Years of traveling light and using summoning tattoos had left Sasuke a minimalist. When he had first acquired an apartment when he returned to Konoha, his home was empty except for the bare essentials.
That was, until Sakura got involved in the arrangement of his home.
When they were simply spending time together, Sakura would bring something along to add more life to his apartment. Something to make it more “lived in” as she put it.
A wall clock in the shape of a cat on the wall by the fridge.
Wind chimes that hung on the veranda.
Succulents from Yamanaka Hana, imported from Suna.
Throw pillows and an afghan, handmade by Sakura and her mother, for the well worn couch that found its way from Kakashi’s old apartment.
And slowly, she put her touch on the more intimate parts of his home. Her little things made their way into his bedroom.
A reed diffuser for the calming essential oils she used for aromatherapy.
A wall tapestry with a painting of mountains, a gift from Sai.
Blackout curtains, so that he wouldn’t be disturbed by the bright Konoha sunshine that shone from the inconvenient east facing bedroom window.
These were all things that weren’t necessary to live but they were things that made his life better. Each little piece made his apartment a home not just shelter.
But Sakura was slowly crossing the line.
Sasuke lifted up the metal tube contraption and and spun the handle at the top. There was a slight disturbance in the flow of the spin.
Sasuke set the grinder back down on the countertop, not quite sure what to make of it.
“Hm?” Sakura hummed, walking into the kitchen with dish rags fresh from the wash.
“Why do we have this?”
“Sakura. We don’t drink coffee.”
Although the couple had opposing preferences in taste—she liking sweet foods and he liking spicy—they both agreed that they didn’t like the taste of coffee.
Their hot drink of choice was tea although they differed in that as well. Sasuke preferred matcha and Sakura liked something foreign, elderflower.
The herb was entirely Sakura in his opinion. It had health benefits but the plant the flower came from was also toxic.
Leave it to a master of poison to use a toxic plant in a domestic setting.
“Yes, but you never know when we may have a guest that does.”
And it continued on like that.
There were hand towels with his clan insignia in the bathroom and he wasn’t allowed to use those because they were there just in case they had guests.
There were cat shaped salt and pepper shakers to match the wall clock.
There was a table runner, only to be taken out when they invited guests to dinner.
And a tea set from her parents they weren’t allowed to use unless there were guests over.
“It’s getting crowded.”
Sakura looked up from her files, spread out all around her in the living room. She brought more work home now that they were married so that they could have more time together.
“I guess I could stack these better.” Sakura shuffled her files so that they were in more compact and orderly piles.
“That’s not what I meant,” Sasuke sighed.
He tilted his head in the direction of the television set and the numerous knick knacks on the matching shelves. It was a real feat placing all of the miscellaneous knick knacks considering the amount of books they kept in their apartment.
The items they owned surpassed superfluous in his opinion. At this point they were borderline hoarders.
“Do we really need all of this stuff?”
Sakura looked up from her papers and her eyes softened at the lost look on her husband’s face. His brows were drawn down and he bit his lower lip.
She loved this cute side of him that pouted but she also preferred when he was relaxed and comfortable.
“I don’t know.”
Sakura cocked her head to the side and smiled slyly at him. She traced the pads of her fingertips along his inner wrist and tugged on the hem of his shirt. She led him to their comfortable worn out couch and pushed him gently so that he would know to sit back.
She climbed onto his lap, straddling him and pulled their afghan over their heads.
“I kind of like all of this stuff. Makes this place feel like home.”
Everything was cozy, he couldn’t argue with that. But Sasuke learned a long time ago that things were not home. People were home.
And home was in his lap, soft and pliant under his hands.
Sakura was still at work at the Children’s Hospital when there was a knock on their apartment door.
If it was a guest for him, there would have been no knocking. His guest was the barging in where he was unwelcome type and Yamanaka Ino had her own key due to being the closest that Sakura had to an older sister. The woman always checked to make sure Sakura was eating all of her meals and sleeping whenever Sasuke was away.
There was a steady stream of chakra, tightly compact and coiling in a very controlled manner just outside his door. There was a similarity in the way it moved to that of Sakura’s but still entirely different.
Before Haruno Mebuki could knock on the door again he opened the door wide and greeted his mother-in-law.
Sasuke was grateful that she was only carrying a small cake box and not another trinket for the apartment. He and Sakura had plans to build their own house but at that moment their small apartment was all that they had and he was starting to feel overwhelmed by how crowded the space felt.
“I know Sakura is at work but I was going to be in the neighborhood anyway.” Mebuki slid off her sandals at the entrance and slid into the spare slippers Sakura had purchased the other week. “Thought I would bring you a treat while you were just going through some scrolls.”
Mebuki continued on further into the apartment as if the place was her own home and considering all of the trinkets and knick knacks and other homey items had come from her and Kizashi, it only made sense that she felt at ease strolling in and making use of his kitchen to serve up her homemade cake━the only cake Sasuke could stomach.
“Oh!” Mebuki spotted the coffee grinder, placed aesthetically on the kitchen island. “It’s about time Sakura got one for herself. Let’s see…”
She rummaged through the cabinets and found the bag of coffee beans and pour over coffee maker. She huffed and looked for the tea bags that kept stocked for guests and pulled out the kettle. She set everything on the counter and beamed up at him.
“Want to learn how to make yuanyang?”
Sakura came home late in the evening carrying a stack of documents. She would have done better to take a nap but it was obvious that she wasn’t going to rest until at least half of her work was done.
“I should make some tea…” she mumbled, shuffling to the kitchen. She stood on her toes and pressed her lips against Sasuke’s cheek as he packaged leftovers from the lunch he had with Mebuki.
“Let me make something for you.”
Sasuke made drip coffee in the pour over maker and set the kettle on the stove to make milk tea with Pu Lei. It was Mebuki’s favorite dark tea which she informed him of during lunch.
He mixed the tea and the coffee together in Sakura’s favorite mug and served it to her at their coffee table.
She hummed gratefully and sighed into the steam from the mixture.
“Like home in a cup,” she murmured and Sasuke smiled softly.
“Like home in a cup.” Mebuki had sighed and gave him a cheeky grin. “I made this for Sakura every night she stayed up to study. I made it every night for my husband when we would watch the fireflies. My mother made it every winter night for me and my father.”
“It’s crowded,” Sasuke said as he leaned against the couch by her legs. “But the coffee grinder can stay.”
“Oh, can it now?” Sakura giggled lightly.
“Aa,” Sasuke replied softly. “The grinder can stay.”
It could stay and could take up space because even though the grinder didn’t make the home, it made home a little happy.