Summary: …from the married life of Sasuke and Hinata Uchiha. The story is told out of order.
Rating: R for (possibly) unwanted sex
Disclaimer: Naruto isn't mine
It has always been far too easy to hurt her.
Hinata does not cry, but her eyes are expressive. She makes noises. She is obvious in her love, and she obviously does not give it to him. Sasuke has told her, frankly, that he does not want it. He has seen the pain of his words blossom and die behind her eyes.
At their wedding, the sun is shining. Hinata counts less than half her family present. Sasuke counts no one; it is the only time he has ever gotten drunk. Of all those he could have wed, he is glad it is Hinata. He can hurt her without trying.
Why? Why bother if there is no challenge to it? Sasuke wonders, sometimes, if he has ever really won at all. For all his harsh words, she never seems to hate him; for all the weaknesses he's shown her, she never seems to hold him in contempt. She acknowledges defeat through word and action; but for all their outward blankness, her eyes do not.
Another thrust, then. Hinata sobs into the linoleum, her fingers scrabbling for purchase in an empty room. It is cold and her breathing is overly harsh; Sasuke thinks his right side might be developing a stitch. How much worse it must be for her, whose face and chest are pressed against the floor.
Hinata sobs again but does not speak; Sasuke does no more than grunt. The shutter bangs once, loudly, a reminder of the chill in the air and that neither has bothered to close the window. When it is over, he helps her to her feet. For a moment he supports her weight.
"I-I'll start the tea," she says, adjusting the clothing she had not bothered to remove, as he had not. "Um. Do you want green, or chamomile?"
"Chamomile," Sasuke says. "I'm taking a shower."
He turns to stalk away, and does not remove so much as a sock until the bathroom door is firmly closed behind him. He can still hear Hinata through the wall, humming, and it irritates him. He covers the sound with running water.
The warmth of the water eases muscles that should already have been relaxed. He tries to think of nothing much but is, as always, unsuccessful.
In the kitchen, Hinata hums the only lullaby her father ever taught her. She mops the floor. She sets a pot to boil and doesn't leave it, her hands held in front of her for warmth. Her nails are chipped and so is the pot, two small white specks like clouds against the spout. The pot itself is summer-sky blue: an encouraging color, she thinks.
Sitting together at the table with Sasuke, Hinata pours him another cup of tea. Her own is empty; she has never liked chamomile. Neither speaks. They have nothing to say to one another.