Fireplace

The old house had had a fireplace. That was Sarada’s first thought as she wrapped her afghan tighter around her shoulders.

It was starting to become unbearably cold outside and although the apartment had decent insulation, the electric heater her mother bought was no replacement for the toasty warmth of a real fire.

We really should get a kotatsu…

During the winter she and her mother would cuddle together under a blanket, soaking in the warmth of the roaring fire. Sakura was always impossibly cold, making Sarada flinch whenever their feet or hands touched.

“Mama!” Sarada would squeal in discomfort. Sakura would smile sheepishly and wrap her up in a tight embrace.

“But you’re so warm!” She would coo. “You have fire in your veins! Just like your Papa.”

Sarada snorted, pulling her knees to her chest. She hoped that the more compact she was the warmer she would be.

“Tadaima,” Sarada heard the deep timbre of her father’s voice from the entrance.

“Okaeri,” she called back, too cold to move to greet her father more properly.

Sasuke shuffled into his family room after leaving his cloak on the hook and spotted his daughter curled up on the couch he had planned on sitting on to read his scrolls when he came home. Considering there was more than enough room for the both of them he took his place on the opposite end.

Sarada tried to reign in any disgruntled noises or looks. She didn’t want Sasuke to think she was annoyed with him but there was no doubt he would have brought the cold from outside with him.

After a few minutes of comfortable silence as Sasuke read and Sarada tried to warm up, she began to feel a pleasant warmth radiating from the right side of her body. A warmth that had nothing to do with the heater on the ground.

“You have fire in your veins! Just like your Papa.”

Hesitantly, Sarada edged closer until she was leaning against her father’s side. She felt him stiffen up but then relax into the couch. He continued to read, apparently not bothered by her sudden closeness.

The two of them sat like that in silence only speaking to welcome Sakura home an hour or so later.

“Well that looks cozy.” Sakura sat on the other side of Sarada and curled up next to her, pressing her daughter more against Sasuke and his warmth.

This is better than a fireplace, Sarada thought as she absentmindedly nuzzled her cheek against her father’s arm.

Sakura reached for Sarada’s blanket, brushing her cold hand against Sarada’s cheek.

“Mama!”

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