Getting caught in the rain while walking home from doing the groceries was cliche. It was cliche but in the long list of growing cliches, it was the most tame in Sakura’s opinion.

And it was a welcome one.

At age twenty, one wouldn’t be able to picture Sasuke running through the rain, but it was a regular occurrence when they were genin. Sakura would squeal and complain about her hair while Naruto cackled. The three of them would race each other to the closest place to take shelter.

Sakura had loved those moments. Sometimes they could only find the overhang of a shop to huddle under. The lack of space meant that they would need to stand arm to arm. The skin not covered by clothes or Sasuke’s arm guards would press together, droplets of water making their flesh clammy.

She had loved those moments, where she could pretend just for a moment it was just them in the quiet. The moments only lasted seconds whenever Naruto was with them. He would whine about the rain and shove them with his shoulders to make more room for him under the overhang. It usually ended with Naruto falling on his bottom and soaking his pants.

The three of them would fight, Naruto arguing that it was all Sasuke’s fault for hogging the space and Sasuke calling him an idiot because he splashed water all over them. Sakura would toss in some comments and depending on how much damage there was to her hair, clothes, and prettily applied makeup she would get annoyed with both boys.

Those days were simple. She tried to get Sasuke’s attention, Naruto would try to extend the time they all spent together, and Sasuke would pretend that he didn’t want to hang out with them.

Sasuke would pout, shoving the lower half of his face into the high collar of his shirt, the tips of his ears turning red.

Kind of how they still turned red even though he was a long way from being that thirteen year old boy.

“Wait a sec,” Sasuke mumbled as he kicked off his sandals, toeing them off of his ankles, and pushed them toward the wall for some semblance of order. He left the grocery bags he was holding at the entrance and shuffled to the hallway leading to the full bath and his bedroom.

Dumping the bags off to the side, Sakura leaned back to rest her head on the apartment’s front door. It didn’t take long for Sasuke to come back with towels. He dropped the smaller one on her head and wrapped the larger one around her shoulders.

“I can toss your clothes in the wash while you shower.”

Without looking at her, he bent down and scooped up the bags from the floor and turned toward the kitchenette. Using the towel wrapped around her as a shield, she slipped out of her wet clothing, letting her capri pants and light sweater fall on the floor with a wet plop.

Patting her undergarments with her fingers, she shimmied out of them as well, deciding they needed to be washed as well considering the rain had completely soaked through. Sakura kicked her clothes into a pile and made sure her feet were dry enough before making her way down the hall to the shower.

As the hot water ran down her back, Sakura giggled to herself. Her panties were cotton and plain and even her civilian bra was a boring beige. When she was a genin, she was forced to comply with the supportive and protective bandeau that was covered in mesh, but she always made sure that her underwear had cute prints just in case it wasn’t her turn for laundry duty on missions. Sakura didn’t want to be caught with anything frumpy.

Things had really changed over the years. The first time she had shimmied out of her top, Sasuke hadn’t even given himself time to see the plain black brassiere she had been wearing before he was unhooking it and sliding it off of her torso. Sakura had squeaked something out about not even looking cute that day and he had just snorted in her face before completely engulfing her breast into his mouth.

She sank deeper into the bath, not bothering to open her eyes when the doorknob rattled and finally opened up.

“Here’s some clothes.” Sakura opened a single eye and watched as Sasuke placed a small bundle of dark fabric on the dry surface of the sink. “I didn’t bother with pants, but maybe one of my boxers can fit as shorts?”

Sakura gave him a noncommittal hum as a response and closed her eyes again. She listened as he started the washer. There was the slightest rustle of clothing before he finally closed the lid.

“Scoot over.”

Sakura sat up and slid forward, making room for Sasuke to take a seat behind her in the bath. Once he was settled she laid back to rest her back on his chest. Sasuke cradled her body in between his raised knees, squeezing her body with his legs due to how cramped they were.

“My bath isn’t big enough for us.”

“I can’t believe you got in here with me.”

“It looked comfortable, but now I have regrets.”

“At least it’s warm.”

There was no comfort in cramped spaces but there’s comfort in a space that was just for them. Comfort in no longer being insecure whether it be about her forehead or her place in his life.

“We still have to make lunch,” Sakura groaned, sinking more into Sasuke’s hold. “The rain makes me want to be lazy.”

“You would get nothing done if we lived in Ame.”

“We should have bought take-out,” Sakura continued to gripe.

“I thought we were going to make shabu shabu?” Sasuke pinched her cheek, tugging on it. “You made me splurge on that marbled cut of beef.”

Sakura groaned dramatically, braced her hands on the sides of the tub, and stood up. She dried herself off and slipped on the long sleeve that Sasuke set out for her and then shimmied into his boxers. She had to roll the band twice until they fit like a pair of loose shorts under the long length of the oversized shirt.

She left him to soak in the bath. She had taken a shower and soaked for a longer time than he had while he had put all of the groceries away. While he ran hotter than Sakura, she knew Sasuke had issues when it rained. He never liked to voice his complaints, but he moved more slowly from the weather pains.

It was one of the reasons he kept to wearing tops with long sleeves and was unlikely to remove his cloak. Despite the warning aches he had, the both of them were still caught unaware by the sudden torrent of rain, not expecting it to be as harsh as it was.

Sakura was in the middle of chopping the vegetables for the shabu shabu when Sasuke shuffled into the kitchen. She barely lifted her head to acknowledge him as she arranged the chopped vegetables in a bowl. Sasuke swat at her with the loose sleeve of his that remained only half filled.

“You could ask like a normal person.” Sakura wiped her hands on a hand towel before she tied the sleeve into a knot so that the excess cloth didn’t disturb him.

Sasuke’s lips twisted into a crooked grin and he lifted his shoulder and lightly draped the leftover fabric on her face. “Where’s the fun in that?”

Sakura tried to keep from smiling, but was unsuccessful. She snorted and brushed his sleeve off of her face. “Take the vegetables to the table.”

Sakura followed him to the chabudai in the sitting area and laid out the tray of sliced beef and rice. She had already laid out the sauces and set the broth in the hot pot on top of the induction cooker.

“We didn’t have an electric one,” Sasuke murmured as Sakura adjusted the heat settings.

“You had a gas canister type, right?” Sakura asked as she placed the ingredients into the pot. “My parents have one like that too, but Papa’s trying to convince Mama to make the switch ever since I told them we got an electric one for your apartment.”

“Father always tried to light it without matches when Mother’s back was turned. She caught him every single time.”

“Every time?”

“He would have gotten away with it once if it weren’t for the fact that I cheered a little bit when it looked like he succeeded.”

Sakura giggled, imagining a smaller and much younger Sasuke at dinner with his family. It was difficult to picture the stone faced Fugaku getting into any mischief. Sakura had only ever seen him a couple of times when he was on duty and the memories were fuzzy. Even in the single family photograph that survived the years, his face was all stern lines despite the soft smiles on Mikoto’s and Sasuke’s faces. Uchiha Itachi’s face was softer with youth, but he was practically a replica of his father, unsmiling.

Shabu shabu was a simple enough dish for the both of them. Sakura was sure that even without her Sasuke could prepare it, but the enjoyment came from sharing the experience with others.

“Don’t steal all of the mushrooms!” Sakura scolded through her giggles as she swiped a couple of mushrooms before Sasuke could get to them.

“You definitely ate more of the mushrooms than me.”

“No I didn’t!”

“You always eat a majority of the mushrooms.”

Foraging for edible plants was one of the responsibilities that was usually handed to Sasuke or Sakura when they had to make camp for missions. Naruto could never remember which mushrooms were safe to eat. He had almost poisoned them once in his excitement to gather as many as possible because Sakura had a preference for mushrooms on long missions.

Sasuke would always let her have the last mushroom. Twelve year old Sakura used to hold on to those moments. They were more precious than jade to her preteen self who had desired nothing more than his attention.

“Fine, here you go.” Sasuke rolled his eyes and feigned annoyance as he handed her the last of the mushrooms.

Sakura shimmied her shoulders in excitement and held out her bowl for him to drop the mushrooms in. “Thank you!”

“I don’t need you tackling me because I ate the last of the vegetables again.”

“That was once!” Sakura’s face burned with embarrassment, heat flooding quickly to her cheeks. “And I was on a diet. I told you guys I wasn’t eating meat that week. Twelve year old me was ridiculous.”

“You were heavy. And you’re bigger now.”

“Shut up, you literally carry me like I’m a sack of rice,” Sakura mumbled, chewing on the tips of her chopsticks. “And I’m barely taller than your height at age fourteen, you ass.”

Sakura considered herself to be of a decent height. She was at least taller than Hinata, nevermind that she wore heels every day and it gave her that little boost. She remembered carrying the boys all of the time when they were around the same size and even though she could still carry them with her enhanced chakra strength, it was awkward considering how much they had outgrown her.

But there was something amazing and so comforting in how they had physically outgrew her━both Sasuke and Naruto. The three of them had made it to this point and that was something to be grateful for.

“Are you going to whine about the last piece of meat too?”

“You’re just being obnoxious now.”

After their late lunch, they had a routine. They would share the task of taking dishes back to the kitchenette and Sakura would wash them and place them in the rack while Sasuke placed any leftovers into containers for the fridge.

After cleaning up, Sakura would fill Sasuke’s oil diffuser with whatever scent she found suitable for the day and they would settle in for an afternoon of working in comfortable silence or Sakura would help Sasuke with some of his physical therapy.

Or they would get involved in other forms of physical activities.

Their relationship had been progressing in secret. It wasn’t as if it were a well kept secret. Everyone knew they spent more time alone with each other than with their friends and Sakura’s feelings were well known.

But it was easier when what they had was just their own. There were no spectators to their relationship and touching each other was easier when it was at their own pace.

For Sasuke, touching Sakura was almost instinctual. He had been concerned at first that it would be difficult, but it ended up being more natural than he thought it would be.

When they were genin there was a shift from needing to touch to wanting to touch. There was comfort in just having his hand on her back and he would notice things like how even though she was thinner than Naruto, she was soft unlike the bony feel of their friend through his baggy clothing.

The touch always meant comfort, safety—family. But there were some days that it meant curiosity, yearning. At age fourteen, Sasuke had an inkling as to what was brewing, but that wasn’t for him. Not yet at least.

It wasn’t until years later and a few weeks of fumbling around that Sasuke was finally able to claim it as his, allow himself to have something that was soft as his.

With the fingers on his lone hand settling into the grooves of Sakura’s fingers, he asked her, “I’m still yours, right?”

The tea kettle whistled angrily as Sakura crushed herself against Sasuke, arms wrapped around his waist.

“You’re so stupid,” Sakura had whined and he couldn’t fault her for it—not when he had decided to ask in the middle of a debate of whether he should get an electric kettle for his apartment or not.

And ever since then, touching had become more commonplace.

They would be picking produce in the market and his knuckles would brush against her lower back. His fingers would wrap around her elbow and he would gently guide her down different streets instead of redirecting her with words. Sasuke would grip the hem of her tops for no reason other than to have hold of her.


“Hm?” Sakura looked up from where she was massaging the scar tissue of what remained of his left arm.

Her hair had always been silkier than his, but he liked the way it fluffed up when she let it air dry it instead of using the hair dryer she favored so much. Sasuke especially liked it when she showered in his apartment and had to use his products, resulting in her smelling like him, like she was part of everything that made up his apartment.

“Sasuke-kun,” Sakura murmured softly as he rubbed his thumb along her pulse point, fingers wrapping around her hair.

Kissing was more fluid now. The first attempt had been clumsy and he was sure Sakura had dreamt of a more romantic first kiss, not one that tasted like miso.

He had initiated their first kiss after their first successful attempt at making miso soup from scratch with their own dashi.

“Yeah, it tastes good,” wasn’t the phrase that should have followed either, but it was the first thing that came out when he realized what an awkward move he had made. It wasn’t unwanted, simply unplanned.

But getting past the first awkward kiss paved the way for more.

Clumsy presses of lips turned into languid, lingering kisses. Curiosity drove the need for more exploration.

What would it be like to kiss Sakura under her jaw? In the hollow of her throat? Under a breast? Between her thighs?

So many questions that needed answers and Sasuke went in search of them.

He found Sakura liked it best when he held her the way he did now—with his weight pressed down on her from above, the pressure of his body against her in the cradle of her thighs. It kept them as close as possible and Sasuke liked it that way.

“I just ate,” Sakura grumbled. She moved her face so she wasn’t breathing directly up at him.

“Yeah, I can taste all of the mushrooms you kept for yourself.”


Sasuke pressed another kiss to her mouth, tugging on her lower lip with his teeth. She tasted like lunch and smelled like him, but most importantly she felt like home.

Gasping, Sakura loosened her hold around Sasuke’s neck. Her hands slipped from his shoulders and found purchase on the front of his shirt, gripping tightly until her knuckles turned white.

“Was that good?” The corners of Sasuke’s lips twitched upward as he thrust his hips against her, repeating the action from earlier. He had tilted her hips so that his dry thrusting hit her in just the right way.

“Shut your face,” Sakura replied breathily.

“Shut my face?” Sasuke snorted. He paused in his rocking and propped himself with what remained of his left arm. He tugged on the hem of the borrowed shirt she was wearing, pulling it up until it bunched up under her armpits. “Take this off.”

As soon as Sakura fell back on the couch after removing the shirt, Sasuke loomed over her with his hand palming her left breast.

Sasuke had always been taller than her even if it was only by a centimeter or two when they were children. When he had left two years ago Sakura had to tilt her chin upward only slightly to look him in the eye, but Sasuke had grown a lot in his time away. Now his body completely encompassed hers when he caged her between his forearm and the upper part of his left arm.

His larger frame over hers caused a delightful shiver to run down her spine. Sakura enjoyed the sensation of being completely surrounded by him. The world would fade away as she lay under him and he blocked her vision so that he was all she could see.

“Cold?” Sasuke asked, lips brushing against her sternum. A red eye, unobstructed by his bangs, peered up at her from beneath inky lashes. “Bed?”


There was barely ten feet from the couch to his bedroom, but Sasuke held her hand as he led her inside. He guided her to the bed before dropping her hand and crossing to the window to close the black out curtains.

“The rain is still coming down really hard,” Sakura muttered, crossing an arm across her chest and rubbing the opposite arm for warmth.

“Well, it’s almost the rainy season.” Sasuke turned his back to the window and cocked his head as he watched her, right hand on his hip.

With a smile on her face, Sakura raised her arms up, reaching towards him. “Warm me up?”

Smiling softly, Sasuke held his arm out and let Sakura step into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his torso with her hands against his shoulder blades.

Warm. Sasuke had always been warm.

Sakura—and Naruto as well—used to curl closer to Sasuke’s sleeping roll on missions to take advantage of the heat that radiated from his body. Sasuke would complain that they were crowding him, kicking when Naruto tried to squeeze between him and Sakura or when he buried his face between Sasuke’s shoulder blades.

If Sakura was lucky, she would end up between both of the boys who had higher body temperatures than she did. She would wiggle her body closer to Sasuke and if she was lucky he wouldn’t scoot over an inch to avoid her cold hands and legs.

Flesh to flesh, Sasuke was still warm. His skin heated up the more his heart raced. Sakura loved to place her hand on his pectoral, right over his heart, and feel it drum a fast cadence beneath her fingertips.

Warm. Sasuke had always been warm.

And that warmth was also found in the red and purple of his irises when he gazed into her eyes.

“It would be warmer in bed,” Sasuke murmured, leaning down to press his forehead to hers.

“Really trying to get me there, huh?”

His bed wasn’t new territory. She and Sasuke had put it together while Ino and Sai argued with Naruto about which parts connected to what. Sakura had napped in it after a long day of shifts at both the children’s institute and the main hospital.

Sasuke had tongued Sakura into two orgasms on that bed.

“Yeah.” Sasuke curled his hand around Sakura’s neck, tilting her chin up with his thumb under her jaw. “I am.”

Something that had carried on from their youth was the one tracked mindedness Sasuke had when he had a goal. It had been frustrating when they were younger and Sasuke only opened up to her on the rare occasion, but now it was a trait she couldn’t deny enjoying. Not when it benefited her so much.

There was no wariness when it came to his bed. She fell into it easily, letting him drag her borrowed boxers down her slender legs, knowing she had no reason to be uneasy within the walls of Sasuke’s room.

“You okay?” Sasuke pressed an open mouthed kiss to her shoulder as he hooked her knee around his leg and pressed himself against her so his chest was flush against her back.

“Perfect,” Sakura chirped, anticipation building low in her stomach as Sasuke slid his hand around her thigh and slowly inched his fingers toward where she was softest.

Sasuke being the one that needed to be accommodated when they were being intimate took the lead. It let him do what was comfortable for him without treating him like an invalid and Sakura wouldn’t flounder around and unintentionally embarrass him.

But Sakura preferred it when they were wrapped around each other and she was overwhelmed by the heat of his body.

For so long everything she felt was trapped inside, waiting to be allowed to burst out of her. She had not been prepared at first for the force of it to be met with a downpour of returned affection that left her drowning and gasping.

Gasping sometimes in the quite literal sense as Sasuke dropped open mouth kisses to her neck and shoulder. His breath would fan against her ear, warm and heavy as he panted in tandem to the swivel of Sakura’s hips as he strummed his fingers in pleasant sweeping motions between her folds.

“Shit.” Sakura’s face heated up at the way Sasuke groaned when he slipped a digit in and felt the way her muscles clenched around the finger. “You good?”

“Per…fect. Yeah, perfect,” Sakura moaned, her words catching in the back of her throat. “One more?”

Sasuke thrust his finger experimentally, curling it. “Too tight. Wait a moment.”

Sasuke kept a steady pace, slipping a second finger in when she became slicker and more stretched out. His middle and ring fingers scissored and curled, thrusting as he rubbed the heel of his palm against her clit. Soon enough, Sakura was grinding her hips to meet his hand, the movement causing Sasuke to push against her as her backside rubbed against his crotch.

Usually this was where Sasuke would slow down and let Sakura ride his hand and grind her body against his. It was pleasant to move against each other before Sasuke adjusted their bodies so that he could hover over her and trail kisses over her chest and down her stomach. It was nice but Sakura wanted to break away from routine.

“Give me another finger,” Sakura demanded, grabbing Sasuke’s wrist so that he couldn’t pull away. Sasuke’s fingers completely stilled inside of her and she whined at the loss of friction.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I want more.”

The stretch burned. Sakura’s breath hitched as Sasuke eased in a third finger. He kissed the side of her face and whispered praise as Sakura took in the additional finger for the first time. There was a discomfort in the fullness. She was used to taking in three of her own fingers, but they were slender and small while Sasuke’s fingers were thicker and he could completely encase her hand in his own.

Sasuke pulled his fingers out slightly and thrust gently back in. He tugged on his fingers to repeat the action, but Sakura grabbed his wrist.

“No! Nope. Just…leave them in for a bit.”

Sakura took a deep breath. She could feel herself adjusting around the intrusion as she inhaled. She hoped she could become accustomed to the size. From fooling around she knew she was going to have to take much thicker.

“You should touch yourself.” Sasuke laid a sloppy kiss to her temple. “Fondle yourself or play with your clit.”

“You say that too easily.”

“I want you to feel good, not tolerate it.”

“What a gentleman,” Sakura teased him, reaching between her thighs with the arm closest to his hand.

“Shut up.”

Together they worked in sync until Sakura was moaning incoherently to the point that she wasn’t even sure what it was that she was attempting to say. Her world became the sound of her ragged breath over Sasuke’s soft murmurs and the slick, wet noise of Sasuke’s fingers stirring her up.

She almost didn’t hear Sasuke asking her if she wanted more.

“What?” She tried to focus on his words, blinking her eyes rapidly as if it would straighten her thoughts.

Trying to make sense of his question, Sakura was caught off guard when a well placed thrust and curl of his fingers sent her tumbling over the edge she had been seeking. She had blissed out, her toes curled, and a high pitched cry got stuck in the back of her throat as she curled inwards on herself as if trying to trap the sensation.

Carefully, Sasuke eased his fingers out slowly to prevent the chance of hurting her. He trailed kisses on her shoulder and her head, slow and firm and full of so much care.

“Would you want to do more?” Sasuke asked again, shifting his body so that he wasn’t pressing his erection against her. Sakura wiggled backwards, seeking his heat and the hardness of his body. “Oi…”

Giggling Sakura turned in his hold, digging her chin into his chest as she looked up at him. His right eye was still red, matching the flush on his high cheekbones. Biting her lower lip, Sakura snaked her hands down the waistband of his pants.

“Can I have more?” She batted her eyelashes as she gripped him at the base of his cock and stroked slowly, twirling her fingers around the head and swiping the slit for some of the leaking precum. The lubrication helped the glide of her hands, making Sasuke twitch in her hands.

“Fuck it,” Sasuke hiccuped on the words with the hitching of his breath, “take all you want.”

“Are you sure about that?”

She wanted to be greedy, take absolutely everything Sasuke had to offer, but perhaps some insecurities hadn’t completely disappeared. Yes, she wanted more and more of Sasuke, but there was a part of her that still expected him to shield his vulnerable state, to hide himself away from everyone including her.

Sasuke stared at her, not a single word spoken even after she removed her hands. Just vibrant red eyes looking into hers.

“What if I want more?” His hand squeezed at her hip and then slid around to the small of her back.

“I think that could be arranged,” Sakura whispered against his skin, warm breath fanning against his chest. “I want you to have all of me.”

Kissing Sasuke was nothing like what her preteen mind had conjured up in her fantasies. She had liked to consider herself grown up back then, but dreamy pecks were nothing in comparison to the heat of Sasuke’s mouth making its way down her stomach.

There was nothing innocent about the way mismatched eyes looked up at her from between her legs, spiky black hair tickling her thighs. Nothing of it reflected her childish desires.

Young and adoring, Sakura had seeked undeniable proclamations of love for all to bear witness to.

Nineteen and overwhelmingly in love, she received adoration in the spinning of tomoes and the strokes of a tongue that didn’t let up no matter how much her legs trembled.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Sakura grumbled as Sasuke stood up on his knees, hair rumpled from her fingers gripping it, a shiny smear on his chin, and a proud gleam in his eyes.


“Yes. Now stop being smug about it.” Sakura reached behind her and grabbed one of his pillows, throwing it over her head at him, hitting him in the chest.

Chuckling, he crawled back over her and let her wipe his mouth with her thumbs.

“So messy.”

“Worth it.”

This time Sakura couldn’t help but laugh at his proud expression. Her laughter melted into sighs as Sasuke smothered her giggles with his mouth with open mouth kisses.

“I’m taking your pants off.”

Sasuke pulled back to raise an eyebrow at her. “Not even going to ask?”

“Nope!” Sakura chirped and hooked her thumbs into his waistband, pulling his cotton lounge pants and underwear down in one go. “Oh, hello.”

“Every single time. You’re embarrassing, you know that?” Sasuke helped her to fully remove his pants and then settled back into the cradle of her thighs. He braced himself on the remainder of his left arm and stroked her thigh with his right hand. “How are you still cold?”

“Long or short answer?”

“I’m just grabbing the blanket.”

“Good idea.” Sakura nodded in mock seriousness as Sasuke secured the blanket over his shoulders, cocooning her in his warmth under it.

There was a bit more fumbling than Sakura had anticipated. Sasuke had let her guide his cock towards her opening in favor of holding himself up so that he could hover over her. With a slight thrust of his hips, the head of it nudged its way in and Sakura took a deep inhale. It was almost comical, even to herself, how loud the intake of air had been.

“This isn’t going to work if you tense up like that,” Sasuke huffed, giving another shallow thrust. He snorted at the resistance he felt. “You’re practically pushing me out.”

“Okay, okay, okay.” Sakura closed her eyes and inhaled a much slower and calming breath. “I’m good.”

Sasuke eased his way in, going as slow as possible, halting whenever Sakura wrinkled her nose in discomfort. It was a peculiar type of pain, similar to the pinch of over stretching.

“How are we doing?” Sasuke gasped as he bottomed out, going as far in as was going to be possible.

Sakura blinked up at him, unsure of how to respond. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was it also one of the greatest moments of her life? Yes. She could watch him looking down at her with that soft, tender expression forever and be satisfied.

And then she shifted her hips to adjust herself—seeking some comfort—and the noise Sasuke made…Sakura’s eyes widened in awe.

It was a new sound, somehow deeper and more of a whimper than his usual bed sounds.

“Can we stay like this for a bit?” She slid her arms timidly up his arms and drummed her fingers against his shoulders before hooking them behind his neck.

Nodding, Sasuke slid forward on his arms, pressing their bodies together. The action caused him to slip further inside, but Sakura ignored the uncomfortable stretch in favor of kissing Sasuke. She spread her legs open further to accommodate him better and it helped with the pain.

When discussing sex with Ino, Sakura had never expected there to be so much room for thinking. Was she supposed to be so hyper aware of everything?

She couldn’t stop thinking about the shape of Sasuke’s lips and the way the muscle of his jaw jumped when she scraped her nails against his shoulder blades. She couldn’t help but notice the way his hips thrust shallowly as he kissed her and massaged her breast, plucking at her nipple and rolling it under his thumb. The grinding of his hips against hers seemed subconscious, like he couldn’t help it.

“You can move more.”

Sakura crossed her ankles behind the small of his back, pushing her heels against him to encourage him.

Shit,” he hissed as he thrust deeper. Sakura squeaked in response and he paused. “You okay?”

“Yeah, that was just,” Sakura swallowed, “that was good. Again?”

Hesitantly, Sasuke pulled back and thrust his hips forward, watching her face for any signs of discomfort.

“Don’t stare too much,” Sakura whined through a soft moan. “Um, speed up a bit?”

Sasuke followed her directions until they settled on an even pace that had her breath hitching when he pushed in deep. Feeling self-conscious of the way the tomoe of his Sharingan spun with every sound she made, Sakura dropped her gaze to Sasuke’s clavicle, focusing on the hollow of his throat.

He’s too pretty, Sakura grumbled inwardly as she traced the line of his throat with her eyes, counting the splatter of tiny moles that dusted his skin. The one just under his jaw was proving to be one of her favorites, second only to the one she had found under his Adonis belt near his right hip.

Not entirely sure where the desire came from, Sakura leaned up, flattened her tongue against the hollow of his throat and dragged it upward before pressing a kiss to his chin. Sasuke groaned deeply, clearly enjoying the action. He chased her mouth to press a hard kiss to her lips and thrusted harder against her hips.

“Touch yourself,” Sasuke murmured against her mouth. “Touch yourself.”

The demand sounded more like a plea, strained and caught in his throat. His fingers scrambled desperately for hers and dragged them down her body and placed them between her legs. Sakura didn’t fight the way he guided her index finger to circle the knobby bit of flesh right above where they were joined.

“Touch yourself,” he pleaded again, voice muffled as he kissed and sucked at her throat.

“Fuck,” Sakura whimpered softly. She could feel the way her inner walls fluttered, clenching around him. “It’s too much.”

“Just come.” Sasuke closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers. “Just come.”

Face flushed and his warm breath fanning her face, Sakura’s chest swelled at the way his lips quirked up at the corners. Sasuke was content and warm and just as lost in her as she usually was lost in him.

“I love you,” she whispered, wrapping her arms under his armpits and pulling him into a tighter embrace. “I love you so much, Sasuke-kun.”

“Wha—wait. No.”

Sakura opened her eyes, brows furrowing at the panic in his voice. It wasn’t as if he didn’t know the true extent of her feelings. Sakura had been telling him she loved him since she was thirteen years old.

She looked up at wide mismatched eyes in confusion, mouth opening to voice her concerns and immediately shutting tight when she felt a wet warmth flooding inside of her.

“Oh,” she muttered in realization of what the sensation was. She could make a tonic later just to be safe.

Sasuke sagged forward, catching himself with his arm before he completely collapsed on top of her. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, but Sakura could still see the red of his ears.

“Did you just—?”

Yes,” Sasuke cut her off, voice muffled against her shoulder.

Sakura giggled, rubbing her cheek against the top of his head. “You’re so cute.”

Sasuke’s head snapped up quickly and he narrowed his eyes at her.

“Don’t call me cute when my cock is inside of you.”

“But you are!” Sakura protested as he pulled away from her and flopped his body next to her. Semen leaked out from her and trailed with him as he settled on his bed. “Okay this part is kind of gross.”

“Yeah we should wash up again.” Although he made the suggestion he didn’t move from where he was laying.

“I need to pee,” Sakura grumbled, sitting up.

She grabbed the clothes she had borrowed from the places they ended up and made her way to the bathroom to clean up. When she returned to the bedroom, Sasuke had his pants back on and had removed the sheets from the bed.

“Gonna put these to wash.” He balled up the sheets and tucked them under his arm, hiding them from her.

“I bled, didn’t I?”

“It’s fine.” Sasuke shuffled on the balls of his feet. “I know how to remove blood stains. Comes with the shinobi lifestyle.”

“I’ll change the sheets while you do that then.”

This was also not something Sakura expected when she thought of sex. Her daydreams of her first time always ended in cuddling and not wanting to pull away. Daydreams didn’t involve being covered in someone else’s sweat and cum. They didn’t involve the changing of sheets and bleeding from the extreme stretching of her hymen.

This was more real and for some reason it was relaxing. A calm sense of contentment filled her as she shook out the fresh set of sheets for Sasuke’s bed.

Something about the natural way they moved around each other to clean up felt like she belonged in the space.

“You should stay here.”

Like it was hers too.

“We could make miso soup everyday.”

An arm wrapped around her from behind as she finished tucking the corners into the hospital style she was used to.

“How are you feeling?”

“Sore.” Sakura leaned her head back against him and tilted her chin up to look at Sasuke. “Which I expected.”

Standing on her toes she kissed the underside of Sasuke’s jaw.

“And happy. Which was also expected.” Sakura rubbed a hand on his forearm. “And you?”

“Tired.” Sasuke dropped his chin on top of her head. “But content. Which was expected.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“A little.” Sasuke chuckled, backing away a bit when Sakura elbowed his stomach. “But I’m being honest.”

“Good.” She turned in his hold and kissed the spot above his heart. “I like when you’re happy.”

“It’s a feeling I could get used to.” Sasuke released her from his grip to cup her face. He rubbed his thumb over the apple of her cheek and up the apex. “Did you have anything to do today?”

She had planned to have lunch with Sasuke and after a massage she was going to head to the children’s institute to go over some more paperwork. Sakura had already finished her shift but getting rid of some of her work for the next day would free her to help take over more of Ino’s usual responsibilities since she was still away on her honeymoon.

“Nothing I really have to do,” Sakura mumbled against his chest. “But I should do them.”

“It’s still pouring out.” Sasuke rubbed circles on the small of her back with his palm. “Maybe you can wait out the rain?”

Sakura dug her chin against his chest, looking up at him with a soft smile. “And if the rain doesn’t let up?”

“After a couple of hours, I suddenly remember I have an umbrella somewhere in this apartment.”

“A couple of hours?”

“Or a few.” Sasuke shrugged his shoulders. “I would say stay but your mother knows where I live.”

“So if it weren’t for Mama you would want me to stay?” She pulled back, sliding her hand down his arm until she reached his fingers. She slid her fingers into the grooves of his own and interlocked their fingers.

“You would stay.” Sasuke squeezed her hand gently. He wasn’t wrong. She would stay every night if she weren’t living with her parents. “And maybe we could try and make that miso soup again for breakfast.”

“Hmm,” Sakura hummed, lightly swinging their arms back and forth. “The tomato one?”

“Yeah. Our recipe that we finally settled on.”

Our recipe.

“That sounds nice.” Sakura stood on her toes and Sasuke leaned down to meet her for a chaste kiss. “But I’m throwing it out if you try to add those chilies again.”

Sasuke chuckled, filling his room with the soft sound of his laughter. It circled them both and swirled inside of her, spreading a pleasant heat that started in Sakura’s chest and expanded outwards to her limbs.

Warm. Sasuke would always be warm.

Covenant Chapter 5

Chapter Five: Feathers

A loud explosion could be heard in the distance as Sakura wrote down the calculations for the antidote she was supposed to be creating. She paused in writing and looked expectantly up at Master Sasori, who continued to read through his tome as if he hadn’t heard anything at all.

“You’re wasting time, Miss Haruno,” he reprimanded her without looking up from his heavy book. “Perhaps if I give the poison to your familiar that will be the proper motivation for you to focus on your assignment.”

Sparks ignited from her fingertips and she narrowed her eyes at him. He raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at her and then shifted his gaze to her parchment.

“Ah, shit!” Sakura hissed, using her sleeve to stamp out the small flame that caught on her paper. She was still getting used to the easy access to fire magic and even though her control had improved, she was still creating sparks when she was angered.

“High Priests don’t threaten their students, Master Sasori,” Shizune scolded him from where she was replenishing the stores of potion ingredients. She was doing her normal everyday tasks, but Sakura knew she was keeping an eye on Master Sasori for Lady Tsunade. “The younglings in your coven will be under your care and protection and that includes the familiars.”

“Done!” Sakura cut off whatever retort Sasori had opened his mouth to unleash. Her poison had paled and coagulated and she was able to separate it from the water.

“Amazing, Sakura!” Shizune praised her.

“Could have been done faster.”

“That was an unknown poison and she had created an antidote in under five minutes. A time suspension charm would have granted her more time as well.”

The bickering was becoming commonplace. The two of them were the poisons masters of their covens and they each had their own style in both teaching and the proper usage of poisons. The latter was an age old argument for the two of them ever since they both had been students.

“I’m going to go do bond work,” Sakura excused herself over Shizune’s huffs and Sasori’s disinterest in the discussion.

She packed up her unused ingredients and cleaned up as quickly as possible, waving a hand over her cauldron and manipulated the antidote until swirled up in the air and into a clean vial. With a messier scrawl than she normally would have used, she labeled the vial and slid it into a cubby on the far side of the wall with her written analysis of the poison. She labeled the cubby with the date and made her way out of the room, unnoticed by the adults.

Things were supposed to quiet down after Karin and Suigetsu headed back home to the Hebi coven’s underground bunker. Lessons were a little boring without another witch attending them, but Sakura had Sasuke to accompany her during lessons.

Well, she was supposed to have him around.

Master Sasori had brought his familiar with him and the fire demon was proving to be a handful. He had been explosive at times when Sasuke and Obito had gone home for Obon, but none of it was destructive or that bothersome. Deidara had stuck to the art therapy Master Sasori had instructed him to practice while they were guests in Senju Manor. As soon as the tengu had come back from the trip home, Deidara had become even more excitable.

Kakashi had explained that Deidara was only a toddler the last time he had accompanied Sasori to the Senju School and that there had been multiple cases of property damage when they took their eyes off of him for longer than a second. He was calmer now that he was a young man of twenty, but finding out that Sasuke and Obito were practically fireproof had him rising to some sort of challenge to set off more explosions.

Because Sasuke was closer in age to Deidara and more resistant to fire than Kakashi, he had been assigned with babysitting him. He had been angered at being given an order by Tsunade, but when Deidara had taken to attempting to prank Sakura, Sasuke took to the task with much more enthusiasm than anyone had expected.

The consequence of Sasuke and Deidara being in each other’s company was that the fire alarm went off at least twice a day and on occasion the power would go out. It was an interesting way to find out that Sasuke could summon lightning of all things.

“Hello, Sakura!” Deidara greeted her as he approached her walking down the hall. He had a hop in his step and his arms were behind his back, hiding something from her. “Just the person I was looking for.”

“You were looking for me?” Sakura crossed her arms in front of her chest and fixed him with a deadpan expression.

Deidara grunted in affirmation and pulled his arms from behind his back. In his hands was a clay lotus flower. It was beautiful, but after a month of dealing with him, Sakura knew better than to accept anything Deidara made in his art therapy sessions.

“That’s way too nice for me, Deidara.” Sakura waved her hands in front of her in an attempt to decline the gift.

“Yeah, it is,” he agreed without hesitation,” but I don’t really care for flowers. I only make them because of Konan.”

Konan was a high rank witch from the Akatsuki coven and one of Master Sasori’s closest friends. She sent him messages about the going ons back home and was the person Deidara mentioned the most whenever he talked about his coven life.

The Akatsuki coven was larger than the Senju coven and Deidara was used to being surrounded by people. Sakura sighed in defeat. She was sure he was just feeling homesick and had made the flower sculpture because he was thinking about Master Konan. If it had been the other way around, with her visiting a different coven, Sakura was sure she would be missing Sister Shizune just as much if not more.

She barely stretched her hand out to receive the lotus when she was tackled into an embrace. Chestnut colored wings spread out and blocked her view of Deidara. An explosion went off and the wings wrapped around her as Sasuke cradled her head against his clavicle.

“Are you stupid?” Sasuke scolded her as his wings fluttered, shaking off the debris from the explosive sculpture. He folded them behind his back and shot a glare over his shoulder at Deidara.

Deidara grunted, a pout forming on his face at his spoiled fun. The expression barely flashed across his face before it slipped into one of boredom. Deidara shrugged and turned to head down the hall in the opposite direction.


Sakura followed Sasuke’s gaze to the windows that made up the wall of the hall that looked into the conservatory. The explosion had caused a few of them to completely shatter.

“We should fix that,” Sakura mumbled. “If Lady Tsunade sees any more property damage, she’s gonna turn to the bottle.”

Sasuke snorted, shaking his head. “Too late. She’s been sneaking into the wine cellar every day since those two have arrived.”

The both of them headed down the hall to look for the closest broom closet. Sasuke pulled his wings back in, sealing them back into their tattoo form. Due to the heat and because of the constant threat of Deidara’s fire and explosives he had taken to wearing tank tops. Sakura wasn’t entirely sure about the magic and the way wings worked for tengu, but dealing with Deidara made Sasuke━and even Obito━sloppy at times and without his focus, his wings had burst through his shirts, ripping them apart

The first time it had happened it had been awkward for both teenagers, especially with Tsunade and Deidara cackling at how ridiculous Sasuke looked with scraps of his shirt hanging off of him.

“Master Sasori threatened to poison you to motivate me in my lesson.”

“That’s…not even that surprising.” Sasuke ruffled the spiky hair at the back of his head. “He’s weird.”


“I’m pretty sure he has a giant puppet that’s almost a foot taller than me in his room.”

“No way!”

Sasuke had never expected for his favorite part of the day to be when Sakura and he had their designated two hours to work on their bond.

They were supposed to do anything from channeling their chakra━or mana as the witches called it━to just spending time together. It was just a period of time during the day that Lady Tsunade had instructed everyone to leave them be so that they could become closer as a witch and familiar. It was supposed to help with their relationship and Sasuke appreciated the peace that came with it. Despite the freedom that Sasori granted Deidara to do whatever he wanted, he respected the need to develop the bond and made sure Deidara didn’t interrupt.

“Even the mundane can use Hamamelis virginiana,” Sakura explained as she plucked a small bundle from her basket.

The both of them were curled up under a tree in the backyard, reading one of Sakura’s giant books. She was teaching him about the properties of different herbs and plants they grew in their garden and greenhouse and explaining which ones they had to request from other covens.

Sasori had brought them a trunk of saffron as his tribute to the coven for taking him in and it was an ingredient that the Senju coven had difficulty growing. It had many uses but it was an extremely valuable herb for healing magic.

“My mother uses this one.” Sasuke picked up a sprig of rosemary. “She would put some under my pillow when I was younger.”

“It has protective properties,” Sakura chirped excitedly. “It’s used under pillows to ward off nightmares.”

“And this one?” Sasuke lifted a sprig of little yellow flowers with a thick long stem.

Ruteola gravieolens.” Sakura plucked it from his hand. “A very important herb. You can prepare a bath with rue to negate curses or hexes. It’s also a good herb to use for poisons and is used in plenty of antidote recipes.”

“So much power in a small flower.”

“Yup!” Sakura nodded, placing the rue stem back into her basket. “There’s a coven that lives really close to a werewolf settlement. They grow lots of rue and every full moon they place bundles of rue on their doors and windows to ward them off when they’re in their manic state.”

“Hm,” Sasuke hums, only to let her know that he had been listening.

The gentle breeze cut through the summer heat. In the distance, Sasuke could hear the faint sounds from the city. It wasn’t the tranquility of home, but the peace of being only with Sakura and hearing her flip through her book and her soft voice reading caused a tingling sensation in his brain.

It was nice.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, taking in the scents of the grass and the leaves and the aroma of all of the mixed herbs in Sakura’s basket. Among them was the apples and blossoms smell of Sakura’s shampoo.

It was comforting.

Sasuke woke up to the sound of a giant splash. He moved abruptly, confused as to when he fell asleep. Sakura pulled away from him, jostled by his quick movements. She blinked up at him with bleary eyes. She had fallen asleep as well.

“About time the lovebirds woke up.” Deidara was standing on the patio on the other side of the pool. “Some of us would like to use the backyard as well.”

“Bullshit,” Sakura muttered under her breath, face pinched up in frustration over being woken up. “He avoids the backyard because of the pool.”

Deidara was a fire demon and while his human skin offered him protection from water, he detested the sensation of being submerged and wouldn’t willingly throw himself into a pool of water. Deidara also wasn’t the type to allow himself to be vulnerable and being soaked with water weakened his powers until he could get properly dry.

“If he’s standing there,” Sasuke stood up in alarm, “what made the━”

Something exploded inside the pool, causing water to shoot out of the center of the pool like a geyser. Sasuke shielded Sakura in case any large clay chunks came their way. Deidara cackled and turned to head back into the house.

“What the fuck?” Sasuke huffed in annoyance over getting soaked.

“I’m feeling more and more guilty that I’ll at least be able to escape him after next week when I head back to school while you’re stuck here with him.”

Sakura was due back to her mundane school for her final compulsory year. Sasuke had finished his schooling with tutors last Spring so her parents found it redundant for him to enroll into her high school when he didn’t need a mundane education. He was supposed to be learning how to lead his clan and how to assist Sakura as her familiar. There were no dangers in Sakura’s high school that required Sasuke’s protection.

Senju Manor needed his protection more. It was just unfortunate that the threat was a current resident that Tsunade had been more than adamant that Sasuke couldn’t cause actual harm to.

With a sigh, Sasuke shook his head, ruffling his hair of the excess water. “Can we go home now?”

“Yeah, let me just take the herbs back to the ingredient stores.” Sakura lifted her arm, gesturing to the basket hanging from the crook of her elbow. “I’ll meet you in the foyer.”

They split ways, Sasuke crossing the sun room to make his way to the front of the house. In order to make it to foyer, he had to enter the kitchen and head down the hall towards the living room and past two sitting rooms that flanked the main hall to the foyer. Entering the main hall he had to walk under the archway created by the twin staircases that led to the second floor.

Walking under the joining of the staircases, there was nowhere to escape from anyone that stood on the second floor landing and looked over the rail. It also made it impossible not to over hear any conversation that could be taking place just above.

It was how Sasuke discovered what Obito did in his free time when he wasn’t bothering Sasuke or training or bothering Sasuke about training.

Sasori’s face didn’t shift at all. It remained impassive even as Obito bashfully offered him a black feather. The feather had been plucked from his wings━there was nowhere else Obito could have gotten it as Sasuke knew exactly what his cousin was doing.

Really? Sasuke’s nose scrunched up in distaste. He had been so sure that Obito had better taste than creepy redheaded midgets. Creepy redheaded word weaving midgets.

But then again, it was his odd older cousin Obito who was always doing something weird or collecting strange objects. He was a kind man that was always running late to clan meetings because he was assisting someone, whether it was with the farmers or the elderly members of their clan, but he was still the odd duck of the family.

“Hmm…” Sasori raised the feather gifted to him up to his eye and took out a small magnifying scope to examine it. “Do you have any larger feathers?”

“The fuck?” Sasuke muttered, watching the exchange. Sasori seemed like a smart man, did he not understand the gesture?

Shrugging, Sasori pocketed the feather in an inner pocket of his blazer. “I guess this will do for now.”

Sasuke shook his head as he watched Obito eagerly chase after Sasori as the man turned and walked to the set of the stairs for the next landing.

“Unbelievable,” he scoffed. Leave it to Obito to gain enough affection for another person in such a short amount of time. He knew Sakura far longer and he wasn’t plucking a feather for her.

Sasuke stiffened, the thought finally registering and his neck flushed with heat as it ran through his mind again. Sakura had come to mind far too quickly. A feather for Sakura!? That was just━

But was it? Would it have been preposterous?

What would Sakura even do with his feather? Knowing her she was likely to use it as a bookmark. Or maybe she would fashion herself a new hair pin for the next gathering that required them to wear their formal clothes.

“Unbelievable,” Sasuke huffed, mocking himself. He had just been judging Obito for his careless affectionate gestures and now he was thinking about scenarios in which he would give away his own. And to a witch no less!

But Sakura wasn’t just any witch. She was Sakura. Being a witch was just random circumstance. One that allowed them to meet in the first place.

“Ready to go home?” Sakura startled him out of his musings, appearing from one of the random doors that was definitely created by an extension charm.

As large as the manor was, there were too many rooms that had specific purposes and the building always seemed much larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside.

Sasuke nodded, taking Sakura’s backpack and swinging it over one of his shoulders. It was time for another favorite part of the day.

Sasuke was acting off. At least more than usual in Sakura’s opinion.

He was sulking more as it was getting closer for her to return to school. They had made plans for him to spend a few days at her parents’ bakery and help them out so that he wasn’t spending the whole day at Senju Manor. It would give him some reprieve from Deidara and he can learn more about the kind of kitchen magic Kizashi did and that Sakura would end up doing when she was a proper adult and took over the bakery when her father eventually retired.

Sasuke was quicker to snap at Deidara when being playful was bordering more on homicidal. At some point, Shizune had to separate them and heal an injury Deidara had sustained. Sasuke was stubborn and refused to be looked over until Sakura was done with Sasori’s lecture on animation for the day.

Despite being harsh in lessons, Sakura was enjoying learning from Master Sasori. While he was training to take over as High Priest for his coven, he was also teaching Sakura some forms of magical arts that Tsunade and Shizune didn’t practice. She wouldn’t be practicing some of the darker arts, but it was nice to get some more information from someone that was so knowledgeable.

Sometimes Obito would sit in on the lessons. He would find a seat where he wouldn’t be disruptive and just listen to Sasori as he drolled on. Sakura found it kind of sweet. He almost always left Sasori with a feather token whenever he had to take care of one of his responsibilities as a member of Sasuke’s retainer.

Sakura had caught Sasori using the feathers in his experiments and it seemed a waste to her. There was something about the gesture that seemed special, especially with the dopey looks Obito gave Sasori whenever he accepted the feathers. She just hoped that whatever point Obito was trying to drive home with his feather tokens would finally be realized before he lost every single feather in his wings to Sasori.

Sakura was setting out her new dress for the last first day of school she would have in the mundane world when there was a knock on her door.

“Come in,” she called out as she placed newly cleansed crystals on her bedroom altar. She had a few of them charged by Shizune and her father. She even had her mother hold one to transfer positive energy so that she could carry it with her into her first week of school.

“Hey.” Sasuke slid into her room, closing her bedroom door softly behind him.

“Hey.” Sakura smiled softly at him and the careful way he held himself in her room. Sometimes he was so casual as if the space was made for him as well and there were times where he carried himself with a sort of tension for daring to invade her space.

It seemed like tonight was going to be one of those nights. Sakura gripped him by both of his wrists and pulled him deeper into her room, guiding him to take a seat at her window seat. She sat down on the bench and turned her body to face him causing their knees to touch.

“Do you think Obito can handle Deidara on his own tomorrow?” Sakura asked him, playing with the edge of her window seat’s cushion. “Or do you think Tsunade will finally make good on her threat of trapping him in an urn?”

Sasuke snorted, playing with the same edge of the cushion she was. He ran the tips of his fingers along the binding, almost brushing against her fingers.

“If she puts him in an urn, I wanna be there to see it happen.”

“He’s been stressing you out, huh?” Sakura gave him a knowing smile. “I have something for you.”

Hopping up from her seat, Sakura rifled through a wooden box she kept on her desk. It held her crystals and she pushed some aside until she found one of her nicer cabochons of green aventurine. She selected a piece that was nicely shaped, more round with less bumps and held it in her closed hands, channeling energy into it. When the cabochon was fully charged she placed it in Sasuke’s hand.

“I know you’ve been kind of stressed out, but this should help you,” Sakura explained. “It helps with the emotional body and brings inner harmony. It should balance you out and give you some emotional tranquility.”

She watched as he rolled it around in his hand, feeling its smoothness.

“It’s cool.” Sasuke transferred it to his other hand. “No matter how long I hold it, it’s not warming up.”

“Yeah, that’s my energy doing that.”

Sasuke rolled it around his hand a few more times before slipping it into the pocket of his joggers. “I actually came to give you something.”

From the same pocket, he pulled out a chestnut and speckled feather. He twirled it between his thumb and index finger and handed it over to her. It wasn’t a large feather, nor was it small. It was about the span of her hand from the heel of her palm to the tip of her middle finger.

The size didn’t really matter. Sakura stared at it in awe, her cheeks flushing with how giddy she was. She still wasn’t entirely sure what the significance of the gesture was, but it felt important to her.

“I just thought,” Sasuke cleared his throat, “I just thought you could have something of mine with you when you’re off with the mundane all day. It doesn’t do anything special like the rock you gave me, but━”

“It doesn’t have to do anything,” Sakura interrupted him, voice soft. “It’s pretty and I like it.”

There was something so purposeful about this very feather. It was relatively clean with no bent parts or frayed tufts. It was perfect and clean as if carefully selected.

“I really like it.”

She liked it just as much as she liked the way the tips of Sasuke’s ears turned red when he was flustered. She brought it up to her nose, sniffing it slightly. It carried Sasuke’s scent━something earthy and smokey at the same time.

“Don’t smell it!” Sasuke snapped in embarrassment, hopping up from his seat. He called back to her as he made to exit her room, “And go to sleep, you have to wake up early tomorrow.”

“So do you!” Sakura shouted back between giggles. She fell back slightly against her window, sighing contently. She looked at her feather fondly, thinking sweet thoughts of the boy who gave it to her.

It deserved special care.

Sasuke was once again cursing the fact that the Haruno family were morning people. Mebuki had insisted that he could come in later but he refused the special treatment. Which is how he found himself at the breakfast table at four in the morning.

He was helping clean up before they left for the bakery when Sakura made her way down the stairs dressed for school in her new light blue dress with the feather and old fashion key print. The hem fluttered with her steps down the stairs, flirting with her knees.

She looked nice, just as she had wanted, but what had Sasuke’s focus was what she had chosen for an accessory.

Sakura had fashioned herself a necklace with his feather. The necklace was long enough that his feather settled between her breasts against the buttons that lined the front of her dress. Joining his feather was a light pink crystal wrapped so that it dangled with it as a pendant.

Sakura followed his gaze to her new necklace and her cheeks bloomed with a pleasant blush.

“I had to do something with it,” she offered as an explanation.

“What’s this stone?” Sasuke asked, lifting the pink crystal. He twirled it in his fingers, feeling the coolness of Sakura’s energy in it.

“It’s a rose quartz.” Sakura gently pulled it out of his grasp and dropped it back in place against her chest.

“What does it do?”

Sakura averted her gaze, her blush growing brighter. She slipped around him and examined all of the apples in the fruit bowl as if they were the most fascinating object in the world.


“Hm?” She hummed, not turning away from the fruit.

“What does rose quartz help with?”

“Oh, nothing.” Sakura finally looked back at him, a bashful smile on her face. “Nothing at all.”

Mirepoix Chapter 6

Chapter Six: Lā Miàn

She had been played.

Sakura had let her anger get the best of her and by the time she had calmed down it had been too late.

Ino had waited up for her to return home, but Sakura walked past her to her bedroom, too tired to deal with whatever the hell her friend was excited about. Sasuke had offered her a ride home, but she was too amped up from the insult he had given her.

Looking back on it now, she knew he had just been trying to get her worked up and he was successful. Now Sakura had promised to show him her true cooking skills. She was going to cook for a heavily award nominated chef that cooked in a Michelin star restaurant.

No pressure.

“Mama?” Sakura drummed her fingers against the steel table top. “What do you think is the best thing I’ve ever made.”

“If you stop standing around and get to working, it will be these baozi,” her mother, Mebuki, responded without looking up from the buns she was pinching close.

“I’m serious, Mama.”

“I’m serious too.” Mebuki glared at her and pointed to the workstation with chicken waiting to be ground up. “Get to work on making more filling.”

Groaning, Sakura shuffled over to the sink and washed her hands. She should have known that a visit to her parents’ shop would result in them making her work. She grumbled about how it was her day off and that she didn’t need to be working, but as soon as she began mixing the ground chicken, making sure to stir in one direction, her complaints settled into content humming.

There had always been something therapeutic about making bao. Sakura could get lost in the rhythmic flow of loading the little pancakes of dough with the chicken and chive filling and pinching and twisting them closed. She had been making them with her parents ever since she was old enough for her motor skills to be more refined.

Cooking in her parents’ kitchen had both been an escape and the bane of her existence growing up. It was simultaneously the place she felt the most loved and the place of her nightmares.

Nothing felt better after a good cry like a steamed chicken bun. The comfort of the soft steamed dough and the chicken and chives filling that her father had originally made just for her because she wasn’t fond of the traditional pork filling. Her cheeks would be covered in the salt of dried up tears, the tracks of them cracking under the movement of her chewing.

Sakura would come home from school, defeated and lost, and hide in the back of the shop under the swirling steam and the scents of her parents’ hard labor. What the other kids thought stunk was the comforting smell of safety and devotion to her.

At least until the unfortunate incident when she was caught taking care of a stray cat by some schoolmates that decided to throw racist comments her way.

She had such a complicated relationship with food. She was proud of her parents and all of their hard work. She loved feeling close to her family overseas through the dishes her parents prepared and shared with the world.

“Hey, Auntie.” The bored droll of her cousin’s caught Sakura’s attention. Sasori removed his wool cap and stripped out of his outerwear as he moved through the hot kitchen.

“Hey, Sasori,” she greeted him. He nodded at her in acknowledgement and hung up his clothes on the hook in the back office. He grabbed one of the aprons and tossed it over his simpler than usual outfit. “Helping out today?”

“I happened to have a few days off.” Sasori washed his hands in the sink and shook his hands dry. “Third is renovating the gallery.”

Sasori took his spot across from her and got to work on making the dough for the noodles used for the beef noodle soup. Her father, Kizashi, had been working on the broth since early morning.

Out of all of the dishes on her father’s menu, the chicken and chives bao and the Lanzhou beef noodle soup were the most popular━especially with those that wanted the comforting taste of home when they were over 7,000 miles away.

Lanzhou beef noodle soup was the dish that Sakura loved most on rainy days. She would come home with her skin chilled and her socks wet, ready for a warm bowl of beef and noodles swimming in a fragrant broth.

By the time she was old enough to help make steamed buns, Sasori had already been hand pulling noodles for eleven years. He had been helping out in the kitchen long before the ownership had passed on to her father and mother from her great-aunt Chiyo.

They made a variety of Japanese and Chinese dishes and Kizashi added a few more recipes to the comfort food menu that Granny Chiyo had perfected. Eventually, Sakura had graduated from helping out with the steamed buns and helped with other dishes, but her favorite task was helping her cousin with the preparation of the noodles.

It was an art form. Before Chef Uchiha it was the only bit of cooking she would claim as art. She would watch, entranced, as Sasori and her father made the dough dance as they stretched and pulled it to the right elasticity. They would twirl the stretchy dough and their fingers would weave in and out of it, creating hundreds of thin noodles.

Her first attempt was an utter failure. Sakura had made the dough perfectly but the skill required to pull the noodles from a ball of dough didn’t come in a few hours. It took patience and years until she could pull noodles as well as her family members.

Sakura absentmindedly pinched the bao closed as she watched her cousin take to his simple wood board stage and manipulated the rested dough, twirling and stretching it until he had over a hundred noodles ready to boil. Watching him, she would have never guessed that he was an art gallery curator instead of a chef. It was a talent not many could boast of having, not in the states.

And that was when it all clicked.

He hadn’t expected his mother to be in his kitchen when he came back from his run. She had rolled up her sleeves and had taken over the place. Sasuke caught her in the middle of rolling rice in between her hands, packing it into the family triangular shape of onigiri.

“If I don’t come to visit you, I would never see you.” Mikoto pursed her lips, shooting him a glare as he walked behind her to the sink and washed his hands and all the way up to his elbows.

Sasuke joined her at his kitchen island and took some rice and began to form it into rice balls. They worked in perfect, silent harmony until there was enough onigiri to feed his kitchen staff.

“How is Mrs. Kato?” Mikoto asked.

“Stubbornly refusing to find a new executive chef.”

“She has you. Have you considered that she doesn’t want another head chef when she has you?” His mother gave him a knowing smile. “You take care of her husband’s kitchen much better than any stranger would. She’s fired enough chefs for you to have figured that out by now.”

It had occurred to Sasuke that that may have been the case. When Dan had passed away, they had closed down Wisteria Place while they all mourned and when they were preparing to open up again, the new executive chefs were all selected by Tsunade’s friends Jiraiya and Orochimaru. The couple were recruited by Kakashi because Tsunade was ready for Wisteria Place to open its doors, but not to see someone else in her husband’s kitchen.

Jiraiya had selected a multitude of chefs that he knew from his travels as a food critic, but none of them lasted long. They either didn’t respect Tsunade as their boss and didn’t accept any of her input in the kitchen, shoving her to her usual place in front of house, or Tsunade didn’t believe they were of the same caliber as her late husband.

Orochimaru had suggested that Sasuke take over the position of executive chef. As an investor of the restaurant they knew about Sasuke’s experience and dedication to Wisteria Place. They felt that there was no one better to leave the command of the kitchen to and Tsunade seemed to agree.

“There’s a ready made head chef right here.” Orochimaru had given him one of their unsettling smiles. “Molded perfectly with Wisteria Place in mind.”

As much as Sasuke disliked working under the chefs that Jiraiya found for Wisteria Place, he didn’t want to have all of the responsibilities of being an executive chef. He was barely surviving doing all of the tasks as interim head chef.

He was busy when he was simply a sous chef, but he had at least been able to have a day off or go traveling or have a sex life.

It had been months since he last had sex.

Not visiting his mother was an unfortunate sacrifice, but it came with the silver lining of not having to deal with seeing his father. No matter what accolades he collected it would never be enough in his eyes, not when he was comparing him to his older brother who had followed their father’s plan and had become a doctor.

It wasn’t that Fugaku belittled his chosen profession. He had stopped doing that years ago, but he also never acknowledged anything that proved how successful Sasuke was, that it was a suitable career. There were comments made about whether or not Sasuke could survive on a chef’s paycheck—if maybe his trust fund was what was keeping him afloat. Mikoto wasn’t much help. She would toss in her own questions and backed up Fugaku’s line of questioning.

It got to the point where Sasuke didn’t want to go back home.

“Your brother is dating someone right now,” Mikoto cut into his thoughts as she cleaned up the mess they had made. “It seems serious. He met her at the clinic. The receptionist set him up with the programmer helping the practice with their patient portal. Karin seems nice. I hope he brings her around for dinner soon.”

Not happening anytime soon if he likes her enough to date her.

Somehow even Itachi had found time to have some sort of relationship and Sasuke could barely find time to enjoy a meal that wasn’t made from the scraps of whatever was on the menu at Wisteria Place. If it weren’t for the fact that he ran every day he would end up gaining lots of weight eating so much rich food.

“Take those with you to work.” Mikoto lightly smacked his stomach with the back of her hand and smiled softly at him. “Don’t eat all of those rice balls on your own. Oh, and your dad enjoyed that seafood en brodo from your Valentine’s Day menu.”

She grabbed her purse and coat from one of the bar stools and waved goodbye, leaving as unexpectedly as she had arrived at his apartment and leaving Sasuke unsettled. His parents hadn’t told him that they were going to eat at the restaurant he worked at. It would be just like his father to try and catch him unaware.

Sighing to himself, Sasuke packed up a good portion of the onigiri in a container. It was too much and Naruto and Kiba━and Sakura━would appreciate the food no matter what it was.

What she wanted to prepare wasn’t a quick recipe. Her father always started early in the day before they even opened in order to prepare everything he needed to make the broth for their Lanzhou beef noodle soup.

Sakura set up her tablet to record everything she did, from roasting the soup bones for the stock to preparing hot chili oil instead of using what was already made for the restaurant. Sasuke was a busy man and it was going to take her what was usually a good chunk of her work shift to complete a dish that had five hours of cook time when done properly. He could check out the video she was recording if he wanted to verify that she had in fact prepared the dish herself.

Sasori had helped her out, sitting on a chair, legs crossed at the knees, and recorded her efforts. He kept making comments about the lighting not doing her any favors and telling her that she should go and get a light that would make her glow. He finally stopped making those comments when his boyfriend Obito came to pick him up and he left. Obito had at least been more helpful and had offered to loan her his tripod for his phone.

Her parents worked around her, looking on curiously as she spoke to her camera and explained what she was doing. Mebuki would pop up behind her and watch her work, nodding when she saw that Sakura was properly seasoning.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself.” Her mother sat on a stool, legs crossed and hunched forward, as she ate a small bowl of rice with a fried egg.

Sakura looked up from her work station, but continued to knead the dough she was going to need. “Well, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it somewhat.”

“You seem happier today than usual.”

“Mama.” Sakura narrowed her eyes at Mebuki as she wrapped her bowl of dough in plastic wrap to let it rest.

“You always sound so tired and annoyed when I call you,” Mebuki carried on. “You don’t enjoy studying at all and you took whole semesters off because you weren’t feeling it.”

Sakura rolled her eyes and moved to check on the beef shank she had cooling. “No one enjoys studying, mama.”

“No, but most people don’t come crying to eat their weight in buns and hide in their parents’ kitchen because studying is making them miserable.”

Sakura turned her back on her mother, as she checked on her simmering broth. Her mouth twisted into a pout to keep her mouth busy as she was unable to respond. Nothing her mother had just said was a lie. Sakura would have really great semesters and would be the best student ever and then she would loathe the idea of starting up school again the following semester.

“I wanna help people. Auntie Chiyo was an herbalist back home and she was happy. I can do that with nursing.”

“Sure.” Mebuki set her bowl aside and crossed her arms in front of her chest. “That’s why she opened up a cozy little soup shop instead of an herbalism store when she moved here, huh? You have any idea how much money can be made off of all of those New Age hippies? Every person that thinks they’re a witch?”

“Alright, mama.” Sakura rolled her eyes and bit her lower lip to keep from laughing. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked for any messages from Ino. She had several but cleared them all knowing that Ino would be waiting up for answers anyway.

“Don’t forget to clean up when you’re done.” Mebuki slid off of her stool and grabbed her bowl. “I’m going to close up the shop.”

“Please don’t forget that I’m expecting a visitor here after hours. He should be here soon.”

“This gentleman visitor better be the future father of my grandchildren.”


“We’re not getting any younger!” Mebuki shouted back without turning back as she exited the kitchen.

Even before he had gotten so busy, Sasuke had barely visited J-Town. It wasn’t a part of town that he ever had to pass through and it was out of his way, but Ino insisted that he had to go to a shop called Chiyoshi. He had planned on ignoring her until she had told him that Sakura had asked her to pass on a message to him.

Chiyoshi was a small shop among stores with decals in Japanese and Mandarin in their windows, most of them only had English for their open and close signs. Most of the shops on the street seemed the same. Looking at the store to the right of Chiyoshi, Sasuke was met with the unlit sign that read Yamanaka Hana above a window display of different floral arrangements. Ino’s voice rang in his mind from the other day

“Our parents were shop neighbors. Why are you asking? Why are you asking? Why?”

This was where Sakura Haruno had grown up. Ino Yamanaka as well. Sasuke couldn’t even find it strange that the daughter of a flower shop ended up training to be a chef and the daughter of a restaurant owner decided to go to school for a different profession. Sasuke himself was the son of a rheumatologist and had run away to become a chef.

Sasuke entered the shop, the bell tinkling above his head behind him, and looked around at the cafeteria style floor plan. A blonde woman looked up from where she was sweeping, mouth parting at the sight of him.

She set the broom aside and wiped her hands on her apron as she walked towards him. “Are you Sakura’s friend?”

Was he? He considered himself as her superior if they considered the restaurant hierarchy, but he wasn’t going to tell a woman with the same green eyes as Sakura that.

“Yes,” he replied hesitantly. The word was barely out of his mouth and she was gripping his face in her hands. She moved his head side to side and slapped his cheek lightly.

“Good. You’re handsome. What do you do for a living?”

“Mama, leave him alone.`

Sasuke backed away and looked toward the back of the shop at the sound of Sakura’s voice. She was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, a bandana covering her rose gold hair and bits of flour on her face.

“You didn’t say he was handsome,” Sakura’s mother scolded her, crossing her arms in front of his chest. “And look at you covered in flour.”

“It’s not like that, mama,” Sakura groaned. “He’s technically my boss. Come on, Chef Uchiha.”

Sasuke sidestepped around her mother and followed her into the kitchen. The warm and pleasant scent that had been wafting around the dining area was a lot more concentrated in the kitchen.

“You came just in time.” Sakura rushed around metal tables in the center of the kitchen to a tablet propped up near two pots on the stove, one with a dark colored broth and the other full of boiling water. She picked it up and handed it to him. “I made a video because there was no way you were going to be able to sit and watch the whole process as it happened, but you’re on time for my favorite part.”

“This video is like five hours long, Haruno.” Sasuke winced and pressed play. Sakura in the video was arguing with someone off camera as she cradled a large aluminum bowl full of beef bones.

“Lock up the shop behind you, Sakura!” Sasuke heard her mother shouting from the front of the store. Sakura didn’t respond back and circled back to the center tables, pulling a bowl towards herself.

“You can try the broth if you like.” Sakura gestured to the pot on the stove as she unwrapped the plastic from the bowl. “I’m going to make the noodles right now.”

Sasuke almost dropped the spoon he had picked up into the simmering broth.“You’re going to make noodles?”

“I’m going to hand-pull them.”

The smile she gave him was smug but the twinkle in her eyes made it impossible to be annoyed with it. Instead a warmth settled in his lower stomach that had nothing to do with the delicious beef broth he had just swallowed a spoonful of.

Making fresh pasta was already something some found difficult to do. Sasuke remembered tearing holes in too thin sheets of dough after rolling them out when he was a teenager.

Taking a seat at a stool, Sasuke watched tiny Sakura Haruno throw a ball of dough on the flour covered surface of her work station, twisting it as she tossed it and stretched it. She spread her arms apart, ropes of dough forming between her slender fingers. She continued to dance with the dough, bouncing the dough and pulling hundreds of noodles out of that blob of dough faster than his eyes could track their formations.

Sasuke knew cooking was an art. He had trained for years to master it, traveled to different countries to learn its different forms. The rice porridge had been simple but enough to express something he now knew to be true.

Sakura Haruno was an artist. But did she know it?

Sakura tossed the noodles into the giant pot of boiling water with a grunt of satisfaction. She watched them cook and then served up a portion into a bowl and then fanned slices of beef shank on top of the noodles before ladling a good helping of broth and radishes on it. Sakura was generous with the chopped scallions and cilantro and dolloped a good portion of hot chili oil.

“I know you like your own food spicy.” She stuck her tongue out cheekily at him before turning to serve herself.

The broth warmed his whole system up. It spread down his throat to his stomach and fanned out to his limbs. Unlike the rice porridge this bowl of beef noodles had been made with him in mind, even if it was just to prove a point.

And that made it taste all the better.

“So?” Sakura raised her brows up at him, dimples forming from her eager grin.

She really was too cute for his own good.

Reaching out to wipe flour from her face, Sasuke told her, “Send me the video.”

Green eyes wide, Sakura’s mouth parted in surprise. “What?”

Sasuke laughed through his nose, huffing out an exhale. “I’ll give you my number. And my email. So you can send me the video.”

He continued to wipe the flour off of her face. As beautiful as it was to watch her make noodles, Sakura was a mess. Had no one told her that the only part of her that should get messy was her apron?

“Okay?” Sakura squeaked, handing over her phone. “You can give me your number.”

“So, now that I know that you can cook,” Sasuke typed his number into her phone, “I should probably stop enabling you and stop with all of the free meals.”

Sakura spluttered in protest, cheeks burning a bright shade of red. Sasuke couldn’t help the smile twitching at the corners of his lips. He was mostly joking━feeding Sakura was one of the only small joys of staying at work beyond closing. Watching her eagerly tuck into his food was the most socializing he had done in a while that wasn’t forced.

It also wasn’t lost on him that his mother had told him that his father had eaten a meal━and enjoyed it━from Wisteria Place without his knowledge and that it had been something he had added to the menu with Sakura in mind.

“Well, you definitely owe me for all of those free meals.”

“As if I can afford to pay for anything you make!” Sakura’s voice squeaked again. “You already know how costly it is to dine at Wisteria Place.”

“Hm. That’s true.” Sasuke feigned pensiveness. “You would never be able to afford my rates as a private chef. We’ve really reached a roadblock here for you, huh?”

“I live off of tips, Sasuke,” Sakura whined, grabbing weakly at the front of his army surplus jacket. “You can’t cut me off after getting me hooked on your food, that’s so mean.”

“Well, there is something we could do…”

Sakura perked up, looking at him warily. “What?”

Sasuke grinned at her, knowing she would take the bait just as she had when he had gotten her to prove that she could cook more than just rice porridge.

“Easy. In exchange for cooking for you,” Sasuke clasped his hands together and pointed with both index fingers at her, “you,” he pointed back at himself, “can cook for me.”

A Rhythm That Guides part 1

It was happening again.

Lately, in his afternoon lecture class, he was getting a painful empty feeling in his lower stomach. He wasn’t eating as much as he used to during his lunch break so that could have explained the empty feeling.

But the throbbing between his legs was making Sasuke consider that perhaps, something else was going on.

The lecture would barely be halfway through the hour and Sasuke was finding himself adjusting himself in his seat to discreetly hide the rising tent in his pants.

Luckily he sat in the back row, but it was getting ridiculous how often it was happening.

Nearing twenty and in the beginning stages of adulthood, Sasuke realized—a little later than he should have considering how obvious it was—what exactly was to blame for his predicament.

Or more specifically, who.

Turning in his seat, Sasuke created more space between himself and the girl sitting just a single space down the row from him.

Sasuke had been affectionately labeled a late bloomer by his mother when his father had expressed concern in his disinterest in humans of either gender.

“He’s going to have to feed eventually,” his father had grunted, not at all pleased when his mother pointed out the decrease in his consumption of human food she regularly made to feed him and herself.

“Meal times will be lonely once I’m the only one that needs to eat,” she had grumbled, taking his half eaten dishes away.

Sasuke wished he took after his human lineage instead. It would have been so much easier if he didn’t have to worry about how he was going to be getting his meals for the rest of his life on top of all of his course work.

Sighing to himself, he turned a page in his notebook and continued taking notes. He would just have to suffer through the ache.



Bending over slightly, Sasuke picked up his sports drink from the bottom of the vending machine. He could do without the sweetness of it but he desperately needed to replenish his electrolytes.

As soon as his class had ended he fled the lecture hall and put as much distance as possible between him and the source of his problems. He knew he would start to hunger for a different energy source but it made it all the worse that temptation sat with only a space between them.

When the new semester had started, Sasuke did what he always did: he found the seat farthest away from other students. It wasn’t that he disliked other people. He just didn’t want any distractions.

Sasuke had always been like that, studious to a fault. At first it was to impress his father, but he learned later on that he quite enjoyed having his name at the top of the board with all of the exam scores. He moved away from trying to make his father pay more attention to him and worked to make himself happy.

And his road to happiness required a degree in engineering.

He knew he could have picked another school, one that catered more to those of his kind, but he didn’t want to go to just any school he wanted to go to the school. Even if that meant attending a school with a high human population.

I have so many regrets now, he thought as he took a big swig of his sports drink.

Sasuke wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and sighed. He was going to have to stop by a canteen for snacks if he was going to survive the rest of his day.

Eating usually sustained him for a few hours. It did nothing to fill the empty feeling in stomach but it allowed him to focus more on his lectures and labs until he could get home and try to sleep away the ache.

At least that’s what he hoped would happen. It was getting harder and harder to quell the hunger.



Sakura buried her nose into her textbook, pretending to be deep into her reading. Peering over the top she caught hold of heated dark brown eyes and quickly averted her gaze back to her textbook.

What did I do? She wailed inwardly and mentally flipped through the past few days searching for the offensive thing she may have done.

She couldn’t recall a single moment that she had even spoken to her classmate. Why was he so angry with her?

He probably figured me out…

Although she had never spoken to him, Sakura couldn’t help how smitten she had become over her classmate.

Uchiha Sasuke was a quiet boy. He didn’t seem to be a part of any of the circles and mostly kept to himself and his studies. If she didn’t see him in class, she would usually find him in the library or in the computer labs.

Sakura mostly made her own lunches and snuck them into her bag when she went to the library but when she visited the cafeteria she would find him grabbing some onigiri to go. She wondered how he kept going with their long days if he only ate rice and snacks. Humans couldn’t live off of sports drinks.

Sakura had been considering joining a study group but had been procrastinating. She had started to drift from a circle she had joined in a previous semester because of an extremely flirtatious upperclassman.

He was too touchy for her comfort but it was mostly the fact that he took any opportunity he could to complain about Uchiha Sasuke.

I guess an incubus wouldn’t like to share the attention.

Sakura shrugged off his comments and made sure there were at least two of her human upperclassmen in the same room. They were already used to the circle hopping incubi and succubi that used the campus as their hunting grounds and usually helped the underclassmen steer clear of them when they weren’t interested.

She guessed, in a way,  it made sense why the incubus upperclassman felt threatened.

Uchiha Sasuke was quiet and polite but mostly he was really attractive. And it helped that he didn’t flirt with anything that moved.

An herbivore maybe? Sakura had joked to herself once.

Well now her quiet classmate was glaring daggers at her and she had no idea why.

And yet he is still beautiful while angry. The gods are so unfair.

Sakura kept her head down and she waited for the professor to arrive. She hoped he got there soon.



It was irritating how dangerous a blush could be.

Haruno Sakura was fair in coloring with pale skin that colored easily.

Sasuke had wondered if she was a regional dryad when he first saw her hair and eye color. Humans had a tendency to dye their hair but her eyebrows and pale, untouched lashes proved her to be a natural rose gold haired person. There was a chance of her being descended from a cherry blossom tree nymph.

But she was obviously human—or at least too far down the family tree from any possible nymph—without him having to ask.

“Is this computer taken?” Sakura asked, pink dusting the apples of her cheeks.

Glittering sea foam green eyes cast to the side shyly and the biting of a plump lower lip was just a reminder that Haruno Sakura was an above average beauty, even when compared to incubus standards.

It would be difficult to find a tastier looking meal.

What the fuck?

Disregarding that passing thought, Sasuke looked around the room for an available computer station. Even if there wasn’t one she could still switch computers with someone that wasn’t working yet.

“You should find a different computer,” he snapped when she reached for the chair. He gripped the top of the seat’s back and attempted to stare her down.

Pale green eyes went wide and the trembling of her lower lip made Sasuke’s stomach drop. He instantly regretted his behavior despite the fact that he needed her as far away from him as possible. Sasuke opened his mouth to ease the situation when, with more strength than he had expected, Sakura yanked the chair out from under his hand.

“Unfortunately for the both of us, this is the only available computer station,” she said hotly, face flushing red. She sat down and propped her textbook up so that she could reference it for notes.

A side effect of his awakening incubus nature was a heightened awareness of the emotions of different creatures. Sasuke could feel her irritation and her anger rolling off of her in hot waves. Her anger did nothing to quell the ache in his lower abdomen. Instead, heat pooled lower and a familiar twitching had him exhaling deeply through his nose.

“Shisui likes to get Izumi angry on purpose,” Itachi━who had lucked out and had taken after their human mother━━had explained once when he and his spouses were visiting. “Something about more flavoring.  He never gets me angry like that but then again, I’m more likely to withhold if angered. It affects him more.”

It was something that he had absolutely no interest in knowing about his older brother and his in-laws but it had explained a lot about Shisui’s behavior on certain days. Shisui was like his father, faithful. It was a strange trait for an incubus but it was one that ran in the Uchiha family. They married their partner━or partners like in Shisui’s case━and fed from them exclusively. It was interesting to watch how Shisui and his spouses functioned in comparison to his more traditional father.

But at the moment he was just irritated to know he shared a similarity with Shisui of all people.

The sound of fingers pounding down on the keyboard next to him lightened to a steady stream of light tapping. Sasuke chanced a glance from his peripheral vision at his neighbor.

Something glittery caught his eye when Sakura tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. The shorter strand curled around her ear and revealed a trio of silver studs along her lobe. His eyes trailed from her ears to her cheeks, the color had faded out as her temper cooled.

Her eyes squinted, a crease forming between pale brows as she contemplated her next keyboard strokes. Eyes drifting from the wrinkle between her eyebrows, Sasuke eyed the way she bit her lower lip at the right corner.

As she worked the scent of desire had diminished from her direction. Her anger hadn’t quelled it but her focus on her assignment had overcome the secondary feeling. It drifted to a quiet buzz, the way a few humans got when they were near someone they were innocently attracted to.

Sakura continued to work, not bothering to try and chat with him, like she always did in their shared lectures. That was the part Sasuke never understood. She never bothered him outside of handing him the exit slip for their lectures or to get around his seat.

And yet her existence was hard to ignore.

She wasn’t the only human at their university that was attracted to him. He wasn’t oblivious to the stares and to what people assumed was subtle brushing against his body.

So why exactly was she such a problem?

Sakura sighed and pushed her keyboard away from her. The action caused her propped textbook to slide upwards  against the monitor and system unit and fold in on itself.

“Oh, shoot!” Sakura hissed under her breath as the book began to fall. She fumbled with it as it slipped off of the desk.

He hadn’t intended to reach for the textbook. It was mostly reflex that had him making a grab for it. It hadn’t even occurred to him until after it was safely in his hands that catching the book would give away the fact that he had been paying far more attention than he should have been. He shouldn’t have been paying any attention at all.

“Thank you,” Sakura murmured as he handed back the book. Her face did the thing again where it colored easily, pink spreading across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose.


Sasuke sucked in some air to try and distract himself from the heat pooling in his groin. It wouldn’t do for his hunger to manifest itself as a lump in his jeans.

Quickly logging out, Sasuke grabbed his belongings and made a swift exit.

He needed to get as far away from her and her dangerous blushes as possible.



It was odd. He could still taste the slices of tomatoes his mother had chopped up. They slid across his tongue, still tangy and cool from having just been taken out from the refrigerator, every bit as tasty as it always was but it didn’t hit his stomach the same way.

“Is everything alright?” Mikoto stopped in her stirring as she eyed the way Sasuke’s mouth twisted and he pushed away the plate of his favorite fruit.

“I ate like three tomatoes worth of slices and I’m still hungry.”

“Oh.” Mikoto looked down at the pot on the stove and frowned. “Should I make more or…?”

“I don’t think it would matter if I ate more or not at this point.”

Sasuke’s jaw clenched as the ache in his stomach stung sharply. He was running out of time.

He had hoped he would never have to deal with this problem. His older brother Itachi never did—he turned out to be human, no matter the fact that he was almost perfect in everything he did, he was human through and through.

Sasuke had figured if his brother ended up being human then he would get passed over as well. Unfortunately, genetics weren’t on his side on this one.

Clearing his bowl and wiping down his spot at the kitchen table Sasuke bid his mother goodnight, calling it in for the night.

Without bothering to turn on the lights for his bedroom he peeled off his shirt and kicked off his house slippers before collapsing onto his bed. He yanked his duvet out from under him and pulled it over his head.

“I don’t even want to touch anyone like that,” he sighed.

As soon as he had the thought, his mind flashed him an image of pink hair and red blushes clashing with jade colored eyes.

I’m not entertaining that.

Sasuke curled into a ball and clutched a pillow to his chest. Maybe tomorrow he would be less hungry.



It was like he hadn’t eaten in days.

There was nothing that could have distracted him from the pain in his lower stomach. It was pride that had him struggling to get to class. That and an exam later on in the day that he couldn’t afford to miss.

Traveling by train was a hassle due to the amount of attention he was attracting.

“Never let yourself starve,” Shisui had warned him weeks ago when the signs of transition were revealing themselves. “Your body will go into starvation mode and release pheromones that attract nearby humans that you can feed on. That may sound helpful, but it gets chaotic in public spaces.”

Sasuke was forced to exit the train five stations away from the university station and call a taxi company that specialized in otherworldly patrons. A pair of high school girls were inching closer and one middle aged man had already brushed his back against Sasuke’s chest much too often to be blamed on the rocking of the train car.

He wouldn’t survive the rush of travelers that would hop on the train at the central station.

“You don’t look good, kid.” A single horned demon cab driver turned in his seat to look back at him. “I could drop you off somewhere you can get easy prey.”

What, did he have a sign on his forehead that read “Starving Incubus?”

“Take me to K Uni,” Sasuke growled out more forcefully.

Incubus physiological issues weren’t going to get in his way of passing the semester with top marks.

The demon gave him a disapproving look before pulling away from the curb. He muttered something derogatory that Sasuke chose to ignore.

Sasuke was dropped off as close as possible to the building he needed to get to but it still wasn’t enough. He weaved through campus, taking the least crowded hallways to get to his destination.


Sasuke ducked under a stairwell and slid down against the wall to the floor. The hunger pains were getting worse.

Exhaling deeply through his nose, Sasuke resigned himself to missing his two lectures for the day and then braving his way to his exam. He would just have to hide out. Luckily he was in a part of the building no one used, choosing instead to use the staircase and elevators on the opposite side of the building than the ones that faced the cafeteria.

Unzipping his jeans to make more room for himself without actually whipping his penis out Sasuke sighed out, grateful for the few centimeters of relief.

Sasuke rubbed his forehead with the heel of his palm. Unlike erections from his youth, he was having difficulty willing his current predicament away with meditation. It wasn’t arousal, it was hunger. And it wasn’t going to be going away just because he wanted it to.

Closing his eyes, Sasuke leaned his head back and tried to focus on the cool cement wall behind him.


Oh, no. No. No. No!

“Uchiha-kun are you, okay?”

Of course Haruno Sakura would be the one person that chose to walk in a secluded part of the building. Of course it would be the last person he wanted to see him in such a state.

“Do you…need assistance?”

Or maybe…she was the perfect person to find him?

“Uchiha-kun, do you need me to get someone? Or something?”

Her voice was warm and full of concern and just so inviting. The tone promised she would do anything to help him. Anything.

Opening his eyes, Sasuke let out a groan. This just wasn’t his day.

Sakura squatted so that she was eye level with him and tossed her bag on the ground. The hem of her blue button down shirt dress rode up her thigh, revealing more of her legs than he had seen before.

“You look a bit feverish…” she mumbled, placing a cool hand against his forehead before sliding the back of it against his cheek. “You’re really—“

Her sentence was caught off when she gasped. Her skin was so cool and he was so hot that he had leaned into her touch and pressed a kiss to her wrist.

“Um, Uchiha-kun?” Sakura squeaked and Sasuke took advantage of her shock to take hold of her hand and press an open mouthed kiss to the inside of her wrist and dragged his lips up her palm.

He wasn’t sure of what he was doing, but something inside him was telling him to take her slim fingers into his mouth and nibble at the tips.


Already in his presence for too long, Sakura’s green eyes glazed over and she was beginning to pant. Sliding his left hand up her thigh over her dress, Sasuke gripped her hip gently and tugged her so that she would fall on to his lap.

Sakura’s breath hitched when Sasuke pressed his forehead to hers. His glasses slid down the bridge of his nose and lightly tapped against her face. Nudging her nose with his, Sasuke pressed his lips against hers, guiding her into opening up for him with hesitant movements. Sakura returned his kiss, running her tongue along the seam of his mouth.

Every sigh and moan lightened the ache in his stomach. Sasuke rolled his tongue against Sakura’s and brushed the underside of her right breast, gently strumming his fingers against her ribs.

“Mmh!” Sakura made a sound of surprise as he gave a small breast an experimental squeeze.

Sasuke groped around with his thumb, circling a hardened peak through the cloth of her dress. Sakura grunted in frustration as he avoided the places she longed for him to touch.

Irritation rolled off of her in waves as she bit down on Sasuke’s lip, tugging it as she pulled away from him. Sasuke couldn’t help the upturn of his lips as she crossed her arms in front of her chest and puffed out an exhale to blow hair out of her face.

The more frustrated she got the more her arousal spiked. Her body was demanding release and as much as Sasuke’s hunger clouded mind wanted to give it to her, there was another part that wanted to prolong the moment.

Since the start of the semester, Haruno Sakura had been a nuisance. Every shared lecture she would distract him with her not so subtle glances and the smell of fresh linens and apples whenever she passed him to get to her seat.

So he wasn’t in any particular mood to just get it over with.

Slowly, as not to frighten her off, he slid his hand up her thigh under her dress. He pulled her in closer by cupping the back of her neck and thumbed smoothing circles along her jaw.

Sasuke was sure lack of experience would cause him to stumble, but apparently being an incubus did have its perks. His heightened senses guided him and he was sure he was moving exactly the way Sakura wanted him to. Not a single intake of air or moan was hidden from him.

Oh!” Sakura buried her face in the crook of his neck as his fingers slipped into the front of her cotton boyshorts.

With two fingers he lightly traced the velvet soft nether lips and hummed in delight at the way Sakura trembled at the slight touch. He wondered how much of it was the exposure to his incubus pheromones and how much of it was her own sensitivity.

Stroking inward, Sasuke groaned at the moisture pooling between her legs. His stomach clenched, cramping with a sudden pang of pain. He slipped his middle finger inside and curled it, feeling her walls and stretching her a bit. He pumped slowly, keeping alert for any signs of distress, and then with his thumb circled around a curious, knobby bit of flesh right above her entrance.

It was almost instant the reaction he got out of Sakura. She gasped and curled inward on herself, clutching his shoulders.

“Please…” she begged, swiveling her hips hesitantly. “Please, oh, please!

Sasuke gave in and pressed his thumb directly on her clit, massaging it and rubbing circles, adding pressure to it and listening to the change in pitches of Sakura’s moans. Slipping in his ring finger as well had Sakura letting out a strangled cry. Sasuke paused, worried that he had hurt her when she whimpered.

But then Sakura grinded her hips against his hand and he resumed pumping his fingers and twirling his thumb in the way she seemed to enjoy.


Sakura caught him off guard by taking his face in her hands and lifting his face up to hers. Their teeth clanged together from her eagerness, but Sasuke allowed her to relax and settle into a languid meshing of lips all on her own.

A moan rolled into his mouth and it caused a delightful shiver to run down his spine. Sasuke increased the pace of his pumping fingers and the rubbing of his thumb, coaxing more of Sakura’s little moans. He shuddered when one particular moan of hers hit at the same time the walls of her core fluttered and clenched around his fingers.

That was good…

Sasuke pulled his fingers out, smirking at the dejected whimper that fell from Sakura’s lips. He slipped the fingers that had just been inside of her gathering her fluids and sucked on them. His stomach growled, needing more.

Sasuke laid Sakura down on the linoleum floor and tugged on her panties, dragging them down from her legs. He kept an eye on her face for any signs of protest but instead what he got was Sakura shimmying her hips to assist in helping him peel away her undergarments.

“Huh?” Sakura blinked her unfocused eyes as Sasuke adjusted their positions so that her upper body was lying on the ground and her legs were lifted onto his shoulders. “What are you━?”

She cried out in shock as he cupped the pert rounds of her backside and pulled her up to his mouth. Sasuke let out a breathy chuckle before flattening his tongue against her core and giving it one long lick upwards, flicking her clit at the end of the stroke.

Sasuke groaned, pressing open mouthed kisses to her core as Sakura covered her mouth with her hands to reign in her moans.

No matter how hard she tried to keep quiet and hide her reactions, Sasuke felt them all as they warmed his lower stomach, easing the ache he had been suffering through for weeks.

I wouldn’t have been avoiding this if I knew how good it felt to feed.

Sasuke wrapped his lips around the bundle of nerves that caused the most delight and sucked on it. He adjusted his hold on her to slide his right hand around so he could slip his fingers back inside and thrust them in and out in tandem with the oral attention he was giving her clit.

It didn’t take long for Sakura to tense up, thighs squeezing together around Sasuke’s head as she held on tight to her orgasm. Sasuke licked languidly at her core, letting her ride it out as long as possible.

The better she felt the less empty his stomach felt. The only problem was the throbbing between his legs.

Sasuke laid Sakura back down on the floor. Her dress bunched up around her hips, showing off her bare pale legs and the tuft of glistening pink curls at the peak of her thighs.

She was so pink everywhere. Her hair, her flushed face, even down below she was just so pink.

Sakura peered up at him from beneath wet, pale lashes. Her chest rose with each harsh pant as she tried to settle down her breathing. Sasuke was just about to call it off—perhaps he had reached the limit as to how much Sakura could take at once—when she lifted the hem of her dress further up, dragging it to bunch up at the cinched section below her breasts.

Swallowing hard, Sasuke sat up on his knees and tugged his jeans lower on his hips.

“Holy…” Sakura shook her head and squeezed her eyes shut. “That’s not going to fit.”

It was a part of the incubus anatomy that Sasuke hadn’t considered causing him any issues before. Sakura was petite, much smaller than he was. The size difference would be a challenge.

Especially considering incubi had much, much larger members than humans.

“It’s going to be fine,” he assured her, kneeling in front of her.

He spread her legs wider and pulled her up so that she was propped on his lap. It was a move that had his cock brushing the entrance of her core and he groaned at the heat radiating from her.

Sasuke pressed the head of his cock and watched Sakura’s eyes as they widened when he inched further in.

Sakura whimpered as he stretched her further. Even with all of the foreplay earlier, Sasuke was still much too big for comfort. Sasuke soothed her by stroking her thigh. Sakura reached up and took his hand in hers and intertwined their fingers.

“Keep,” She panted, “going.”

Gripping her hip with his other hand, Sasuke steadied her as he pulled out and thrust back in. He kept his thrusts shallow, hoping to get her accustomed to having him inside of her.

“Oh!” Sakura tightened her hold on his hand when he sank further in, finally able to slip past the tight passage of her core.

It’s still not much inside though…

Sakura arched her back, clearly ecstatic at the new sensation as Sasuke picked up the pace. Her face was no longer pinched in discomfort, much to Sasuke’s relief.

But maybe it would be better if I…

Sasuke slipped out and Sakura sobbed at the loss of his girth inside of her. He knew that his pheromones and body fluids acted as an aphrodisiac but he didn’t realize that humans could become so desperate once they came in contact.

Sasuke turned Sakura over so that she was lying down on her stomach. Realizing what he was up to, Sakura braced herself on her forearms and arched her back so that her ass was in the air.

Sitting up on his knees, Sasuke took his cock in his hand and guided himself back into Sakura’s wet heat.

He groaned aloud at the feeling as he sank even deeper than he was able to before. He waited for a moment as Sakura got used to the new position. A high pitched cry had gotten caught in her throat as he had stretched her out once more but it had turned into a moan as he slipped further inside.

Using a two handed grip on her hips to anchor himself, Sasuke pulled out and drove back in. His pace was slow but the thrusts were harsh and deep as he soaked in the blissful energy radiating from Sakura.

Sasuke began to increase his pace when a door opened up from a floor above them. A loud set of girls had flung the door open and were giggling to each other as they made their way down the stairs.

He instantly halted his movements and strained to listen to where the people were heading. He was reluctant to pull out; partially because he was almost well fed, partially because Sakura had turned her head to look back at him, face scrunched up in a pout, silently pleading for another release.

He was pleased to hear their voices carrying upwards, going in the opposite direction of where he and Sakura were hiding on the first level.

A sigh of relief caught in his throat and choked him as Sakura began to push back against him, grinding her hips.

“Oi,” Sasuke chastised, tightening his hold on her hips to still her grinding. They still weren’t in the clear until he heard them exit the stairwell through one of the doors.

Sakura whined low in her throat but settled when he leaned over her and pressed a kiss to her nape. She sighed dreamily as he continued to lavish her with sweet attention. He trailed more down her spine until he heard the clanging of a door shutting.

As soon as they were alone again, he pulled out and rammed back in. He couldn’t drag it out any longer or he would risk them almost getting caught again.

Snaking a hand around Sakura’s hip and down between her thighs, he reached for her clit and pinched it. Sakura squealed and the walls of her core clamped down on his cock. He rubbed it in a pace to match his thrusting.

Sakura mewled in delight as he swiveled his hips, grinding deeply. One good thrust and she came undone once again. Reluctantly, Sasuke pulled out at the last possible moment, ejaculating on the back of her thighs.

He could only compare the decision to pull out to the feeling of someone swiping away the last bite of one’s favorite dish before they could get to it but it would have been unwise to come inside of her without knowing if she were on any birth control.

He moaned softly as the last drops of cum oozed from the slit of his cock’s head. The act was so messy despite how pleasurable it was. It wasn’t going to be fun trying to clean up.

“Haruno,” Sasuke tried to get Sakura’s attention. She was face down on the linoleum, arms having finally given out from under her. “Haruno?”

Sasuke shook her shoulder and when he got no reaction he flipped her over onto her back. Her eyes were shut and her chest rose slowly with each breath she took.

Haruno Sakura had passed out right after her climax. Considering his starved state, he had drained her of more life force than was necessary.

Sighing to himself, Sasuke took out his handkerchief and got to work on wiping his ejaculant from where it was dripping on her legs.

So fucking messy.



Blinking her eyes open, Sakura yawned before turning her face into the comforting warmth she was leaning against.

A small cough drew her attention up to the face of her classmate Uchiha Sasuke.

“You missed two lecture blocks.”

Sakura narrowed her eyes at him. He had just fucked her until she was unconscious and that was what he wanted to inform her of?

“You’re an incubus.”

If the abnormally large size of his penis wasn’t a dead giveaway, his eyes had shifted colors and glowed red when he had sucked his fingers clean of her fluids. When had they shifted back to dark brown? She had no clue. She had been knocked out by the sudden draining of energy he had consumed.

Sasuke glared at her before averting his gaze. He stared at the wall and muttered, “Unfortunately.”

Sakura took note of how he cradled her in his lap, his cardigan sweater covering her. She watched as he avoided looking at her even as his ears burned hot pink.

He was still Uchiha Sasuke despite everything.

“This might be a weird time to mention it, but I like you. A lot.” The pink on his ears spread down his neck. “And I usually have more stamina than that. I’m not kidding, Uchiha-kun. I was in my high school’s track club.”

Sasuke pinched the bridge of his nose and exhaled deeply.

“How about you start with calling me by my first name and we’ll work from there?”

“I can do that.” Sakura squirmed in his lap, making herself comfortable. She was still exhausted from earlier despite taking almost a three hour nap.

Ah, shit.

“I had an exam during one of those blocks.”

“Shit. I have one in half an hour.”

Sakura burst out laughing as the color drained from his face. He really was still the same Uchiha Sasuke she had been sitting next to all semester.

“At least you won’t be hungry, huh?”

“Real funny…”

Take Me Now, I’m In Too Far part 1

She was going to kill Karin. And her stupid boyfriend. She was going to kill Karin and her boyfriend and then take back the armchair she let them have as a moving-in-together gift.

Sakura wasn’t that surprised when Karin told her she was moving out. She had been spending so much time at Suigetsu’s apartment, it was as if she had already moved out months ago. It was only a matter of time before the two of them would officially move in together.

Karin had been considerate and had found her a new roommate before she gave her the news. And although Sakura wasn’t too keen on the idea of living with a stranger—a man at that—she was willing to put up with it for her friend’s happiness.

At least for a few months while she looked for a new place if possible.

Unfortunately for Sakura, she couldn’t set a day to actually meet her new roommate before he was set to move in. Their schedules conflicted most days so Karin went ahead and took care of all of the necessary paperwork and was present when he moved in. With how things had begun, Sakura assumed she wouldn’t meet her new roommate until her day off.

She hadn’t expected to run into him as she was leaving for work at the bakery at three in the morning and he was coming home smelling of booze.

She definitely didn’t expect to see her ex boyfriend holding a key to her apartment.

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” Sasuke muttered, running a hand through his messy, jet black hair.

You’re my new roommate?” Sakura scoffed, wringing her hands in the scarf she was attempting to put on on her way out. “How did you not know that I was Karin’s roommate?”

Sasuke looked at her impassively for a moment, as if mulling over what he wanted to say before pushing past her and saying, “I’m going to bed.”

“What? We’re not even going to talk about this?”

“If we start now, you’re going to be late for work,” he called back to her without turning around. “Can’t have that can we?”

Sakura scoffed but couldn’t retort. He was right. If she missed her bus she was going to have to wait for the next one and it would cause her to be late.

She wanted nothing more than to bang on his bedroom door and demand that he come out and speak with her. How could he just go to sleep!?

“We’re talking when I get back!” She shouted, grabbing the front door. Sakura waited but there was no response. She growled in frustration and slammed the door behind her on her way out.

“Have you been taking your anger out on dough again?” Ino commented dryly between page flips of a cake catalogue, pointing out cute designs to the toddler sitting on her lap and cooing.

Sakura rubbed her temple with the heel of her palm and sighed. It was one in the afternoon and she had spent the day busy working on custom orders. At the moment she was sitting through a consultation with her childhood friend who needed to order a birthday cake for her son, Inojin. She had tried to throw herself into baking and packaging orders but now that there was a slow down where it was only her and two of the shop clerks, her mind was free to think about how her ex was now living with her.

“You know how Karin moved out and found me a roommate?”

“Uh-huh, it was kind of unexpected. Isn’t it a little early though? They’ve only been dating for━”

“Sasuke is the roommate she found me.”

“Holy━sorry, honey.” Ino interrupted herself and covered her son’s ears. “Holy shit!”

“I wanted to call her and chew her out but in her defense, she doesn’t know he’s my ex-boyfriend.” Sakura slumped in her seat, took a fork and dug into one of the cake slices she brought out for tasting. “When I did get a chance to talk to her earlier, she said that apparently Suigetsu is best buddies with him and Kiba. Kiba and Sasuke were rooming with their friend Shino but the lease was coming to an end and Shino was moving away for a teaching job and Kiba decided to move in with his fiancée. So━”

“So Sasuke needed a new place quick and conveniently Suigetsu knew a place close enough to his workplace and with someone that desperately needed a new roommate.”

Sakura tossed the fork over her shoulder in defeat and dropped her head into her hands. Ino reached over and patted her arm in a comforting manner.

“I give you guys two weeks.”

“Two weeks for what?” Sakura lifted her head up to narrow her eyes at Ino. “Before we kill each other?”

Ino covered Inojin’s ears one more time and said, “Two weeks before you’re fucking.”

“Ino!” Sakura sat up, looking affronted, hand clutching the front of her apron.

“You guys used to go at it like rabbits,” Ino gave her a sly smile, “and it’s not like you guys broke up because you grew to hate each other.”

“That was years ago, Ino.” Sakura rolled her eyes and pushed the cake slices closer to Inojin. He immediately sank his fingers into the cake and ate from his hands. “He’s probably moved on anyway.”

“It was the stupidest break up.”

“I know it was, but we were so busy and our schedules never aligned. It was frustrating.” Sakura sighed and stared off into space. “It’s been four years…”

Ino took out some wet wipes and cleaned Inojin’s chubby fingers. “So what are you going to do?”

Sakura shrugged. “Nothing.”

“Nothing?” Ino looked at her incredulously. “You’re just going to live with him and not do a thing about it.”

“I didn’t even notice he was there for three days already.” Sakura shrugged again. “And our schedules never sync up. I really don’t think it will be an issue.”

“Unless he brings someone home,” Ino said the words slowly so Sakura couldn’t miss what she was telling her.

“He’s not as insensitive as that.” Sakura crossed her arms in front of her chest. The action was to get as close to hugging herself without actually doing it.

The truth was that the Sasuke she knew wasn’t insensitive. But she didn’t know this Sasuke; a Sasuke that was twenty-five instead of the twenty year old she knew and loved.

The new apartment was a lot closer to the tattoo parlor he worked at than his old place. It was one of the things that sold him on it when Suigetsu mentioned that Karin was moving in with him and leaving her old roomie without. That and the washer and dryer included in the apartment which meant no more paying at a laundromat or to use the communal laundry center.

Sasuke wasn’t too keen on sharing a space with a woman he didn’t know but Karin insisted that his roommate was clean and quiet and that with her work schedule he wouldn’t be running into her except on Sundays when her bakery was closed.


That was the first sign that had him want to put the pen down and walk away. Because baking is what she wanted to do for a living. But what were the odds that Karin was talking about her? There were tons of bakeries in the city and Sakura didn’t own one the last time he checked.

But that was five years ago when she was nineteen and too young. She was still pretty young to be a business owner but with Sakura’s tenacity there was a highly likely chance that she would have her own shop. And wasn’t that one of the reasons she had been saving every penny she could when she started working?

Shaking his head of all of those thoughts, he had signed the documents that would transfer him as the new leasee replacing Karin.

It wasn’t until he was moving in that Sasuke found out who exactly Karin’s roommate had been.

Suigetsu and he were bringing in boxes while Karin gave him a tour of the apartment when he saw the photos on the wall. Anyone could dye their hair pink but what were the odds that another pink haired woman around Karin’s age would have gone to Catholic school for high school and wore the same uniform that Sakura used to prance around in.

“Sakura is pretty sentimental so she has photos all over the apartment,” he distantly heard Karin explain as he examined all of the photos that were lined up in the hallway leading to the bedrooms. “Come check out the bathroom. It’s pretty big ‘cause the washer and dryer are set up in there. There’s a door to block out that area from the toilet and shower cabin for some privacy. It’s frosted glass but you can’t really see what’s going on on the other side.”

Karin hadn’t been friends with Sakura when the two of them had been dating so he couldn’t fault her for not knowing but Suigetsu did know that Sakura was his ex.

An ex he was still kind of hung up on.

Which is why after work he headed to the bar with Kiba and Tamaki, Kiba’s fiancée. They were supposed to celebrate him finding a new place but after Kiba asked why Suigetsu wasn’t there, Sasuke explained that he was banned from their usual bar for a few weeks because he let him move in with his ex without warning him.

If he was lucky he would never have to run into Sakura while he was living there. Because wasn’t that the cause of their breakup before? With her busy culinary school schedule and apprenticeship and then his work at the parlor running into late at night, they barely saw each other.

So stumbling in slightly drunk and a little high at three in the morning, Sasuke didn’t expect to see her on the other side of the apartment door in the middle of bundling up for the November cold.

Sakura still looked like she did at nineteen but different at the same time. Her face had lost most of the roundness of youth, but her figure was no longer as slim. She was still on the thin side, but unlike Karin who was all sharp edges and harsh angles, Sakura had filled out either with age or from eating one too many of her own cupcakes.

Sasuke ran a hand through his hair before tucking the arm it was attached to behind his head. He was finding it difficult to stay asleep which was all he had planned on doing before work for the day. Sakura had said something about talking later and he had been dreading having to have the conversation. He vaguely recalled saying something snarky about her running late for work. No doubt she would be upset over that.

The conversation was going to happen. But considering he would be gone before she came home from work, who knew when it would actually take place.

If he was lucky, she would wait until they were home and not find him at work like she used to.

When Sasuke first met Sakura she was wearing all of the cliche warning signs.

He was busy sketching when she strolled into the shop. Sasuke was supposed to be manning the reception desk and was likely to get bitched at by his cousin’s best friend for not paying attention.

“Hey,” greeted a cheerful voice.

Looking up from his sketchbook, Sasuke blinked in confusion at what he was seeing. Before him stood two teenage girls wearing the dark green tartan patterned pleated skirt and white button down shirt of a school uniform. The blonde one had a sweater wrapped around her waist but the slightly shorter girl with rose gold hair had a cream colored school cardigan with the school crest emblazoned on the left side of her chest.

“Our Lady of Sorrows is seven blocks,” Sasuke pointed out the door, “that way.”

“We have an appointment.” The blonde girl blew a bubble with her gum and popped it. “The school day also ended like an hour ago, dude.”

Raising an eyebrow, he flipped through the appointment book and asked, “names?”

“Ino Yamanaka and Sakura Haruno,” the girl with the pink hair answered, pointing at the girl that matched the names she gave. “We have an appointment with my cousin Sasori.”

Looking down the schedule log there it was. The new piercer did have an appointment with an Ino and a Sakura.

“Aren’t piercings prohibited at catholic schools?” Sasuke asked, eyeing the uniforms.

“Yeah, but you can’t get caught if you get them where the nuns can’t see them.” The pink haired girl winked at him, green eyes sparkling mischievously.

“What kind of piercings are you getting then?” He asked, taking out the waiver forms.

“Belly button for Ino.” The blonde girl raised her hand and took her form and filled out the form.

He turned to Sakura and waited for her answer. Her lips turned upwards at the corners in a coy smile.


Even now, if Sasuke closed his eyes and concentrated on the memory of Sakura swiveling her hips as he thrust up into her, he could see the jewelry twinkling at him as she dipped her hips.

A lot of years had gone by since that first encounter and Sasuke was no longer the shop slave he was during his apprenticeship and Sakura was no longer that rebellious catholic school girl.

It didn’t stop him from wondering if her dermals were still in place or if after all those years her skin rejected the piercings and they had to be removed.

“What’s up with you, kid?” He felt someone ruffle his hair and he swatted at the air. The only one that had the courage to do so was Konan, one of their piercers.

“Nothing,” he replied, sanitizing the tattoo bed before his next client showed up.

“His ex girlfriend found out he lives with her,” Kiba cackled from his work station. Sasuke took his discarded gloves and threw them across the room until they hit him with a smack. “Ow!”

“Why would that be a surprise?” Konan asked. Sasuke made himself busy taking needles to the autoclave to avoid responding.

“She works baker’s hours,” Sasuke heard Kiba responding for him. “They have opposing schedules so Sui’s girlfriend took care of everything.”

“Good luck with that.”  Konan went to the reception counter to check the appointment book. She had already moved on from the conversation.

I’m going to need more than luck, Sasuke grumbled inwardly.

Sakura drummed her fingers against her mug, nails clinking against the ceramic. She knew Sasuke wouldn’t get home until late so she called the co-owner of her bakery and asked her to oversee the baking of the everyday  goods the following morning.

While Sakura mostly ran the show in the kitchen—Hinata being too soft and gentle to command the staff—she was mostly the cake artist and worked on custom orders. It was a lot more relaxed than the job she had as a pastry chef for the high end hotel in the city, but it still demanded a lot of her time.

She could spend hours of her day just to work on a cake that would still take her three days to make all of the components for it.

It wasn’t until one in the morning that the front door creaked open, keys jingling as they were pulled out of the lock.

“You stayed up.” Sasuke toed his boots off and lined them up next to hers. The leather work boots were of a popular brand so they hadn’t alarmed Sakura despite them being part of Sasuke’s signature look.

Sakura stood up from his seat at the couch and wrapped her oversized cardigan tighter around her body. She hugged herself, feeling exposed in her pajamas. “I said we had to talk.”

“There’s not much to talk about.” Sasuke tossed his keys on the kitchen island. Sakura grabbed them and placed them on a wall hook next to her own set of keys. “I need a place to live, you need a roommate. That’s it.”

“That’s it?” Sakura asked, voice soft and slow, urging him to re-examine their situation. When he continued to stare at her impassively, Sakura scoffed.

“I didn’t know you were Karin’s roommate until I was moving in.”

“I know.” Sakura ran a hand through her hair, pushing her bangs back. Sasuke wasn’t a liar. At least the Sasuke she knew wasn’t a liar. “I know.”

“So is this the end of the discussion?” Sasuke’s eyes drifted from her to the hallway behind her. It was late and all he wanted was to get to bed. “I don’t really see any problem with us living together. You didn’t even notice that I was here for three days.”

The problem is that I never got over you. “Alright, if there’s no problem then let’s go over the rules.”

“Rules?” Sasuke gave her a blank look.

“Yes, rules. Karin and I had them and now so will we.”

“Okay.” Sasuke crossed his arms in front of his chest and leaned against the island. “What are your rules?”

“Rule number one: no fucking on the couch.”

Sasuke’s eyes went wide and he choked on an inhale. “That’s a rule you guys had or is that one you made for me?”

“That was an actual rule we had.” Sakura shivered in disgust. “Suigetsu has a very pale ass.”

“Yeah, everyone’s seen more of Sui than they’ve ever wanted to.”

“Rule number two: toilet seat needs to be put back down after use.”

“Okay, that’s definitely one you made up for me.” Sasuke stood you straighter and looked her up and down. “Do I get to make rules too?”

“I will consider them.”

“Alright.” Sasuke was silent for a moment as he pondered. “No obnoxious noises such as vacuuming when you know the other is sleeping.”

“That’s reasonable.” Sakura sat down on one of the bar stools at the island and took out her notepad. She took out a pen and wrote down a few lines. “I do my laundry twice a week━Wednesdays and Sundays, usually around noon. Having a schedule kind of helps out ‘cause the laundry room is in the bathroom.”

They went back and forth writing down rules and going over each other’s work schedule. Sakura tapped the pen on the table and took a deep breath. She didn’t want to step on any toes or be misunderstood but she needed to bring up an uncomfortable topic.

“No overnight guests.” Sasuke raised an eyebrow and in a rush to recover Sakura blurted out, “for either of us! At least not without a heads up. I don’t want to be walking around in my underwear and there’s a stranger in my home.”

“Why would you be walking around in your━?”

“I sleep like that sometimes!” Sakura snapped, cheeks heating up. “I wake up to use the bathroom or get water and I’m too drowsy to consider pants.”

“Why do you sleep in your underwear if you get cold easily?” Sasuke’s face scrunched up in confusion.

“I come home too tired to change so I just sleep in my underwear.” Sakura stomped her foot. Sasuke raised an eyebrow. “Don’t judge me!”

“Just remember that I live here now and will see your ass if you decide that pants are too much,” Sasuke yawned, “effort. I’m going to bed now.”

Sakura watched him head to his room with a frown on her face. It wasn’t until she heard the lock on his door click that she let out an exhausted sigh.

Does he have to look cute when he’s sleepy?

“Is this too much for a three year old’s birthday?” Sakura sat back and looked thoughtfully at her sketch with her chin resting on her fist.

Hinata shrugged as she continued to pipe buttercream flowers. “I mean it’s more for Ino, isn’t it?”

“God,” Sakura rolled her eyes, “it really is. I’m sure Inojin would be happy with a dinosaur on a cake instead of a dinosaur made out of cake.”

Hinata giggled softly as she continued to make a bouquet out of cupcakes. She was working on cupcakes for a bridal shower. Sakura had helped her with the structure to make it appear that it was suspended in the air and now all she had to do was decorate it.

When Sakura had met Hinata, the young woman wasn’t the best baker. It was an issue of confidence and being unsure if it was the best decision she had made. Upon discovering that Hinata had a few years to become a successful baker or get married to a man her father chose, Sakura took her under her wing and when they were ready they used Hinata’s trust fund to secure a location.

At that point Sakura already had a reputation for her cake sculptures so they lucked out.

Just because Sakura couldn’t be with the person she loved, it didn’t mean she was going to watch someone give up on their dream and marry someone they were forced to.

“So how has Tinder been working out for you?” Sakura drawled as she took out the ingredients she was going to need.

“I prefer Bumble, actually,” Hinata mumbled, face flushing pink. “You know it’s weird describing myself as pleasantly plump. Usually I would just say fat or chubby.”

“But you are pleasantly plump,” Sakura teased her. “And good call on Bumble. Message any guys?”

“I might have,” Hinata muttered under her breath, face turning a dark shade of red.

“Oh, you dirty slut.”

“We only met for coffee!” Hinata insisted over Sakura’s laughter. Sakura waved her hand at her and tried to reign in her laughter. It was quiet in the kitchen until Hinata said, “I wouldn’t have minded though. He has such pretty blue eyes.”

Sakura only stopped laughing when Hinata threw buttercream at her face.

The assistants walked in from the front of the shop to find Sakura covered in pink and purple frosting, armed with a piping bag full of green frosting, and Hinata shielding her cupcake sculpture.

Sakura was exhausted by the time she got home. It was one of those rare days where she didn’t get home until late. There was so much math and engineering into creating cake sculptures and trial and error.

She slumped against her apartment door and groaned. She had just unlocked the door but had no energy to push it open.

“You’re almost there, don’t pass out now.” Turning slightly, Sakura mumbled incoherently at the sight of Sasuke holding a take out bag. “Jesus Christ, you’re dead on your feet.”

“Carry me,” Sakura grumbled.

Sighing to himself, Sasuke handed her the bag of takeout and crouched down, scooping her legs up and cradling her. “How the fuck did Karin deal with you? She’s twiggy.”

“Suigetsu was usually around or she’d drag me across the floor.” Sakura opened the bag of food and examined the contents as Sasuke set her down on the couch. “Anything I’d like in here?”

“I thought you would be sleeping, but I have some stuff you could tolerate.” He grabbed two plates and brought them to the coffee table and began to serve her some of his food. “Do you ever take a break?”

“I have a day off tomorrow technically.”

“But you’re going to go to work.” Sasuke shook his head, unruly hair swaying around his face. “Typical.”

And with that Sakura lost all desire to eat despite not having had anything to eat all day except for some bread and tastings.

“Hey, where are you? It’s getting weird just sitting here. I can order right now if you’re nearby.”

“Oh, shoot! Sasuke I’m sorry but I’m still at work.”

“Wasn’t today your day off?”

So what if she was a “workaholic?” If she were a man no one would see anything wrong with how much she worked.

She knew that eventually she was going to be faced with reminders of what a shitty girlfriend she had been, but she had hoped that she would be alone as she looked back on all of the mistakes she had made.

Sasuke had forgiven her for the first missed date but once he had been stood up a second, third, fourth, fifth time he stopped making any plans for them.

“I gotta take this coat off,” Sakura mumbled, fumbling with the buttons. Sasuke reached over and helped her get free of her coat and then hung it up on the hooks by the door. If he was going to be this nice for the duration of the time they lived together, the shittier she was going to feel.

“Karin said you owned a bakery. When did that happen?” He handed her a plate full of food, much more food than Sakura would have served herself, but one look from Sasuke had her clamming up and taking the set of chopsticks he placed flat across her palm.

“A few years ago…” Sakura swallowed a bite of dumpling. “It was kind of an accident.”

Sasuke raised an eyebrow and paused in his chewing. Sakura laughed through her nose and explained to him how she had met Hinata.

She had been working at the same high end hotel she had done her apprenticeship when Hinata had been hired on the spot. The tiny, plump woman was quiet and stuttered when speaking to her coworkers because no one wanted her there.

Hinata had been hired because of her last name—the hotel being owned by the Hyūga family—with no references nor any culinary school training which was required to work at the Michelin star hotel restaurant. Due to the fact they were around the same age and because she was the newest hire, Sakura was tasked with watching over the woman. No one else would take up the responsibility thinking that Hinata would hold them back.

Sakura just couldn’t leave Hinata alone. She reminded her so much of herself when she was younger. She helped to train her during her off time and guided her through the French techniques that Sakura had been trained in.

The desire to learn and the drive was there, hidden under the fear of failure.

Sakura moved on to work at a custom cake shop where she could use more of her artistic abilities. Eventually the owner was ready to retire and was willing to sell the store to her.

She wanted to own her shop one day. It was part of her goals but brick and mortar shops were expensive. If it weren’t for Hinata’s trust fund she would never have been able to afford the shop. The two of them had kept in touch and when Sakura found out that Hinata was on her way to quitting being a pastry chef, they made plans to go into business together.

Sasuke listened to her story, never interjecting but nodding at certain intervals and slight facial shifts showing that Sakura still had his attention.

“So what have you been up to?” Sakura asked, digging through the leftover noodles in one of the cartons.

“I still work at the same shop. I moved out a few years ago. Funnily enough it was my mom that was on my case not my dad.”

“Really?” Sakura was genuinely shocked.

When she had last seen Fugaku he wasn’t the biggest supporter of Sasuke’s chosen profession. He had paid for him to go to art school, not to waste his talent working at a tattoo parlor. His mother, Mikoto, was the one that had always been his personal cheerleader.

“I think it was all of the new ink,” Sasuke gestured to his sleeve covered arms, “that really did it for my mom. She always made faces at them and commented about what kind of girl I thought I would be attracting with them.”

I always liked your tattoos. Sakura shrugged and stuffed noodles into her mouth to keep from commenting out loud.

When Sakura was just freshly eighteen and finishing her final year of high school, Sasuke was the exact kind of guy her grandmother had wanted her to stay away from. She had left money behind in her will for Sakura to attend the same school she and Sakura’s mother, Mebuki, had attended.

Our Lady of Sorrows was a Catholic private school that Sakura’s parents wouldn’t have been able to afford without the money her grandmother had left behind. She had probably hoped that Sakura would go to private school, be abstinent, go to college and then medical school and then eventually marry a doctor.

It was too bad that Sakura preferred to be in the kitchen with her father a lot more than she cared for her school. If they had let her stay in public school there may have been a better chance of her focusing on her studies and eventually going to medical school like her grandma had wanted her to. Sakura had been miserable at Our Lady of Sorrows, her only solace being Ino and baking.

And Sasuke.

Sasuke had been the kind of cliché salvation a teenage girl fantasized about. And she still couldn’t believe that at one point in their lives, she had been his.

Ino cut off the boy that usually sat at the desk in front of Sakura and slid into the seat, a manic look in her eyes. “Guess what?”

“I’m not playing this game,” Sakura laughed, completely ignoring the boy that was frowning at Ino.

“Well, fine. Be boring.” Ino huffed, blowing her bangs up and letting them flop back on her face. “But anyway so I was talking to your cousin Sasori━”

“Ino, he’s way too old for you and he’s gay. And you have a boyfriend.”

“That’s not why I was talking to your cousin, Billboard Brow.” Ino flicked Sakura’s forehead. “But anywho. So I went to visit your cousin at that parlor he’s working at now ‘cause I wanna get those piercings you wanted for your birthday━no arguments. They’re on me. We’re going after school.”

“That’s awfully generous of you.” Sakura pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at her. “Is Sasori giving you a discount?”

Ino scoffed. “I wish! That miser,” she grumbled. Ino shook her hair out and then smiled slyly at her. “But that’s not even the best part.”

Sakura rolled her eyes. Ino was really milking the big surprise. She was too impatient for this and the homeroom teacher would show up soon.

“Remember that mega hottie from the public school at the student showcase down at The Factory Art Center?”

Sakura groaned, dropping her head onto her planner. How could she forget? She was just lucky that he hadn’t seen her run straight into a wall because she had been so distracted. The only good thing that came about that was that Ino met her boyfriend Sai that day. And that the boy hadn’t noticed her accident.

It had been a student showcase for the senior students in the schools in the city and Sakura and Ino attended for extra credit. Sakura had been mindlessly looking at all of the pieces until a tall boy wearing all black with messy hair had caught her eye. She had barely heard Ino call out “Dibs!” before she ran into one of the pillars because she wasn’t paying attention to where she was walking.

Ino had given up chase and did her best friend duties by checking up on Sakura. Luckily for her, a different dark haired boy had seen the whole thing and had come over to help out and Ino got her older boyfriend anyway.

“That was almost a whole year ago. Why must you remind me that I embarrassed myself in front of like, seven different senior classes.”

“Mega hottie works at the parlor your cousin does. He’s an apprentice-slash-shop slave.”

That, Sakura hadn’t expected. She had seen his work and expected him to go off to art school and then maybe come back to The Factory Art Center to be a resident artist or for him to even switch tracks and work at Glass & Iron━he did have some lampwork and some welding work as part of his showcase.

“So what?” Sakura swallowed. The grin on Ino’s face was foreboding.

“So,” Ino reached over and played with the ends of Sakura’s long pink hair, “someone is going to take her cute butt down there and finally meet him.”


Sakura blinked at the hand that waved in front of her face. Sasuke looked down at her with concern. She looked just about ready to pass out in her noodles.

“Are you okay? You should probably get to bed.” He would just have to clean up everything on his own. And if she tried to go to work on her day off, he’d call the tiny red terror━Karin or Sakura’s cousin, Sasori━to force her to rest for once.

Sakura rubbed her eye with the back of her little fist and murmured, “I should. Thank you for the food.”

She was so small and tired, Sasuke just wanted to scoop her up and bundle her up in her blankets. But then he remembered that she would be going to her own room and he would be going to his and there were four years between now and when he was hers.

Did she still curl herself inward like a cat when she slept? Bury herself under three blankets that weighed almost as much she did?

He could help her to her room and find out. She was dead on her feet and would probably need him to keep from stumbling and running into a wall. It would be so easy to just curl his arm around her waist, pull her closer to his sturdier frame.

It would be easy, oh so easy. And that’s why Sasuke left her to her own devices.

Away From Home

There is a soreness in his lower back and a crick in his neck that has him worried to open his eyes.

He dreams often of home when on his mission, but the smile on his daughter’s face and the feel of his wife’s hands as they eased the kinks and knots of his muscles had been so real. He had smelled the fabric softener and felt the softness of the white bed sheets with the scalloped trim that Sakura favors. The detailed stitching brushing against his cheek is a sensation so strongly imprinted in his mind that it feels as though he had felt it only a mere hours ago not months.

Reaching to adjust his cloak to ward off the cold, he tucks his face into the collar and sighs. He detests being away but he is duty bound. Sasuke knows the dreams will only haunt him when he is idle for too long.

A crackle of a flame has his eyes opening wide. He never uses a fire at night when traveling alone. More alert now he recognizes the scent of smoke wafting about and absorbed into the material of his black cloak.

And he notices the way his hair brushes alongside his cheeks instead of resting against one side and brushing against the lashes of his left eye.

Sasuke has to blink excessively before he is able to focus on his surroundings. The clarity he usually had is gone and he has as much difficulty seeing as when—


The blurry trio of sleeping bags and the long red hair poking out over the top of one is a sight he hasn’t seen in almost two decades.

It’s as he’s flexing fingers on a hand that he hasn’t had in over fifteen years that he recognizes that his chest is rising and falling at an alarming speed.

When was it that he last had a panic attack? When was it that he last had a panic attack without being able to turn and hold on to the small, soft body of his pink haired wife to ground him to reality?

Inhaling and holding his breath, Sasuke lets out his next exhale long and slow.

Oddities in his life are rare but nothing new, but suddenly finding himself in his teenage body is far more outside his realm of normality than rabbit goddesses and eye snatchers from the moon.

Settling into the flow of Team Taka is easier than it should be, but Sasuke was never much of a talker and it helps him pretend he isn’t a thirty-two year old man trapped in the body of a seventeen year old.

These versions of his former underlings haven’t noticed anything off about him yet but he knows it’s only time before he slips up.

It would be better to separate.

By the red clouds on his cloak and his blindness he can pinpoint when in time he’s supposed to be. Team Taka is meant to hunt down the Hachibi but Sasuke isn’t his young self lost in the darkness. He not only doesn’t want to hunt down the Hachibi but he also knows how it all plays out and doesn’t care to repeat history.

He will have to walk a path parallel to the one of his past so that he doesn’t disrupt the course of events that lead up to his future. As much as he would rather abandon everything and return home, there may be consequences to that decision.

There is one decision he must make to change the course of events. It will buy him time as he avoids hunting the Hachibi and it would be best for himself and to prevent an outsider from taking what belongs to his brother.

The order was wrong, but it was time to claim his inheritance.

 Having the procedure done a second time, Sasuke was more alert this time around during his healing process. There are no dark thoughts clouding the corners of his mind as he plans.

This is another moment he wishes Sakura were with him. His brilliant wife would have healed him and fixed any errors left behind by the crude surgery. She would be able to come up with theories as to how he found himself in such a predicament. He can only hope that she is safe with their daughter in the distant future and that he hasn’t had any missteps that would erase their family’s future.

As much as he doesn’t want to hunt down the Hachibi there is still one man he will have to take care of again. Sasuke will have to be smarter this time around, less controlled by the hatred that had consumed him in his old life.

Loud voices and hissed insults outside of his bedroom has him snuggling into his futon until only the spikes of his hair can be seen poking from the top of his blankets. He doesn’t wish to know what it is Karin is doing that has her fighting with their comrades.

Sasuke longs for the quiet of his home even more during his recovery. Aches for the breeze drifting in through the open windows of his house and the smell of garlic and shallots filling the air as Sarada and Sakura’s chatter wraps a soothing buzz around his brain and down his spine.

He can’t afford a single misstep. He’ll find his way to Sakura again in the future—of this he’s confident—but he can’t lose their Sarada.

He drifts into a troubled sleep and dreams of hues of pink and red and of a girl’s distant laughter, always cutting away when he’s just within reach.

It’s a color he could never mistake and a voice he yearns for on quiet nights after days of of inaction.

There are others with her but who they are he doesn’t care. It’s always been like this. He hears her, sees her, before all others. Once that had been something he would vehemently deny, keeping those stray thoughts encased in the deep recesses of his mind, but he isn’t his seventeen year old self━no matter his appearance━and home is a flash step away.

“Konoha shinobi,” Karin warns. “Three klicks but heading west in the opposite direction. Easily avoidable.”

“You couldn’t have said something earlier?” Suigetsu scoffs. “You have one job and you can’t even do that right.”

“Shut up!” Karin seethes. “Sasuke-kun knows I would have said something if I was told to keep alert for them.”

With just a glance, Sasuke has them silencing. He nods his head in the direction he wants them to take and the three of them take off without him.

Home is running in the opposite direction. Three kilometers turns into four which turns into five and then six. And so on she keeps running, not even knowing how much he wants to be running to her.

He can hear them whispering. Even Jūgo is becoming skeptical of his plans. They have been moving and moving, constantly moving without making any effort to hunt down the Hachibi despite the orders given from his elder cousin Obito masquerading as their ancestor.

“Are you sure?” He hears Suigetsu muttering to Karin from his spot above them all in the forest canopy.

“I’m positive. We’re going in circles. Just as we’re getting closer I can feel him leading us away and…”


“Something’s…different about Sasuke-kun. He doesn’t feel the same. His chakra is different. It’s like it’s not the Sasuke-kun we know.”

“Is it because of that surgery?”

“No…it’s been like that since before…just one day he woke up and he was different.”

Whatever Suigetsu responded with was lost to Sasuke as he closed his eyes and shut their voices out.

He didn’t necessarily need them anymore but the three of them had nowhere to go currently. In the future they crawled back to Orochimaru but at the moment he is still dead. And with the war approaching they would need as many allies and Taka did their part in assisting in his old life.

Sasuke will have to find a reason to get away from his team to avoid anymore suspicion.

He’s on his own for a bit. Sasuke always needs his space from his teammates and before they used to be wary of him, but now they’re wary for another reason all together.

He’s Sasuke but he’s not their Sasuke. He’s a Sasuke only a select few know and Team Taka never had this Sasuke. Karin has witnessed small increments but this Karin isn’t the Karin that was covered to her elbows in blood, cradling his premature daughter to her chest. This Karin doesn’t know it yet, but he is in debt to her for helping his wife and child.

He owes her more than she knows. But that hasn’t happened yet and he just wants distance, space away from her calculating eyes. She can see the way his chakra moves, feel the missing heaviness of how imposing it once was.

And he can’t allow that to be his undoing. He could handle it if Karin were to confront him but he couldn’t handle it if the confrontation led him to losing his future.

So Sasuke runs.

He takes the first chance he gets to split from the rest of Taka. Makes an excuse so that they split ways for a period. They have Karin and she can track him when they need to meet up again.

Being on his own again, Sasuke is reminded of the time during his redemption journey. Although he stands shorter than when he stepped out alone for the first time, he is seeing the world through clearer eyes and a free heart.

Sasuke finds himself sleeping often, a habit from when he went searching for himself. When the warm breeze rustled through the grass and the scent of the oak trees traveled with the wind, Sasuke was reminded of home and his thoughts would become muddled. Sleep was a reprieve from the confusing ache in his chest.

Now sleep is a curse. The weariness of his eyes as they drooped haunts him. For sleep cannot give him what he wants.

A promise that when he wakes up everything would have been just a dream. And that he would be home again.

It takes Sasuke a moment to remember to breathe.

It was already a coincidence that they had crossed paths once before, that he had caught a glimpse of her so soon before…

Before the time he had seen her in his timeline━his real timeline━and almost lost the future he is missing now.

His eyes are wide open and he is seeing the world with such clarity. How many times did he miss her before? How many times did he miss her when his vision was clouded with his hunt for justice?

He draws in the breath his lungs have been screaming for and it’s with that inhale that Sakura skids to a stop.

Eyes so green, so seafoam green, narrow and scan the perimeter. Short, choppy hair rustles with the slight movement of her head as she searches in his general direction. Sasuke can almost see the calculations circling in her mind.

She knows someone’s there. He can make a run for it, use his greater speed as an advantage. It would be the wise thing to do. The strong thing to do, for he knows that the gravitational pull his wife has on him even━before she’s aware she has any pull on him at all━is something he is weak against.

It is why he left home at twelve. It is why he stayed away.

Sasuke is very good at doing his duty. It’s what kept him on his mission for so long, it’s what had him on his mission without coming back home until it was done.

But he is tired and sleep has been bad and all he wants is that look━the look that Sakura gets on her face when she sees him, eyes wide and lips parting as if she’s seeing something splendid for the first time.

It’s greedy and selfish, but he’s sacrificed years in one lifetime and weeks in another. The universe can forgive him for a few seconds.

Purposefully he takes a step on a twig on the forest floor, one that alerts Sakura to his exact location. He just needs to wait for that look, that one look of astonishment, and he’ll take off.

“Sasuke-kun!” Sakura gasps, but before he can pivot and flee, she’s already taking a step back.

Curious, he halts his movements and watches as she digs her teeth into her lower lip and her eyes drift from him to the direction she had been heading toward before he had distracted her.


He is right in front of her—not moving now that he’s observing her—and she isn’t pleading with him to go back home with her.

Sasuke understands that she may be wary of him, unsure of how he would react, but Sakura isn’t one to shy away when it comes to her feelings so her silence is unnerving. He had been expecting her to shout out, not to act with trepidation.

Sasuke edges forward, sliding one foot along the soil, moving slowly as if approaching a doe. He waits for a reaction but Sakura just stares and stares.

He takes off, using a sequence of flash steps to create distance. He didn’t expect Sakura to be able to predict his movements but a tugging at the rope belt he uses to tie his cloak to his body has him skidding to a stop and redirecting his path.


He can’t look back. If he looks back he’ll break and forget that he has a responsibility to keep the timeline on its course. There is no telling if he will wake up back at home and face consequences for any disruptions he may have caused.

“Sasuke-kun,” Sakura continues to cry after him, trailing closer after him than he anticipated her sixteen year old self to be able to.

His mind offers a flash of Sakura dodging quick attacks during the fourth great war and then of her sucker punching Shin with his body covered with activated mangekyou sharingan, despite her off roster status due to being the director of the hospital.


Fumbling a flash step, Sasuke trips up and skids across the forest floor, catching himself with his hands digging into the earth. Sakura catches herself on the trunk of a tree, using chakra to anchor herself instead of skidding along the forest floor like Sasuke. Green eyes go wide in fear as she continues to watch him, body poised and ready to make a run for it. Her body is tense as she anticipates a violent reaction from him.

Activating his sharingan, Sasuke scans every inch of her and looks for a sign, any sign that she could be━


The endearment has barely left his tongue when Sakura throws her body at him, tackling him to the ground in one of her strong embraces.

“It’s you, it’s you!” She sobs into his chest, soaking his top with her tears.

Sasuke places a hand on her back and rubs soothing circles, letting her find comfort in releasing weeks worth of stress.

Sasuke doesn’t need to hear the lecture. It’s in his wife’s scowl as she sends pulses of her soothing chakra to his temple, healing the scarring from the surgery his cousin had performed to implant Itachi’s eyes. It’s the same scars she healed for him while he was in the hospital after his battle with Naruto.

She doesn’t reprimand him as he pulls her closer to straddle his lap. The closer she is, the more real it feels that she’s really with him.

Sakura had been in her sixteen year old body for the same amount of time he had been back in his seventeen year old body. She had told him of how she woke up one morning convinced she had dreamt he had returned for good, only to realize she was in a smaller body, in a much smaller bed, back in her bedroom in her parents’ house.

Sasuke scoffed at the comment of a smaller body. She had only grown a few more centimeters by the time she had reached adulthood. It is true though that she is no longer fuller at the hips and had lost the bust she developed after pregnancy━even the one she developed toward the end of puberty, but he isn’t going to mention that he had been watching her more closely than he should.

He remembered the shock of standing up and realizing he had lost over half a foot of his own height and although he was still muscular it was nowhere near the muscle mass of his adult body.

And then there was the issue of balance since he no longer needed to compensate for the missing limb.

“Do you think anyone else was sent back in time?” Sakura asks him as she examines him further, unzipping his top and brushing the pads of her fingers along still healing scars.

“Definitely not Naruto. He wouldn’t have the sense to keep it a secret.” Sasuke drags his nose up the line of Sakura’s throat. She smells mostly of sweat, dirt, and grass, but just underneath is her own unique scent.

Sasuke slides his hands under her medic apron, fingers edging along the hem of her tight shorts.

“What—,” Sakura narrows her eyes at him, cutting off her flow of chakra, “—what are you doing?”

“Nothing,” Sasuke answers as he cups her pert backside with both hands.

“We’re in a forest,” Sakura protests.

“That wouldn’t be new for us,” Sasuke counters.

“We’re in a forest, I’m sixteen, and you’re a missing nin,” is Sakura’s rebuttal. Despite her protests, she reaches for his rope belt and tugs it undone.

“Physically,” Sasuke continues to counter, “but spiritually we are━”

“Oh, just shut up and kiss me, you opportunist.”

Sakura holds his face in her small hands and initiates their first kiss━a minor change from their original timeline. Sasuke sits her in his lap and bites on her lower lip, pulling it into his own mouth as he proceeds to deepen the kiss.

Sasuke isn’t ignorant of the fact that he now has the advantage of two hands. He can touch his wife without the assistance of any jutsu. Although the observation doesn’t stop him from using his teeth to unzip her top. His hands are too busy pulling off her shorts and underwear.

As close as they are, they’re not close enough and he needs to correct that.

“Don’t rip through my shorts,” Sakura warns him, clutching his shoulders with enough force he’s sure she added chakra to her hold, a promise of repercussions if he damages her clothing.

Sakura’s gasp is barely heard over the sound of her mesh tank top being torn in half with only the use of Sasuke’s teeth. No one ever sees her undergarments so it’s an article of clothing that has no import, something that Sasuke is aware of and pays no mind to her grumbling as he drags his tongue up her sternum.

Her irritation melts into a soft sighs as he presses open mouth kisses to her clavicle. He grabs her waist with his hands, distracted by how tiny it is as he brushes his thumbs lightly around her belly button.

“Sasuke-kun…” Sakura murmurs as he sinks his fingers into her warm, wet center. He gets to work on stroking her with one hand and helping her remove her shorts and underwear with the other.

Two hands really were more efficient.

Sakura’s moans roll into his mouth as she grinds her hips against his hand. She had been too engrossed in the feeling of his fingers thrusting in and out of her core to worry about removing her medic-nin apron. Sasuke wants it on during their encounter.

Barely covering anything at all, Sasuke didn’t get a chance to appreciate her little apron when he really was seventeen. It is short enough and the slit just high enough that he can watch the way Sakura’s pink curls brush against the heel of his palm.

As Sakura grinds her hips against his hand, she braces herself by gripping his shoulders. The position they’re in makes it easy for Sasuke to wrap his lips around a pebbled nipple. He uses his other hand to press against her lower back in order to support her as she bucks against him, legs trembling.

As her inner muscles start to spasm around his fingers, Sasuke pulls them out. Sakura cries out at the loss and throws a glare at him, eyes watering from the frustration.

“I was close!”

“Yeah, I know.”

Sakura pouts so cutely he should feel bad about depriving her the release she was edging toward but he doesn’t. He just pulls his cloak out from under him and spreads it out on the forest floor.

“Come here,” Sasuke murmurs, tugging at her wrists to draw her closer. “And take off your shirt.”

Sakura barely shrugs her red top off and Sasuke is already pushing her down on to the cloak. He wastes no time in pushing her thighs apart and opening her folds once again. He’s careful to avoid the bundle of nerves that would throw her over the edge now that she is sensitive from the earlier stimulation.

“You’re doing it again,” Sakura whines, wiggling her hips in an attempt to get him where she wants him.

“What am I doing?” Sasuke feigns ignorance, pretending to be too concentrated on his task.

“Sasuke-kun. I’m not going to be the only one naked outside again.”

Sasuke frowns at the statement but doesn’t refute it. Their encounters outdoors usually ended up with Sakura losing every article of clothing while he only tugged his pants low enough to free himself from the confines.

Sasuke shrugs but in a gesture of mock solidarity he removes his shirt and tosses it to the side. He quirks an eyebrow at her and hesitantly she relaxes underneath him.

Now that she’s more willing to be compliant, losing the tension in her body, Sasuke swipes at her clit. He rubs at it with his thumb as he strokes her folds and places kisses down the valley between her small breasts and lower until he reaches her navel.

Dipping his tongue in her belly button, he sucks at the flesh there before making his way down lower and lower, past the thatch of pink curls, and flattens his tongue against where she’s hottest and drags it nice and slow before flicking Sakura’s hardened nub with the tip of his tongue.

A sharp pain at his scalp alerts him to Sakura’s fingers clutching at his hair and yanking it as he pulls the nub between his lips and rolls his tongue around it, alternating between soft suckles and hard suction that has her thighs trembling around his head.

Sasuke groans against her folds and Sakura’s body tenses up as his name tumbles weakly out of her mouth in a soft cry of relief.

Sasuke continues to lap at her core, flicking her clit in the upstroke. When Sakura tries to sit up he hooks his arms around her thighs and place his hands on her hips to keep her still. Using her sensitivity from the last orgasm he guides her into a second one and then rolls it into a third.

Sakura’s pulling his hair so hard at this point he’s glad that she is unable to concentrate on anything else but the feel of his tongue. If she could focus she would gather her chakra and attempt to pull him off of her. With the way she was yanking she could probably scalp him with her bare hands in her flustered state with the use of chakra.

By the time he’s done teasing her, Sakura is struggling to fill her lungs, unable to catch her breath through her pants. As she’s coming down, chest slowing down in its rising, Sasuke sits up on his knees and pulls her lower half so that her legs are spread across his lap.

“Are you okay?” He asks as he strokes her thigh soothingly as her eyes blink back into focus. She nods and grasps his hand, interlocking their fingers.

“I want to touch you too.”

Sakura pulls his hand up and presses kisses to the pads of his fingers, drawing them into her mouth. Sasuke’ mouth runs dry as she sucks on them. With a mischievous glint in her eyes, she slides his index and middle fingers in and out of her mouth, her tongue wrapping around them.

“Next time,” Sasuke chokes out, reluctantly removing his hand from her hold as he pulls himself out of his pants. He gives himself two quick strokes, using the slickness from Sakura’s sucking to lubricate himself before guiding his cock into her entrance.

Slow and steady, Sasuke pushes in, groaning as he sinks deeper into Sakura’s slick heat. Looking up at Sakura’s face he cocks his head to the side, not sure why her lips are parted and eyes glimmering in awe.

“So that’s what you would have looked like…” she says softly.

Smirking down at his wife, Sasuke groans again purposely as he pulls out and thrusts back in as deeply as he can fill her.

The awestruck expression falls from Sakura’s face as she gasps from the sudden fullness. Sasuke stills inside her, feeling her inner muscles contracting around him as she adjusts to his size. As soon as she lifts her hips to move underneath him, Sasuke begins a steady pace of thrusts, gripping her hips with both hands to anchor her to him.

As familiar as he is with what his wife likes, his young body isn’t accustomed to being inside her and he is hypersensitive to the sensation. He can feel his release rapidly approaching, much sooner than he’d like.

Pulling out, he maneuvers Sakura’s body so she’s on her stomach. Following his lead, Sakura braces herself on her hands and knees and spreads her legs for him. Sasuke sinks back in and Sakura cries out, feeling him even deeper than before.

It’s a position Sakura prefers and that he gladly puts her in due to the increase in her sensitivity. He settles himself into the even pace from before, not trying to cum before he’s ready. Sasuke takes a finger and drags it down the curve of Sakura’s spine, feeling her flutter around him from the act.

Sasuke drops his head in the crook of her neck and drags his nose across her nape. Dropping kisses between her shoulder blades, Sasuke bites down on her shoulder and Sakura cums again, squeezing him tight and forcing his release out of him. Sasuke pulls her hips tight against his and grinds into her as spills himself inside of her. He collapses on top of her, chin resting on her shoulder. Sakura slowly drops to the ground and nudges him gently off of her as they sprawl out on the cloak.

Sasuke takes a deep breath and pulls Sakura closer so that her back is pressed against his chest. He hooks his arm around her waist and pillows her head with his other arm. Pressing his nose against the top of her head, he breathes in the smell of home. Sweaty and hidden behind the smell of earth, it lies there in the strands of Sakura’s hair.

Sakura had shrugged on his shirt when they gathered their things and relocated to a bank of a stream to wash up. The sight of their crest on her back is a small comfort but the news Sakura gave him as they laid on the forest floor had put a damper on his mood.

“Sasuke-kun,” his wife calls back his attention as she hangs up the newly washed cloak to dry. “What are you going to do now?”

Sakura was on her way to rendezvous with her team when she ran into him. Luckily she was ahead of schedule due to already having the information she needed from the mission in the past. Sasuke hadn’t sidetracked her as she was using the extra time to be on her own. She had found it unsettling and tiring when she was with people. The stress of pretending and trying not to disrupt the timeline had been getting to her.

She was just as stuck as Sasuke and the only theory she could come up with was the rinnegan which was ruled out as soon as the thought crossed her mind. The rinnegan traveled dimensions not time.

Waiting around and playing out the rest of the events wasn’t something Sasuke wanted to do. There were other ways to get what he wanted.

“And I really don’t wanna celebrate Naruto’s birthday this time with the two of you blowing each other’s arms off,” Sakura jokes as he drags a hand down his face in embarrassment.

“That’s not happening this time.”

“Then what is happening this time?” Sakura slides her hand down his left wrist, settling her palm against his until he takes hold of it and interlocks their fingers.

“This time,” Sasuke breathes before granting her a soft smile, “this time, I come home. And stay.”

“And you stay.” Sakura nods, beaming up at him. Her smile fades and her brows furrow. “And Sarada?”

“We can be careful, do some calculations…” Sasuke rubs his thumb on the back of her hand. “She was ours once. She can be again. We’ll try.”

“We can try,” Sakura agrees.

“But for now,” Sasuke tugs on her hand, drawing her closer, “let’s go home.”

Tread Over The Contours Of You And Me

Sakura sighed and rolled her neck. She cupped her shoulders at the base of her nape and pulsed a bit of healing chakra.

She was spending too many evenings at her desk looking over the data for the children in the institute. The caregivers were very thorough with their reports and while that relieved her it was also more work for her to get through every day.

It was only a year and a half since she had opened up the institute and while she was no longer in the experimental stage of the program, everything could still be hectic. The hardest part had been finding the caregivers and doctors for the children—people that understood that they weren’t treating soldiers.

The research and paperwork that she had poured over had been atrociously lacking, not only for children but adults as well. It was disgustingly obvious that the only insight to mental health that Konoha had was in the use of torture and interrogation. With Ino’s help, the two of them picked apart all of the data until they could find anything useful.

Luck was on Sakura’s side that the Yamanaka clan already had an understanding of how the mind operated. Due to the nature of their family jutsu and the young age of which their shinobi clansmen trained, there was a foundation she had to work with.

Speaking of the Yamanaka family jutsu, Ino was insistently sending her messages to go home. Her voice wheedled in Sakura’s mind and nagged at her.

A hot bath, warm food, and her bed sounded lovely. She knew that all she needed was to head home and her mom would have all three ready for her.

Locking the stacks of unfinished documents into a cabinet, Sakura began her nightly clean up routine. For the past year she used to stay holed up in her office until everything was completed but due to the person sleeping on her office’s couch at the moment, Sakura had stopped working overnight.

Stifling a giggle, Sakura crouched down on her toes and brushed Sasuke’s hair out of his face. He had grown out his forelocks into bangs that fell over his rinnegan and while the look suited him, sometimes she missed seeing his face in full.

Sasuke had taken to sleeping in her office, complaining that there was always some sort of disturbance at his apartment. She had teased him about it, stating that he just missed her. He hadn’t replied to her verbally, but chose to show her how much he missed her once they got back to his apartment.

Blinking his eyes, Sasuke woke up the second time Sakura ran her fingers through his hair. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards and he sat up, pulling his legs back from over the arm of the loveseat.

“Are you going to walk me home, Sasuke-kun?” Sakura asked, continuing to run her fingers along his hair, scratching lightly at his scalp.

Sitting up, Sasuke stretched his arm over his head. “You’re not coming over?”

Heat traveled up the back of her neck and she cleared her throat in discomfort. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s late and I’m still in trouble with Mama from last time I accidentally slept over. You know how she is about premarital relations━don’t you laugh at me!”

Sasuke turned his head away from her but his shoulders slightly shook, giving himself away. He had walked her home and sat with her as her mother lectured her and Sakura insisted that she had fallen asleep while working on paperwork. Haruno Mebuki hadn’t bought the story.

“Come here,” Sasuke asked softly, patting the space between his legs. Sakura shrugged off her lab coat and let it fall to the floor before settling on the couch between his legs. She laid back so her back was against his chest and her legs laid across the cushions. Sasuke’s leg closest to the edge slipped off the couch to accommodate her.

“Kakashi sent a scroll for you,” Sakura told him as he settled his chin on her shoulder and wrapped his arm around her waist. “He figured out your hiding spot.”

“Not really a hiding spot. Where else would I be?”

“Right…” Her voice trailed softly as her cheeks bloomed with heat.

Sasuke had been back home for months and Sakura still wasn’t used to him speaking to her or of her in such a way. It was one thing for her to just know that he enjoyed her presence and took comfort in it by his actions, it was another when he voiced it out loud and confirmed it.

The words were never direct but her heart translated them into a different phrase.

Taking her right wrist, Sasuke rolled it in a circular fashion, stretching the joint and pressing his thumb along the inside, massaging the flesh there.

“You wrote a lot today.” His voice was low against her ear, his breath warm and causing her to shiver. Sakura hummed and nodded, not trusting her words, as he continued to trail his fingers up her arm.

Sasuke stroked at her skin until he reached the back of her nape and he cupped Sakura’s neck and massaged it with his strong fingers. He rolled the base of her neck in his hand and Sakura felt the warm sensation of chakra pulsing from his hand and soothing out the knots as he continued to add pressure with his thumb and fingers down her shoulders.

“You’re getting better at that,” Sakura moaned in relief. “You’ve been studying.”

“Just a bit.”

Sakura didn’t need to see his face to know there was a smirk on it; she could hear the smug undertones in his voice. It filled her with joy when pieces of the young Sasuke revealed themselves in this older version of him.

“Turn around.” The order was whispered but it beat loudly in Sakura’s chest right next to her heart.

Sex still felt new, despite the two of them getting into it whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sasuke’s voice, husky and desperate in her ear, caused her as much nerves as it thrilled her. They were still learning what made the other tick, what touches were more desired.

She decided that she liked the way she felt in Sasuke’s hand. His skin was deliciously warm and the friction from calluses and scars from the nicks from holding shuriken created a pleasant sensation when his hands roved over her soft skin.

He pushed into the flesh of her back, soothing her muscles with his thumb and kneading with his fingers.

“That would be easier if my shirt was off.” Sakura licked her lips and hoped Sasuke took the hint. “And much easier if I was lying on my stomach.”

“Since when have I ever done things the easy way?”

Sakura whimpered when he removed his hand from under her sleeveless top, missing the heat that radiated from his palm. Sasuke took hold of her chin with his thumb and index finger and tilted her face up so he could press an open mouthed kiss to her lips. When he tried to pull away Sakura pressed forward, straddling his lap and wrapping her arms around his neck.

Her skirt bunched up around her hips and Sasuke’s hand went to her left thigh and caressed the flesh there. Sakura hummed in delight as the soreness from standing all day for observations drifted away with his soothing touch.

She yelped when his hand slid between her legs and he began to massage a new ache. Her hands tightened their grip on his hair and she rocked her hips against his hand.

They had never done something like this anywhere outside of his apartment. Their intimate moments were limited to the walls of Sasuke’s new home and that had been just fine with them until an annoyance kept ringing at the door.

Naruto had been late in discovering their relationship. He had whined because he felt that they had owed it to him to let him know when they had finally gotten together because he was their best friend. He had not been happy to find out that Sai and Ino had known before him.

“I told you first about Hinata!” He had whined to Sakura and Sakura didn’t have the heart to tell him that it didn’t count because if he hadn’t shared his feelings with her then he probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to be married.

It wasn’t the same for her and Sasuke. Naruto’s interference was likely to impede any progress in their relationship. He would have kept trying to get involved and would have interfered with their alone time.

“What are you doing?” Sasuke asked as she dipped her hands inside his waistband. He quirked an eyebrow up in amusement as she began to stroke him.

“Doing some massaging of my own.”

Sasuke groaned in distaste, sliding down the couch so that he was lying on his back. “That was really bad.”

“And yet you’re still hard,” Sakura snapped, tugging down his pants to free his member.

“Your cheesiness has no effect on what your hands are doing.” Sasuke’s lips curled upward as Sakura increased the tightness of her hold and the speed of her strokes. “You’re getting better at that. Have you been studying?”

“Shut up!” Sakura burst into a peal of laughter at his teasing. “Are we really doing this in my office?”

“Say the word, I’ll do just about anything to you on this couch.” Sasuke gritted his teeth, stopping a moan from escaping. “Especially if you keep that up.”

“Give you a handjob and you lose all sense of shame, huh?” Sasuke narrowed his eyes at her as he reached between her legs again and then pinched her clit. Sakura jumped a little, squeaking from the shock.

“I’m not the one getting wet from giving a handjob.”

“Oh, that has nothing to do with this.” Sakura dropped her hold on him and tugged her top over her head and off. Reaching behind her, she unhooked her bra. “You’re the one that was using a medical technique to try and seduce me.”

Sasuke shrugged but the smirk remained on his face as Sakura shimmied out of her panties. Without bothering to take off her skirt she straddled his hips again, settling his cock between her folds. She rolled her hips, sliding over him in just the right way that it hit her clit as she grinded against him.

Usually Sasuke was enough stimulation for her, but there was something about pressing him into the couch of her office that had her blood pumping faster. Perhaps it was the thought that he couldn’t wait to touch her and to be touched in return that he didn’t care that they were on a cramped sofa.

Leaning closer so that her chest was flush against his, Sakura licked up the line of Sasuke’s throat before sucking his lower lip into her mouth. She felt him shiver under her hands as her tongue stroked the space behind his teeth.

“I love you, Sasuke-kun,” Sakura murmured, smiling softly as Sasuke’s cheeks were dusted pink in his flustered state.

Sakura felt a pull around her navel and then found herself flat on her back, Sasuke looming over her. He had switched their places without warning.

“Sasuke-kun!” She scolded him for his use of his Rinnegan during foreplay, but he ignored her in favor of pressing kisses to her sternum and laving at her small, pert breasts as he slid off her skirt. Rolling her eyes, Sakura pulled at the hem of his shirt and tugged it off of his body.

Sasuke took her hand in his and pressed it flat over the breast he wasn’t attending to with his affections. He molded his hand over hers to stimulate her hand into moving, silently asking her to massage her own breast. Once Sakura got the hint, Sasuke dipped his hand between their bodies and slipped his fingers between her thighs once again.

That’s how it was with him. He barely spoke aloud the words that would express his feelings, but he spoke it with his actions and hid it in other statements.

Younger Sakura would have demanded a clear proclamation of his love, for him to declare it in a way the world would know of it. Nineteen year old Sakura though, had twenty year old Sasuke desperate and determined to have her climbing the highest peaks of pleasure he could give her, displaying a vulnerability she was the only person privy to.

“No.” Sakura shook her head, her voice trembling, and pulled Sasuke’s face away from the hip he was sucking on. “Not today. I want you closer. Now.”

Close. No matter how flush against each other they were, it never felt close enough. Unlike Sasuke, Sakura didn’t have Sharingan in order to always carry perfect memories of him with her.

She needed him to burn the memory of him on her skin with his hot fingers. Needed to feel him hot and slick against her, speaking a language only known to two of them. Needed to tattoo his love for her with every scorching touch of his.

As amazing as it was to watch him from above, all flustered and bothered and eyes pleading for her to relieve him of his want, Sakura prefered him like this. Sasuke would angle their hips, lifting her bottom to meet his thrusts and then loom over her, caging her head in between his forearm and the remainder of his left arm. Pushing her down, his body was a comforting and welcome weight.

Her fingers splayed against his shoulder blades, Sakura felt him move above her, thrusting and muscles flexing. Her finger pads felt the coarse lines of scars littered on his skin. She traced them as Sasuke pounded her into her office’s couch and she cried out incoherent words of gratitude that none of the old wounds kept them from having their current moment.

Sasuke exhaled a laugh against the crook of her neck as she came down from her high. “Did you just thank me for your orgasm?”

“No!” Sakura’s face grew even hotter and she slapped Sasuke against his chest. He just continued to laugh silently as his hips moved against hers.

“Just a bit more and I’ll be thanking you too,” he teased her, gripping her hip tightly as he grinded deep within her.

Sakura covered her face with her hands, trying to hide from the embarrassment. The action had Sasuke stilling his hips and moving her hands away from her face. He interlocked his fingers with her left hand and pressed his forehead to hers.

“Don’t hide from me,” he muttered, red eyes boring into hers. His tomo swirled as a particularly rough thrust in the new angle had Sakura tensing and crying out for more. Sakura wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close for a kiss, swallowing his moan as he spilled inside of her.

Sasuke collapsed against her and Sakura’s left leg dropped so that it was dangling off of the couch. Sakura’s fingers sank into his thick hair and she massaged his scalp, her nails drawing curlicues.

“How did I end up being the only one that actually got fully naked again?” Sakura grumbled as Sasuke tucked himself back into his pants, barely moving his body away from her. “How do you keep doing that?”

Sasuke simply shrugged and nuzzled closer to her, crushing her chest to his. They lay like that, listening to the way the clock on the office wall clicked the seconds in tandem with their heartbeats. Sakura knew she had already pushed past the acceptable time to return home without her mother assuming she and Sasuke were playing house.

“I want to wake up with you again.” Sasuke’s voice was low but his breath fanned against Sakura’s neck and shoulder.

“Yeah?” Sakura breathed out the question, feeling the way Sasuke nodded his head against her shoulder. “I love you too, Sasuke-kun.”

He didn’t protest the way she had stated her love as if it was a response to his own. Sakura’s chest grew warm at the way Sasuke wrapped his arm around her and held her closer.

Someday, Sakura thought as she pressed a kiss to Sasuke’s temple. Someday I’ll have all the mornings with you.

A Gift Of A Name

The locals had warned him about fairy rings and lone trees in the middle of a field. There were multiple sightings and they told him to be wary, especially if he were traveling alone and heard someone calling out to him from the hills.

Little did they know that those were Itachi’s exact destinations.

He laced up his hiking boots and prepared his pack with his sketching tools and watercolors, making sure that his iron dagger was still inside and wrapped in a rag. He tossed the pack next to the cooler with bottles of milk and his water, and took off with his rented truck in the direction of the areas the locals had told him to stay clear from.

He knew it could take all day and possibly longer before he saw anything. It wasn’t always about finding the right locations, but also waiting for the right amount of time.

Walking through the fields, Itachi inspected every inch for evidence, little signs that the fae had made the land he was investigating their home.

His family had always had the gift of sight. It was passed on through the generations and while some of his relations ignored it, others chose to use their ability to see the fae for different purposes.

His great uncle was a hunter. Uchiha Madara traveled the world and brought his trophies back and displayed them in his home.

Itachi’s mother had never been a fan of what her uncle did with his gift of sight. She made sure that all of the young ones—him and his younger brother and his cousins Izumi and Shisui—stayed clear of his house. At least she had tried. Itachi wasn’t always the best at doing what his parents wanted.

The specimens were grotesque. Madara didn’t care to preserve them for anything other than proof they existed and their shriveled forms were a horrible sight.

Madara’s horrifying trophies were one of the reasons Itachi painted faeries. He could capture the beauty in the fantastic creatures of the unseen world without having to kill any of them and display their corpses.

His uncle had scoffed at his work, called him a weak, pacifist fool. Madara had told him to never compare his feats to Itachi’s pretty pictures.

And every time Madara turns his nose up at his art, Itachi reminds him that his younger brother, Sasuke, only needed his pretty face to capture a tree folk.

It would be so easy to stalk and kill. There is danger—much more danger—in sitting for hours sketching and painting, leaving himself vulnerable to the whims of the fae.

But that doesn’t stop Itachi from parking his rented truck and straying from the hiking paths, armed only with pencils, watercolors, and an iron dagger.

Some creatures are easier than others. Sprites gathered high in tree branches, hidden as insects and flowers. Their presence was a sure sign of faerie activity. Sprites were common in many parts of the world, but Itachi took care to sketch and paint the European variants.

He gifts his subjects with thimbles of milk and drops of honey. They eye him warily, taking the treats without turning their backs on him. As patient and respectful as he is, Itachi is still human.

Making his way into the open fields of rolling grass, he treads carefully not wanting to step on any stray sods and find himself disoriented and losing his way.

Perching on a small boulder, Itachi inhales, the crisp air fills his lungs and brings a calm he could only find in such a remote area away from the bustling of humans. It is quiet and it is peaceful.

It is quiet and it is peaceful except for the rustling of something pawing through his pack.

Turning slowly, Itachi sets down his paints and tucks his iron dagger under his thigh so that it is within reach but hidden so that the possibly fae intruder does not see the threat.

Shocking and vivid are the first set of adjectives that comes to mind when he sees the brilliant red hair of the creature unwrapping his wagon wheel cookies.

Diminutive in size, granting it almost a child’s appearance, the creature before him is without a doubt a fae.

Paying him no mind, the fairy continues to dig through his pack in search of the snacks that he had packed for himself. It squints its eyes and sniffs delicately with its button nose, selecting the sweetest treats. When it finds something exciting, its wings flutter rapidly.

“I have milk and honey,” Itachi offers softly, in English. If the fairy was comfortable enough to dig through his belongings in search of human food, it likely had experience dealing with humans and had possibly learned the local tongue. “Unfortunately, the milk is chilled.”

In a panic, the fairy grabs his entire backpack but falls backwards down the hill, tumbling in the grass. The sight is too comical and Itachi exhales a laugh through his nose. The action does not escape the fairy’s notice and it sits up, face burning a shade of red as bright as its hair as it chirps at him and raises its little fists at him.

“I’m sorry,” Itachi apologizes, making no move to assist. One wrong move and the fairy could react badly. The fae are prideful creatures and he had made the mistake of laughing at a fairy’s misfortune.

“You are not!” The fairy’s voice is shrill. If it were in a better mood, perhaps its voice would be high and clear like bells. In its outrage its voice is sharp and feels like needles prodding at his ears.

The fairy continues to narrow its eyes and feel at the ground for the dropped items. Just moments ago it was smelling his snacks to identify them and was now struggling to locate everything it dropped.

The fairy is blind.

Quickly, Itachi snatches up all of the snacks while he has the advantage of sight. The fairy spit curses at him in English and something foreign before ultimately pounding its little fists against the dirt, tears welling at the corners of its eyes.

Taking a wagon wheel cookie out of its packaging, Itachi holds it out to her. “How about a trade?”

Cocking its head to the side, the fairy narrows her eyes at him. The suspicion is there but a shake of the cookie has it nodding its head enthusiastically.

Nibbling on chocolate, the fairy sat on one of the rocks Itachi had perched on before their encounter. She didn’t sit perfectly still, but Itach is used to sketching creatures in their natural states.

“You have unusual coloring for a fairy.”

The bright red hair isn’t a color he is used to finding in fae that reside in the fields and forests. Most fairies have coloring that allows them to hide among the foliage. Despite being part of the unseen world, there were many ways they could become visible.

“I’m special!” The fairy chirps proudly, tossing her hair over her shoulder. Her vermillion eyes glitter with hidden danger, daring him to refute her claim.

“Yes, you are.”

Faeries are proud creatures. Itachi has learned a lot from studying them while they are alive to know that. It is how his great uncle Madara had ended up getting his older cousin Obito injured during a hunt for an ogre. He hadn’t taken any precautionary steps, only treating the ogre as a beast instead of the intelligent creature it was. Obito is forever scarred from having saved their great uncle.

Itachi chooses to avoid direct mentions of the color of her hair. A protective color, but a color hated by faeries, it was odd to see the strands of red, but it was probably the reason why he had found this particular fairy on her own.

Blind as she may be, Itachi isn’t foolish enough to drop his guard. He had already taken the precaution to not have anything on his person that will give away his name, he always carries salt with him and a binding of twigs from an ash, an oak, and a thorn tree, and his iron dagger is always at hand.

He had made a mistake when he replaced his satchel. His old one had iron clasps to make sure that faeries could not mess with his belongings but he had no time to find a proper replacement before his trip. It was the mistake that led the fairy in front of him into trying to steal from him.

The thievery has Itachi wondering if he is dealing with a pixie, but the fairy in front of him is too tall to be one, even if her height is still that of a human child. The only fact he has obtained is that the fairy is female and it was obtained from him asking how old the fairy is and her responding to him with, “you never ask a woman her age.”

Itachi is in the middle of painting when his glasses are snatched right off of his face.

“Hey!” Food is one thing, but he needs his glasses to see.

The fairy exclaims in her unknown language, holding his glasses to her face so that they don’t slip off. She twirls around looking at everything, cooing in awe. Abruptly she marches up to him and looks him over with wide, red eyes full of wonder.

“Are all of the mundane as pretty as you?” She is so close that he can smell the floral scents wafting from her body. The air is crisp but there are no flowers in the field, none that would carry the scent that she does.

Itachi coughs into his hand, not expecting the compliment in the form of a question from a fairy, especially one that had all of the characteristics of what children believe a fairy should look like.

His family is never far from his thoughts, and he thinks about his cousin Izumi and his mother and especially of his younger brother Sasuke and a soft smile settles on his face.

“There are humans that are much prettier.”

“Impossible!” The fairy huffs before plopping another cookie in her mouth.

“Very possible. Now I need my glasses back in order to finish this.”

Silence settles between them. His vision is as murky as water spilling across his wet paintings, but he can sense the fairy staring at him.


Itachi sighs, his face falling into his hand. He can feel the coolness of the paint on his fingers smearing on his forehead. He can threaten her with his dagger, but he doesn’t want to risk wandering lost and blind if the fairy turns the tables on him now that she can see properly.

“If you give me back my glasses, I’ll bring you more snacks when I come back to this field in a few days.”

“As if I could believe that.” The fairy snorts, clucking her tongue. “But that could make great collateral.”

She taps his sketchbook, taking care not to run her fingers on the still drying watercolors.

“I’ll hold on to the image of me you planned to steal away.”

Itachi should have known better. Any gifts from faeries are only on loan. Gifts are not to keep but to borrow, and this fairy views his painting as thievery.

“Two days.” Itachi holds up two fingers. “Two rises of the sun and I will be back here a couple of hours after the sun passes its highest point.”

The sound of tearing paper fills the field and then his glasses are placed in his palm.

“Two days.”

Two days later, Itachi arrives at the same field, bag loaded with treats. The fairy is waiting for him, perched on the same rocks he had been sitting on when they had met days before. She’s still alone, nothing but grass and rocks surround her—her hair a beacon in a world of green.

He finds it strange that she sits there waiting for him. Although he doesn’t know her exact species, she resembles more of those that live in colonies. None of her traits point that she should be a solitary creature, but the signs are all there.

Itachi has not seen another fairy nor has he seen the rings they stamp into the grass from their dancing. It’s only her, blind and alone with hair of a damning red.

“Can I keep it?” She asks in lieu of a greeting. Her fingers lightly trace her image on the paper.

“Here.” Itachi pulls out a thermos from his satchel. “Warm milk with honey.”

He settles on the rock below her perch and pulls out all of the treats he had bought for her. She makes no move for the sweets, clutching the paper to her chest.

“How about a trade?” Itachi offers, pulling out his sketchbook. “You can keep that one, if you let me paint you again.”

Without a word, the fairy nods her head vigorously and Itachi’s pencil scratches against the stiff paper of his multimedia sketchbook.

He names her Karin in his mind and that’s when he realizes he’s in trouble.

He names her for the floral perfume that follows her as she twirls around him and asks him about everything but his name.

Why does he paint?

How can he see her without a stone with a natural hole?

What land is he from that gives him his accent?

Karin asks as many questions as she answers even if Itachi never voices them out loud.

She tells him of the humans she comes across when they hike. None of them were able to see her and it was always funny to see them circle around in confusion as they looked for their missing items.

He tells her about all of the faeries he has come across and how he has painted them all. He tells her how a tree spirit had fallen in love with his younger brother.

Faeries love the tree folk and this is her favorite story. Karin demands more details, wanting to soak up everything about the tree person that Itachi calls family.

Tree folk are loved by all of the faeries and they love them in return. They allow them to make homes in their territories and to frolic in their branches and in the shade of their leaves.

There are no trees in this field and Karin gazes at the tree line of the forest forlornly.

An unsettling thought passes through his mind as he notices her wistful smile when he tells her of how Sasuke painstakingly uprooted a cherry blossom tree and drove it by truck to replant it in their family’s courtyard.

If a tree person can fall in love with a human, she can love a red haired fairy just as easily.

“Your brother is lucky.”

“He’s very lucky,” Itachi agrees. “If you cut down any part of a tree in which a spirit resides in, you will be cursed. Even if the spirit loves you.”

“He must have worked really slowly to ensure no damage.”

“It took him days. He says it was worth it.” Itachi opens up a baggie of strawberries and hands them to her. “Now he can be with his Sakura. It was foolish, but what can we expect of twenty year olds who believe they’re in love?”

“It must be nice,” Karin falls back and lies on the grass, “to know your own age.”

“You do not?”

“I don’t even know my name.” She stretches and pulls at the grass beneath her. “It’s been so long since I had any need for it.”

Names are powerful things. Any of the unseen world could use a name to hurt or make a human do their bidding. But a name is an identifier and can also give a sense of belonging.

Uchiha means more than a fan. It means that he is part of a greater whole and that there are people who love him.

“I call you Karin in my thoughts.”

“Oh?” Karin rolls over and cradles her chin in her hands, lashes fluttering at him. “You think of me, human?”

Itachi exhales slowly, resisting the childish urge to roll his eyes at her. Taking out his field notebook, he turns to a blank page and writes out the characters for her name:


“This here,” he taps on the first character, “means fragrance. And it suits you. Now here is your name using the alphabet for the language of this region.”

Nearly, he scratches out the English letters for her name. He is always more graceful with kanji, but he takes care to write clear and bold letters for her.


Karin fixes him with a blank stare and bluntly tells him, “I have no idea what that says.”

Itachi sighs, realizing the mistake he has made. She speaks English because she lives in a common hiking destination and has picked it up from the travelers. It speaks of her intelligence that she was able to learn the language at all.

“But I like how it sounds.” Karin clears her throat and closes her eyes. “Karin. I like the way it makes your tongue hit the roof of your mouth. Like it must be felt, forces your body to acknowledge it as it passes through it. It’s a good name.”

The sun is threatening to lower and Itachi has to get back to his rental truck before it gets dark. He hurries to pack all of his belongings and the father the trash from the eaten snacks.

“Will you come back again?” Karin’s voice isn’t the sharp needles of her anger or the tinkling of bells in her joy. It is lost and alone in the breeze, disappearing into nothingness on its final note.

Itachi only has so many days on his trip before he is expected to return back to Japan. When he is gone there will only be hikers to rob and another name that will fade without use.

But hauling a fairy back home can’t be any more difficult than uprooting a tree.

Swapping out his glasses for his spare—the old frames that had gone out of fashion but he carries with him just in case—he ducks down into a squat and slips on his newer frames onto Karin’s face.

“Of course I’ll be back. You’re mine now, aren’t you?”

The glasses slip as Karin’s thin brows rise up in shock.

“I have your name now. And it’s mine.” Itachi watches as realization dawns in Karin’s face. She flips through confusion and anger but ultimately settles on a triumphant grin.

“And now so am I.”

Itachi exhales a laugh through his nose as she bounces to her feet, glasses askew, and hooks her arm around his.

“And so are you.”

He almost couldn’t wait to see the look on his great uncle’s face when he brought a living fairy home.

Nightly Visit

It wasn’t until she felt an arm wrap around her waist that she realized that someone else was in the same room as her. Sakura was in between sleeping and waking up, her body much too relaxed when her room was being invaded.

The body pulling her closer was impossibly warm and there was the slight hint of woodsmoke and the smell of familiar sandalwood and peppermint essential oil.

“Couldn’t sleep?” She murmured, words smothered by the way her cheek was pressed against her pillow.

“I was out for a walk,” Sasuke’s voice was low and husky right by her ear.

Sakura snorted and let him turn her body so that her forehead was pressed to his collarbone. She wrapped her leg over his hip and slipped his leg between her thighs.

Easy. Moving against each other was becoming so easy.

At times it felt like it should have been more difficult, more fumbling to click together. Sakura would catch herself with those thoughts and tried to chase them away by chastising herself. They had years apart to make up for, why make it more difficult by forcing issues where they didn’t belong?

It still amazed her how much he trusted her—how he would seek her out and allow himself to be so vulnerable in her presence.

Sasuke shifted down in the bed so that he and Sakura were eye level, his nose barely touching hers. His expression soft, eyes hooded with exhaustion.

“What are you thinking about?”

Sakura huffed lightly, her lips turning up into a soft smile. She was a horrible liar and wouldn’t be able to avoid the question. It was better to be honest, especially when the subject of her thoughts was right before her and looking as soft and adorable as her flower patterned bed sheets.


Sasuke exhaled a laugh through his nose, his lips turning up into a crooked and lazy grin.

“You are unbelievably cheesy, you know that.”

“I am adorable, thank you.”

Sasuke rolled his eyes, but the smile never left his face. “You’re ridiculous is what you are. How do you find it so easy to say things like that?”

“How do you find it so easy to keep breaking into my bedroom in my parents’ house?”

Sasuke scoffed, shifting under the covers so that he somehow looked even more comfortable than before.

“It’s a civilian home, it’s pretty easy. And this is only the second time.”

“Are you going to make this a habit?” Sakura curled closer to him so that her fist laid against his chest, rubbing her legs against his.

Sasuke didn’t answer, instead choosing to take hold of her chin and bring her face to his so that he could press a languid kiss upon her mouth. Their mouths molded slow and sleepily against each other, lasting only a brief moment. Sasuke pulled away and rested his forehead against hers.

“Can that be a habit?” Sakura murmured in the space between their faces. Sasuke exhaled another quiet laugh.

“You make it seem like I don’t kiss you.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t want more,” her voice quieted even more than it already was. She lightly traced the line of Sasuke’s jaw, feeling the barely there stubble. She circled her fingertips against the hairs. Maybe one day it wouldn’t bring her such awe that Sasuke had to shave.

She thought she would have gotten used to it in the time between the end of the fourth war and his departure, but the feeling never quite left. Especially now that she had a more tactile relationship with the stubble he grew.

“I’ll shave later,” he muttered against her lips, shifting so that he was hovering over her, braced on what was left of his left arm and the forearm of his right. His hand tangled in her hair, fingers wrapping rose gold strands around them.

Sakura snorted, almost too loud for the dark of her bedroom. It was so easy, so easy. Touching and talking under the covers. Easy conversation flowing as they wove their limbs together, pressing their bodies against each other as if to melt into one being.

Sasuke sighed contently into her mouth, hand sliding down her side to grasp her knee and wrap it around him as he rocked against her. The tips of his fingers flirted with the hem of her shorts, slipping under the fabric every now and then as he stroked her thigh.

He was so perfect like this—making soft happy sounds. Sakura would keep him like this forever if she could. She sighed as he pressed a kiss to her temple when her hands slid under his shirt and up his back. Her blunt nails dragged down his shoulder blades, not enough to hurt, but just enough pressure to have him leaning into her touch and grinding his hips harder against hers.

Sasuke winced as her mattress creaked a little more loudly at a particularly hard thrust that had Sakura arching her back.

“My bed is so much better for this.”

“I can’t believe you’re complaining right now.”

“Well, it is.”

“I seriously can’t believe you’re complaining while you’re dry fucking me right now.”

Sasuke paused in his movements and looked down at her, brows drawn down in confusion.

“You nagged at me the other day about a missing pen while I fingered you.”

“You have any idea how hard it is to find a pen that writes that well?” Sakura whined. “I loved that pen.”

Sasuke chuckled, hiding his face in the crook of her neck to muffle the sound. Sakura tightened her thighs around his hips, enjoying the feeling of his breath against her neck.

“Is it normal to talk so much during sex?” Sakura’s face scrunched up in thought.

“Since when have we been normal?”

Sasuke looked down at her with such a serious expression that she couldn’t help but burst into a peal of giggles. It was a genuine question and with the way their relationship was it made sense. It made her heart ache a bit, but there was something warm mixed in that dull feeling.

Because they were here, in this moment.

“And this isn’t sex yet.”

Sakura hummed against his mouth as Sasuke picked up from where he had left off. He had almost succeeded in thoroughly distracting her when he palmed one of her breasts when his words finally clicked.

“Sasuke-kun! My parents are literally down the hall,” she hissed as he sucked on the upper swell of her breast peeking from the collar of her tank top. “You are risking my mother potentially murdering you.”

As much as her parents seemed to like Sasuke, Sakura wasn’t going to risk incurring the wrath of her very traditional mother finding her in bed with a man she wasn’t married to yet.

Sasuke huffed, laying his cheek against her chest and nuzzling his face. He looked up at her with hooded eyes and sleep rumpled hair. He was so unfair sometimes.

“Stop doing that.”

“Stop what?”

“Stop acting cute.”

With a scoff, Sasuke laid more of his weight on top of her. He muttered something against her sternum that sounded a lot like “I’m not cute.”

“We both know that’s not true.” Sakura carded her fingers through his hair, causing him to sigh and melt against her.

“I just wanted to sleep.”

It shouldn’t have been allowed for Sakura to be Sasuke’s primary care physician. She had tried to convince him that Ino would be professional and respectful—had hoped she was familiar enough of a person to him for him to drop his guard—but he hadn’t been compliant.

Ino had slapped his folder on her desk and had raised a single, perfectly arched eyebrow at her and crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“He’s your problem.”

She was more than aware of his issues with sleep since arriving back in Konoha. More often than not, he would curl up on her office couch and nap during his free time.

Part of the problem was that marriage had turned Naruto into a morning person. Sasuke would attempt to catch some sleep, only to be woken up by loud banging on his front door.

It was even worse when Naruto decided to demonstrate that he finally learned how to properly pick a lock. He had almost walked in on something both she and Sasuke were keeping private as they explored the feelings they could finally focus on.

When they were genin and small, Sakura hadn’t realized that Sasuke wasn’t a morning person. He was always the first one to arrive at meeting locations and being a naturally quiet person hid the fact that he was exhausted. He had always pushed his body in order to reach his goals.

But here he was without goals that required all of his focus and drive to be at the intensity that he was used to having. This was a Sasuke finally at rest and yet he was struggling to do so properly.

Pressing a kiss to the top of his head, Sakura nudged Sasuke until he released his hold on her and raised himself up so that she had room to move. Gently, she guided him to lie back down on the bed and sat on her knees between his parted legs.

“It’s still a little hard, huh?” She asked him, massaging his calves.

“Well, yeah. We were rubbing against━”

“That’s not what I meant, Sasuke-kun!” Sakura slapped his knee, cheeks burning. If it weren’t for the clearly amused look in his eye, she wouldn’t have caught the fact that he was only teasing her. “You know what I meant.”

The amused glint dimmed to a lowlight. He shifted his gaze away from her, staring at her wall, a wrinkle forming between his brows.

Sasuke had come home months ago and had settled back into living in the village. He had settled physically, but emotionally he seemed to still be standing at the gate. His time in the hospital and the weeks leading up to his departure for his journey had settled some unease he had about Konoha, but there was still so much that he was conflicted over.

It didn’t help that the councillors that had presided with Danzo were still active. Two years was not enough time for some wounds to heal.

“I did want to come back,” Sasuke insisted. He still refused to look at her, choosing to continue to stare at the wall. Sakura continued to rub her hand along his calf in soothing motions. It could be counted as a victory that he hadn’t tensed up or made a move to leave.

“I’m glad you did.” Sakura worried at her lower lip, gliding her teeth over it, scraping against the smooth surface.

“I am too.” Sasuke’s tone was firm. He sat up, wiping his hand down his face with a sigh. “None of the other shit has anything to do with you.”

“You keep saying that, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to help you with it.”

“You shouldn’t have to.”

“It’s a want, Sasuke-kun.” Sakura pulled his hand away from his face and held it between her own hands. She rubbed her thumbs along the lines of his palms. “There are no feelings of obligation.”

“I don’t want to involve you in the bad shit in my life,” he muttered.

“You can’t keep protecting me from it.” Sakura shifted on her bed so she was sitting with Sasuke’s legs in her lap. She stroked down the muscle of his calf to his ankle. She cradled it in her hands, rolling it. “If we want this relationship to keep working, I can’t have you in halves just because you think I’m not supposed to be exposed to anything regarding stuff from your past. You do want this relationship to work, right Sasuke-kun?”

Sasuke sighed, folding forward to lay his head on her shoulder. “More than you know.”

Frowning, Sakura moved her fingers to his foot, massaging the soles. He was always saying things like that regarding his feelings for her and their relationship. Usually he looked at her with a soft appreciation, a fondness, when she moved with him as if they were extensions of each other. And then there were times like this when he tossed out words that had her insides furl in confusion. What did he mean exactly?

“Then help me understand.”

Lifting his head off of her shoulder, Sasuke reached for her hand and pulled it away from his foot. He slid his fingers in the spaces between her own, slow and purposeful as if to ensure that he touched every surface of skin offered before he hit the grooves.

“I can’t sleep, but that’s fine because I’m here.”

Simple. Easy.

Sasuke leaned in closer so that his nose rubbed against the side of hers. His lips barely brushed against hers. She felt his next words with every movement.

“Touching isn’t enough, but it’s all I can do to help alleviate that feeling.”

“Then touch all you want,” Sakura murmured back, slipping her arms around his shoulders, hooking them behind his neck.

The softest touches always ended up all consuming. It was truly never enough with Sasuke, a simple truth that always left Sakura’s cheeks hot and her stomach airy. He pressed into her, fingers splayed against her skin, spreading as far apart as possible as if he was trying to cover as much of her surface as possible.

It was selfish, but sometimes Sakura wondered how it would have been if he still had his other hand. How much more of her could he hold onto? They still had the prosthetic limb, but Sasuke kept refusing it, eyes turning frosty the last time she had suggested it when he had been frustrated with their fumbling around and adjusting. It was as if the suggestion of something that wasn’t him touching her in such a way had insulted him to his very bones.

Sakura dragged her hand down the front of his chest and further, snaking her hand under his shirt. She traced the ridges of his abdominals and felt him clench underneath the pads of her fingers. Sasuke groaned, low in the back of his throat and Sakura chased the sound by teasing the fine hairs that trailed down from his navel.

Sasuke sighed happily into her mouth when his hand slipped under the waistband of her shorts and he gripped her hip. His fingers released their hold and continued to travel down and gripped a buttock.

Giggling at his unabashed enjoyment, Sakura pushed gently against his shoulders and guided him to lay on his back again. He slid his hand up her back to try and bring her down with him, but she fought back against his hold. With furrowed brows, he looked up at her in confusion.

She drummed her fingers along the waistband of his sleep pants and tugged on it. “I’m going to make you relax.”

“I need to━”

“Nope!” Sakura chirped, shaking her head. She palmed him over his pants, rubbing her hand over his length. “Not today. My bed’s too creaky for that.”

“Sakura,” Sasuke frowned at her, “What are you up to?”

“Well, you always━you know.” Sakura cleared her throat,”I figured I could do it too.”




“Wow.” Sakura raised a brow at him, biting her lip to keep from laughing. “That really took out your ability to form sentences, huh?”

“Shut up.” Sasuke averted his gaze, cheeks reddening under the low moon light streaking through her bedroom window.

“So lift your hips up,” Sakura instructed him. He scoffed but did as she had asked and she helped him drag his pants down enough to release his cock. It slapped against his stomach and Sakura couldn’t help the snort she released.

“Why does that always make you laugh?”

“It’s funny!” Once her giggles subsided, she stuck her middle and index fingers into her mouth, laving them with her tongue. The first time she had tried to stroke Sasuke’s cock, she had gone in dry and had learned instantly what a terrible decision that had been.

She loved to watch him as she worked her hands over him. Her heart ached as she watched him fall into an unguarded state. The blissed out glaze in his eyes and the way he bit down on his lower lip were all products of a very much deserved state of being.

Sakura settled herself between his thighs, her thumb rubbing along the slit of his head and gathering some precum to assist in the glide of her hand. She laid her elbows on top of his thighs and made herself comfortable. “Let me know if I can do something better.”

Experimentally, Sakura began at the base and flattened her tongue against his member and licked up to the head in a slow, measured pace, making sure to add pressure. Reaching the head, she pressed the tip of her tongue into the slit, giving it attention the same way she would when she stroked him with her hand. She made sure to keep a steady fist holding on to his cock so that she could hold him properly in her mouth when she encased her lips around the head.

There was no way she was doing a proper job. Bobbing her head up and down, and sucking in her cheeks was putting a lot of stress on her jaw, but she would gladly continue for much longer. Sasuke’s fingers had sunk into her hair and little moans would slip past gritted teeth while his hips slightly thrust upwards. He seemed to enjoy it when she focused on his head, but didn’t like it when she reached to fondle his sac.

Sakura sucked in her cheeks even tighter and Sasuke’s hold on her hair turned painful. She flinched, squeaking around his cock in her mouth.

“Shit! Sorry.” Sasuke loosened his hold on her, but sat up and smoothed his fingers through her hair to guide her off of him. “It’s probably best that you stop. I don’t want to end up cunming in your mouth.”

Sakura frowned, pursing her lips. “Was that good enough for you to cum? It wasn’t even that long.”

Sasuke rolled his eyes and tugged on her arm, pulling her forward so that she would crawl up his body. Knowing what he wanted, Sakura shimmied out of her shorts, tugging her panties down with them.

When she was done removing her bottoms, Sakura settled next to Sasuke in her bed. He had already turned so that they could curl towards each other. As soon as she was situated on the bed, Sasuke peppered kisses to her face and trailed them down her neck and to her exposed collarbone. He kissed back up her neck until he reached her mouth and leaned in to press a kiss there, when Sakura leaned back. Eyes wide, he cocked his head at her in confusion.

Sakura looked away bashfully. “I just had your penis in my mouth.”

“Yeah. It was my penis. I’ll live.”

And with that he molded his lips with her, dragging out a moan from her when he slipped his tongue in her mouth. He coaxed a louder moan from her when he squeezed one of her small breasts, thumbing the nipple over her tank top.

“Shh, keep it down,” he teased her, slipping his fingers in between her thighs.

You keep it down.” She whined low in the back of her throat as he stroked her wet folds. Just as always, she got worked up from making Sasuke feel good.

Sakura shifted to give Sasuke more room to work with, as he dipped his fingers in between her folds and thumbed her clit. Sinking a finger into her, Sasuke pumped slowly, working his finger to accommodate for a second one. She bucked against his hands when he finally was able to pick up the pace.

Sakura pressed her face to his chest, muffling her moans into the fabric of his nightshirt. Blindly, she trailed her hands down his abdomen and further south until she could wrap her fingers around his shaft. She could feel Sasuke’s breath hitch when his chest moved against her cheek.

In tandem, they both worked on stroking each other, pressing sloppy kisses anywhere they could reach.

“I’m gonna cum soon,” Sasuke spoke against her temple. He punctuated the word cum with a curl of his fingers.

Reluctantly, Sakura stopped pumping her fist and pulled Sasuke’s hand away from her.

“Why did you—?”

“Shhh…” Sakura pushed back on his shoulder so that he laid back down and swung her leg over his hips to straddle him. With one hand on his chest to anchor her, she used the other one to guide him into her aching core.

Quickly, Sasuke grabbed the back of her neck and dragged her to his mouth so that he could swallow her satisfied moan as she sank down on his cock, stretching herself pleasantly. She laid flat against him, exchanging kisses while he was seated inside of her..

Just feeling full of him was pleasurable enough, but she wanted more━especially for Sasuke. Slowly, she lifted her hips and dragged them down, grinding against him. He hummed against her mouth, his hand sliding up her thigh and to her hip to steady her.

The mattress creaked and his hold on her hip tightened, making her stop.

“Not too fast,” he warned her, voice hoarse from the restraint.

“We should have done this on the floor,” Sakura giggled. She moved slowly again, taking him in deep and the sliding back up, but never hurrying her movements. From underneath her, Sasuke thrust slowly to match her movements, adjusting whenever a hint of a creak from below them would squeak.

It was slow going but soon enough, Sasuke groaned, holding her down as hot spurts filled her up from below. His grip on her hip relaxed after a final shudder, and his head lolled against her pillows. Brushing his hair away from his face, Sakura pressed a kiss to his forehead, removing his cock from inside of ehr with the act.

“Wait. You didn’t━”

“It’s fine,” Sakura insisted, grabbing the box of tissues from her nightstand and handing them to him to clean up. “You’ll just owe me an extra one next time.”

Sasuke was cute when he pouted, but she knew he would only get annoyed if she pointed it out. She kissed him again and grabbed the soiled tissues from his hand.

She pulled her shorts back on and tossed her panties into her laundry hamper. “I’m going to the bathroom.”

“Okay,” Sasuke murmured, tucking himself back into his pants.

Sakura used the restroom and took a quick shower. It wasn’t odd for her to wash up in the early hours of the morning. She was part of a family of morning people and her parents were used to her using the shower before anyone else could stumble into the bathroom.

Shuffling back to her room, a fluffy towel wrapped around her body, she had expected Sasuke to still be awake. Instead, he was curled up under her covers, finally having fallen asleep. Wanting to join him, she grabbed the first nightgown she could find in her dresser and slipped it over her head.

Sakura had a knee on her bed when he thought that her mother might try and seek her out when she woke up niggled at her mind. She locked her bedroom door and carefully slunk back under her sheets, making sure not to jostle Sasuke awake.

Sasuke sighed in his sleep, leaning into her body, cool from the shower. Smiling softly to herself, Sakura brushed his hair away from his face, taking in the soft features of his rested face.

They never did finish having the conversation about how he still wasn’t settling well in Konoha, but it could wait for another day as long as Sasuke could get some sleep. Sakura was sure this wasn’t going to be his last time sneaking away to her.

Sakura curled into him, wrapping her leg around his hip. They still needed to talk, but for now she would provide for him the safety of sleep.

WFLO Chapter 3

empty sheets would be easier

It wasn’t the first time she had shared a bed with someone. Just this past week she had shared a bed with someone twice before last night.

Sharing a bed with Sakura had been on purpose but also a mistake. The woman was constantly cold and had cocooned herself into a ball made of her duvet and sheets with only her feet sticking out. Karin had ended up shivering the whole night because Sakura had wrapped herself up so tightly that Karin couldn’t sneak into the cocoon of blankets with her.

Karin had not planned on sharing a bed with Sasuke, but she had attempted to be nice and put him in his and Sakura’s bed on her own and had ended up sideways and stuck under his weight until Sakura came home and freed her.

It wasn’t the first time she had shared a bed with someone, but it was definitely the first time she had shared a bed with someone and could not recall who the fuck it was and how the fuck she had ended up in her current situation.

Gingerly, Karin poked her bedmate on the head to see if he reacted. The only response she got was a soft murmur from behind the curtain of long hair that shielded his face. Sitting up in bed, Karin wrapped her arms around her knees and ran a hand down her face.

Whoever the mystery person was, he had a decent physique. He was around Suigetsu’s height and much leaner than Sasuke. His skin seemed extremely smooth and his hair was even silkier than Sakura’s best friend Ino.

Curiosity getting the better of her, Karin pushed back the strands of long hair blocking her view of the stranger’s face. Nodding to herself, Karin considered herself lucky. Despite the stress lines, mystery dude was pretty hot. He was almost as pretty as Sasuke which he kind of looked like as well.

That wasn’t too shocking once more memories of the day before started swimming to the forefront of her mind. She had been surrounded by a hell of a lot of Uchiha family members the day before considering Sasuke and Sakura finally had their official wedding and reception at the Uchiha estate.

Karin turned onto her stomach and reached over the edge of her bed, groping around for her clutch.

“Fuck yeah,” she whispered her cheer when she noticed her phone had at least thirty percent of it’s battery left. Pulling herself back up and noticing that mystery man still hadn’t woken up, Karin pushed back his hair and snapped a photo.

Someone had to know who the hell he was.



Ino Y. joined the group

Suigetsu H. joined the group

Jūgo S. joined the group

Karin U. changed the group’s name to “texts of shame”

Karin U.: Anyone know wtf this is?

Karin U.: [ATTACH:IMG]

Princess T&A: OMGGG

Princess T&A: well 1. Glad you’re alive cuz A. I had no clue where the FUCK you ran off to


Princess T&A: cuz B. that guy was literally the BEST MAN and stood across from us at the ceremony

Karin U.: I was wasted for like the whole wedding so no idk whoever the hell this is

Soggy Boy: 😂

Soggy Boy: Can I add Sasuke to this chat?

Best Boy: That would be a terrible decision.

Princess T&A: He’s also kind of…*busy*

Best Boy: how inebriated were you, Karin?

Karin U.: I was drinking on an empty stomach like all I ate was a fruit salad before I hit the open bar

Karin U.: Okay I had grapes

Karin U.: Alright FINE I only had wine before hitting the open bar

Princess T&A: This is why I tried to give you some fucking bread to eat

Princess T&A: and then you told me that you weren’t a fucking bird despite being as elegant as a swan

Soggy Boy: Aren’t swans like the devil?



Karin plugged her phone into her power bank and internally thanked Sakura for having bought it for her after one too many times that her phone had died while she was out. She was kind of perfect for Sasuke considering he was a mess of a human being. It was like his saint of a wife was designed for him.

It was a little unfair that Sasuke was married to someone that would make him tomato mozzarella paninis at two in the morning and Karin had woken up to one of his hungover relations who was still past out despite it being almost noon.


Karin slapped her cheeks and narrowed her eyes at her reflection in the ensuite’s mirror. Her foundation had melted and left her all patchy and one eyebrow was half missing. At least her mascara was still intact and not runny. Maybe it was in fact better than sex? She owed the brand a review.

“Thank you, Ino,” Karin hummed as she removed her emergency kit from her oversized clutch. When she had met Sakura’s childhood best friend, she just knew that the two of them were soul sisters.

Proof lied in the makeup pouch given to her when they had arrived before the reception. The pouch contained makeup remover wipes, aspirin, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a mini deodorant, spare panties, an eyebrow pencil, and a mini tube of mascara. Ino was truly a woman after her own heart.

Karin immediately took advantage of the makeup wipes. Taking quick inventory of the items in the bathroom, she decided the best course of action was to take a shower. She was feeling sticky and she was pretty damn sure only forty percent of the stickiness was from spilled alcohol.

She took a moment to just enjoy the perfect water pressure. She let the water fall down her back. There was something about showers after waking up that felt akin to what a baptism must feel like.

It wasn’t new information that Sasuke came from money, but it really was coming all back to her as she stood under the cascade of three separate shower heads. It was heavenly and she was going to make a request about having a similar shower installed wherever Sasuke and Sakura planned to move into.

But that was future talk that wouldn’t happen until the two of them came back from their honeymoon. Their freaking food tour of Asia honeymoon. It was still stuck in Karin’s mind that Sasuke was a trust fund kid and she was living in the closet size second bedroom of his apartment. One would think he would be able to afford a place where she had more walking space in her living quarters.

What Karin needed to focus on was the body still lying in bed when she walked out of the ensuite, towel wrapped tightly around her body. She would be concerned that he was dead if it weren’t for the way his body slightly shifted with his breathing.

“Hope you don’t mind, dude,” Karin muttered as she rifled through the drawers and closet for something to wear. There were sparse pickings, but what she did find made her wonder whose bedroom the two of them had stumbled upon.

Everything was designer and the complete opposite of Sasuke’s casual combination of skater and art hoe aesthetics. Whoever the hell usually used the bedroom they had taken over seemed to dress like he was always heading to a business lunch.

Luckily, Karin had found a henley in one of the drawers and tossed it over her head and slipped her arms through it. She didn’t bother looking for bottoms. She knew there was no way she was going to find anything that her slim hips could hold up. The person who she was borrowing the shirt from was at least tall enough to ensure that her stolen top was the length of a mini dress on her.

“How rude would it be to rifle through your pockets and look for a wallet?” Karin asked her still sleeping companion. Rolling her eyes, she decided to behave and took a seat at the desk, pulling her knees to her chest. She spun around in the chair until she was facing the desk properly.



Itty Bitty: pls tell me you’re near my duffle bag

Princess T&A: ofc I am

Princess T&A: *I* was a good girl last night and slept in my designated bedroom

Itty Bitty: Uh huh

Itty Bitty: So who’s the guy you’re all over in your story?

Princess T&A: For the love of God tell me you mean Snapchat and not IG

Itty Bitty: Don’t worry. Papa Yamanaka isn’t going to see any dirty dirty

Princess T&A: I think my mom would be worse tbh

Itty Bitty: Anywho

Itty Bitty: I need clothes



Awkwardly holding down the bottom hem of the henley with both hands, Karin shuffled as fast as she could down the hall to the opposite wing of the manor. It was the middle of the afternoon and someone was likely to see her making a dash for her designated bedroom with her lilac bridesmaid dress with the tulle skirt  and oversized silver clutch tucked under her armpit.

Fortunately, she hadn’t run into anyone as she slipped into the guest bedroom she and Ino were supposed to use last night.

“You’re an actual trainwreck.” Ino paused in straightening her hair to turn and look at her.

Karin dumped her belongings on the twin bed that still had its perfect military tucks. She looked down at her stuff and then fell forward face down. “I forgot my heels.”

Ino shrugged and turned back around to use the vanity. “You can get them back later.”

Lifting her head up, Karin twisted her lips in a frown. “Your hair is already straight, why do you even bother?”

Ino clacked her flat iron at Karin threateningly, but ignored the question. Rolling her eyes, Karin rolled off of the bed, catching herself in a squat before straightening up. Standing behind Ino, she began to create a tight braid that ran against the line of her undercut on the left side of her head. Snatching the flat iron from Ino, she tamed her frizzing hair now that it was drying up.

“So, are you going to tell me who the hell I woke up next to?”

“Nope!” Ino pulled out her makeup box and beamed at her. “It’s funnier this way.”

“Sakura wouldn’t treat me like this.”

“Sakura is too busy recovering from being dicked down all night to be of any help to any of us right now.” Ino smacked her lips and pouted at her reflection. She nodded in approval at her choice in lip gloss before spinning around in her seat. “I had to make sure everything she needed for her trip was packed. She’ll be useless until brunch is served.”


“If you’ve seen that thing, you would know. I’m surprised he hasn’t broken her in half yet. She’s so tiny too.”

“I’m going to need therapy after this conversation. She’s a saint, she doesn’t get dicked down.”

“You literally live with them. Don’t you━”

“No. I refuse to entertain this conversation. Not unless you tell me who this Best Man is.”

Ino hummed to herself and packed up all of her makeup. She stood up and pinched Karin’s cheek, avoiding her flailing and slapping.

“You might want to put pants on before heading downstairs.” Ino dug into Karin’s floral print duffle bag and pulled out a pair of black leggings and tossed them at her. “Do you want the white sleeveless top that ties into a knot at front or your black, lacey bandeau and denim boyfriend shirt?”

“Help me put my leggings on?” Karin sat down on Ino’s bed and kicked her legs. “I’m barely functioning right now.”

“No. Act your age.”

“Ugh, fine.” Karin stood up and wiggled into her leggings. “Sakura wouldn’t treat me like this.”

Ignoring Ino’s selections from her clothes, Karin put on her slippers and grabbed her oversized sunglasses. She was going to assume that the day before was the only exception to the “no wearing shoes in the house” rule that all Asian families followed. It was an obnoxious rule for the giant Spanish Revival style home, but Karin wasn’t going to argue with Mikoto Uchiha.

“Don’t forget your slingbacks. We’re probably going to be eating on the patio.”

Groaning, Karin bent over to pull out her little black heels from where she had kicked them under her bed the morning of the wedding. She had barely been able to enjoy her temporary living quarters when the maid had informed her that the Uchiha and Haruno families were returning from the shrine to change for the church wedding.

The Uchiha family had been very accommodating and had agreed to have a church wedding for the Harunos because Mebuki followed the Catholic faith, as long as they could also have their traditional shrine wedding. Apparently the Uchiha family always wed at dawn with the rise of the sun. How anyone had dragged Sasuke out of bed in the morning, Karin didn’t know. No one could pay her enough to do that.

Sakura had ended up having three dress changes for her wedding. She wore a traditional shiromuku and then changed into a Haley Paige bridal gown━the ivory embroidered sparkle tulle ball gown with the taffeta floral applique with beaded accent and strapless sweetheart neckline and cascading skirt of tulle and organza over cashmere lining that everyone had agreed looked absolutely darling on her.

Karin thought Sakura looked sweet, but it was killing her how she had the details of the dress memorized. Ino had gushed about it almost every day since they had first found the gown and it got stuck in a never ending loop in her brain.

The bridal gown only lasted the wedding and the few hours of photos until Sakura then changed into her reception dress━a red, long, lace fishtail qipao style gown that clung to her curves. It was another thing that Mebuki Haruno had been adamant about and Mikoto was more than willing to accept.

Some time before the church wedding, Karin and Ino had popped open two bottles of wine and pregamed the church ceremony. The Uchiha lived on the edge of their family owned and operated vineyard and it would have just been rude for Karin not to try the wine that had made them rich. There were several types and Karin had enjoyed them liberally throughout the day.

There had been a lot of waiting around, so there had been a lot of drinking. Sasuke and Sakura had disappeared often so that Sasuke could take photographs with his own camera. They kept delaying the wedding schedule, but who was going to get mad at them? It was their wedding day and they were the perfect picture of a happy couple.

No one was mad, but by the time Sakura had changed━and Sasuke had lost his suit jacket━for the reception in the Uchihas’ backyard, Karin was smashed. Luckily she wasn’t the type to slur or wobble around obnoxiously like a certain blond guest she was unfortunately related to. But everything was a blur. It was as if she was present and absent at the same time.

She vaguely recalled commenting about the utter unfairness of the Uchiha family genes. Sasuke was easily the prettiest, only now being rivaled by the newest addition to the family, but not a single one of them was plain looking. Fugaku was a silver fox and Mikoto was aging like fine wine. Ino had snickered and crudely replied something  about how ending the night with any of them would be a win.

Karin was very sure she had said something about climbing one of the Uchiha brood like a tree despite him lacking the height of some of his family members.

Wiping her face with her hands, Karin thanked the universe for building her with a figure that made bras pointless. She had slept a lot and was barely hungover, but her body was killing her. She was too sore and her meager  breasts were tender. She was glad for the long sleeved henley she had stolen. It covered up all of the love bites she had found all over her body and was loose enough that it didn’t cling to her.

Following Ino to the patio, Karin hoped the Uchiha family had prepared a buffet for brunch. She had been friends with Sasuke for four years and knew how he ate so she didn’t expect anything less.

Sasuke and Sakura had beaten them down to brunch. They were already seated and dressed for the day. Sasuke cut up a piece of french toast and fed it to Sakura as she browsed through photographs on his camera, causing Karin to gag at the saccharine display of affection. Leaving a space open between her and Sasuke, she took a seat and poured herself a mimosa.

“They’ve been like that the whole time,” Suigetsu grumbled from his seat. He propped his chin up with his fist and sipped on a Bloody Mary. “Someone remind them that they’ve been married for like six months already so all of this cutesy shit is extra as fuck.”

“It’s okay, Sui,” Jūgo patted him on the back, “someday someone will love you too.”

“If love makes me act like an idiot, no thanks.”

Karin raised her glass at Suigetsu’s response. She had been there and never wanted back. Love had her rearranging her life for someone else, only for her girlfriend to decide that she just wasn’t feeling the relationship anymore.

Karin had been perfect. She made sure the apartment was always pristine and never forgot important events. She planned romantic nights in and out and pampered Tenten on days that work had been particularly rough. Karin played the perfect partner when she went to work events with Tenten.

But nothing she did could make her love her back.

Love didn’t operate on transactions, it was either there or it wasn’t.

Ignoring the happy couple, Karin whipped her phone out and scrolled through Instagram. Sakura had already posted some of the professional shots that had been taken. Ino had posted beautiful black and white photos of Sakura with an edit of her birth date and her wedding date on them. The caption read: R. I. P. Sakura Uchiha née Haruno. Got dicked down to death.

Karin snorted, the champagne in her mimosa burning her nostrils. Kiba, Sasuke’s friend from high school, had been sitting next to her and he dodged the spray, almost sitting on Ino’s lap.

“Ino!” Sakura’s face was a deep flush of red. She threw a strawberry across the table at Ino that Kiba caught with his mouth. “My mother follows you!”

“Oh, please.” Ino rolled her eyes. “Your mother’s been knowing about your sex life ever since you two got caught by the cops getting it on off the side of the road.”

“Wasn’t that Sasuke’s cousin?” Kiba asked after he swallowed. “It’s, like, always Shisui that catches them.”

“It was a regular thing?” Jūgo raised a brow at the couple and shifted his gaze back and forth between the childhood friends.

“Oh, yeah.” Kiba snickered into his cup of coffee.

“Oi.” Sasuke glared at him, but it made no difference. Karin was sure that everyone had more than enough experience with that look. It wasn’t the cold look of when he was actually angry and everyone could tell.

Four years with Sasuke and Karin knew the ticks of his facial expressions and what his mood was like with the slightest movement of his body. But what did she actually know about him? She only knew about his childhood sweetheart for a year now and now the two of them had been married for six months. She wouldn’t even have known about the first three months of the marriage if it hadn’t been for Sakura sending her and Ino messages from their elopement.

Grabbing at the array of food on the table, she loaded her plate with food, not caring for what any of it was as long as it was edible. There had been an aching pit in her stomach ever since she had woken up and it was time to fill it with something. It was most likely a result of eating nothing but the meal at the reception and cake.

Scrolling down her Instagram feed, Karin found more photos from the day before. Half of them were memes created by Kiba and Suigetsu but most of them were actual photos from the wedding. Her favorites were from Sasuke’s account which was shocking. Sasuke did miracles with his smartphone which considering the fact he had only owned one for a year, it was a little unfair that his skills were that great.

Mikoto Uchiha had focused a lot on family in her posts. There were so many family members and Karin barely knew the immediate members of what they called the “main family.” Sasuke had always been the guarded sort and so all she really knew was that he had a mother, a father, an older brother, and then some cousins.

She had first met Obito Uchiha when they were freshman. It was the one relative Sasuke couldn’t hide from them. He just showed up whenever he felt like it. He was over doting and kind of weird, but he had also taken them out to eat at places none of them, with the exception of Sasuke, would ever have been able to afford to go to.

She had only met Sasuke’s parents because of the wedding. It was more than a little awkward how much Mikoto Uchiha knew about her considering she had never met her before. Of course it had been Sakura who had told Mikoto all about Karin. Nevertheless, Mikoto had insisted on the both of them following each other on social media. Karin gave her her Instagram and Facebook because they were safest.

It was as she was scrolling through Mikoto’s posts that she started to find glimpses of the mystery man she had left sleeping in bed. He was in the background of multiple shots and in some of the more important ones, but for some reason he wasn’t tagged at all—even in the photos that he was posing with only Sasuke and Sasuke’s parents.

The amount of photos and the captions had Karin’s gears turning. Ino had mentioned he was the best man and there was supposed to be an older brother that would take over the business side of the family vineyard. Things were moving slowly in her still waking mind. She had the formula and the factors, but plugging them all together didn’t make it easier to read while her head ached.

“Is your brother still sleeping?”

Mikoto Uchiha breezed in, looking as elegant and proper as always. Karin wouldn’t have been surprised if the woman didn’t own a single pair of sweats and only wore satin slips and nightgowns to bed.

“That’s unusual. He’s usually the early riser while you sleep in as long as possible.”

Her comments were directed at Sasuke, but she smiled beatifically at all of them. It made Karin slump into her seat, feeling frumpier than before. Usually Karin was more put together and Mikoto Uchiha would be #Goals, but at the moment Karin just wanted a Bloody Mary, a detailed account of the night before, and possibly a nap by the pool.

“He disappeared sometime during the reception too.” Mikoto sat between Sakura and Jūgo and served herself a small portion of the fruit salad. “I figured we were too far out for him to run off to one of his Tinder hookups. What am I going to do with him?”

Karin stuffed three of the medallion pancakes on her plate into her mouth, ignoring the way everyone except for the Uchihas sitting down at the table looked at her. Processing everything no longer required more of her brain power.

“There you are!” Mikoto waved at someone behind Karin. “I was wondering when you would show up.”

“I needed a lie in after last night.”

The voice was deep and smooth and vaguely familiar. Which seemed like a good sign because it meant she had done more than take the guy to bone town possibly.

“Good afternoon, everyone.”

The owner of the voice took the available seat between Karin and Sasuke. He sat down with more grace than should have been allowed for someone that had just been in a coma.

Please tell me I didn’t fuck someone that dresses like he just parked his boat that his daddy bought him and is now looking for a mojito.

Sasuke’s brother was dressed in a breezy cotton button down shirt that was French tucked into a pair of gray pressed slacks.

“Not even bothering to hide all of that.” Sasuke pointed at his brother’s neck with distaste, circling his finger all over. “Stay classy, Itachi.”

Welp. At least she had a name now.



Sakura looked at Itachi’s neck to Karin’s steadily darkening cheeks. The red of them was intense under the white frame of her large sunglasses. It was pretty obvious what had happened and no one else seemed  shocked in the least when they directed their attention to Karin.

Except for Sasuke. The only thing he was paying attention to was his omelette, but that was pretty typical of him.

Ino was looking much too entertained by the whole thing, which again, was pretty typical. It wouldn’t have surprised Sakura if Ino knew about whatever was going on with Itachi and Karin before they had shown up to brunch.

A lot had happened the day before apparently, especially at the reception. Sakura had been in her own little bubble with Sasuke so it wasn’t until they all got together the next day that she knew about anything.

Not a single Snapchat story was safe, nor any Instagram posts or Twitter feeds. Sakura had scoured  all of her friends’ accounts to find out what they all had gotten into without them. There was lots of running through the fields and under the trellises recorded and even some memes about inside jokes that Sakura couldn’t understand.

She had spent most of her wedding sneaking off with her husband and acting like the newlywed couple her and Sasuke’s extended families believed they were. She had been chanting “our marriage, their wedding” for months as her mother and Mikoto Uchiha wedding planned like crazy and last night was the break that both she and Sasuke finally received.

Sakura was so sure that most of the wedding craze was punishment for running off and getting married behind everyone’s back. Neither she nor Sasuke wanted all of the hassle and work, but it was exactly what they ended up having to do in the end.

At least they got a food tour of Asia for their honeymoon slash Sasuke’s graduation gift as a result of having to put up with all of the wedding shenanigans. Sasuke had almost fallen asleep standing up during their dawn shrine ceremony.

Sasuke sighed from his seat next to her, slipping his fingers between hers under the table. In his other hand was his phone as he scrolled through their itinerary.

“I can’t believe the flight is going to be over twenty-two hours.”

“Good thing we will be flying in luxury and get our own special suite.” Sakura rolled her eyes, but squeezed his hand affectionately.

“My parents had no idea what they were doing when they booked us a double suite.”

“Sasuke.” Sakura shot him a pointed look. “I doubt the dividers will give us that much privacy.”

“We’ll just be quiet.”

“That’s exactly what you said about one of our hostel bookings when you realized we weren’t getting our own private quarters.” Sakura rolled her eyes again and poked him in the cheek. Her phone chiming interrupted her from flirting with her husband.



Sakura U. has joined the group

“Texts of Shame”

🐷: Stop making bedroom eyes at your husband and make fun of Karin with us

Sakura U.: Leave her alone. She already had the misfortune of sleeping with Itachi out of all of the available guests

Little Red💖: Wait. What’s wrong with him?

Sakura U.: Well his lesser crime is that he dresses like a frat boy that just parked his boat that his daddy bought him

Little Red💖:  OMG HE DOES

🦈Sui🦈: 😂😂😂

🦈Sui🦈: What did you do last night? Leech him?

Jūgo: Karin, if you’re not careful he’s going to see the group chat

Little Red💖:  Fuck this I’m out

Little Red💖: You bitches better be getting your swimsuits and joining me at the pool

Jūgo: Does that include me?

Little Red💖: The bitches and one best boy better meet me at the pool

🦈Sui🦈: If Sakura is like Karin’s mother figure, does that mean she just fucked her uncle?

Little Red💖:  Okay Soggy Boy, Wet Boy, Never Fucking Dry is BLOCKED



“Why did it take you almost an hour to change into a teeny bikini?” Ino crossed her arms in front of her chest and raised a brow as Sakura slid into the pool chair next to her.

“My husband wanted to take a nap.”

“How has he not killed you yet?”

“I don’t know, but anymore and not even sitting on a bag of frozen peas is going to help,” Sakura grumbled, adjusting her sarong and sheer kimono wrap, as Ino guffawed and slipped her sunglasses back on. “How is Karin doing?”

“I think she’s trying to drown herself in the shallow end of the pool right now.”

Sakura craned her neck to get a better view of the other end of the pool. Suigetsu was circling around Karin, who was only noticeable because her bright red hair was swirling on the surface of the water.

“Does the hubby know that one of his friends slept with his older brother?” Ino asked, pouring Sakura a glass of wine. Sakura wasn’t much of a drinker unless Sasuke was around, but she was in his family home and safe to indulge.

“If he did we wouldn’t be having a peaceful afternoon.” Sakura sighed, taking a small sip of wine, biting down on the rim of the glass with her lips in thought. “I’m not even sure who he would be more upset with, Karin or Itachi.”

Sakura laid back, relaxing under the sun, for fifteen minutes before Karin stalked up the steps of the shallow end and walked around to the pool chairs by the deep end. She took out one of her ear buds and lowered the volume on her phone as Karin slumped into a seat next to her.

“What’s up?” Karin whipped her wet hair over her shoulder and reached over Sakura to grab the wine on the table between her and Ino.

“Sasuke sent me a playlist so I’m listening to it and I’m freckling since I can’t tan for shit.”

Ino snickered as she continued to apply tanning lotion on her legs. Sakura scowled at her, knowing Ino would get a nice glow despite freckling on her shoulders. Sakura had to avoid direct sunlight the days leading up to her wedding so that her skin would be nice and smooth with only her natural light dusting of freckles on her face which was covered up with makeup regardless. Sasori and Obito had done an amazing job on her hair and makeup.

“What are the odds of Sasuke paying for an Uber back to our place so I can escape any potential awkwardness?” Karin tugged on the collar of her long sleeve rashguard. As a ginger, she had to protect herself even more than Sakura did or she would turn into a giant freckle.

“That’s almost two hours away so not likely at all.” Sakura sat up and grabbed a dry towel, ruffling Karin’s hair dry. “I still can’t believe you slept with Sasuke’s brother. Did I think you would sleep with someone? Maybe I did. Did I think it would be him? Not at all.”

“I don’t even remember how it happened and much of last night so it feels like a rip off.” Karin groaned, pulling off her rashguard and wrapping herself up with a fluffy beach towel.

“I kind of ditched you at the bar and ran off with one of Sasuke’s cousins, Sai or whatever. You know, the one that’s a cousin but doesn’t have the Uchiha last name?”

“Oh, we all know that.” Sakura snorted. “It’s all over your Snapchat story.”

Ino pushed her until she fell sideways back on to her pool chair. Sakura kept giggling and grabbed her phone to pull up photos she had screenshot. The two of them wrestled over Sakura’s cell phone until Jūgo came over and split them up and sat down on Karin’s pool chair, taking up all of the available space so that she had to switch seats and sit with Sakura.

“Where were you last night?” Karin narrowed her eyes at him, tucking her towel tighter around her body. “Why was no one around to stop me from making stupid decisions?”

“I was trying to get laid,” Ino defended herself with a smirk. “And we all know Sakura was off consummating her marriage again.” Sakura slapped her leg. “And I think the boys went to go find the stables.”

“That explains why I woke up in the middle of the fields covered in hay.” Jūgo hummed, satisfied with finally getting an explanation.

“They left you in the field?” Sakura stared at him, horrified.

“At least it wasn’t raining.”

“This is almost as bad as them losing you and you were almost an hour away at my place.”

“I got fresh baked bread out of that.”

Sakura rolled her eyes and slid her sunglasses back on. She still didn’t know how it was possible that Sasuke got drunk enough to black out with his college friends. He consumed his own weight in alcohol whenever they hung out with their childhood friends and nothing ever happened to him.

“Kiba wants us to get together and hang out just all of us tonight,” Ino announced, looking down at her phone. “Is that alright with everyone?”

Sakura scrunched up her nose in distaste and shook her head. “I have a flight to catch tomorrow and I’d rather not be hungover for that.”

“Just have Sasuke drink your drinks. It’ll be like high school all over again.”

Suigetsu cackled from the deep end of the pool, clutching the edge. “Ha! Lightweight.”

“Can’t hang out anyway.” Karin grabbed her cellphone from the table between Ino’s chair and the one she shared with Sakura. “I have to start crowdfunding for an Uber home.”

“Oh, honey…you’re never going to get enough.” Ino clucked her tongue. “Just wait until I can take you back tomorrow.”

“Ha! Someone sent me three dollars already,” Karin cheered. “Ah, fuck. It’s from Sasuke. His note says to return his wife and to not destroy the apartment.”

Sakura stood up and grabbed her things, making sure that her kimono and sarong didn’t shift and reveal any marks Sasuke had left behind. “I’m surprised he sent you anything.”

“He’s mocking me,” Karin grumbled, not looking up from her phone. “He could have paid for my Uber.”

“Good luck, Karin.” Sakura waved behind her as she walked up the stone stepping stones to the patio.

Despite what she had said, she and Sasuke would both end up hanging out with their friends later that night. Shisui had insisted on using the firepit which meant their friends would be staying or returning for the bonfire.

She knew Sasuke had only been messing with Karin when he had sent her the note demanding her return, but Sakura still chose to head back inside. It had been an interesting past three months and sneaking around yesterday and hiding throughout the massive expanse of the grounds was the closest they had gotten to being properly alone in a long time.

He’ll probably be hungry again.

Sakura headed toward the kitchen and sighed contently when she found it empty. She had no idea how Mikoto dealt with having staff in her home. She wouldn’t have the patience to explain to a housekeeper that she wanted to cook for her own family. Growing up with Sasuke and visiting the Uchiha estate, it had been hard to wander in the kitchen to look for a snack with someone hovering over her and asking her how they could help and insisting they could get her whatever she needed.

Pulling out ingredients from the fridge and the pantry, Sakura hummed to herself as she prepared to make caprese garlic bread.

She had just finished spreading her garlic, parsley, and butter spread on the loaves of ciabatta that had most likely come from her family’s bakery, when the kitchen door swung open.

Realizing that it was only Itachi, Sakura turned her attention back to placing her ciabatta in the oven and the pot of balsamic vinegar and honey she had on the stove.

“What are you doing?” Itachi asked her. She kept her eyes on what was going to become a glaze for the bread and ignored Itachi who was grabbing something from the fridge.

Sakura continued with her business as if he weren’t there, topping the toasted ciabatta bread with shredded mozzarella and slices of tomatoes. She hummed to herself as she moved about the kitchen.

“Making something for Sasuke?” Itachi cut in once more. Sighing, Sakura cleaned up what she no longer needed and finally turned to him to give him the attention he was seeking. “Seems awfully…performative.”

Bracing her hands on the kitchen island, Sakura forced a smile on her face. “What do you mean?”

“Just that there’s a whole spread available.” Itachi gestured to the food laid out on the counter for the guests to grab whenever they felt like it. “And you’re playing up the part of wife by making something else.”

“Wow, how cunning I am.” Sakura rolled her eyes and pulled her phone out of her pocket to check the time and send Sasuke a quick text. “How dare I make something my husband would like. How dare I care enough to make something instead of just grabbing from what’s in front of me.”

Out of all of the people invited to her wedding, Sasuke’s creepy brother was the last person she would have wanted Karin to end up hooking up with. Growing up, Sakura had never quite liked him. She tolerated him as an unfortunate relation of Sasuke’s, but preferred to ignore him.

Karin—to Sakura at least—was like chocolate. She held firm and could be bitter or sweet, but with just a little bit of warmth, she melted.

And then Itachi was like plum wine━sour.

Having watched Sasuke chase after his brother until he reached his teens and finally lost his hero worship of Itachi, Sakura wasn’t keen on Karin getting close to him.

It didn’t help that Itachi kept blaming her for the elopement, refusing to believe the truth that it had been Sasuke’s idea. No one could make Sasuke do anything he didn’t want to do and yet Itachi still hung onto the belief that Sakura had somehow coerced him into it.

“The glaze is too sweet.”

“And yet, Sasuke has been fine with it every time I make this.” Sakura’s cheeks hurt from the smile she was forcing on her face.

Every time Itachi acted as if he knew better she would get the urge to pull his hair as if she were twelve again and wrestling with Ino. She wanted to tug on silky strands that are incredibly different than Sasuke’s and tell him off—tell him that Sasuke wasn’t eight years old anymore and ate all of his food like a big boy and that Itachi didn’t know him as well as he thought he did.

Sakura straightened up, standing as tall as she can in her resolve and clutched tightly to the tray she had just prepared. “I know you are more than aware about what happened last night. And I know you don’t care about what I have to say. But Karin is Sasuke’s friend. Just remember that.”

Without giving him a chance to respond, Sakura scurried out of the kitchen through the swinging doors that led to the small service corridor that led to the back staircase to the living quarters in the upper floor.

She grew up in the service corridor and sometimes it felt like that’s where Itachi had expected her to stay, just the daughter of the private chef the Uchiha family had hired. He would never say so and he probably didn’t actually have any opinion of her, but she felt it in the false smiles he gave her.

Sakura gave them right back. She may have held her tongue, but Sakura had her own feelings about the neglectful older brother with his warped sense of familial love.

No one said you had to like all of your in-laws.

She made her way up the back staircase like she had been doing for years. Like she had when she was seven and curious. When she was thirteen and sneaking up to see her friend. When she was sixteen and her boyfriend was waiting for her. And now when she was twenty-one and bringing up a snack to her husband.

Sakura could have found her way to Sasuke’s room in the dark—and had a handful of times. She rapped her knuckles against the door, her own special knock, before opening it.

Sasuke was at his desk, his laptop and external hard drive set up as if he had been working. The eucalyptus scented candles from earlier were still burning away and the heady scent was heavy in the air.

“Hey, darling. Working on your portfolio?” She asked, setting the tray on top of an empty spot on his desk before sliding onto his lap. She sat on his knee, legs tucked between his spread legs. Sasuke’s arm moved fluidly to support her back with a readiness that could be attributed to muscle memory.

“Just editing a few things first.”

On his laptop’s monitor is one of the photos he had taken of her in her church ceremony gown. The lighting is a lot better than the original, taking it from a pretty image to perfect.

“You know what’s a great photo?” Sakura minimized the program and scrolled through the folder with the uploaded photographs while Sasuke reached around her for a slice of cheesy garlic bread. “This one.”

Sasuke had captured photographs of their friends throughout the wedding without their knowledge. One of Sakura’s favorites was a candid of Karin looking bored and leaning over the railing of the viewing dock at the lake on the property.

“I can’t believe she was sloshed during this.” It always amazed Sakura how Karin could pass for sober when she was actually completely wrecked. “Print this for the apartment.”

“Fine,” was his muffled reply, cheeks full of bread.

She scrolled through the photographs again while Sasuke ate, making note of which ones she wanted to have printed. Sakura was halfway through the photographs when she felt Sasuke fingering the edge of her bikini bottoms and pulling at the knot of her sarong.

“Nope.” She swatted at his hand. “I’m too sore.”

Sasuke sighed and dropped his chin on her shoulder. Wrapping his arm around her and shifting her in his lap, he continued to work on his edits.

Sakura gasped when he selected another image to edit. “You can’t even tell I’m short as fuck in this shot.”

Sasuke snorted, hiding his laughter in the crook of her shoulder.

“We have to get this one printed!”



Karin ended up getting a burn across the bridge of her nose. She was going to hate her life when the skin began to peel. Sasuke’s mother had gotten her some aloe for it, but it didn’t keep her from grumbling in annoyance.

Her face already felt hot from her burn and the fire roaring in the pit wasn’t helping.

After an afternoon floating in the shallow end of the pool and staring at the sky, Karin had calmed down enough to deal with spending another night at the Uchiha estate.

She hadn’t received enough funds through crowdfunding to pay for the expensive Uber ride. Most of her friends and classmates thought it was funny and some of her followers could only wish her luck.

I should have offered to sell some shirtless pics of Sasuke.

Selling the photos would have probably succeeded in funding the lift home and annoyed Sasuke. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have had any opportunities to obtain any since he would be heading to the airport the following day and she would have the apartment to herself for six weeks.

It was finally starting to set in that she would be alone for the first time in three months since she had broken up with Tenten. When the relationship had imploded, Sasuke had picked her up from the stoop of her former apartment building and she had been living with him and occasionally Sakura ever since. It was mostly her and Sasuke because Sakura worked in her parents’ bakery and attended culinary school in their hometown, but Sakura spent the weekends with them like she had apparently been doing since Sasuke got his own apartment on campus.

It had been a while since she was on her own. At least that’s how it felt after living with Sasuke and Sakura. It had only been three months and yet it highlighted how lonely she had felt in her relationship with Tenten.

She had spent so long throwing so much of herself into the relationship that she had just ended up continuing the cycle of letting someone take and take from her. It hadn’t been Tenten’s fault. Karin had easily shifted into the same role she usually filled until she was no longer wanted.

Karin wasn’t just bad at relationships, she was flat out terrible at them. She tried too hard and was left with nothing of herself in the end.

But it was what made the past three months so refreshing. It had been so long since she was allowed to just be. No one had any expectations for her, she didn’t have to force herself to match up to a partner or anyone.

She lounged around the apartment and Sasuke didn’t demand she pay rent and he had known her long enough to see through her attempts of trying to be as low maintenance as possible. He shot her disgusted looks whenever she curled herself up and tried to take up the least amount of space as possible.

He still shot her disgusted looks when she took over the common areas in the apartment, but it was a more endearing and warmer disgusted look—a friendly disgusted look that she had grown accustomed to during their years of friendship.

And then there was Sakura.

Karin looked across the fire pit to where Sakura was lounging against Sasuke’s back, wearing a pair of cutoffs and an old, oversized sweater that clearly belonged to Sasuke. Karin had been resistant at first, but Sakura practically forced her care upon her. No need to ask, no requests made━Sakura still made sure she had what she needed, even if Karin hadn’t realized it was what she had needed in the first place.

It hurt how eye opening it was that her friends spoiled her and cared for her more than any of the people she took herself apart for because she craved their love and approval.

Sasuke strummed the chords to La Vie En Rose and Karin rolled her eyes. It was cheesy and ridiculous. It had been the song played for his and Sakura’s first dance. Next thing she knew, Sasuke was going to break out in the original French like the pretentious shit he could be.

“Sing with your brother.”

Karin’s attention was redirected to the far side of the fire pit where Shisui was egging his cousin on, elbowing him in the ribs. Itachi shook his head with a soft smile.

“You know I can’t carry a tune to save my life.”

Karin cocked her head to the side in thought. The comment had sparked a memory of a familiar conversation. A conversation of someone declining to dance with her when one of the meddling old men suggested it because they were rhythmically challenged and couldn’t connect with music. She remembered reassuring them that it was fine because she had no hand-eye coordination.

She was still in slight shock that she had slept with Itachi Uchiha. He was nothing like any of the people she had dated in the past. He was more put together than any of them and looked like he belonged to a yacht club while her exes were regulars at biker bars. She had no clue what she could have possibly talked to him about before ending up in his bed.

Shaking her head, Karin grabbed one of the hard ciders and walked over to Sasuke and Sakura, squishing herself between the couple and curling herself around Sakura’s arm. Thinking on it wouldn’t do her any good and it wouldn’t have mattered.

It wasn’t as if she would come across Itachi Uchiha again.