Sarada

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This chapter was beta-read by: Sakura's Unicorn

Sarada doesn't need the Sharingan to see that there's something going on.

Okay, she didn't notice it right away – and shame on her because shinobi are supposed to be constantly observant, but she has an excuse! Her days are filled with completing missions and training herself to become even stronger. Ever since Mom started to teach her how to store chakra, she usually ends up coming home exhausted and falling into a dead sleep. She rarely wakes until Mom rouses her for breakfast.

Except, lately, it's Dad who knocks on her door in the morning.

"Your mother didn't sleep well last night," is always his explanation whenever she asks about it, because he hates getting up early. On missions and stuff, he does it out of necessity, but whenever he's been home in the past, he is notorious for sleeping late.

Apparently, sleeping that extra bit isn't doing anything to help Mom, though. Sarada knows she's come home early from the hospital at least five times in the past two weeks, always looking pale with dark circles under her eyes.

At first, Sarada didn't mind because it meant Dad would help her get ready for the day. She could pester him for stories of his travels, tell him about Konohamaru-sensei's latest gaffes, or complain about Boruto. She loves spending time with her father, whether it's something as mundane as dinner or when he shows her new jutsu.

But now, he is home all the time.

Dad has never liked to stay still. Even when he came home for brief rests between missions, he rarely lingered in the house very long.

Downtime for Sarada's father usually consists of activities that are slightly less fatal than his normal routine. He visits with Uncle Kakashi whenever the former Hokage is around, or he hones his skills in the more secluded training grounds of the city.

"Too many people staring disrupts concentration," he told her once when she asked why he went to the farthest, most overgrown compounds just to practice kata.

Which makes sense because everyone stares at her father. Hell, even she can't help it, but mostly that's a behavioural tic to make sure he actually exists and isn't about to disappear into thin air. With everyone else, she knows they're just really intimidated by him.

Or attracted to him, in Mom's case.

Sometimes, he wanders through the old Uchiha Compound. Sarada went with him a few times, but it's not her favourite place to visit. The ruined quarter is creepy, and even though she knows Dad was born and grew up there, that doesn't make it any more comforting.

She likes visiting with Granny Cat and the ninja cats much more. The old woman once gave her an album once with pictures of Dad and Uncle Itachi; it's one of her most prized possessions. She suspects that if Dad knew she had a picture of him in pink cat ears, he might disown her.

As soon as her father decides he is rested enough, he usually has one of his infamous sparring matches with Lord Seventh. If he doesn't get injured too badly (either by Uncle Naruto or Mom once she finds out what they've been up to), he heads back on the road.

Since the big mess at the last Chūnin Exam, he hasn't left the village once, but he hasn't exactly been home a lot either. He started regular training with Boruto in the evenings, now that Sarada's teammate has finally gotten his head out of his ass about becoming a strong shinobi. Then at night, he takes walks with Mom – or he did, when Mom was herself.

Rarely does Sarada come home to her father doing something as ordinary and non-ambulatory as reading a book or newspaper.

Like right now.

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