might've starved growing up if it weren't for her grandmother, Hinata and Ino. Pretty soon after that, Sasuke resolved to take over any and all cooking duties whenever he was at home.

Which is why he's rather confused about what his wife is up to.

"What's going on?" he asks after several minutes of watching her and wracking his brain – has he forgotten a birthday, an anniversary or another important event? He's never been good with that sort of thing.

"A-a-aii!" Sakura yelps, actually jumping a good inch into the air. She whirls around, clutching his good wok; it looks like she's scrubbed all the Teflon off of it. "S-S-Sasuke, you're – ah – early. I thought you were training Boruto this afternoon."

The edgy gleam in her eyes, coupled with the nervous laugh causes him to frown. He's seen that before; it's the expression she wears when apologising for accidentally demolishing another house or turning his shirts pink.

Only it's shiftier.

And how long has it been since she stuttered at him?

"What's wrong?"

"Wrong? Nothing's wrong!" she spins around again, busying herself with the dishes. "Why would you think something's wrong? I think you've got cabin fever, honey. Maybe you should go see if Naruto has time to spar – that always loosens you up. Or go visit with Kakashi. I saw him today while I was out and he says he hasn't seen you in a while. He said just to say hi, but I'm pretty sure he's angling for a visit. Honestly, you two are so similar. You can't just come out and say if you want something. It's all about keeping up the manly feelings of... of...Sasuke?"

As she works herself into a nervous rant, he crosses the kitchen and slides into the space behind her. Arm wrapping around her waist from behind, he rests his chin between the joint of her shoulder and neck. Her hair tickles his face, overwhelming him with the smell of her floral shampoo, as he leans not quite close enough to brush his lips against the back of her eaar.

A barely perceptible shiver runs through her.

This method of getting information from his wife is much more effective than how he used to – he'd stare at her silently until she exhausted herself babbling and just told him.

"Sakura," he murmurs, fighting the self-satisfied tug at the corner of his mouth when he hears her swallow. "What's got you so flustered?"

"What? No! Nothing. Nope. Nothing's got me – um, absolutely nothing!"



"Then why are you crushing the handle of my wok?"

"Why am...I? Oh. Oh! Oh, no!" Sakura drops the now misshapen wok in surprise. There's a crash, followed by a small shriek. As she bends down to catch the rounded pan, her arm flails out and –


Her elbow catches him in the solar plexus, and Sasuke flies backwards into the carefully bedecked table, rice and tomatoes soaring. He plants his hand down into some kind of buttery sauce as he tries to catch himself.

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