Title: Scenes from the Married Life of Sasuke and Hinata Uchiha
Author: subdivided
Disclaimer: Naruto isn't mine

03. Cleaning


"Come on up, then," Sasuke says, and stands fractionally more to the left. He doesn't bother to lift his feet, only leans slightly, and Hinata squeezes past him into the upper storeroom with her eyes on the ground. His sandals are covered in dust. The rest of the room isn't, because Sasuke cleans the same way he does most other things: with ruthless, vicious efficiency.

Hinata wonders what she is supposed to do. The floor as already been swept and the garbage thrown away. Furniture too valuable to be sold has been neatly stacked. Items of great sentimental value have been relegated to furthest corners of the room. She is unnecessary.

Sasuke either does not notice her crisis or does not care. He returns to a pile of old scrolls and meticulously begins to clean them. They will be re-shelved according to age, level of difficulty, and jutsu type; Hinata understands that there is a psychological basis to her husband's obssesive need for order and does not intervene. Instead she picks the most unassuming piece of furniture in the room-a chest of old clothes-and begins to sort. She quickly grows tired of blue cloth emblazoned with the Uchiha fan.

"Should… ah…a-are we keeping any of these?" she asks, a woman's skirt with red and white trim in her hands.

"Un," Sasuke says. He does not look up.

The air is full of dust. Hinata opens all the windows she can reach brings a fan, but quickly turns it off because the noise makes her uncomfortable. She finds the silence just as uncomfortable but would rather not intrude. They are well-matched, she thinks: the man who would always be in control and the woman who consistently allows herself to be controlled. Maybe they will spend their entire life together in painful silent understanding.

The storeroom is well-lit, with several skylights. She follows the light from one across the floor, from an ornate mirror with cracks like spider webs to a small table with bowl-like indentations to her husband's back. Sasuke does not look up, even when the light kissing his neck moves into his eyes.

Hinata gives up and flees downstairs.